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Ed Sheeran and Kirk Ferentz Named to Honorary Roles

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 and 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  


Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 285 retail stores across eight Midwestern states with sales of more than $13 billion annually. The supermarket chain is synonymous with quality, variety, convenience, healthy lifestyles, culinary expertise and superior customer service. Hy-Vee ranks in the Top 5 Most Trusted Brands and has been named one of America’s Top 3 favorite grocery stores. The company’s more than 80,000 employees provide “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle” to customers every day. For additional information, visit 

INDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America's premier open-wheel auto racing series, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, and its developmental series, INDY NXT by Firestone. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES features an international field of the world's most versatile drivers – including two-time and reigning series champion Will Power, six-time series champion Scott Dixon, two-time series champion Josef Newgarden, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and reigning Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson – who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The 2023 season consists of 17 races in the United States and Canada and is highlighted by the historic Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, INDY NXT by Firestone, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit For more information on INDY NXT by Firestone, please visit  


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