Award-winning country music artist and songwriter Phil Vassar will be the Grand Marshal and sing the national anthem for Friday's World Financial Group 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Vassar¿s new album, Shaken Not Stirred, will also highlight the paint scheme of Bobby Labonte¿s No. 47 Morgan-Dollar Motorsports Silverado, along with the Nashville Convention and Visitor¿s Bureau.
Vassar began his career performing his growing repertoire of original songs at his Nashville club-restaurant. Before embarking on his solo career, which has produced more than half a dozen Top 10 hits (including his break out No. 1 single "Just Another Day In Paradise"), Vassar penned hits for a number of top artists including Tim McGraw ("My Next Thirty Years"), Alan Jackson ("Right on the Money"), and Jo Dee Messina ("Bye Bye").
Englebert Humperdinck also recorded "Once in a While", a composition that Vassar penned in the beginning of his career with a fellow bartender. He has earned numerous songwriting awards, as well as new artist distinctions from Academy of County Music (ACM), Country Music Association (CMA), R&R Magazine and Gavin.
After his official duties are over, Vassar will be able to sit back and watch his truck, driven by Labonte, race for the win.
"It¿ll be a neat deal to have Phil Vassar¿s name on the hood at Atlanta. He¿s very talented on the piano, and a great singer and songwriter. Hopefully, we can take him to victory lane," Labonte said. "It¿s going to be pretty cool racing in the Craftsman Truck Series, especially at Atlanta, where we¿ve had a lot of NEXTEL Cup Series success in the past."
As teammate to Morgan-Dollar Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado driver Dennis Setzer, Labonte wheeled the No. 47 to an impressive third-place finish in the Kroger 200 last October at Martinsville Speedway. His second appearance with the team at Miami-Homestead Speedway in November ended with engine failure shortly after the Texas native took the lead. Labonte¿s NCTS start came in October 1996 at Phoenix International Raceway, where he finished 34th after engine problems brought an early end to his day.
Chevrolet Silverado and Morgan-Dollar Motorsports teamed to bring the All Star program to fans at seven NCTS events during the 2004 season, with several more to follow in 2005. At each event, the No. 47 featured a special paint scheme showcasing a prominent musical artist and was driven by a Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver. The 2004 driver lineup included: Michael Waltrip/Sheryl Crow, Charlotte; Robby Gordon/George Thorogood, Bristol; Tony Stewart/Sara Evans, Richmond; Ricky Craven/LeAnn Rimes, New Hampshire; Bobby Labonte/Josh Turner, Martinsville; Ron Hornaday/Big and Rich, Phoenix and Jason Leffler/Joe Nichols, Darlington.
Tickets are on sale now for all three days of racing excitement during the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500 weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. For more information, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (877) 9-AMS-TIX (877-926-7849) or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.