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Fast Take   by Dwight Drum
Web work by Larsen & Drum    Images by Drum
Mike Rowe of 'Dirty Jobs' does clean NASCAR work

When most of us go to work we perform the same duties every day. That’s efficient and that’s also potentially boring. The best advice by most successful people is to find and do something you love and let the money follow. When your occupation is also your chosen life’s work, it’s like getting paid for what you love to do and not much like work. Sometimes that select vocation is even more time-consuming and absorbing than a routine job, but that’s customary.

Popular TV personality Mike Rowe has filmed 248 episodes of ‘Dirty Jobs’ for the Discovery Channel and it might seem that the sum of his repulsive tasks would never equal fulfillment. Ah, but Rowe is doing what he loves, producing video. Rowe took time out of his busy schedule to star in a coveted role that is a big part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

During the 2009 NASCAR finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway Rowe had the clean job of Grand Marshall which included announcing the traditional words to start the race – “Drivers, start your engines.”

Rowe completed his job with enthusiasm and high voice volume. Engines roared and the race commenced.

Reporter Dwight Drum got questions to the smiling Rowe.


What do you like best about doing TV?
“I like the fact that no two days are ever the same, ever. Never.”

How did you get involved in the ‘Dirty Jobs’ series on the Discovery Channel?
“It’s a long story, but basically I’ve been in the business for a long time and I wanted to do a show about work for my granddad. So we got a couple specials on the air and people started watching. Now I’ve done 248 jobs and I’m not sure how to make it stop.”

You look like it’s just natural. Is it hard work too?
“Everything is hard. It’s pretty natural. I mean TV is a big old, fat, sloppy lie in the first place, but we keep it as honest as we can. Look you can’t fake broken bones, blood, crap or tears. We got plenty of those too.”

Do you ever get used to what you are doing?
“I’ve never been used to anything. Never.”

Whose crazy idea was it to come up with the show format?
“Nobody to blame but me I’m afraid. Well, I called up George Plimpton, but he was dead so I didn’t think he’d mind.”

NASCAR drivers have to have seat time to know their skills. What prepares you for the dirty jobs you do?
“That’s a great question and the honest answer is nothing. We really wanted the show to live up to the name reality – not the way it’s become associated with so much programming, but to really be an honest show. The more you prepare, in TV anyway, the less honest you can be. The more produced the program becomes, the less authentic it becomes. The more you rehearse, the more you study, the more takes you do, the more scouting – all of those things in a weird way are counterintuitive to what I think viewers want to see, and certainly to the kind of TV that I would like to make. So the short answer to your question is none. I really want to – to the extent that I’m able – show up with the viewer’s point of view and experience whatever it is for the first time.”

What are your thoughts about NASCAR drivers now after attending this racing event?
“They're athletes. The bottom line is that they are athletes. A lot of people in the county don't really understand that all great athletes are just a product of their ability to focus and stay completely driven for a period of time. Whether it’s three and two and you're up at bat or whether it’s fourth and long or whether you're making a few hundred left turns. It’s focus.

“These guys are amazing. They're amazing mental athletes and physical too. It’s 110 degrees in that cab. I couldn't do it. How they do it, beats me. It’s fun to watch though.”

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