A Look Back In Talladega History: Unique Dignitaries Visit Talladega
You could say that pre-race dignitaries come in all shapes and sizes at Talladega Superspeedway. From big strapping quarterbacks to the most polished politicians, some unique personalities have made appearances at NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track.
- Bart Starr of the Green Bay Packers was Grand Marshal for the 1973 Talladega 500.
- Hank Williams Jr., the country music legend, served as Honorary Starter for the 1977 Talladega 500.
- The World’s Strongest Man, Paul Anderson, was Honorary Starter for the 1978 Winston 500.
- John Mecom, Jr, former owner of the New Orleans Saints, was Grand Marshal for the 1980 Talladega 500.
- US Senator Jim Sasser from Tennessee kicked off the 1988 Winston 500 as Grand Marshal.
- Astronaut “Buzz” Aldrin put a unique twist on his Grand Marshal duties for the 1994 DieHard 500, commanding the drivers to “Energize their ground craft.”
- Chris Economaki, the former editor and publisher of National Speed Sport News, was the Grand Marshal for the 1995 DieHard 500.
- 2004 Miss America Ericka Dunlap served as Grand Marshal of the 2003 EA Sports 500.
- Funnyman Will Ferrell got the crowd fired up before telling the drivers to fire it up as Grand Marshal of the 2006 Aaron’s 499.
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