I love Texas. They do everything big there. For example: the pace car for the Dickies 500. It wasn't driven to the track. It arrived by Chinook helicopter, whose crew treated the end of pit road like a hot zone. The pace car driver? It wasn't some washed-up TV actor. It was U.S. Marine Col. Doug Hurley, a space shuttle pilot who is a season ticket holder at Texas Motor Speedway. Credit TMS president Eddie Gossage for keeping things interesting. The helicopter landing and pace car entrance were captured by this fan:
Pace Car arrives at NASCAR race by helicopter
According to the Dallas Morning News, Hurley was asked by a reporter if he was able to see the track from space. Hurley said he could not, but Gossage jumped in and said, "I think what you meant to ask is, 'Is it true that you could see Texas Motor Speedway but you could not see the Cowboys' stadium?' "
A really grand entrance (Dallas Morning News)