Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith to tackle NASCAR
The NFL and NASCAR will intersect again when Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith serves as honorary pace car driver for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
The 58th running of the mid-summer NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona will take place under the Saturday night lights on July 2.
Smith, who played collegiately at Florida State University before being chosen by the Jaguars in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, will lead the field around the 2.5-mile tri-oval in a Toyota Camry Pace Car prior to the start of the 160-lap, 400-mile race. Smith will also participate in a question-and-answer session in the Sprint FanZone, as well as participating in pre-race ceremonies and attending the drivers' meeting.
It will be a first-time experience that Smith said he is looking forward to.
"I'm looking forward to this great experience," Smith said. "I've never been to a NASCAR event before, so the opportunity to attend my first race, as well as drive the pace car, will make for an unforgettable evening."
Track president Chip Wile said he is pleased to have the opportunity to show Smith the NASCAR ropes, so to speak.
"Daytona International Speedway has enjoyed a great relationship with the Jacksonville Jaguars, including driver Jamie McMurray participating in football practice in 2014," Wile said. "This year, we're excited to return the favor and host Telvin Smith at the 'World Center of Racing' and have him pace the field prior to the green flag for Saturday night's mid-summer classic."
In 2015, Smith started all 14 games he played in, totaling 128 tackles (99 solo), as well as registering his first NFL touchdown on a 26-yard interception return against the Buffalo Bills in the Jaguars' win in London. Smith also owns the NFL's longest active streak of 16 consecutive games with six-plus tackles.
In his two-year NFL career, Smith has started 24 games and his 227 total tackles are the most ever by a Jaguars player in their first two seasons. In 2014 his 99 tackles were ranked third among NFL rookies and he was one of only two rookies to record multiple sacks and an interception during their rookie season.