J.J. Watt has been named the grand marshal of the 2019 Daytona 500, NASCAR introduced Monday.

The Texans defensive finish is the primary NFL participant to function the grand marshal for the NASCAR Cup Collection season-opening race, scheduled for Sunday.

“I’m honored to have the chance to function grand marshal for this 12 months’s ‘Nice American Race,’” Watt mentioned in a press release. “The Daytona 500 is a really iconic occasion with a wealthy historical past, and I’m very a lot wanting ahead to taking within the motion up shut and private this 12 months.”

Watt will inform the drivers to start out their engines for the 61st Daytona 500. His charity work, which incorporates the $41 million he helped increase for Hurricane Harvey aid, was a big think about why he was chosen because the 2019 grand marshal.

“We’re ecstatic to have an individual who has proven to be not solely an unimaginable athlete, but in addition someone who has executed a lot for communities in want,” Daytona Worldwide Speedway president Chip Wile mentioned. “J.J. is without doubt one of the finest gamers at the moment within the NFL and now he’s going to be our grand marshal for ‘The Nice American Race.’ It’s a spectacular pairing.”

Watt will probably be entrance and heart as Hendrick Motorsport teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman, the reigning Daytona 500 pole winner, will begin from the entrance row of this 12 months’s race.

The Daytona 500 is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday (Fox) at Daytona Worldwide Speedway.

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