Ken Griffey Jr. Named Honorary Starter at 2016 Daytona 500

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2016

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2013, file photo, former Seattle Mariners' Ken Griffey Jr. speaks at a news conference following a luncheon in his honor at the Mariners' ballpark in Seattle. Ken Griffey Jr. seems assured of election to the Baseball hall of Fame on the first try Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, possibly with a record vote of close to 100 percent. Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines also were strong candidates to gain the 75 percent needed for baseball's highest honor.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

The lineup of sports stars taking part in this year's Daytona 500 continues to grow, with Major League Baseball legend Ken Griffey Jr. taking on the role of honorary starter for the February 21 race. 

Jeff Gluck of USA Today posted the news on Twitter that Griffey will wave the green flag for this year's 500.   

This has already been a memorable 2016 for Griffey, who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot with a record 99.3 percent of votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. 

Per Motor Racing NetworkDaytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III expressed his excitement at having Griffey start the season's biggest race: “We’re honored to welcome baseball great Ken Griffey Jr. as the honorary starter for the Daytona 500. We’re looking forward to having such a legendary athlete wave the green flag on the first ‘Great American Race’ in the world’s first motorsports stadium.”

Griffey was one of the biggest sports stars in the United States during his 22-year career, playing in 13 All-Star Games and winning an American League MVP Award in 1997. He was also named to MLB's All-Century Team in 1999. 

NASCAR is not pulling any punches with this year's Daytona 500. In addition to Griffey dropping the green flag, the racing promotion previously announced that WWE Superstar John Cena will drive the pace car. 

The Daytona 500 is NASCAR's biggest event of the year, so it's only fitting that a legendary sports figure like Griffey will be the one to kick things off.