Kia Hamstars

Kia's Hamstar, a hamster, will serve as the Honorary Starter for Saturday's Kia 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Kia's hamster commercial was named the 2011 Automotive Ad of the Year -- Nielsen's highest honor.

Where else can you see a TV star-actor hamster, a 10-year-old singing sensation and a mayor in one place?  Each of these will be on hand this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway and participating in pre-race ceremonies during the Grand Prix of Miami weekend.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez will deliver the most famous words in racing – “Drivers, start your engines,” while serving as Grand Marshal of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series’ Grand Prix of Miami on Sunday (April 29).  Gimenez will be followed by Robert Mazal, a racing fan that has attended every race since Homestead-Miami Speedway opened.  Mazal will wave the green flag to start Sunday’s Grand Prix of Miami, the second race of the day and third of the weekend at the track.  

Pre-race participants for Saturday’s (April 28) Kia 200 race in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge include the ubiquitous Kia Hamstar – a hamster, who will serve as the Honorary Starter.

“We are honored that Mayor Gimenez and each of our distinguished guests will be a part of what should prove to be an entertaining weekend of racing,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer.  “We are pleased to honor Robert for his loyalty to our track in a symbolic nod to all of our great fans that support the speedway.”

“I am thrilled to be the Honorary Starter on Sunday,” said Mazal, who will be accompanied by his wife Laura. “We have enjoyed so many great races and memories since we started coming to Homestead-Miami Speedway in 1995.  I fully expect this unique honor to create yet another special memory.”

Sunday – Grand Prix of Miami (1:00 p.m. EST)
(Preceded by first-ever Sportsman Showcase race at 11:00 a.m.)
Grand Marshal: Carlos Gimenez, mayor of Miami-Dade County 
Honorary Starter: Robert Mazal, longtime Champions Club ticket holder
Color Guard: Special Operations Command South Honor Guard 
Invocation: Pastor Scott Claunch, Calvary Chapel Kendall 
National Anthem: Julia Dale, 10-year-old singing sensation 

Saturday – Kia 200 Continental Tire Series Sports Car Challenge (2:45 p.m.)
Grand Marshal: Sean Twomey, Greenway Auto Group’s service and parts director for Kia’s leading West Palm Beach Kia dealer 
Honorary Starter: Kia’s Hamstar, lead hamster in Kia TV commercials 
Trophy Presenter: Mike Mulligan, Kia’s Southern Region District Parts & Service Manager for Miami/South Florida 
Color Guard: Special Operations Command South Honor Guard
Invocation: Pastor Scott Claunch, Calvary Chapel Kendall 
National Anthem: Johnny Holliday, international jazz artist and member, Homestead 482nd Security Forces unit

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