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Reuss named Daytona honorary pace car driver

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DAN GELSTON | February 22, 2013 05:10 PM EST | AP

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America, will drive the honorary pace car for Sunday's Daytona 500.

He'll be behind the wheel of a 2014 Chevrolet SS. The Chevy pace car already led The Sprint Unlimited and both Budweiser Duels.

"I can't wait to drive across the start/finish line and on into Turn 1," Reuss said. "I know it will be difficult to turn down onto pit road when it's over because I will want to make that moment last as long as possible."

NASCAR's new cars, dubbed "Generation 6," look considerably closer to the ones sold on showroom floors. It's NASCAR's way of putting the "stock" back in stock-car racing and possibly making the cars stars once again. Drivers and fans often complained about the look and the racing of the old Car of Tomorrow.

Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota demanded a change. By some accounts, Chevy even threatened to leave NASCAR if the on-track cars didn't become more relevant. NASCAR listened, and allowed the three manufacturers to develop unique versions of the Gen-6 car. That led to cars that closely resemble the Chevrolet SS, the Ford Fusion and the Toyota Camry.

This is the first time that Reuss has been an honorary pace car driver for a NASCAR race.