Greg Olsen, tight end for the Carolina Panthers, has been announced as the pace car driver for the Sprint All-Star Race on May 21.
The Panthers play in Charlotte, North Carolina, which neighbors Concord, the home of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Olsen has played the last five seasons with the Panthers after being drafted by the Chicago Bears out of the University of Miami (Florida) in 2007.
“Since arriving in Charlotte I have developed a great admiration for NASCAR and their athletes,” Olsen said in a press release. “Their concept of teamwork and commitment to excellence is second to none, and I have a great deal of respect for the drivers and their teams. I am honored to be included in such an event, and I am looking forward to driving the pace car to kick off the 2016 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.”
Olsen, who wears the No. 88, is no stranger to NASCAR. He’s attended races in the past and has joined forces with Dale Earnhardt Jr. to do fundraising work through The Dale Jr. Foundation and The Greg Olsen Foundation’s “HEARTest Yard” campaign.
The Coca-Cola 600 is back under way following a rain delay.
The caution was issued on Lap 49 for rain and the field was brought to pit road. The red flag was issued at 7:07 p.m. ET and lifted at 8:16 p.m. ET.
The top five at the time of the stoppage was Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick and Joey Logano.
Check back for updates.
Denny Hamlin was involved in an incident even before Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 got underway that could result in a hefty penalty.
A chunk of tungsten ballast — which teams use to bring Cup cars up to minimum weight standards — fell off Hamlin’s car on a parade lap.
The incident puts Hamlin’s crew chief Chris Gabehart and several others on the team in violation of the NASCAR rule book, which means a hefty penalty could be in the offing.
According to the NASCAR rule book, the penalty is 188.8.131.52.4.d: Minimum safety penalty options — “Loss or separation of added ballast from the vehicle will result in a four Race suspension of the crew chief, car chief, and head engineer. If NASCAR cannot identify which series or vehicle the lost ballast originated from, all vehicles entered for that Event from and associated with the team organization identified on the lost ballast may receive the suspensions.”
If NASCAR implements the potential penalty, Gabehart and others could miss the following four races: May 27 at Charlotte, May 31 at Bristol, June 7 at Atlanta and June 10 at Martinsville.
Several of those tracks are good for Hamlin, including winning the Bristol summer night race last year, as well as was fourth at the Martinsville playoff race last fall and 11th at Atlanta.
NASCAR ordered Hamlin back to pit road where the No. 11 crew added a new chunk of ballast to Hamlin’s car. He returned to the race eight laps down.
Here’s what a fabricator from rival team Stewart-Haas Racing tweeted about the incident:
Chevrolet drivers swept the top three rows for tonight’s Coca-Cola 600, led by Kurt Busch‘s pole-winning lap of 181.269 mph.
Jimmie Johnson was next with a lap of 181.214 mph. He was followed by Chase Elliott (181.002 mph), Matt Kenseth (180.923), rookie Tyler Reddick (180.905) and Austin Dillon (180.741).
Ford driver Joey Logano, who starts seventh after a lap of 180.451 mph, was the top qualifier not driving a Chevrolet.
TO THE REAR: Matt DiBenedetto (backup car), Brad Keselowski (unapproved adjustment), Aric Almirola (unapproved adjustment), JJ Yeley (unapproved adjustment) and Timmy Hill (unapproved adjustment)
Click here for Coca-Cola 600 starting lineup
Kurt Busch will lead the field to the green flag for tonight’s Coca-Cola 600 after claiming the pole Sunday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
It is Busch’s 28th career pole and first at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Busch is joined on the front row by Jimmie Johnson. Chase Elliott qualified third and is followed by Matt Kenseth and rookie Tyler Reddick. Austin Dillon was sixth, as Chevrolet drivers took the top six spots.
Click here for qualifying results
Aric Almirola spun coming to take the green flag to begin his qualifying lap. He grazed the wall with his rear bumper.
Matt DiBenedetto slapped the wall off Turn 4 during his qualifying lap and will go to a backup car and start at the rear of the field.