Before the NASCAR Cup Series races on the all-new Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time, several dignitaries and special guests will get fans and racers alike ready for the action.
Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (Sunday, March 20) Dignitaries:
• Grand Marshal: To kick off 500 miles of racing, multi-Platinum selling Country Superstar Brantley Gilbert will give the command to fire engines with the most famous words in motorsports: “Drivers start your engines!”
Originally from Jefferson, Ga., Gilbert has ascended to the top of the country music charts with seven No. 1 songs including “Bottoms Up”, “One Hell of an Amen”, and “What Happens in a Small Town”. To date Gilbert has released five studio albums, with three hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart, including the RIAA Platinum-certified Halfway to Heaven, RIAA Platinum-certified Just As I Am and his most recent record Fire And Brimstone.
• Honorary Starter: Folds of Honor recipient Michael Lammey will waive the green flag to start the first lap of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
US Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Lammey served our country honorably for over nine years. On December 1st, 2006 PO1 Lammey was on the USS Frank Cable, Guam when the boiler on this ship was damaged and exploded, changing his life forever. PO1 Lammey sustained third-degree burns to 48-percent of his body by 1200-degree steam that quickly filled the room. His wife Rose and their three daughters are Folds of Honor scholarship recipients.
• Honorary Pace Car Driver: First-ballot MLB Hall of Famer and FOX MLB lead analyst John Smoltz will drive the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 pace car during the opening pace laps of Sunday’s event.
A right-handed pitcher, Smoltz gained first-ballot admission into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015, a testament to the excellence of his memorable playing career. He played 21 seasons in the major leagues, tossing 3,473 innings over 723 games (481 starts) and posting a 213-155 record and lifetime 3.33 ERA with 3,084 strikeouts.
• National Anthem Singer: The Maneuver Center of Excellence Band from Fort Benning will perform the Star-Spangled Banner during pre-race ceremonies for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
For over 50 years, the Maneuver Center of Excellence Band (283d Army Band) has taken great pride in entertaining the Soldiers, military families, and civilians of the Fort Benning, Columbus, and Phenix City communities. The Band’s performances create esprit de corps among Soldiers and veterans, as well as provide patriotic spirit within the civilian community.
• “God Bless America” Performer: Atlanta Operatic Tenor Timothy Miller returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway to perform “God Bless America” during pre-race festivities for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Miller is well known for his performances before Atlanta Braves home games and brings his powerful and legendary voice to NASCAR once more on Sunday.
• Flyover: Streaking across the sky above Atlanta Motor Speedway during the national anthem on Sunday will be four A-10C Warthogs of the 74th Fighter Squadron, The World Famous Flying Tigers, from Moody Air Force Base.
• Pre-race concert: Performing a concert on the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 pre-race stage will be Georgia’s own Travis Denning.
The Warner Robbins native and Mercury Nashville recording artist is a rising star with hits like “ABBY”, “After A Few”, and “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs.” Denning has previously toured with Dustin Lynch, opened concerts for Cole Swindell, Alan Jackson, LANCO, and Riley Green, and headlined the “Heartbeat Of A Small Town Tour.”
• VIP Guests: Among the thousands of people in attendance to see the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 will be country music singer-songwriter John Rich, former Atlanta Brave Dale Murphy, college football player from Georgia Robert Beal Jr., Olympians Elana Meyers Taylor, Nic Taylor, and Aja Evans, actor Antoine Morgan, and Motown rapper Duke Deuce.
The March 18-20 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend will feature the first NASCAR races on the all-new Atlanta Motor Speedway, from Saturday’s Fr8 208 and Nalley Cars 250 doubleheader to Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Drivers in each series will be tasked with taming a challenge unlike any other on the NASCAR circuit.
For more information or to purchase tickets, fans should visit AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com or call 877-9-AMS-TIX.
— Atlanta Motor Speedway —