By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Daytona International Speedway issued the following press release to announce that WWE star Sheamus will drive the honorary pace car at the Daytona 500 event.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 28, 2020) – Four-time World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Champion Sheamus will serve as the Honorary Pace Car Driver for the 62nd annual DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 16 at Daytona International Speedway, behind the wheel of a 2020 Toyota Camry TRD.
The DAYTONA 500 (TV – FOX, FOX Deportes; Radio – MRN, Sirius XM), first held in 1959 at the famed 2.5-mile high-banked tri-oval, is the season-opening race for the NASCAR Cup Series.
Sheamus – whose real name is Stephen Farrelly, from Capra, Ireland – has parleyed natural athletic ability and his 6-foot-4, 270-pound stature into a dynamic career in professional wrestling. A Gaelic football and rugby standout in his native country, Sheamus is a four-time WWE World Heavyweight champion and a two-time United States Champion. He was the 2010 “King of the Ring” and in 2012 he won the Royal Rumble, one of WWE’s signature events since 1988.
Sheamus’ popularity is worldwide – and considerable, evidenced by 2.7 million followers on Instagram, 4.8 million followers on Twitter and 7.9 million on Facebook.
Daytona International Speedway has a long history of professional athletes being involved in official capacities at the DAYTONA 500, dating to 1977 when then-Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler was the Honorary Starter. More recently, another WWE Superstar, John Cena, was the 2012 Honorary Starter and the 2016 Honorary Pace Car Driver while former NFL great Peyton Manning was Honorary Pace Car Driver in 2018.
“We are continuing another tradition of securing high-profile athletes for the build-up to ‘The Great American Race,’” said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile. “Sheamus’ star power is undeniable. We feel like our fans are going to love seeing him pace the field in a new Toyota Camry TRD.
“But, if anyone is truly opposed to this announcement, I suggest they take it up with Sheamus when he arrives on race day. We’ll see how that goes.”
Tickets for the 62nd annual DAYTONA 500 and other Daytona International Speedway events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.
Powell’s POV: It’s a cool honor for Sheamus. It’s interesting to see him get the nod rather than one of the more commonly viewed top stars of the company. As the press release notes, John Cena previously drove the pace car during the 2012 Daytona 500.