Admit it, you had no idea what Pickleball was, did you? We neither. It’s not stick ballthis game played by The Bowery Boys in all those movies of the 40s and 50s, and it’s not either SpikeBallthis new game where you bounce a ball on a trampoline (so last year), or even Cornhole, where you throw a beanbag at a board and try to put it in the hole. And don’t even mention lawn dartsa game so dangerous that it was banned by the US Product Safety Commission in 1988.

No, pickleball is like midget tennis, played with flat plastic paddles and something that looks like a wiffle ball. It was invented by three dads (natch) on Bainbridge Island in 1965, according to Pickleball pro Matt Goebel, in a pickleball promotional video put by playpickleball.com. It’s now the fastest growing sport in America, Goebel said.

“It’s a combination of tennis, table tennis and badminton,” he added. It is played on a badminton court with a net two inches shorter than a tennis net. There is even a International Pickleball Federation“The world governing body for sport.”

“Yeah, so, uh, where are you going with that,” you ask?

Directly to Martinsville Motor Speedwaywhere the NASCAR driver Ryan Truex will race the Pickleball-sponsored Toyota Supra in the Xfinity race this weekend. More specifically, the sponsor is ShopUSAPickelball.comyour source for all pickleball related needs, including Truex t-shirts with the ShopUSAPickleball.com Toyota featuring the team logo all over.

“As the fastest growing sport in America, naturally we were thrilled when MTJ Merchandising introduced us to the ShopUSAPickleball.com car they created for Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ryan Truex to race in the Xfinity Series at Martinsville Speedway,” said Justin Maloof, USA Pickleball COO (there’s a COO?). “This unique opportunity gives us another way to spread the word about the sport and continue to bring the game to more audiences as NASCAR enthusiasts tune in Friday night on Fox Sports 1.”

Indeed, some say Pickleball could eventually supplant NASCAR as the activity of choice among urban sophistication. (Okay, nobody says that, but it sounds like fun.)

“I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of the #18 Toyota GR Supra on Friday night at Martinsville. Jason (Ratcliff) and the Joe Gibbs Racing team continue to bring fast Toyota GR Supras to the track every weekend and I’m really confident that will continue in Martinsville,” said Ryan Truex. cool to have USA Pickleball and ShopUSAPickleball.com on our Toyota this weekend. As America’s fastest growing sport, they’re jumping into NASCAR, and hopefully we can put on a good show for them and get that first win of the season.

If you’re not yet one of the 4.8 million pickleball players across the country, visit United StatesPickleball.org to learn how to play the game and follow @USAPickleball on instagram and Twitter for the live action of the track.

(Truex could do it: he is sixth on the grid at mybookie.agwhich lists the odds for the race.)

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