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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, April 07, 2013 3:11 pm

Too big for IndyCar, Bo Jackson still loves cars

By JOHN ZENORAP Sports Writer

Bo Jackson built a nice career slugging home runs and running through linebackers, but the self-described car fanatic needed help squeezing into an Indy car.

Barrel chests, tree-trunk thighs and petite race cars don't mix.

"The last time they got me in an Indy car was when I was with Nike and I was doing my commercials," Jackson said Sunday before serving as grand marshal of the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama near his hometown of Bessemer. "They had to literally move my shoulders and somebody stood on my shoulders and got me in the car. They had to use straps to pull me out of there. That's my biggest fear - getting stuck in the car."

He'd still love to do a few laps. Jackson jokingly implored reporters to contact his wife on Facebook "and beg her to let me have one of those cars out there.

"Please do that for me. I am a car fanatic. I don't know how the hell I am going to fit in it, but I'd like one of those cars," he said.

Jackson, a former NFL running back and major league outfielder who won the 1985 Heisman Trophy at Auburn, said it was the first car race he had ever attended.

He's still a car buff. Jackson said he has a warehouse with 10 or 12 cars across from his mother's house in suburban Birmingham and another with a similar number in Chicago, plus a few motorcycles.

He needs permission - if not a bigger car - before he can drive around a track.

"My wife won't let me get over 80 miles an hour," Jackson said.

Jackson is also trying to drum up attention for his second charity bike ride in Alabama on April 27. The first was to raise money for victims of tornados that surged through Alabama on that date two years ago and this one is for community tornado shelters in the state.

"If we've got a place where we can go to get away from the bad weather, I think it will do more good than anything," he said. "I'm not looking to raise a boatload of money; I'm looking to build enough money annually to build two to three community tornado shelters."