NASCAR

Luyendyk Jr. courts Bachelorette

Arie Luyendyk Jr
Arie Luyendyk Jr. has raced in the Indy Lights series since 2002.
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Could two racing worlds be joined by marriage? Or will it be another life entirely that attracts Bachelorette Emily Maynard?

As the ABC reality television show "The Bachelorette" nears its conclusion, Maynard finds herself sifting through decisions involving men with different backgrounds. On Monday night’s episode, Maynard made the hometown visits. She toured Chicago, shot clay pigeons in Utah, went for a ride in an IndyCar in Phoenix and then enjoyed a casual visit with a laid-back family in Texas.

15 MINUTES OF FAME

Sports is the ultimate "unscripted TV." No wonder so many athletes, such as Jose Canseco), have appeared on reality shows.

West Virgina-native Maynard was engaged to NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick when he was killed in a plane crash in 2004 and is the mother to his daughter, 7-year-old Ricki, who was born after his death. She previously appeared on “The Bachelor” and was proposed to by Brad Womack. That relationship, obviously, did not work out.

Maynard entered Monday night’s show with four bachelors remaining, including open-wheel driver Arie Luyendyk Jr., who has one career win in the Indy Lights Series.

By the end of the show, three of the four bachelors had declared that they were in love with Maynard, with the fourth cautiously admitting deep feelings for her. At each hometown visit, families questioned Maynard about her true feelings while she countered with questions about how each man would take on the role of father to her daughter.

The evening opened with a visit to Chris in Chicago.

“I could totally see myself falling in love with Chris,” Maynard said.

By the end of the evening, Chris was declaring that while he had never said it to someone, it was easy to tell Maynard that he is in love with her. Maynard closed the visit by telling the audience that she didn’t expect to see such a different side of him.

And then the difference in a man vying for heart was more clear in Jef. Visiting Holmstead Ranch, she shot clay pigeons — going 3 for 3 — with him and said that being around him makes her feel comfortable and confident. Nervous about meeting his family because he has told her that he actually split with a girlfriend when his family failed to approve of her, she then heads to meet his siblings.

The questions fired at Maynard from his sisters are a bit more in-depth at this stop. She turns the tables, though, expressing her fear that she will choose someone and then find that they feel taking on the role of husband and father will be too much for them. Asked directly if she is falling in love with him, she assesses her feelings in the following way: “I do. But like at the same time, I am a little bit slow to throw that word out.”

Jef then reads her a letter that he wrote following their trip to Prague in which he states that he is “completely and hopelessly in love" with her.

Then Maynard heads to Phoenix, where she takes a thrill ride — literally — of a date with Arie. He straps her into a two-seater IndyCar and takes a lap around Phoenix International Raceway. Maynard says that a racetrack is a place where he has "a lot of great memories.” She points out that she knows little about IndyCar, but that as it is Arie’s passion if they work out, “it will become one of mine, too.”

Arie, 30, and Maynard spend quiet time together in Scottsdale, Ariz., before going to meet his family including his father, two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk. He pointed out that his parents had been married for 31 years and that they were more open about speaking their mind than she might be accustomed to.

She points out that “Arie is one of my favorite guys” while he is already thinking of the potential proposal. There is an awkward moment as Luyendyk’s mom talks to him in Dutch while Maynard just sits there, but that soon ends and after a heart-to-heart with his mother, Maynard is embraced by the family.

Finally, she makes the visit with Sean. He explains that his family’s life is, as he describes it, both simple and beautiful. The laid-back date is spent first hanging out picnicking with him and his dogs, then meeting the entire family. Sean confesses that he still lives at home and takes her to a messy room with a notable preponderance of stuffed animals. While Maynard showcases her Southern politeness in handling the situation, her later camera interview shows that this would be a deal-breaker kind of thing — until Sean unveils it is a joke. “Obviously, I don’t live at home," he says.

Maynard then points out that she could see her life going “in four different directions” as she prepares to make her final choice.

In the ceremony in which she gives a rose to each bachelor who will be remaining on the show for another week, it is Luyendyk, who was the first on the show to express his feelings for Maynard, who gets the first rose.

Jef gets the second, leaving Chris and Sean to wait it out.

Sean gets the third rose and a heartbroken Chris confronts Maynard about her choice then rides off declaring that he truly was the better man.

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