Sunday afternoon, the NASCAR Cup Series drivers will return to Daytona International Speedway for the second race on the schedule. They will take part in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 253 on the Daytona Road Course after a special guest serves as grand marshal. Kevin James, star of Netflix's The Crew, will command the drivers to start their engines.
Sunday will mark the second consecutive appearance for James during a NASCAR event. He helped set the stage for the season-opening Daytona 500 on Sunday by announcing the drivers' names. He operated the grill and made jokes about Kurt Busch, Austin Cindric, and several other big names while flipping burgers.
James is currently starring in The Crew, a show focused on the fictional Bobby Spencer Racing. Created in partnership with NASCAR, The Crew stars James as a crew chief trying to navigate major changes in a Cup Series team. The first season of the series, which launched on Netflix Monday, also stars Jillian Mueller, Freddie Stroma, and Gary Anthony Williams in key roles.
Sunday will not be the first time James serves as the grand marshal for a Cup Series race. He actually has done so three separate times. James gave the most famous command in NASCAR before the Pepsi 400 race at Daytona International Speedway in 2007. He was promoting I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.
James returned to NASCAR in 2010 as he and Adam Sandler both filled the role. They gave the call before the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race while promoting Grown Ups. Three years later, James, Sandler, and Shaquille O'Neal headed to the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. They gave the command while singing.
Along with James, another special guest will set the stage for Sunday's highly-anticipated race. CeCe Winans, the best-selling and most-awarded female gospel artist of all-time, will perform the national anthem before the race. Both she and James will conduct their duties virtually on Sunday.
The O'Reilly Auto Parts 253, which starts at 3 p.m. ET, will mark the second time the Cup Series has headed to the 14-turn, 3.61-mile Daytona Road Course. The drivers did so for the first time in August 2020 while competing in the GoBowling 235. Chase Elliott, the eventual Cup Series champion, won the inaugural trip to the road course.