If bestselling author Dan Brown ever decides to center a book around racing, the Freemasons, who figure largely in his symbology-driven novels, have served up a real-life scenario that he can draw from. Seth Stevenson, who writes Slate.com's Ad Report Card, delves into the details surrounding the Masons' NASCAR Busch Series #34 Scottish Rite Chevrolet (which is decorated with a giant two-headed Masonic eagle on its hood).

Stevenson ran across the machine when he saw it parked outside the Masonic Temple in Washington D.C. The seemingly incongruous combination has a purpose: the Masons are recruiting, and they think that the massive TV exposure the car will receive during race telecasts will help bring in new, younger members.

If I was a conspiracy nut, I'd carry on about about the subliminal messages ESPN will unwittingly be broadcasting as the symbol-covered racer makes the Busch Series rounds. The truth is, however, viewers who don't know better (I'm guessing this will be more than a few) are just as likely to look at "Scottish Rite" and the Masonic eagle and assume it's all a promotion for some sort of new deodorant or shampoo as they are to make the Masonic connection and investigate further at their local hall. You have to credit the Masons for thinking out of the box on this one, though.

Naturally, there are additional elements to the story -- the Scottish Rite apparently isn't paying the race team a dime, even though they're the car's primary sponsor -- that make the whole thing even more interesting. Especially if you put your tinfoil hat on. Read the whole thing.

Photo details: Left to right - Scottish Rite executive director William G. Sizemore, driver Brian Conz, team owner Frank Cicci

[Source: Slate.com]

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