"It's a trophy, right?"
-- Clint Bowyer
"Everybody's like … 'Why is that there?'' the Michael Waltrip Racing driver said. "Hey, it's a trophy."
Indeed it is. New Hampshire Motor Speedway, site of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, has been awarding a giant lobster straight out of the tank to its winners since 2010. Bowyer has one, by virtue of his victory at the Granite State track in September of that year. And like any other prized animal, the oversized crustacean is mounted on his wall.
"I figure, it's a trophy, right?" Bowyer said. It's the idea of track general manager Jerry Gappens, who during his days at Charlotte as top lieutenant to Humpy Wheeler has always had a flair for the unusual. The lobster is supplied by Makris, a restaurant and seafood institution down the highway from the track in Loudon, and after Victory Lane -- well, let's just say the beast isn't pardoned like the president's Thanksgiving turkey.
According to "Bon Appetit" magazine, Makris pressure cooks the lobster and removes six pounds of meat. The meat is flash frozen, packaged up and then shipped to the winning pit crew at the next stop on the NASCAR tour -- in this case home, since Loudon is followed by an off week. A taxidermist reassembles the shell, paints it to look like the lobster's former snapping and clawing self, and mounts it to send to the winning driver. And sometimes, it ends up on a wall.
Here is a look at the lobster that Sunday's winner of the Camping World RV Sales 301 (1 p.m. ET, TNT) will receive.