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How Matt Kenseth helped John Krasinski land role of 'Jim' on 'The Office'
It's nearly impossible to think an actor besides John Krasinski playing the role of 'Jim Halpert' on the American version of "The Office," but it may not have happened without the help of Matt Kenseth . Did that just blow your mind? It should have. Back in 2002 -- a full three years before the NBC premiere of inarguably the greatest comedy series of all time, in my opinion, at least -- a fresh-faced Krasinski appeared in a commercial with Kenseth that caught the eye of future "Office" executive producer, Greg Daniels. The back-and-forth dialogue between last fall's grand marshal at Texas Motor Speedway and Kenseth (more back than forth, knowing the stoic Joe Gibbs Racing driver) and wild antics by the now-36-year-old led to an audition and before long, " Jim " was born. Krasinski recently spoke about it on NPR's Fresh Air podcast with Dave Davies . "I haven't seen or heard that since the time I did it. That is a real send back to memory lane," Krasinski said. " … That was a huge performance and I remember we had a little bit of script and Matt Kenseth had said he doesn't want to have a line in the script. He was very shy and he didn't want ... he just wanted to walk through the commercial. "At the end of the day, they just asked 'Would you just improv and have fun? Let's see what we get' and we just kept going and I think they just watched the dog go off the leash, just improving all this stuff. By the end, Matt said 'Well, now I do want to say some stuff.' So he came in and we were joking around all day. It was probably one of the more fun times I've had, certainly before I got 'The Office . ' " The commercial worked wonders for both men, as Krasinski is now a household name and Kenseth won five races that year, following it up with his only premier series title the following season. Watch the full commercial below.
ThorSport draws strength to keep trucking after devastating fire
RELATED: Exclusive look at the ThorSport shop in Ohio SANDUSKY, Ohio -- No matter what happens from here on out, win or lose, championship or bust, ThorSport Racing officials likely will look back on the 2016 season as something of a rebirth. It's been a year in which the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series organization has literally risen from the ashes. Cut short just seven races into the season by a raging fire that damaged much of the team's race shop, the company marched on, spent weeks working piecemeal out of everything from the parking lot of a former grocery store to a section of bays inside a custom trailer manufacturing facility. Each off-site venue was within roughly a five-mile radius of the team's 100,000-square-foot home base. Each was also an example of a small, tight-knit community reaching out to help in any way possible. ThorSport, owned by Duke and Rhonda Thorson, has fielded entries in the Camping World Truck Series since 1996, the second year of the series' existence. Today, four teams run out of the large cream-colored building -- the No. 88 Toyota Tundra of two-time series champion Matt Crafton , the No. 13 of Cameron Hayley , the No. 41 of Ben Rhodes and the No. 98 of Rico Abreu. Rhodes and Abreu are Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates. But for six weeks, the four teams and approximately 85 employees worked "old school," minus many of the technological necessities prevalent throughout all three of NASCAR's national series. They did so while traveling to and competing at Iowa and St. Louis, Kentucky and Eldora. Walk into the shop today and you might not realize the place had been filled with smoke "so thick you couldn't see your hand in front of your face," one first responder recalled on Thursday, or that water was "up to our knees in most places, and running out of the hauler bays in back like a river," said another. But the smell tells another story. "There were times," said Jim Johnson, captain of the Perkins Township Fire Department, "I thought we were going to lose the entire building." Johnson was the first to arrive on the scene, just after midnight on Monday, June 13. Assuming it was nothing more than a small brush fire out back of the team's headquarters, he said he quickly realized the severity of the situation and alerted departments from nearby townships as well as Sandusky. Three other localities and 47 firefighters quickly responded. The fire, which began outside behind the main building, had spread up the rear wall and then began moving beneath the rubber-sealed roof. The rear portion, which housed a fabrication area and machine shop, had to be knocked down in order for firemen to get to the blaze. Johnson said it took approximately 500,000 gallons of water to finally extinguish the fire. Most equipment was quickly removed from the shop -- a large grassy area outside was soon filled with race trucks, pit boxes and assorted tools. There were no injuries and, surprisingly, no race vehicles were damaged to the extent that they had to be discarded. While ThorSport teams regrouped and continued to focus on racing, workers began the process of renovating the shop. Walls, blackened by smoke and damaged by water, were torn down to the studs and rebuilt. New wiring was installed. Eventually, equipment was brought back in. And what little remained of the destroyed rear portion, about 25,000 square feet of shop space, was hauled away. The organization was slowed, perhaps, but not stopped. "We can't use (the fire) as an excuse to under-achieve," ThorSport General Manager David Pepper said. Today, trucks in various states of assembly sit on the pristine shop floor. Work has resumed in a building, a former slaughterhouse that was first put into use by the group in 2011. "Duke and Rhonda have given us our biggest, best resource you could possibly ask for to win races, and we've proven we can do that from here," Carl "Junior" Joiner, crew chief for Crafton, said. "Not having it, you were lost. "At this level, you need resources like this to win and we didn't have that for a long time." The smell, less strong now, still lingers inside the shop. Inside some of the trucks, too. "We still have to put air fresheners in some of them because of the stench," he said. It is not only a reminder of what happened, but how far the organization has come in such a short period of time. "When something bad happens, my father always told me, 'Well kid, it builds character.' And I know that we're going to be stronger from it," Joiner said. "I know we will." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Larson: ‘We parked it for him’
Kyle Larson celebrates in Victory Lane after dedicating his emotion first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win to his friend Bryan Clauson.
Seriously? Golfer, noted actor Jim Furyk sets record
Jim , are you serious? Professional golfer Jim Furyk set a Professional Golf Association Tour record Sunday by shooting 58 (12-under par) in the final round of the Travelers Championship. NASCAR fans may best remember Furyk from the 5-hour Energy campaign with Clint Bowyer years ago. Great job to Jim on his performance. Seriously.
Jim Giaccone honors brother, other 9/11 victims by aiding others
RELATED: All the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award finalists The tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 took so much from Jim Giaccone. But it led him to this: honoring the memory of the brother he lost by helping others affected by that dark day. Giaccone's older brother, Joseph, died in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. Joseph was among the 658 employees of the Cantor Fitzgerald financial services firm who were killed. Devastated by grief, Giaccone somehow found the drive to carry on and honor his brother by giving back to others -- especially children -- who likewise were carrying on in the aftermath of 9/11. During his personal aftermath, Giaccone found his future in the form of Tuesday's Children, an organization dedicated to providing long-term support to those directly impacted by the events of 9/11 and other communities impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss. Giaccone's involvement in Tuesday's Children is multi-faceted, as a fundraiser, through service on the organization's Mentoring Advisory Board and Family Advisory Board and through what is arguably his most significant contribution: serving as a mentor. His works have not gone unnoticed. Giaccone, from Bayville, New York, is one of four finalists for The NASCAR Foundation's 2016 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Presented by Nationwide. The award will be presented by France -- The NASCAR Foundation's Chairwoman Emeritus and founder -- on Sept. 27 during the inaugural Honors Gala at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. The foundation will donate $100,000 to the charity represented by the award winner and $25,000 to each of the other three finalists' charities. The award winner will be determined via an online vote now underway and running through Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. (ET) at NASCAR.com/Award . Giaccone, 55, mentors teenage brothers Nicholas and Matthew Reda, who lost their father on 9/11. Suffice to say this is a reciprocal relationship. Giaccone and the boys find healing and comfort in one another. But their time spent together involves more than words. The healing is helped by sharing real-life tasks involving practical skills, such as building rockets and fishing, both activities the boys enjoyed with their father. Said Giaccone: "I am not a man of great wealth where I can personally make a difference financially. My most valuable asset is my time. "It's a delicate balance when I try to explain what I get out of this. But obviously, anything that I've gained over the last 15 years I would trade in a second for my brother's life. But … that's not reality. Through the programs that Tuesday's Children is running and seeing the works that they do … it's almost become a therapy for me, to be honest. When I leave Nicholas and Matthew, it's almost as if I have a 'runner's high.' I feel calmer. If those boys get half of what I get out of this, it's a win-win." More than 10 years and hundreds of hours of service to Tuesday's Children have given Giaccone many rewarding experiences. He wants more, because there is so much more work to do. He has expanded his volunteer efforts to include helping others both domestically and abroad, truly living his life to reflect the organization's motto to "Let Our Past Change the Future." Giaccone is a longtime NASCAR fan, dating to his childhood when enjoying racing was a family tradition. One of his most cherished memories of NASCAR -- and of his life, overall -- is from August 2001 when he and his brother went to Nazareth (Pennsylvania) Speedway to take part in a fan driving experience. "I had gone to Las Vegas and done the Richard Petty Driving Experience twice, so I organized the trip (to Nazareth)." Giaccone said. "It was pretty special ..." As is being a Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award finalist, and representing Tuesday's Children -- in New York City on Sept. 27. "It's very humbling to be considered," Giaccone said. To learn more about this year’s finalists for The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide, and to cast your vote today, go to www.NASCAR.com/Award . Voting is open now until September 26 at 5 p.m. ET.
21 Questions with Ryan Blaney and A'Shawn Robinson
'21 Questions' host Ryan Blaney catches up with Detroit Lions defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson at Michigan International Speedway to discuss football, spirit animals and what the University of Alabama star would be doing if he didn't play football.
College athletes join NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Program
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 17, 2016) – NASCAR and Rev Racing today announced nine former college student-athletes selected to participate in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) Crew Member Development Program. The new class of participants received invitations to train with Rev Racing following standout performances at the first national D4D pit crew combine in May. Multicultural athletes starring in football, basketball and softball at the college level will receive expert training as tire changers, carriers and jackmen, with the goal of gaining fulltime employment with NASCAR national series race teams. "We've assembled a very talented group of athletes who we believe has what it takes to excel on pit road in NASCAR," said Jim Cassidy, senior vice president of racing operations. "Each D4D participant will benefit from Rev Racing's best-in-class training program, and we look forward to watching them grow and develop over the next 12 months." This year NASCAR and Rev Racing revamped the crew member scouting process, hosting tryouts at six universities across the country. Eighteen men and women from 12 states and one U.S. territory were selected to compete in the national combine in Concord, N.C. Half earned invitations to join the D4D pit crew program. "We are very excited for the arrival of the new 2016 Drive for Diversity pit crew recruits," said Max Siegel, owner and CEO of Rev Racing. "With the national combine and recruitment effort this past year, we were able to select the top level of athletic talent. We look forward to training these individuals and placing them along pit road in the national series. Our academy-style approach to training continues to show success year after year; this class will not fall short." Among the new D4D participants are three former football players from the University of Kansas, one of the schools to host tryouts. Appalachian State's Jeremy Kimbrough, who spent time with the Washington Redskins, and Joshua Tate, an All-American at Clark Atlanta University, are also looking to transition from the gridiron to NASCAR. A pair of female athletes in former Norfolk State, basketball player Brehanna Daniels and former Alcorn State University softball player Breanna O'Leary, will train as tire changers under the tutelage of Phil Horton, Rev Racing's director of human performance. There are 35 graduates of the D4D Crew Member Development Program currently working in NASCAR. Three alums – Raphael Diaz, Kevin Richardson and Richie Williams – celebrated in Victory Lane as members of Chris Buescher 's pit crew after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver won his first premier series race at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 1. Last November, Diaz and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Mike Russell became the first D4D graduates to win a national series championship when Buescher clinched the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship. The new members of the D4D Crew Member Development Program include: First Last Hometown University Primary Sport Brehanna Daniels Norfolk, Va. Norfolk State University Basketball Kapil Fletcher Fort Lauderdale, Fla. University of Kansas Football Tedarian Johnson Jackson, Miss. University of Kansas Football Jeremy Kimbrough Decatur, Ga. Appalachian State University Football Corey King Boca Raton, Fla. University of Kansas Football Lamar Neal Virginia Beach, Va. Norfolk State University Football Breanna O'Leary Amarillo, Texas Alcorn State University Softball Jorden Paige Buffalo, N.Y. Clark Atlanta University Football Joshua Tate Memphis, Tenn. Clark Atlanta University Football The NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, under the leadership of Rev Racing , supports both crew member and driver development opportunities. Driver graduates include NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson , and NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Daniel Suarez and Darrell Wallace Jr . For more information on NASCAR Drive for Diversity, visit www.NASCARDiversity.com .
NASCAR, Charter owners pose for historic photo
History was at hand -- and properly documented -- Sunday morning before the running of the 58th annual Daytona 500 . The 2016 season-opener marked the formal beginning of the new owner Charter system, which NASCAR and team owners signed a nine-year agreement on before the start of the season. There are 36 Charters, and each Charter team is guaranteed entry into every points-paying race. The Charter system, a form of which owners have sought in an effort to bolster value of their organizations and which was initiated by NASCAR more than a year ago, also provides stability by guaranteeing sponsors and other potential partners continued participation for an extended period of time. As such, the momentous occasion was documented by a photo with every Charter-owning member, along with NASCAR dignitaries -- much like the classic photo in 1947 at the Streamline Hotel in which Bill France Sr. launched the birth of NASCAR. Top Row (From L-R) Brad Daugherty ( JTG Daugherty Racing ); Steve Lauletta ( Chip Ganassi Racing ); Shirley Falk (Circle Sport Racing); Joe Falk (Circle Sport Racing); Bob Germain Jr. ( Germain Racing ); Larry Rogers ( Germain Racing ); Archie St. Hilaire (Go FAS Racing); Mason St. Hilaire (Go FAS Racing); Jay Robinson (Premium Motorsports); Dave Alpern ( Joe Gibbs Racing ). 4th Row (L-R) Joe Custer ( Stewart-Haas Racing ); Bob Jenkins ( Front Row Motorsports ); Torrey Galida ( Richard Childress Racing ); Gordon Smith (Circle Sport Racing); Tad Geschickter ( JTG Daugherty Racing ); Eric Nyquist (NASCAR); Ron Devine ( BK Racing ); Harry Scott Jr. ( HScott Motorsports ); Andrew Murstein ( Richard Petty Motorsports ); Ryan Dubois ( BK Racing ); Wayne Press ( BK Racing ). 3rd Row (L-R) Brett Frood ( Stewart-Haas Racing ); Karen Leetzow (NASCAR); Walt Czarnecki ( Team Penske ); Steve Phelps (NASCAR); Marshall Carlson ( Hendrick Motorsports ); Steve O’Donnell (NASCAR); Barney Visser ( Furniture Row Racing ); Joe Garone ( Furniture Row Racing ); Susan Schandel (NASCAR) 2nd Row (L-R) Jack Roush ( Roush Fenway Racing ); Steve Newmark ( Roush Fenway Racing ); Gary Crotty (NASCAR); Rob Kauffman ( Chip Ganassi Racing ); Brent Dewar (NASCAR); Mike Helton (NASCAR); Chip Ganassi ( Chip Ganassi Racing ); Gene Haas ( Stewart-Haas Racing ); Tommy Baldwin ( Tommy Baldwin Racing ). 1st Row (L-R) Richard Childress ( Richard Childress Racing ); Roger Penske ( Team Penske ); Rick Hendrick ( Hendrick Motorsports ); Brian France (NASCAR); Jim France (NASCAR); Lesa France Kennedy (NASCAR); Richard Petty ( Richard Petty Motorsports ); Joe Gibbs ( Joe Gibbs Racing ); J.D. Gibbs ( Joe Gibbs Racing )
NASCAR portrait with founding Charter members
NASCAR executives and board members join the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series charter owners for a historic portrait in Victory Lane in advance of the 58th annual DAYTONA 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX). The high-resolution photo can be downloaded at: http://www.nascarmedia.com/photos/ . (Photo Credit: Jared Tilton, NASCAR via Getty Images) NASCAR Charter Photo Participants Top Row (From L-R) Brad Daugherty ( JTG Daugherty Racing ); Steve Lauletta ( Chip Ganassi Racing ); Shirley Falk (Circle Sport Racing); Joe Falk (Circle Sport Racing); Bob Germain Jr. ( Germain Racing ); Larry Rogers ( Germain Racing ); Archie St. Hilaire (Go FAS Racing); Mason St. Hilaire (Go FAS Racing); Jay Robinson (Premium Motorsports); Dave Alpern ( Joe Gibbs Racing ). 4th Row (L-R) Joe Custer ( Stewart-Haas Racing ); Bob Jenkins ( Front Row Motorsports ); Torrey Galida ( Richard Childress Racing ); Gordon Smith (Circle Sport Racing); Tad Geschickter ( JTG Daugherty Racing ); Eric Nyquist (NASCAR); Ron Devine ( BK Racing ); Harry Scott Jr. ( HScott Motorsports ); Andrew Murstein ( Richard Petty Motorsports ); Ryan Dubois ( BK Racing ); Wayne Press ( BK Racing ). 3rd Row (L-R) Brett Frood ( Stewart-Haas Racing ); Karen Leetzow (NASCAR); Walt Czarnecki ( Team Penske ); Steve Phelps (NASCAR); Marshall Carlson ( Hendrick Motorsports ); Steve O’Donnell (NASCAR); Barney Visser ( Furniture Row Racing ); Joe Garone ( Furniture Row Racing ); Susan Schandel (NASCAR) 2nd Row (L-R) Jack Roush ( Roush Fenway Racing ); Steve Newmark ( Roush Fenway Racing ); Gary Crotty (NASCAR); Rob Kauffman ( Chip Ganassi Racing ); Brent Dewar (NASCAR); Mike Helton (NASCAR); Chip Ganassi ( Chip Ganassi Racing ); Gene Haas ( Stewart-Haas Racing ); Tommy Baldwin ( Tommy Baldwin Racing ). 1st Row (L-R) Richard Childress ( Richard Childress Racing ); Roger Penske ( Team Penske ); Rick Hendrick ( Hendrick Motorsports ); Brian France (NASCAR); Jim France (NASCAR); Lesa France Kennedy (NASCAR); Richard Petty ( Richard Petty Motorsports ); Joe Gibbs ( Joe Gibbs Racing ); J.D. Gibbs ( Joe Gibbs Racing )
Engines revved for NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 7, 2015) -- Twenty-two drivers have three days to compete for a spot in the motorsport industry's top driver development program, the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D), set to commence at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., Oct. 19-21, 2015. Now in its 12th year, the annual Combine invites promising ethnically diverse and female drivers, ages 14 to 26, from across North America to test their skills over a three-day period in order to identify members of the NASCAR D4D Class of 2016. "Finding and developing diverse athletes who will represent the future of NASCAR is at the core of our organization's mission," said NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Jim Cassidy. "Every year, the bar is raised with talented applicants who have the potential and determination to succeed. We're proud to watch our graduates in the national series and develop more diverse talent to join them in the years to come." In partnership with Rev Racing, the Max Siegel-owned race team, D4D offers racing opportunities in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKPSE) and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) for one full season, providing drivers with equipment, mentoring, and competition experience. "We could not be more excited about this year's NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine to select the 2016 Class of Rev Racing drivers," said team CEO Max Siegel. "Coming off of our sixth consecutive multiple race winning season, we are focused on continuing to make our program and approach world class, as we prepare these young drivers to advance into the national series." The NASCAR D4D Combine has proven successful in identifying and developing future stars of the sport. Current D4D member Collin Cabre secured Rev Racing's second win of 2015 with a victory at the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season finale at Dover International Speedway . In addition, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson and NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Darrell Wallace Jr . and Daniel Suárez, leaders in the series' Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, are among the graduates of the program. This year's athletes include 13 women, notably the youngest combine participant ever at 14 years old, Macy Causey. Also participating are four stars from the NASCAR Mexico Series: Abraham Calderón, Enrique Contreras, Rubén García Jr. and Santiago Tovar. Returning to defend their spots in the program are current NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers Dylan Smith and Natalie Decker. Driver combine participants will be evaluated on their driving skills and will also be tested on a series of strength and agility exercises at Hampton University. Fans can follow the Combine on Twitter at @NASCARDiversity and @RevRacing. Below are invitees to the 12th annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine: First Name Last Name Age City State/Country Hannah Adair 21 Tulsa Okla. Jairo Avila 20 Alhambra Calif. Kayli Barker 18 Las Vegas Nev. Nicole Behar 17 Otis Orchards Wash. Abraham Calderon 26 Monterrey Mexico Macy Causey 14 Yorktown Va. Enrique Contreras 22 San Antonio Texas Madeline Crane 17 Meansville Ga. Claire Decker 20 Eagle River Wis. Natalie Decker 18 Eagle River Wis. Juan Garcia 17 Bogota Colombia Ruben Garcia Jr. 19 Mexico City Mexico Ali Kern 22 Fremont Ohio Enrique Limon 17 Mexico City Mexico Mariah McGriff 20 Vail Ariz. Becca Monopoli 26 Lakeland Fla. Erika Newcome 20 Pickerington Ohio Hannah Newhouse 18 Twin Falls Idaho Vanessa Robinson 25 Las Cruces N.M. Dylan Smith 23 Concord N.C. Walter Thomas 16 Indianapolis Ind. Santiago Tovar 22 Mexico City Mexico In addition to drivers, NASCAR Drive for Diversity has successfully identified and developed pit crew members to find employment opportunities within the sport. The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Challenge Tour will host its final Combine of the year at the NASCAR Research and Development Center on October 9, 2015 in Concord, North Carolina.