Hour 254 of Daytona countdown: Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the way

As FOX Sports continues to count down the hours to the 2017 Daytona 500 (live on FOX at 2 pm. ET on Feb. 26), we salute Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Hour 254.

Why?

It’s simple. Because the two-time winner of the Great American Race has led a total of 254 laps in the 500 during his career. An accomplished restrictor-plate racer, Earnhardt obviously knows how to get out front — and no doubt will attempt to while driving his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet this time around.

Earnhardt went to Victory Lane in NASCAR’s biggest race in 2004 and again a decade later in 2014.

Earnhardt will make his return to racing when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series opens its season Feb. 26 in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Earnhardt sat out the last half of the 2016 season after suffering a concussion, but promises that he is 100 percent healthy and ready to go full throttle for the 500 after a busy offseason that included his marriage to the former Amy Reimann, who is now Mrs. Earnhardt.