Michigan International Speedway today announced that Michigan State University Men‘s Basketball Head Coach Tom Izzo and Football Head Coach Mel Tucker will serve as co-Grand Marshals for the NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 on August 7.
As part of their responsibilities, the Spartan coaches will give the command “Drivers, Start Your Engines” to kick off the 200-lap race, the biggest of the year at MIS. The FireKeepers Casino 400 starts at 3 p.m. ET and will air on USA, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“We‘re honored to host Tom Izzo and Mel Tucker as co-Grand Marshals for the FireKeepers Casino 400,” said Michigan International Speedway President Joe Fowler. “Their success and leadership at Michigan St has made them icons in our state and their participation in MIS pre-race activities will further elevate an already great event.”
“I‘m excited to serve as a co-Grand Marshal for the FireKeepers Casino 400 alongside my good friend and colleague Mel Tucker,” Izzo said. “Getting the chance to be a part of a NASCAR event was a thrill for me in 2010 and it was great to get the first-hand experience of seeing some of the best in their profession up close. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to represent Michigan State Athletics and our great University at a NASCAR event and in one of auto racing‘s premier facilities at Michigan International Speedway. A special thank you goes to Aaron Zeigler for showing his Spartan Pride with the Michigan State University/Zeigler Automotive Chevrolet.”
“I want to thank the Michigan International Speedway for the opportunity to be the co-Grand Marshal of the FireKeepers Casino 400, along with Coach Izzo,” Tucker said. “I also want to thank Aaron Zeigler and his partnership with Michigan State Athletics. He has a relentless mindset, and this is an innovative way to represent MSU. I‘m looking forward to seeing the Michigan State University/Zeigler Automotive Chevrolet car in person and in front of thousands of fans at Michigan International Speedway.”
The duo will be guests of Zeigler Auto Group, an anchor sponsor of Josh Bilicki‘s Spire Motorsports Chevrolet. In addition, Bilicki‘s No. 77 Michigan State University/Zeigler Automotive Chevrolet will feature a special Michigan State paint scheme.
“Zeigler is excited to bring in superstar MSU coaches Mel Tucker and Tom Izzo as Grand Marshals for our upcoming home race at Michigan International Speedway,” said Zeigler Auto Group President and CEO Aaron Zeigler. “As long-time supporters of MSU, having the Spartans aboard our Zeigler.com 77 is a huge honor for us, especially when it will be featured right here at home. MIS was the first place #TEAMZEIGLER sponsored a NASCAR race car, and we are proud to say that Josh Bilicki was behind the wheel that day, as he will be on August 7.”
“My relationship with Zeigler Auto Group began at Michigan International Speedway in 2019,” Bilicki said. “Since then, I’ve enjoyed getting to know their team, many who have become like family to me. Team Zeigler is very competitive and passionate about everything they are involved in, from business to supporting local sports teams. I‘m so thankful for the collective support and look forward to carrying the Michigan State University/Zeigler Auto Group colors at their home race next weekend.”
This will mark the second trip to MIS for Izzo. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer drove the pace car before the track‘s Cup Series race in August 2010.
Izzo, who just concluded his 27th year, has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments, including the 2000 NCAA National Championship, 10 regular-season Big Ten Championships, six Big Ten Tournament titles, eight Final Four appearances, eight National Coach of the Year awards and a Big Ten-record 24 straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
Tucker led the Michigan State football team to their biggest turnaround in school history in 2021, his second season with the team. The Spartans finished 11-2 with a Top 10 ranking and a win in a New Year‘s Six Bowl, earning Tucker Big Ten Coach of the Year honors. He also was named a finalist for National Coach of the Year by multiple organizations.
Tickets for the Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 start at $39 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. Kids 12 and under also get a free Sunday Pre-Race Pass courtesy of Henry Ford Health. Saturday doubleheader tickets start at $35; kids 12 and under are free. Campsites are available starting at $130. Tickets are available for purchase via phone at 888-905-7223 or online at mispeedway.com.
— Michigan International Speedway —