Star Lotulelei gets the full NASCAR experience


It sounds like the set-up to a Jeff Foxworthy joke, but it was actually just another day in Charlotte sports.

Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, their first-rounder from Tonga, spent Sunday at the local NASCAR event, and met one of the stars of “Duck Dynasty.”

“That was a neat thing to get a picture with him,” Lotulelei said of duck-call entrepreneur Willie Robertson, via the Associated Press. “I can’t wait to get back and tell some of people at home. You can watch this stuff on TV, but there is nothing like being here.

“Just being here, man, I think I can do this all year around.”

Lotulelei also ingratiated himself on the locals by preferring the experience to that other race that was run on Sunday, the one in Indiana with bricks and milk.

“I know the Indy 500 is big and I’ve been there, but I think this has got it beat right now,” Lotulelei said. “This right here is a ton of fun. I’ve got the all-access pass so I’m getting the full tour. And it’s been an unbelievable thing.”

He said meeting NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and some others was “pretty cool” as well, but if he can firm up the middle of the Panthers defense, he might find himself much more popular than the drivers or maybe even the reality TV types who follow them.

UPDATE May 28, 2:06 p.m. ET: Apparently, Lotulelei was not awestruck by NASCAR or reality TV stars. Two sources close to the first-rounder told PFT that he wasn’t even at the race, and that the Associated Press had mistakenly interviewed someone else.