Texas Motor Speedway announces race weekend dignitaries

Justin Hartley, star of NBC’s hit television show This Is Us, will join Heisman Trophy Winner and Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinees Tony Dorsett and Tim Brown in dignitary positions for this weekend’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 NASCAR Playoffs doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway.

Hartley will serve as the Honorary Pace Car Driver for Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 NASCAR Round of 8 Cup Series playoff race, driving a specially themed pink “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 pace car that will lead the 40-car field to the green flag.

Hartley has starred as Kevin Pearson in NBC’s critically acclaimed drama series since 2016 and has been nominated for the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for three consecutive years (2019-21).

The 44-year-old actor has numerous projects on the horizon, including The Noel Diary (in which he will star and executive produce), the feature thriller A Lot of Nothing, and the high school comedy Senior Year, as well as starring and executive producing the network television pilot production of The Never Game.

Dorsett and Brown share a common but rare thread that brings the duo together to deliver the driver’s command to start engines for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. They are part of a group, known as H2H, of only 10 men in the history of college and pro football who have won a Heisman Trophy and been enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame; an accomplishment so rare that more men have walked on the moon.

Dorsett starred at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a four-time All-American running back and won the Heisman Trophy and the national college championship in 1976.
He was the second overall pick in the 1977 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, where he played 11 of his 12 seasons in the league.

Among his highlights was being named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, being named a four-time Pro Bowl selection, rushing for 1,000 yards or more in eight of his first nine seasons, winning the NFC rushing title in 1982, being co-holder of the longest touchdown run from scrimmage (99 yards in 1983), and winning Super Bowl XII. He rushed for 12,739 yards and 77 touchdowns and had career total of 16,293 combined yards and 90 touchdowns overall. His rushing yardage currently ranks 10th on the NFL’s all-time list.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

Brown, a wide receiver as well as talented returner, was a two-time All-American at Notre Dame and won the Heisman Trophy in 1987.

Brown was selected by the Los Angeles Raiders with the sixth overall pick in the 1988 NFL Draft and would go on to star with the organization for 16 of his 17 seasons in the league. His career was highlighted by being named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s, nine Pro Bowl selections, winning the 1997 NFL receiving title and tying the NFL mark for single-season receiving games with 150 yards or more. Brown, who retired in 2005, ranks seventh in NFL history in receptions (1,094) and receiving yards (14,934), and is tied for ninth in receiving touchdowns (100).

Brown, a Dallas native and resident who played at Woodrow Wilson High School, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.

NFL Films currently is producing a documentary called “The Perfect 10,” which tells the life story of Dorsett, Brown and the eight other men and the collective group’s rare accomplishment. ‘The Perfect 10” is planned to air next fall in conjunction with the start of the 2022 college and NFL seasons.

Dorsett and Brown will take part in a press conference beginning at 11:40 a.m. CT Sunday in the media center’s deadline room.

The honorary starter for Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 will be Steve Rowley, President of Cox Automotive.

Rising country music newcomer and American Idol winner Chayce Beckham will be singing the National Anthem leading up to the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. He also will be performing during the Loud & Proud Pre-Race Show presented by The Dallas Morning News beginning at 11 a.m. on the pre-race stage that will be situated at the start/finish line.

On Saturday, Carol Kuntz, co-founder of Andy’s Frozen Custard, will serve as the Honorary Starter and wave the green flag for the Andy’s Frozen Custard 335 Xfinity Series Round of 8 NASCAR Playoff race (2 p.m. CT, TV: NBC, Radio: PRN, SiriusXM Radio, 95.9 The Ranch).

Andy Kuntz, the company’s chief executive officer, will team with family members, the Franchise Advisory Council and franchisees from throughout the country to give the command as co-Grand Marshals for the race.

Bret Shisler of Texas Alliance Raceway Ministries will deliver the invocation prior to both races.

The NASCAR Playoffs weekend at Texas Motor Speedway will consist of the Andy’s Frozen Custard 335 NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday at 2 p.m. CT and the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at 1 p.m.

— Texas Motor Speedway —