The Daytona 500 is billed as the “Great American Race,” so it would seem the event would require an equally great pace car.
While it would be natural to assume Chevrolet would use another Camaro or Corvette for this year’s pace car duties, the company decided not to use a car at all. Instead, they’re going with the 2019 Silverado.
This is certainly an odd choice, but Chevrolet needs the truck to be a success especially now that General Motors is eliminating cars such as the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, Chevrolet Cruze, Impala and Volt in North America. Featuring the truck at the race could certainly help to improve awareness about the redesigned model as ESPN reports the 2017 Daytona 500 was watched by nearly 12 million people.
While the Silverado isn’t exactly sporty, the pace truck will feature a 6.2-liter V8 engine that develops 420 hp (313 kW / 425 PS) and 460 lb-ft (622 Nm) of torque. For comparison, the Chevrolet Camaro SS has 455 hp (339 kW / 461 PS) and 455 lb-ft (614 Nm) of torque.
The truck will be driven Dale Earnhardt Jr. who has previously won the race on two occasions. It will mark the first time the race has paced by a pickup and Earnhardt doesn’t seem to mind as he said “I’ve driven Chevy trucks all my life and I’m excited to have this unique experience of pacing the Daytona 500 with the Silverado.”
Let’s just hope the stunt goes a little more smoothly than Chevrolet’s attempt to promote the Silverado at a Detroit Red Wings game.