Talladega Superspeedway announced today that Auburn University Head Football Coach Brian Harsin will serve as the Honorary Pace Car Driver for the GEICO 500 NASCAR Cup Series race this Sunday, April 24. The 188-lap event on Talladega‘s 2.66-mile, 33-degree banked venue is set for a 2:00 p.m. CDT start (FOX, FOX Deportes, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Harsin is entering his second year as Auburn‘s head football coach after spending the previous seven seasons as head coach at Boise State where he compiled a 69-19 record while winning three Mountain West Conference titles. Harsin was named Auburn‘s 28th head football coach on December 22, 2020.
A former Boise State quarterback, assistant coach and offensive coordinator, Harsin is 82-31 overall as a head coach — including one season at Arkansas State — and has directed his programs to bowl games each season. His impressive resume at Boise saw him lead the Broncos to five 10-win seasons, seven consecutive bowl appearances and six MWC West Division Championships. He led the program to a 5-2 mark and a trip to the MWC championship game in 2020.
In his debut season Harsin led his alma mater back to where it rose to national prominence. Boise State went 12-2 in 2014, winning its first outright Mountain West Championship and capping the campaign with a 38-30 victory over Arizona in the 2014 VIZIO Fiesta Bowl. The victory in the Fiesta Bowl was the third such win for the Broncos in the previous nine seasons. Harsin, serving as offensive coordinator in the first two Fiesta Bowl victories, has been a part of each of the school‘s three appearances in the game
Boise State captured MW titles in three of six seasons. In 2017, the Broncos capped the championship campaign with a 38-28 victory over Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Broncos concluded the year at 11-3 overall and ranked No. 22 in both the Associated Press and Coaches Polls.
The Broncos went 12-2 in 2019, recording the team‘s first perfect 8-0 conference record since joining the MW and earning the school‘s fifth all-time appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl. Boise State concluded the season ranked in both the AP (No. 23) and Coaches Polls (No. 22) and were No. 19 in the final rankings of the College Football Playoff Poll, the third-straight season finishing in the top 25 of the CFP.
In 2014, Harsin was named a finalist for the Paul “Bear Bryant” National Coach of the Year Award, the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award and the Dodd Trophy, given annually by the Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year Foundation. He was also named the nation‘s top first-year head coach by the Football Writers Association of America.
Harsin and his wife, Kes, have two daughters, Devyn Lynn and Dayn Mckena, and a son, Davis.
Talladega‘s upcoming tripleheader weekend will feature the GEICO 500 NASCAR Cup Series race (2:00 p.m. CDT) on Sunday and will see NASCAR‘s Next Gen car on the 31-degree banking for the first time. Guests who have a Sunday GEICO 500 ticket will also get admission to the traditional Saturday Night Infield Concert featuring country music artist Riley Green. The concert will culminate a day that will see a trio of on-track activities, including the General Tire 200 (12:00 p.m. CDT) for the ARCA Menards Series and the Ag-Pro 300 (3:00 p.m. CDT) for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. KLĒNSKIN Pole Qualifying to determine the starting lineup for the GEICO 500 will also be on Saturday, beginning at 10:00 a.m. CDT.
— Talladega Superspeedway —