Larry Fedora will help lead the Sprint Cup Series field to the green flag at Martinsville on March 30.
The North Carolina coach is going to be the honorary pace car driver for the Cup race at the half-mile paperclip track in Virginia.
“Last year at Martinsville was my first short-track race and it was phenomenal,” Fedora said in a track statement. “That’s where it’s at. It’s non-stop action all the time. It’s exciting and high-tempo. It’s pretty special at Martinsville.”
“I’m extremely excited … I really can’t tell you how excited I am. I’ve done a ride-along and I plan on driving a race car one day, but this is the biggest thing for me so far."
He won't get to drive too fast at Martinsville, however. Since the track is so small, the pace car speed is considerably slower than what we drive on the highway every day. Pit road speed is 35 MPH, and Fedora may get the car in the neighborhood of 45 MPH. He won't get a chance to leadfoot it. Though we'd love to see what NASCAR would do if he tried.
Last season, Martinsville had Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer drive the pace car. So next year, it stands to reason that Virginia's Mike London or North Carolina State's Dave Doeren will get their shots.
We also have a request for Darlington Raceway: Please put South Carolina's Steve Spurrier in the pace car for your race in April. Or better yet, give Spurrier and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney equal pace cars and have them drive around the track known as "The Lady in Black" for state supremacy. Oh, and Spurrier has to do it shirtless.
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