Best known for the title role in House
, the hit medical series, 49-year-old Englishman Hugh Laurie was an elite oarsman in his younger days at Eton and Cambridge.
The rowing talent came from his father, who won a gold medal in coxless pairs at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. On Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, where he served as grand marshal in lieu of attending the Oscars, Laurie chatted with Sporting News'
Reid Spencer... Q:
Is this your first NASCAR race?A:
Yes, I'm a NASCAR virgin, but I'm very excited. Q:
As an elite athlete yourself, would you ever consider driving a stock car?A:
I would love to do that, but I don't imagine I would have a hundredth of the talent necessary to do it - but I would love to try. Q:
What's the fastest you've ever driven in a street car?A:
Well, I've been driven around a track in a McLaren F1 car at about 170 (mph), and that was an interesting experience. Myself, the fastest I've been has actually been on a motorcycle. That was on a Yamaha FZR 1000. I was getting close to 160. It was a one-off. I just wanted to see what it could do. It was the scariest piece of equipment I've ever had anything to do with. Q:
Given Fox's penchant for cross-promotion, do you think you might see a NASCAR driver on your operating table?A:
I suppose it's possible. We actually had a drag racer who came in, who got sick in a quarter-mile. So, yeah, I think it's easily possible. Q:
Ryan Newman is a big fan of House
. Did you get a chance to visit with him?A:
Yes, I've been just amazed by the drivers' response to the show. It's been an absolutely terrific thing. And it's wonderful, on the day of the Oscars, to be in a place - suddenly to be out of that city (Los Angeles) - and be with a group of people who have absolutely no interest in entertainment. It's such a relief. by Reid Spencer/Sporting News