The celebration of the 2017 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame will continue on Sept. 4 with the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Hall of Fame inductees Mark Martin, Richard Childress, and Rick Hendrick have been named grand marshals for the throwback-themed race. Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons will be inducted with them.
Along with Bojangles’ CEO Clifton Rutledge, the three will give the command to start engines for the 67th Southern 500.
Martin, who retired following the 2013 season after 31 years in the Sprint Cup Series, did so with two Southern 500 wins to his name (1993, 2009). His eight Xfinity Series wins at Darlington are a series record.
“It is my honor to be co-grand marshal for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 with two of my heroes,” said Martin in a press release. “Richard Childress and Rick Hendrick are two of my favorite people in racing. I’m also looking forward to being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame with them, along with Benny Parsons and Raymond Parks in January.”
Childress has 105 Sprint Cup wins, 472 top fives and 12 national series championships as owner of Richard Childress Racing. Eight of those wins came at Darlington with the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr.
“Darlington Raceway is one of my favorite race tracks,” Childress said in a press release. “I remember going there when I was very young and seeing some of my heroes race there. Now, it’s really neat to say that I’m going to be the grand marshal for the race, and I couldn’t think of two better people to do it alongside of than Mark Martin and Rick Hendrick.”
Hendrick, who has a Sprint Cup record 11 championships as owner of Hendrick Motorsports, has 14 wins at Darlington. Seven came with Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson‘s 2012 win gave Hendrick its 200th Sprint Cup victory.
“Darlington is very special to me, and I’m so grateful to the track for this honor,” Hendrick said in a press release. “It’s still sinking in that I’m a part of such an incredible Hall of Fame class. Richard and Mark are great friends and competitors, and it means a lot to share these experiences with them.”
Martin, Childress, Hendrick, Parks and Parsons will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on January 17. The Southern 500 can be seen Sept. 4 on NBC.