FORT WORTH, Texas — Ford’s group of NASCAR drivers headed to the Dallas Cowboys’ indoor practice home, the Ford Center in Frisco, on Thursday night.
They played a pickup game of flag football. They toured the facility and ate dinner in the war room.
Oh, and they had a surprise visit with Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.
“The head coach, what a cool thing that was, 8 o’clock last night, he comes walking in the door, introduces himself,” Clint Bowyer said. “He was there watching game film, getting ready for the draft. It’s fun to learn other people’s worlds and the dedication it takes to have success and certainly they have that going on over there.”
Bowyer smiled and then said, “I still like my (hometown team) Chiefs, though.”
But Bowyer and the Ford drivers enjoyed their time at the Cowboys’ facility. Fellow driver Ryan Blaney couldn’t have envisioned a better facility for a football team.
“It’s amazing. I know if I was a college kid coming out, trying to figure out what team to go to, that’d sell me,” Blaney said. “Sign me up. Where do I sign. It’s really impressive.”
Along with Bowyer and Blaney, other Ford drivers on hand included Brad Keselowski, Trevor Bayne, Aric Almirola, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Paul Menard, Joey Logano, Matt DeBenedetto, Michael McDowell, David Ragan and Kurt Busch.
Of course, the flag football game grew competitive. Bowyer was still kicking himself for dropping what should have been an easy catch. He also recalled being blocked on a play by fellow driver Michael McDowell.
“It felt like a linebacker,” Bowyer said. “It should’ve felt like a horse jockey hitting you or something. This was a full-on linebacker that hit me, knocked the hell out of me. We shared a laugh. I really did enjoy that.”
As far as the best driver-turned-football-player, Bowyer pointed to Stenhouse Jr. But he said Stenhouse had an advantage after the University of Kansas provided him with wide receivers gloves on a recent promotional trip to Kansas Speedway.
“Let me tell you something — they ought to ban them things,” Bowyer said, laughing. “That’s ridiculous. It made a football player out of him whether he was the quarterback or receiver or anything else. He just had to hold his hand up and the ball basically just stayed there. He was clearly cheating.
“Leave it up to a bunch of racers to try and cheat up a football game. We may or may not have been hiding our flags, tying them up.”