NASCAR legends Junior Johnson and Richard Petty have been named as grand marshals and basketball icon Michael Jordan will serve as the honorary starter for the 26th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 22 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.   

North Carolina native Junior Johnson is recognized as one of the early superstars of NASCAR. In his 14-year driving career, Johnson racked up 50 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins and 47 pole positions. As a team owner, Johnson fielded entries for many legendary drivers, including Leeroy Yarbrough, Neil Bonnett, Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough, capturing 132 wins and six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championships. Johnson retired from his ownership role in 1995.

Known by many as “The King,” Richard Petty earned that title by winning seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championships and compiling a record 200 career victories. Still involved in the sport he loves, the North Carolina native is co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, which fields four entries in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

The two NASCAR legends will be honored at pre-race ceremonies before giving the famous command for drivers to start their engines. They will then lead the field during the pre-race parade laps in the grand marshal car.

Both members of the inaugural group of inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the two men will be formally enshrined in a ceremony scheduled for Sunday, May 23.

Recognized by many as the greatest basketball player of all time, Jordan, a six-time NBA champion,will wave the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. The hall of famer, who grew up in North Carolina, is the first former NBA player to become majority owner of an NBA franchise when he purchased the Charlotte Bobcats earlier this year.

“Around the world, the Carolinas have become synonymous with both basketball and NASCAR, and Charlotte is the one place where these great traditions come together,” said Bobcats Sports & Entertainment Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Jordan.  “As a motorsports fan and the new owner of the Bobcats, it’s an honor to be the starter for this year’s All-Star Race and bring the racing and basketball communities here in the Carolinas even closer together.”

Tune in at 7 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 22, to SPEED for coverage of this year’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Sprint customers can enjoy coverage on their capable Sprint phones via NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile. To download the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile, which is free with any data plan, Sprint customers should text “NASCAR” to 7777 (Standard text messaging and data rates apply). Tickets for the event start at $39 and are available at or by calling 800-455-FANS.