For the first time, a pickup truck will serve as the official pace car for the Daytona 500. Chevrolet announced Wednesday that its redesigned 2019 Silverado 1500 will serve as the official pace vehicle for the race, with none other than Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel.
Earnhardt Jr., himself a two-time Daytona 500 winner, will lead the pack in the customized Silverado for the 61st running of the race. The news leaves the Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro on the sidelines as the brand likely looks to raise awareness of the new Silverado as it continues to funnel into dealerships.
"Away from the track I’ve driven Chevy trucks all my life, and I’m excited to have this unique experience of pacing the Daytona 500 with the Silverado," Earnhardt Jr. said of the honor to pace the race in the pickup.
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Chevrolet has paced the Daytona 500 12 times total; five of those times was with a Corvette, while the other seven were with a Camaro.
The 2019 Silverado tapped for pace car duties features a blue exterior color, Daytona 500 and Chevrolet graphics, and what appears to be unique blacked-out wheels. The truck also features the Silverado's most-powerful engine option: a 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.
The "Great American Race" will kick off on February 17, 2019, with Earnhardt Jr. on hand to lead the racers to the green flag.