DARLINGTON, S.C. (WBTW) — NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett will lead the field to the green flag at the start of May’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway, the track announced on Tuesday.
Jarrett, who won the 1999 NASCAR Cup Series championship and has been named one of the sport’s 75 greatest drivers, will serve as the honorary pace car driver for the event. He will be among many of the sport’s living legends on hand for the culmination of NASCAR’s official Throwback Weekend and 75th-anniversary celebration.
“Dale Jarrett is more than just a legendary driver and broadcaster, he’s an incredible ambassador for NASCAR,” Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp said. “Not only does he provide a powerful connection to our past, he also promotes our present and serves as a shining example for our future. We’re thrilled he’ll lead the field to green for the Goodyear 400.”
A year before winning his NASCAR Cup Series championship, Jarrett was named as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers of All Time. He entered the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014 after a 24-year career that included three Daytona 500 victories and two Brickyard 400 wins.
Jarrett drove the No. 88 Ford owned by fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer Robert Yates between 1996 and 2001, winning three Cup Series races and three poles at Darlington.
“I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Darlington Raceway,” Jarrett said. “The track is challenging, the fans are passionate and the racing is always fantastic. It was a major achievement to win races there, and I’m grateful to have this opportunity to drive the pace car on this historic day for our sport.”
NASCAR has invited every living member of its 75 Greatest Drivers list to Darlington Raceway for May’s race, and beginning on May 12, fans will have an opportunity to meet several of their racing heroes.
The weekend of racing includes the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series’ Buckle Up South Carolina 200 on May 12, the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ Shriners Children’s 200 on May 13 and the Goodyear Goodyear 400 on May 14.
Darlington Raceway previously said that Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch will wave the green flag, 20 years after their unforgettable side-by-side battle was the closest finish in NASCAR Cup Series history.
Tickets to the weekend’s events are available at darlingtonraceway.com.
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Dennis Bright is a digital producer at News13. Dennis is a West Virginia native and graduate of Marshall University. He has won copyediting and journalism awards in Virginia and Ohio. Follow Dennis on Twitter and read more of his work here.