Kevin Costner will serve as Grand Marshal of the Auto Club 500 during the West Coast premiere of NASCAR on February 25, 2007, it was announced today by Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker. Costner will give the "Gentlemen, Start your Engines" command to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers in front of the live audience and those watching at home on FOX. In addition, Kevin will energize fans when he performs live with "The Kevin Costner Band" on the Opportunity, California FanZone stage during pre-race festivities.
The Auto Club Speedway will host the kickoff of NASCAR racing on the West Coast with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series San Bernardino County 200 (February 23), the NASCAR Busch Series Stater Bros.300 (February 24) and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Auto Club 500 (February 25).
¿Having an academy award winner like Kevin Costner as the Grand Marshal of the Auto Club 500 solidifies Auto Club Speedway's position as the NASCAR playground for Hollywood, and continues to demonstrate how popular NASCAR Nextel Cup racing has become,¿ said Zucker. ¿In addition to being Grand Marshal, Kevin's live performance at Auto Club Speedway is truly a unique and exclusive opportunity for our fans to get to know his musical side.¿
Costner and his six-member band will play a set of original rock music. The group first made its public debut in August 2006 at the ¿Field of Dreams¿ film site in Dyersville, Iowa, drawing thousands of fans. Since then, they have played numerous venues across the country.
Costner began his acting career starring in independent films earning small parts in more established movies. His first role in a major motion picture was in the 1985 comedy, Fandango. Later, Costner's exceptional filmmaking abilities were showcased in Dances with Wolves, which he produced, directed, and starred in. The film won seven Academy Awards including "Best Picture" and "Best Director".
Along with many other additional roles, Costner has starred in Tin Cup, Thirteen Day, and in 2003 Costner directed and starred in the box office hit Open Range, along side Robert Duvall and Annette Bening. Recently, Costner has been seen playing a supporting role in the dramatic film Upside of Anger, starring opposite Jennifer Aniston in the film Rumor Has It, and as a legendary rescue swimmer distressed coast guard rescuer opposite Ashton Kutcher in the Guardian.
Located just 45 miles east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County, Auto Club Speedway now truly captures the essence of what makes Southern California unique. The new Opportunity, California FanZone allows guests to peruse great merchandise at the Impulse retail store in the new Motorola Town Center, enjoy the flavors of California¿s most famous chef at Apex by Wolfgang Puck and take in the sounds of live bands and special attractions. Tickets for the Auto Club 500 weekend are going fast! To purchase tickets or to receive more information, call 800-944-RACE  or visit racetickets.com or www.autoclubspeedway.com.