Skip to content
 Promo Image
FONTANA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 27: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, (L)  and NASCAR Fox Sports broadcasters Michael Waltrip talk on the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Wise Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway on February 27, 2022 in Fontana, California. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) | Getty Images
FONTANA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 27: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, (L) and NASCAR Fox Sports broadcasters Michael Waltrip talk on the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Wise Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway on February 27, 2022 in Fontana, California. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Michael Waltrip Named Co-Grand Marshal for Cup Race at COTA

NASCAR on FOX broadcaster Michael Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, and EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix VIP promotional winner Rocky Forrester will serve as co-Grand Marshals for Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas (COTA).

Forrester received the honor by winning the EchoPark Automotive promotion that includes a VIP experience for himself and three guests as well as taking home a 2021 Toyota Tundra with an EchoPark Care Package and Vehicle Warranty from EchoPark Automotive New Braunfels.

The 53-year-old race fan from Jarrell, Texas – about 50 miles north of Austin – also received a two-night stay at the Fairmont Austin, the Official Hotel of NASCAR at COTA; race weekend suite tickets; a $500 gift card; and a pace-car lap around the 20-turn, 3.41-mile COTA road course with Waltrip at the wheel. On Sunday, the duo will give the official command for the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) drivers to start their engines for the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix (2:30 p.m. CT, TV: FOX).

As the Honorary Starter, Rice will wave the green flag for the 40-car NCS field from the flagstand to officially start the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix.

Rice has established himself as a powerful force in Nashville and beyond as witnessed by his 2.2 million albums sold, 2.1 billion total streams and sold-out tour dates around the country. His current single, “If I Were Rock & Roll,” follows his latest No. 1 hit, “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen. (feat. Florida Georgia Line),” and Platinum-certified top-10 hit “Lonely If You Are.”

Rice is also known for his Double-Platinum, two-week chart topper “Eyes On You” – his first No. 1 as an artist and the most-streamed song of his career – plus fan-favorite Top 5 hits “Ready Set Roll” and “Gonna Wanna Tonight.”

Additional dignitaries for Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix NCS race include:

  • Presentation of Colors: Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Honor Guard.
  • Invocation: NASCAR and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Joe Gibbs.
  • National Anthem: Country music artist and Tiktok star Hannah Dasher.
  • Honorary Starter: Country music artist Chase Rice.
  • Grand Marshals: NASCAR on FOX broadcaster Michael Waltrip, EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix VIP promotional winner Rocky Forrester.

Dignitaries for Saturday’s Pit Boss 250 Xfinity Series race include:

  • Presentation of Colors: Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Honor Guard.
  • Invocation: Pit Boss Grills President Jeff Thiessen.
  • National Anthem: Payton Keller.
  • Grand Marshal: Pit Boss Grills Chief Operating Officer Jordan Thiessen.
  • Honorary Starter: Pit Boss Grills Founder & CEO Dan Thiessen.

Dignitaries for Saturday’s XPEL 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race include:

  • Presentation of Colors: Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Honor Guard.
  • Invocation: Billy Mauldin of MRO.
  • National Anthem: Payton Keller.
  • Race Director: Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
  • Grand Marshals: John Gray, Shannon Gray, Jay Dyson, Leanne Dyson, Eric Petree, Michael Mayall, five-time Texas XPEL Dealer of the Year, Gulf Coast Auto Shield.
  • Honorary Starter: Wesley Daniels, XPEL partner Pristine Auto Detailing.
  • Victory Lane Trophy Presenter: Michael Mayall, XPEL Vice President of Sales North America.

The NASCAR at COTA action opens with FEVO Friday that includes practice and qualifying for the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) and Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). Saturday features all three series on track, beginning with NCS practice (9-10 a.m.) and qualifying (10-11 a.m.). The NCS on-track activity will be followed by the XPEL 225 NCWTS race (Noon, TV: FS1, Radio: PRN, SiriusXM) and Pit Boss 250 NXS race (3:30 p.m., TV: FS1, Radio: MRN, SiriusXM). The weekend culminates with the running of the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix NCS race on Sunday, beginning at 2:30 p.m. (TV: FOX, Radio: PRN, SiriusXM).

— Circuit of The Americas —