NASCAR Sprint Cup champions and ESPN analysts Dale Jarrett and Rusty Wallace will return to the cockpits of NASCAR race cars at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. Eastern.
Jarrett and Wallace will make high-speed laps together around the 2.5-mile oval while recording material that will be used in the NASCAR Countdown program that airs prior to ESPN2's live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona the following day. The two champions will be getting a feel for the new Daytona pavement to help them in their analysis for ESPN.
ESPN's cameras around the track will document the event and each vehicle will be equipped with in-car cameras. In addition, Jarrett and Wallace will be able to speak with each other while on the track via radio communication. NASCAR Countdown airs at noon on Saturday, Feb. 19, followed by the race telecast at 1:15 p.m.
"We are very fortunate to have two of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers as analysts and this is an opportunity to serve our viewers with unique insight," said Rich Feinberg, ESPN vice president, motorsports, event and studio production. "And I think D.J. and Rusty are going to have a lot of fun doing it."
Jarrett, a three-time Daytona 500 winner and the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, last raced in May of 2008 and hasn't driven on the Daytona track since finishing 16th in the 2008 Daytona 500. His last time in a race car was in September when he took ESPN reporter/host Erin Andrews for some laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, retired following the 2005 season and has often said that his biggest regret is never winning the Daytona 500. The 55-time race winner's best finish in NASCAR's biggest race was third in 2001. He was last in a race car when he tested the newly-designed NASCAR Nationwide Series car last summer at Colorado's Pikes Peak International Raceway.