Typically, it is Jeff Gordon in Victory Lane receiving the accolades. On Thursday, August 24, 2012, he was the one that was giving the accolades to a very special recipient. As part of an unusual public appearance, the NASCAR Spring Cup driver was at the Georgia Aquarium to speak about NASCAR and to take the role of race official in a race between Jimmie and Dale. Jimmie and Dale are both bottlenose dolphins. After the initial race, the two tied and fans voted for their favorite to break the tie. Of course Dale won. Gordon then awarded a shiny trophy filled with fish to the victor. There is no indication as to whether or not Dale ended up sharing any of the spoils of victory with Jimmie.
Though it may seem like a silly distraction from reality, in actuality this was designed to promote an upcoming race. On Sunday, September 2, the Sprint Cup drivers will be in Atlanta, Georgia, for the AdvoCare 500 held at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This is one of just a few races left on the schedule before the Chase for the Cup begins. The Chase will include the top 10 drivers in the points standings and the next two top drivers based on number of wins. Gordon is still able to make the Chase, but it will be a difficult task.
As a fan, I like seeing new things like this. Though the driver isn't doing charity work or anything of that type, he is doing something good. He is providing family friendly entertainment and a little joy to the day of a variety of individuals. This type of publicity is a stark contrast to the other headlines of the day that will likely focus on drug suspensions and allegations of cheating in the sports world. Though Gordon needs a great finish to make the Chase for the Cup, he is still one of the more popular drivers. If anyone can pull off a miracle to jump into the Chase, it would definitely be Gordon. I would love to see more of these offbeat publicity moments. Plus, they provide one more way for fans to interact with drivers.
Kristin Watt has been a NASCAR Winston Cup, now Sprint Cup, fan for as long as she can remember starting way back when she was a little girl and her mother would sit on the couch with her every Sunday during the season to watch the races. Back then, they were fans of Bill Elliott and newcomer Davey Allison.