FORT WORTH, April 8, 2005 – Dallas Cowboys three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Troy Aikman, highly acclaimed comedian George Lopez and former American Idol finalist and rising country star Josh Gracin headline the pre-race festivities scheduled for the April 17 Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Aikman and Lopez will team up as Grand Marshals to deliver a truly historic and unique ?Gentlemen, Start Your Engines? command to start the Samsung/RadioShack 500. In a salute to NASCAR?s ongoing diversity initiatives, Texas Motor Speedway will have Aikman and Lopez alternate back and forth in English and Spanish, respectively, with each word of the command.
We’re excited about making history as two household names in America ? Troy Aikman and George Lopez ? team up to uniquely deliver the exciting command to start the Samsung/RadioShack 500,? Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. ?A few years ago, the Samsung/RadioShack 500 became the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race to be broadcast on the radio in Spanish. And to have Samsung?s Peter Skarzynski drop the green flag shortly after American Idol finalist Josh Gracin performs the National Anthem should have the race fans buzzing. It?s going to be a great start to a great day.?
Aikman is considered one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history, leading the Cowboys to six NFC East crowns, three NFC championships and three Super Bowl titles. He was a six-time Pro-Bowl selection who set 45 Cowboys passing records, including career marks for attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdowns and completion percentage. Aikman is currently a member of FOX?s NFL broadcast team and received an Emmy Award nomination for his television work in 2004.
Lopez, awarded the Latino Spirit Award for Excellence in Television and the National Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Award in 2003, is considered one of the premier comedic talents in the entertainment industry who continues to expand his resume. He is the co-creator, writer, producer and star of one of ABC?s top-rated sitcoms, George Lopez. Later this year, he will star in the The George Lopez Christmas Movie on ABC and will serve as host for the Latin Grammy Awards. His autobiography, ?Why You Crying?? that was released last year entered the New York Times best-seller list in the top 20. His current CD, ?Team Leader?, was nominated for a 2004 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.
Joining Aikman and Lopez in an honorary role will be Peter Skarzynski, Samsung?s senior vice president of wireless terminals sales and marketing. He will serve as the Honorary Starter for the Samsung/RadioShack 500. Skarzynski, who joined Samsung in its Dallas headquarters in 1997, has led the effort to establish Samsung as an industry leader, launching some of the first integrated camera phones and multimedia devices in North America.
2-2-2-2/Samsung/RadioShack 500 Pre-Race Talent
Gracin will perform the National Anthem prior to the start of the Samsung/RadioShack 500. He was a finalist on American Idol2 and his career has taken off since his national debut on the hit FOX television show. Gracin?s first single, ?I Want to Live,? was released in early 2004 and became a top-five hit on the country charts. He released his self-titled debut album in June of last year and his second single, ?Nothin? To Lose,? reached No. 1 on both the Billboard and Country Radio charts. He also has been nominated in the ?Top New Artist? category for the Academy of Country Music Awards.
Also getting an opportunity to sing the National Anthem will be Kerry Harvick, who will have the honor prior to Saturday?s O?Reilly?s 300 NASCAR Busch Series race. Harvick, a native of Commanche, Texas and cousin of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup star Kevin Harvick, has produced her debut single, ?Cowgirls,? and her debut album is scheduled for release this fall. She also wrote the song, ?Til Nothing Comes Between Us,? which became a hit for John Michael Montgomery.
Also joining in the Samsung/RadioShack 500 pre-race festivities will be actor Richard Karn, best known for his role as Tim Allen?s sidekick Al in the former ABC television?s hit sitcom Home Improvement. Karn, who currently hosts the television game show Family Feud, will be on stage to inform NASCAR fans about the Call2Recycle program. The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation?s cellphone recycling program is available at RadioShack locations nationwide and proceeds are contributed to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
For additional information, please contact the Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations department at (817) 215-8520 or [email protected]
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Call2Recycle is the industry?s first and only product stewardship program for rechargeable batteries. The nonprofit program is administered by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), a public service organization dedicated to rechargeable battery recycling. There are more than 30,000 Call2Recycle drop-off locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. More than 175 manufacturers and marketers of portable rechargeable batteries and products show their commitment to conserve natural resources and prevent rechargeable batteries from entering the solid waste stream by funding the Call2Recycle program. In pursuit of its mission, Call2Recycle also collects old cellphones, which are either recycled or refurbished and resold when possible with a portion of the proceeds benefiting select charities. For more information, call 877-2-RECYCLE or visit www.call2recycle.org.