Honorary Starter Cena geared up for Daytona 500

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February 24, 2012

UPDATED MON., FEB. 27: The Daytona 500 has been postponed until Monday at 7 PM ET. Sunday, for the first time in NASCAR history, the 54th annual Daytona 500 was postponed due to excessive rain. 

Due to his commitment to Monday Night Raw SuperShow, John Cena tweeted to the WWE Universe:

 

@JohnCenaWell NASCAR i tried. But if youre gonna run your race on monday night..ive got other plans. Leaving #raintona going to #RAW

 

For exclusive coverage of John Cena at the Daytona 500, go to Cena's Facebook page now.

 

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John Cena joins a prestigious group of athletes, celebrities, military officials, business leaders and even a U.S. President as the Honorary Starter of the 54th annual Daytona 500 this Sunday! The Superstar will help kick off the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing season at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Fla.

As the Honorary Starter, Cena will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with NASCAR drivers throughout the weekend, and even attend the drivers’ pre-race meeting. On Sunday morning, the Cenation leader will make an appearance on the Sprint FANZONE Main Stage, where he’ll be introduced to the approximately 182,000 race fans at “The World Center of Racing.”

Then, Cena will climb the flagstand at the start/finish line at the storied 2.5 mile-long tri-oval track, where he’ll officially begin the race by dropping the green flag. It’s an important role, as not only will he be signaling the 43 drivers that the race has begun, but the world will be watching the 10-time WWE Champion as he officially commences “The Great American Race.” (Close to 16 million viewers tuned in to the 2011 Daytona 500!) Leading the pack of drivers will be Cena's longtime friend, Carl Edwards, on the pole position in his No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.

Past Daytona 500 Honorary Starters include President George H.W. Bush, Whoopi Goldberg, Ashton Kutcher, Mariah Carey, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, NFL Hall of Fame quarterbacks Dan Marino and Terry Bradshaw, and NACSAR legend and seven-time Daytona 500 winner Richard Petty.

NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Edwards raced into Raw SuperShow in his No. 99 Fastenal Ford earlier this month to invite Cena to be the Honorary Starter. The Superstar gladly accepted the honor from the former Raw guest star.

“I’ve got to check my calendar,” Cena joked. “I’ll definitely be there! You have a deal, man. That is awesome!”

The Daytona 500 is the most prestigious and important race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and is known as “The Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing.” According to daytonainternationalspeedway.com, the 500-mile, 200-lap race has the biggest total payout in prize money for any U.S. motorsports event. In 2007, more than $18 million in prize money was given out, with past winners that include the late Dale Earnhardt Sr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty.

2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series runner-up Edwards, whom Cena first befriended in 2007 when the driver mentored him on the reality series, Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, has never won the Daytona 500. Will Cena be the good luck charm his friend needs this Sunday as he starts on the pole?

Watch Cena start the 54th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday, Feb. 26, at 1 p.m. ET, live on FOX. Check back with WWE.com all weekend long for complete coverage of Cena at the Daytona 500, and follow Cena on Twitter @JohnCena.

For more on the Daytona 500, visit the following:

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