NCAA championship-winning head basketball coach Jim Calhoun will ride in the Big Machine pace car for the Camping World SRX Series’ season-opening race Saturday night at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Calhoun is a Connecticut icon. As the head coach of the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team, Calhoun delivered three NCAA championships, seven Big East tournament titles and 10 Big East regular-season championships. His Huskies made four NCAA Final Four appearances, winning the championship in 1999, 2004 and 2011.
At age 79, Calhoun is still hard on the gas. He is the head coach of the University of Saint Joseph Blue Jays, an NCAA Division III school in West Hartford, Connecticut. The program played its first game in November 2018 and won with Calhoun at the wheel.
“I’m genuinely excited to be a part of the inaugural SRX race in the great state of Connecticut,” Calhoun said. “I know the fans will be fired up. I look forward to taking a few laps in the Big Machine pace car, and honored to be the first official Wheels Up celebrity pace car guest.”
The Camping World SRX Series race from Stafford will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET on the CBS Television Network with streaming live on Paramount+ Premium. It is the first of a six-race slate of Saturday night short-track racing that will be broadcast live through the season finale July 17 at the Nashville (Tenn.) Fairgrounds Speedway.
Calhoun is very familiar with CBS. All of his successes in the NCAA tournament were broadcast on CBS, and those achievements earned Calhoun many accolades. He is a four-time Big East Coach of the Year (1990, 1994, 1996 and 1998), the 1990 AP Coach of the Year and the 2005 winner of the prestigious John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award. Calhoun was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005 and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Calhoun is in good company at Stafford. The Camping World SRX Series features world-class drivers from an array of motorsports backgrounds competing in identically prepared racecars on some of the most iconic short tracks in America. Tony Stewart, Paul Tracy, Bobby Labonte, Willy T. Ribbs, Bill Elliott, Ernie Francis Jr., Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Michael Waltrip are the fulltime drivers in the Camping World SRX Series. At Stafford they’ll be joined by local all-star Doug Coby, a six-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, and NASCAR veteran Greg Biffle.