By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
Comedian Daniel Lawrence Whitney, a.k.a. Larry the Cable Guy, was the honorary pace car driver for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
One of the stars of the film Cars 2, scheduled for release June 24, Larry chatted with Sporting News before last Sunday's race.
Sporting News: You've said Ryan Newman is your favorite driver. What do you like about him?
Larry: I've got a special bond with Ryan, because Ryan and I were both on the Regis & Kelly show together after he won the Daytona 500 (2008). We like a lot of the same stuff.
SN: You're also a longtime Dick Trickle fan. What's your best Dick Trickle story?
Larry: I was in a bar in La Crosse, Wis. I walked in the bar after the race was over, and Dick Trickle was sitting in the corner with some other dude, and there was probably 270 beer cans in front of 'em. And I'm like, "I like that guy!"
SN: When did you attend your first NASCAR race?
Larry: I was in college, and I was working as a security guard, and I guarded the Cale Yarborough suite at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1982. I got to Daytona in the late '80s for the first time, and I've been to about 20 of 'em since.
SN: Speaking of which, what ever happened to the Larry the Cable Guy car that debuted at Daytona in 2010?
Larry: Well, it didn't win. If it was winning, you'd see it out there. We got took out by Joey Logano, who I gave free tickets to my show about 2 1/2, 3 years ago. He wrecked us - so I'm not giving him any more free tickets.
SN: What's the origin of the name "Larry the Cable Guy?"
Larry: I started calling a radio station in Tampa Bay, Fla., in 1991, and I pretended to be a cable installer. It was real funny, people liked what I did, and I'd always call up. ... I remember my first call. They said, "Who is this?" I said, "Well, it's the cable guy. You need any cable up there?" They said, "What's your name?" I said, "Larry." And they said, "It's Larry the Cable Guy," and from that day on, people just recognized me as Larry the Cable Guy, and it went from there.