Race Weekend Central

Here’s Who’s Performing & Appearing at Texas

The NASCAR playoffs are in full swing, and things will only get bigger this weekend as both the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series head to Texas Motor Speedway.

Cup playoff drivers will commence the Round of 12, while the Xfinity Series visits its second race of its own Round of 12.

This race is Texas’ lone date on the schedule, and the dignitaries list is packed. Let’s dive into who will be in the Lone Star State.

Grand Marshal: Jelly Roll will serve as the grand marshal for the Cup race. Jelly Roll boasts No. 1s on both Billboard‘s Country Airplay and Mainstream Rock Airplay charts.

For the Xfinity race, Andy and Dana Kuntz will give the command to fire the engines. Kuntz is the CEO of race sponsor Andy’s Frozen Custard.

Honorary Starter: Did anyone watch the show Walker, Texas Ranger? Well, now, an actual Texas Ranger will wave the green flag for the Cup race (and no, it’s not an MLB player). Chief Jason Taylor will serve in the role in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the inception of the Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety Texas Rangers.

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New Andy’s franchisee Brandon Pratt will display the green for the Xfinity race.

Official Pace Car Driver: Former ESPN anchor and current sports TV personality Sage Steele will pace the field prior to the Cup race. Steele is a former host of shows like SportsCenter and NBA Countdown.

National Anthem/”God Bless America”: The Fort Cavazos 1st Calvary Band will perform the national anthem for the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400. Additionally, 98-year-old WWII veteran Don Graves will sing “God Bless America.” Graves is a Marine who was part of the attack on Iwo Jima during WWII.

Country music artist Alex Hall will sing the national anthem ahead of the Andy’s Frozen Custard 300.

Invocation: Ret. Lt. Col. Caroline “Blaze” Jensen will give the prayer prior to the Cup race. Jensen was the first female reservist selected for the USAF Thunderbirds demonstration.

Flyover: The 433rd Airlift Wing from Lackland Air Force Base will perform the flyover above the track ahead of the Cup race. Lackland Air Force Base is located in San Antonio.

A CH-47 Chinook and two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters will have the honor for the Xfinity race. The aircraft are based out of the 1st Air Calvary Brigade in Fort Cavazos, Texas.

About the author

Luken Glover joined the Frontstretch team in 2020 as a contributor, furthering a love for racing that traces back to his earliest memories. Glover inherited his passion for racing from his grandfather, who used to help former NASCAR team owner Junie Donlavey in his Richmond, Va. garage. A 2023 graduate from the University of the Cumberlands, Glover is the author of "The Underdog House," contributes to commentary pieces, and does occasional at-track reporting. Additionally, Glover enjoys working in ministry, coaching basketball, playing sports, and karting.

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Is there Peanut Butter on the Jelly Roll? Where does NA$CAR find these “performers”? I guess you get what you pay for.


Jelly Roll is #1 on both country and rock airplay charts according to the article. Airplay is Apple and Na$car has a deal.

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