On a day when the NFL and NASCAR meshed at New Era Field, two celebrities from these respective sports realized that they have a common connection. Call it the Kansas connection.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer was given a tour of the Buffalo Bills training facility and the stadium Thursday by retired Bills special teams ace Steve Tasker.
Bowyer was in Western New York promoting the Go Bowling at The Glen Cup Series race that will get the green flag Aug. 5 at Watkins Glen International.
Bowyer and Tasker are both Kansas natives. Bowyer hails from Emporia and Tasker from Smith Center.
Bowyer drives the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Cup Series.
"First and foremost, what a surprise it was to have Steve Tasker here to give me a tour and to greet us," Bowyer said. "He's a Kansas boy, right? So instantly I was able to hit it off with somebody and have a connection. He's from Western Kansas and me from Southeastern Kansas so it was neat to visit with him because he's a legend in Western New York.
"He's been here he said since 1986 so he's watched this place grow as well as the sport. I couldn't think of a better tour guide I could have had today then him."
Bowyer and Tasker talked to each other about the way of life and daily routines that they have experienced over the years in their sports.
During the tour, while on the field, Bowyer met with Bills General Manager Brandon Beane for a special exchange. Bowyer gave Beane one of his team's crew shirts while Beane presented Bowyer with a Bills jersey.
Bowyer said when he gets home the jersey will probably be claimed by his wife, Lorra, a native of Penn Yan and a lifelong Bills backer.
"That jersey won't be in my possession for very long, I can guarantee you that," Bowyer said. "Naturally because I grew up in Kansas, I'm a Kansas City Chiefs fan but you just flock to your team. We both live in North Carolina now and she wears her Bills stuff and I wear my Chiefs stuff."
Hamburg native and Watkins Glen International president Michael Printup grew up in the shadows of New Era Field and is a lifelong Bills enthusiast.
"This is my first time getting a behind the scenes tour of this place, especially with all the new buildings the Bills have here," Printup said. "I've been a Bills fan for many years. I mean I'm a sick Bills fan in a good way. It's been an honor to be here today with Clint, celebrating our upcoming race weekend, Aug. 2 through Aug. 5 at Watkins Glen.
"I remember Chris Berman (retired ESPN broadcaster) doing highlights of Steve saying, 'a tisker a Tasker.' It was awesome to hang out with him.
When Bowyer mentioned to Tasker that sometimes NASCAR drivers hit the wall at more than 170 miles per hour, Tasker replied: "I'll stick to football."