When it comes to NASCAR, every fan appreciates a good blast from the past. So, let's rewind back to 2013 NASCAR Awards, which capped off that year's season. Jimmie Johnson was still celebrating his sixth Cup title win with Hendrick Motorsports. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named the Most Popular Driver in the Cup Series for the 11th time in a row (he'd eventually go on to win a whopping 15 times). Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the Rookie of the Year. But, due to a moment from 2013 that most fans may not remember, his night at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Banquet in Las Vegas wasn't entirely celebratory.
You see, Stenhouse found himself in the middle of an awkward situation when comedian Jay Mohr, the host for the evening, decided to try and roast Danica Patrick. Now, Jay's jokes at Danica's expense were all in good fun, but I don't think this went exactly how he planned it in his head. He probably thought Danica would take the roasting in stride. Clearly, she didn't. In any case, the constant shots of a deadpan Danica and Ricky mixed with the tepid laughter from the crowd and Jay's attempt to dig himself out of a hole makes this clip hard to not laugh at, even if for the wrong reasons.
Let's break it down. After a quick introduction and applause for Danica, Jay makes his first comment: "Danica I hope you're not too uncomfortable tonight. I know you're not used to being this close to the front." Yeah, it wasn't the best start. To get himself out of that mess, Jay had to follow it up with a compliment, praising Danica for making history earlier that year as the first woman to clinch the pole position for the Daytona 500. After the pause for applause, it was back to the jabs.
Next, Danica's then boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr. found himself in the hot seat. Bringing up how Danica had wrecked Ricky earlier that year during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire, Jay then offered Ricky some advice: "Next time your girlfriend asks you, 'does this fire suit make me look fat?" — just say no, brother." That at least got slight cracked smiles from the couple.
Now, what was even better about this whole situation is that the show's director grabbed a close-up shot of Ricky and Danica and put it on the big screen, so Jay can clearly see their looks of disapproval. At that point, he had to address the awkwardness, which made everything even funnier.
Sure, Mohr's jokes weren't the best, but I feel like Danica could have lightened up a bit, too. I mean, it was a roast after all. To her credit, she eventually addressed the obvious tension after she received the Fan Voice award, saying, "I have amazing fans, I'm so fortunate, and I think it's pretty safe to say Jay Mohr is not one of them."
Well, things didn't end there. Mohr later came back out on the stage and explained that his Twitter feed was blowing up with angry Danica Patrick fans. Following this, he apologized once more and said something about how the NASCAR drivers he went hard on were actually the ones he respected the most. Nice save, Jay!
Whether you want to laugh at the awkwardness, the bitterness, or the jokes themselves, this moment is sure to make you smile in some form or fashion. It should also be a reminder not to take things too seriously. Life is short, and it's good to laugh at yourself from time to time. I'm glad this played out the way it did, because if not, we wouldn't have this hilarious moment to look back on.
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