Baltimore Orioles Legend to Pace Daytona 500 Field Cal Ripken Jr., best known as baseball's "Iron Man", playing in a record 2,632 straight games for the Baltimore Orioles, will be behind the wheel of a 2007 Chevrolet Corvette as he paces the field for the 49th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway.
Voted to baseball's Hall of Fame in 2007, his consecutive games played record, which took 16 years to establish, made him a popular player with baseball fans everywhere as evidenced by his 19 All-Star Game appearances.
"The Daytona 500 is one of the most storied sporting events in the country and I am thrilled and honored to be a part of it. NASCAR drivers are tremendous athletes and I look forward to being in that environment," said Ripken.
"Cal Ripken joins an outstanding list of celebrities who will be joining us at this year's Daytona 500," said Speedway President Robin Braig. "NASCAR's most prestigious event has a history of attracting high profile athletes and entertainers and this year is no different."
In addition to Ripken's appearance behind the wheel, two-time Grammy winner and Sony recording artist Kelly Clarkson will headline the NEXTEL Tribute To America, the pre-race extravaganza leading up to "The Great American Race".
Clarkson will perform in the NEXTEL-sponsored show, which will be carried live on FOX Sports. The NEXTEL Tribute To America pays tribute to music as the fabric of America and will feature thousands of cast members on the Speedway's historic five-acre tri-oval grass.
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