Shore Thing: Snooki Passes On Waving Green Flag At NASCAR Richmond Race

Nicole Polizzi, also known as "Snooki" of MTV's Jersey Shore fame, was originally selected to wave the green flag prior to Saturday night's NASCAR Chase cutoff race at Richmond International Raceway.

But those plans have changed, the track announced Thursday.

Snooki, the daughter of a volunteer New York fireman, "will pay tribute to firefighters by passing the flag-waving duties to Frank Siller, founder of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation," the track said in a press release.

That's a nice gesture on Snooki's part, since honoring her on the eve of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 seemed a bit odd. Snooki will still be in attendance at the race on behalf of sponsor Wonderful Pistachios, for whom she is a spokesman.

Stephen Siller was a New York City firefighter who was a hero on Sept. 11, 2001. He was off duty, but returned to the fire station to grab his 60 pounds of gear and ran all the way through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (since it was closed to traffic) to the World Trade Center. He was killed while trying to help people at Ground Zero.

Richmond is planning a patriotic "Salute to America" pre-race ceremony, which will feature a concert with patriotic music performed by police and military bands. Wounded soldiers will say the Pledge of Allegiance, and Danny Rodriguez – the singing New York City Police officer – will perform God Bless America.

The U.S. Army Infantry Division Band will then perform the national anthem.

After that, fans in attendance will wave American flags from laps 9-11 while TV and radio announcers go silent in recognition of Sept. 11.

More from Jeff Gluck: Final Race Set Before 2011 Chase Begins and a Max Papis Interview.

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