Olympic gold medalist Carly Patterson and Fort Worth police officer Matt Pearce will take on honorary roles at the Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday.
Patterson, who lives in North Texas with her husband Mark, will serve as honorary starter and wave the green flag to kick off the race. Pearce, the Fort Worth officer shot seven times while serving a warrant back in March, will serve as grand marshall, directing the drivers to start their engines.
“I cannot wait to see some amazing racing at the Firestone 600 Verizon IndyCar series race at Texas Motor Speedway,” Patterson said. “It is truly an honor to be able to wave the green flag.”
Patterson won the gold medal in all-around gymnastics in 2004 – the first American woman to win gold in the event since Mary Lou Retton in 1984. Since the Olympics, Patterson has appeared on television and film, including the 2006 gymnastics movie Stick It. She also sang in the Fox reality show Celebrity Duets and released two singles and an album, Back to the Beginning, which released in 2010.
Pearce was released from the hospital in May and continues to recover at home. According to a news release, he intends to return to work as a tactical medical officer.
The race begins at 7:30 p.m.