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 23 events in three 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 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."
Kalitta Racing 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 300-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 two, 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 21-time event winner Tim Wilkerson has the broadest taste in movies. He loves anything with John Wayne in it, 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."
Favorite Movie: Blow
Favorite TV Show: Yellowstone
Quote: "I really enjoy watching Yellowstone on the Paramount network. The show is about a bunch of ranch hands in Montana that are constantly finding themselves up to some kind of trouble. I am really into riding horses, roping, and the ranching lifestyle which is showcased in Yellowstone. Not to mention Kevin Costner (John Dutton) is one bad man."
Favorite Movie: Gladiator
Favorite TV Show: All American
Quote: "It is my favorite movie because all of the characters in the movie play such an important role. Russell Crowe serves as a symbol for the people and brought peace to the world."
“All American is about a modern version of a kid going through high school football. A kid from the ghetto who gets the opportunity to play football in Beverly Hills. It shows that no matter where you are, in the ghetto, or Beverly Hills, you still face similar problems just in a different way. That is what makes me resonate with the show because of the way they overcome it. I can relate to the stories of people overcoming obstacles in life. They motivate me."
Favorite Movie: The Martian
Favorite TV Show: Dirty Jobs
Quote: The Martian shows technologically advanced scenarios that we may see in the near future going to mars and the solidarity that a man shows going through tough times. I think it’s pretty phenomenal."
“In Dirty Jobs, You can't help but love seeing situations like that. Not to mention Mike Rowe is awesome. Can't help but love everything he does. Even though it's not on the air anymore, I try to catch re-runs as much as possible. I can't skip over it. While we as professional drag racers get to race and put on a show for everyone, you find a new appreciation for the jobs other people have."
Favorite Movie: James Bond
Favorite TV Show: The Bachelor
Quote: “I’ve always wanted to be James Bond and drive an Aston Martin. [For The Bachelor] The drama. And the decisions that have to be made. I love seeing people put in certain situations and watching how they deal with the consequences.”
Favorite Movies: Caddyshack/Ted/Stepbrothers/Kingpin
Favorite TV Show: Shameless
Quote: “I definitely like to laugh. So, I lean towards the stupid, funny movies.”
Favorite Movie: Point Break/Catch Me If You Can
Favorite TV Show: Two and a Half Men
Quote: "I love the Two and a Half Men show with Charlie Sheen. They crack me up. I don't watch too much TV but the game shows I can get into and they are usually on around the news. Point Break with Keanu Reeves is one of my favorites and there isn't a Denzel Washington movie that I won't watch. He is a great actor."
Favorite Movie: Ford vs. Ferrari
Favorite TV Show: Better Call Saul
Favorite Movie: Forrest Gump
Favorite TV Show: Forged in Fire
Favorite Movie: American Graffiti
Favorite TV Show: Chicago PD
Favorite Movie: Casablanca
Favorite TV Show: Last Man Standing
HECTOR ARANA JR.
Favorite Movie: Ford vs. Ferrari
Favorite TV Show: Suits
Favorite Movie: Joe Black
Favorite TV Show: Shark Tank
Favorite Movie: Cool Hand Luke
Favorite TV Show: Snapped
Favorite Movies: Two-Lane Blacktop/Field of Dreams/The Rookie
Favorite TV Show: M*A*S*H
Favorite Movies: Tin Cup/We Are Marshall/Remember the Titans/Miracle
Favorite Movies: Scarface/Goodfellas/Cheech & Chong: Up in Smoke
Favorite TV Show: Locked Up
JEG COUGHLIN JR.
Favorite Movie: Caddyshack
Favorite TV Show: Mad Men/Hawaii 5-0
Favorite Movie: Anything on Lifetime
Favorite TV Show:Law & Order SVU