While most young race fans will be watching the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 on TV this weekend, Hunter Moates from Daviston, Alabama and Zachary "Z-man" Morgan from Lebanon, Missouri will be doing something every NASCAR fan would love to have the opportunity to do.
Hunter has been named one of the Grand Marshals this Sunday at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Grandpa Jim Ryan and Grandma Angie Ryan, both members of the RedHead Pro Hunting Team, say Hunter is taking this all in stride. What else can you expect though from a 6-year old who has already called in many a wild turkey and even an elk for his "granny."
Z-man is a 10-year old who loves to fish and is a devout NASCAR fan with a smile as big as his heart. He will take part in the official start of Sunday's race. NASCAR drivers who competed in the first Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 in Atlanta back in March still remember the outgoing youngster on crutches making his way through the pit area greeting every driver he saw. Zachary suffers from cerebral palsy but that doesn't stop him from doing just about anything he wants to do.
"Kids like Hunter and Zach are the future to continuing our outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing," said Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris. "They are the ones who will continue our conservation efforts and protect our fish and wildlife for generations to come."
Since Sunday's race has been dedicated to America's sportsmen and celebrating the National Wildlife Refuge System in honor of its Century of Conservation success, it is only fitting that the Director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Steve Williams also be named as a Grand Marshal.
Williams previously served as Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and was confirmed by the Senate as Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in January 2002 where he oversees the operations of the nation's primary wildlife conservation agency.
NASCAR fan, legendary angler and TV host Hank Parker has also been named as one of the Grand Marshals of the race. The CBS Morning Show best described Hank Parker when introducing him as "the rod-n-reel answer to Michael Jordan, in popularity and talent!" The two-time BassMaster's Classic Champion finished "in the money" in 76 percent of all the tournaments he fished during his career. Parker's son, Hank Parker Jr., will be driving for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in the Bass Pro Shops/Remington No. 8 car during the Busch Series race on Saturday at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 for more information on the weekend's race activities.