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LaDainian Tomlinson Served as Honorary Starter at Daytona 500

Former Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson waved the green flag to kick off Sunday’s Daytona 500 in Florida.

The annual race serves as the opener for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

“I’ve never been to Daytona before,” Tomlinson said at a pre-race press conference Sunday. “Growing up as a kid you watch it every single year and so to finally be here is so amazing.”

El Cajon native Jimmie Johnson will be competing in Sunday’s race. The Granite Hills High School alumni is looking to capture his third win at Daytona.

Tomlinson said Johnson gave him some advice for his NASCAR debut.

“Speaking of holding on, having that flag, Jimmie Johnson told me just don’t drop it.”

Tomlinson was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2017 class earlier this month, after an 11 year NFL career. He still holds the league’s record for most touchdowns in a season (28).

“I wasn’t a guy that fumbled a lot, so I’m not really worried about dropping it today,” Tomlinson said.

The 59th annual Daytona 500 started at 11:30 a.m. local time Sunday.

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