TMS Media Relations | Oct 27, 2014
FORT WORTH, TEXAS (October 27, 2014) – A distinguished but diverse group from varying arenas, ranging from the iconic Harlem Globetrotters to Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, will serve as the dignitaries for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Eliminator 8 race at Texas Motor Speedway.
The Harlem Globetrotters, known for their basketball wizardry and antics around the world since being formed in 1926, have been named the Grand Marshals of the AAA Texas 500 and will have the honor of giving the start command to the 43-driver Sprint Cup Series field. Anthony “Buckets” Blakes will give the command, but will be joined by teammates Jonte “Too Tall” Hall, Kris “Hi-Lite” Bruton, Shane “Scooter” Christensen and Will “Bull” Bullard at the stage with a unique presentation planned.
The Globetrotters also will be performing three shows Sunday (10 a.m., 11 a.m., Noon CT) for speedway season ticket holders on a basketball floor set up in the Nationwide Series garage during the “No Limits” Garage Party presented by WinStar World Casino & Resort.
“It’s a great thrill to be able to visit Texas Motor Speedway, especially right in the thick of the NASCAR Chase,” Blakes said. “We’re excited to be able to entertain all the fans that will be there, and we’re already working on some things to try and take advantage of the giant HD video screen there. Everything’s got to be bigger for Texas!”
Abbott, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, is vying to succeed retiring Rick Perry as the next Governor of Texas and pays a visit to Texas Motor Speedway just two days before the Nov. 4 election. Abbott, a native Texan who has spent his career fighting for conservative values, was re-elected as the 50th Attorney General of Texas in 2010. Prior to serving three terms as Attorney General, he served as a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court and as a State District Judge in Harris County.
Abbott’s pre-race role will involve the Boys Scouts as he will lead a contingent of more than 30 scouts and the NASCAR crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance prior to the invocation and National Anthem.
“There is no better state to host the NASCAR AAA 500 than Texas,” Abbott said. “I’m so thrilled to be able to participate in this great event that draws sports fans from around the world to the Lone Star State, proving time and time again that Texas is the best place to enjoy fast cars and freedom.”
Texas Rangers pitcher Derek Holland will serve as the honorary pace car driver and have the rare opportunity to drive the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS that leads the 43-car field to the green flag for the start of the AAA Texas 500.
Holland helped lead the Rangers to the World Series in 2011 when he was 16-5 with a 3.95 earned-run average in the regular season and 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in the postseason. Holland was 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA this season after missing nearly the entire year due to microfracture surgery on his left knee in January.
“Being asked to drive the official pace car is a great honor and I am very excited to spend the day at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday,” Holland said.
Rounding out the dignitaries is David Tiger, who will serve as the Honorary Starter and wave the green flag from the flag stand to start the AAA Texas 500. Tiger, a branch manager at the Houston Memorial offices of AAA Texas, earned the position through a AAA Texas employee recognition event where colleagues and employees nominated him for the honor based on his commitment, professionalism and diligence during his career. He recently announced his retirement following a 41-year career with AAA. This employee recognition event was sponsored by AAA Texas executives and was open to the entire employee base of AAA Texas.
The AAA Texas 500, which begins at 2 p.m. CT Sunday, is the second of three races in the Eliminator 8 Round that will determine which four drivers will advance to compete for the Sprint Cup Series championship Sunday, Nov. 16, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The AAA Texas 500 is part of a NASCAR tripleheader at Texas Motor Speedway that also includes Friday night’s Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 and Saturday’s Nationwide Series O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge.
For tickets or additional information, please visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com or call the speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500.
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