Air date: Saturday, April 11th
Guest: Ricky Craven
Host: Steve Woods (Stevoe)
Studio Contributor & Executive Producer: Emily Sullivan
Although he’s been a Charlotte, NC resident for 25 years, Former NASCAR Driver and current ESPN NASCAR Analyst Ricky Craven is a Mainer through and through. Craven was born and raised in Newburgh, ME where he fell in love with the smell, sound, and action of motorsports.Growing up in Newburgh, Craven was first interested in snowmobiling, but generally loved anything with an engine. He has always been a competitor who loves sports and speed. Craven said he even loves boating, as long as it’s not sailing. Even after he moved away to pursue his career, Craven eventually returned to Maine when he was recovering from an accident where he had temporarily lost his vision. He now owns a house near Moosehead Lake where he and his family vacation.
Craven described what he considered to be a “great driver.” He says that a great driver has the ability to slow down and understand their limits, the limits of the vehicle as well as the limits of the track. A great driver, according to Craven, is interested in driving and has to have the mental and physical ability to do so. He also talked about the commitment it takes to be a great driver. Craven said while driving does take a physical toll on the body, driving is really more about understanding limits.
As for the future of NASCAR, Craven isn’t worried. Even though other auto racing groups are more internationally known (e.g. Formula One), Craven believes NASCAR will continue to thrive in America because it’s become a pastime. It’s become part of American culture because the stock cars that were originally raced were all American vehicles. Even though NASCAR has raced internationally in the past in places like Japan and Canada, Craven believes the schedule is too long to add any other venues, internationally or otherwise.
Craven believes that as long as NASCAR can stay innovative and adapt with changing audiences and technology, it will survive and thrive. He also says that while race attendance is down recently, the audience is greater due to ease of access online. Many of NASCAR races are broadcast online as well as through television providers.
This season, Craven is looking forward to the competition between Jimmy Johnson and Kevin Harvick, as well as enjoying Jeff Gordon’s last season before his retirement at the end of the year.
Also on this week’s show, we replayed a “best of” interview with Bill Nemitz from approximately three years ago. Nemitz recently returned to his post at the Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram after a medical leave where he had been battling a melanoma diagnosis.