Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Johnson roast the best show in town
By Terry Blount
LAS VEGAS -- It wasn't X-rated, but it was close. The Jimmie Johnson roast on Wednesday was adults-only entertainment.
No surprise in Sin City, but it might have surprised a few of the 300 fans who paid $250 a ticket to attend the show at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
If so, they should have stayed home. A church service, it wasn't. But it was bust-a-gut humor from start to finish.
If only the awards banquet could be this good. But NASCAR would have to move the telecast to HBO and have a pre-event warning about adult content.
Everything was fair game, from JJ's hair loss to his sex life. One example from Ryan Newman:
"Wow. Four championships in a row, Jimmie. I bet you wish you could do that with your wife."
Then Newman looked at 82-year-old Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith.
"Hey Bruton," Newman said. "You got some pills for Jimmie to help him?"
And this from former teammate Brian Vickers, one of Johnson's closest friends:
"Jimmie does take a pill every day," Vickers said. "It's Propecia. If he didn't take it, he'd be bald by now. I think that's his secret. It's the hair. He started taking the pill about the same time he started winning championships."
And that's the clean stuff. Four-letter words were flying. Many of the jokes, some of which I can't repeat here, were worthy of a Vegas nightclub act.
The Chase drivers, along with comedian Kevin Burke (the event host), let loose. But they spent more time roasting each other than they did Johnson.
Burke got in a shot at every Chase driver.
On Mark Martin: "I'm not saying Mark is old, but the pole sitter for his first race was Ben-Hur. And Mark's new sponsor is Depends."
On Kasey Kahne: "Where's Kasey? Oh, sorry, buddy. I couldn't see you sitting behind all the adults. Hey, Kasey, Danica Patrick may be coming to NASCAR, so at least you'll have somebody you can beat in a fistfight."
On Tony Stewart: "Tony had to give his monkey to a zoo. You can always tell which one is his. It's the one throwing [crap] at all the other monkeys."
On Carl Edwards: "We've all seen Carl shirtless and pantless in ESPN [The] Magazine. So he feels right at home here with so much topless entertainment. But, Carl, lapped traffic here means something completely different."
Burke even got a shot in on a non-Chaser -- Dale Earnhardt Jr.: "Yeah, that was a great free-agent pickup," he said, rolling his eyes. "He is famous for being famous. Junior is now the Paris Hilton of NASCAR."
Nothing was off-limits, including Burke addressing the ridiculous rumors from years ago that Jeff Gordon was gay.
"Jeff, I know you're not," Burke said. "But you are good-looking enough to be, and if you were, I would be too.''
Gordon made the most of the joke when he took the podium.
"Hey, Carl," he said to Edwards. "Good job. I can tell you that marrying a pretty girl and having a baby is a great cover."
Edwards saved his digs for the man of the hour, and Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus.
"Jimmie, I just have one question," Edwards said. "When you and Chad turn off the lights at night and hit the sack, who is the big spoon and who is the little spoon?"
Everyone and everything got roasted, including New York, the previous host city for Champions Week.
LVMS president Chris Powell got in his shot: "I just wanted everyone to know the high today will be in the mid-40s and rain is expected the rest of the week. In New York City!"
About 500 fans attended the Fanfest earlier in the day at the track, which included brief comment on stage by the Chase drivers.
"This beats the hell out of being in New York,'' Stewart told the crowd. "I'm not a New York guy. This is a thousand times better than New York."
When the drivers took their seats in the Blackjack Club at LVMS, it was time for Johnson to endure the abuse.
From Denny Hamlin: "The only thing faster than Jimmie's car is his receding hairline."
From Kahne: "Jimmie, you're the man who has it all: money, a gorgeous wife, four championships and a great personality. Well, you do have money, a gorgeous wife and four championships."
From Martin: "Jimmie, you're 34. They're already on you about losing your hair and your sex life. I can tell you from experience it's all downhill from here."
There was much more in the hourlong roast, but some of it requires proper ID. No, it wasn't X-rated, but an R rating applies. And it was the best show in town.
|Four-time reigning Cup champ Jimmie Johnson got the last laugh Wednesday in Las Vegas.|
Terry Blount is a senior writer for ESPN.com. His book, "The Blount Report: NASCAR's Most Overrated and Underrated Drivers, Cars, Teams, and Tracks," was published by Triumph Books and is available in bookstores. Click here to order a copy. Blount can be reached at email@example.com.