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Jay Busbee

Monkeys can -- and did -- sell programs at Texas Motor Speedway

Jay Busbee
From The Marbles

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Say this for Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage: the man knows how to spin chicken salad out of chicken ... well, let's say "leavings." He's NASCAR's P.T. Barnum, a guy who can spin wacky promotions out of thin air.

You'll recall that earlier this year, he pulled off an elaborate April Fool's Day joke in which a local DJ apparently agreed to change his name to "Texas Motor Speedway" for a year. For the fall race, Gossage thought smaller ... but much louder and smellier.

During planning meetings for the fall race, track officials discussed the idea of selling more programs to increase revenue. TMS President Bruton Smith mused that "monkeys could sell programs," and naturally, Gossage took him at his word. His staff tracked down two trained capuchin monkeys to handle the sales duties.

The monkeys, named Miki and Rocky, made several appearances throughout the weekend, accepting $10 bills -- Gossage reportedly advised passersby that the monkeys don't make change -- and handing out the programs they didn't shred.

This marks the latest chapter in the bizarre tale of NASCAR monkeys. Tony Stewart had a monkey named Mojo by his side for three years, until Mojo started getting too feisty. (Too feisty for Stewart? I'm thinking Mojo was stealing Smoke's beer.) And back in 1953, Tim Flock actually drove eight races with a monkey named Jocko Flocko in his car, posting a win and six top-10s. Chad Knaus may want to look into the idea.

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