Did James Franco Really Insult Danica Patrick At Daytona 500?

Commentary |When one thinks about the sport of racing, the first name that doesn’t come to mind is James Franco. Regardless, Franco was on hand this afternoon to kick off the Daytona 500 as this year’s grand marshal, and to promote his new film Oz: The Great And Powerful.

Over the years those before him have uttered the historical words of “Gentlemen, start your engines!” However, Franco had a new spin on it. One that people aren’t too happy about. Reports out of Daytona 500 claim that instead of saying the signature, “Gentleman, start your engines!” Franco yelled excitedly, “Drivers — and Danica — start your engines!”

Many saw this exclusive calling out of Danica Patrick as the worst flub in the Daytona 500. However, most publications aren’t actually taking into consideration the knowledge of the race in relation to Franco singling out Danica. While most see it as a flub by the first time grand marshal, it seems as though no one is really considering the history around this race for Danica. In many ways she’s a driver in a league all of her own.

USA Today reports the scene that many did not see from their living rooms as Patrick, the first woman ever to win the pole for a Sprint Cup Series race, climbed into her car to a wild scene. All eyes were on Danica Patrick as the drivers prepared for the 55th running of the Daytona 500. So much that it could be argued that Franco really meant to highlight the moment everyone was in albeit through a strange command.

Do you think James Franco should have singled Danica Patrick out from the rest of the drivers? Was his words well intentioned or out of line? Sound off here.

UPDATE: James Franco has released a statement via his Instagram about the blunder, scrawling over a picture of Danica Patrick that reads: “Sorry I was excited for Danica. I should have said ‘Gentlemen.’ Sorry, I’m an idiot.”