What would NASCAR be without the Earnhardt name?
Sunday’s Daytona 500 will mark the 40th consecutive year that an Earnhardt has raced in Daytona.
This time, it will be Jeffrey Earnhardt, the nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and grandson of the great Dale Earnhardt, who died after a crash in the 2001 Daytona 500.
The 28-year-old will be driving the No. 00 Chevrolet for the StarCom Racing team.
But he won’t be racing alone, as he will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Dale Sr.’s lone win in the Great American Race with a tribute to his grandpa on his helmet.
The photo being used by @JEarnhardt1 on his Daytona 500 helmet is a Don Hunter photo and part of the @smylemedia archives. We are excited that Jeffrey is honoring his grandfather and know that Don Hunter would be excited that his photographs are being appreciated. pic.twitter.com/2aqsSyo8Ec
— Smyle- Motorsports Marketing / Brand Development (@smylemedia) February 15, 2018
Jeffrey Earnhardt said he will wear the helmet, which features a portrait of Dale Sr., for the 500 and throughout the season.
“There’s been an Earnhardt driving in the 500 for 39 years,” Jeffrey told USA Today. “So to be able to keep that streak going for a 40th year means a lot to me, and I’m sure a lot of Earnhardt fans are going to be happy to hear this news.”
As @kimmiecoon reports, an Earnhardt is in the field this week – @JEarnhardt1. And @OffAxisPaint has painted up this AMAZING Dale Earnhardt Sr. Tribute helmet as Jeffrey showed off during pre-race! #AskMRN pic.twitter.com/IYgHa25nBj
— Motor Racing Network (@MRNRadio) February 16, 2018
Jeffrey has driven in 58 Cup races over the past seasons with no top-10 finishes to show for it.
Dale Jr. will also be at Daytona, but strictly to cheer on his nephew.
“It’s weird, but also, at the same time, it’s relaxing and a bit of a relief,” the newly retired Earnhardt told USA Today. “It’s such a rat race, the seasons are so long and the offseasons are so short. As I watch all these guys go through media day and do all the things we do to prepare for the season, all these little moments that happen that trigger, ‘All right, the season’s right around the corner. Here we are at Daytona days away.’
“I’m not ready to get back in the car even if I was still competing. So there’s a part of me like, ‘Man, I’m glad I don’t have to get back after it because I’m kind of enjoying my time away. I’m enjoying not being in that hamster wheel.'”
Dale Jr. will, however, be the grand marshal, meaning he will give the famous command, “Drivers, start your engines.”
Sunday’s race is set to kick off the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season.
As usual, the historic 2.5-mile trioval of Daytona and its 31-degree banking will provide the perfect season-opening event for the sport.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.