Fast Cars & Superstars: Laird Hamilton

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CONCORD, N.C. — Laird Hamilton is a champion surfer, and like fellow celebrity racer John Elway, his competitive side jumped at the chance to hop into the Cars.com car on a NASCAR track.

“To be taught by racecar drivers, yeah, that was like a no-brainer,” Hamilton said. “I’ve always said, if you ever want to be good at anything, see the best people in world that are doing it and learn from them.

”It’ll save you a lot of time.”

It's that same competitive drive that compelled him to be one of the first celebrities to go on a ride-along.

By Patrick Olsen | June 5, 2007 | Comments (0)

Fast Cars & Superstars: Gabrielle Reece

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CONCORD, N.C. — Gabrielle Reece knows what she wants in a car, and it’s not very different from her needs as a pro volleyball player. She wants the high view.

“I like to be up high in a high car,” Reece said at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. “I like to see what’s going on.”

Reece was one of a dozen celebrities taking part in “Fast Cars & Superstars — Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race” back in March; it’s scheduled to air beginning June 7 on ABC, and Cars.com is a sponsor. Reece, who competed against her husband, renowned surfer Laird Hamilton, along with actor William Shatner and others, said she has unique demands for her cars.

By Patrick Olsen | June 4, 2007 | Comments (1)

Fast Cars & Superstars: Kasey Kahne

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CONCORD, N.C. — For Kasey Kahne, the road to NASCAR started on the driveway of his family's home in Washington state. It was not exactly a comfortable ride.

"The first thing I drove was my dad's truck, just a pickup truck," he said. "We had kind of a long driveway, so driving up and down that I could barely see over the steering wheel. I was holding myself up, three feet off the back of the seat, trying to reach the pedals. I think that was pretty fun, back then."

Things have changed for the Gillette Young Gun, one of six Nascar drivers helping teach celebrities how to race against each other at Lowe's Motor Speedway for "Fast Cars & Superstars — Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race" reality show, which begins airing June 7 on ABC. Cars.com is a sponsor of the show. These days, his dad's pickup has been replaced by his own Dodge 1500 four-door pickup, a Dodge Durango and a Mercedes that he uses as "a nice car to go to dinner in."

By Patrick Olsen | June 1, 2007 | Comments (2)

Fast Cars & Superstars: Serena Williams

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CONCORD, N.C. — The tennis pro was a little overwhelmed during her ride-along in the Cars.com car at Lowe’s Motor Speedway as part of “Fast Cars & Superstars — Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race” reality show, which Cars.com is sponsoring, and which begins airing June 7 on ABC. She rode with NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, and afterward she seemed moved by the experience.

What moved her the most?

“The fact that they’re driving 200 mph behind each other and there’s like two inches that separate them,” she said. “And then if, they just, you know — it’s crazy.”

By Patrick Olsen | May 31, 2007 | Comments (1)

Fast Cars & Superstars: Kurt Busch

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CONCORD, N.C. — From small things, big things eventually grow.

For Kurt Busch, the road to becoming a successful NASCAR driver started small. Looking back, Busch admits he was driving for some time before he legally could.

“Yeah, I was probably into some cars way too early,” Busch said. “I do know that I drove when I was 15 and a half with my learner’s permit, in a car that my dad and I built. It was a 1964 Volkswagen Bug. We bought it for 500 bucks and restored it from the ground up.”

With a car that old, you might wonder how often Busch wound up replacing parts, including the clutch.

By Patrick Olsen | May 30, 2007 | Comments (10)

Fast Cars & Superstars: Bill Cowher

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CONCORD, N.C. — Sure, Bill Cowher has stood up to pressure. The former Pittsburgh Steelers coach has won a Super Bowl and is known for having a tough attitude and sticking his chin out. So when we saw him at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., for Gillette’s “Fast Cars & Superstars” (Cars.com is a sponsor of the show), we gave him this choice.

Option A: There’s less than a minute left in the fourth quarter, and New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady is coming on the field with the game’s outcome in doubt. Option B: You’re going into the first corner here at Lowe’s. Which do you prefer?

“Oh, I’d take Tom Brady right now,” Cowher laughed. “That’s more my element. This right here, they’re still walls. You can talk about how much they give, but they’re still walls.”

By Patrick Olsen | May 29, 2007 | Comments (4)

Fast Cars & Superstars: John Cena

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CONCORD, N.C. — On TV, John Cena comes across as a ferocious wrestler, filled with fire and top-heavy with intimidation. On the track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, taking part in Gillette’s “Fast Cars & Superstars” reality show sponsored in part by Cars.com, he showed he’s also a competitor outside the ring, not to mention a car fan looking to find success on a NASCAR track.

Riding along didn’t worry Cena too much. After all, he said, it’s part of the gig.

“Yeah, we got close to the wall, but it’s one of those things,” Cena said after doing his ride-along with NASCAR driver Carl Edwards, one of Gillette’s Young Guns. “This guy’s a professional. And honestly, if he wanted to run me into the wall, I knew what I signed up for.”

Cena’s fascination with cars — he said he’s “absolutely” a car guy — goes back to when he was a teenager in West Newbury, Mass. There, at the ripe age of 15, he bought a 1983 Cadillac Coupe Deville, but his eye was on its powerful engine.

By Patrick Olsen | May 25, 2007 | Comments (51)

Fast Cars & Superstars: Tony Hawk

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CONCORD, N.C. – Given his history, the longtime king of extreme sports was one of the media’s picks to win Gillette's “Fast Cars & Superstars” reality show, of which Cars.com is a sponsor. Still, Tony Hawk seemed to respect both the dangers involved with racecar driving and his opponents, many of whom were also veteran athletes known for their success. Yet after his drive-along, he radiated calm and competitiveness. The show begins airing June 7 on ABC.

You’re a veteran of a lot of extreme sports. How does this compare?

“This is really exciting. I mean, it’s a whole different level of competition, and I’ve never really been like a racer.”

By Patrick Olsen | May 24, 2007 | Comments (0)

Fast Cars & Superstars: John Elway

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CONCORD, N.C. — He’s the architect of "The Drive" and a Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the Denver Broncos, yet here he was, on a warm March day, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway: John Elway, one of a dozen celebrities taking part in Gillette's “Fast Cars & Superstars” reality show sponsored by Cars.com, which begins airing June 7 on ABC. It may be a few years since he was in the spotlight, but his competitive fire runs as hot as ever.

“Speed’s kind of a scary thing,” Elway said after his ride in the Cars.com racecar. “I’d never gone that fast before, so it was … very interesting."

There’s clearly a difference, the former Denver Broncos star notes, between riding along in a race car and being in the pocket as the defense closes in.

“In football, you really don’t realize the impact of it,” he said. “I’m sure that [NASCAR driver] Kurt [Busch has] been around in that car enough that you become numb to kind of what’s outside of it. For me, I was a lot more aware of what was going on than I’m sure Kurt is, because he’s been doing it for so long.”

Cars.com was able to get in a few questions between Elway's training and the competition.

By Patrick Olsen | May 23, 2007 | Comments (0)

Fast Cars & Superstars

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NASCAR drivers, celebrities and athletes joined forces earlier this year in Gillette's "Fast Cars & Superstars," a reality show sponsored by Cars.com that’s scheduled to begin airing June 7 on ABC. The show was taped at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., over three days and features six drivers — including Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch — teaching 12 celebrities and athletes — including John Elway, Serena Williams and Tony Hawk — how to navigate at top speeds around the racetrack. Cars.com grabbed some of those drivers and celebrities to see what kind of impact that first trip around the track had on them, and we’ll post their interviews here over the next two weeks starting with Elway later today.

“Fast Cars & Superstars” schedule on ABC (check local listings)

  • Thursday, June 7, 8 Eastern/7 Central
  • Sunday June 10, 8 E/7 C
  • Tuesday, June 12 8 E/7 C
  • Thursday, June 14 8 E/7 C
  • Sunday, June 17 8 E/7 C
  • Tuesday, June 19 8 E/7 C
  • Sunday, June 24 7 E/6 C
By Patrick Olsen | May 23, 2007 | Comments (0)

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