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May 29, 2014 - 06:17 AM
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Firestone 600 Honorary Positions Feature Blend Of Power & Speed With Hendricks And Mcelreath
Posted by: newsla on May 29, 2014 - 06:16 AM
IndyCar News
Firestone 600 Honorary Positions Feature Blend Of Power & Speed With Hendricks And Mcelreath

The honorary positions for the upcoming Firestone 600 Verizon IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway will feature a blend of power and speed.


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The power arrives in the form of mixed martial artist Johny "Bigg Rigg" Hendricks, the reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight champ who will serve as the Honorary Starter and wave the green flag to start the Firestone 600 on the evening of Saturday, June 7.

Hendricks, 30, won the 170-pound UFC welterweight crown vacated by retired legend Georges St-Pierre in March when he defeated Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision in a five-round bout at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Hendricks, a native of Ada, Okla., who fights out of Arlington, Texas, for Team Takedown, improved his record to 16-2, eight of which are by knockout.

The speed comes from former Indy-car star Jim McElreath, an Arlington, Texas, native who will provide the command to the Firestone 600 drivers to start their engines as the Honorary Starter.

During his 22-year career from 1961-83, he made 188 starts in USAC and CART and earned five victories, including a win in the inaugural California 500 at Ontario Speedway in 1970 driving for the legendary A.J. Foyt. He also made 15 starts in the Indianapolis 500, where he was named the race's rookie of the year in 1962 and had a career-best finish of third in 1966.

McElreath, 86, was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2002 and into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame located at Texas Motor Speedway in 2007. Last week, he was part of the 2014 induction class into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Indianapolis.

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