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Peyton Manning named honorary official for April 17 race at Bristol


Peyton Manning finally is coming to NASCAR.

Recently retired from the NFL after an 18-year career, the former Tennessee Volunteers quarterback has been named an honorary official for the April 17 Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Manning’s indoctrination to the sport will be at the side of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

As a fellow spokesman for Nationwide Insurance, Manning will accompany Earnhardt during driver introductions and will watch the Food City 500 from Earnhardt’s pit box.

“I’m thrilled to get a chance to watch Dale compete at Bristol Motor Speedway,” said Peyton Manning in a track press release. “I want to thank Nationwide for bringing me to one of the great NASCAR tracks to watch what I’m sure will be an exciting race in front of some of the most passionate fans in the sport.”

This won’t be Manning’s first exposure to auto racing. The former member of the Indianapolis Colts waved the green flag on the 91st Indianapolis 500 in 2007.

“It’s pretty awesome that Peyton Manning is coming out to Bristol,” said Earnhardt in the release. “I think he’s going to enjoy watching the race there because it’s such an amazing race track. It’s awesome to have a legend like him coming to participate and enjoy our sport. He’s going to enjoy his experience I’m sure and we’re excited to have him.”

At the University of Tennessee, Manning finished his career with 42 NCAA, SEC and Tennessee records. He won the Maxwell Award as the nation’s most outstanding player, the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Player of the Year honors his senior season.

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