A beloved baseball great with great Southern California ties has been drafted to drive the Toyota Camry TRD pace car for Sunday’s WISE Power 400. Auto Club Speedway announced today that Albert Pujols will serve as the honorary pace car driver for the triumphant return of NASCAR Cup Series racing to the 2-mile oval.
“Few have played the game of baseball with the power and poise of Albert Pujols,” said Auto Club Speedway President Dave Allen. “It’s only fitting that a player who has worn the numbers 5 and 55 will lead the five-wide salute to NASCAR fans before the WISE Power 400.”
Pujols is one of the most decorated and respected baseball players to ever don a Major League uniform. The three-time National League MVP made his Major League debut for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2001 where he was named the unanimous National League Rookie of the Year after hitting .329 with 37 home runs, 130 runs batted in and an OPS of 1.013.
A two-time World Champion, Pujols won the Triple Crown for the entire decade of the 2000’s, leading the National League in batting average (.334), home runs (366) and RBI’s (1112). His career totals are historic – 679 home runs (5th all time), 2150 RBI (3rd all time), 3301 hits (12th all time), 6042 total bases (4th all time) and he also has over 100 career stolen bases.
The 10-time All Star and six-time Silver Slugger is not just a one-dimensional player. Albert has also won Gold Glove awards in 2006 and 2010 as the top defensive player at his position. Despite all of his accomplishments on the field, the creation of the Pujols Family Foundation and receiving the Roberto Clemente Award are atop the list as his most important achievements. Pujols has five children and lives in Irvine, CA.
“This is a special once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I couldn’t be more excited to lead the best drivers in the world out onto the track,” said Pujols. “I’m really looking forward to seeing these guys get after it once the green flag drops. The adrenaline will be pumping for sure.”
The 2022 WISE Power 400 caps two great days of NASCAR racing on the high-speed, 2-mile oval of Auto Club Speedway. Racing begins Saturday, Feb. 26 with the Production Alliance Group 300, the second race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season. And then on Sunday, Feb. 27, the WISE Power 400 will thrill fans with Auto Club Speedway’s first NASCAR Cup Series race since Alex Bowman took the checkered flag on March 1, 2020.
Tickets for both days are on sale now at www.autoclubspeedway.com