Dr. Punch named Gateway Grand Marshal

Craftsman taps Dr. Jerry Punch as Grand Marshal ESPN celebrity to officiate at Sears Craftsman Nationals. ST. LOUIS - Dr. Jerry Punch will take a busman's holiday at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis June 30. Craftsman tools has ...

Craftsman taps Dr. Jerry Punch as Grand Marshal
ESPN celebrity to officiate at Sears Craftsman Nationals.

ST. LOUIS - Dr. Jerry Punch will take a busman's holiday at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis June 30. Craftsman tools has invited the race broadcasting celebrity to serve as Grand Marshal for the Sixth Annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals.

Punch, currently lead announcer for ESPN's broadcasts of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races, will call the Live Well GNC 200 Craftsman Truck race in Milwaukee on Saturday, then scurry to Gateway for Sunday's eliminations in the NHRA event.

While there, Punch will assist in trophy presentations to the race winners and help award the 2002 Craftsman NHRA Scholarship grand prize. He may even slip on a set of headphones and help his ESPN colleagues describe the action on the drag strip.

"I have been blessed with the opportunity to be part of major motorsports for decades," Punch said. "This day as Grand Marshal will rank as one of my biggest thrills because I spent the last 25 years at open wheel and stock car events and never got the opportunity to attend a professional drag race. Though I have met many of my drag racing heroes, I have yet to see them in action. And to be the guest of one of the longest-standing, most respected sponsors in motorsports, Craftsman, will be a thrill I will never forget."

Punch is well known to race fans as a commentator on ESPN and ABC, but before that he had a successful medical practice. Punch is a trauma specialist and former director of emergency services at Flagler Memorial Hospital in Bunnell, Fla. After graduating from North Carolina State University in 1975, where he was a backup quarterback under Coach Lou Holtz, the Newton, N.C., native continued his education at Wake Forest University. He earned a medical degree in 1979.

Following his interest in racing and college sports, Punch began moonlighting as a part-time broadcast reporter while maintaining his medical practice. Since 1987 he has been a full-time member of ESPN's ACE Award-winning broadcast team. In addition to anchoring the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for ESPN, Punch covers the Indianapolis 500 for ABC, and numerous college football games for ESPN and ABC.

Punch lives near Charlotte, N.C., with his wife, Joni, and their two children, Jessica and Logan.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2002, Craftsman is the Official Tools of NHRA, NASCAR and CART. According to a 2001 EquiTrend survey, Craftsman is rated the number-one brand in the nation for overall quality. Sears sells more than 1,800 Craftsman hand tools, all made in America and guaranteed forever. Sears offers Craftsman tools, merchandise and related services nationwide through its full-line stores, Sears Hardware, Sears Dealer Stores and Orchard Supply Hardware stores as well as through specialty catalogs and online at www.sears.com.

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Series NHRA