Living in the Bay Area and being a sport fan, I pay attention to the sports news. Normally if its football or NASCAR I turn my ears down, but this article caught my attention for a couple reasons. First it’s about Ken Stabler who is a former Oakland Raiders quarterback and guided the Raiders to their first Super Bowl victory in 1977. Even I recognize the name! Mr. Stabler was enshrined into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2000, and this weekend he has been named Grand Marshal of the upcoming Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend to be held June 19-21, at Infineon Raceway in the Wine Country.
“I’m very honored to serve as the Grand Marshal of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend,” said Stabler, an avid NASCAR fan who resides in Alabama.
“It will be great fun to be back in Northern California with good friends and great fans.”
Here comes the “wine” part… Mr. Stabler will be honored at the Children’s Champions Grand Marshal’s Banquet on Friday, June 19, at Cline Cellars in Sonoma. The event is a fundraiser for the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. He will also take part in pre-race activities on race day, June 21 (Father’s Day), including participating in the official command, “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.” Stabler will also be an interested spectator for the Bennett Lane Winery 200, presented by Supercuts, NASCAR Camping World West Series race on Saturday, June 20. DenBeste Motorsports & Biagi Brothers will enter the Silver & Black car, dedicated to Stabler’s legendary Raider career. It is fitting that this year the Oakland Raiders celebrate their 50th anniversary in professional football. “We’re very excited to be participating in the Bennett Lane Winery 200 on Saturday,” Stabler said. “I have been a huge race fan my entire life and to be here as Grand Marshal at Infineon and have a car competing in the race on Saturday is going to be a real thrill and I’m looking forward to a big weekend of fun.”
Bennett Lane Winery in Calistoga was bought by Randy Lynch, nearly six years ago. Lynch is a long time racing aficionado who used to race cars himself. He owns his own race car team that tours the Western U.S. The cars proudly sport his winery logo. Lynch is as passionate about racing as he is about his wine. The vintner hopes to bring his style of winemaking to those who share
his love of fast cars. In the racing world – where beer gets more
airplay than wine – Randy makes a strong alternative statement when his
car crosses the finish line bedecked in the colors and logo of Bennett
“Ken Stabler is one of the Bay Area’s all-time sports heroes, not just for his achievements on the field, but also as one of the defining personalities on a legendary football team,” said Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway. “He’ll give a terrific spark to our NASCAR festivities and we look forward to having him join us for the weekend.”