Comic, GOP candidate top Pepsi 400 guest list


While promoting his upcoming film, "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," comic actor Kevin James will pronounce the start of the July 7 NASCAR Nextel Cup Pepsi 400 race at Daytona International speedway.

James co-stars with Adam Sandler in the new film, which opens July 20, about a pair of straight, single Brooklyn firefighters who concoct a fake same-sex union to receive domestic partner benefits.

Besides commanding "Gentlemen, start your engines" to begin the race, James will also lead the 43-car field in the pace laps from the grand marshal Chevy Impala pace car.

"The Pepsi 400 is one of NASCAR's most exciting nighttime spectacles and we're excited to have Kevin James preside as Grand Marshal," Daytona International Speedway president Robin Braig said in a release. "Kevin James is one of Hollywood's top comedic actors and race fans will be anxiously awaiting his command."

Kasey Kahne's No. 9 Dodge will also be featuring a special paint scheme to promote "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry."

Another special guest at Daytona will be Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, who will serve as an honorary race official for the race.

The former mayor of New York will lead the 43-car field riding in an official event vehicle.

"We're honored to have Mayor Giuliani spend a portion of his July 4 holiday with us," Braig said in a release. "We look forward to hosting him along with thousands of race fans for an exciting and memorable evening at the 'World Center of Racing.' "

James is best known as the star of the long-running CBS sitcom "The King of Queens," on which he also served as executive producer.

The 42-year-old actor is no stranger to sports, having recently co-executive produced and co-starred with fellow comedic actor Ray Romano in HBO's "Making the Cut: Kevin James & Ray Romano." The documentary followed them as they attempted to make the cut at the annual Pebble Beach Pro-Am Golf Tournament and was nominated for a Sports Emmy.