Before jumping in their cars for this year’s Daytona 500 qualifying, some NASCAR drivers will participate in a quite different competition.
Hendrick Motorsports’ drivers Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne, along with Aric Almirola and Michael Waltrip, will all run in the fifth annual Daytona Beach Half Marathon. The 13.1-mile race starts at 6:30 a.m. on February 17 – the Sunday of qualifying for The Great American Race.
The Daytona Beach Half Marathon starts on pit road at the Daytona International Speedway, before the runners eventually exit the track, run over a bridge and onto the beach befor ending up in Victory Lane at the finish. “We all decided this was a perfect run to do. It’s during Speedweeks, it’s going to get the race fans involved and it just seems like a lot of fun. We are looking forward to it,” Almirola said.
Of the four NASCAR drivers that will run the marathon, Waltrip has two Daytona 500 wins (2001, 2004), while Johnson has one (2006). Johnson also has a Daytona 500 pole to his credit, while one of Waltrip’s other two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins came during the summer race at Daytona.
Kahne has two seventh-place finishes (2007 and 2008) in the Daytona 500 while Almirola has two starts to his credit.