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SONOMA, Calif. (AP) -- Vida Blue stuck to the slow stuff at Sonoma Raceway.

The former star pitcher for the Oakland A's in the 1970s was content in his role as grand marshal of the NASCAR race, and had no urge whatsoever to get behind the wheel.

"My insurance probably would have found out if I tried that," Blue cracked before Sunday's race. "But those cars are heavy and I'm faint of heart."

Blue previously attended one IndyCar race at the speedway. He was surprised by the crowds and noise and left after a couple of laps.

This year, he accepted an invitation to direct the drivers to start their engines. He calls himself a casual fan of racing, but he was able to rattle off details about drivers, manufacturers and strategy.

Blue joked that he's driven fast only once -- on Interstate 580 late one night.

"I had a Maserati and I looked down. I was going about 110 mph," he said. "I kind of backed off. I didn't realize I was going that fast. That was my impersonation of being a race car driver."

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