Grand marshal named for Martinsville Virginia 500

John Deere Manager To Be Virginia 500 Grand Marshal Kerrie Keeler has been a fringe NASCAR Winston Cup fan for some time. On April 14, she'll go from the fringe to the fire. Keeler, Sales Branch Manager for the Atlanta Branch of the John Deere...

John Deere Manager To Be Virginia 500 Grand Marshal

Kerrie Keeler has been a fringe NASCAR Winston Cup fan for some time. On April 14, she'll go from the fringe to the fire.

Keeler, Sales Branch Manager for the Atlanta Branch of the John Deere Company, will be the Grand Marshal for the Virginia 500 Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, April 14.

"I've been to about 10 races, but I'm not like an avid fan," said Keeler. "But I'm really excited about coming to Martinsville and having a chance to be in the pits and see what goes on behind the scenes.

"I think racing is interesting. To the lay person, those drivers just make it look so easy and then when you hear the commentators talk about the complexities, it makes it really interesting."

While Keeler is a bit of a racing rookie, she's a John Deere veteran. She joined the John Deere Company after graduation from Brigham Young University in 1980. In the more than two decades since then, she has served in 11 different world-wide marketing assignments for the company. Teaming up with the John Deere Company was a natural for Keeler because she grew up on a farm in Deming, NM where her family is still involved in production agriculture.

Despite a limited exposure to racing so far, Keeler already knows there is a strong tie between her customers and the sport.

"I'm really excited about coming to Martinsville for a couple of reasons," said Keeler. "The whole NASCAR involvement with John Deere has been beneficial for both of us. It gives us an opportunity to touch a customer base all over the country. And it gives us an opportunity to share with our customers and visit them.

"And everyone I've met in the sport are just good people. That's a nice thing about being associated with the racing group. It's a fun opportunity to meet good people."

In her job, the Sales Branch Manager for the Atlanta Branch, Keeler is responsible for all sales activities, such as market penetration and dealer development, in the southeastern eight states for Agricultural and Consumer & Ground Care product groups.

John Deere is the official tractor of Martinsville Speedway.

Action returns to Martinsville Speedway on Friday, April 12 with MW Windows Pole Day. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors will time trial for the Advance Auto Parts 250 at 1:30 p.m. while qualifying for the Virginia 500 is set for 3 p.m. Tickets for qualifying are $15 for adults and children under 12 get in free.

The Craftsman Truck Series racing action begins at 2 p.m. on April 13 when the green flag waves on the Advance Auto Parts 250. Tickets for the Advance Auto Parts 250 Craftsman Truck race are $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. All seats are unreserved.

There still are great seats available for the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race for $40-$70 each. To purchase tickets call the speedway ticket office toll free at 877-722-3849 or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup