Monday, February 6, 2012

WWE's John Cena to start Daytona 500

   WWE Superstar John Cena will wave the green flag as honorary starter of the 54th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26 at Daytona International Speedway. Cena was invited to participate in this year’s race by 2011 title runner-up Carl Edwards during the broadcast of Monday night's "Raw" show on USA Network.

   During the scene, Edwards got out of his official No. 99 Fastenal Ford and told Cena, “NASCAR asked me to come to Monday Night Raw and personally invite you to drop the green flag and officially start the Daytona 500 on February 26.” An appreciative John Cena enthusiastically accepted with an emphatic “Yes!” 

   "John Cena is the greatest Superstar in WWE today,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “We look forward to seeing him on the flag stand waving the green flag to start ‘The Great American Race’ and kick off the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.”

   Cena, who made his WWE debut in 2002, is a 10-time world champion. He can be seen each week on the hit cable series Monday Night Raw on USA Network. The avid NASCAR fan will headline WrestleMania against The Rock at Sun Life Stadium in Miami on Sunday, April 1, 2012.  

   Cena, like many NASCAR drivers, has a long standing relationship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He is on pace to grant his 300th wish, making him the first celebrity wish granter ever to reach that goal. The Make-A-Wish Foundation recently dedicated a room to WWE at the foundation’s headquarters in Phoenix in honor of Cena’s dedication to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

NASCAR drivers looking for votes

   Carl Edwards and Trevor Bayne, race winners in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, could soon add “Dance Machine” and “Gnarliest Newb” to their respective resumes.

   Edwards and Bayne have been nominated as part of Cartoon Network’s second annual Hall of Game Awards, which air Monday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. ET. Five-time Cup Series champion and 2011 “Dance Machine” nominee Jimmie Johnson will also present “The World’s Fastest Award” with a special cameo appearance.

   The show, hosted by former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, is a high-energy, off-the-wall, multi-platform experience that lets viewers vote and honor their favorite sports stars and sports moments of the year.

   Edwards and Bayne have been nominated to compete in the “Dance Machine” and “Gnarliest Newb” categories. Edwards’ signature victory celebration, a backflip from his car, catapulted him to be a finalist in the “Dance Machine” category. Bayne’s improbable Daytona 500 victory as a 20-year-old in only his second Cup start propelled him to compete in what is essentially the “Rookie of the Year” category in this year’s awards.

   Fans can vote for Edwards and Bayne on now through Friday, Feb. 17.