Kingsport Times News Friday, August 29, 2014
Sports Vols Sports NASCAR/Racing

Vols' Jones, Hokies' Beamer to be Food City 500 co-grand marshals

March 10th, 2014 5:13 pm by Staff Report

Vols' Jones, Hokies' Beamer to be Food City 500 co-grand marshals

Times-News file photo

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Though their teams won’t meet at Bristol Motor Speedway until Sept. 10, 2016, the coaches of two of the nation’s tradition-rich football programs will get together at the start/finish line for Sunday’s Food City 500.

Butch Jones of Tennessee and Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech will serve as co-grand marshals for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series stop in Bristol this weekend.

“We have been honored to host both Coach Beamer and Coach Jones as our guests at Bristol in the past,” Steve Smith, Food City’s president and CEO, said in a story on the BMS website. “But the excitement that has continued to build since last October’s announcement of this game prompted us to invite them back.

“As two exceptional friends and partners of our company, they represent two great programs, two outstanding institutions and one of the most anticipated football games I can remember in my lifetime. On behalf of the more than 13,000 Food City associates, we’re thrilled to have them serve as co-grand marshals for the upcoming Food City 500.”

Beamer served as honorary starter for the 2005 Food City 500 and Jones was in Bristol last spring as grand marshal.

Jones’ experience at Bristol last year convinced him the speedway could host a game.

“I am honored to once again have the opportunity to travel to Bristol Motor Speedway and play a role, along with Coach Beamer, in the Food City 500,” he said. “We are very much looking forward to breaking the all-time college football attendance record in September 2016 at Bristol. While our game is still two years away, I had such a great time at last year’s race that I wanted to return to Bristol to witness again one of NASCAR’s most iconic and exciting events.”

A native of Carroll County, Va., less than two hours away, Beamer has been coming to Bristol for years and even drove the high banks in a 2009 charity race. He is looking forward to being back and teaming with Jones.

“As I said in my book, ‘Let Me Be Frank,’ I think Butch Jones has the right ‘stuff.’ I think he is going to have a great career at Tennessee. To be the co-grand marshal with him is a pleasure as we represent the two schools that have a lot of fans in this area.

“Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the most exciting sports venues that I know and like to visit, and we look forward to playing Tennessee there in 2016 before the largest crowd to ever watch a football game.”

(Information from Bristol Motor Speedway)

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