It looks like Dale Earnhardt Jr. will complete a row on his Daytona 500-themed Bingo card next year.
Daytona International Speedway announced Monday that the NBC Sports analyst will be the honorary starter and will wave the green flag to begin the Feb. 16 Daytona 500.
A two-time winner of the “Great American Race,” it will mark the third year in a row Earnhardt has been part of the pre-race ceremonies for the event. In 2018, he gave the command to start engines and this year he was the honorary pace truck driver.
Include a win in the race, his 2011 pole as one box and that’s Bingo.
“The only thing left for Dale now is for him to sing the National Anthem prior to the Daytona 500,” said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile in a press release. “That probably won’t happen. But what will happen, come February, will be another outpouring of support from race fans about Dale’s involvement. There’s no way to exaggerate how much he means to the fans and to NASCAR. Any role he plays on a Daytona 500 weekend is significant.”
In the press release, Earnhardt joked “One thing is certain, I’m not doing any singing at Daytona no matter how hard they ask. But I am going to enjoy waving the green flag in February. The start of the Daytona 500 is a special moment in not only NASCAR but all of sports. I am truly honored to be part of that.”
NFL great LaDainian Tomlinson will be the honorary starter for the Feb. 26 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
Tomlinson, a running back for the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets, retired in 2012. He’s an analyst for the NFL Network and an Ambassador for Disabled American Veterans. Tomlinson also is among the 18 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 2017 class will be announced Feb. 4.
He appeared at the Sprint Cup Awards in December in Las Vegas.
“LaDainian Tomlinson will continue our tradition of popular, high-profile celebrities serving as our Daytona 500 Honorary Starter,” said Speedway President Chip Wile in a statement. “His NFL career is legendary and he has always been the consummate professional, on and off the field. We are proud to add him to our illustrious list of Honorary Starters.”
It was a race Casey Mears didn’t mind losing.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup driver came in runner-up on Monday to 10-year-old Layla Popoff in the “Miniland 400,” a special event to celebrate the new Daytona International Speedway model display at LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s MINILAND USA.
Popoff represented Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida at LEGOLAND. Mears, meanwhile, drove a LEGO version of his No. 13 Geico Sprint Cup car. They drove past LEGO miniatures of several American landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Kennedy Space Center, the Las Vegas Strip and the New York City skyline.
Mears then visited with fans at the racing-themed Wheels Zone, part of the park’s newly re-imagined Imagination Zone.
The new DIS display was built out of nearly 300,000 LEGO bricks and took several months to assemble. It was unveiled to coincide with the upcoming Coke Zero 400 on July 2 at DIS.
Check out some of the tweets related to the event: