Sport on TV: Fast cars, guns and moonshine. What more could a man want?

So they haven't selected the new Stig from the Stig Farm yet. Top Gear (BBC2, Tuesday) has yet to replace Ben Collins, who outed himself as the show's stormtrooper-lookalike boy racer in his autobiography – an act that was regarded as so abject by the BBC that it was as if Santa Claus had whipped off his fake beard to reveal that he had been Noel Edmonds all along (the clue was in the name).

There was plenty of residual resentment on the show too, with the presenters taking potshots at cardboard Stigs and Richard Hammond even turning the targets round so he could shoot them in the back. The shooters were provided at the Virginia International Raceway, a venue for Nascar, which Jeremy Clarkson described as "by far the world's No 1 spectator sport".

Why the guns? It's obvious really. At the track they offer a crash course in the art of the drive-by shooting. This is the place that racing-driver movie legend Paul Newman described as "heaven on earth", and if you got caught in the crossfire then that was very likely to come true.

This bizarre sideshow at a major sporting venue is not so surprising given the genesis of the United States' motorsport of choice. Stock car racing's "birthplace" was credited to another track the trio visited, the Wittsboro Speedway in North Carolina. It originated among the men who drove moonshine whisky down the country lanes in the Appalachian mountains. Their cars had souped-up engines so that they could outrun the police. Obviously this wasn't exciting enough for them, so they started racing against each other. Those guys were the original drink-drivers.

Danny Boyle would have made a decent run on Thunder Road. The film director broke the wet-lap record for the "star in the reasonably priced car". His mentor was Tiffany Dell, a predecessor of Collins who eloped from Top Gear to Five's Fifth Gear. Boyle's success prompted accusations from Clarkson that "all these years the Stig has been coming here and slowing celebrities down".

Boyle is to direct the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics and the tightly-jeaned one offered him his own vision of the pipe opener: "The gates open, the gates are on fire, some Jags come in, XKRs on full opposite lock, and on fire... the crowd could be on fire." Well, it was always likely to be a case of crash and burn after the brilliance of the Chinese ceremonies.

Boyle revealed that in Beijing the performers had to wear nappies in rehearsal so that the routines were not interrupted by toilet breaks. From Thunder Road to the thunder box. It's something Paula Radcliffe might like to consider, but despite Boyle's best efforts you can't help thinking that the London show will just be pants in comparison.

* Andrew Flintoff made a creditable debut in the commentary box at the PDC World Darts Championship (Sky SPorts 1, Tuesday), calling the last leg of the match between Terry Jenkins and Joe Cullen on his own as Sid Waddell and John Gwynne left him to it. But surely we'd all prefer Fred to be chucking his darts at the Aussies in Melbourne. Even a few well-directed verbal barbs might do the trick, especially while Shane Warne is on the loose, flighting his own cupid's arrows willy-nilly in the direction of our poor English roses.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Business Development and Analytics - TV

competitive benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Outstanding analytic expertise is req...

Head of ad sales international - Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Are you the king or Queen o...

Business Development Manager Content/Subscriptions

£50k + commission: Savvy Media Ltd: Great opportunity to work for a team that ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker