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Captain America named as Grand Marshal for the Daytona 500

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Who better than Captain America to be the Grand Marshal for the Great American Race? Chris Evans, star of Marvel’s latest Super Hero adventure “Captain America: The Winter Solider,” scheduled for release on April 4, was recently announced as Grand Marshal for the 56th annual DAYTONA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 23, at Daytona International Speedway.

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As Grand Marshal, Evans will declare the four most famous words in motorsports—“Drivers, start your engines.” In addition to delivering the command, he will be introduced at the driver’s meeting, participate in pre-race ceremonies and ride in one of the Grand Marshal cars during the pace laps prior to the green flag of the historic 200-lap, 500-mile race.

Evans joins a remarkable list of previous DAYTONA 500 Grand Marshals including John Travolta, Ben Affleck, Nicolas Cage, Kate Upton, Jane Lynch, Matthew McConaughey and James Franco.

“What better way to kick-off ‘The Great American Race’ than with Captain America, Chris Evans, giving the command to start engines,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “We look forward to having him be a part of our pre-race ceremonies in front of more than a hundred thousand race fans in attendance and millions more watching on FOX as we launch the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.”

Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Solider,” directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, finds Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans), living quietly in Washington, D.C. following the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers. When a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. As the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America teams up with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and enlists the help of a new ally, Falcon (Anthony Mackie). However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).

Based on the Marvel comic book series, first published in 1941, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Solider” is produced by Kevin Feige, p.g.a., with a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. The film is presented by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Predecessors to Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Solider” are “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011) and “Marvel’s The Avengers” (2012), in which Evans portrayed Captain America as well.

Evans is also set to star in “Snowpiercer,” which opened as the #1 film in Korea and will be released later this year in the U.S. Also, Evans recently wrapped production on his directorial debut “1:30 Train,” in which he also stars.

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter, and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR, #DAYTONA500 and #ROADTODAYTONA. You can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news all season long, and follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising.

Over the next week or so, this column will strive to provide full coverage of the events leading up to the Great American Race, including a possible interview with the head of the CJ Mears Gang himself, Casey Mears, as well as other members of the NASCAR garage.

In advance of the Daytona 500 and the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, ESPN Classic will air highlights from numerous past editions of the Great American Race starting on Wednesday, Feb. 19. In addition, ESPN Classic will have two airings of the 2011 documentary Wendell Scott: A Race Story.

A special edition of ESPN’s flagship news and information program SportsCenter will preview the Daytona 500, the opening race of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2. SportsCenter at Daytona presented by Goodyear will originate from Daytona International Speedway with host Allen Bestwick. NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Dale Jarrett and Rusty Wallace will provide analysis, while reporters will be Marty Smith and Dr. Jerry Punch. The one-hour program will include driver interviews, features and updates.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opens with the Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Feb. 23. The race will be televised live on FOX at 1:00 p.m. ET. RacingLive! on ESPN.com is a live blog where fans can engage in debate and discussion with ESPN.com writers and editors during the NASCAR Sprint Cup races. On Sunday, Feb. 23, RacingLive! Daytona will coincide with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. RacingLive! also will be open during the Gatorade Dual at Daytona on Thursday night, Feb. 20.

Tickets for NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race start at $65 and are available online or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

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