Dale Jr. to drive Indy 500 pace car

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials have announced that NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the pace car for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26.

Next Sunday will be busy for the former NASCAR Cup Series driver. In addition to leading the starting grid to the green flag behind the wheel of the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport pace car, Earnhardt will soak in his first Indy 500 experience as a member of the NBC Sports broadcast crew.

“I was already excited to attend my first Indianapolis 500 with NBC Sports, but driving the pace car just takes it to another level,” Earnhardt said. “The Corvette Grand Sport is an awesome car, and it’s an honor to be asked to lead the field to the green flag.”

THE 103RD INDIANAPOLIS 500: Click here for how to watch, full daily schedules

This will not be the first time Earnhardt has driven a pace car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Earnhardt also drove the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 pace car at last September’s Brickyard 400.

“It is exciting that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is going to lead the Indy 500 field to the green flag,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “With Dale joining the Indy 500 broadcast crew for the first time, pacing the field in the 2019 Corvette Grand Sport will give him a unique perspective to share with the viewers. We are honored that Dale will add Indy 500 Pace Car driver to his long legacy with Chevrolet.”

Earnhardt retired from full-time NASCAR competition following the 2017 season. He competed in a total of 17 Brickyard 400s at IMS with a best finish of fourth in 2012.

His late father won the second running of the Brickyard 400 in 1995.

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Malcolm Stewart sidelined by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.