I don't think any snarky intro I can think up could be any better than just a straight announcement that there will be a new line of NASCAR-themed Harlequin romance novels hitting a bookstore near you soon.
The new project, in conjunction with romance publisher Harlequin Enterprises Ltd., kicks off with "In the Groove," to be published in late January, right before the Daytona 500. It's an attempt to appeal to a female fan base that isn't likely to be wooed by Caterpillar and Lowe's. Of NASCAR's estimated 75 million fans, roughly 40 percent are female.
Gentlemen, start your emotions.
"When the wife or girlfriend goes to get a book about NASCAR, so many times it's a book that they would get for their husband or boyfriend," said Kerry Tharp, NASCAR's director of public relations for licensing. "Now, maybe they can get a book that they would be more interested in and still have the NASCAR storylines."
The novels will feature NASCAR themes and have the NASCAR logo on the cover. The first will be written by Pamela Britton, the author of such works as "Tempted," "Cowboy Lessons" and "Dangerous Curves." NASCAR established a set of editorial and style guidelines for the novels to help protect the sport's image.
The mind reels at the possible permutations if this takes off:
Fabio as the Grand Marshal of the Daytona 500.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. swapping Budweiser for Celestial Seasonings.
The traditional champagne-spraying celebration in Victory Lane being replaced by a long bubble bath.
Kurt Busch resolving his problems by writing heartfelt notes on scented stationery instead of punting whoever he's mad at into the wall. (Wait. That one's not such a bad idea.)