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Former Detroit Lions Player Cory Schlesinger Named Grand Marshal of FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway

Beloved 12-year NFL veteran to give command to fire engines for pivotal NASCAR Cup Series race


BROOKLYN, MICH. (August 3, 2023) – Cory Schlesinger, a fullback known for his never-back-down gameplay that spanned a 12-year career with the Detroit Lions, will get the crowd and the drivers fired up for the FireKeepers Casino 400 this Sunday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway, the track announced today.


A key member of the 1995 national champion Cornhuskers from his home state of Nebraska, Schlesinger was drafted in the sixth round of the 1995 NFL draft and became a stalwart on the Lions for over a decade. He was named to the team’s 75th Season All-Time Team in 2008 and to the Lions’ All-Time Team in 2019. Following his pro football career, Schlesinger remained in Michigan and has taught Industrial Arts at Allen Park High School since 2008.


“Cory has deep ties to Michigan sports and also to STEM education in the state,” said Michigan International Speedway President Joe Fowler. “Plus, he has a passion for cars that extends back to his high school days, which makes it even more fun to have him join us as Grand Marshal. We know the fans are going to share in our enthusiasm as he kicks off Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400.”


At the age of 15, Schlensinger followed in his father’s footsteps and entered his first demolition derby race – and won. That rookie magic led to several years of running demolition derbies while in high school in Nebraska. Still a car enthusiast, Schlesinger owns a hot rod now.


“It is an honor to be the grand marshal for the FireKeepers Casino 400 at MIS,” said Schlesinger. “I am so excited to say the most famous words in NASCAR – ‘Drivers start your engines!’ – and get to experience the ground shake as the cars ignite. It’s going to be awesome!”


The FireKeepers Casino 400 will serve as a pivotal race as it’s one of the last chances to win and earn a spot in the NASCAR Playoffs. Michigan native Brad Keselowski will look to secure his first ever Cup Series win in the Irish Hills during the race weekend. Kevin Harvick remains without a win during NASCAR’s 75th Anniversary season but knows all about winning at M.I.S. with six career wins at the track.


The August race weekend at M.I.S. begins with the ARCA Menards Series Henry Ford Health 200 on Friday, August 4, followed by the NASCAR Xfinity Series Cabo Wabo 250 on Saturday, August 5. The NASCAR Cup Series will cap off the weekend’s action with the FireKeepers Casino 400 on Sunday, August 6. General Admission tickets for Friday are $10 and kids 12 and under are free on Friday and Saturday. Tickets for the FireKeepers Casino 400 start at $39 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. Kids 12 and under also get a free Sunday Pre-Race Pass courtesy of Henry Ford Health. Campsites are available starting at $130.


Tickets are available for purchase via phone at 888-905-7223 or online at mispeedway.com. Fans can view the full 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule and purchase tickets at nascar.com/tickets, and can stay connected to Michigan International Speedway on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


About Michigan International Speedway

Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway (MIS) is one of the fastest tracks in NASCAR. The two-mile track – with 18 degrees of banking and 73-feet wide sweeping turns – has hosted the NASCAR Cup Series for more than 50 years. Beyond the on-track action, MIS offers a wide variety of family-friendly entertainment options for fans of all ages. MIS is the largest registered campground in the state of Michigan with nearly 9,000 campsites across 1,400-plus acres. In addition to the annual NASCAR weekend, MIS hosts non-racing events including Faster Horses Festival and Nite Lites. For more information, visit mispeedway.com.



Celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2023, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States and owner of 16 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities. NASCAR sanctions races in three national series (NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series™), four international series (NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race, NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Pinty’s Series (Canada), NASCAR Whelen Euro Series), four regional series (ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East & West and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) and a local grassroots series (NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series). The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. NASCAR also owns Motor Racing Network, Racing Electronics, and ONE DAYTONA. Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races annually in 12 countries and more than 30 U.S. states. For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’).