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Why the Spongebob 400 is Actually a Flashback

This weekend NASCAR will have a very unique race sponsor.  Spongebob Squarepants will have the honor of being the title sponsor of this weeks Saturday night race under the lights at Kansas Speedway.  For new race fans there is nothing different about this race, but for me and many fans in the 90's, this race brings back a theme that I wish NASCAR would bring back.  

Back in the day NASCAR had an annual event at Richmond Speedway entitled the Looney Tunes 400.  During this event select drivers such as Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick would have a specific character they would run on the car.  It was a unique night with unique paint schemes, but sadly it disappeared after the 2003 season.  Now, I know this is all about sponsorship, because without the Looney Tunes sponsor, there would have been no paint schemes.  I just wish NASCAR could go back and do a similar event.  

Jeff Gordon, Bugs Bunny racecar

I think as fans, one of our biggest complaints is that NASCAR is becoming too much of a business.  Don't get me wrong racing is a business and money has to be made to help our sport grow, but now a days things just seem more like Wall Street than the good ole boys racing on a Saturday night.  I know that this one event doesn't change the business aspect, but at least it is one night built for race fans to have something in common with drivers.  Bugs Bunny on the #24 gave something for fans to admire and hold on to in the early 2000's, and actually brings the drivers back down to earth in a weird way.  

I know I am probably making too much out of a basic issue, but this weekend 4 cars will showcase 4 main characters from the Bikini Bottom based show that most 90's kids grew up on.  It doesn't compare to the Looney Tune characters once ran on the cars, but at least brings a more playful setting to the track.  It may sound stupid, but seeing Spongebob on a car makes me feel like NASCAR is trying to add a little fun and not be so serious all the time.  This is something the sport needs more often.  These days there are too many concerns on sponsors, ticket prices, and merchandise sales.  

Well, there you have it.  Not too much to say, but I hope that this weekends race brings back at least a few old time memories from back in the day.  While watching the race this weekend look for Spongebob (David Ragan #55), Patrick Star (Greg Biffle #16), Larry the Lobster (Michael McDowell #95), and Squidward Tentacles (Casey Mears #13), on select race cars. 

The four paint schemes to look for this weekend

(Stats:  jayski.com,     Images: jayski.com, nascar.com)


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