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Shaquille O’Neal: Racing was the toughest three hours of his life

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Shaquille O'Neal and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Getty Images)

NASCAR devotees spend a fair portion of their lives hearing the same tired complaints from non-race fans: "That's a sport? I drive in traffic can I drive a NASCAR too HA HA HA!" No, you hypothetical clown, you couldn't, and here's no less than Shaquille O'Neal to tell you why.

In an interview with NASCAR.com, O'Neal recalled the time in 2010 when he raced Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the reality show "Shaq Vs." And O'Neal came away impressed:

"Whoever said these guys aren’t athletes are out of their minds," he said. "That was the toughest three hours I’ve ever had in my life. I was fitted for a car, me and Dale raced 50 laps, and I slept for two days after that. I really did."

It wasn't just the heat and the confined space. "I was terrified," O'Neal continued. "I don’t really get scared by a lot of stuff, but I was freaking terrified. You definitely have to be a great shape to do this."

Oh, and one other element: "You’ve got to be small. I don’t think a big guy like me would really survive out on the track. You’ve got to be smaller."

O'Neal added that he has almost no automotive knowledge, despite the fact that he owns both a Ferrari and a Lamborghini. But he has driven 220 mph somewhere down the line. So surely someone can find a place for this guy on a startup NASCAR team?

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