Reality is, more INDYCAR drivers yearn for their own slice of reality


(Fans can follow Alexander Rossi, Conor Daly and six other Season 30 cast members as they watch tonight’s episode of “The Amazing Race” from the second INDYCAR viewing party, being held in San Francisco. Follow USA Today Sports’ Instagram account (@usatodaysports) from 9 p.m.-midnight ET to see the latest from the exclusive party. Rossi and Daly (#TeamINDYCAR) will be joined by #teamchomp’s Joey Chestnut, #teamextreme’s Kristi Leskinen and Jen Hudak, #teamwellstrung’s Trevor Wadleigh and Chris Marchant and #teamgoatyoga’s Sarah Williams.)

Before he's completed a race lap in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Robert Wickens already has a beef with two of his soon-to-be competitors, Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly.

The pair has him a bit green with envy after landing spots on “The Amazing Race,” the CBS reality adventure series that Wickens has followed religiously for years. The 28-year-old Canadian who will drive for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports this season dreams about being a competitor on the show.

“I’ve always wanted to go on ‘The Amazing Race’ because – well, not many people know – I've been a super fan of the show since it started. Alex and Conor kind of spoiled the fun for me there,” Wickens said.

Robert WickensThe third episode of Season 30 on “The Amazing Race,” with Daly and Rossi competing as #TeamINDYCAR, airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. The photo above depicts Daly in action on tonight's episode, but to understand why he is carrying a yard gnome while hurtling a wall, you'll need to tune in.

Wickens believes he would have made an excellent participant.

“I always thought I’d be pretty good at it. I feel like I travel well and am extremely good at getting through airports and finding clues. I think all of the physical challenges look like a lot of fun, and you get to experience parts of the world you wouldn’t normally. All in all, I think it’d just be a lot of fun.”

Wickens is such a hardcore fan that, even when he was racing in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters touring car series in Europe, he’d find a way watch the show through a video stream or downloads. Once he saw each week's episode, Wickens and his mom would arrange a chat spanning the Atlantic Ocean to talk about it.

Wickens will be a Verizon IndyCar Series rookie in 2018, driving the No. 7 Honda alongside his long-time friend James Hinchcliffe, who will be in the No. 5 Arrow Honda. Hinchcliffe, now 31, did his own reality show stint in 2016 when he was runner up on Season 23 of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” with pro partner Sharna Burgess.

While Wickens is keen to get his feet wet in reality TV, Rossi's teammates at Andretti Autosport, Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay, are lukewarm to the idea.

Andretti did have a cameo on the E! Network's “Ice Loves Coco,” hosted by Ice-T and wife Coco, but that's as far as he we wants to take things.

“To be honest, there isn’t a specific reality show I would like to compete on. I have made a guest appearance on my friend’s show, ‘Ice Loves Coco,' but I am happy leaving it at that and keeping my competitiveness on the track," Andretti said.

"I’m excited for Alex and Conor, though. I have a feeling they’ll make it pretty far.”

It’s hard to fault Hunter-Reay, 37, for avoiding the reality TV craze. His reality is already at home, with wife Beccy, three young sons, two dogs and a new house to go along with an incredibly fast-paced lifestyle and job. There's a pretty good case to be made that the 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner has enough to keep him busy.

Scott DixonAnother driver with a family wasn't so quick to dismiss the idea, however. Four-time series champion and 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing – with wife Emma and two daughters – would jump at the chance, though in a different direction. The 37-year-old would choose a crazy game show to display his abilities.

“I’ve always wanted to do ‘Wipeout,’” Dixon said with a smile, referring to the ABC obstacle course show that winds up with more spills and laughs than successes. Dixon added that he’d like to compete “in three stages: sober, slightly drunk and very drunk – then take best average time of all three.”

On “Wipeout,” participants competed to see who can negotiate the “world's largest obstacle course” in the quickest time. Even though the show went off the air in 2014, Dixon could still get the opportunity to try the course because “apparently, you can rent the course for birthdays.”

“Survivor” was the reality show pick of two drivers, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal and Wickens, who wants to try his luck on some remote island now that his chance of competing on “The Amazing Race” may have been usurped by Daly and Rossi.

Wickens joked that he already started training.

“I probably wouldn’t have the most strategic game, but being on a deserted island and having to make fire and find food, I think it’d be a really cool experience,” he said.

“I think I'd be a strong player there: I mean, over the holidays, we pretty much did the same thing. Well, we didn’t find food, but we cooked it.”

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