Roundup of Gerry as Grand Marshal at the NASCAR Daytona 500

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12:15 p.m.

Actor Gerard Butler is keeping his command to start engines before the Daytona 500 under wraps.

“My command? That’s a surprise,” he said. “I have something up my sleeve, though, that I think you might like — or not. We’ll see what happens when I get out there. I like living in the moment.”

One reporter impressed Butler with a tweaked version of the actor’s famous “This is Sparta” line from the 2006 hit movie “300.” The reporter asked Butler if he considered opening with “This is Daytona!”

“Now, I’m going to say, ‘No, no, don’t be silly,'” Butler said. “And then I’m going to go to the organizers and say, (can I use) ‘This is Daytona?'”

— Mark Long

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1:33 p.m.


Gerard Butler screamed the command to more than 100,000 fans, a tweaked version of the actor’s famous “This is Sparta” line from the 2006 hit movie “300.”

He gave the command for drivers to start their engines, and the Daytona 500 got under way a few minutes later.

Rookie Chase Elliott led the 40-car field to the green flag. Joey Logano is the defending champion.

—Dan Gelston

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Butler, who was promoting his film London Has Fallen, joked about his mom’s excitement at being at the track.

“My mom came up and took my hand and she’s like ‘Gerard, this is so exciting,’ ” said Butler.

He was impressed by the stadium: “What an atmosphere,” he said.

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Becozy fell under Gerry’s spell when she watched Phantom of The Opera for the first time in May 2005, while recovering from knee surgery. She was smitten with the Phantom from the moment his face appeared in the mirror, falling in love during the Music of the Night. After searching the internet for information about the actor able to cast such a spell, she discovered Gerard Butler. Her life, and that of her family, hasn’t been the same since. With Gerry as a common bond, becozy has an expanding world of cyber and real friends.  Her family has greeted her new found ‘hobby’ with enthusiasm and her new friends with a warm welcome. Happily, her husband and two (now adult) children share her admiration of Gerry. Her family knows and understands all Gerry references in their correct context. Mention 3AM, camels, or yellow towels, for example and you’ll get a knowing nod! Over ten years later, as much time as possible each day is spent in the care and nurturing of her Addiction. It is a delicate balancing act to fulfill her duties as wife and mom and her duties as a GAL, but one she is determined to master.


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