LONG POND, Pa. (AP) — Channing Tatum hopped out of the SUV and scanned the Pocono track for one of NASCAR’s A-list stars.
“Where’s Danica,” Tatum asked.
Danica Patrick waited by the pace car, set to give Tatum and “22 Jump Street” co-star Jonah Hill the kind of adrenaline-fueled spin they might normally sit out on the set in favor of a Hollywood stuntman.
“On a scale of 1 to 10,” Tatum said, “how much are you allowed to scare us?”
Patrick told the box office heavyweights, making a cameo at Pocono Raceway as the grand marshals for Sunday’s NASCAR race, not to worry, the pace car wouldn’t match the blistering 180 mph speeds hit in qualifying for this thrill ride.
“Let’s just break the car, it would be a good story,” Tatum said.
“If we wore helmets, I’d feel a lot more safe,” Patrick said with a laugh. “If I crash with you guys in it and something happens to us, then I’ll go down as the worst driver ever.”
No need for that billing. Tatum and Hill survived and continued the promotion for the June 13 opening of their latest flick.
Tatum rode shotgun and Hill sat in the backseat for the ride along. Patrick would push the 2014 Chevrolet SS to 140 mph for a few laps around the 2½-mile tri-oval track nestled in the mountains.
“My left ear is ringing from Jonah screaming in the backseat,” Tatum said.
After the ride, Tatum snapped pictures of the track and waved to fans lined up screaming his name. The actors were mobbed at the pre-race driver’s meeting. Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted a selfie with them on Twitter and Jimmie Johnson’s crew gave them jerseys with “Hill” and “Tatum” on the back.
Hill and Tatum barked the honorary command for drivers to start their engines.
“I always feel bad knowing they used to say, ‘Gentleman, start your engines,’ and now I’m around and they change the words sometimes,” Patrick said.
Patrick’s lone regret was that she couldn’t take them for a ride in her No. 10 Chevrolet for a more pulse-raising experience.
Patrick bantered with the Hollywood heavyweights about hometowns, and thrills that come along with driving fast cars. She asked the Academy Award-nominated Hill if he watched NASCAR.
“I don’t watch it, Hill said, before wishing Patrick luck, “but I’m going to start now.”
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