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Shuttle Pilot Taking TMS Flag Into Space

FORT WORTH (AP) - Space shuttle pilot Doug Hurley will take a piece of Texas Motor Speedway into space.

Hurley was presented a TMS flag Saturday, which he plans to carry with him on the final space shuttle mission this summer. Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to close out the 30-year shuttle program.

A season-ticket holder at Texas Motor Speedway since 2005, Hurley said he planned to bring the flag back to the track when he comes back for the November Sprint Cup race.

Hurley introduced the top 10 drivers to the crowd Saturday night before the Samsung Mobile 500, the second time he has taken part in prerace activities.

In November 2009, four months after guiding Shuttle Endeavour in space, Hurley drove a pace car at Texas that he drove off a Chinook helicopter that landed on the infield.

Hurley, who travels about 17,500 mph in space, has driven stock cars at a driving school run at the 1 1/2-mile, high-banked Texas track, though he wasn't sure just how fast he got.

"I went pretty fast," Hurley said. "Driving a car, however fast I went, was incredible."

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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