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.
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, 95.9 FM The Ranch locally).
“I am honored to be the honorary pace car driver for the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. 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.