Jason Whitlock says there’s ‘no question’ that NASCAR drivers are athletes

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Jason Whitlock goes 0-60 with Austin Dillon to argue about drivers athleticism, Bubba Wallace's impact, and their favorite tracks.

- In honor of speak for yourself and how you and Colin kind of go at it, we're going to let you and Austin go at it, do some Zero to 60. Put 60 seconds on the clock. And you guys weigh in with your opinion. Shannon, you got the first one here.

- I know Jason's been waiting to do this. OK. Austin, I'm gonna set you up first. Are drivers athletes? Go ahead.

- For sure. I mean, we get out there and we're doing things that aren't usually athletic movements. But you have to be an athlete. I mean, you get in the car and you see guys like Alex Wood struggling to get out. I talked to Daniel Cormier. He took a ride around Vegas. He was tired after. He didn't know what to do. It changes your mindset. Because you're going through different types of G-Force.

- No question about it. They're athletes. And again, I don't think they're great athletes. They're not LeBron James. But are they an offensive guard in the NFL, as athletic as that? Are they, you know, the second baseman on a baseball team? Absolutely. You know, again, Cale Yarborough where we started, he was a scholarship football player at Clemson.

- Well, you look at fighter pilots. Like, guys that are athletes to me are fighter pilots in our military. I mean, they're guys are getting nine G's pulled against their body physically. That's a toll.

- Mental and physical strength. Right? I mean, it's-- and the mental strength for you guys is certainly way up there, and to stay focused for that long.

- You look at Jimmy Johnson, he's a seven time champ. But obviously, he is in incredible physical condition. Next up, Zero to 60, favorite racetrack.

- I don't think there's even a debate about what the greatest race track is. I know you said favorite. But the greatest is Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I think all the NASCAR drivers agree with me. Why else would they get out, get on their knees, and kiss the brick?

- Man, come on now.

- Do they do that at Daytona?

- I would say my favorite track-- well, Daytona-- so you already-- you already have Daytona in your mind as a rival. I didn't even say it right there.

- Do you get on your knees and kiss the bricks?

- No. But I tell you where the biggest paycheck is. And it starts at Daytona. And I know that everybody wants that Harley J. Earl.

- These athletes, all they think about is money.

- They get big rings too.

- All they think about is money. We're talking about the greatest track, the historical track. Again--

- To me it's Daytona.

- --as soon as NASCAR got to the Indy 500 in 1994, they like all bowed down and said we finally made it to heaven.

- Oh, man. You come to a Daytona 500 and it is gonna change your mind.

- I've been to the Daytona 500. And it's awesome.

- I will say this. When your brother won, at Indy. Right? You sprinted right down to congratulate him. I know Daytona's special. But probably a close second, or up there in the top five, has got to be Indianapolis. Right?

- Indy's right there. I mean, it's a crown jewel. It's definitely the next race on my list to win. I got two of them. I got one more I need to get there at Indy.

- Coca-cola 600 and the Daytona 500. There's a couple more left. OK, guys. The next question and we'll start with you Austin. Youths versus the veterans, your take.

- Well, it's-- it's a challenge. I think, you're looking against guys that are going against experience. But I'm going to take youth. Because the future is bright with where we are in NASCAR with our youth and in our sport.

- I have seen this debate play out over the last year or so, with racers talking about the promotion of the younger guys. And I tend to side with the older guys. Again, I've heard the knock like the older guys don't do social media, and blah, blah, blah, blah. I'm like, hold on. They're paying you to drive. Who are the best drivers? The more experienced guys. This whole thing is about the younger guys are cheaper. You can pay them a little less. And again, that's where things go corporate and things go big time.

- I need you as my agent.

- Yeah. They're looking for the cheaper labor of the younger guys. But no, it's the old guys that make things work.

- Well, you see it out there. I mean, there's guys coming in each and every year that are going out and doing their job though. They're winning races. Last year, you had a bunch of young guys win. Myself, Ryan Blaney both got it done last year. I mean, there's just more to come. I like what you're saying there. Kevin Harvick, he's 42 years old. He's won the last three races. I can't argue that the experience is there.

- Finally, you guys hit the 60 seconds.

- We hit a nerve with that one.

- I got one more thing. Austin, you gotta understand. Young people are to be seen and not heard. The Bible-- The Bible teaches that.

- My grandmother used to say that too.

- Speaking of young drivers--

- I thought children were supposed to lead the way.

- Our-- our guy Austin won the Daytona 500. Right? But right behind him, Darrell Wallace Jr. How can Bubba change the game in NASCAR Jason?

- Well, you would think, or hope, that again, to have a Tiger Woods type impact, is probably a little bit unrealistic. I don't know if we'll ever see anybody like Tiger Woods. You've got to be that kind of dominant. But could he have an impact? Absolutely. I think he could bring a different fan base to NASCAR. And I think that would be good and healthy.

I'm a little bit shocked and you guys help me understand. He comes in second at Daytona. And I thought that would fix his sponsorship problems immediately, that a lot of advertisers would jump on-board with him almost immediately. But he still doesn't have sponsorship in about 2/3 of his races. Help me understand, why is that the case?

- Well, I think you know, Bubba, he's already signed a deal with Click and Close. So they've gotten some sponsorship. And they've gotten the Cosmopolitan at Vegas. So it's coming along. It just takes time to build that type of sponsorship up. But I feel like, you know, I'm a big fan of Bubba because he pushed me to win it. So the momentum from that alone, it should carry.

- And he's going to be on the show tomorrow. So that's--

- Love the name.

- --good for us.

- Love the personality. He could be big, not Tiger Woods big, but big.

- All right. We're going to ask you-- we're going to thank you, first of all, for coming here and hanging out with us. It's certainly a true pleasure. One of the highlights of our trip out here.

- You're saying that on air. I had the beg Shane to get me on the show.

- I said it off-air too. I said it off-air.

- Could we bring back Whitlock trending over Twitter?

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- I love it, man.

- Come back tomorrow.

- We got to get you out to Charlotte sometime.