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Michael Waltrip named grand marshal of NASCAR Showdown race in Irwindale

January 12, 2011 | 12:35 pm

Two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip was named grand marshal of the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in Irwindale on Jan. 28-29, considered a premier event for the nation's short-track drivers in NASCAR's developmental stock-car series.

Waltrip Waltrip, 47, has dialed back his driving in NASCAR's top-level Sprint Cup Series to mostly focus on his NASCAR team, Michael Waltrip Racing, whose Cup drivers include Martin Truex Jr. and David Reutimann.

Waltrip's older brother, three-time Cup champion Darrell Waltrip, was the grand marshal for the inaugural Showdown eight years ago.

The Showdown is a series of races held over both nights at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, a paved half-mile track, that culminates with the Showdown's main event Jan. 29. Joey Logano, 20, who now mainly drives in the Sprint Cup series for Joe Gibbs Racing, won that race last year in front of a sellout crowd of 6,500.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR driver/owner Michael Waltrip speaks at the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala in Charlotte, N.C., on Dec. 11. Credit: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images