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Danica Patrick to drive in Nationwide race at Daytona

Photo: Dow Graham/AP

Danica Patrick drove a full season in the Nationwide Series in 2012.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Danica Patrick will pull double duty at Daytona International Speedway.

Patrick will drive in the second-tier Nationwide Series season opener the day before the Daytona 500, which is scheduled for Feb. 23.

The former IndyCar star and current Stewart-Haas Racing driver will run a third entry for Turner Scott Motorsports. A rookie in the Sprint Cup Series last season, Patrick also drove two Nationwide races for Turner Scott. She led five laps at Daytona last February before an electrical problem ended her day. She crashed at Talladega in May.

Patrick will drive the No. 30 Chevrolet Camaro, which is sponsored by the Florida Lottery.

Patrick made her Nationwide debut at Daytona in 2010. She has raced in 60 Nationwide events, including a full season in 2012.

Sinise named honorary starter for Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Actor Gary Sinise will serve as honorary starter for the Daytona 500.

Sinise will wave the green flag to start the 56th running of "The Great American Race," which is scheduled for Feb. 23.

Sinise, who earned an Academy Award nomination for portraying Lt. Dan in "Forrest Gump," says the Daytona 500 is "celebrated tradition and an important occasion to raise awareness and support for the men and women who serve our country."

Sinise's foundation, the Gary Sinise Foundation, honors defenders, veterans, first responders and their families. One of its current projects is building a custom smart home for severely wounded veterans.

Last year, retired NFL star Ray Lewis waved the green flag.

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