DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Ray Lewis drew plenty of flags during his 17-year NFL career. On Sunday, he'll get to throw one for a change.
The retired Baltimore Ravens star will serve as honorary starter for the Daytona 500. Lewis will wave the green flag to start the ''Great American Race.''
Lewis ended his playing career in perfect fashion this month, directing a successful goal-line stand that provided him a second Super Bowl title.
Defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski surely will welcome Lewis. Lewis called Keselowski on the eve of the 2012 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and left him an inspirational voice message. Keselowski also often listens to Lewis' motivational speeches before races.
Lewis won't be the only celebrity on hand for Sunday's race. Rappers T.I. and 50 Cent will attend NASCAR's season opener, which has Danica Patrick starting on the pole.
Oscar-nominated actor James Franco will serve as grand marshal and give the command to ''start your engines.''
The Zac Brown Band will perform a pre-race concert in the Daytona International Speedway infield. Band member Clay Cook will sing the national anthem.