Indy won't be 'Desperate' for celebrities

One of NASCAR's marquee races, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, has some marquee country artists such as Gretchen Wilson, Jo Dee Messina and Tracy Lawrence slated to perform.

Updated: July 24, 2007, 6:53 PM ET
ESPN.com

A "Desperate Housewives" actor and three popular country music entertainers will take part in weekend festivities surrounding NASCAR's Nextel Cup Allstate 400 at the Brickyard race.

Jo Dee Messina
Al Messerschmidt/WireImage.comJo Dee Messina has had No. 1 hits "Bring on the Rain" and "That's the Way."
James Denton, who plays plumber Mike Delfino on ABC's "Desperate Housewives," will serve as grand marshal for the July 29 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"This is an incredible honor to be named the grand marshal for this year's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard," Denton said in a release. "I'm a huge sports fan, so to be able to wave the green flag at one of NASCAR's premier races is going to be an amazing experience."

To continue a family tradition the honor of directing drivers with the phrase, "Gentlemen, start your engines" goes to Indianapolis Motor Speedway chairwoman of the board Mari Hulman George. Denton gets to wave the ceremonial green flag, however, for the 14th running of the Brickyard race.

Country music fans will be entertained by concerts featuring Jo Dee Messina, Gretchen Wilson and Tracy Lawrence during the weekend.

Messina, who has had No. 1 hit singles "Bring on the Rain" and "That's the Way," will play a free concert for ticket holders on July 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Country superstar and Grammy Award winner Wilson will perform for ticketholders July 28 as part of the Miller Lite Racing present Rock N Racing concert series. Her latest album, "One of the Boys," reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart and No. 5 on the Top 200 chart this year.

"We're excited to welcome Gretchen Wilson to IMS," Joie Chitwood, IMS president and chief operating officer, said in a release. "Her powerful shows are all about high energy and passion, a perfect match for Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and NASCAR fans."

Wilson's 2004 debut album "Here for the Party," with its hit single "Redneck Woman," was certified platinum and double platinum faster than any album in country music history, stayed No. 1 on the Billboard country album chart for nine consecutive weeks and reached No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 albums charts.

Lawrence, who is credited with 17 No. 1 singles, will perform July 27 at the Brickyard.

Other music performers scheduled for the weekend include DJ Orion and rising country stars The Jolie Holliday Band and Jeff Taylor.