Monday, July 16, 2007

Climb the fence for $1 million? Not me

So after the race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, somebody in Victory Lane was giving Tony Stewart grief about his form as he climbed the fence in celebration of winning the USG Sheetrock 400.

Maybe it started when Matt Yocum, Tony's sports information director, challenged Stewart to a climbing contest. I don't know. Anyhow, before long apparently my name got drug into it.

So when Stewart got the media center, I knew where he was going to go.

"I'll bet a million dollars you couldn't get to the top of that fence," he said to me.

OK, let's just say up front that he's probably right. Tony's not carrying nearly as much weight up the fence as I would be, and he's certainly had more practice. These are among the several reasons I have more sense than to be trying to climb any fences.

But for $1 million?

He didn't set any kind of time limit. For $1 million, I might be able to make it if you give me a couple of days. But there'd have to be a lot of padding down just in case I fell off. The thing that worries me the most when Tony goes fence-climbing or when Carl Edwards tries his backflips is that they only have to miss one time before it's a bad, bad deal. I'd just as soon not break my leg -- or my neck, for that matter.

Anyway, here's the payoff to the story.

Sunday night, Tony and I bantered back and forth a little while about fence climbing and that was that.

Monday morning, I went back to the track to do the Sirius NASCAR Radio show. I was supposed to go on the air with Marty Snider for The Morning Drive show at 6 a.m. Central time.

I pulled into the track about 5:35 and when I got to the garage area, all I could find were locked gates. The radio equipment I needed to use was inside a Safety-Kleen trailer located inside the garage.

On the other side of a fence.

I tried to find some security guard. While Pat Patterson, who helps us get on the air from each track, and I were looking for someone to let us in, the clock was ticking.

I had my rental car parked right up against the bottom of the fence. It was 5:50 and nobody with a key was in sight.

I stood there a minute and looked at the hood of the car and the top of the fence. And, for just a second, I thought about trying to go over the top.

Then, my brain actually engaged. Marty could last a segment or two if it came to that. I was going to wait on a key, which eventually came about 5:57 and everything worked out well.

All I could think of the rest of the day was getting stuck on the top of that fence, or falling off and laying there in a big pile long enough for somebody to come take a picture.

And send it to Tony Stewart.


Anonymous said...

Great story David. And now I know why you understand when we sometimes have tech problems during your guest spots on our show.

Anonymous said...

After seeing "The Pumpkin" climbing the fence after winning the race, I am not sure Subway will want to run any new commercials for a few months. That Subway diet has not been too kind for him.

Anonymous said...

LOL Thanks David for making my day =) #5

Anonymous said...

Come on David! I'll climb it with you! Maybe we can make a deal with Tony and split the million!

Monkeesfan said...

Stewart sometimes advocates one thing, then will advocate another thing - you suppose he climbs the fence because he's so often on it?


Anonymous said...

David, entertaining column. I didn't subject myself to listening to Tony after the race, so I wondered when I heard a comment about you yesterday.

"The Great Pumpkin" aka Stewart, LOL. He's on that type of schedule for wins: Once each year the Great Pumpkin visits Victory Lane.

Anonymous said...

Paulb, never less than 3 times a season, sir. I know it's easy to knock him, but please get your facts straight before running off at the mouth.

Anonymous said...

David, I heard your story on the Morning Drive yesterday, but it's just as funny reading it again today.

Keep up the good work, and stay off those fences!


Anonymous said...

Thanks GPF for setting the record straight. For anyone who doubts Tony's record or abilities, 67% of his career Cup wins have come in July-November timeframe (I've done the math).

Anonymous said...

as i was reading your column i swear i thought you would end it by saying that it was a practical joke by stewart!

i thought for sure he had gotten together with the track officials and snider to pull a fast one on you!

now THAT would have been even funnier...

thanks for the laugh!

Mike said...

Great Pumpkin Fan- Stewart only had two wins in 2004 (Chicago, Watkins Glen) and only two in 2003 (Pocono, Charlotte).

David, as usual a great post.

Anonymous said...

Great Story Dave, Never ever been too a NASCAR Race, nor ever hope too attend one..
Though I would take Tony up on His bet, and raise it some, I think I could take my one-armed,(I'm a amputee), bad back, bad knee, and make it up the fence.. And I like Subway.. ;)
Really great story..
Sincerly DWB
Wilmington, NC

Anonymous said...


Don't let facts get in the way of getting worked up when someone pokes fun at your driver. Smokey fans sure are a sensitive lot, aren't they? Don't get worked up guys, it's called humor. Laugh and you'll live longer.

If I hurt Tony's feelings, then I'll apologize. Should I send a personal note?

Maybe he'll get that second win this year like 04 and 03. ;-) I think he's in the handful of strongest challengers for the Cup with Gordon, Johnson and Hamlin IMO.

Anonymous said...

Why did the Observer say "Read about it on his blog at
I couldn't find a thing - and clicked on about everything.
Came over here to the Observer & bingo - in seconds found the article.
BTW I thought Stewart was a smartass to make that crack about fat during the TV interview. He needs to acquire some class with all that money he's winning.
Tom Niemeier

Anonymous said...


You missed a chance at an easy million. He said ""I'll bet a million dollars you couldn't get to the top of that fence," he said to me." He did not say you had to go over the fence and he did not say how you had to get to the top of the fence. I am sure you could find someone to loan you a cherry picker or a good ladder!!!


Toyota Bill in Hartford.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tom, I'm family and couldn't find the article either! But, I am proud of the big guy. Wonder how long that $1 million is good for...hmmmm, a good food plan, some exercise...I'm sure he could get up that fence!

Anonymous said...

Great story David - I heard you talking about this on your show, but I thought also you were going to say Tony paid someone to set you up! That would have been too funny! Great blog.