J.J. Watt

Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt will be in the spotlight at the 2019 Daytona 500, as he’s been named Grand Marshal of the 61st running of the “Great American Race.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as Grand Marshal for this year’s ‘Great American Race,’” Watt said, per the official NASCAR website. “The DAYTONA 500 is a truly iconic event with a rich history and I am very much looking forward to taking in the action up close and personal this year.”

One of the NFL’s biggest stars — both on and off the field — Watt made a tremendous comeback from a couple of injury-plagued seasons to get back to his dominant form this past season in Houston.

“We’re ecstatic to have a person who has shown to be not only an incredible athlete, but also somebody who has done so much for communities in need,” said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile. “J.J. is one of the best players currently in the NFL and now he’s going to be our Grand Marshal for ‘The Great American Race.’ It’s a spectacular pairing.”

Watt won the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award after the 2017 season due to his work raising $36 million for the Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts.