Cal to lead Quaker State 400 as honorary Kentucky Speedway pace car driver

John Calipari, start your engine.

Coach Cal will be the honorary Ford Fusion pace car driver for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts on June 29 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky. Calipari will lead a 43-car field to the green flag just after 7:30 p.m.

“It’s kind of like walking out in the Final Four and having your team behind you, excited and ready to go,” Calipari said. “The last time I was part of this event it was incredible. This is a great thing that brings our people together. The state of Kentucky takes great pride in the facility like it does in basketball, like it does in horseracing, like it does in bourbon.

“The speed of it is what gets everybody hyped and understanding the courage of those drivers. We sit up in the stands and know how fast they are going, yet they have the courage to be inches from each other at that speed and have the vision and wherewithal to say ‘I’m doing this, we’re gonna get this done.’ Having a bunch of them that are the best in the world at what they do in one setting like this is going to be unbelievably exciting.”

The Quaker State 400 will be the finale for the speedway’s tripleheader NASCAR weekend. Racing begins  June 27 with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 and continues June 28 with the NASCAR Nationwide Series Feed The Children 300.

Race tickets, season/weekend ticket packages, campsites and more are  on sale now through by visiting the Kentucky Speedway website, calling (859) 578-2300 or by visiting the speedway in person at 1 Speedway Drive, Sparta, Ky., 41086, just off Interstate 71, Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35.

Coach Cal poses with Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger and the pace car he will be in during the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on June 29. (photo by David Stephenson)