Emmy and Grammy Award Winning Actress Tiffany Haddish Named Honorary Starter for the 65th Running of the DAYTONA 500

One of the most sought-after comedic actresses in the world will be signaling the start of the 65th running of the DAYTONA 500 as Daytona International Speedway announced today Tiffany Haddish will serve as honorary starter for The Great American Race on Sunday, Feb. 19.


Haddish has built an impressive resume as an actress and comedian. Known for her roles in films such as Girls Trip, Night School, and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, as well as her character of Shannon ‘Shay’ Birkeland on Tracy Morgan’s hit TV show “The Last O.G.,” Haddish has starred alongside actors including Kevin Hart, Nicolas Cage, and Queen Latifa.

Haddish currently stars in Easter Sunday


“Tiffany stands among the best in the business at entertaining a crowd, and now she is joining us on NASCAR’s biggest stage for the 65th running of the DAYTONA 500,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher. “The fans are going to get a great show as the stars will be shining bright both on and off the track on Sunday.”


Her incomparable humor as the host of SNL in 2017 earned her a Primetime Emmy Win, and she continues to make audiences laugh with her stand-up specials and New York Times best-selling book, “The Last Black Unicorn.” She currently stars opposite Jo Koy in “Easter Sunday.”


“I can’t wait to feel the power I’ll have with the green flag in hand as I get to tell those drivers when they can start the DAYTONA 500,” said Haddish. “Waving the green flag is much like the curtain rising before I perform, and I can’t wait to see these drivers put on a show in The Great American Race!”   


Fans will have an amazing opportunity to be a part of DAYTONA 500 history as the full field will parade through the UNOH Fanzone on Sunday afternoon prior to pre-race ceremonies. The red carpet procession will begin at the conclusion of the drivers meeting, and will be headed up by members of “The PRIDE” of B-CU. The band will lead the field in a high-energy, fan-focused walk to the grid, where the drivers will then take part in driver introductions on the stage in front of the sold-out grandstands.


Haddish adds even more star power to the already-impressive list of performers set to precede the DAYTONA 500. Grammy-nominated artist Dierks Bentley will perform the pre-race concert, while PLATINUM artist-songwriter BRELAND will sing the National Anthem. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will then perform their signature “Delta” formation for their 13th consecutive DAYTONA 500 flyover.


The action during Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth kicks off on Wednesday, Feb. 15, with DAYTONA 500 Qualifying Presented by Busch Light determining the front row for the DAYTONA 500. Then on Thursday, Feb. 16, it’s high stakes on the high banks in the Bluegreen Vacations Duel, as drivers such as Jimmie Johnson and Travis Pastrana battle it out for the chance to race on Sunday.


Friday sees the return of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in the Next Era Energy 250. Then, the racing continues with a double header on Saturday, Feb. 18, with the ARCA Menards Series Race, followed by the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner 300.


Then, on Sunday, the drivers of the NASCAR Cup Series will make their 2023 season debut in the 65th running of the DAYTONA 500.


Fans are encouraged to reserve their place in history during Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth by logging onto DAYTONA500.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Additionally, fans can buy or sell reserved seats for the DAYTONA 500 by visiting SeatGeek, the Official Ticket Marketplace of NASCAR.


Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway via daytonainternationalspeedway.com, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as the NASCAR Tracks App, for the latest speedway news.