It takes a special mindset to strap yourself into a NASCAR car and rocket for nearly 200 mph for four hours at a stretch. But outside of those four hours, and assorted minutes of testing and repair, you've got a lot of time to sit around. A lot. And that can turn the mind in some, shall we say, interesting directions.
Rain spattered the proceedings all weekend at Martinsville, forcing drivers to spend lots of time inside their haulers and mobile homes. Veteran NASCAR reporter Dustin Long spent time discussing the ways of the world with several drivers, and one in particular yielded up some fascinating quotes.
Ryan Newman is a former Daytona 500 champion and one of the few college graduates behind the wheel in NASCAR. (He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue.) And he's got opinions; oh, does he have opinions. In conversation with Long, Newman ran through some typical topics -- his racing history, his dogs -- the talk took a strange turn:
"I'm pretty sure [the original moon landing] was fake. I watched the documentary on it, and it's pretty easy to believe. The flag was standing straight out when there's no wind up there. When they step on the surface, there should have been a big cloud because there's no atmosphere."
Wait, what? Faked? We're still on that? (Long later confirmed that Newman was indeed completely serious and not pulling his leg.) I thought it was pretty well established that we were there, and that the flag stood straight out because it had wire mesh embedded in the cloth.
But hey, Newman's got more guts than most of us to go flying around at the speeds he does. Even so, I wouldn't recommend he try that line on Dancing With The Stars vet/former moonwalker Buzz Aldrin. Might get himself an old-man punch in the face.
Ryan Newman: In his own words [Landmark Newspapers]