Retired Ravens LB Ray Lewis to be honorary starter at Daytona 500
The University of Miami product Ray Lewis will wave the green flag before the green flag to get the Daytona 500 started on Sunday.
"It doesn't get any bigger than Ray Lewis -- the leader of the Super Bowl-winning team," Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood III said of Ray Lewis’ selection for the honorary starter duties. “We can’t wait to see him on the flag stand waving the green flag to start ‘The Great American Race’ and the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season."
WWE Superstar John Cena had the honorary starter duties for Daytona 500 in 2012.
Ray Lewis will be among the many professional athletes and celebrities who will be attending the Daytona 500 on Sunday.
Some like Ray Lewis will be present on official capacities, such as Oscar-nominated actor James Franco who will serve as grand marshal delivering the iconic "Drivers, start your engines" line. While, others such as rappers T.I. and 50 Cent, comedian Golfer Jim Furyk Drew Carey, as well as New England wide receiver Wes Welker will also will attend NASCAR's season opener.
The 13-time Pro Bowler Ray Lewis is friends with defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, who was inspired by Lewis’ speech in the Madden NFL 13 game trailer. Ray Lewis left Brad Keselowski another motivational phone message prior to the 2012 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"What I like about Ray Lewis, and I know he's got a lot of people that don't like him, so I'll acknowledge that," Brad Keselowski said last November. "But what I like about Ray Lewis is that he brings a level of passion that is really unparalleled in his sport, and he's successful because of it. It's kind of this mix of old school, mental prep that just fascinates me.”
"So I've read a lot about him and obviously talked about that video and so forth, and I'm just constantly impressed by it,” continued Brad Keselowski. “I want to bring that same level of passion, that same level of intensity to NASCAR that he's brought to his respective team in the NFL."
The Zac Brown Band will perform a pre-race concert in the Daytona International Speedway infield, while one of its band members, Clay Cook, will perform the national anthem.