Innocently enough, the reach and breadth of social media helped NASCAR's most popular driver and Richmond International Raceway turn a star NFL quarterback into an honorary NASCAR official last month.
The Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin III, thanks to a special invite from longtime Redskins fan Dale Earnhardt Jr., savored his first NASCAR experience at the Toyota Owners 400 on April 26. A suggestion from Richmond track president Dennis Bickmeier transformed Griffin from mere celebrity guest to pace-car driver for the start.
RGIII didn't need much prodding, as evidenced by a YouTube video posted Wednesday by the track. The two-minute recap details Griffin's visit from his pace-car training, his media rounds and his interaction with former Sprint Cup champion Matt Kenseth, who currently drives for Joe Gibbs, the legendary former Redskins coach.
Griffin said during a pre-race media session that he would "let the professionals do the driving" over taking a chance behind the wheel of a race car in the Saturday night main event. Leading the 43-car field to the green flag sufficed as a once-in-a-lifetime consolation prize.