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Ron Hornaday Jr., Bobby Labonte to take part in Martinsville Truck race activities

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Martinsville Speedway will honor one NASCAR Hall of Famer and one inductee before Saturday’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 Truck Series race.

Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. will serve as grand marshal for the race, while Bobby Labonte, who will be inducted into the Hall in January, will serve as the honorary starter.

Bobby Labonte. Photo: Getty Images.

We are honored to have 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Ron Hornaday Jr. as Grand Marshal and 2020 inductee Bobby Labonte as Honorary Starter at the first NASCAR Hall of Fame 200,” NASCAR Hall of Fame executive director Winston Kelly said in a statement. “Ron is the series’ only four-time champion. As the 2000 premier series champion and 1992 Xfinity champion, Bobby is one of only 31 drivers who has won races in all three NASCAR national series with his lone truck series win coming at Martinsville.”

Said Clay Campbell, president of Martinsville Speedway: “We appreciate the NASCAR Hall of Fame making it possible to have two great NASCAR champions available to meet our fans Saturday morning before the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200. Having Ron and Bobby be a part of our race weekend is special for everyone at Martinsville Speedway.”

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Martin Truex Jr.: ‘Blows my mind’ may one day be in NASCAR Hall of Fame

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — It didn’t hit Martin Truex Jr. until just before Christmas.

At some point, the 2017 Cup Series champion likely will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The realization occurred to Truex in the halls of Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“I never thought about it until Winston Kelley actually said it to me,” Truex said of the Hall of Fame’s executive director Wednesday during the NASCAR Media Tour.

MORE: Questions about size of future Hall of Fame classes

“Every year, our foundation, we go to Levine’s and walk around and hand out toys to all the kids, and I put my Santa hat on. It’s a lot of fun, so I really enjoy it,” Truex said. “Winston Kelley always goes there and helps.”

The duo talked as they prepared to give out toys when Kelly made an “out of the blue” statement.

Kelley tapped the Hall of Fame logo on his shirt.

“You know, you’re pretty much a lock to get in here now,” Kelley said.

“He told me that, and I was like, ‘Well, I hadn’t even thought of that. That’s insane,'” recalled Truex, who won eight times in 2017 to bring his career total to 15 wins. “That was one of the moments this winter that I forgot about, what it was like. Yeah, I can’t believe that. Just to think ‑‑ yeah, that’s just crazy. Blows my mind.”

Last week, Truex got a taste of what it would be like to be inducted when he introduced the induction of the late Red Byron.

The Furniture Row Racing driver will get at least one unforgettable moment between now and the start of the Cup season next month.

Truex will get to attend his first Super Bowl next weekend in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Feb. 4 on NBC).

To make it better, his favorite team, the Philadelphia Eagles, are vying for the franchise’s first Super Bowl title. They’ll play the five-time champion New England Patriots.

It’s only the third time the Eagles have made the title game in Truex’s lifetime.

“I was slated to go to the game before my team made it, which was kind of cool,” Truex said. “Yeah, going for NASCAR to do some NBC stuff with Dale Jr. (in) pregame, and excited about that. And then it was like, ‘All right, my team is pretty good this year, we’ve got a chance, we’ve got a chance,’ and the NFC Championship game was a pretty good celebration at my house last weekend … I’m really jacked about it. It’s going to be awesome.”

Truex has only seen the Eagles play twice in person.

“The fact that I’m going to the Super Bowl for the first time in my life, my favorite team is going, as well, for only the (third) time since I’ve been born, that’s pretty cool.”

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