The relationship between NASCAR and “I AM ATHLETE” will continue after a very successful test run in the spring. The two parties announced on Thursday, Sept. 2, a 16-episode show that will debut later in the fall on the “I AM ATHLETE” YouTube channel.
Known as “I AM ATHLETE – NASCAR,” the new series will tell a wide variety of stories while focusing on the biggest athletes, personalities, and storylines. To celebrate the partnership, NASCAR and “I AM ATHLETE” released a special video on YouTube showing two of the hosts — Brandon Marshall and Chad Johnson — taking in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 and exploring Daytona International Speedway.
The two former NFL players-turned-media giants unveiled a special House of Athlete stock car, which took laps around Daytona. They then met NASCAR president Steve Phelps, tailgated with shirtless fans, and experienced driver introductions. Marshall, in particular, even met Wendell Scott’s family while wearing a Wendell Scott shirt.
“NASCAR is a dynamic sport that has a tremendous opportunity to engage new and diverse audiences,” Marshall said in a press release. “We see ‘I AM ATHLETE’ as an amazing vehicle to help NASCAR build exposure and introduce its athletes and experiences to new communities of fans.”
The ‘I AM ATHLETE’ Collaboration Featured Some Big Names
The first time that NASCAR and “I AM ATHLETE” collaborated, they brought in some major names for special sitdown interviews. The four-part series kicked off with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and then continued with a fiery Kyle Busch, and up-and-coming ARCA Menards Series driver Toni Breidinger. Though Bubba Wallace became the man responsible for bringing the two companies together after he made an appearance back in March.
The final episode did not include a traditional interview. Instead, three of the main hosts, as well as comedian Lou Young, attempted to join the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program. Johnson sat out in order to keep his shoes clean, but he spent time talking to Rajah Caruth, the newest driver for Alpha Prime Racing.
Channing Crowder took center stage during the episode considering that he previously made strong comments about whether those in NASCAR are “athletes.” Coach Phil Horton, the director of athletic performance at Rev Racing and the man who trains the Drive for Diversity crews, put an air gun in Crowder’s hands and timed him during test pit stops.
One NASCAR Driver Requested an Interview
The “I AM ATHLETE – NASCAR” team has not released the names of the guests for this initial 16-episode run. However, there is one that will likely make an appearance. Joey Logano, the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang, previously made a request to be on the show after Busch made some strong comments about him.
The back-and-forth began when Busch sat down with Marshall, Johnson, Crowder, and Fred Taylor at Kyle Busch Motorsports to discuss his career as a driver-owner. The two-time Cup Series champion faced a question about whether he had any rivals in NASCAR following Earnhardt’s retirement. His response specifically focused on Logano.
“The problem with Joey is he’s two-faced,” Busch said during the episode, which aired May 17, 2021. “People know I’m an a******. I might be an a****** on the race track, which I’m really not. But Logano, he will come in here and he’s happy-go-lucky, go with the flow, super nice guy. Does great for charity, everything like that.
“You put him on the race track, when he puts his helmet on, he flips the a****** switch on the back of his head. To me, I hate two-faced guys. That drives me absolutely nuts. If you’re going to be a nice guy, be a nice guy on the race track as well. You know what I mean?”
Logano heard about the comments, and he directly reached out to Johnson and Marshall. He tweeted “That’s cute…let me know when you are ready to hear my side of the story,” setting up a potential sitdown.
Based on the tweet, as well as Marshall and Johnson expressing a desire to get Busch and Logano in the same room for an interview, it appears likely that the Team Penske driver will appear during the 16-episode run.