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NASCAR’s Old Guard Makes Way For New Blood

The Daytona International Speedway. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

With Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired, this year’s Daytona 500 offers an opportunity for a new generation of drivers to make their mark. Earnhardt Jr. will be at the track- to signal the start of the race as Grand Marshal.

“There’s a lot of fresh faces, and over the last couple or three years, a lot of star power has left: Jeff Gordon, Dale Junior, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards,” said Daytona Beach News Journal sports columnist Ken Willis.

That leaves room for young drivers like Alex Bowman, who replaced Earnhardt Jr. in his car, and Bubba Wallace driving for Richard Petty Motorsports.

“A lot of starpower has left over the last couple or three years, and a lot of new guys are coming in. It’s just going to be interesting to see who among them sort of separates themselves and becomes the next generation’s Jeff Gordon or Dale Jr,” said Willis.

The 60th annual Daytona 500 takes place Sunday.


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Matthew Peddie

About Matthew Peddie

Host of WMFE's Intersection & Assistant News Director

Matthew Peddie grew up in New Zealand and studied journalism at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating with an MA in Journalism he returned to Christchurch, working as a reporter for Radio Live and Radio New Zealand. He’s reported live from the scene of earthquakes, criminal trials and rugby ... Read Full Bio »