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Jeff Blashill to be grand marshal of NASCAR race

Red Wings coach to give command to drivers to 'Start your engines' at Pure Michigan 400

NHL.com @NHL

Detroit Red wings coach Jeff Blashill will serve as the grand marshal for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Raceway on Aug. 28.

Among Blashill's duties will be giving the command to the drivers to "Start your engines!"

"It's an honor to serve as grand marshal for the Pure Michigan 400," Blashill told the Red Wings website. "I was born and raised in Michigan and have had the opportunity to spend most of my coaching career here, so I know how passionate the fans are for all sports. I'm thrilled for the opportunity to meet the drivers, take part in the pre-race activities and soak in the atmosphere on race day."

Born in Detroit and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Blashill is the latest member of the Red Wings to help start a NASCAR race in Michigan, joining defenseman Niklas Kronwall, goaltender Jimmy Howard and former goalie Chris Osgood.

Blashill, 42, is entering his second season as Red Wings coach. Last season they went 41-30-11, finished third in the Atlantic Division and made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 25th straight season. They lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games in the Eastern Conference First Round.

"We are excited to bring together these two iconic Michigan sporting traditions and have Coach Blashill on board as grand marshal of the Pure Michigan 400," Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., told the Red Wings website. "A native Michigander who has lived and worked throughout the state, I have every confidence Coach Blashill will demonstrate the same passion and enthusiasm on race day as he does on game day in Hockeytown."

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