Ed Sheeran Named Official Starter and Kirk Ferentz Grand Marshal for Sunday of Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend

Ed Sheeran to Serve as Official Starter and Kirk Ferentz Named Grand Marshal
for Sunday Activities During Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend 

Pop Music Superstar and Legendary Iowa Football Coach to be featured
during the Hy-Vee One Step 250 presented by Gatorade on July 23  

NEWTON, Iowa (July 18, 2023) — One of the biggest music stars in the world and one of the most successful coaches in college football history will each have prominent roles on the final day of Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend, July 21-23 at Iowa Speedway. Global superstar Ed Sheeran will be the Official Starter, while longtime University of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz will be Grand Marshal for Sunday, July 23 during the action-packed weekend for the final NTT INDYCAR Series race of the event – the Hy-Vee One Step 250 presented by Gatorade.  

Sheeran will wave the green flag to get the on-track action started while Ferentz will participate in pre-race ceremonies and deliver the official command of “Drivers, Start Your Engines” before Sunday’s race.  Sheeran will also perform live on the Hy-Vee concert stage following the conclusion of Sunday’s racing activities. 

“We’re excited to welcome one of the most popular performers in the world – Ed Sheeran – serving as the Official Starter and one of Iowa’s true sports legends in Coach Kirk Ferentz as Grand Marshal for Sunday’s Hy-Vee One Step 250 presented by Gatorade,” said Anne Fischgrund, General Manager of Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend. “Thanks to our partners at Hy-Vee, having these two icons featured on Sunday will be a great way to celebrate the final day of Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend.” 

Sheeran is one of the most accomplished singer-songwriters in the world with five multiplatinum, critically acclaimed albums under his belt. The British performer has amassed more than 94 billion streams and sold over 65 million albums globally, making him one of the world’s biggest-selling artists.  Sheeran, a four-time GRAMMY Award winner, released the sixth studio album of his career – “Subtract” – in May.  He is currently in the middle of his first North American concert tour in nearly five years, selling out stadiums across the country, and will make a pit stop in Iowa for Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend. Sheeran will perform trackside on the Hy-Vee stage following Sunday’s Hy-Vee One Step 250 presented by Gatorade NTT INDYCAR SERIES race. 

Known as one of the most innovative minds and one of the great leaders in college football, Ferentz is the longest-tenured head coach in the NCAA Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). In 24 seasons as Iowa’s head coach, Ferentz has amassed a 198-136 career coaching record as he surpassed his mentor Hayden Fry as the winningest coach in school history back in 2018.  

Ferentz has won the Big Ten Coach of The Year award three times, and 25 players have received All-American honors under his tutelage. Many of his former Hawkeyes have gone on to enjoy successful careers in the NFL, including current stars Micah Hyde, Brandon Scherff, George Kittle and TJ Hockenson.  

American Idol season 16 champion, current singer/songwriter and Iowa’s own Maddie Poppe will also participate in Sunday activities during Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend. The native of Clarksville, Iowa will perform the National Anthem prior to the start of the Hy-Vee One Step 250 presented by Gatorade. 

With Ferentz, Sheeran and Poppe all serving in official roles on Sunday, the star power will burn bright throughout Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend. American Idol season four champion and country music superstar Carrie Underwood will perform before the start of the Hy-Vee Homefront 250 presented by Instacart on Saturday, July 22. Following Saturday’s race, country music icon and six-time GRAMMY Award nominee Kenny Chesney will take to the stage at Iowa Speedway. On Sunday, July 23, three-time GRAMMY Award winner and country music supergroup Zac Brown Band will rev up the crowd before the start of the Hy-Vee One Step 250 presented by Gatorade. After waving the green flag to start Sunday’s race, Sheeran will put an exclamation point on a turbocharged weekend as he performs after the checkered flag waves on Sunday’s 300-lap INDYCAR race. 

The Hy-Vee One Step 250 presented by Gatorade is part of the only doubleheader on the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule, which also includes the Hy-Vee Homefront 250 presented by Instacart on Saturday, July 22. 

To purchase 2023 Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend tickets and to learn more about the event, visit https://www.hyveeindycarweekend.com/.