Tennessee's proverbial hometown football hero, Peyton Manning, has been named Honorary Race Official of the Food City 500, April 17, at Bristol Motor Speedway. This will be Manning's first NASCAR experience courtesy of Nationwide. 

As an Honorary Race Official, the legendary quarterback will accompany fellow Nationwide spokesman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. during BMS's wildly popular driver introductions and experience the World's Fastest Half Mile in the Food City 500 from Earnhardt's pit box.

"I don't think it's possible to pair two more beloved sports figures in the state of Tennessee than Peyton Manning and Dale Earnhardt Jr.," said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of BMS. "We are honored Nationwide elected to bring Manning to east Tennessee and we know our Food City 500 guests will give him a rousing Volunteer welcome."

At the University of Tennessee, Manning finished his illustrious career holding 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, securing his All-America status in 1997.

In the NFL, Manning is the first and only quarterback to achieve 200 career wins, and his five NFL MVP awards are also a league record. He was the most valuable player of Super Bowl XLI, named to a record 14 Pro Bowls and has 14 4,000-yard passing seasons (NFL record) and is the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards (71,940) and touchdown passes (539).

"I'm thrilled to get a chance to watch Dale compete at Bristol Motor Speedway," said Peyton Manning. "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."

"It's pretty awesome that Peyton Manning is coming out to Bristol. I think he's going to enjoy watching the race there because it's such an amazing race track," said Dale Earnhardt Jr. "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."