Desmond Howard - Photo courtesy of ESPN

Desmond Howard to serve as Pure Michigan 400 grand marshal


Famous for his Heisman pose, stopping for a few pictures shouldn’t be a problem for the Pure Michigan 400 grand marshal.

Desmond Howard, the former Heisman Trophy-winning University of Michigan football star and current ESPN college football analyst, will serve as grand marshal for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 on Aug. 21.

“He’s given college football fans excitement throughout his career so it will be great to host a superstar like Desmond Howard at Michigan International Speedway and show him how exciting NASCAR is,” MIS President Roger Curtis said. “Since his college days, Desmond has been a huge supporter of the state of Michigan and I know with the college football season just around the corner, a lot of people in the garages will be excited to have him here. He’s Pure Michigan.”

“We are thrilled to have Desmond Howard back in Michigan as the grand marshal of the Pure Michigan 400,” said George Zimmermann, Vice President for Travel Michigan, a part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “His successes on and off the field are inspirational and we know fans will be excited to join him at the first-ever Pure Michigan 400.”

While at the University of Michigan, Howard’s acrobatic catches made him one of the most electrifying players ever to play the game. He became the first receiver in Big Ten history to lead the conference in scoring as he set or tied five NCAA records and 12 single-season Michigan records.

The All-American won the Heisman by the second largest margin of victory in the trophy’s history. He was also awarded the Walter Camp Trophy and the Maxwell Award that year before graduating from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications.

Howard played 11 seasons in the National Football League for five teams, including two seasons with the Detroit Lions. While playing for the Green Bay Packers, Howard was voted the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXI and is the first and only special teams player to win the award. He is one of only four players to win both the Heisman Trophy and Super Bowl MVP.

Howard’s post-professional football career achievements include being elected in 2010 College Football Hall of Fame and being inducted into the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame, the University of Michigan Hall of Honor, State of Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame.

Howard’s Collegiate Hall of Fame career will be chronicled in the upcoming book, I Wore 21: The Legend of Desmond Howard. The 190-page book, published by Champions Press, LLC, features unique stories and hundreds of photos never seen before from the Howard Family collection.

I Wore 21: The Legend of Desmond Howard is available by pre-order online at  Retail price for pre-orders of the book are $21, and it will be sold for $20 in and around Michigan Stadium on Sept. 10.

Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is the Great Escape, a venerable NASCAR national park where fans can get away and enjoy the very best in racing and camaraderie. It’s the love of racing and the thrill of a great time for race fans and drivers alike.

Keep up with Michigan International Speedway via Twitter @MISpeedway or on Facebook at Join our Mobile Fan Club by texting MISCLUB on a Sprint Handheld or other mobile device to 69050 on a Sprint Smartphone or other mobile device. Standard text message rates may apply.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tickets for the Pure Michigan 400 on Aug. 21 are as low as $30 while supplies last. Visit or call the MIS ticket hotline at 800-354-1010 today to take advantage of great pricing for 2011 events at MIS. The ticket office is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday; and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

As always, parking is free at MIS – and the track allows coolers through the gates.

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