Johnny Rutherford, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, has been named the Grand Marshal of the 19th Annual Vintage Racing Celebration at New Hampshire Motor Speedway from May 12 through May 17.

Known as "Lone Star J.R." to his fans because of his Texas heritage, Rutherford crossed the famous yard of bricks first at the Indianapolis 500 in 1974, 1976, and 1980. In his role as Grand Marshal during the oval portion of the event, Rutherford will bench race with many of the participants, including an interactive "Question and Answer" program with host Gordon Kirby, the U.S. Editor of MotorSport magazine, on Wednesday night, May 13. Three of Rutherford's former open wheel rides will be on display as well.

"Johnny is truly one of the greatest drivers to ever strap into an open-wheeled race car," said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "He came up in an era that was truly special, as he raced midgets, sprint cars and anything with four wheels to make it to Indy. Once in Indy Cars, he became a true champion, both on and off the track. He was really one of the first drivers who knew how to communicate to the media and represent his corporate sponsors with class."

On Tuesday, May 12 through Thursday, May 14, more than 150 of the most famous Midgets, Sprint Cars, Champ Cars, Roadsters, and NASCAR stock cars will fill the speedway's 1.058 mile oval. Fans will have the opportunity to meet and talk with the drivers and car owners who were instrumental in the growth of motorsports throughout the world.

From Friday, May 15 to Sunday, May 17, the 1.6 mile road course at NHMS will challenge veteran competitors from the world of road racing. The action will be friendly, but fierce as these vintage sports cars, formula cars, and motorcycles compete for bragging rights.

The return of the Classic and Custom Car Show on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17 will be a major addition to the 2009 Celebration schedule. Many of the finest vehicles from throughout New England will be on display. Anyone wishing to participate in the car show can download a registration form at www.nhms.com/documents/09_car_show_registration_form.pdf. If you love custom and vintage vehicles, you won't want to miss this event.

Anyone looking to sell a vehicle can be part of the speedway's Car Corral. Pre-registration is recommended as space is limited, and registration forms are online at www.nhms.com/documents/09_car_corral_registration_form.pdf.

Fans will also be able to enjoy a Flea Market which will include displays and merchandise from vendors from throughout the region.

Gates will open every day at 9:00 a.m. General admission tickets are $10 per day or $25 for the entire event. Children age 11 and under will be admitted free. Acres of free parking are available to those attending this incredible Celebration.

For more information on the Vintage Racing Celebration or the many great events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, including the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 on Sunday, June 28 and the SYLVANIA 300 on Sunday, September 20, please call our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit the speedway online at www.nhms.com.