Owen Wilson will serve as Daytona 500 grand marshal

Daytona International Speedway
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Actor Owen Wilson, who is promoting an upcoming appearance in the third chapter of the “Cars” movie franchise, will serve as the grand marshal in the 59th running of the Daytona 500.

Wilson will give the command to start engines for the Feb. 26 race that will open the 2017 season. He voices “Cars'” Lightning McQueen, one of the main characters in the animated film series.

Here’s the release from the track:

Actor Owen Wilson, the voice of the animated character Lightning McQueen in Disney•Pixar’s upcoming movie “Cars 3,” will serve as Grand Marshal for the 59th annual DAYTONA 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Feb. 26 at Daytona International Speedway.

The DAYTONA 500, the season-opening race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, will begin at 2 p.m. (TV – FOX, FOX Deportes; Radio – MRN Radio, SiriusXM) following Wilson delivering the famous “Drivers, start your engines” command to the 40-car field. In addition to giving the command, Wilson will ride in one of the Grand Marshal cars during pace laps prior to the green flag of the 200-lap, 500-mile race and attend the drivers meeting.

“Cars 3” opens nationwide on June 16. Wilson, who voiced Lightning McQueen in “Cars” (2006) and “Cars 2” (2011), is also known for starring roles in a variety of hit comedy films including “Wedding Crashers,” “Meet the Parents,” ”Zoolander” and “The Royal Tenenbaums.” Wilson stars in the upcoming “Wonder” and the Woody Harrelson-directed live film “Lost in London.”

“Owen Wilson is one of America’s most beloved comedic actors and his voice has brought Lightning McQueen to life for millions of movie-goers over the last 10 years,” said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile. “His star-power, and of course his personality, are perfect fits for ‘The Great American Race.’