Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Grown Up' Entertainment before Race; Sandler, James Rev Up Crowd; Shaq Takes Shot at Dwight Howard

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Grown Up' Entertainment before Race; Sandler, James Rev Up Crowd; Shaq Takes Shot at Dwight Howard

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

DAYTONA BEACH | The entertainment value for race fans before the green flag dropped for the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday was as good as it's been for the summer race at Daytona International Speedway - the oddball driver command from two of them, Adam Sandler and Kevin James, notwithstanding.

The A-listers came out for Daytona's July race, a mix that included music, TV, motion pictures and sports. It began with nine-time Grammy winner Sheryl Crow doing the prerace concert and concluded with Sandler and James, serving along with 15-time NBA all-star Shaquille O'Neal as the grand marshals, singing "Lady [referring to Danica Patrick] and gentlemen, start your engines," in a manner that can best be described as the Stooges meet a thrash rock band.

Within minutes, the Twitter-Verse erupted over the offbeat start to the race. Among the comments, from former Atlanta Braves and Bolles School baseball player Chipper Jones: "worst start ur engines of all time?"

Sandler, James and O'Neal are the co-stars for the movie "Grown Up 2," which will be released on Friday.

Thrown into the mix was Alyssa Milano, the star of TV shows such as "Who's the Boss?" and "Charmed." She was making an appearance at the race to promote her line of NASCAR-themed clothing that goes beyond the standard T-shirts adorned with the number of a favorite driver, baseball caps and jackets with checkered flags on the back.

Crow entertained the crowd for nearly an hour before the race, performing in 90-degree heat that caused one fan near the stage to faint. Crow stopped her performance briefly, asked into the microphone whether the fan was all right, and resumed after paramedics got the fan into an ambulance.

After Sandler and James gave the prolonged command to start engines, they and O'Neal got in their grand marshal cars to lead the pace car and the field out onto the track.

No word on whether modifications were needed for the Chevy SS in which the 7-foot-2, 325-pound O'Neal rode. …

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