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Charlize Theron receives rave reviews for her Daytona 500 flag-waving

Mandi Bierly
Deputy Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

The Daytona 500, which kicked off the NASCAR season Sunday, is the equivalent of the sport’s Super Bowl. So it’s no surprise that it was able to attract an A-lister like Charlize Theron to be the race’s honorary starter (it also helps, of course, that she a new movie, Gringo, to promote).

Charlize Theron waves the green flag as drivers approach the start of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 in Florida. (Photo: AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Theron thoroughly enjoyed her appearance, posting a pic on Instagram and Twitter and insisting, “Had such a blast at the Daytona 500! Thanks for having me as your Honorary Starter — hope my flag waving did you proud! At least I didn’t drop it.”

Everyone loved having her in Florida. The photographers:

The pit reporters:

The Thunderbirds, who did the pre-race flyover:

The person handling social media for Gringo:

This guy who couldn’t keep his eyes on the track:

Fox, which also put her to work introducing the drivers:

Theron, who loved to race go-karts when she was young, also made headlines for reminding reporters that she drove circles around her male co-stars in F. Gary Gray’s 2003 remake of The Italian Job. She said the director of the film suggested she do two more weeks of driving school. “And I was like ‘Than the boys? That’s a little sexist.’ So then I really went for it, and I think one of the actors puked at one point. And like one went home. They were all just a bunch of pussies,” she said. “It was Mark Wahlberg. … He’s going to kill me.”

Gray learned his lesson — and cast her in 2017’s The Fate of the Furious.

Gringo hits theaters March 9. Watch the trailer:

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