First taste of NASCAR hooks Tarantino

Updated: August 27, 2005, 4:28 PM ET
Associated Press

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Quentin Tarantino has produced his share of action-packed, thrilling moments. For once, he was just along for the ride.

Tarantino, a NASCAR novice, was treated to several hair-raising laps in a stock car Saturday that left the eccentric film director speechless at Bristol Motor Speedway.

"Yeah, Baby! That's what I'm talking about!" he yelled after several seconds of silence. "That was incredible. I didn't 100 percent know what to expect when I got here. I was very open to be intoxicated, and I most definitely was."

Tarantino was introduced to NASCAR by good friend Mauricia Grant, a Busch Series official who lives near him in Hollywood. When he asked her about attending a race, she encouraged him to choose Bristol -- a short track where the bumping, banging and post-race altercations can be as intense as an action scene from "Pulp Fiction" or "Kill Bill."

She also arranged for him to take a ride with TNT commentator Wally Dallenbach, who drives a celebrity around the track each week as part of his "Wally's World" segment. Recent ride-along partners have ranged from actors Ben Affleck, Jamie Foxx, David Spade and singer Lisa Marie Presley, who has made a point to publicly complain about how Dallenbach intentionally tried to scare her during a ride last month.

"You're not going to whine after this ride like Lisa Marie Presley, are you?" Dallenbach asked during the warm-up laps.

There was no whining when it was over. Just a brief silence as Tarantino soaked in the adrenaline rush. After, he said he asked Dallenbach to make the ride as scary as possible with close-calls with the Bristol walls.

"Ben Affleck, he looked like a little girl!," Tarantino said. "When I saw Ben Affleck and Dave Spade acting like little girls, I said I got this one. I'm all good. I don't have to worry about nothing.

"That part that was in the wall, that was the bomb. I wanted a lot of wall time and Wally gave me the wall time."

Tarantino's day didn't end with his ride. After watching Friday night's Busch race from one of the suites -- he said he rooted for Kevin Harvick and had been cheering on Harvick to "crash [Greg Biffle] into the wall" -- he was scheduled to stick around for Saturday night's main event and watch it from the pit Grant was working in.

But it was clear that Tarantino was hooked. He was making plans to take a lesson in the Richard Petty Driving Experience next week at California Speedway, and possibly attend the race.

"I love it," he said. "This is, in one word -- adrenaline."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press