Sunday, May 24, 2015

Panthers' Thomas Davis: 'I'm definitely becoming a big race fan'

   Carolina Panthers outside linebacker, Thomas Davis, was the honorary pace car driver for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Before beginning his "official" duties, Davis and his family got a behind-the-scenes look at NASCAR on Sunday afternoon.

   "I got my kids out here with me now in the infield taking this all in and enjoying the experience. I am definitely becoming a big race fan. This is truly awesome," said Davis, who was named the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year this season.

   "Driving the pace car is going to be the game day adrenaline, I’m sure. I am extremely honored to be the pace car driver for tonight’s race. I am just going to go out there and have fun with it and get it done.”  

   Following his appearance Sunday at the infield media center, Davis met Taya Kyle, wife of famed U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (upon whom the movie “American Sniper” is based). 

   Kyle was signing autographs for media and took a few minutes to meet Davis. The two exchanged stories, and autographs, before going their separate ways for additional appearances.

Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, right, smiles at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., left, as they prepare to get into a race car and take laps around the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway  on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Davis went through pace car certification to prepare for his duties as honorary pace car driver for the May 24 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Afterward, Earnhardt Jr. drove Davis to give him some hot laps in a No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet. (David T. Foster III,