United States Air Force Four-Star Gen. Lester L. Lyles, Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will be the grand marshal of the NASCAR Busch Series "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" event on June 14, 2003 at Kentucky Speedway.

"We're honored to be welcoming Gen. Lyles as the grand marshal of 'The Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo. He is a proven military leader with unparalleled credentials," Kentucky Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Mark F. Cassis said. "I know our fans and competitors will enjoy giving him the tribute he deserves as he gives the most famous command in racing, 'Gentleman, start your engines.'"

Gen. Lyles entered the Air Force in 1968 as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program. Since, he has served in various high-profile assignments. In 1981, he was assigned to Wright-Patterson AFB as Avionics Division Chief in the F-16 Systems Program Office. In 1992, he became Vice Commander of Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill AFB, Utah and served as commander of the center from 1993 until 1994.

He became the Director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization in 1996 and, in May 1999, he was assigned as Vice Chief of Staff at Headquarters US Air Force. He returned to Wright-Patterson AFB in his current capacity in April 2000.

"The Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" is expected to be the largest attended sporting event in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky for the third straight year. The has drawn crowds that have exceeded the 66,089-seat capacity at Kentucky Speedway in both 2002 and 2001.The green flag is set to drop at 8:00 p.m. and the race will be televised live nationally on the FX Network.

In addition to the heart-pounding action of the NASCAR Busch Series, the day also will include a pre-race concert and National Anthem by country entertainer Mark Wills, a pre-race ceremony celebrating the history of flight, and a post-race fireworks extravaganza.

"The Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" pre-race show will preview Inventing Flight: The Centennial Celebration, which will be held in Dayton, Ohio July 3-20. This year marks the 100th anniversary of powered flight. Ten years in the making, the celebration will honor the innovative spirit of the Wright Brothers, who invented and perfected the airplane. The speedway pre-race show will include a tribute to the Wrights and their pioneering spirit. Meijer also is a presenting partner of "Inventing Flight."

The June 13-14 race weekend at Kentucky Speedway begins Friday with NASCAR Busch Series qualifying and the NASCAR Kodak Southeast Series "Kentucky 150" on "The Lexington Herald-Leader Pole Night."

The speedway's 2003 season continues July 11-12 with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" and NASCAR Goody's Dash Series "Kentucky 150" on 700 WLW Pole Night. The Indy Racing League Indy Car Series will provide the season finale with "The Belterra Casino Indy 300" on August 17 along with the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series "Kentucky 100" on August 16 on "The Bull Country Radio Pole Day."

Tickets for 2003 Kentucky Speedway race events are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets in the following ways:

  • By phone at 1-888-652-RACE
  • At select Meijer stores and supercenters via Tickets.com
  • Online at www.kentuckyspeedway.com or www.Tickets.com
  • At the Kentucky Speedway corporate office at 2216 Dixie Hwy. Suite 200, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky. Or the speedway's Fan Center, off of Hwy 35 in Sparta, KY.
  • Through Tickets.com retail outlets located at the Cincinnati Visitor's Center and in Play-It-Again Sports and Hader hardware locations.

~ Kentucky Speedway ~