Not My Job: NASCAR Driver Matt Kenseth Gets Quizzed On Golf Carts
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Lastly, in the spring, we headed up the highway to Milwaukee, Wis. And we decided to talk about something that all public radio listeners are obsessed with - NASCAR.
BILL KURTIS: Matt Kenseth is a NASCAR champion and a Wisconsin native, which was a bit surprising to Peter, who thought Wisconsin just produced beer and cheese.
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MATT KENSETH: Yeah, there's actually a lot of stock-car racing up in Wisconsin. When I grew up racing around the area, there was probably five nights a week, six nights a week I guess you could race. So, yeah, a lot of good racing around there. I had a lot of fun.
SAGAL: Right. And how young were you when you knew that's what you wanted to do, to race cars?
KENSETH: (Laughter) Well, I've always been interested in racing and mechanics. And I think the thing that really opened my eyes to racing was probably the first day that I drove somebody else's car and me and my dad didn't have to pay for the tires and the pit passes...
SAGAL: Oh, that's great.
KENSETH: I actually got paid a little bit to drive a race car. I thought that was the greatest thing ever. So once that happened once, I was like I've got to figure how to do this more.
SAGAL: Right. So now you're on the NASCAR circuit. You're a sponsored and very successful driver. You've won a bunch of championships. In fact, you won - I read this - you won the Daytona 500 in 2009 because it was cut short by rain?
KENSETH: Well, we didn't win it because it was cut short by rain.
SAGAL: I want you to know - just in case it wasn't clear, I don't know what I'm talking about. I...
SAGAL: I don't know enough to insult you. I'm just dumb, so...
MO ROCCA: But doesn't your car have windshield wipers?
KENSETH: No windshield wipers, and we don't have any tread on our tires, so I think it'd make a big mess.
LUKE BURBANK: That sounds dangerous. You guys should get them tread.
ROXANNE ROBERTS: Yeah, going like a...
SAGAL: Very fast.
ROBERTS: ...Fast - high speeds...
ROCCA: I know - I know about the fourth turn at Charlotte. I know all about it.
SAGAL: I've heard that driving a NASCAR - a race car - even though you're technically sitting still is actually one of the most physically-difficult things that athletes do. Would you agree with that?
KENSETH: No, that's a lie.
SAGAL: Oh (laughter). I've heard stories of, like, you know, trained athletes getting into a NASCAR car, doing a few laughs with a driver driving and staggering out because their body can't take it. And you're like nah, we're just sitting there, listening to the radio? Is that...
KENSETH: (Laughter) Well, I will say it's different, you know? It takes - you know, it's really hot in the car. You're in there for a really long time. It obviously takes a lot of mental focus. But I wouldn't say that it's nearly as physically demanding as most other sports.
ROCCA: Have you ever taken a right turn?
KENSETH: As a matter of fact, I have.
ROCCA: Well, but when you're - I'm serious though, when you're going around, you're turning left and you're turning left, does that mean that - is your body, like, everything shoved to the right?
SAGAL: Do you have to spin around in left-handed circles to unwind...
SAGAL: ...After a race? Is that what you're asking?
KENSETH: Yeah. I mean, - I mean, right now I'm trying to figure out if any of those questions is really serious or not.
ROBERTS: All right...
SAGAL: Yeah, so are the listeners.
ROBERTS: OK, I have...
KENSETH: But I will say...
KENSETH: ...I was working out of about a month ago with my trainer over here. And, like, my left side of, like, my abs and my core is, like, twice as strong as my right side. So there is a little bit there, actually...
ROCCA: That's what I meant. That's what I meant.
KENSETH: ...Believe it or not.
SAGAL: I wonder if - again, about this skill thing. Let's say you were in a Prius and I was in a Porsche...
SAGAL: ...And stipulating that I don't know what I'm doing, who would win?
KENSETH: Well, since I - since Toyota is one of our biggest sponsors and you're putting me (unintelligible) I'm going to win.
SAGAL: Well done, sir.
SAGAL: Well, Matt Kenseth, it is a pleasure to talk to you from your home state. But we have asked you here to play game we're calling...
KURTIS: Get A Move On, Pal.
SAGAL: Since you drive very fast for a living, we thought we'd ask you about vehicles that go very slowly, namely golf carts. Answer three of these questions about golf carts correctly, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners - Carl Kasell's voice on their voicemail. Bill, who is NASCAR champion Matt Kenseth playing for?
KURTIS: Thomas Paul from Milwaukee, Wis.
SAGAL: All right.
SAGAL: So you ready to play here, Matt?
KENSETH: I - not really but I'll try.
SAGAL: First question, lawbreaking in golf carts is pretty common, as you might imagine. Which of these really happened? A, a midnight golf cart drag racing club in the Villages retirement complex was broken up when a cop car easily caught up with the fleeing racers...
SAGAL: ...B, a Florida golf club member was thrown off the course for mistaking her Chrysler LeBaron convertible for a golf cart and driving it up the fairway, or C, a bank robber in LA got out with $75,000, jumped into a waiting golf cart and was arrested 400 feet later.
KENSETH: Yeah, you know, I'm going to go with B. I could see some old lady drinking too much on the golf course and getting in her car and driving down the fairway. I could totally see it.
SAGAL: It is frightening how accurate you are 'cause that's exactly what happened.
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ROCCA: Oh, really? Wow.
SAGAL: Notice - I want to you notice...
SAGAL: ...That I did not mention the drinking part, but Matt here figured that out that that had to play a role. And it did - she likes to drink, this particular golf club member and she - especially before a round of golf. And she just mistook her Chrysler for the golf cart and went tearing up the fairway. All right, two more questions. You did pretty well with that one. Golf carts are getting passe. Hip golfers are using new alternatives to the golf cart, such as which of these? A, the golf horse cart, which is environmentally friendly and it fertilizers the grass...
SAGAL: ...B, golf drones, which use four motorized drones to carry your clubs as you walk, or C, the GolfBoard, a motorized surfboard that lets you carve the hills and fairways as you play?
KENSETH: Oh, it's got to be the surfboard.
SAGAL: Yes, it is, Matt. You're right again.
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SAGAL: The only - it is the GolfBoard - it's the only way science has yet found to make golfers look even sillier.
KENSETH: So do you guys want me to get this last one wrong so you don't actually have to call that guy's voicemail?
SAGAL: No, no...
SAGAL: You are...
SAGAL: You are a master of race strategy. It's amazing.
BURBANK: I find it unsettling, Matt, how quickly you'll throw a competition. It's a little...
SAGAL: Oh, look, it's starting to rain. Let's call it. You've won.
KENSETH: That's right.
SAGAL: No, no, no, no, no, no, we're excited.
SAGAL: Oh, they are punishing me. We're going to play this out. Here we go...
SAGAL: It turns out, golf carts - not just for playing golf, as in which of these instances? A, certain Saudi billionaires use them to travel the interior hallways of their mansions, B, the Indian army once bought 22 of them to use as, quote, "silent reconnaissance vehicles..."
SAGAL: ...Or C, Donald Trump has a small golf cart done up to look like a car so he can sit in it and it makes his hands look bigger.
KENSETH: You know, as much as I'd like to go with C, we're going to have to say A.
SAGAL: You're going to go with A, the Saudi billionaires?
KENSETH: Yeah, they've got to be cruising down their halls.
SAGAL: They might be, but as far as we know we made that up. It was actually the Indian army - silent...
SAGAL: ...Reconnaissance vehicles.
KENSETH: I knew that. I just didn't want to have him make that phone call that...
SAGAL: Bill, how did - how did Matt Kenseth do on our show?
KURTIS: He got 2 out of 3. And for that we say you're a winner.
SAGAL: It's true. You won anyway.
KENSETH: All right.
SAGAL: Matt Kenseth, thank you so much for joining us. It was lots of fun.
KENSETH: Thank you for having me.
SAGAL: That does it for today's attempt to avoid talking about politics. We hope you have enjoyed it. WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME is a production of NPR and WBEZ Chicago, in association with Urgent Haircut Productions - Doug Berman, benevolent overlord. B.J. Leiderman composed our theme. Our program was produced by Robin Linn, Miles Doornbos. Technical direction is from Lorna White. Our CFO is Anne Nguyen. Our production coordinator - that's Robert Newhouse. Our senior producer - Ian Chillag. And the executive producer of WAIT WAIT DON'T TELL ME is Mr. Michael Danforth.
Thanks to Bill Kurtis. Thanks also to our panelists, all our guests and, of course, our patron saint, Mr. Carl Kasell. Thanks to all of you for listening. I am Peter Sagal, and we will see you next week.
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SAGAL: This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.