RGIII is really Richmond’s NASCAR pace car driver


(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

You’ll recall that late last month, in the middle of some NCAA tournament games, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Robert Griffin III and Richmond International Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier got together on Twitter and decided that RGIII should be the pace-car driver for this weekend’s Toyota Owners 400, which will take place not terribly far from Washington’s training camp home.

The next day, Bickmeier told me this wasn’t just a bit of late-night social media madness.

“Our plan at this point is we’d love to connect with Robert and the Redskins and certainly determine his availability,” Bickmeier told me. “I don’t even know if he knew the actual date of the race. We have to determine all those things first, but we would love to have him. We’ve got a good spot for him, and I think giving him kind of an immersion in NASCAR would be pretty cool. I think it’s a win for everybody.”

Well, the victory is actually happening. The track announced on Wednesday that Griffin will be the official pace car driver Saturday night.

“Prior to Griffin leading the field of 43 NASCAR drivers to the Green Flag, he’ll go through Pace Car training, spend some time with his pal Dale Earnhardt Jr., and get together with legendary Washington Redskins Coach and NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs for a garage tour,” according to a press release.

Do you think Gibbs giving Griffin a garage tour, and Junior hanging out with Griffin trackside, and Griffin driving an official pace car will create some good photo-ops? Because I do.

Combine that with a trip to the White House to meet the President and the First Lady, and you could probably say this is an okay week in RGIII land.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg | April 23