NASCAR to honor Tampa General Hospital doctor during Sunday's race

After two months of treating countless COVID-19 patients, and much longer practicing medicine, Dr. Seetha Lakshmi is used to wearing personal protective equipment.

"Underneath the skin, we are all the same," she said. "That is the beauty of medicine in many ways. All our differences disappear."

Her approach -- both in the exam room and in the public eye -- has been noticed by Tampa General Hospital administrators. 

So when Fox Sports came looking for doctors to honor during Sunday's NASCAR race, they thought of her.

"I had not expected it in my wildest of dreams," she said.

Her honor is to deliver one of the most famous lines in sports:

"Drivers, start your engines!"

She'll be included in a montage of healthcare workers from across the country who will help kick off Sunday's race. 

Driver Aric Almirola had one more surprise for her, which he announced in a video posted online.

"It is my honor to have her name painted above my door this Sunday," the Tampa native said.

Dr. Lakshmi hopes the recognition will help everyone understand that winning this fight will take all-hands-on-deck.

"I pray that we can buy enough time for us to get a vaccine and more effective therapies so this doesn't claim more lives in our community. That's my daily prayer."