TALLADEGA, AL – Former Major League Baseball icon Chipper Jones, believed by many to be a future “first-ballot” Hall of Famer, will serve as the Grand Marshal for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, May 5.
Jones, who played for the Atlanta Braves throughout his entire 19-year career and was a fan-favorite across the country, will give the most famous command in all of motorsports to the 43-car field: “Drivers Start Your Engines!”
“I have been a huge NASCAR fan my entire life,” said Jones, who grew up in Pierson, FL, just minutes away 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 spent the last two decades establishing himself as one of the greatest switch-hitters in baseball history, second only to switch-hitters Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray in homeruns (468). The eight-time all-star, who retired following the 2012 season, was named the 1999 National League MVP, and helped the Braves win the World Series title that year.
“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 is some good company with someone like Mickey Mantle. We are thrilled to have him get the engines fired for the Aaron’s 499.”
Jones, who will have his No. 10 retired by the Braves this summer, has the most career RBIs for a third baseman and stands third in career RBIs for a switch hitter. He won the National League batting title in 2008, and holds the Braves record for career on base percentage and is third on the Braves all-time career home run list. He ended his career as a .303 hitter with 1,512 walks and 1,623 RBI in 2500 games with 8989 at bats. He is the only switch hitter in Major League Baseball history to have a .300+ career batting average and 400 or more home runs.
Chipper 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, prior to the Aaron’s 499.
The most competitive racing in NASCAR combined with a mix of southern hospitality returns to Talladega Superspeedway May 3-5 for the Aaron’s Dream Weekend. Experience the excitement as the superstars of NASCAR attempt to tackle the high-banks of ‘DEGA at 200 mph. Secure your tickets at www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or by calling 877-Go2-DEGA. This is more than a race…This is Talladega!