Mario Lopez named honorary Martinsville NASCAR race starter - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Mario Lopez named honorary Martinsville NASCAR race starter

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Mario Lopez Mario Lopez

The upcoming NASCAR STP Gas Booster 500 will have a Hollywood racing fan wave the green flag.

Martinsville Speedway announced on Thursday that former Saved by the Bell co-star turned Extra co-host Mario Lopez will be the honorary starter for the April 7th Sprint Cup race.

"My dad is a big car lover and I grew up one too," said Lopez.  "I'm honored and excited about being the honorary starter. I've been to several NASCAR races, but I've never done anything like this. I hope I do everything right."

Lopez says he went to his first NASCAR event several years ago, as a guest of a track owner.  That's when he bean to appreciate the sport, drivers, and fans.

"I've always had a great time the times I've been able to go to races. The people are really nice and the racing is so exciting," Lopez said. "NASCAR crowds are so very passionate, so very loyal. They know what they are talking about and I like that they really get behind their driver."

Lopez added that he's looking forward to his trip to the "paper clip."

"Martinsville is a short track, just a half-mile. You're right on top of things and I understand a lot of things happen on the track there," Lopez said.

As for who he may cheer for, Lopez counts Carl Edwards as a friend, and has had Jimmie Johnson on Extra.  Lopez adds that he runs into some of the drivers a lot while working in New York.