The Daytona 500 is just around the corner. For racing fans, there is no bigger event of the season. The official starter of the event has been announced for this year. WWE wrestler and avid racing fan John Cena will drop the green flag for the 54th annual racing event.
In honor of the pending race, here is a look at some other surprising celebrity racing fans:
It should come as no surprise to racing fans that Ashley Judd is a huge fan of the sport. That is because her husband is NASCAR driver Dario Franchitti. Judd made headlines back in 2008 when she showed up on pit road in a dress. Dresses are forbidden in the area due to safety issues, which her husband should have been aware of. Hopefully, he gave her a primer in the proper way to dress for race day after the incident.
Brian Williams may be known to most of us as an NBC news anchor, but the self-proclaimed gearhead is a die-hard NASCAR fan. He and his family were close friends with Dale Earnhardt Sr. He is not only a fan, he became a part-owner of a dirt-modified stock car team, and has driven around the Talladega Speedway for a few laps himself.
The Big Unit can be found these days taking pictures at NASCAR events. The former MLB pitcher has found a hobby as a photographer at the races. Photography has been a long-time passion for Johnson, one that he can now indulge more since he is retired. Johnson is a true racing fan; he has been spotted at NASCAR events, and was also at the NHRA Winternationals last year.
Most women recognize Patrick Dempsey from his role on "Grey's Anatomy", but he is also well-known in the racing world. Dempsey is a die-hard racing fan who is part owner of his own racing team. He can be seen behind the wheel as often as he can be seen in the stands at racing events for both NASCAR and IndyCar events.
Jay Leno is almost as well known for his love of cars as he is for his late night talk show. He also runs a website devoted to all things related to cars, including racing. Not only is Leno a fan, he is a bit of an expert when it comes to the history of the sport. Leno once said, "I love that NASCAR is an American sport ... sure, you can race a stock car in Australia, but Junior Johnson never ran moonshine across the Outback."
Whitney Levon has been writing about both celebrities and sports for several years. You can find her work on Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Voices, and Yahoo! News.