Q. Richard, you and your fellow presenters have made fun of NASCAR in the past, and you already talked about how your perception of NASCAR has changed. But have you tried to convince that Jeremy guy and Captain Slow that NASCAR really is fun?
RICHARD HAMMOND: I'll try, I'll try. But they're also two guys that believe exercise makes you stupid, and they've stated that claim. So there is no explaining the state of them. But, no, I think all things American on the show at the moment.
But I think it's a British reserved thing. They're unwilling to embrace the fact that NASCAR is a show. Everybody wants a damn good show out of it. You were talking about it earlier on with Jimmie, and Jimmie the way you were discussing that professionally. You wouldn't expect to hear as kind of mature and professionally considerate a conversation about the spectacle, the show, the event – which it's got to be.
The racing is essential. But it's about the drivers and teams getting to do what they love as athletes and as teams. I understand. But at the same time, there is a kind of deal of going public. I want to see a good show. What I saw when I went was an amazing show from everybody involved.
Q. Speaking of American shows, there is the American version of Top Gear over here now – Is there ever going to be some collaboration between the two shows like you did with the Aussie Top Gear show a few years ago where had you them come over and compete? Anything like that you'd like to do?
RICHARD HAMMOND: I'd love to see that. I've met the guys of the American show, of course we have. But give them time to settle down and make sure they get their share of shows. We've had 10 years of doing ours, and they haven't yet. But I'd love to pop up on their show and get in the way, and get stuff wrong and break things, because that's what we do.
Q. A couple years ago you had not such a happy ending with the Jet dragster, and we all prayed for you and we're glad it turned out OK. But have you ever thought about going back to do that again? Like some kind of redemption of getting back on the horse?
RICHARD HAMMOND: Yeah, my wife might have a view about me getting on that particular horse again. We did a few things at Bonneville Salt Flats in a stock car – in fact, a new Challenger. But it's an unnerving moment. But, yeah, one day, but I'll have to buy my wife another horse before I can get on that one again.
Q. Richard, your piece involved Juan Pablo Montoya. He has the perspective of Formula 1 and NASCAR. I wanted to see what kind of interesting stuff you got out of him?
RICHARD HAMMOND: Well here's the most revealing thing. Juan Pablo Montoya enjoys a reputation across Europe whenever he is interviewed post-race for just saying nothing. And the guys in the office at Top Gear said, "Well, good luck. You'll get an interview with him, but you'll get one word out of him, if that." And the guy was just so effusive and enthusiastic. He sat me in the car and talked to me about how it works and how it feels. He was literally hopping up and down with enthusiasm, to the extent the guys in the office at Top Gear could not believe what he had given us.
I think that tells you everything about how the guy is. He was absolutely wedded to it. He loved it. He was a completely different man. Just as they are, in many ways, different sports. The driving is different, the attitude of the drivers and the sport, and the relationship that it enjoys with its fans is very different, and it was expressed fabulously well through Juan Pablo being so enthusiastic. He was like a little kid with his new toy, which was fantastic to see.
Q. Jimmie, obviously, they have a European perspective on things. I wanted to see if they might have asked you something that us American media failed to maybe get out of you guys?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Outside of the cool accent, I think that's about it.
RICHARD HAMMOND: Not what my daughter thinks, but there you go.
Q. Richard. can you walk us through what you did at Texas Motor Speedway and some of the things that you enjoyed as you get to drive the cars what all went down and what are we going to see Monday?
RICHARD HAMMOND: Just not get in the way and complain about the noise the car makes, because it is really loud. Remember, we're introducing an audience to a new motorsport. In Europe, there are a lot of guys follow it, but there are a lot who still don't.
So we were getting a history of it, its roots. It was fantastic. It goes a long way to explain what is still at the core of this multi-million dollar motorsport. There is this slight whiff of a kind of slightly outlawish, rebellious streak, and also folksy in engaging people who watch it.
So we explored the history of it. They put me in the pits, and even put me near a car that was coming in. I had a job blowing the brakes dust off the wheels, and I was trying hard not to mix it up.
And I got to drive the car, which was staggering. It took me to a whole new realm. I fly a helicopter at home, and when you roll that car into the banking – bearing in mind I'm a complete novice – even at the speeds I was rolling, to feel it settle down as you drive through another dimension, I felt more like I was in my helicopter than a car. It felt unlike anything else I'd ever driven. It was astonishing.