If only for a little while, there actually will be an Earnhardt leading the field at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 29.
That’s because Amy Earnhardt, wife of Dale Earnhardt Jr., will be the honorary pace car driver for the First Data 500, NASCAR announced Thursday. The race is the first event in the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, and also will represent Dale’s final time competing at the iconic short track.
“I was very excited when the track approached me about driving the pace car,” Amy said in a statement, via NASCAR. “Martinsville is one of Dale’s favorite tracks and seeing how happy he and the team were in victory lane in 2014 is something I’ll never forget. I appreciate the track letting me be a small part of Dale’s last race at a place that means so much to him.”
Dale, unsurprisingly, is pretty pumped about the news.
In making Amy the honorary pace car driver, Martinsville is making perhaps the coolest gesture that any track has made during Earnhardt’s retirement tour.
“The Earnhardt family has meant so much to Martinsville Speedway through the years, Dale in particular, and we wanted for him to be able to share his last Cup race here with the person closest to him,” Martinsville president Clay Campbell said in a statement. “Dale has often talked about how much Amy has meant to him and this is one small way in which we can say ‘thank you’ to the both of them; to Dale for what he has meant to the sport and to Amy for what she has meant to Dale.”
Dale and the rest of the Cup Series are prepping for Sunday’s Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, where the Hendrick Motorsports driver will look to end a winless drought that’s plagued his entire season.
Thumbnail photo via Amber Searls/USA TODAY Sports Images
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