Past champions, aspiring racers to give command for NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race


Richard petty looks on as the race gets ready to start.
James Gilbert
Getty Images

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Moments before the final green flag of NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season flies, a distinguished group of past Cup Series champions will pair with four young racers to deliver the most famous words in motorsports ahead of the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, Nov. 5.

Representing nearly every decade of NASCAR racing history are four Cup Series champions who were each named to NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers list earlier this year: Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace, Bobby Labonte and Kurt Busch.

With the current Cup Series Championship 4 drivers emblematic of NASCAR’s present, four aspiring youth racers will serve as a representation of NASCAR’s future: 8-year-old Brexton Busch of Mooresville, North Carolina; 7-year-old Easton Cambensy of Tucson, Arizona; 9-year-old Giselle Hicks of Mooresville, North Carolina; and 10-year-old Grayson Walcott of Chicago.

These “Diamond Anniversary Dignitaries” will deliver the command for drivers to start their engines alongside executives from NASCAR’s Premier Partners, who are serving as the official Grand Marshals for the championship race.

RELATED: Full schedule for Phoenix championship weekend

“The entire 75th anniversary season has been a celebration of not only where NASCAR has been, but where the sport stands today and the bright future that lies ahead,” said Pete Jung, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at NASCAR. “Seeing young racers who dream of becoming NASCAR stars side-by-side with some of the most legendary drivers in history as we prepare to crown a new Cup Series champion will be a powerful manifestation of that spirit. We hope it serves as a moment of recognition for all those who contributed to NASCAR’s rise and inspires anyone eager to join the ride from here.”

Furthering the fusion of past, present and future, in partnership with the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the first-ever NASCAR premier series championship trophy will be displayed along with the current Bill France Cup championship trophy during this anniversary tribute.

Fans watching at home can catch the special anniversary moment live on NBC before the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 5 (NBC, Peacock, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

More details about the four NASCAR Cup Series champions representing the sport’s past:

  1. Richard Petty: Richard Petty is called “The King” for good reason. A member of the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame class of 2010, Petty has racked up the most wins (200), most poles (123), tied for most championships (seven), most wins in a season (27), most Daytona 500 wins (seven), most consecutive wins (10) and most starts (1,185) in NASCAR premier series history.
  2. Rusty Wallace: A member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame class of 2013, Wallace’s first NASCAR Cup race resulted in his first top-five finish: second at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1980. He came to the series full time in 1984 and won Rookie of the Year honors, embarking on a full-time Cup career in which he won the 1989 series championship and 55 total races (11th all time).
  3. Bobby Labonte: A member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame class of 2020, Labonte captured the 2000 Cup Series championship and 21 total Cup Series wins in his career. That portfolio includes three crown-jewel triumphs — a Coca-Cola 600, a Southern 500 and a Brickyard 400. He is also a 10-time winner in the Xfinity Series, claiming that tour’s championship in 1991.
  4. Kurt Busch: The first champion of the Cup Series’ Playoff era, the recently retired Busch established a long and impressive career with wins in 19 of his 22 seasons as a Cup regular. Among those 34 victories were a Daytona 500 triumph (2017) and a Coca-Cola 600 win (2010). Busch also added nine victories combined in the Xfinity and Craftsman Truck Series.

More details about the four youth racers representing NASCAR’s future:

  1. Brexton Busch: Brexton, 8, is following the racing path forged by his grandfather Tom, his uncle Kurt, a NASCAR champion, and his dad Kyle, a two-time NASCAR champion and the winningest driver in NASCAR history. The third-generation driver began his racing career in 2020 at the age of 5 in the Beginner Box Stock division at Millbridge Speedway and Mountain Creek Speedway. Brexton picked up his first victory at Mountain Creek Speedway just a month into his career and hasn’t slowed down since, racking up the Saturday Millbridge Beginner Box championship (2022), the Mountain Creek Beginner Box championship (2022) and the Tuesday night Beginner Box Millbridge championship (2023).
  2. Easton Cambensy: Easton Cambensy, 7, is a second-generation race car driver from Tucson, Arizona, and a current driver in the NASCAR Youth Series. At the young age of 7, he claimed his first quarter-midget track championship at his home club of Tucson QMA. He has since won two more, including the prestigious Triple Crown that includes track championships in the Junior 160, Junior Animal and Junior Honda divisions.
  3. Giselle Hicks: Giselle Hicks, 9, is a fourth-generation race car driver eager to carry on her family’s legacy in NASCAR. Her great-grandfather is the late Glenn Wood and her dad, Michael Hicks, is a rear tire changer on Christopher Bell’s No. 20 pit crew closing out his 19th year of changing tires in the sport. This year marks Giselle’s third year in wing kart racing, in which she took home 10 wins and finished fourth in the 2023 points standings at Millbridge Speedway.
  4. Grayson Walcott: Grayson Walcott, 10, of Grayson Dean Racing, is a fast-rising go-kart racer from Chicago who just completed his rookie year on the pro circuit with Pole Position Motorsports. Grayson has raced all over the United States and was nominated for Rookie of the Year in Mexico. He starred in the limited run television show on Discovery+, “Baby Drivers,” which followed his journey in the world of motorsports. Grayson made his debut as a junior sports commentator this summer at the NASCAR Chicago Street Race weekend.
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