With its spring motorsports tripleheader race weekend just a day away, Talladega Superspeedway has finalized its lineup of pre-race dignitaries for all three of its events – the GEICO 500, Sparks Energy 300 and General Tire 200. They are:
GEICO 500, Sunday, April 29
- Honorary Starter: Alabama State Senator Gerald Dial will wave the green flag to start the highly anticipated Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. Senator Dial is an avid supporter of the 2.66-mile venue and has also been a staple of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, which is housed just outside NASCAR’s Most Competitive track since its inception in 1983. Led by NASCAR founder and Talladega Superspeedway creator Bill France, Sr., a Hall of Fame Commission was established and chaired by State Senator Dial, who guided the project, which started with groundbreaking ceremonies in March of 1981. Born in Delta, AL, Senator Dial, a self-employed real estate developer, is serving his 10th term in the Legislature.
- Grand Marshal: As previously announced, Auburn Head Football Coach Gus Malzahn will give the most famous words in motorsports – “Drivers, Start Your Engines.” Malzahn is one of the most innovative minds in football and has led the Tigers to a 45-22 record in five years, as well as a National Title game appearance in 2013.
- Honorary Pace Car Driver: Unveiled earlier this week, World Boxing Council’s (WBC) current World Heavyweight Champion and Tuscaloosa, AL native, Deontay Wilder, will lead the field to the green flag to start the 500-mile event.
Sparks Energy 300, Saturday, April 28
- Grand Marshal: Giving the command to fire engines prior to the start of NASCAR Xfinity Series event will be Wayne Sternbergh, a Heyworth, IL native who is a longtime friend of Sparks Energy, Inc.
- Honorary Starter: From high atop the start-finish line, Bill Cain, President of Ca-Par Electric, Inc. and a great friend of Sparks Energy, Inc., will wave the green flag to start the race, which is an Xfinity Dash 4 Cash event where one of four select drivers – Elliott Sadler, Christopher Bell, Matt Tifft and Austin Cindric – can win a $100,000 Bonus.
General Tire 200, Friday, April 27
- Grand Marshal: Max Burgess, an Auto Dealer Specialist for American Tire Distributors, will kick off the weekend festivities by commanding the drivers to fire their engines for the 56th ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards event at Talladega.
- Honorary Starter: Ray Vandiver, Parts Manager at Terry Cullen Chevrolet in Jonesboro, GA, will drop the green flag to start the race, which hasn’t seen a repeat winner in the last 11 events.
For ticket information for the GEICO 500, Sparks Energy 300 and General Tire 200, call 855-518-RACE (7223) or log on to www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.
TSS PR/Photo In 1981, Senator Gerald Dial, Chairman of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, addressed a large crowd at groundbreaking ceremonies of the Hall of Fame, as dignitaries and members looked on. Dial will serve as the Honorary Starter for Sunday’s GEICO 500.