Will Ferrell as <EM>Ricky Bobby</EM> Will Ferrell as Ricky Bobby

The last word on the first half of this NASCAR season belongs to Ricky Bobby, the greatest stock-car driver who never was and star of the August 4 release Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. TV Guide caught up with Ricky Bobby  a dead ringer for international film star Will Ferrell  at a Waffle House outside of Charlotte. He was practicing signing his autograph.

TV Guide: We're joined by famed Nascar driver of the No. 26 car, Ricky Bobby.
Ricky Bobby:
Before we begin this interview I'd just like to say that I love TV Guide. It is my favorite reading material, other than the Bible, on the planet. And that includes Steinbeck, Sports Illustrated, exit signs and the liner notes to all Creed albums. TV Guide has everything: TV Listings, celebrity interviews, nude photos of hot ladies....

TV Guide: We actually don't have nude photos. We're a family magazine.
My bad. I got confused with "The Spanked Wench Monthly." Which, by the way, is a fine periodical.

TV Guide: What's it like to run at historic Daytona International Speedway?
It's the Holy Grail of all racetracks. I myself cannot sleep for weeks before a race there. And I literally mean weeks. I would hallucinate from lack of sleep. I used to see robot spiders on my arm and start losing my mind. Fortunately, now there's Ambien. So [these days] I just binge-eat in my sleep. Which is why I keep a roast-beef carving station next to my bed. Last night I ate six sandwiches and drank a 2-liter bottle of A&W Root Beer. But yeah, Daytona's a big deal.

TV Guide: How do you get along with the other drivers? Are there rivalries? Friendships?
We'll, it's tough being No. 1. My best friend is, of course, Cal Naughton Jr. [immortalized in Talladega Nights by actor John C. Reilly], who drives the No. 47 car and sets me up for a lot of my wins. But Dale Jr. is also cool. He and I once spent a crazy weekend in Tijuana together. I won't go into details, but I will say it involved a flare gun, a toupee, a 19-year-old and a football helmet full of toxic frogs. Fortunately I was able to have the tattoo of Sebastian Bach lasered off my back.

TV Guide: For those who have never experienced it, what is the physical sensation of driving in a NASCAR race?
Well, you're going 200 mph.... The engine sounds like a machine gun.... There are 250,000 people screaming.... You're in this pack of cars who all want to smoke you.... And your spotter and crew chief are buzzing in your ear, giving you information. You know what, man? It's like frickin' Star Wars, only cooler. I watch Mission Impossible and I fall asleep 'cause that's my life. I don't want to sound cocky.... Wait a minute, yes, I do. I rule. And so does America.

TV Guide: Is losing your greatest fear?
No. It'd be, "What if there were, like, zombie sharks. So they were sharks, but stronger, but you couldn't kill them and they...."

TV Guide: I mean related to racing.
OK. It would be to duel a black mystery car in the straightaway and I can't see who the driver is and I can't beat it. And then finally I pull ahead and defeat it, and the driver steps out and removes his helmet and the driver is... me! Isn't that terrifying?!

TV Guide: Honestly?

TV Guide: No. It was kind of dumb.
Well, then I don't know what you want!

TV Guide: Let's just move on. Are you excited that a movie, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, has been made about your life?
Ricky: Yeah. It's pretty cool. I mean, I catch myself doing things now, like making a grilled cheese sandwich, and I think, "This could be in a movie someday."

TV Guide: I don't think they'd film a scene of someone making a grilled cheese sandwich.
Why do you have to ruin my dreams? First the cool mystery driver and now this. What is your problem?! I told you I love your magazine with the listings and the nude shots.

TV Guide: We do not have nude shots!
Well, you list movies that have nudity in them! Don't you?

TV Guide: That doesn't even make sense. I'm leaving.
You were burned.

[TV Guide interviewer exits]

Ricky: Ba-urned!

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