I realize we’re now several days removed from Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, but sometimes my mind wanders and contemplates some of the most off-the wall things. For whatever reason, I was thinking about Kurt Busch and the No. 51 Phoenix Racing team’s rendition of Ricky Bobby from the movie, “Talladega Nights.”
In case you missed it, Busch’s girlfriend Patricia worked a couple of months or so getting the permission need from various people and groups — and come to find out there were a lot of them and a lot of red tape to go through — to turn Busch’s No. 51 into the car Will Ferrell’s character in the movie raced at Talladega near the end of the film. You know, the paint schme with the couger and the word “Me” emblazoned on the hood.
Busch’s No. 51 even carried a stuffed couger, a la the couger Bobby’s dad put in the movie race car in an attempt to get Bobby to overcome his fear and drive faster.
The paint scheme was put on Busch’s unsponsored race car to bring awareness to the veterans assistance group that Busch’s girlfiend works for, but the focus seemed to be more on the “Talladega Nights” referenced paint scheme. As an added bonus and for added entertainment, Busch and the No. 51 used movie lines during their in-race radio communications whenever the opportunities presented themselves.
“Slingshot engaged.” Okay, I just couldn’t help myself there.
Anyway, here’s where my mind really wandered. The No. 51 car is unsponsored for a number of races, so wouldn’t it be fun to remember other racing movies via Phoenix Racing? And if we’re going to stay within the bounds of cheesy, corny racing movies, how about that Burt Reynolds classic, “Stroker Ace”?
Maybe I’m revealing may age with this idea, but then again, I was rather young when this classic was released and it does re-air on television every now and again. But I digress.
Anyway, wouldn’t it be hilarious to see car owner James Finch in the role of Ned Beatty’s character, Clyde Torkel, and see Busch walk across the stage during driver introductions, donning a chicken suit and introduced as driver of the No. 51 Torkel’s Chicken Pit Chevrolet that carries the slogan, “The fastest chicken in the South.”
Heck, even Busch’s aforementioned girlfriend could get in on the act by playing the Pembrook Feeny role (originally played by Loni Anderson).
The only driver introductions shown on television are generally those for the Sprint All-Star race, which just happens to be coming up next weekend. But I’m sure FOX would interrupt its pre-race coverage to show Kurt Busch in a chicken suit.
Come to think of it, maybe this would be a good idea for the upcoming All-Star race. But then again, when it’s said that “anything goes” for the All-Star race, this kind of thing probably isn’t exactly what generally comes to mind.
Again, it’s just a thought.
Before I close out this corny ramble, here’s a nugget of, perhaps useless, NASCAR trivia for you:
The movie’s leading actor, Burt Reynolds, and director, Hal Needham, did own a Sprint (then-Winston) Cup team back in the day.
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Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR