Daytona 500: Sasha Banks is honorary starter for the race. Here's what to know about her.

Staff Report

Sasha Banks is the honorary starter for Sunday’s 63rd edition of the Daytona 500. Who is she? 

Why you might know her?

Banks, whose real name is Mercedes Varnado, is a pro wrestler in WWE and the SmackDown Women's Champion. In 2016, she and Charlotte Flair became the first women to headline a WWE pay-per-view event.

Live updates:Follow along for the latest from the Daytona 500

Around the track:All the buzz around the 500

Why else might you know her?

Banks is expanding her acting horizons. Using her real name, she appeared in two episodes of the "Star Wars" television show on Disney+, "The Mandalorian." Her character's name is Koska Reeves.

Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado) blasts some Stormtroopers in "The Mandalorian."

Where is she from?

Banks was born in Fairfield, California, on  Jan. 26, 1992. She is married to Sarath Ton, who used to wrestle for WWE but now works as a costume designer for the wrestling outfit.

Famous cousins

She is a cousin of legendary rapper Snoop Dogg. She is also a first cousin of music producer Daz Dillinger and singers Brandy Norwood and Ray J.

Snoop Dogg

More:How to watch the 2021 Daytona 500 on TV, live stream

About being starter

“I would like to thank NASCAR and our partners at FOX for this opportunity,” Banks said in a statement. “I can’t wait to get out to the track in front of the great fans and find out which driver has what it takes to be a 'Legit Boss.'"

What does the honorary starter do?

The honorary starter's main responsibility is to wave the green flag to signal the start of the race.

Wrestling ties

WWE and Fox Sports, which first broadcast the Daytona 500 in 2001, agreed to a billion-dollar programming deal three years ago. Fellow wrestling superstars John Cena (2012, 2016) and Sheamus (2020) have made prior appearances at the Great American Race.

Sasha Banks raises her championship belt. Sasha Banks and Bayley defend their tag team championship against the Riott Squad. WWE Live Road to Wrestlemania came to Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019.