Madison Marsh, the recently crowned Miss America, will act as honorary pace car driver ahead of the coveted DAYTONA 500, leading the field around the 2.5-mile trioval of Daytona International Speedway before the green flag drops on Sunday, Feb. 18.
Alongside her Miss America duties, Marsh is also a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and is currently earning her master‘s at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Public Policy, while serving as a second lieutenant in the US Air Force. The 22-year-old is the only active-duty Air Force officer to ever receive the national title in the history of the pageant.
“It‘s an honor to have someone like Madison, who has so much spirit, passion and national pride, join us for the DAYTONA 500,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher. “She is a clear representation of everything we try to embody each race day, as we bring fans, drivers and teams together from different corners of the world to enjoy the traditions and the thrills of The Great American Race at this historic track.”
Madison Marsh claimed her crown on Sunday, Jan. 14 earlier this year, representing the state of Colorado alongside contestants from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. In addition to being an Air Force officer, graduate student and Miss America, she also co-founded her own nonprofit alongside her father and sister, called the Whitney Marsh Foundation. The nonprofit honors Madison‘s late mother who died of pancreatic cancer.
Throughout the race week, Madison will also be making visits to Volusia County hospitals and elementary schools, to provide inspiration and be a strong presence within the local communities.
“Being the first Miss America to drive the official pace car at the DAYTONA 500 is an exciting honor,” said Marsh. “I’m thrilled to be part of this historic moment and to represent the tradition of speed, skill, and Americana at such an iconic event.”
Drivers in the NASCAR Cup, Xfinity, CRAFTSMAN Truck Series and ARCA Menards series will all fight for their own crown during Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth.
The multi-day racing event features Qualifying Presented by Busch Light on Wednesday, Feb. 14, followed by the BlueGreen Vacations Duels on Thursday, Feb. 15, with drivers fighting for their spot on the grid in Sunday‘s race.
On Friday, Feb. 16 the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series takes to the track in the Fresh From Florida 250, followed by a doubleheader taking place on Saturday, Feb. 17, featuring the ARCA Menards Series Hard Rock Bet 200 and the Xfinity Series United Rentals 300.
Then on Sunday, after a pre-race show from Pitbull and a gripping command given by Dwayne Johnson, Miss America herself will lead the field as she revs up her pace car before DJ Khaled waives the green flag to kick off the 66th running of the DAYTONA 500.
For more information regarding Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth, please visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.
— Daytona International Speedway —