IRISH HILLS (WWJ) – NASCAR’s Pure Michigan 400 revs up Michigan International Speedway this Sunday, and former University of Michigan and pro football star Desmond Howard will serve as Grand Marshal.

The 1991 Heisman Trophy winner had plenty of speed on the gridiron, so he can appreciate racing.

“Yes, I’m looking forward to it. I think that, you know, most of us field position players love speed and we appreciate what they do, as far as NASCAR.”

Although he was a pro on the field, the former Detroit Lion knows he’s the rookie on the racetrack.

“I’ve never been to a race before, you know, I’ve been to a couple of practices and I took part in a Richard Petty experience before but I’ve never been to an actual race. So, I’m so excited about this, I’m looking forward to it.”

Howard says he couldn’t rule out sneaking in a “Go Blue” when he tells drivers to start their engines.

“We’ll see, there may be a surprise there, you know. It depends on how close I’ll be to East Lansing, that’s the other question. So, you know, if I say that I may get some cheers and I may get some boos too.”

“Green” will be represented by Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally, who’ll wave the starting flag. Kevin Harvick won last year’s race.

For a full schedule of weekend races events at MIS, click here. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tickets for the Pure Michigan 400 on Aug. 21 are as low as $30 while supplies last. Parking is free at MIS and the track allows coolers through the gates. Visit for more information.


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