NASCAR’s Chris Buescher highlights LeBron James Family Foundation with No. 17 car

LeBron James isn’t making a career switch, but his presence will be felt at the NASCAR FireKeepers Casino 400.

On Sunday, Aug. 7, Chris Buescher’s No. 17 car will feature numerous references to James’ humanitarian efforts, including the logo for the LeBron James Family Foundation and multiple mentions of James’ I PROMISE School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. 

Following the reveal of the new look of the No. 17 car, James took to Twitter to share his excitement, sharing that it’s “for the love of my kids and families.”

So, why NASCAR, why now, and why the No. 17 car?

Why is LeBron James featured on Chris Buescher’s No. 17 car?

James is one of the biggest stars that the NBA has ever seen, partly because his stardom is not limited to the realm of the basketball world.

Since 2011, James has held a minority ownership stake in Liverpool FC, a stake that was increased in 2021 when James and business partner Maverick Carter became official partners of the Fenway Sports Group (FSG). In addition to the Red Sox and Liverpool FC, FSG is a parent company of RFK Racing, the stock car organization that fields Buescher’s No. 17 car as well as Brad Keselowski’s No. 6 car.

The partnership paved the way for James’ foundation and school to be prominently featured in Sunday’s race.

LeBron James’ history with NASCAR

As big of a star as James is, it should come as no surprise that Sunday is not the first time that his name or likeness was featured on a stock car.

In 2005, an animated version of James appeared on Bobby Labonte’s No. 18 car for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The collaboration, which was done as part of a partnership with Powerade, led to a 20-year-old James attending the race in Tennessee.

NBA’s presence in NASCAR

LeBron’s presence at the FireKeepers Casino 400 is a reminder that the NBA and NASCAR worlds have been intertwined for some time now.

The most notable example is Michael Jordan.

In 2020, Jordan, along with Denny Hamlin, founded 23XI Racing, an organization that fields Bubba Wallace’s No. 23 car and Kurt Busch’s No. 45.

While Jordan now has the biggest ownership presence by far, former No. 1 overall draft pick Brad Daugherty has long been involved in NASCAR as a broadcaster and former team owner.

Among other NBA stars to have made appearances at NASCAR races are Magic Johnson, Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki and Shaquille O’Neal.

NASCAR Cup Series schedule 2022

Date Race Track Time (ET) TV channel Radio
Aug. 7 FireKeepers Casino 400 Michigan International Speedway 3 p.m. USA MRN
Aug. 14 Federated Auto Parts 400 Richmond Raceway 3 p.m. USA MRN
Aug. 21 Go Bowling at the Glen Watkins Glen International 3 p.m. USA MRN
Aug. 27 Coke Zero Sugar 400 Daytona International Speedway 7 p.m. NBC MRN

NASCAR schedule 2022: Playoff races

(All times Eastern)

Date Race Track Time (ET) TV channel Radio
Sept. 4 Southern 500 Darlington Raceway 6 p.m. USA MRN
Sept. 11 Hollywood Casino 400 Kansas Speedway 3 p.m. USA MRN
Sept. 17 Bass Pro Shops Night Race Bristol Motor Speedway 7:30 p.m. USA PRN
Sept. 25 AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Texas Motor Speedway 3:30 p.m. USA PRN
Oct. 2 YellaWood 500 Talladega Superspeedway 2 p.m. NBC MRN
Oct. 9 Bank of America ROVAL 400 Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL 2 p.m. NBC PRN
Oct. 16 South Point 400 Las Vegas Motor Speedway 2:30 p.m. NBC PRN
Oct. 23 Dixie Vodka 400 Homestead-Miami Speedway 2:30 p.m. NBC MRN
Oct. 30 Xfinity 500 Martinsville Speedway 2 p.m. NBC MRN
Nov. 6 NASCAR Cup Series Championship Phoenix Raceway 3 p.m. NBC MRN

In Canada, fans can watch all NASCAR races on TSN.

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