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Peyton Manning to lead field in pace car for Daytona 500


    Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, left, congratulates Peyton Manning as Manning’s number is retired during a ceremony on Oct. 8 in Indianapolis.

The ever-ubiquitous Peyton Manning is going for a ride in Daytona Beach, Fla., this weekend.

Manning, a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, will be the honorary pace car driver for the 60th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

Manning will take the wheel of the Toyota pace car, leading the 40-car field that includes Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports as the pole-setter.

Manning will have some familiar company — his fellow Nationwide insurance pitchman Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will serve as the grand marshal.

“Serving as the Honorary Pace Car Driver will be a truly unique and exciting experience,” Manning said in a statement. “I want to thank NASCAR, Daytona International Speedway and Nationwide for making this possible. I’m really looking forward to race day.”

Manning retired after the 2015 season after the Broncos’ victory in Super Bowl 50. That marked his second Super Bowl title after winning one with the Indianapolis Colts in 2006.

Manning played 18 seasons in the NFL, setting career records for passing yards (71,940) and touchdowns and wining five MVP awards.

Other celebrities in the mix include Academy Award winner Charlize Theron (honorary starter), and country-music group Rascal Flatts (infield concert).

“We’re talking true star power with this announcement, as Peyton Manning is one of the legends of both college football and the NFL,” Chip Wile, Daytona International Speedway president, said in a statement. “He also has the persona and popularity to match his achievements. He’ll be an awesome honorary pace car driver and a great addition to our lineup of high-profile guests for the 60th Daytona 500.”

Other notable honorary pace car drivers for the Daytona 500 in recent years include retired NASCAR star Jeff Gordon, who got the honor last year, Tom Cruise (2009) and John Cena (2016).

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