Martinsville, Virginia


VT Head Football Coach Frank Beamer Named Honorary Pace Car Driver

Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer will toss aside his headset and clipboard Sunday to take over as the honorary pace car driver for the STP® Gas BoosterTM 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

"My only question is, has anyone ever wrecked the pace car?" asked Beamer, the winningest active coach in the NCAA's top division with 258 career wins."If not, I hope I'm not the first."

Beamer will be behind the wheel of the pace car for the laps leading to the start of the race. He will then turn the duties back over to regular pace car driver Brett Bodine.

For Beamer, a self-described "short-track guy," this will be far from his first involvement with NASCAR. He grew up in Hillsville, about an hour from Martinsville Speedway, and has been a fan of the sport since his youth. He's been attending Martinsville races for many years.

He and Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell struck up a friendship several years ago, and two years ago he was presented a "golden pass" to Campbell's suite above the front stretch at Martinsville.

"Frank is a friend of mine, a friend of Martinsville Speedway and a friend of NASCAR. He truly loves our sport and he understands our sport," said Campbell. "When Frank comes to a race, it's to watch and enjoy the race. He's a real race fan."

Sunday's race will give Beamer and a few of his staff members a break from spring practice in Blacksburg as he readies the Hokies for their 2013 campaign.

"I'm honored to be going. I've been to Martinsville before and I enjoy NASCAR. I look forward to getting down there and finding out how all of the excitement of the last couple of weeks is going to work out," said Beamer, who gave a motivational talk to all of the Hendrick Motorsports employees over the winter.

"I'm disappointed that one of my favorite drivers, Denny Hamlin, whose crew chief Darrian Grub is a Virginia Tech alumnus, won't be racing but I'm excited about being a part of this race at Martinsville.  Being on a tight track ... that is going to be interesting because I've always been a short-track guy."

Entering his 27th season at Blacksburg, Virginia Tech football has enjoyed unprecedented success under Beamer with 20 consecutive bowl appearances, four ACC titles, five ACC Coastal Division crowns, three BIG EAST Conference titles, six BCS appearances, two "major" bowl victories and a trip to the national championship game. Under his guidance, the Hokies have finished in the Top 20 in 16 of the past 21 seasons, including four top-10 finishes during the last nine years.

Tickets for the STP® Gas BoosterTM 500, the Kroger 250 and Martinsville Pole Day may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or by visiting online.