Sweet Treat: Jelly Roll Named Grand Marshal for Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400

  • Chart-topping Performer with The Biggest Debut in Billboard Country Consumption Chart History Jelly Roll to give the start command for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race on Sunday, Sept. 24.
  • Texas Rangers Chief Jason Taylor to serve as Honorary Starter and wave the green flag for the opening Round of 12 race.
  • Television personality Sage Steele also set for honorary position

FORT WORTH, Texas (September 20, 2023) – Five-time CMA nominee, eight-time People’s Choice Country Award nominee and three-time CMT award winning artist Jelly Roll, the breakthrough singer/songwriter who burst upon the country music scene with his massive hit “Save Me” as well as back-to-back #1 singles “Son of a Sinner” and “Need A Favor,” will serve as the Grand Marshal for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race on Sunday, Sept. 24, at Texas Motor Speedway.

Originally from Antioch, Tenn., Jelly Roll (Jason DeFord) earned numerous milestones this year including a 44-date sold-out Backroad Baptism Tour, multi-week, multi-platinum, multi-genre #1 singles, and the biggest Country album debut in Billboard Consumption chart history with the release of his album “Whitsitt Chapel” in June, which debuted Top 3 on the Billboard 200 chart.

In his honorary role, Jelly Roll will deliver the “Start your engines” command to the 36-driver field competing in the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 (TV: USA, Radio: PRN, SiriusXM and 95.9 The Ranch-locally).

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety Texas Rangers, Chief Jason Taylor will serve as the Honorary Starter.

Taylor, who began the post in November 2022 after previously serving as Regional Director of DPS Region 2 in Houston since 2018, will have the opportunity to wave the green flag from the flag stand and officially start the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400.

Television personality Sage Steele will have an honorary position for the opening Round of 12 Cup Series Playoff race.

Steele is a former ESPN SportsCenter co-anchor who also hosted SportsCenter on the Road from marquee sporting events as well as NBA Countdown on ESPN and ABC for four seasons. She will drive one of the Chevrolet Camaro pace cars that will lead the field to the green flag for the start of the race.

The military will round out the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 dignitaries with three roles.

Ret. Lt. Col. Caroline “Blaze” Jensen, a former combat fighter pilot who became the first female reservist to be selected for the elite USAF Thunderbirds demonstration squadron, will provide the invocation. Fort Worth resident Don Graves, a 98-year-old U.S. Marine and one of a special group of living American heroes who made the successful assault on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima during World War II, will sing God Bless America. The Fort Cavazos 1st Cavalry Band will perform the National Anthem.

Complete dignitaries list for Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400:

  • Grand Marshal: Three-time CMT Music Awards winner Jelly Roll.
  • Honorary Starter: Texas Rangers Chief Jason Taylor.
  • Official Pace Car Driver: Sports entertainment TV personality Sage Steele.
  • National Anthem: Fort Cavazos 1st Calvary Band.
  • God Bless America: U.S. Marine veteran Don Graves.
  • Invocation: Ret. Lt. Col. Caroline “Blaze” Jensen.
  • Flyover: USAF C-5M Super Galaxy – 433rd Airlift Wing from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

Complete dignitaries list for Saturday’s Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 Xfinity Series Playoff race:

  • Grand Marshal: Andy’s Frozen Custard Chief Executive Officer Andy Kuntz accompanied by his wife, Dana.
  • Honorary Starter: Andy’s Frozen Custard’s newest franchisee from Iowa, Brandon Pratt.
  • National Anthem: Country music singer Alex Hall.
  • Flyover: one CH-47 Chinook and two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, Fort Cavazos, Texas.

NASCAR Playoffs weekend will be highlighted by the NASCAR Xfinity Series Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 on Saturday, Sept. 23 (2:30 p.m. CT on USA Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90, and PRN), and the NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 on Sunday, Sept. 24 (2:30 p.m. CT on USA Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90, PRN, and 95.9 The Ranch-local).

Texas Motor Speedway’s always-busy events schedule is well under way. Upcoming events in 2023 include: Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 NASCAR Playoffs weekend (Sept. 23-24), Goodguys’ Summit Racing Lone Start Nationals (Sept. 29-Oct. 1), Speedway Children’s Charities Smoke Show (Oct. 11) and Gordy’s Hwy 30 Music Fest (Oct. 19-22). The year wraps up with the family-favorite and speedway tradition Gift of Lights holiday light show.


Texas Motor Speedway is among the largest sports stadiums in the United States and features an array of amenities such as one of the world’s largest TV’s that make it one of the premier venues in the world of sports. The 1.5-mile superspeedway located in Fort Worth hosts all three NASCAR national series as well as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES among its various races and specialty events throughout the year. Texas Motor Speedway is owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports, LLC, a leading marketer and promoter of motorsports entertainment in the United States. For more information, please visit texasmotorspeedway.com.


For ticket information for the September 23-24 NASCAR Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 weekend, please visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com.


Keep track of all of Texas Motor Speedway’s busy schedule by following on Facebook, X, and Instagram. Keep up with all the latest news and information on the speedway website and TMS mobile app.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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