Even though Texas Motor Speedway has hosted NASCAR since 1997, it had never given the honor of driving the pace car to a member of the region’s most famous sports franchise, the Dallas Cowboys.
But that’s going to change on Sunday, as the Cowboys’ tight end, Jason Witten, will lead the field to the green flag for the Sprint Cup Series’ Duck Commander 500 in a Chevrolet SS.
He will undergo an on-track orientation session on race morning. The green flag is scheduled to drop for the race at 3 p.m. ET.
Witten, one of the top TEs in the National Football League, is not the first pro athlete from the Dallas/Fort Worth region to take on this duty.
Los Angeles Angels pitcher and sports car team owner C.J. Wilson did it in 2010 after helping the Texas Rangers reach the World Series that year.
Additionally, Dallas Stars legend Mike Modano was asked in 2010, but the race he was scheduled to work was postponed due to rain.
“I’m honored to be asked to drive the pace car on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway,” Witten said in a TMS statement. “I’ll be in town to cheer on Denny Hamlin and the #11 FedEx team and raise awareness for their special March of Dimes paint scheme, and it will be a cool experience to get behind the wheel before the drop of the green flag.”
Witten and Hamlin share a partnership with the March of Dimes organization, which works to improve the health of mothers and their newborn children. Hamlin’s main sponsor, FedEx, is one of the organization’s biggest corporate backers.