Michael Waltrip's pre-race grid walks on Fox are always a source of awkwardness. Even when he's not thinking he's talking to someone he's not.
For Fox's pre-race show before Sprint Cup Series races, the two-time Daytona 500 champion, team owner and television analyst who is also a part-time driver traverses down the grid shortly before the national anthem at each Fox-broadcasted race and finds whomever he can to talk to. Sometimes people avoid him, sometimes people offer to kiss him.
During his odyssey down Auto Club Speedway's pit road on Sunday, Waltrip thought he ran into singer Donna Summer. He went up to her and said that he enjoyed her "body of work."
Summer died in 2012. The woman who Waltrip was talking to was not Donna Summer.
Because of Auto Club Speedway's location outside of Los Angeles, NASCAR always makes an attempt to get as many celebrities as possible to come to the race, which Kyle Busch won with a last-lap pass for the win.
Sunday's race had "Modern Family's" Eric Stonestreet, "Brookyln Nine-Nine's" Terry Crews and Gonzo the Muppet in attendance among others. Summer, obviously, wasn't one of the others.
Was it a bad joke that just fell flat or a true case of mistaken identity – Donna Summer discography pun not intended – for Waltrip? Either option is cringeworthy, especially as Waltrip was sort of singing Summer's "Last Dance" while he was on camera.
This is NASCAR's only trip to SoCal, so celebrity sightings, fake or real, will be minimal for the rest of Fox's broadcast schedule. That may be a good thing for Waltrip's sake. Next time he needs to know it's real.
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