Story By: NHRA – GLENDORA, CA – Life without sports is a drag, and the lack of cars racing down the track due to the COVID-19 pandemic has forced drivers and fans alike to stay home and find something else to watch on TV.
Many drivers have been using this downtime to connect with fans via social media while others are getting back to their own businesses. However, when they step away from that, what movies or television shows are they watching when they’re trying to unwind?
Here are the shows and films — some sports related, some not — NHRA drivers like to watch when they aren’t at the track:
The driver of the DHL Top Fuel Dragster and winner of 16 national events in two categories is a noted big fan of fast cars. His favorite shows to watch are anything involving NHRA – especially NHRA on FOX. Tons of free content will be making its way to nhra.com over the coming days as well.
When it comes to movies, Langdon doesn’t stray too far from racing either. Two of his top-three favorite films involve stock car racing, Days of Thunder and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby as well as the heist movie Gone in 60 Seconds.
“I picked those shows because they have fast cars,” Langdon said. “Obviously, I have a passion for racing whether it is in my DHL Top Fuel dragster or my Super Comp dragster. I like fast cars and love seeing them on the big screen. I would love to see more movies or TV shows about drag racing.”
Langdon’s Kalitta Motorsports teammate and 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car world champion J.R. Todd loves his racing too, but his favorite movies and TV shows are an escape from his 330-plus mph day job.
“‘Ozark’ and ‘Narcos’ on Netflix are two of the best shows out there,” Todd said. “The storylines are insane and the acting is amazing. The next season of ‘Ozark’ is about to come out and I can’t wait.”
In addition to those hit shows, Todd loves to watch “Shameless,” the Showtime series starring William H. Macy. His go-to movies are Cannonball Run and Superbad noting the great casts and that they crack him up. He also likes Wolf of Wall Street because of the over-the-top acting.
Fellow Funny Car driver and 20-time event winner Tim Wilkerson has the broadest taste in movies. He loves anything starring John Wayne, calling himself a “big western guy,” and watches Saving Private Ryan, noting his father stormed the beaches in World War II. He’s also a fan of the Mel Brooks’ western comedy, Blazing Saddles as well as the Coen Brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Add in some TV comedy staples like “Seinfield” and crime shows such as “NCIS” and “Dateline” and Wilkerson has plenty of different genres covered.
Maybe a bit of a surprise is that Wilkerson adds the 2006 Christmas romantic comedy, The Holiday to his list of favorite movies.
“I’m a sucker for romance,” Wilkerson said.
There is no list of favorite movies for three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Angelle Sampey. There is just the single all-time No. 1 and, for her, it’s The Wizard of Oz.
As for Sampey’s favorite television shows, she was a big fan of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the UFC’s reality TV series when it was airing on television. Now, she and her husband, Seth, are watching live police department shows.
“We have a guilty pleasure of watching police shows,” Sampey said. “I find myself yelling at the TV, ‘taze him, taze him,’ when the bad guys come on. It’s really cool to get to see what police officers have to put up with during a shift and it brings a new layer of appreciation for what they do.”