Chipper Jones will serve as the grand marshal of NASCAR’s Aaron’s 499 this Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.
The former Atlanta Braves legendary third baseman, a former World Series champion, National League MVP and eight-time All-Star, retired at the end of the 2012 season.
Jones is an avid NASCAR fan, having grown up just outside Daytona International Speedway in Pierson, Fla.
“I have been a huge NASCAR fan my entire life,” he said. “I have met many people within the world of NASCAR as well as many dedicated, true fans of the sport. I know there are a lot of those fans who love Talladega. I’m really looking forward to getting the Aaron’s 499 started.”
Jones joins other pre-race dignitaries A.J. McCarron, the Alabama quarterback and race’s pace car driver, and Robin Meade, who will sing the National Anthem.
There’s been no word yet on whether McCarron’s girlfriend – Katherine Webb – will also be making an appearance in Talladega. Webb was famously introduced to the world stage by commentator Brent Musberger, during Alabama’s drubbing of Notre Dame in the NCAA BCS Championship Game this year.
Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption
“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.
“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”
The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).
“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.
“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”
“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”
Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:
Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).