A special announcement on the next season of “Dinner with Racers,” and a never-before-heard, exclusive look at what it’s like to have dinner with the show’s second-most popular host.
Being the son of one of racing’s all-time legends hasn’t phased Alex Gurney one bit, and that’s probably because he’s done an excellent job of carving out his own career. Despite beginning his racing career at 19 and competing against guys who started 11 years before him, Alex would continue on to become a two-time Rolex Sports Car Series champion, and currently helps to run AAR, known to many as All American Racers, one of the most storied companies in all of motorsports, started by his father Dan. Learn about his career path, some legendary tales of his father… and his gambling problem. Dinner was served at Eureka in Irvine, California, with the music of Jarrod Gorbel to close out our second season. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car, we hope to announce the future plans of Dinner with Racers soon.
Brendan Gaughan is one of NASCAR’s most unique and colorful characters. After a successful career in off-road as well junior open-wheel categories, the Las Vegas native turned his attention to NASCAR, ultimately becoming a multiple winner in the Truck Series, and eventually landing opportunities in both the Cup an Xfinity cateogories, where he has continued to win and even qualified for the 2016 Chase. What makes him especially unique, however, is an upbringing unlike anyone else. A member of the famous Gaughan family, Brendan’s grandfather and father have made huge careers out of the casino business, owning a series of casinos in both Las Vegas and beyond, with the most current noteworthy one being the South Point Casin in Southern Las Vegas. Oh, and the dude can play basketball, having helped train with NBA legend Allen Iverson while playing at Georgetown. Dinner was served at possibly the nicest restaurant in the history of the series, Michael’s Gourmet Room, located in the South Point Casino. Music was provided by Kari Holmes. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is one of NASCAR’s top stars, now entering his fifth season of the top-tier Cup category. Part of the wave of “development drivers” that burst on to the scene 10 years ago, Ricky has been part of the Roush family for nearly a decade, and in the process has won two consecutive Xfinity series championships, multiple victories in various categories, and is on the cusp of a Cup breakout. He was also a close friend of the late Bryan Clauson, who we were fortunate enough to meet during our first season. Meeting up at Fresco Italiano in Las Vegas’s Westgate hotel, the real surprise of the day was Ricky bringing three of his friends: his buddy Aaron, and then fellow NASCAR stars Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney. With such a dynamic group, you get an idea of what it’s like to just “hang out with the guys,” with the episode being closed out by the music of Jarrod Gorbel. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Peter Cunningham is a staple of the American sportscar scene, and has been for three decades. The owner and former driver of RealTime Racing, the Wisconsin native is one of the most heralded drivers and team owners in World Challenge Series history, having been with the series as a driver since inception, and with both driver and team amassing a record number of wins and championships along the way. A staple of the Honda / Acura brand, “PD” also owns and operates the largest private collection of vintage Honda machines in the USA, oh and he’s also Ryan’s boss. Breakfast was served courtesy of the world-famous Peppermill, a historic coffee shop in downtown Las Vegas. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Eddie Gossage is what most of us would define as a “boss.” As the President of Texas Motor Speedway, this is the man behind some of the most glorious stunts in all of racing, including everything from Robosaurus, to Robby Knievel jumping over the entire IndyCar grid, to literally having a monkey sell his race programs. A true entertainer and consummate businessman, hear about the world of track management as only Eddie can tell you. Dinner was served courtesy of Texas Motor Speedway’s very own Speedway Club, with the music of I See Hawks in L.A. closing us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Randy Lanier burst on to the motorsport scene in the late 1970’s, eventually forming Blue Thunder Racing with Bill and Don Whittington. The group became a legend of the 1980’s, with Randy winning the 1984 IMSA GTP championship over factory rivals, and then turning to IndyCar where he steadily began to gain results by his second year. What later came to light was the entire operation was funded by a marijuana smuggling ring that Randy orchestrated, eventually getting arrested and serving 27 years in jail, only recently getting out. He tells us EVERYTHING. Yes, EVERYTHING. That’s all we’ll say. Dinner was served courtesy of Cabana El Rey in Delray Beach, Florida, with the music of Jarrod Gorbel closing us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Don Whittington, or “Donny Dubbs” as he allowed us to call him, is one of the most unique characters in all of racing. First off, the dude is a real racer. A REAL racer. Sports cars, IndyCar, stock cars, off-road, even AIRPLANES, this guy has raced and been competitive in all of them. This includes winning the 1979 Le Mans 24 overall, team with his brother Bill and Klaus Ludwig to beat out the more powerful factory teams. In addition, Don was also part of a 1980’s sportscar scene that would eventually lead to his arrest, pleading guilty in 1986 to money laundering, and serving 18 months in federal prison. Not afraid to speak his mind, Don continues to own and operate World Jet, a private airport in Fort Lauderdale, and is one of the most outspoken guys we’ve had on the show. Dinner was served courtesy of Pizza Fusion (owned by the brother of IMSA’s very own Shea Adam), with the music of Richard Sherfey and All God’s Children. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
A sportscar legend and a Porsche icon, Hurley Haywood currently holds the record for most number of overall wins at Daytona, in additional to winning at Sebring and three-times at Le Mans. Completely unbeatable in the 1970’s and 1980’s, Hurley eventually became the long American factory driver for Porsche, combining his fast but patient nature with his extremely calm and classy demeanor to become the perfect brand representative. While we have no idea why somone this classy would give us his time, we appreciate it, and we were able to cover topics from his best wins, to Stanley Kubrick movies, to an upcoming documentary on his relationship with teammate Peter Greg. Dinner was served at The Tasting Room in St. Augustine, Florida, with the music of The Blue Hours to take us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
There are few people in the world who can successfully drive in Formula One, IndyCar, sportscars, stock cars, and then cap it off with a 40 YEAR CAREER IN BROADCASTING. That’s David Hobbs. The dude is a legend, there’s nothing more to say. Hear some of the most legendary stories from the most legendary times. Lunch was served at The Cobalt, located in the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa in Vero Beach, Florida, with the music of Mike Birch taking us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Max Jones didn’t earn the nickname “Max the Axe” for no reason. As the General Manager of Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR division, Max is a no-nonsense guy who has a career of proven results. That career, however, isn’t the traditional NASCAR management career. Max actually comes from a heralded series of accolades as a young mechanic, then became one of the fiercest sportscar drivers competing against guys like Tommy Kendall, and then ultimately joining team management for Jack Roush, Eddie Cheever, and now Chip Ganassi. He’s a guy who’s done it and seen it all, but you’d never know because he hates interviews. Breakfast was served at Toast in Davison, North Carolina, with the music of Richard Sherfey and All God’s Children to take us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Marty Smith began as a NASCAR reporter at 21-years old, and if you ask him he would have never imagined that nearly two decades later he’d transition a simple writing career would turn him in to one of ESPN’s top on-camera talents in the country. Covering NASCAR for 17 years, when ESPN lost the broadcast rights to NASCAR, Marty transitioned to covering college football, becoming one of the main guys in their SEC coverage and solidifying his place among the all-time great broadcasters. It’s easy to see why he’s as successful as he is, with every word out of his mouth carefully chosen, but without losing any hint of sincerity. Morning coffee was served courtesy of Starbucks in Charlotte, NC, with the music of I See Hawks in L.A. to carry us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Justin Marks doesn’t deny that he came in to the sport with the unique privilege of coming from personal funding at a young age, but what makes him unique is how he’s transitioned that in to quietly becoming an influencer in the sport. A beast behind the wheel, Justin has won multiple times in the former ALMS, as well as his class at The Rolex 24 at Daytona, but perhaps his greatest personal driving accomplishment was winning this year’s NASCAR Xfinity round at the famed Mid-Ohio circuit. Outside of the car, Justin has built an amazing series of businesses for himself, everything from Mooresville’s GoPro Motorplex, to the Larson-Marks Racing World of Outlaw racing team, to a fantastic karting import business. Learn about his insight in to the sport that’s more thoughtful than most. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
It’s been an interesting time in the offices of Jalopnik, or their “new” parent company Gizmodo Media Group, who have literally survived an existential threat to see another day. This story and more is told by Executive Editor Matt Hardigree, who has been with Jalopnik for nine years and has a very specific understanding of the media, automotive, and motorsport cultures. Learn about his most awkward celebrity culture, how he lied his way in to success, how he’d fix racing, and more. Last minute pizza was served at an unknown location in New York, New York, with the music of Earthworm Ensemble to take us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Well normally we sit down to eat with actual people, but this lunch was with our first Twitter handle. However, there’s a specific reason. While motorsport has many funny Twitter accounts, the man behind NASCARCAM was able to take his joke account from something he did for fun, to a full-time job having signed on with NASCAR to add his humor to many elements of their digital content. Learn about how he came to be, what NASCAR stars roll with his humor the best, why Sean hates him, and listen to the group develop a very specific routine for the one and only Austin Dillon. Lunch was served at Kilroy’s in Indianapolis, with the music of Jarrod Gorbel to close us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
If you’re going to be in Indianapolis, then you have to see Indiana’s native son (even though he’s from Illinois), Ed Carpenter. A home-grown short track racer, Ed’s place within the IndyCar ranks is a unique, choosing to only drive on oval tracks for himself, and of course serving as the lone driver/owner in the paddock. Of course most IndyCar fans would also know Ed as being the stepson of Tony George, the founder of the Indy Racing League, and given Ed’s unique lineage within the series he embraces it with an impressive amount of humor and grace. An extremely mild mannered guy, he takes the time to talk us through everything from flipping at Indy, to some of the wildest good luck charms ever given to him by fans. Breakfast was served at Mister Lino, a coffee shop literally located in the Dallara manufacturing building, with the music of The Blue Hours to close us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
When it comes to managing success, it’s hard to look much further than Mike Hull. As the Managing Director of Chip Ganassi Racing’s IndyCar program, Mike knows a thing or two about winning, having been part of 16 championships, over 60 wins in IndyCar, including four trips to victory lane at the Indianapolis 500. Yeah, he knows how to run a winning program. Yet, somehow he was gracious enough to give us several hours to talk about nothing in particular, including who’s invited to his beach house, who is terrible at karaoke, and more. Dinner was once again served at Tegry Sushi in Indianapolis, with the music of The Aggrolites to close us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
We put his real name because we think we’re supposed to, but no one knows him as Kevin Blanch. He’s Rocket. And he’s badass. A self-described “ol’ hillbilly,” Rocket is a staple of the IndyCar series, serving as a painter-turned-mechanic nearly 30 years ago, and has risen through the ranks of going from mechanic to Crew Chief to now the technical manager of IndyCar, which means he’s “the guy” when cars go through tech inspection. We can see why he has this job. Rocket is as “no BS” as they come, very smart, and a pretty damn good storyteller. He also has a transgender pig, figure that out. Lunch was served at our first-ever repeat restaurant, Tegry Sushi in Indianapolis, with the music of Kari Holmes to rap us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Growing up #MissouriFrugal, Kenny Wallace hasn’t let the success he found in NASCAR change him one bit, and that’s why we love him. As a NASCAR veteran holding the record for number of starts in the Xfinity Series, Kenny is someone who is lived the sport for three decades, and yet his love hasn’t diminished one bit. He tell us the story of coming in to the sport with the support of guys like Dale Earnhardt and his brother, Rusty Wallace, and what life is like now as he continues to race for fun in local dirt races. We enjoy a nice lunch at The Arnold House in Arnold, Missouri, with the music of I See Hawks in L.A. to take us through. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
If you love Corvettes, then you probably love Dan Binks. As a leading member of the Corvette Racing crew for nearly 15 years, Dan Binks has been a big part of the folklore that is Corvette’s IMSA and Le Mans winning program, but his career spans far deeper than just that. As a long-time friend of DwR alumni Tommy Kendall, Dan’s career has spanned through years of Trans-Am, racing with Jack Roush, and even winning an Xfinity championship in NASCAR. As one of the most likable guys you could ever meet, it was beyond fitting to meet with him at The Hamburg Pub in Michigan, with the music of Mike Birch to close us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Landon Cassill is one of the hidden gems of NASCAR. He’s not even 30 yet, but has somehow managed to have a nearly 10-year career driving for NASCAR’s top-tier categories, however it hasn’t always been as a traditional racing driver. As part of a wave of development drivers coming in to the sport 10 years ago, Landon actually made his way in to the top ranks as a test driver for Hendrick Motorsports, becoming the chief development drivers on all of Jimmie Johnson’s cars, which shows in the fact Landon currently has five championship rings as being part of the crew. While he’s now a full fledge Cup series racing driver, the Front Row Motorsports member came on our radar for his humor and skills with social media. One of the funniest guys in the paddock, you’ll have to listen to understand more. Dinner was courtesy of the Mellow Mushroom in Charlotte, with the music of Earthworm Ensemble to take us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
If you’ve ever heard the term “working actor,” this would be a term best used to describe Marc Miller. Marc is a true “working driver.” While not a household name outside of the paddock, Marc has managed to earn a living for nearly 20 years in the sport by taking every opportunity he could, and it’s only later on in life that his efforts have finally begun to flourish. Taking two decades to “make it,” the last two years have been banner for the Michigan native, having competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the last two years, as well as winning in the top-tier GS category of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Funny and engaging, hear a variety of tales that only Marc can tell. Dinner was courtesy of Marc and his girlfriend Tabitha in their Holland, Michigan home, with the music of Michigan local Kari Holmes closing us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Mike Shank is the type of racer that all grassroots competitors aspire to. Working his way through the sport without a lot of money, Mike achieved limited success as a driver, eventually giving up his seat to take on Team Owner duties, which is where his career really thrived. Running a successful Formula Atlantic program, Mike eventually switch to sportscars, becoming a top-tier prototype team in Grand-Am and then IMSA, winning at The Rolex 24 and Petit Le Mans, as well as competing at Le Mans. This all translated to an incredible opportunity for 2017, where Mike’s race team was selected as the entrant for Acura’s factory NSX program in the IMSA WeatherTech GTD category. Not afraid to be one of the guys, Mike takes in multiple beers as he tells us tales of nearly losing his house, what famous driver stiffed him of millions, and where he’s at today. Beer and pizza was served at The Copper Penny in Thornville, Ohio, with the music of Stoney Spring to close us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Brad Kettler is a racer’s racer. Someone who never stops working and is as hands-on as “white shirt” guys go, Brad Kettler started his career as a mechanic across a number of sportscar teams throughout the 1980’s before eventually elevating himself to the role of program director with Audi Sport, eventually becoming the main guy behind all of Audi’s North American efforts in their IMSA LMP1 program, and no running the day-to-day operation of Audi Sport customer racing’s customer service. Even though he’s considered “management,” one walk through the campus that is Kettler Motorwerkes in College Corner, Ohio, will show you just how many projects he has at any one time, with eight buildings spread across the town with various projects. Lunch was served on his farm courtesy of Brad and his girlfriend, with the music of Suspects (of which IMSA mechanic Kyle Leo is a member) taking us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Janet Guthrie is a pioneer, a living legend, but she could care less about that, she just wants to be known as a racer. That’s what makes her so dang awesome. Before she ever got in to racing, she was flying planes, jumping out of them, and with a degree in physics before finding her true calling in motorsports, where she literally worked on her own cars on her way to winning her class at the 12 Hours of Sebring. This would set the stage for where should would truly make her mark, becoming the first woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, and then following that up by becoming the first woman to qualify for the Daytona 500. If that doesn’t sell you on listening, nothing will. Excellent food served by The Jerome Bar in the Aspen, Colorado’s Hotel Jerome, with the music of The Blue Hours taking us away. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
AND BUY JANET’S BOOK!! Go to www.janetguthrie.com for more.
Janet Guthrie (Race Car Driver)- How to improve gas mileage – Texaco Commercials
Joey Hand may well go down as one of the most legendary drivers in the modern era of sportscar racing. After success in junior categories, Joey went on to become a hugely successful factory drivers for BMW including winning the Rolex 24 overall, before recently moving to the highly successful Ford GT program, where he conquered the 24 Hours of Le Mans in GTE-Pro. In this lunch we learn about getting hosed down while naked after a huge crash, and he learns a new word as well. Lunch was served at Plaza del Sole in Elk Grove, California, with the music of Son of James (available on Bandcamp) sending us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
In our conversation we mention some of Joey’s less than stellar memories.
Joey Hand BMW M3 Spectacular Crash at Mid-Ohio 2006
Boris Said Slaps Joey Hand
A true case of perseverance, Calvin Fish has done a remarkable job of surviving a motorsport career despite repeated setbacks, and thriving with a shear willingness to take on new opportunities as they come. Beginning a career in superkarts, Calvin first made his mark by racing in junior categories in the early 1980’s, beating such unknown drivers as Ayrton Senna and Martin Brundle. Heading stateside, he’d go on to win the Formula Atlantic championship and eventually become part of the famed Roush Mustang program. Calving his since turned that in to an amazing broadcast career that he has parlayed in to driver management as well. Dinner was served at Crispina in Atlanta, Georgia with one of the greatest British pop songs of all time sending us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
Continuing our behind-the-scenes theme, John Eversley is a storied mechanic who has been in the business for nearly three decades. When it comes to the heyday of sportscars, John has seen it all, working alongside Niki Lauda on the famous BMW M1 Procar effort, and eventually working in the glory days of IMSA with such figures as John Paul, Sr. and Bob Akin. You wouldn’t know it though, because he’s not one to just volunteer his legendary tales, which is why his stories are so unique. He’s very different from his son, the co-host of some podcast, who can’t wait to speak his mind even if you didn’t ask. Excellent dinner courtesy of Ninja Sushi in Braselton, Georgia, with the music of Jarrod Gorbel sending us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
If you’re going to do a podcast about icons of motorsport, then Johnny O’Connell is a mandatory visit. As one of the most charismatic guys in modern sportscar, Johnny is wicked fast, you’ll know this because he’ll tell you…. having (according to him) been a second faster than every teammate he’s ever had. Beyond speed, however, Johnny brings results. As the winningest driver in GM history, Johnny took four consecutive World Challenge championships to go with his four class wins at Le Mans. One of the funniest and most likable guys in the paddock, we were happy to treat him to lunch at Moonie’s Texas Barbecue in Flowery Branch, Georgia, with the music of Wrecks playing us out. Thanks to Continental Tire for all of their support, and Honda for providing a great car.
In our conversation we mention on of Johnny’s biggest crashes, Watkins Glen in 1993
SSgt Liam Dwyer served multiple tours in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving both in Iraq and then Afghanistan where an IED would cause significant injury to him, including the loss of his left leg. A true racer, Liam hasn’t let any of this slow him down and he’s still racing in the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge, where he took an amazing series of victories in the 2015 season. Breakfast was courtesy of The Orange Tree in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Thanks to Continental Tire for the continued support!