Earnhardt Jr. Serves As President For A Day At Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (June 2, 2004) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 2004 Daytona 500 champion, took on a second job on Wednesday -- President of Daytona International Speedway. The driver of...
Earnhardt Jr. Serves As President For A Day At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (June 2, 2004) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 2004 Daytona 500 champion, took on a second job on Wednesday -- President of Daytona International Speedway.
The driver of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series filled in for Speedway President Robin Braig and performed several presidential duties at the "World Center of Racing" which included:
* Selected the paint scheme for the Chevrolet Monte Carlo that will pace the Pepsi 400 on Saturday, July 3. It's the first time since 1969 that a Chevrolet has paced the Pepsi 400 and the first time a Monte Carlo has paced the field in the history of the mid-summer classic.
* Announced that Orlando Magic guard and NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady will serve as Grand Marshal for the Pepsi 400.
* Announced a record purse of $5,804,363 for this year's Pepsi 400 on Saturday, July 3, an increase of more than $800,000. The winner of this year's Pepsi 400 will collect a minimum of $266,475.
* Offered a special 8-pack ticket package for the Pepsi 400 weekend for $308. The package includes four general admission tickets to the Winn-Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo and four Superstretch tickets for the Pepsi 400. The offer, which is good June 2 through June 8, is available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Earnhardt Jr. also worked at the counters selling tickets at the ticket office.
* Looked over the new infield renovation plans for the Speedway. The construction for the new garages, Gatorade Victory Lane, tunnel, fan walk and specialty vehicle area will begin following the Pepsi 400.
"It's really a fun place to be around," Earnhardt Jr. said of the Speedway. "Not just on the race track or in winner's circle but actually out there seeing all the people that sell tickets and keep the Speedway running everyday. It's pretty impressive. There's a huge commitment. It's a family atmosphere too, which is something NASCAR has always had.
"The coolest thing for me was meeting all the women in the ticket office. That was fun. They're all in there selling tickets. They seem like they all have a good time together and all know each other. That was cool meeting all of them."
Taking a break from his presidential duties, Earnhardt Jr. previewed the Pepsi 400 weekend, where he'll compete in both the Pepsi 400 on Saturday night, July 3 and the Winn-Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo NASCAR Busch Series on Friday night, July 2.
"I'm really excited about that race," Earnhardt Jr. said of the Pepsi 400. "Running at night, it's one of my favorite races of the year. It's a good time for a vacation and it's a good time for a race. You get a little bit of both.
"We've run good at it in the past. We've won it once and ran up front last year. We had an opportunity to win and ended up with a top-10 finish. We're just hoping that we'll have better luck coming around this time."
Earnhardt Jr., who won the 2001 Pepsi 400, is familiar with the history of the Pepsi 400. He has been attending the 160-lap, 400-mile Independence Day holiday race since he was a kid.
"I came to this race track a lot when I was young," Earnhardt Jr. said. "The 1985 Firecracker 400 was one of the first ones I remember when Greg Sacks won. I watched all of that race down in Turn 1.
"From there on, it was a race that I looked forward to because I knew I was out all summer from school and that was a race I expected to be at. We liked to go to as many races as we could when we were kids. School and things like that prevented us from going but we always knew we would get to go to the Firecracker 400."
Tickets for the Pepsi 400 Weekend events, including Earnhardt Jr.'s 8-pack ticket package, are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or go online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com