Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson is from Kansas. He went to Kansas State University, and has since blossomed into one of the most underrated but solid receivers in the National Football League.
Because of the whole “small town Kansas guy” background, the Wisconsin Tourism board made an ad with him last year falling in love with the state of Wisconsin and becoming a “small town Wisconsin guy” – complete with all the obvious and expected “hey, we’re not in Kansas anymore!” jokes.
That ad, in case you didn’t get to see it nationally (chances are, you probably did), is below.
So what does any of this have to do with racing, you ask?
Nelson gets to go home again when he’ll drive the Toyota Highlander pace car for the Kansas 400, Saturday night, May 10, at Kansas Speedway. The news was reported earlier Tuesday by Sporting News’ Bob Pockrass and Charlotte Observer’s Jim Utter, among others.
Kansas native Jordy Nelson, wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, will drive the pace car prior to start of Cup race at Kansas in few wks
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) April 22, 2014
Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson will drive pace car to start the Kansas 400
— Jim Utter (@jim_utter) April 22, 2014
Nelson, understandably, is thrilled with the opportunity.
“Getting the chance to drive alongside some of the greatest racers in the world is truly a dream come true,” Nelson said in a track release. “I couldn’t think of a better place to do it than at my home-state track, Kansas Speedway.”
It’s not the first time an NFL player has been linked to driving a pace car at a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this year. Earlier this month, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Richmond International Raceway president Dennis Bickmeier and Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III were collectively tweeting each other to discuss the possibility of RGIII doing the honors this weekend. But that didn’t gain traction.
This did, and is, for the guy who’s one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets.