Harrisburg, Pa. – A host of NASCAR drivers and personalities suited up for an out-of-the ordinary competition Wednesday, as they took part in the Second Annual Celebrity Softball Game between Dover International Speedway and Pocono Raceway at the home of the Harrisburg (Pa.) Senators.
Clint Bowyer, with support from Elliott Sadler, captained Team Dover to a dramatic 9-8 walk-off win over Team Pocono, which was led by Kevin Harvick, and also featured James Buescher and Joey Coulter. Additionally, two Miss Sprint Cups participated, playing against one another in this heated battle. The game was part of NASCAR’s Victory Tour program to promote the May 31-June 2 race weekend at Dover, and the June 7-9 race weekend at Pocono.
Dover stormed out to an 8-2 lead on the strength of a monster two-run home run in the third inning by Sadler. Pocono began chipping away, capping it off with an top of the eighth inning rally that lead to a grand slam homer by a Pocono Raceway staff member to tie the game heading into the final half inning.
Three base hits in the bottom of the eighth by Dover, however, loaded the bases with no outs to allow the Monster Mile to walk the game off with a base hit.
While Team Dover won the game, avenging last year’s loss to Team Pocono, Harvick said the fun of the day made those in attendance the real winners.
“It was a good show for the fans,” he said. “This is by far the best [Victory Tour] appearance I’ve ever done.”
Harvick and Bowyer were entertaining throughout the game, putting on a show for fans that included Bowyer kicking up dirt at an umpire and riling the crowd up with some Hulk Hogan-like gestures. Harvick noted, however, that Bowyer might have gotten a little too distracted.
“The guy didn’t show up for half the innings,” Harvick joked, as Bowyer left his second base position vacant for a few innings while interacting with fans.
Rosters were rounded out by members of the media, but the real star of the day had to be NASCAR Nationwide Series regular Sadler, who had two hits, one of which was a monster home run to center field.
Sadler, who admittedly plays softball about 120 days a year, showed up, as he described it, “prepared.” Bowyer, however, joked that it was a bit much.
“He was wearing baseball pants! That was just uncomfortable,” Bowyer said. “And he had a cup on!”
During the driver media availability that followed the game, with the skies opening and delaying the evening’s Harrisburg Senators versus Reading Fightin’ Phils game, Harvick was challenged by Ollie’s Bargain Oultet owner, Mark Butler, to slide across the wet tarp. To put an exclamation on the day, Butler, who is partial owner of the Senators, donated $5,000 to the Kevin Harvick Foundation for his accepting and completing the challenge at hand.
With that game now behind them, Bowyer, Harvick, Sadler, Coulter and Buescher will prepare for the race weekends at the Monster Mile and The Tricky Triangle, both very different challenges on back-to-back weekends.
“That’s what’s cool about our sport,” Bowyer said. “You’ve got to adapt. And going to Dover and Pocono two weekends in a row forces you to do that.”
NASCAR action returns to Dover International Speedway on May 31-June 2 with the June 2 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the June 1 “5-hour ENERGY 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race and the May 31 “Lucas Oil 200” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. For tickets or more information, call 800-441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com.
The following weekend, NASCAR’s top touring series head to Long Pond, Pa., for the June 7-9 Party in the Pocono 400 Presented by Walmart race weekend Tickets for the race, due to the Walmart partnership, start at $25 across their entire Concourse Grandstand sections. For tickets and more information, call 800-722-3929 or visit PoconoRaceway.com