Dale Jr. to drive car, take part in coin toss during Friday’s TaxSlayer Bowl

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On Wednesday, downtown dwellers in Jacksonville, Florida were treated to the sight of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Chevy Camaro rumbling through the streets.

Earnhardt himself wasn’t driving the car, which was being filmed for a pre-game stadium video promo for Friday’s TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Tennessee Volunteers.

But NASCAR’s most popular driver will bring the 88 car onto the field just before the B1G-SEC battle. He’ll also be taking part in the coin toss.

TaxSlayer is a major sponsor for Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports stable in the XFINITY Series. The company is usually found on JRM’s No. 7 Chevy Camaro for driver Regan Smith, who will also be at Friday’s game.

“It is a good marriage,” JR Motorsports’ marketing director Kelly Lumsden said to the Florida Times-Union. “Dale and Regan picked winners for each week of the college football season for others to pick against, and the winner of that will be at the game…

“…It is a good awareness campaign putting their brand out and growing it. And the team will get a lot of lift off this game because [Earnhardt] will tweet from it and show that he’s there.”

The 88 car’s romp through Jacksonville should look pretty sweet on the video boards at EverBank Field (home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars). The stadium’s 362-foot-wide boards are the largest LED high-definition screens in the world.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.