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First Lady to serve as Grand Marshal for Homestead

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The two women will offer the most famous words in racing, "Gentlemen, start your engines."

As part of their Joining Forces initiative, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden will recognize service members and military families from the local community during pre-race ceremonies for the Ford 400 and at a special luncheon.

The crowd will consist of 5,000 active duty and retired military personnel and families. Obama and Biden will invite a military family to join them in the command to start engines.

"We are honored that First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will be joining us as we crown the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion,"track president Matthew Becherer said in a statement released on Friday. "Most importantly, we are pleased that they are both coming to Homestead-Miami Speedway to personally thank the men and women who sacrifice so much to ensure our freedom and allow us to enjoy events like Ford Championship Weekend."

The 400-mile race at Homestead will likely feature a showdown between Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart for the 2011 Sprint Cup championship. Heading into Sunday's penultimate event of the season at Phoenix International Raceway, Edwards holds just a three-point lead over Stewart.