Before last week’s Daytona 500, Vince Vaughn gave a “pep talk” to NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon as part of the promotion for Vaughn’s upcoming film Unfinished Business. It only partially worked; Gordon ran up front for the first half of the race before slipping back and then getting caught up in a wreck on the final lap.
The video stunt was just the latest example of those not so infrequent moments when America’s favorite motorsport has met with pop culture. Here are five more entertaining crossovers you might not have known existed.
1. Brad Keselowski guest stars on TBS sitcom Sullivan & Son
Keselowski may not have a lot of friends in NASCAR, but he had plenty when he made a cameo on the TV show Sullivan & Son last season. When Brad visited the fictional Pittsburgh bar, he won over owner Steve (Steve Byrne) and Steve’s mom Ok Cha (Jodi Long) when asked where he cashes his giant winner’s checks (his response: at a giant ATM). It probably won’t surprise you to add that one of Sullivan & Son‘s executive producers was Vince Vaughn.
2. Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With an Engine
NASCAR doesn’t have the greatest track record (pun intended) with video games. One amusing exception is Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With an Engine, which is the most off-the-wall racing game ever created. We’re pretty sure it’s the only game in which you can race a barstool, a shopping cart, a lawnmower and a bathtub. Then blow them up with mines and missiles. And yes, Jimmie is a playable character.
3. The NASCAR slot machine
Three years ago, Bally Technologies licensed NASCAR signage and drivers for a slot machine. It’s mostly been retired now, but you can get a glimpse at the gameplay. The unique feature was that you could choose to play as one of several drivers, including Johnson, Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Clint Bowyer. Bonus games included pit stops and naturally, a race.
4. Earnhardt, Johnson and Keselowski in ESPN’s ‘This is SportsCenter‘ commercials
NASCAR drivers have been featured in several of ESPN’s popular spots. Earnhardt gave directions that only involved left turns and fixed an anchor’s computer, while Johnson was found in the parking lot trying to remove the speed bump. Keselowski found Western Kentucky University’s mascot Big Red trying to catch a ride home in the No. 2 car.
5. Gordon and his team do the Harlem Shake
Gordon has always been willing to have a little fun; when The Simpsons was criticized for its brief celebrity cameos last year, the producers called in Gordon to do a one-line appearance, basically poking fun at themselves. So it’s no surprise that when Harlem Shake videos were all the rage, Gordon and his crew decided to make one. You can check it out here. It’s safe to say he drives better than he dances.
From Ricky Bobby to Vince Vaughn, NASCAR’s popularity has seen it make its way into the media mainstream more often than you think. What are your favorite instances of motorsports meeting pop culture? Let us know in the comments below.