Why is The Rock at the Daytona 500? Explaining Dwayne Johnson’s 2024 grand marshal stint

The NASCAR Cup Series season gets underway with a bang on Sunday, as the racing world comes together for the Daytona 500.

The 66th running of the Great American Race will undoubtedly bring some major celebrities to Florida, but the biggest name in Daytona this weekend just might be Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

The Rock has planted his feet all across the sports world, between his spring football league and his wrestling career, but it will be all about racing for the actor on Sunday.

Here’s what you need to know about why Johnson is on hand for the Daytona 500. 

MORE: Printable Daytona 500 starting grid

Why is The Rock at the Daytona 500?

Johnson will be the grand marshal for the 66th running of the Daytona 500. Johnson will deliver the famous “drivers, start your engines” cue at the start of the race. 

Johnson isn’t known as a celebrity with close ties to NASCAR, but the Great American Race has attracted some massive names from all across the spectrum to serve as grand marshal over the years. Grand marshals since 2015 alone include Donald Trump, J.J. Watt, Pitbull, Vince Vaughn, and Charles Woodson. Johnson adds his name to that list on Sunday, with DJ Khaled also taking on a key role as the race’s honorary starter.

“There are very few people who can truly match the energy around the pomp and circumstance of The Great American Race, and The Rock may be the only person who can actually ramp it up even more,” Daytona International Speedway president Frank Kelleher said in a release announcing the news. “We can’t wait to see how he fires up the crowd and the engines for all the fans.”

In a tweet, Johnson said he’s “pumped” to serve as grand marshal and added that he’s “truly honored” to deliver the “drivers, start your engines” command. Knowing the energy he can bring to an event, Johnson certainly seems like a natural fit despite few connections to racing. 

The Rock noted that he got stuck the last time he tried to get into a NASCAR vehicle, so he will likely be much more comfortable in this position while the professionals handle the racing.

MORE: Complete 2024 NASCAR Cup Series schedule

Daytona 500 schedule

Here’s how to watch all the action from Daytona over the weekend:

Date Time (ET) Event TV/Live Stream
Sat., Feb. 17 10:30 a.m. Cup Series practice FS1, Fubo
  11:30 a.m. Xfinity Series qualifying FS1, Fubo
  1:30 p.m. Daytona ARCA 200 FS1, Fubo
  5 p.m. Xfinity Series United Rentals 300 (Buy Tickets) FS1, Fubo
Sun., Feb. 18 2:30 p.m. Daytona 500 (Buy Tickets) Fox, Fubo

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