Sunday afternoon, WWE superstar Sasha Banks headed to Daytona International Speedway to make an impact on NASCAR's season-opening race, the Daytona 500. She served as the honorary starter and had the opportunity to wave the green flag and start the action, which fans can watch online with a trial. Banks fulfilled her duties and then reflected on the experience.
The professional wrestler, whose real name is Mercedes Varnado, posted a series of photos on social media that showed her at the iconic track ahead of the Great American Race. Many showed her posing next to the fence in a jumpsuit that said, "Finish First." She also posted photos of her in the process of waving the green flag. Fellow WWE wrestler Kalisto joined Banks for the experience, donning a suit and his signature mask.
"Motorsport, yeah, put that thing in sport. Thank you [NASCAR] [NASCAR] [legit boss things]" Banks wrote in the caption of her Instagram post. Several people responded and expressed excitement about the photos and Banks becoming the honorary starter. Her Star Wars: The Mandalorian co-star Katee Sackhoff chimed in and said that Banks "looked fierce."
While the professional wrestler kickstarted the action, the race did not continue for very long. A caution flag came out after four laps due to an incident involving Bubba Wallace and 62-year-old driver Derrike Cope that caused damage to the rear driver side of the No. 23 Toyota Camry. Wallace headed to pit road but was able to return to the track before the end of the caution laps.
The race continued for a few more minutes, but another wreck brought the action to a halt. Driver Kyle Busch gave teammate Christopher Bell a push from behind while they were competing for spots at the front of the pack. The driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry then hit Aric Almirola from behind and sent his No. 10 Ford Mustang sideways. This collision kicked off a chain reaction that collected several cars and sent them into the wall and/or into the dirt. Sixteen cars in total sustained damage, including those belonging to Ryan Newman and Alex Bowman.
Following the massive collision, fans asked questions about which drivers would be able to continue for the remaining 185 laps. Newman and Bowman's cars both suffered extensive damage, as did Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney, and Daniel Suarez among others. Kurt Busch, William Byron, Martin Truex Jr., and Jamie McMurray all managed to drive back to pit road and examined the possibility of fixing their respective cars.