Ray Lewis Named '500' Honorary Starter


All-Pro NFL linebacker Ray Lewis will wave the green flag as honorary starter of the 55th annual Daytona 500 set for 1:00 p.m. ET Sunday at historic Daytona International Speedway.

Lewis, a University of Miami product, led the Baltimore Ravens to a win in Super Bowl XLVII earlier this month. The 13-time Pro Bowl linebacker has played his entire professional career with the Ravens, helping the franchise to two Super Bowl wins (XXXV, XLVII). Lewis was honored as NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice (2000 and 2003). The fiery linebacker, a Central Florida native, is only the second linebacker to win Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award (XXXV) and the first to win the award on the winning Super Bowl team. Lewis announced his plans to retire last fall.

"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. "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."

Lewis will wave the green flag for the 43-car field led by pole-sitter Danica Patrick, who was the first woman to win a pole for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

Past honorary starters for the Daytona 500 include NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Richard Petty, actor Ashton Kutcher, comedian Whoopi Goldberg and singer Mariah Carey. WWE superstar John Cena had the honor in 2012.

Tickets for Budweiser Speedweeks 2013 events, including the 55th annual Daytona 500, are available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

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