IRL: Buoniconti Grand Marshall for Miami Infiniti GP at Homestead

MIAMI (March 29, 2001) -- Nick Buoniconti, the first Miami Dolphins defensive player to be elected into the NFL Hall of Fame, will be the Grand Marshal for the April 6-8 Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami presented by 123.com Americatel at ...

MIAMI (March 29, 2001) -- Nick Buoniconti, the first Miami Dolphins defensive player to be elected into the NFL Hall of Fame, will be the Grand Marshal for the April 6-8 Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami presented by 123.com Americatel at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Buoniconti will give the command "Drivers, start your engines" for the million-dollar event, which features the cars and stars of the Indy Racing Northern Light Series in one of their final races before the Indianapolis 500.

Buoniconti was the biggest name on the "No Name" defense that carried the Dolphins to three consecutive Super Bowls (1972-74). He had an interception which helped key the Dolphins' 14-7 victory over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII, capping the only perfect season in NFL history. The Dolphins also won Super Bowl VIII over the Minnesota Vikings.

A 1962 graduate of Notre Dame, Buoniconti played seven seasons for the Boston Patriots in the old American Football League, making the AFL All-Star game six times. He was traded to Miami in 1969, and was recognized as the team's Most Valuable Player in his first season. He went on to make the Pro Bowl twice and was the Dolphins' outstanding linebacker for five consecutive seasons (1970-75).

Since his retirement in 1976, Buoniconti was voted as a linebacker on the Dolphins' Silver Anniversary all-star team, was named to the all-time AFC Super Bowl team, and was inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame. He has been just as visible away from the gridiron, founding the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, which has initiated groundbreaking research on spinal cord injuries. He will be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame in August, becoming the eighth member of the Miami Dolphins to achieve professional football's highest honor.

Practice for the Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami presented by 123.com Americatel begins on Friday, April 6. Qualifying and final practice will be held on Saturday, with Buoniconti set to give the command to start the 200-lap, 300-mile race at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 8.

Family-friendly priced tickets for the Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami begin at $10 for Friday and $20 for Saturday, with reserved Sunday grandstand seats ranging from $25 to $45. Youth 12 and under are free Friday and Saturday when accompanied by a paying adult, while grandstand seats for youth 18 and under are $15 on Sunday if purchased in advance. Weekend paddock tickets are $20, with youth 12 and under free. Individual weekend passes, including reserved grandstand seat and Paddock pass, cost $70, a $25 savings. Parking is free all weekend. For additional information or to order tickets, call (305) 230-RACE, visit any Ticketmaster Ticket Center, or order on-line at www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.

-JJ O'Malley

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