NASCAR: Sports Legends Fill Out Grand Marshal Lineup at Busch Light Clash

by Matthew Memrick
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(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

A who’s who of Los Angeles sporting legends ushered in Sunday’s NASCAR Busch Light Clash at L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

Before Joey Logano took the checkered flag later in the afternoon, eight sporting giants shared the stage for an honorary race custom

Dave Roberts, Eric Dickerson, Jim Abbott, Misty May-Treanor, Greg Townsend, Jeff Gordon, Reggie Bush, and Matt Leinart took center stage. 

They were part of the pre-race show to shout out the famous words. It involved drivers, their cars, and something about getting started.

Notably, the four-time NASCAR champion Gordon (1995, 1997, 1998, and 2001) held the honorary torch while shouting into his microphone.

Before the ceremony, Dickerson, Bush, and Leinart could look down and see their former football field now a sea of asphalt. Dickerson, who considered attending Southern Cal, scored many touchdowns as a pro football player with the Los Angeles Rams from 1983 to 1987.

Bush and Leinart played together as members of the University of Southern California Trojans. Both men won Heisman trophies during their time at the university and went pro.

Hometown hero Greg Townsend spent 12 years in the NFL, with many of those years coming with the Raiders when they were in Los Angeles. He made four All-Pro teams and a couple of Pro Bowls. The player also won a Super Bowl with the Raiders in 1984.

Baseball Stars Part Of Grand Marshal Mix

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and former Angels pitcher Jim Abbott represented the baseball world on Sunday before the NASCAR race

Roberts is a two-time World Series champion. In 2020, he became the first African-American manager of a World Series-winning team since Cito Gaston and the first manager of Asian heritage to win the World Series.

Abbott persevered as a pro baseball pitcher despite not having a right hand. The man had two stints with the California Angels during the 1980s and 90s. He also pitched a no-hitter in 1993.

NASCAR Names A Volleyball Pro

Misty May-Treanor joined the group Sunday, even though she may have stood out more than the other pro athletes at the NASCAR race. The retired pro beach volleyball player was odd in that she’s a three-time gold medal-winning Olympian. The star also won more than 100 championships in domestic and international competitions. 

“I am so humbled and honored to be one of the grand marshals for this unique and historic event,” May-Treanor told NASCAR.com before the ceremony. “I am so excited. I can’t wait for the speed. I can’t wait for the adrenaline rush. I can’t wait for the sounds of the crowd.”

Group Short Of One Grand Marshal

Yep, eight Grand Marshals for NASCAR. I wonder if that was a record.

Earlier in the week, Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was among the announced group. The 74-year-old man opted out of the pre-race ceremony because of an illness.

One social media fan joked, “Just one more grand marshal should do it.”

When informed of the six-time NBA champion’s illness, he responded, “Still wouldn’t be enough.” 

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