Skip to content

Did James Franco mean to insult Danica Patrick at Daytona 500? Twitter decides (video)

Feb 25, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

James Franco AP

He co-hosted the Oscars in 2011 to not-great acclaim, so James Franco thought he’d take a less stressful late February gig this year. In town to promote his new movie Oz, the Great and Powerful, Franco had grand marshal duties at the Daytona 500, where he was tasked to begin the race with the iconic “Gentlemen, start your engines!” call-out.

Professor Marvel, who had a way with words, probably would have nailed it. But Franco did not. What he actually said was: “Drivers, and Danica, start your engines!” (See the video below). This did not go over well.

Our analysis: Franco simply screwed up, saying “Drivers” when he meant “Gentlemen.” Kind of like Neil Armstrong saying “One small step for man,” instead of “a man.” Too bad we didn’t have Twitter then.

  1. tigersgeaux - Feb 25, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Since Danica was the pole setter, he could have said, “Lady and Gentlemen, start your engines!” Simple, no controversy, no stupidity. The most simple approach is usually the best.

  2. millers37 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Why not just say ‘Drivers start your engines’, Danica is a driver, right.

  3. nderdog - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    It’s obvious that he had been trying to decide between “Gentlemen, and Danica, start your engines” and “Drivers, start your engines” and just got flummoxed in the moment, but still, it was hilarious when it happened!

  4. eugenesaxe - Feb 25, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    So he had the sac to publicly state her racing “career” is extremely overblown. Good for him, it’s a shame more people can’t figure it out.

  5. skids003 - Feb 26, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    What do you expect? He’s Hollywood, land of the idiots.