DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Paralympic athlete Blake Leeper, known as the “American Blade Runner,” will serve as Honorary Race Official for the 56th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 23 at Daytona International Speedway (FOX, 1 p.m. ET).
As Honorary Race Official, Leeper will be introduced at the driver’s meeting, participate in pre-race ceremonies and ride in one of the honorary race official cars ahead of the 43-car field for the 200-lap, 500-mile prestigious race.
“Blake Leeper is a true inspiration and a legend in the making,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “We are honored to have him participate in the pre-race ceremonies at the ‘World Center of Racing’ for the thrilling and historic Daytona 500.”
Leeper’s story is nothing short of remarkable. He was born with a birth defect that stopped growth below his knees, yet he was able to build muscle above the knee and began playing sports at the age of five.
In 2008 Leeper started intensively running after the Challenged Athlete Foundation presented him with a grant for state-of-the-art blade prosthetics. He won the silver medal in the 2012 Paralympic Games and the gold medal in the 400m Relay at the IPC Worlds in Lyon, France.
Leeper is currently training for the 2016 Rio Olympics for Team USA, where he would become the first double-amputee American to compete in the Olympic Games. More information on Blake Leeper can be found online at www.americanbladerunner.com.
To purchase tickets for the 56th annual DAYTONA 500 and Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race access, race fans can visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.
Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR, #DAYTONA500 and #ROADTODAYTONA. Stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can also follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.