Clarkson to be Grand Marshal
Auto Club Speedway today announced that Grammy Award-winning and Sony recording artist, Kelly Clarkson, will serve as the Grand Marshal for the SONY HD 500 on Sunday, September 3, 2006.
Clarkson will give the most famous words in motorsports, "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines," in front of the Southern California crowd and to a national television audience on NBC during the Labor Day NASCAR weekend event. She will also lead the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series field off pit road in the Grand Marshal car prior to the start of the SONY HD 500.
Clarkson, winner of FOX TV's first American Idol, hails from Burleson, Texas. Since winning the television competition in 2002, Clarkson has produced two platinum albums. Her first, Thankful, was released in 2003 and debuted at No. 1 in the Billboard Music Top 200. The album produced two Top-10 singles and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in December 2003.
Clarkson's second album, Breakaway, debuted in the Top-5 and maintained Top 20 status for a consecutive year, only the fourth album in Billboard history to achieve this feat, and was certified five-times platinum by the RIAA. The singles "Breakaway," "Since U Been Gone," "Because of You," "Walk Away" and "Behind These Hazel Eyes" helped make her sophomore release the third best-selling album of 2005.
Now finished with her European tour and largely successful Addicted tour, Clarkson is set to release her third album sometime later this year. A few brand new tracks off of that album were performed for the hundreds of thousands of excited fans who attended the Addicted tour earlier this year.
Aside from her singing abilities, Clarkson is also touted as an actress for her work on the 2003 movie From Justin to Kelly, which stars Clarkson along with American Idol runner-up Justin Guarini as two young people who meet in Miami, Fla. during spring break.
In addition to all of this success, Clarkson has also demonstrated her interest in philanthropic endeavors. In 2002, she signed on to March of Dimes to be their first-ever celebrity ambassador for their Team Youth program to help raise awareness and encourage young people to get involved with March of Dimes.
For more information on Kelly Clarkson or to purchase an album, fans can log on to www.kellyclarksonweb.com.
Clarkson continues a tradition of high-profile celebrities, athletes and Californians who have participated in or attended Auto Club Speedway's NASCAR events. In February, Jewel performed in the first-ever pre-race concert during the Jackson Hewitt West Coast Premiere of NASCAR, while celebrated LA Times reporter Shav Glick served as Grand Marshal, Fantasia sang the National Anthem and Hilary Duff served as Honorary Starter. Other notable Honorary officials include television star Josh Duhamel, legendary LA Dodgers baseball manager Tommy Lasorda, Magic Johnson, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, American Idol judge Randy Jackson, members of the Black Eyed Peas, Sheryl Crow, Brian McKnight and special appearances by Lindsay Lohan and the rest of the "Herbie: Full Loaded" cast during its filming in 2004.
NASCAR roars into town on Labor Day weekend and the West Coast's premier sports and entertainment venue, Auto Club Speedway, will be the only place to catch it! Opportunity, California FanZone will make its debut over the Labor Day NASCAR weekend, complete with the Speedway's very own restaurant Apex by Wolfgang Puck, retail store Impulse, interactive performers and an entertainment stage featuring Sony recording group Crossfade, Latin singer Patricia Manterola, Country sensation Julie Roberts, television favorite Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts and alternative band Puddle of Mudd. Auto Club Speedway has also expanded the area to include
shade and leisure features as well as several other West Coast features for race fans to enjoy. Tickets for the weekend are on sale now and start as low $20. For more information, call 800-944-RACE  or log on to www.autoclubspeedway.com.