Grainger Racing’s driver Ryan Newman didn’t leave it up to HGTV’s Fixer Upper star Chip Gaines to complete his own DIY project when it came to learn how to drive the 2017 Chevy SS pace car for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Instead, the winner of the spring 2003 Cup race woke up early to school the reality star on the best way to pace the 40-car Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field to the green flag.
"I’m telling you, what a rush!" said Gaines, who attended this year’s Cup race with wife and Fixer Upper cohost Joanna along with their children. "The first time, just to get up to 45 in one of those cars, I felt like a grandma, you know? I was like, ‘What is wrong with me?’ You’d think you’d want to gun it. It actually took me a second to get up to 45 mph, but once you got out on that track the rush of it all really hits you.
"It was just 45 mph when I was doing the pace car, so I could get acclimated," he said. "But when we jumped in the big car, Newman said we were over 100. The banking…he got us way up in the top corner. You know, I had the honor to fly in an F-16 six or seven months back, and it’s got a similar feel to it. It really shifts your body in a way that you can feel the Gs kind of falling on your chest. Maybe my foot wanted to fall off the pedal and slam on the brake, but Newman said, ‘Don’t do that. Keep going!’"
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What was the driver of the No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet’s advice for Gaines?
"I told him when you look in that rear-view mirror, you will see the most amazing pieces of equipment available in racing and on the planet for that matter. And then I told him to enjoy the rush as I hammered down the gas pedal on the 2018 Chevrolet ZL1. I think he got a good idea about what he needs to do!"