The 2016 Firefighters’ Marshal has an amazing resume; one especially well-crafted for the role he will play in the Land of Pink and Green. He has 500 starts and 43 victories as a NASCAR Crew Chief; he has been a top-flight racing commentator with FOX Sports since 2001; he has flown with the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels; he was a volunteer firefighter for 8 years in North Carolina, and has earned EMT status; and, he is an energetic, enthusiastic, “fun guy” who was given the nickname “Hollywood” by none other than Darrell Waltrip himself. It is a distinct pleasure for Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® President, Jim Douglas, to announce that Jeff “Hollywood” Hammond will serve the 2016 Festival as Firefighters’ Marshal.
Jeff Hammond joined FOX Sports in 2001, and, in only its first year, “NASCAR on FOX” received six Emmy nominations and amazingly took home three of the coveted awards. Jeff works on “NASCAR Race Hub,” pre-race and post-race shows for the new FOX/FS1 channel. Jeff has also been a color commentator on shows such as “The NEXTEL Pit Crew Championship” and “The Pit Crew Challenge Powered by Tyson.” Jeff also works on a Sunday evening NASCAR wrap up show that is also seen on FS1. Jeff has appeared in national TV commercials for such companies as Western Auto, Stacker 2, and the Ford Motor Company. Each year he does numerous speaking engagements for national companies like Exxon/Mobile, MBNA America and IBM.
Jeff’s career in NASCAR began in 1974 working as a mechanic and tire changer for Walter Ballard. Becoming one of the best jack men in the business, Hammond served on all three of driver Cale Yarborough’s Winston Cup Championship teams. Legendary driver Darrell Waltrip took over for Yarborough in 1981 and the Junior Johnson owned team won the championship that year. At the encouragement of Waltrip, Johnson promoted Jeff to the crew chief position for the start of the 1982 season; and, as the old saying goes: “The rest is history”. Two more championships and 43 wins with Waltrip followed. One of NASCAR’S all-time great Winston Cup Crew Chiefs, Jeff had over 500 starts; and, other notable accomplishments include: 1979 and 1989 Unocal Pit Crew Championships; 1989 Daytona 500 winning Crew Chief; 1989 Chevrolet Award of Excellence winner; and, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 Skoal All Pro Team. In 2004, along with partner, Tom DeLoach, Jeff opened PIT Instruction and Training, an ultra-modern facility to train pit crews; and, in 2005, again with partner Deloach, Jeff became a part owner in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Jeff is a strong supporter of our military and has traveled in their support to Germany, Bosnia, Spain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Iraq. He has flown with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels, and was taught how to skydive by members of the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights. Before his racing career, Jeff was a volunteer firefighter for eight years in the Derida/Charlotte, NC, department, and the Statesville, NC, department. During this tenure Jeff also earned EMT status. Always willing to help, Jeff spends time working for charities like Speedway Children’s Charities and Victory Junction Gang Camp. In Jeff’s words “It’s all about the kids and that’s what makes it really special”. Hammond still resides in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area. Besides his love of racing, Jeff also has a passion for horses, rodeo, team roping, scuba diving, hunting and professional wrestling. Jeff’s heroes include his father, John Wayne, Junior Johnson and Jack Roush.
Jeff Hammond is scheduled to participate in many Festival related activities on Friday, 4/29, including the Firefighters’ Parade; and, will remain in town through the Grand Feature Parade on Saturday, April 4/30