John Cena to Drive 2016 Daytona 500 Pace Car

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John Cena to Drive 2016 Daytona 500 Pace Car
Mel Evans/Associated Press

John Cena may be rehabbing a shoulder injury, but that isn't keeping the former WWE champion from making his presence felt on NASCAR's biggest stage.   

According to Josh Richter of FoxSports.com, citing Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III, Cena will be driving the pace car for this year's Daytona 500 race on February 21. 

Chitwood III said Cena is a natural fit for the race because of his diverse profile, per Richter: “John Cena is one of the most iconic WWE Superstars in history, a great actor and philanthropist. We welcome him back to the World Center of Racing and our new motorsports stadium, this time to pace the field for The Great American Race."

Cena is no stranger to the Daytona 500, as Chitwood mentioned, serving as the honorary starter for the 2012 race. 

The Fox network is also in business with Cena, using the 38-year-old as the new host of its American Grit reality show that is set to debut April 14, so promoting him in front of a large national audience serves multiple purposes. 

It's been a trying time for Cena in the ring. He took a two-month hiatus from WWE following October's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, returned to television in December and suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery less than two weeks later. 

Even though Cena is unlikely to compete at WrestleMania 32 in April, he's kept busy with both a notable acting career and this new move into network television. His profile is certainly on the rise, with the Daytona 500 another step in his journey to join The Rock as wrestling's biggest crossover star.

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