Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman could feel the buzz at the Daytona 500.
Edelman, sporting neatly trimmed facial hair, served as honorary starter and waved the green flag for Sunday’s race. The New England Patriots star receiver called NASCAR drivers ‘‘absolutely insane.’’
‘‘It’s a respect level for these guys, who are clearly adrenaline junkies,’’ Edelman said. ‘‘Football players, we’re missing screws. These dudes certainly are, too.’’
Edelman had his bushy beard clipped on a recent taping of ‘‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show,’’ with the trimmings used to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club of Boston.
Edelman doesn’t know if he'll grow the beard again to its rugged length again next season, but he grew it by taking to heart the advice of Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
‘‘He says put everything in the drawer and worry about it after football season,’’ Edelman said. ‘‘So I put my razor in the drawer and I worried about it after football season.’’
Lost and found
Ryan Blaney was on the money in the second stage of the Daytona 500.
The Team Penske driver pulled his No. 12 Ford into the team’s pit stall with a $5 bill stuck to the grill. That could have paid for a hot dog at the Daytona concession stands.
Penske’s crew flashed the cash for a photo on Team Penske’s Twitter page. Blaney had one of the fastest cars in the 2018 season opener, leading a race-high 118 laps, winning a stage, and finishing seventh. He won the second stage Sunday.
Joe Gibbs Racing and Fox Sports have paid tribute to JGR cofounder J.D. Gibbs, who died in January after a long battle with neurological brain disease at age 49.
The team and the television network recognized Gibbs during the 11th lap. Team owner Joe Gibbs closed his eyes during the tribute to his son. Crew members stood atop the pit road wall and held up a banner remembering Gibbs and all he did for the team. Fox showed a picture of J.D. Gibbs smiling.
Film study for Watt
J.J. Watt used an offseason film session to prepare for the Daytona 500.
The Houston Texans star and Daytona 500 grand marshal watched video of the last decade of celebrities who kicked off the race with the most famous phrase in motorsports. Watt said Dale Earnhardt Jr. had ‘‘tons of energy’’ last year.
‘‘I practiced in front of my girlfriend at home last night,’’ Watt said. ‘‘She gave me the thumbs up, so we’re good to go guys.’’