DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For Kate Upton fans around the world, Valentine’s Day came a little early late last night when the Daytona 500 Grand Marshal and Melbourne, Fla.-native was unveiled as the cover of the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. 

Upton and her Three Stooges co-star, Emmy Award and Golden Globe-winning actress Jane Lynch, will deliver the four most famous words in motorsports – “Drivers, start your engines” prior to the start of the 54th annual “Great American Race” on Feb. 26, 2012 (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET).

“SI’s Swimsuit Issue is the most anticipated sports publication each year – to have one of our wonderful Grand Marshals on the cover is exhilarating,” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III.  “Kate will have hearts racing around the world before she and Jane give the command to bring 43 stock cars roaring to life.  There is a lot to love about this year’s Daytona 500.”

Jane Lynch is best known for her role as the sarcastic villain on FOX’s hit show Glee, for which she has earned an Emmy and Golden Globe.  Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, and Will Sasso -- starring as Larry, Moe & Curly – in the all new The Three Stooges movie from Twentieth Century Fox, will start the action by delivering the green flag at the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s most prestigious race.

Tickets for Speedweeks 2012 events, including the 54th annual Daytona 500, are available online at or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. If you are unable to attend in person, be sure to tune in to the Daytona 500 on FOX on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 1 p.m. ET.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Facebook ( and Twitter ( and fans can also follow NASCAR (@NASCAR) and hashtags #NASCAR and #DAYTONA500.

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