A new interview set in the Texas Motor Speedway media center seemed to intrigue the NASCAR drivers who were shuffled through the press room on Thursday afternoon.
In keeping with the "Everything is bigger in Texas" theme, the track recently unveiled a new desk and studio set that looked as if it came straight from ESPN (a typical NASCAR media center dais consists of a portable table and a tablecloth).
The set features three large HD TV screens that can be changed to show the logo of each race, as well as a background with photos of past races.
On the whole, it's as nice – or nicer – than the sets used by TV networks, and several drivers couldn't help but comment on the display.
"I feel like I'm going to anchor a news show or something," said Sam Hornish Jr., who christened the new set as the first interview.
"I feel like we should be doing SportsCenter," said AJ Allmendinger, who came next.
As each driver walked in, a sound technician fastened a microphone to the interviewee's shirt instead of having the subject speak into a traditional mic. But it didn't seem to provide enough volume.
"I'm seeing a lot of THIS," said Matt Kenseth, who demonstrated what THIS was by making thumbs-up hand gestures toward the ceiling. "They want you to turn me up. I can't yell any louder."
When Kevin Harvick experienced the same problem, the microphone was scrapped in favor of a more traditional version that sat on the table.
The set also gave some drivers the opportunity to channel their inner newsperson skills – or fake newsperson skills, in one case.
Danica Patrick, a huge fan of the movie Anchorman, looked at her surroundings and said, "I'm Ron Burgundy?" She placed an emphasis on the question mark, as Will Ferrell's character did in the movie when he read a mistake in the teleprompter (see video below).
"Who's excited about Anchorman 2?" Patrick asked the media, raising her hand in the air. "Can I get a hand?"