This week’s brand new episode of The Marty Smith Podcast included an appearance by two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Long. The former NFL pro chatted plenty about football on the show, but the guys also got into some NASCAR talk during his interview.
At one point, their conversation shifted from talking about everyone’s favorite fruit to racing. Bear with us, we promise it’ll make sense in a second. Chris Long is obsessed with watermelon, and the guys remembered they had just welcomed NASCAR driver Ross Chastain to the podcast recently who grew up on a watermelon farm. In fact, when Chastain wins a race he even smashes a watermelon on top of his stock car.
As their discussion continued, the guys got into Chris Long’s newfound NASCAR fandom. He hasn’t followed racing closely for long, but he’s become a big fan of the sport this year. Especially after he had the opportunity to drive the pace car to start the race at Richmond Raceway in April. Ever since, he’s been dying to get back to another NASCAR event.
Of course, part of the fun of getting into racing involves picking a driver to support and following his season from race to race. Long went on to explain how he came to choose Martin Truex Jr. as his go-to NASCAR driver.
“I was told if I wanted to have a chaotic favorite driver I should pick [Ricky Stenhouse Jr.],” Chris Long recalled on The Marty Smith Podcast. “I’m a Truex fan, dude, I decided. Because I met him with [NASCAR team owner and former NFL coach] Joe Gibbs before the race.”
“I was like, they just hang out in their uniforms. They’re talking to sponsors and just chillin’ before they go 220 miles an hour,” Long said of his pre-race experience in Richmond. “These guys are insane. They’re cool, calm. Martin was really nice. I just ran into him. He was cool as hell, I got the hat now and everything.”
Chris Long Shares His Race Experience In Richmond, Calls NASCAR a ‘Really Welcoming Sport’
As mentioned, Chris Long had an up-close and personal account of a NASCAR race recently that not many fans get to experience. The former NFL pro was selected to be the honorary pace car driver at the April race in Richmond, Virginia. As a longtime resident of Virginia who was the face of the University of Virginia football team, he was a great local choice to drive the pace car.
Getting to be on pit road and experience the sport firsthand like that opened Long’s eyes to the NASCAR world. He’d never been part of anything like it, but he genuinely loved every minute of it and walked away from the track super impressed by the sport and everyone involved with it.
“It was the thrill of a lifetime,” Chris Long said on The Marty Smith Podcast. “And everybody in NASCAR is really good at growing the sport. It was legitimately a first-class experience going down there.”
“Like you go to football games, you get lost in the crowd, it’s very closed off,” he added. “Like I said, you got to meet the racers right before the race. All the people that work for NASCAR are so friendly and accommodating. I am really not just saying that to kiss y’alls a** to get in another pace car. But honestly, as a football player I was like, this is a really welcoming sport. So I was really excited about that.”
Chris Long and our co-hosts talk NASCAR, football, and much more on the newest episode of The Marty Smith Podcast. Make sure to check out their entire conversation below, or listen to the full interview on Spotify, Apple, or wherever else you listen to your favorite podcasts.