I interviewed Shana Mayfield, the wife of suspended NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield, in 2008 and I’m finally posting it today. We talked for little over an hour which is the longest interview I’ve ever done (what’s below isn’t even the entire conversation). For a couple reasons, which I won’t bore you with, I didn’t get it transcribed until this year.
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Do you hear that noise? It’s the sound of a big creaking door shutting out my heart. Okay, I’m being a little bit dramatic but sometimes you have to be in order to drive a point home. I think I can honestly say without a doubt I would rather be in Phoenix at this moment, more than anywhere else in the world. If I think about everything that I’m missing… Well it just sucks.
There’s a woman I see around town every so often that I call The Jeff Gordon Fan. She’s always got her Jeff Gordon hat on and her car is decked out with #24 stickers and decals. I notice her because it’s not every day, okay it’s really rare, to see someone in my neck of the woods who loves NASCAR — let alone one particular driver — so much and puts it all on display. I do have a couple JR Motorsports hats but I only wear them when I have the top down on my car. But I digress.
I’m telling you about The Jeff Gordon Fan because I received a copy of the new ESPN Inside Access: Jeff Gordon DVD. This special DVD features races, interviews and specials all about Jeff Gordon. This is precisely the kind of thing I would expect The Jeff Gordon Fan to have in her DVD collection. In fact she probably bought it the first day it came out.
ESPN Inside Access: Jeff Gordon allows you to view specific races from Jeff’s career. The races have been shortened to the most important parts which make them easier to digest. You’ve gotta watch the 1990 USAC Midgets race that Jeff won sporting the sweetest “Uncle Jesse” haircut. Actually for the entirety of the early ’90s Jeff and his then crew chief Ray Evernham caught the John Stamos circa Full House hairstyle fever.
My favorite piece in the collection has to be the SportsCentury biography. It included a lot of things that I hadn’t thought about in long time, mostly Jeff’s marriage and divorce from his first wife Brooke Sealy. For some reason when I think of Jeff and Brooke I think of this one Frito’s commercial they did way back when where he’s driving around on a lawn mower and she’s trimming hedges. I dunno, I guess it stuck with me ’cause you don’t see that many commercials that feature pro athletes with their real life family members, so when it happens I remember it. Anywho, that same commercial was in the SportsCentury piece, it was fun to see it again.
I didn’t know he allegedly had an affair with some model who later told her story to Playboy, so much for that squeaky clean good guy shtick.
I’m sure that’s not the kind of stuff the good people who put this DVD together had in mind for me to think about when watching it, but heck I’m not the biggest Jeff Gordon fan so that’s as good as it gets. But I can appreciate its quality, and I’m sure all of the diehard Jeff Gordon fans will enjoy its fun look into the career of a champion.
The thing that was killing me throughout the telecast of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard was ESPN’s constant repetition of the same clips showing Dale Jarrett and Jeff Gordon talking about kissing the bricks. Those are three words that I never, ever want to hear again thanks to ESPN. They managed to wear out those words so much that they’ve lost their flavor, like a wad of a gum that’s been chewed too long. Is there anyone that doubts the fact that it was in fact Dale Jarrett’s crew chief (at the time) Todd Parrott who came up with the idea to press their lips to those dirty, grimy bricks? UGH! I’m so over it. There’s only one way to ruin the prestige, legacy and honor of an event and that’s to talk about it ad nauseam.
I don’t even believe it anymore. After hearing everybody say how much they treasure it, I can’t feel the weight of it. And wasn’t it a bit of overkill to have Brent Musburger AND Suzy Kolber hosting the event?? I love both of them but it just seemed to be a bit much and a waste of Brent Musberger’s talent.
I’d believe it more if they did some of those pre-game in-depth interviews other networks always do before NFL games. I love those. They interview a guy at his home, or at practice, talk about whatever has happened during the season to date. The only thing we’ve gotten this year is that bit on Clint Bowyer and the obligatory stuff on Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he signed up with Hendrick. I’m not counting TNTs deals on the racers of NASCAR’s past. While I found those interviews highly enjoyable, I really wanna know about the stars of today, the guys that are coming up. Why hasn’t there been an interview with Michael Waltrip (loved his new, poking fun NAPA commercial), asking him about the car he wrecked near his house, and his slow-to-roll race team?? Or an interview with Jeremy Mayfield and his comments about Ray Evernham’s relationship with Erin Crocker? Why not Ray and Erin themselves? Or how about an in depth interview with Casey Mears? You could ask him about his win earlier this year and about his past, his thoughts on his future, yadda, yadda, yadda… ya know the basic interview stuff that for some perplexing reason has been severely lacking.
Those 2 minute pre-race interviews with the pit reporters are not cutting it.
(photo credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)