Gunther Campine

Actress Charlize Theron named honorary starter for Daytona 500

MORE: Buy race tickets!

Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG winning and Emmy nominated actress Charlize Theron is the honorary starter for the 60th annual Daytona 500. Theron will wave the green flag for the the season-opening race (Feb. 18, 2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series opener at Daytona International Speedway.

Theron stars in and produces the upcoming Amazon Studios film “Gringo,” under her production company Denver and Delilah’s banner. The film will be released in theaters nationwide on March 9. “Gringo,” a dark comedy mixed with white knuckle action and dramatic intrigue, explores the battle of survival for businessman Harold Soyinka when he finds himself crossing the line from law abiding citizen to wanted criminal. The film also stars David Oyelowo, Joel Edgerton, Amanda Seyfried, Yul Vazquez, Thandie Newton and Sharlto Copley.

Theron is in good company as recent Daytona 500 honorary starters include Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee LaDainian Tomlinson, actors Gary Sinise, Angie Harmon, Ashton Kutcher and Whoopi Goldberg and Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Ken Griffey Jr.

She’ll join, among others, Dale Earnhardt Jr. as race dignitaries. The recently retired Earnhardt Jr. will serve as the race’s grand marshal.

MORE: History of Daytona 500 grand marshals

“Charlize Theron is the latest in a long line of accomplished entertainers, athletes, U.S. military members and others to serve as the Honorary Starter for the Daytona 500,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said in a press release. “We are thrilled to have her as our guest at the ‘Great American Race’ and we are certain race fans will feel the same way.”

Theron won both an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Actress in 2003 for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wournos in “Monster.” She has also starred in “The Cider House Rules,” “The Italian Job” and “North Country,” which resulted in Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. She has most recently been seen in  “Atomic Blonde,” “The Fate of the Furious” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” as well as a producer on the Netflix original series “Mindhunter.”