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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.
Victory Lane: John King
A speechless John King talks about winning his first Truck Series race at Daytona of all places.
Daytona winner King smacks the wall
John King gets loose entering Turn 2 and hits the wall.
King wins, Coulter flips in wild finish at DIS
John King avoids calamity to take the victory, while Joey Coulter goes for a wild and scary ride at the finish.
NBC Sports throws it back at Darlington with Southern 500 coverage
STAMFORD, Conn. -- August 31, 2016 -- NBC Sports gears up for a throwback weekend of racing from Darlington highlighted by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on NBC and the XFINITY Series race Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC. NBC Sports joins Darlington Raceway in celebrating the sights and sounds of the 1975-1984 era with throwback themes integrated into this weekend's coverage. In addition to traditional graphics and historic logos, NASCAR on NBC's on-air team will dress in their best time period apparel. Throughout the weekend, NASCAR on NBC's pre-race set will be flanked by a series of old school cars from the decade. Music and footage from the era will also bring viewers in and out of commercial breaks. Race day coverage kicks off with a revamped version of Blake Shelton's NASCAR on NBC "Bringing Back the Sunshine" Open, full of racing moments spanning the track's incredible history. Legendary NASCAR broadcasters Ken Squier and Ned Jarrett return to the booth, alongside Dale Jarrett, to call a portion of the race. Squier adds his voice to a special pre-race feature on the storied Raceway. Pre-race coverage also includes a special three-car on-track preview of Darlington Raceway . In addition to Jeff Burton in the Toyota Camry on-track car, Kyle Petty will drive his father's famed 1979 No. 43 Championship race car alongside Dale Jarrett in fellow Hall of Famer Benny Parsons' No. 72 car. NBC SPORTS PRESENTS NASCAR SPRINT CUP RACING FROM DARLINGTON SUNDAY AT 6 P.M. ET NBC Sports begins its Sprint Cup coverage from "The Lady in Black" Friday with practice at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, followed by final practice at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. An on-site edition of "NASCAR America" wraps up the day at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Saturday's coverage from Darlington Raceway includes "NASCAR America" at 1 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Sunday's race day coverage kicks off on NBCSN with NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET. NBC's coverage begins with "Countdown to Green" at 5:30 p.m. ET followed by race coverage at 6 p.m. ET. "NASCAR Victory Lap" at 11 p.m. ET wraps up the day. Race announcer Rick Allen calls this weekend's action alongside analysts Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton . Pre- and post-race coverage is handled by host Krista Voda, and analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett. Marty Snider, Mike Massaro, Dave Burns and Kelli Stavast report from pit road. Rutledge Wood, fresh off his journey to the Olympic Games in Rio, returns to bring viewers closer to the sights and sounds of the original paved superspeedway. XFINITY SERIES RACING RETURNS TO NBC SATURDAY AT 3:30 P.M. ET NBC Sports XFINITY coverage from "The Track Too Tough To Tame" begins Friday with practice at 12 p.m. ET on NBCSN, followed by final practice at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Race day coverage begins with qualifying on 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN. NBC's XFINITY coverage begins with Countdown to Green at 3 p.m. ET followed by race coverage at 3:30 p.m. ET. NBC SPORTS PRESENTS "SOUTHERN SPEED: THE LEGEND OF DARLINGTON" TONIGHT AT 9 P.M. ET ON NBCSN Leading up to this weekend's live NASCAR action from Darlington Raceway , NBC Sports presents a new one-hour special created to take fans inside the storied history of "The Track Too Tough To Tame." Produced in partnership with NASCAR productions, "Southern Speed: The Legend of Darlington" premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN, following a special 8 p.m. ET presentation of "NASCAR America." This morning's release previewing the special is available here . ARIC ALMIROLA & "THE KING " STAR IN THIS WEEK'S "PHONE A FAN" SOCIAL WEB VIDEO Aric Almirola and Richard Petty star in this week's new NASCAR on NBC "Phone a Fan" web video, where unsuspecting fans receive calls from their favorite NASCAR drivers. In the video released today on the NASCAR on NBC Facebook page and Twitter accounts, Barry from Egg Harbor, N.J., grills Almirola and Petty on when the No. 43 is going to make its way back Victory Lane. Check out the full video here . Ben Kennedy joins Ryan on this week's NASCAR on NBC podcast to discuss his first Camping World Truck Series victory at Bristol Motor Speedway and the outpouring of support he received from some NASCAR luminaries. Available on NASCAR Talk, iTunes, AudioBoom, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher and podcasting apps, the NASCAR on NBC podcast discusses the latest NASCAR news each week with the major players in the sport. UPCOMING NASCAR PROGRAMMING Date Coverage Time (ET) Network Wed., Aug. 31 NASCAR America 8:00 PM NBCSN Southern Speed: The Legend of Darlington 9:00 PM NBCSN Thurs., Sept. 1 NASCAR America 6:00 PM NBCSN NASCAR Whelen Modified Series – Riverhead 7:00 PM NBCSN Fri., Sept. 2 NASCAR XFINITY Series Practice – Darlington 12:00 PM NBCSN NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice – Darlington 1:30 PM NBCSN NASCAR XFINITY Series Final Practice – Darlington 2:30 PM NBCSN NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Final Practice – Darlington 3:30 PM NBCSN NASCAR America 5:00 PM NBCSN NASCAR K&N Pro Series West – Douglas County 7:00 PM NBCSN Sat., Sept. 3 NASCAR XFINITY Series Qualifying – Darlington 11:30 AM NBCSN NASCAR America 1:00 PM NBCSN NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying – Darlington 1:30 PM NBCSN NASCAR XFINITY Series Countdown to Green 3:00 PM NBC NASCAR XFINITY Series Racing – Darlington 3:30 PM NBC Sun., Sept. 4 NASCAR America Sunday 5:00 PM NBCSN NASCAR Sprint Cup Countdown to Green 5:30 PM NBCSN NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Racing – Darlington 6:00 PM NBC NASCAR Victory Lap 11:00 PM NBCSN All of NBC Sports Group's NASCAR coverage is available to stream on NBCSports.com and via the NBC Sports app. The NBC Sports app is powered by Playmaker Media, and is available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. NASCARTalk on NBCSports.com brings racing fans up-to-the-minute news, video and information on NASCAR drivers, teams and industry news. For all the latest NASCAR content socially, fans can follow @NASCARonNBC and @NASCARTalkNBC on twitter and like the NASCAR on NBC Facebook page. For more information about NBC Sports Group shows and properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios and headshots, please visit NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com .
Being a crew chief 'the next best thing' for Kendrick
RELATED: Complete schedule " See the series standings STATESVILLE, N.C. – There's a huge difference between going fast and racing. Chad Kendrick says he was very good at the former, but the latter took some time to figure out. Today, the split-second decisions he makes come from atop the pit box, where Kendrick is crew chief for driver Daniel Hemric and the No. 19 Ford of Brad Keselowski Racing in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series. But there was a time at South Boston Speedway when the Late Models were hauling the mail around the 4/10th-mile oval … "It was the best race I was ever having," Kendrick, a native of Durham, North Carolina, said recently. "I was running fifth and Denny was leading. He spun or did something and had to go to the back." "Denny," of course, was Denny Hamlin , this year's Daytona 500 champion and winner of 27 NASCAR premier series races for Joe Gibbs Racing . "He drove right back through the field," Kendrick said. "I'm fourth now (after Hamlin went to the rear); he catches me and he's not wasting time; he just knocks me out of the way. I was so mad … my tongue's hanging out and I'm giving it everything I've got and this kid is just gone. And I can't catch him." Hamlin, Kendrick and a host of others cut their racing teeth on tracks such as South Boston, trying to race their way out of anonymity. South Boston and Langley and Orange County and Southern National have helped make stars and have just as likely crushed dreams. Hamlin might have had a better car on this particular day. But he might have had something else as well. "It kind of hit me then – 'Alright, I don’t have what they have,'" Kendrick said. "I can go run a good lap. But I can't run that lap 150 (times) in a row. I can't do some of the things they can do. "I would love to tell you if I'd had the money … but I don't think so. I maybe could have won a race here or there. But I don't have what Brad (Keselowski) has or Ryan (Blaney) or even Daniel -- I don't have what those guys have. I don't know what it is and I don't know where they get it from, but something's there that just clicks. They have it. This was the next best thing." RELATED: Sustainability goes from top to bottom with Penske, Keselowski Hamlin succeeded, eventually moving on from the small local venues to become a bona fide NASCAR star. Kendrick made his way out, too, but in a slightly different fashion. Kendrick is no anomaly. The NASCAR garage has its share of crew chiefs who raced and then, for one reason or another, eventually hung up their helmets. Crew chiefs Paul Wolfe (Keselowski) and Rodney Childers ( Kevin Harvick ) raced, as did Matt McCall ( Jamie McMurray ) and Greg Ives ( Dale Earnhardt Jr .) There were other stops along the way for most, other tasks to complete and other lessons to be learned. Kendrick's move to the pit box began innocently enough –- Timothy Peters , one of his former rivals from back in the Late Model days – offered him his first crew chief position prior to 2008. The two had worked together previously at Bobby Hamilton Racing (BHR). "I probably learned 75 percent of everything I know about racing from Bobby," Kendrick said of the 2004 Truck Series champion. "He was really good … if you wanted to know, wanted to learn and grow, he was there for you. Very open and just an awesome guy. … "I loved working for him. I actually compare working here to working for Bobby." Other stops followed and their paths wouldn't cross again until Peters called one day with an offer. A partial deal would put Peters on the track and Kendrick on the pit box. "He said, 'By the way, you're going to be the crew chief, the only mechanic, the only guy …" Kendrick said of Peters' proposition. How difficult could that be? Kendrick was about to find out. The two made only a handful of starts in '08 and by the next season, the team added a second truck for a few races just to start and park and stay afloat financially. When NASCAR instituted a new pit procedure rule for the Truck Series in '09, things didn't get any easier. "That was the year that you did pit stops where you couldn't do fuel and tires at the same time," he said. "We never had enough people. I was the crew chief, I would jack on the tire stop, come back, throw the helmet and apron on, and fuel (the truck) during the fuel stop." The saving grace was a midseason call from Red Horse Racing owner Tom DeLoach, who wanted both Peters and Kendrick for his organization. The payoff came a few months later, in late October at Martinsville. Peters led 84 laps en route to his first series victory. It was Kendrick's first win as a crew chief, and remains his most memorable. "One, it was at Martinsville with Timothy," he said. "He and I had been through so much. … Going through all that and to get him his first win just meant a lot. "The win last year (at Bristol Motor Speedway ) with Blaney was the most exciting. It was the most dominant truck I've ever had and special in that as soon as we unloaded for practice, it was 'OK, we’re the truck to beat.' Blaney qualified on the outside of the front row and led the first 37 circuits at Bristol before a penalty for jumping the restart send him to the rear of the field. "Then he drives all the way back through the field and wins the race," Kendrick said. "That one was just really cool. You can be the best truck and you don't win because your crew had a bad stop or something breaks or somebody gets into you … anything. The smallest things can happen. … But Ryan got determined. So that one is up there." Kendrick's six wins have come with five different drivers – Peters, Blaney (2), John King , Parker Kligerman and Joey Logano . "I wanted to give Brad his first (Truck) win," Kendrick said, adding it was a "big battle" between he and fellow Brad Keselowski Racing crew chief Doug Randolph. But it was Randolph calling the shots when the team owner/driver made it to the winner’s circle, also at Bristol in 2014 "Just a couple of weeks ago, Brad gave Joey the truck we won with last year at Martinsville. I told Joey 'Don’t ever run another truck race,'" Kendrick said. "Because I'm probably not going to be known for much of anything, but at least I can tell my grandkids I gave Joey Logano his only truck win.' Doesn’t mean a lot, but …" RELATED: Inside the new Chase format for the series Now, he'll try to add Hemric to his list of winning drivers. Hemric, 25, is in his first season with the organization and sits seventh in points after three races. Teammate Tyler Reddick , 20, is a two-time race winner and driver of the team’s No. 29 with the veteran Randolph calling the shots. He's 16th in points. Next up for the series is the Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas Speedway (Friday, May 6, 8:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the first of a three-week swing that includes stops at Dover International Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway . Kendrick said both drivers are ready to get back on the track. Expectations remain high. "At the front end of the year I would have told you we’d have a win by now," he said. "I really thought we would. We've had brand new trucks all three races. "I know we’ll win a race, both of our guys. I don't think stretch to say we'll win 2-3 in a row, between our teams."
Weather delays Michigan Camping World Truck race
RELATED: Race leaderboard " Live weather, radar updates The start of Saturday's Careers for Veterans 200 Presented by Cooper Standard and Brad Keselowski 's Checkered Flag Foundation has been delayed by inclement weather in the area of Michigan International Speedway . The 100-lap race was originally scheduled to get underway at 1:13 p.m. ET on FS1, but that was before rain and thunderstorms moved across the 2-mile track. After about a two-and-a-half hour delay, the green flag for the race came at 3:47 p.m. ET. John Wes Townley won the pole position in his No. 05 Jive Communications/Zaxby's Chevrolet. Alongside Townley on the front row is two-time Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton in the No. 88 Great Lakes Flooring/Menards Toyota for ThorSport Racing. Five-time Truck Series winner William Byron starts third in the No. 9 Liberty University Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Alongisde Byron in Row 2 is the No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota of Timothy Peters , who holds the eighth and final spot in the Chase Grid. The Michigan race is the 14th of the season and third-to-last before the Chase field is set after the Chicagoland race on Sept. 16
Ron Hornaday Jr. picks up sponsorship for two races
Four-time Truck Series champion will be back in action at Las Vegas and Texas NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ron Hornaday Jr. will return to competition later this year in a deal put together by sponsor Rheem and NTS Motorsports with technical support from Richard Childress Racing . In a release posted on its web site, Rheem said the Atlanta, Georgia, based company would sponsor an entry for Hornaday for two of the final seven races in the series –- the Sept. 27 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as well as the Oct. 31 event at Texas Motor Speedway . According to the company, Rheem "has been working to find the best available truck equipment, crew and technical expertise in an effort to return Hornaday to the truck series before the end of the 2014 season." Hornaday, with funding provided in part by Rheem, was fourth in points when Turner Scott Motorsports officials ceased operations for the No. 30 team earlier this month. He did not compete at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park , dropping to sixth in points, and is not in Saturday night's Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway . NTS currently fields two Truck Series teams with Brennan Newberry and Gray Gaulding as the primary drivers for those teams and the organization has also had Michael Annett, Austin Dillon , John King , Justin Lofton , Chase Pistone and Jason White drive trucks for them this year. It is expected that the Hornaday team will be in addition to those two teams. "Rheem is pleased to play a part in bringing Ron Hornaday back to where he belongs … racing trucks to win and bringing excitement and enjoyment to Camping World Truck Series fans," Ed Raniszeski, managing director for Rheem Motorsports, said. "None of this would have been possible without the solid support of NTS Motorsports and RCR. "We all welcome Ron back and can't wait to see him back in the saddle." Hornaday is a four-time series champion, winning Truck Series titles in 1996, '98, 2007 and '09. He has 51 career wins in the series. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: NASCAR Chase Grid games WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Chase-clinching scenarios for Michigan and Road America
With three races remaining in the regular season, 10 drivers have clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , assuming each driver starts the remaining races. The 10 clinchers: Brad Keselowski , Kyle Busch , Carl Edwards , Jimmie Johnson , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Joey Logano , Martin Truex Jr . and Denny Hamlin . Everyone who has a win this season is locked in -- except for Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher , both of whom have yet to clinch a top-30 spot. Stewart can clinch a top 30 spot at Michigan with some help as he must be 91 points ahead of the 31st position in the standings. A number of drivers who currently have no wins can clinch this weekend, but only if they win the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Winless drivers in the standings from Austin Dillon all the way to Aric Almirola could lock in a spot with a victory. See the Sprint Cup standings here . Possible to Clinch: -- Tony Stewart (1 Win, 400 Points, +85 Points Ahead of 31st): Could Clinch a Top 30 spot with help (magic number is 91 points), which is all he needs to do to clinch on wins. The following drivers would clinch with a win: -- Austin Dillon (0 Wins, 596 Points, +281 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Chase Elliott (0 Wins, 588 Points, +273 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Jamie McMurray (0 Wins, 583 Points, +268 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Ryan Newman (0 Wins, 576 Points, +261 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Trevor Bayne (0 Wins, 541 Points, +226 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Kyle Larson (0 Wins, 537 Points, +222 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Kasey Kahne (0 Wins, 537 Points, +222 Points Ahead of 31st) -- AJ Allmendinger (0 Wins, 518 Points, +203 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr (0 Wins, 514 Points, +199 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Ryan Blaney (0 Wins, 508 Points, +193 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr (0 Wins, 461 Points, +146 Points Ahead of 31st)** -- Greg Biffle (0 Wins, 441 Points, +126 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Danica Patrick (0 Wins, 432 Points, +117 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Paul Menard (0 Wins, 431 Points, +116 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Clint Bowyer (0 Wins, 407 Points, +92 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Aric Almirola (0 Wins, 406 Points, +91 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Casey Mears (0 Wins, 375 Points, +60 Points Ahead of 31st): With a win, he could clinch a Chase spot on wins if he got help with clinching a Top 30 spot. **Not entered at Michigan XFINITY The following drivers have already clinched a spot in the top 30 of the points standings, so a win at Road America (Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) would lock them into the Chase field -- Justin Allgaier , Ty Dillon , Brendan Gaughan , Brennan Poole , Brandon Jones , Darrell Wallace Jr ., Ryan Reed , Blake Koch , Ryan Sieg , Ross Chastain , Dakoda Armstrong , Jeremy Clements , Ryan Preece , Ray Black Jr . and BJ McLeod . Joey Gase would also clinch a Chase spot with a win. Camping World Truck With a win at Michigan (Saturday, 1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), any of the four drivers currently sitting with one win would clinch their Chase spot. -- Johnny Sauter (1 Win, 306 Points, +243 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Christopher Bell (1 Win, 296 Points, +233 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Ben Kennedy (1 Win, 287 Points, +224 Points Ahead of 31st) -- John Hunter Nemechek (1 Win, 281 Points, +218 Points Ahead of 31st) Daniel Hemric (0 Wins, 312 Points, +249 Points Ahead of 31st) -- With a win and help, he would clinch a Chase spot on wins. (The help would be in the form of all winless drivers being eliminated from leading the standings after Chicago.)
Tech Talk: Vinyl wrap vs. paint
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman and Chris Rice explain the advantages NASCAR teams get from wrapping a car vs. giving it a traditional paint job.