Madonia Grand Marshall for Bettenhausen 100
August 15, 2013, The host of the popular "AM Springfield" show on WMFB Sports Radio 1450 got the surprise of a lifetime this morning when Track Enterprises and the United States Auto Club named radio personality Sam Madonia the Grand Marshal for the 52nd running of the Tony Bettenhausen 100 this Saturday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Madonia will also serve as the honorary starter for the event.
Madonia, a former teacher at Lincoln Community High School, is celebrating his 41st year in radio including a gig on WFMB AM since 1996. His calls of Lincoln Railsplitter basketball and Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin football are legendary in central Illinois radio circles as are his award winning interviews of local personalities and politicians on the Springfield morning show.
A past student of Madonia's and the current motorsports historian for the fair made the surprise call to Madonia on this morning's show and Madonia enthusiastically accepted the honor. "Are you kidding me?", Madonia asked the caller on air. "I am honored, you don't know what this means to me, having watched A.J. Foyt and Jim Hurtubise race at the fair."
Madonia is a Springfield native who grew up just yards from the fairgrounds and has been the public address voice at the Illinois State Fair since 1994.
Fans can watch Sam Madonia waive the green flag to start the 52nd running of the Tony Bettenhausen 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Saturday,August 17. The 100-mile race is slated to start at 2 p.m.