Head coach Gus Malzahn, who engineered one of the biggest turnarounds in college football history with the Auburn Tigers last season, will be the honorary pace car driver for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Motor Speedway on Sunday. This might be one of the oddest honors ever bestowed on a coach in college football history. If one thing is for sure, only in Alabama would this happen.
It is normal for coaches to be honored for turning programs around, but I’m not sure there has ever been an honor as bizarre as Malzahn’s. Sure, he deserves some kind of recognition, but couldn’t the state of Alabama think of something a little more normal?
What Malzahn was able to do for the Tigers in his first season as the teams’ head coach was nothing short of amazing. Taking a team from a 3-9 record, the programs’ worst season in 60 years, to a 12-2 record and a spot in the BCS national championship game was incredible.
Although it is quite bizarre, it’s fitting for a man who stresses a hurry-up offense. Just like how he led the Tigers’ offense, Malzahn will lead the drivers around the track during the pre-race pace laps. He will be joined by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who will serve as the grand marshal for the race.
Malzahn must feel honored to have such a rare opportunity. It’s not every day that a person gets to be the pace car driver for one of NASCAR‘s most famous races. Tiger fans across the country will likely tune into the race to watch the teams’ coach lead the state’s biggest event of the year.