Traffic safety advocates scored a major coup when NASCAR announced its support of reduced speed limits.
NASCAR is hoping people will slow down as they drive through cities and towns around the country.
NASCAR officials announced today in Daytona that the organization will participate in a national "20 Is Plenty" campaign to educate drivers on the dangers of driving too fast. "Basically we're asking drivers to watch NASCAR but not act NASCAR," said NASCAR President Mike Helton at a press conference announcing the new campaign.
"Don't do what we're doing, please," added Helton. "It's not good for anyone's health."
The "20 Is Plenty" campaign will make its first appearance in signage at the Geico 500, held at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama—one of the most notoriously dangerous racetracks in the country.
In addition to outdoor advertising, print ads in racing magazines, and audio announcements on radio broadcasts and at the racetrack, the NASCAR Foundation will fund advertising blocks to run during national race telecasts. Spike Jonze, director of a music video showing Jay-Z and Kanye West driving a highly modified Mercedes Benz in Downey, California, has been tapped to direct the TV spots.
The advertisement campaign and public service announcements will feature Matt Kenseth, driver of the 20 car for Joe Gibbs Racing. "Focusing on the number 20 is a concept I can get behind," said Kenseth at the press conference announcing the campaign. "But when you're driving through my neighborhood, focus on not going above 20 miles per hour. I have kids."
Initial fan reaction has not reflected NASCAR's sudden, surprising interest in the personal safety of automobile travelers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Reactions on social media have expressed concern that the "20 Is Plenty" campaign is the first sign of a slippery slope into broader environmental concerns that have traditionally been antithetical to the speed and gasoline consumption inherent in NASCAR. Twitter user @KennyLogginsJr summed up the general mood of NASCAR fans in reaction to the news: "What next? Will Joe Gibbs Racing start running Teslas in the Daytona 500?"
NASCAR's announcement adds major corporate clout to the growing success of local "20 Is Plenty" campaigns around the country and world. New York City and Hoboken have implemented official speed limit initiatives in the past. More recently, residents of Portland and New York City have implemented guerrilla "20 Is Plenty" campaigns, and Edinburgh, Scotland implemented a speed limit of 20 miler per hour throughout much of the city.
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