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Actor Gary Sinise will wave green flag as honorary starter for upcoming Daytona 500

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.