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Howie Mandel gets an assist from Joe Gibbs Racing's Brian Scott

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

FONATANA, Calif. - TV star Howie Mandel needed an assist from NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brian Scott.

"I have no idea why I'm here or what I'm supposed to do," said Mandel, grand marshal for Saturday's Royal Purple 300 Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway. "Who invited me to this?"

Scott demonstrated the command to start engines, which Mandel delivered flawlessly at the start of the race. Mandel seemed more impressed by what was happening in the infield than by the action on the racetrack.

"The tailgating was amazing," he said. "I've seen tailgating in the NFL, but not like this. ... The sound and the energy and the excitement-and the horrible food that I saw at the tailgate parties. It's amazing that people are eating like that this early in the morning."

Mandel's new hidden-camera show, "Mobbed," debuts at 9 p.m. ET Thursday on Fox.