Will Ferrell Named Grand Marshal for USG SHEETROCK 400

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COLUMBIA PICTURES' TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY COMES TO CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY

THE FILM'S STAR, WILL FERRELL, NAMED GRAND MARSHAL FOR USG SHEETROCK 400

FERRELL WILL BE JOINED BY HIS CO-STARS AND HONORARY GUESTS LESLIE BIBB, MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN AND JOHN C. REILLY IN PRE-RACE CEREMONIES

Columbia Pictures' "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," is coming to the Chicagoland Speedway on Sun., July 9, 2006 (2:35 p.m. CT on TNT) as the film's star, Will Ferrell, will serve as Grand Marshal for the USG SHEETROCK 400, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. Ferrell's co-stars John C. Reilly, Michael Clarke Duncan and Leslie Bibb will be Chicagoland Speedway's honorary guests.

Ferrell, who was nominated for a 2006 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his role in "The Producers," will declare the most famous phrase in racing, "Gentlemen, start your engines!" He'll then ride in the Grand Marshal car in front of the Pace Car, which leads the field of NASCAR drivers onto the track for the race.

Ferrell and his co-stars will be available for interviews in the infield media center on Sunday before the race.

"I am looking forward to being the Grand Marshal at this year's Chicagoland race, as it is the crown jewel of all Chicago's motorsports events," said Ferrell.

"We're excited to have Will Ferrell as our Grand Marshal this year," said Matthew Alexander, vice president and general manager of Chicagoland Speedway. "He's a talented comedian and a masterful entertainer, so we're expecting some big laughs and a terrific response from our fans. Having one of today's hottest actors here at Chicagoland Speedway for the largest sporting event in Illinois elevates this event to another level. His popularity and mass appeal brings even more attention to the exponential growth of motorsports, both nationally and here in Chicago."

Columbia Pictures will release "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" on Friday, Aug. 4. Ferrell stars as Ricky Bobby, a stock car racing sensation whose "win at all costs" approach has made him a national hero. Bibb plays Bobby's "hot wife" Carley; Reilly plays Bobby's best friend Cal; and Duncan is Bobby's crew chief Lucius.

All Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) ever wanted to do was go fast...real fast. Columbia Pictures' comedy "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" tells the story of a dreamer who can only count to #1. After winning and losing it all, Ricky Bobby must claw his way back to the top the only way he knows how - the hard way.

Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Gary Cole and Michael Clarke Duncan star in Columbia Pictures' "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," which is directed by Adam McKay and written by Will Ferrell & Adam McKay. Jimmy Miller and Judd Apatow are the producers. David Householter, Richard Glover, Sarah Nettinga and Ryan Kavanaugh are the executive producers. The supporting cast includes Leslie Bibb, Jane Lynch, Amy Adams, Andy Richter, Molly Shannon, Greg Germann, David Koechner, Jack McBrayer and Ian Roberts.

Ferrell began a seven-year stint as a feature cast member of "Saturday Night Live" in 1995. His talent for impersonations and range of characters made him one of the most popular actors on the show. Ferrell is one of the few cast members ever to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program in 2001. He left SNL in 2002 to pursue a career in film, which includes such comedy hits as "Old School" (2003), "Elf" (2003), "Anchorman" (2004), "Wedding Crashers" (2005) and "The Producers" (2005).

Reilly, who grew up on Chicago's South side, trained at the Goodman School of Drama and eventually became a member of Chicago's renowned Steppenwolf Theatre. His film break came with a small role in the Vietnam War drama "Casualties of War" (1989), and he showed his

dazzling stretch of talent in such films as "Days of Thunder" (1990), "Shadows and Fog" (1992), "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" (1993), "The River Wild" (1994), "Boogie Nights" (1997) and "Magnolia" (1999).

Another Chicago south-sider, Duncan worked digging ditches at Peoples Gas Company in Chicago after attending community college. When he quit his job and headed to Hollywood, he landed small roles while working as a bodyguard. Duncan's role in the movie "Armageddon" (1998) led to his breakthrough performance in "The Green Mile" (1999), when his "Armageddon" co-star Bruce Willis called director Frank Darabont, suggesting Michael for the part of convict John Coffey. He landed the role, receiving critical acclaim for his performance.

Virginia native Bibb had her first film role in the comedy "Private Parts" (1997), which was followed by her first television series (where she replaced the departed Susan Walters as the female lead) in the second season of "The Big Easy" (1996) on USA. Unfortunately, the show was canceled just months later. In 1999, she appeared as the lead character on the WB Network television series "Popular" (1999). The show was a success among teenagers, and led Leslie to more recognizable film roles, such as "The Skulls" (2000) and "See Spot Run" (2001). Most recently she has appeared as intern Erin Harkins in "ER" (2003).

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