Friday, August 10, 2018

NBA Legend Ben Wallace to drive pace car for the Consumers Energy 400

Tom Hunt Will Serve as Grand Marshal and Jason Potter Will Drop the Green Flag

Ben Wallace
The start of the Consumers Energy 400 will showcase three individuals who know about the adrenaline of being in high energy moments. NBA Legend Ben Wallace will be the pace car driver; Tom Hunt, the Jackson County Teacher of the Year, will serve as the grand marshal; and Michigan hero Jason Potter will drop the green flag as the honorary starter.

Hunt will deliver the most famous words in motorsports, “Drivers, start your engines,” when the Consumers Energy 400 gets underway on Aug. 12 at Michigan International Speedway. Potter will give the field the green flag as they come roaring under him to start the race. Wallace will experience the thrill of leading the field to the green flag. The race begins at 2:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on NBCSN.

“I am excited to drive the pace car for the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway,” Wallace said. “I have followed racing for a long time and have always wanted to attend a NASCAR race after hearing so much about it during my time with the Pistons. I am looking forward to experiencing all NASCAR has to offer.”

The White Hall, AL native starred in the NBA for 16 seasons with Washington, Orlando, Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland. Known for his defense and rebounding, Wallace won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times in nine seasons with the Detroit Pistons. Wallace made back-to-back NBA Finals appearances (2004 and 2005) and won the NBA Championship with Detroit in 2004. He retired from the NBA after his final season with the Pistons in 2012. The Pistons retired his No. 3 jersey in 2016.

“We are excited to have three individuals who have achieved so much success in their careers to start the Consumers Energy 400,” MIS President Rick Brenner said. “The fans eagerly wait for the start of the race as the engines roar. The Consumers Energy 400 race is the pinnacle of everything we have planned for our guests all week at MIS.”

“Consumers Energy is committed to the Michigan communities we serve. We are thrilled to recognize Tom Hunt and Jason Potter -- two Michigan residents who have given so much to their communities -- at this weekend’s world-class race that showcases our state for a national audience,” said Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, Consumers Energy’s vice president of customer experience.

Jason Potter, center, received his award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Potter received a prestigious award from the American Gas Association for his actions in 2017. He saw a vehicle get clipped by another car traveling at a high rate of speed. It spun out of control and rolled over several times – finally coming to rest on the driver’s side door.

To block oncoming traffic, Potter parked in the slow lane on I-75, put his flashers on and ran toward the vehicle. The unconscious woman had her arm pinned between the vehicle’s roof and the ground.

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