by: Jack Bratcher
He is a mixed martial arts legend. He is the only person ever to hold the UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight titles. He is a trainer, coach, entrepreneur, and actor. He is a race car driver? Well sort of. Randy Couture will serve as honorary race official and will drive the pace car at the Pepsi 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, August 31 in San Bernardino County, California. Couture will be leading the herd to the green flag from behind the wheel of the official Chevrolet pace car according to the Xtreme Couture blog.
Traditionally, the pace car, also known as the safety car, is a car which not only brings the participants around the track and to the starting point but the pace car also limits the speed of competing cars on a racetrack in the case of a caution period such as when a wreck occurs. The pace car leads the field at a pre-determined safe speed and the other drivers are not allowed to pass one another. Once the caution period has ended, the pace car leaves the track and the race resumes. However, Couture will most likely only be driving the pace car at the start of the Pepsi 500 and not during caution periods.
Affliction Entertainment has teamed up with NASCAR’s Michael Waltrip for a one-race deal to sponsor the No. 00 car driven by Mike Skinner. The Affliction sponsored Toyota will be be covered in graphics promoting the October 11 Day of Reckoning event being held at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas and airing live on pay-per-view. The event will be headlined by former UFC heavyweight champions Andrei Arlovski vs. Josh Barnett.
Tom Atencio, vice president of Affliction Entertainment said, “Affliction is proud to make racing history as the first MMA organization to sponsor a car in NASCAR” and “NASCAR fans are huge supporters of MMA and this is a great collaboration for both sports.”
Other notable names involved include American Idol’s Bo Bice who will be singing the Star-Spangled Banner and Drew Carey who will serve as Grand Marshall and tell the drivers to start their engines. Also attending will be The Hill’s favorite bad-couple, Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, who will be serving as honorary starters and waving the green flag.