Daytona Beach, FL – A Houston Texans player will become the first active National Football League player to give the command to start the engines for the “Great American Race”.
Daytona International Speedway announces that Defensive End J.J. Watt will serve as the Grand Marshal for the 61st running of the Daytona 500.
— Daytona International Speedway (@DISupdates) February 11, 2019
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the Grand Marshal,” says Watt. “The Daytona 500 is truly an iconic event with a rich history and I am very much looking forward to taking in the action up close and personal this year.”
Watt is a former University of Wisconsin player as well as a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He was also the first player in NFL history to record two 20-plus sack seasons in 2014 and was highlighted as Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year in 2017.
Watt is also well-known for his charity work as the president and founder of the Justin J. Watt Foundation, a charity that provides after-school opportunities to children and has assisted those who are affected by deadly shootings.
Following Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Watt also raised more than $41 million for the city of Houston, which got him the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
“We’re ecstatic to have a person who has shown to be not only an incredible athlete but also somebody who has done so much for communities in need,” said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile. “J.J. is one of the best players currently in the NFL. It’s a spectacular pairing.”
WNDB will be holding live all-day Daytona 500 coverage starting at 8 a.m. this Sunday (February 17th). You can listen live at FM 93.5 / AM 1150 in the Dayotna Beach here or through WNDB’s online feed.