Perris, CA — (February 12, 2013) — Shawn McDonald, the world’s number one sprint car fan, has been named the Grand Marshall for the 18th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals at Perris Auto Speedway. The 2013 edition of the open wheel classic will take place October 31st, November 1st and 2nd on the famous Riverside County half-mile clay oval.
Promoter Don Kazarian happily released the news on Monday morning and said the decision was a “Slam Dunk” once McDonald’s name was thrown into the ring.
“We were sitting around at a staff meeting at the track last week and we were throwing out names of potential grand marshal’s including drivers, owners and officials,” Kazarian said with a smile. “Dale Smith of Family Affair Concessions threw Shawn’s name into the mix and it was over at that point. All it took was a confirmation from Shawn and he quickly accepted.”
McDonald, a Northern California native who lives near The PAS in the city of Murrieta, was very happy when he got the news.
“I can’t begin to tell you what an honor it is to be chosen as The Grand Marshal of The Oval Nationals,” he said via E-mail. “It has to be one of the greatest honors a race fan can receive! When I was asked the first thing i said is, ‘Why me (I was shocked) and the PAS staff said because you are the #1 sprint car fan at the PAS. Immediately I thought of two or three fans more deserving, but then I realized what a hardship it was for me to get to the races. I have missed just one race since 2000 that I was not hospitalized.”
McDonald has been occupying the same spot in The PAS grandstands since the day he first attended the track and he is one of three fans to have a section of grandstands named after him.
“Everybody knows where Shawn sits,” Kazarian said with a laugh. “His name is there on a large sign and fans and drivers come up to visit him all night long. As soon as the races are over, he is down in the pits talking and joking with the drivers.”
One of his favorite drivers is Mike Spencer, the defending Oval Nationals champion and the 5-time defending USAC/CRA champ. Like McDonald is a fan of Spencer, Spencer is a fan of McDonald.
“He is as passionate a fan as I have ever met, especially about Perris and the CRA Series,” Spencer said over the telephone on Tuesday morning. “He is always at Perris and travels to a lot of other races, too. I have been to his house and there is sprint car stuff all over the walls. At the track or at his house, he has a great sense of humor and he is always fun to be around. I am happy for him that he is going to be Grand Marshal of the Oval Nationals.”
The first night, October 31st, of the Budweiser Oval Nationals, will feature the USAC West Coast and Southwest Sprint Car Series’. The following two nights the Amsoil USAC National and CRA Sprint Cars will do battle at the beautiful track that sits adjacent to famous Lake Perris. The PAS Senior Sprint Cars and California Lightning Sprint Cars will also compete on the final two nights.