Richard Petty, international motorsports icon and NASCAR's all-time wins leader with 200 victories, has been named Grand Marshal for the 45th anniversary of the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 27-28.
As Grand Marshal, Petty will give the starting command, "Drivers start your engines," to kick off the legendary twice-around-the-clock sports car endurance race.
"We're honored to have a legend such as Richard Petty serve as Grand Marshal for America's premier sports car event," Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. "Daytona International Speedway and Richard Petty share many memorable moments over the years and have always had a special relationship."
"It's an honor to be the Grand Marshal for this event," said Petty. "Any event at Daytona is a special event and the Rolex 24 is one of them. It was always a great track for us and this is a chance to give back to a place that has given us so much. I'm looking forward to be a part of one of the opening events of the speedway in 2007."
While Petty retired from competition in 1992, he did recently drive his restored 1972 Dodge Charger race car in an exhibition run at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England, one of the largest and most diverse celebrations in motorsports.
Known as the "King" in the stock car racing world, Petty captured seven NASCAR championships and won the sport's most popular driver award nine times. At Daytona International Speedway, Petty has 13 victories including a record seven Daytona 500 wins and three Pepsi 400 triumphs.
Petty earned his 200th and final NASCAR victory in the 1984 Pepsi 400 with President Ronald Reagan in attendance.
The Rolex 24 At Daytona is the kick off event to the international motorsports calendar as well as the season-opening race for the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.
A star-studded field of champion drivers, including four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, will compete on Daytona's historic 3.56-mile road course in the ultimate test of man and machine.
Tickets for the 45th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona are available online at www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.