Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be at the Daytona 500 next month, but for the first time since 2000, he won’t be competing in the prestigious race.
Earnhardt will be the Grand Marshal for the race, so he’ll be involved to an extent. But he admitted on Facebook Live that watching the race and not competing will be “weird” for him.
“It’s definitely going to be an odd feeling,” Earnhardt said via USA Today. “I won’t feel that until it’s happening leading up to (Daytona 500). It’ll be weird, I guess, when I know guys are at the track, and I’m not there. It’ll feel like, ‘Man, I’m supposed to be at the track.’ There’s gonna be a part of me that wants to be there, wants to be in the car, wants to be going through that process of getting ready for Daytona.”
It will be be unfamiliar territory for Earnhardt, and it’ll be equally as unfamiliar for his fans. He’ll still be involved with the sport, and he will serve as an analyst for NBC during the second half of the season.
But it might be a difficult transition at first, and Dale Jr. knows it. Hopefully for him it gets easier after the first race of the season.