Honorary Officials Have Been Named for The GEICO 500 and fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway



TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega Superspeedway announced today the individuals who will give the command “Drivers Start Your Engines” and those who will waive the green flag to start the fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola and GEICO 500, Oct. 18-19. The performers for the rendition of the National Anthem were unveiled as well and will showcase a military theme.

The weekend will feature the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) GEICO 500, the anchor event of the Contender Round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The field of 12 drivers who currently have a shot at NASCAR’s top prize will be trimmed to eight after the checkered flag drops on Oct. 19. The Saturday, Oct. 18, fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event also features a tight battle for its Championship title with the top four drivers separated by a mere 33 points with five races remaining in 2014.

Who gets to oversee the opening ceremonies for both events? See below:


  • Grand Marshal: Rhett Rayburn, Regional Vice President and Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) for GEICO Macon Southeast, will give the most famous command in motorsports – “Drivers, Start Your Engines.” University of Alabama alumni, Rayburn joined GEICO as a telephone claim representative trainee in 1992.

Rayburn has managed personal injury protection, payment recovery and claim service representative units. He served as Liability Process Coordinator with the competitive advantage leadership group, and then completed the executive assistant program before becoming Liability Director in the company’s San Diego office from 2009 to 2010. Rayburn had served as Assistant Vice President with claims responsibilities in the company’s Tucson, Ariz., regional headquarters since 2010. He was elected an officer with GEICO that same year.

  • Honorary Starter: Sergeant First Class (SFC) James W. Knight, an Alabama native and member of the US Army since 2000, will be high above the start-finish line in the flag stand and will wave the green flag to start what promises to be one of the most exciting events in the history of Talladega Superspeedway. A native of Monroeville, AL, SFC Knight’s operational experience includes four tours of duty to Afghanistan.

His awards and decorations include; the Bronze Star (1 OLC), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal (1 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (3 OLC), Army Achievement Medal (5 OLC), Good Conduct Medal (4th Award), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (4 Stars), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCO Professional  Development Ribbon (numeral 3), Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Service Medal (Numeral 5), NATO Medal, Senior Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Drill Sergeant Badge and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola

  • Grand Marshal: Teresa Gabor, Senior Vice President of Merchandising for fred's Super Dollar will deliver the message to drivers to start their engines. Gabor has been with fred’s for 19 years and is responsible for several areas in merchandising including all Direct Beverage. Coldwater Mississippi, the town where fred’s opened their first store in 1947, is where she calls home.


  • Honorary Starter: Keith Curtis, Senior Vice President of Merchandising at fred’s Super Dollar, will serve as the Honorary Starter. Curtis has been with fred’s for 33 years and is responsible for the Basic Consumables Division.

GEICO 500 National Anthem

  • The 313th United States Army Band, formed in 1943, will perform the National Anthem prior to the GEICO 500. The unit, comprised of 40 citizen-soldiers, train and perform as Army musicians during monthly Battle Assembly weekends and do weeks of annual training. Its mission is to provide music throughout the spectrum of military operations, to instill in our forces the will to fight and win, to foster support of our citizens, and to promote our national interests at home and abroad.

About Talladega Superspeedway

NASCAR speeds back into Talladega Superspeedway October 17-19 for the GEICO 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event. NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track (record 88 lead changes in 188 laps), with the circuit’s steepest banking (33 degrees) and longest distance (2.66 miles), is also the most fun and fan-friendly, offering up hundreds of acres of free camping, amazing kids ticket prices and special offers for military members and college students. Talladega Superspeedway is NASCAR’s “Party Capital” thanks to the track’s infamous infield and world renowned Talladega Blvd. The historic venue has always worked hard to enhance the fan experience in every way and now features the most comfortable seats in motorsports, large video viewing boards (a new initiative planned for future implementation at all ISC tracks) lining the frontstretch and endless activities for fans throughout its event weekends. Log on to www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 877-Go2-DEGA for more

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