Dogs in Sports: NASCAR going to the dogs

Despite seeming odd on first glance, there is a noticeable canine presence in NASCAR.

Our pets are part of our lives, just as deeply ingrained as sports are. So it’s no surprise that they would appear in various roles within sports, either, and NASCAR is no different.

There is a canine presence across all three national series.

Kyle Busch, the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, drives for powerhouse team Joe Gibbs Racing, with his primary sponsorship coming from supercompany Mars, Inc., most often advertising M&Ms. But for a decade now, Pedigree Dog Food has appeared several times per season on the No. 18 Toyota Camry, and occasionally Banfield Pet Hospital shows up as well.

Busch owns his own championship-winning team, Kyle Busch Motorsports, in the Camping World Truck Series (think Double-A baseball), and Pedigree, Royal Canin and Banfield Pet Hospital all often appear on his trucks, most notably the No. 4 Toyota Tundra of Todd Gilliland.

In the XFINITY Series (think Triple-A baseball), Chase Briscoe of Roush Fenway Racing has been sponsored by Nutri Chomps dog treats in roughly half his races this season. RFR’s top-notch social media team gets fully invested in this partnership:

Many fans bring their pup to the racetrack to join in the fun of camping, too, as was the case with this cool German Shepherd earlier in the summer at Michigan International Speedway:

Furthermore, NASCAR is partnering with NBC Sports and the Animal League network of shelters, putting on an ongoing adoption event known as the “NASCAR Pup Series” at various racetracks each weekend.

Former driver Dale Earnhardt Jr regularly tweets about his dogs’ doings:

Dallas, one of the dogs of Danica Patrick, NASCAR’s most successful female driver, became so much of a superstar by association that she became a plush toy. (Dallas is on the right in this photo.)

Dallas once operated her own Twitter account, though it hasn’t been updated in quite a while.

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