Chipper Jones to be Talladega grand marshal

April 29, 2013, George Winkler, NASCAR.com

Chipper Jones to be Talladega grand marshal
Former Atlanta Brave a long-time NASCAR fan

Chipper Jones is used to cranking fastballs deep into the seats, so it’s no surprise he has a need for speed with NASCAR and will be serving as grand marshal for the Aaron’s 499 on Sunday in Talladega, Ala.

Instead of throwing out the first pitch like they do in his sport, Jones will say the words that are famous to NASCAR fans: “Drivers, start your engines!”

And he happens to be quite excited about it.

“I have been a huge NASCAR fan my entire life,” said Jones, who grew up in Pierson, Fla., just minutes from Daytona International Speedway. “I have met many people within the world of NASCAR as well as many dedicated, true fans of the sport. I know there are a lot of those fans who love Talladega. I’m really looking forward to getting the Aaron’s 499 started.”

Jones, a World Series champion, was the National League MVP in 1999 and an eight-time All-Star with the Atlanta Braves. He won the NL batting title in 2008 and has the third-most home runs all-time among players who played primarily at third base.  Jones retired after last season and finished his 19-year career with a .303 batting average, 468 home runs and 1,623 RBIs.

“Chipper has a lot of fans all over the southeast, especially around us here at Talladega since we are just a short drive from Atlanta” said Grant Lynch, Chairman of Talladega Superspeedway. “His career stats have placed him in some good company ... We are thrilled to have him get the engines fired for the Aaron’s 499.”

Jones joins other pre-race dignitaries AJ McCarron (University of Alabama quarterback) and Robin Meade (Country Music Recording Artist & CNN News Anchor), who will serve as the Honorary Pace Car Driver and National Anthem singer, respectively, before the Aaron’s 499 (1 p.m. ET, on FOX).

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