Talladega Superspeedway announced today that Army General Daniel R. Hokanson and NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin have been named honorary dignitaries for the GEICO 500. Hokanson will give the command to fire the engines with Martin waving the green flag as the Cup Series drivers cross the start-finish line for the first time.

“Pairing General Hokanson and Mark Martin together as our honorary dignitaries is remarkable as both of them have achieved so many accomplishments throughout their careers,” said Talladega Superspeedway Brian Crichton. “Honoring our great country with General Hokanson giving the command to fire engines while NASCAR Hall of Famer and legend Mark Martin waves the green flag to turn the field loose is sure to be an unbelievable way to kick off the GEICO 500.”

General Hokanson currently serves as the 29th Chief of the National Guard Bureau and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Hokanson is a military adviser to the President, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Council and is the Department of Defense‘s official channel of communication to the Governors and State Adjutants General on all matters pertaining to the National Guard. Hokanson is responsible for more than 430,000 Soldiers and Airmen of the Army and Air National Guard making sure they are accessible, capable, and ready to protect the homeland and provide the Army and Air Force with combat ready resources.

Mark Martin‘s role as honorary starter comes as he helps kick off the start of NASCAR Legends Presented by GEICO. The marketing campaign is designed to tell stories of notable traditions and prominent pieces of NASCAR history through drivers, tracks, fans, moments, and more. Martin has two Cup Series victories at Talladega Superspeedway (1995 and 1997). His 1997 win set the record for the fastest total time to complete a 500-mile race (2 hours, 39 minutes, 18 seconds).

The GEICO 500 race weekend will also include a great pair of flyovers during pre-race festivities on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, prior to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Ag-Pro 300, there will be one CH-47F Chinook helicopter and two UH-60L Blackhawk helicopters via the Alabama Army National Guard performing the flyover. Sunday, fans will get to see the Alabama Air National Guard and 187th Fighter Wing‘s F-35 jets soar across the Superspeedway before the GEICO 500 gets underway.

The spring race weekend action at Talladega kicks off on Saturday, April 20, with a doubleheader featuring the ARCA Menards Series General Tire 200 at 12:30 p.m. ET and continues at 4:00 p.m. ET with the NASCAR Xfinity Series Ag-Pro 300. On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series stars will duke it out during the GEICO 500 to close out the weekend at 3:00 p.m. ET.

— Talladega Superspeedway —

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