The first person to cross the green flag at Richmond will be the quarterback in Washington, Robert Griffin III. It is reported that Dale Earnhardt set up the meet between NASCAR and RGIII, making him a guest, driving the pace car.
Griffin is the Washington Redskins quarterback, bringing some life back into the team. He has an impressive resume so far. The young quarterback has many years ahead of him. Although Griffin has had some problems with injuries, he is a great find for the Redskins. Given he stays healthy, Griffin will do great things in the NFL. His Redskins are counting on it and him.
Dale Earnhardt is very savvy. He is more than likely a fan of Robert Griffin III, but to bring him into the NASCAR world is almost a streak of genius. NASCAR will more than likely have more views this Saturday at the Richmond International Raceway, than they are used to. Bringing one of the most watched quarterbacks to the race world could turn out to be very lucrative. Call it an introduction to some who have never really watched NASCAR.
It does not need to be said, but NASCAR has been very good at opening up their viewership. They have found ways to appeal to a diverse audience. There is no arguing they have a great public relations team.
It helps to have the younger generation beginning to follow with the same passion as the original NASCAR fans have. It is a following that comes from the dynamic personalities that the sport displays. Adding Robert Griffin III to the sport gives everyone the chance to see two of their sports passions cross, driving the pace car may not be in the race but it is a pretty sweet gig for anyone. Doubt there is not a NASCAR fan out there that wouldn’t give their better judgment up for a chance at it.
Gordon, Stewart, Earnhardt, Harvick and Johnson have dominated the headlines for years with their driving and their sometime emotion that overtakes them. It is not beyond the drivers to get into a spat or two over some real questionable moves on the track. In the heat of the moment, a driver will show their anger in ways that do not necessarily reflect the sport but keeps it interesting. There isn’t a sport today where emotion cannot trigger a little bad behavior. It is called competition and being competitive. The least competitive are those who are not completely involved, tied, or passionate about their sport. That is what drives these athletes, the competition, striving to be the best, and occasionally ego can get in the way. Who would not want their favorite athlete doing everything they could to get an edge to be the best.
This is what makes this day in Richmond so great. Fans get to see not only their favorite drivers; they get to see one of their favorite quarterbacks. Even if someone is not a Washington Redskins fan it is hard to not be a RG III fan. After the first time a person gets to watch him play, they are hooked. He has an amazing sense that allows him to escape most situations and frustrate his opponent. This makes for a great game to watch, a battle of the best athlete.
The NASCAR fans know that is the same for some of their favorites, among them Dale Earnhardt Jr. who has won 11 consecutive most popular awards. It only makes sense to bring the two together in a way that gives both of them publicity. Both are at the top of their game, both have a great fan base and both are well liked. Mark your calendar for Saturday, 7:00 p.m. eastern time to watch Robert Griffin III show the rest of the field to the green flag while driving the pace car at Richmond International Raceway, the Toyota Owners 400.
Commentary by Jabar Morarend