Ncs Usa Today 301

New England linebacker Matthew Judon named honorary pace car driver for USA TODAY 301

On Sunday, June 23, Matthew Judon, linebacker for New England, will get behind the wheel of the official Toyota Camry XSE pace car as he leads 36 of NASCAR’s best to the green flag for the USA TODAY 301 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS).

“Driving the pace car at a NASCAR race is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said 31-year-old Judon. “I can’t wait to get behind the wheel and lead NASCAR’s stars to the green flag at ‘The Magic Mile’ for the USA TODAY 301 NASCAR Cup Series race on June 23.”

Six-foot-three-inch Judon will enter his fourth season with New England this year after being signed as an unrestricted free agent from Baltimore in 2021. The West Bloomfield, Mich. native has earned four Pro Bowl invitations (2019 – 2022), was named to the All-AFC Team for the Professional Football Writers of America (2019, 2021 and 2022), was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week (2017 and 2022) and reached a career-high 15 ½ sacks in 2022 putting him at the top of the list for most New England sacks since 2000.

In 2023, Judon was limited to four games with two starts due to injury. He recorded 13 tackles, four sacks for a loss of 25 yards, nine quarterback hits, five tackles for loss and a safety.

“He’s a leader on the football field, and I can’t wait to see him lead the field of NASCAR’s stars to the green flag at New Hampshire Motor Speedway,” said New Hampshire Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager David McGrath. “We’re proud to put him behind the wheel of the official Toyota Camry XSE pace car and welcome him to ‘The Magic Mile’ on June 23.”

Two-time Super Bowl winner and New England co-captain David Andrews (July 2022), wide receiver and All-Pro punt returner Gunner Olszewski (July 2021), safety Patrick Chung (July 2018), offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (July 2017), offensive tackle Matt Light (September 2016), linebacker Rob Ninkovich (July 2015) and wide receiver Julian Edelman (July 2014) have all served as pace car drivers, making Judon the eighth member of the professional New England football team to get behind the wheel of the official Toyota Camry XSE pace car for a NCS race at NHMS. Other notable pace car drivers include Boston Bruins forward Chris Wagner (July 2019), Richard Rawlings of Discovery Channel’s “Fast N’ Loud” (September 2017), Dave Matthews Band bassist Stefan Lessard (July 2016), Olympic triathlete Sarah True (September 2015) and Boston Bruins legend Brad Park (September 2014).

New England’s only NASCAR weekend is June 21-23 at NHMS. On-track action kicks off Friday with practice and qualifying sessions for the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) and Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) plus SIG SAUER Academy Dirt Duels at The Flat Track. The action continues with NCS qualifying, the SciAps 200 NXS race and Mohegan Sun 100 NWMT race on Doubleheader Saturday and culminates with the NCS taking on “The Magic Mile” Sunday for the USA TODAY 301. Don’t miss all of the exciting off-track action including Trackside Live with Kenny Wallace and John Roberts, The Groove fan hangout, concerts from Dirty Deeds and Draw the Line, family movie night featuring “Guardians of the Galaxy,” driver appearances, a variety of live performances, fireworks and much more

— NHMS —