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Texas Rangers manager Banister to lead drivers to green flag for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at TMS

by Mike Haag | Posted on Monday, October 31st, 2016

FORT WORTH, Texas  – Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister, known for leading his team into the postseason, will lead a different playoff group during Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

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Banister will lead a pack of 40 drivers, including the Round of 8 championship contenders, to the green flag as part of his role as the honorary pace car driver for the AAA Texas 500. The AAA Texas 500, part of NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup post-season, elimination-style championship format, will start at 1 p.m. CT (TV: NBC, Radio: PRN, SiriusXM Radio, 95.6 FM The Ranch locally).

“I am honored to be the honorary pace car driver for the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway,” Banister said. “NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup is coming down to the final weeks, and I am really looking forward to be a part of this exciting event.”

Banister, who skippered Texas to its second consecutive American League West Division championship this season, will become the latest Rangers representative to serve as honorary pace car driver.

Left-handed pitcher C.J. Wilson, a member of the organization’s first team to advance to the World Series, was awarded the role in 2010. Most recently, fan favorite and fellow pitcher Derek Holland served as the honorary pace car driver for the 2014 AAA Texas 500.

The Texas Rangers have enjoyed success since Banister joined the organization in October 2014 following time as the Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach.

In his first season in 2015, Banister led the Rangers to an 88-74 record, earning him American League Manager-of-the-Year honors. During the 2016 season, the team successfully defended its title after completing the season with a 95-67 record, finishing an impressive nine games ahead of second-place Seattle.

He will receive his official instructions from NASCAR officials, which will serve as an ideal photo opportunity, during a practice session beginning at 8:30 a.m. on pit road at pit stall No. 26.

Tickets for the AAA Texas 500 start as low as $49 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under. To purchase tickets, call the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com.

Story and photo courtesy of Texas Motor Speedway

About the Author

Mike Haag has covered motorsports in San Antonio and South Texas for more than 30 years. In addition to working for the San Antonio Express-News for nearly 28 years, Mike also has co-hosted TrackSmack with Dawn Murphy for 15 race seasons. In addition to being a writer, Mike also teaches English at Floresville High School.