News & Media


Six Pack of Pop: Daugherty living the hoops and lug nut life

February 28, 2012, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com

Owner's focus is on stock cars, but he could still dominate -- a half-court game

Brad Daugherty, co-owner of JTG/Daugherty Racing and former NBA All-Star, answers this week's six questions.

1. Having the NBA All-Star Game played in Orlando, Fla., last Sunday brought back some memories for you, didn't it?

"If it's up to Bobby, we're going to get to Victory Lane this season."

--BRAD DAUGHERTY

Daugherty: I played in the NBA All-Star Game when it was there before in 1992. To play in that All-Star Game there in Orlando, that was incredible. It was Magic Johnson's comeback game [after Johnson had retired]. I remember sitting in the locker room and Isiah Thomas led a big tribute to Magic.

But one of my guests that weekend was [former NASCAR chairman and CEO] Bill France Jr., because I had known him forever. He came over to watch me play.

2. You also have some great memories from the Daytona 500, don't you?

Daugherty: My dad passed away in 1980, and I can remember sitting on the couch with my dad, watching the first Daytona 500 to be televised live [from start to finish in 1979]. It's such a vivid memory. I remember sitting on the couch, and mom had this plastic on it because I guess that was supposed to save it. My dad was watching the race and I remember he was so excited. He always drank Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. He was sitting there drinking those beers and smoking those nasty little Camel cigarettes, but it was great.

That was one of the fondest memories I have of my dad. We were sitting there together, watching the race, and then we saw Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough get together on the last lap and my dad comes up out of his seat. My dad was a big Cale Yarborough fan. And then Bobby Allison gets involved, and there's a big fight and my dad started jumping around. We had a little TV table and he knocked it over. It was just great.

3. So you grew up a big fan of NASCAR?

Daugherty: You look at that, and that's a vivid memory. From my perspective as a [black] male, that's not something you would think would be a part of the fabric of the culture where I grew up. But in my hometown, my heroes were Jack Ingram and Bob Pressley. I've known those guys all my life. I used to go to Jack Ingram's shop every day and just hang around, just goof off.

And Bob Pressley, who's a legend in our area and who won over 500 short-track races, me and his son Robert, we used to work on his race car. That's what I did.

4. Does that surprise people who think of you mostly as an ex-NBA player?

Daugherty: People don't understand. They saw me play basketball. They have no idea of my passion for racing. I love it. But it's been a blessing to be able to do both.

5. Do you love one more than the other?

Daugherty: Someone once asked me, 'Would you rather win the Daytona 500 or the NBA championship?' Well, I didn't win the NBA championship. I still hope to win a Daytona 500. It looks like I've only got one choice left -- unless some really bad NBA team wants me to come out of retirement. I could play half-court, and it would be on the offensive end, too, I can tell you that. I can't jump over a phone book now, but I could still get it done in a half-court game.

6. What are the expectations for getting your driver, former Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte, and the No. 47 Toyota to Victory Lane this season?

Daugherty: If it's up to Bobby, we're going to get there. That's why we hired Todd Berrier [to be Labonte's crew chief and also double as general manager of the race organization]. I've known Todd a long time, and with his wisdom and knowledge of these race cars and with Bobby's experience as a driver, I think we can get Bobby back to Victory Lane.