With NASCAR's Austin Dillon appearing on SEAL Team Wednesday night, the actors behind the operators were given the opportunity to spend time with a legitimate stock car capable of topping 200 mph. For actor Judd Lormand, however, this was not his first experience. He previously got behind the wheel during a VIP experience at Auto Club Speedway, which gave him an increased level of respect for NASCAR drivers.
"I got to a year ago, to get out there for quite a few laps and open it up, and it was amazing. It's a rush," Lormand told PopCulture.com during an exclusive interview. "And I had a lot of respect for those drivers, prior to that. Because you're watching these guys going around this track at such amazing speeds. And it's not just them, it's multiple cars, it's so dangerous.
"So I had an immense amount of respect. But then once I got behind the wheel of one of those cars, and felt it, and got locked into the driver's position, my respect for what they do is through the roof now. It's pretty incredible," Lormand continued.
As someone that grew up in Louisiana and the South, Lormand was introduced to NASCAR during his college years. He took a trip with some friends to Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama and instantly fell in love. Lormand has since attended several races all over the country, but his appreciation for the drivers grew after he actually drove a stock car.
As he explained, one major reason for this increased respect is the drivers' ability to remain in the car for hours on end. Races can last for 1.5 to four hours, depending on the length and number of stoppages. Additionally, the drivers have to avoid collisions with 30-plus other vehicles while reaching very high speeds.
"And you've got to... Oh gosh, I couldn't even imagine driving 150 miles an hour next to other cars that are doing that same speed, inches from them," Lormand said.
As the 2020 NASCAR season has shown, avoiding incidents while topping 150 mph is not a simple task. Last Sunday's FanShield 500 alone featured more than 10 restarts due to collisions and other incidents.
The number of cautions forced the race into overtime and kept the drivers in their vehicles for more than three hours. Eight drivers did not finish the FanShield 500, including SEAL Team guest star Austin Dillon.
Completing an average NASCAR race, let alone winning, is not a simple task. Lormand recognizes this and has only developed more respect for the drivers over the years.
The newest episode of SEAL Team, which puts Lormand and his costars behind the wheel, airs Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.
(Photo Credit: Rich Fury/Getty Images)