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‘Drivers and Danica, start your engines’: James Franco’s curious Daytona 500 starting command

There's a formula to NASCAR's "start your engines" commands, and it's not dissimilar to the National Anthem: get in, say your line, get out. Don't get fancy, don't get cute, because it never ever ever works.

At Sunday's Daytona 500, actor James Franco, in town to promote his upcoming "Oz, the Great and Powerful," had to do just one thing: say four words. Four words. "Drivers, start your engines." It used to be "gentlemen," of course, but since Danica Patrick is no gentleman, it needed to change.

Well, change it Franco did, but not quite in the way NASCAR would have liked. "Drivers ... and Danica"? Hmm. Misstep, or not-so-subtle editorial commentary? Most likely, Franco had intended to say "Gentlemen and Danica," but hey, this is what happened. Ah, well.

Funnily enough, Franco talked about the command in his pre-race press conference. He noted that "Danica had done something special here, so I might have to switch it up." And there you have it.

For what it's worth, Danica Patrick started first, but surrendered the lead to Jeff Gordon on the first lap.

-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-

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