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Former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was announced Tuesday as the honorary pace car driver for Sunday’s 2018 Daytona 500 in Florida.
Daytona International Speedway confirmed the selection and passed along comments from the future Pro Football Hall of Famer about the opportunity.
“Serving as the honorary pace car driver will be a truly unique and exciting experience,” Manning said. “I want to thank NASCAR, Daytona International Speedway and Nationwide for making this possible. I’m really looking forward to race day.”
The 41-year-old New Orleans native retired from the NFL following the 2015 season. His 18-year career included 14 Pro Bowl selections, five Most Valuable Player awards, two Super Bowl titles and numerous league passing records.
He’s already been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame for his success at the University of Tennessee before the Colts took him with the first overall pick in the 1998 draft.
“We’re talking true star power with this announcement, as Peyton Manning is one of the legends of both college football and the NFL,” track president Chip Wile said in the announcement. “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.”
Manning will join a list of past pace car drivers that includes celebrities like Tom Cruise and Brad Paisley as well as racing legends such Junior Johnson, Richard Petty and Jeff Gordon.