Rutherford Named Grand Marshal for Sonoma

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford has been named grand marshal of the Aug. 27 Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway.

Rutherford, who handles special projects for the Indy Racing League and drives the Honda Accord Hybrid Pace Car, won the Indianapolis 500 in 1974, '76, '80 and is one of only two drivers to win the prestigious race from the pole twice (1976, '80).

"I'm honored. I remember in the early 1970s racing at what was then-Sears Point Raceway and having a great time," Rutherford said. "To see how much the track has progressed over the years is really gratifying. For Infineon Raceway to ask me to be Grand Marshal of the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma is a real honor."

Rutherford will be honored at the annual Grand Marshal's Banquet, which will be held on Aug. 25 at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. All proceeds from the gala will benefit the Valley of the Moon Teen Center in Sonoma through Speedway Children's Charities, the charitable arm of Infineon Raceway.

"We are ecstatic to be part of this event and know that this money will not only enhance the programs that we have, but it will also enable us to develop new programs," said Stefanie Shackelford, board president of the Valley of the Moon Teen Center.

The selection of Rutherford as Grand Marshal continues a trend that began last year at Infineon Raceway when Al Unser Sr. had the honor. Unser competed in the first major open-wheel race at Sears Point Raceway in 1970, the USAC IndyCar 150, placing third. Rutherford competed in that same race, taking fifth place.

In addition to honoring Rutherford, the evening will also feature IRL drivers Marco Andretti (Andretti Green Racing), Vitor Meira (Panther Racing) and possibly others. The evening will be hosted by ABC/ESPN commentator Dr. Jerry Punch. IRL

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