Like every other year Nascar Daytona 500 Live will be held at DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ) — 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 NASCAR Radio) 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.’ ”
Wilson is the latest name on a long list of actors who have served as Daytona 500 Live Stream Grand Marshals including Gerard Butler, Vince Vaughn, John Travolta, Ben Affleck, Nicolas Cage and Matthew McConaughey.NASCAR fans will get an inside look into Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s return to racing beginning next Tuesday thanks to a six-part series provided by Nationwide Insurance.
Nationwide is the official primary sponsor of the No. 88 Hendrick MotorsportsChevrolet driven by Earnhardt in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“Unfinished Business” documents the offseason preparation and work behind Earnhardt’s return to competition following last year’s injury-shortened season. NASCAR’s most popular driver missed the final 18 races of the year after suffering a concussion.
The series is scheduled to go live on the Nationwide 88 Facebook page each Tuesday between Jan. 24 and this year’s Feb. 26th running of the Daytona 2017 Live. Two episodes will air the week leading into the season-opening race.A preview (trailer) of the series was posted to the Nationwide 88 Facebook page Thursday just before 6 p.m. ET.
“Based on everything that happened last year, we wanted to really capitalize on Dale getting back in the car and all the excitement and interest, just the fans’ general hunger for as much Dale Jr. content as we could provide,” Jim McCoy, director of sports marketing for Nationwide, told NASCAR.com.
“Going into the offseason as we did our production shoot for 2017 as we normally do, we wanted to add on a new layer … a behind-the-scenes unique look around Dale. The offseason processes around production shoots, around designing the car, all the things that go into getting ready for Daytona. And having a real personal view from Dale conveying that.”
Each segment of the six-part series is short, informative and entertaining.
For 2016, Nationwide produced a successful paint scheme unveil for Earnhardt’s No. 88 entry. But following his injury officials wanted to go a little deeper this year.
Portions of the series include Earnhardt’s wife, Amy, car owner Rick Hendrick and crew chief Greg Ives. “Just the people that are really close to everything … that fans don’t normally get,” McCoy said.
Earnhardt’s prior medical condition didn’t hinder the process, but sensitivities surrounding the issue were addressed with the Hendrick organization. McCoy said it is “a very small part of this six-episode series.”
“This is truly more about getting ready for Daytona 500 ; we absolutely touch on the subject of him being out of the car because you have to,” he said. “But I would say the majority of it is around what goes into the offseason preparation, why he is even more excited for this year and all that.”
Among the information provided to fans will be why there may be a different look to this year’s No. 88 Nationwide paint scheme. Earnhardt has always been actively involved in determining the appearance of his race cars and coming up with the look for this year’s car was no different.
“There was a unique little nugget that came out that we’d not heard on him growing up around his grandfather and his dad racing based on the car coming back from the race track,” McCoy said. “The lighter cars you could always tell how the race went based on where the tire marks were, the dirt and everything else. On a white car you always had a better sense of that and we’ve really transitioned to a lighter paint scheme this year with more white mixed into it.
“He pulls in some of those personal stories that we hadn’t heard and I think the fans will get a really big kick out of learning a little bit more about why he likes lighter paint schemes.”
Earnhardt has 26 career wins in NASCAR’s top series, and his final three — at Talladega, Daytona and Phoenix in 2015 — came with Nationwide on the car in a primary role. The company, which previously was the title sponsor for what is now the XFINITY Series, has been affiliated with Earnhardt and his family for many years.
McCoy said the series sponsorship, which ran from 2008-14, was crucial in helping to prepare Nationwide for its relationship with Earnhardt.
“We learned a lot and we would not have been ready and in position to be able to take over as majority primary (sponsor) of the No. 1 driver in the sport, for the fans’ demands and what they would want out of a sponsor,” he said. “I think the Nationwide Series allowed us to really learn and do a lot of great things.
“But we’ve taken the program to new levels and heights in partnership with Dale. He’s our best customer and we can authentically connect with him and our products and services because it’s real. It’s been real since he was 16 years old. As we’re trying to expand the message of who Nationwide is and what we do, the many sides of our company.”
Tickets for the 2017 DAYTONA 500 and Speedweeks can be purchased online atwww.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can also follow NASCAR on Twitter and stay up to speed on the latest news by using Nascar DAYTONA 500 Live and #SPEEDWEEKS. Stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Snapchat, and by downloading the Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.(source)