The Glass Case of Emotion podcast crew — driver Ryan Blaney and co-hosts Kim Coon and Chuck Bush — called Kyle Larson one day a few years ago while they were recording an episode. They pretended to be a radio show and tried to convince Larson that he was scheduled to come on for an interview about having won a race the weekend before.
Larson protested that he knew nothing of the interview. He said he was too busy to accommodate the request, and they repeatedly asked him what he was doing that would prevent him from doing the live interview. “Does it matter what I’m doing?” a clearly frustrated Larson asked before Blaney revealed his identity and that they were just pranking him.
Later on the same show, Blaney, Coon and Bush pulled the same stunt with Bubba Wallace — only they coaxed him to be “on the air.” They proceeded to ask him the dumbest questions they could think of, including queries about his close relationship with his “relative,” Rusty Wallace (they aren’t related), and about his “music industry” sponsor, Maestro (it’s a beer company). Blaney, driver of the No. 12 Ford for Team Penske, gave up the prank when he laughed trying to ask the next question and Wallace recognized his voice.
Wallace cussed a few times, pretended to be mad, and demanded that Blaney, one of his good friends, never call him again.
It was a funny episode that illustrated what makes GCOE stand out in a crowded field of NASCAR podcasts: You never know what’s going to happen next. One day they talk about Pink Floyd, the next about axe throwing and the one after that about NSFW dating stories.
Perhaps the best part of GCOE is that it is not full of spit-shined corporate gobbledygook. There are zero sponsor mentions, subtle or otherwise. But the unbound nature of the conversations also is sometimes the worst part. No topic is off limits, the language is coarse and the bleeps are frequent (on the YouTube version). They not only push the limits of profanity, but they also talk about the fact that they push the limits of profanity. Pretty much every episode has at least one segment that is unsuitable for young ears.
But it’s not all R-rated banter. GCOE books big-name guests: Steve Phelps, the newly appointed NASCAR president, joined the show shortly after he was promoted. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has made frequent appearances during the show’s three seasons. After Wallace wrecked at Pocono last year, Junior called in to the show to ask Wallace, who was guest hosting that week, to give him the car to put in the wrecked car collection he keeps on the property at his home on the outskirts of Charlotte.
Chase Elliott, who has been friends with Blaney for years, appears often on the show, too. Elliott is quite reserved when speaking with reporters from traditional media. But he loosens up with Blaney.
Just as notable as what they talk about is what they don’t talk about. “We don’t really talk a lot about racing on our podcast,” Blaney said on a live podcast taped at Richmond. The GCOE crew is not interested in breaking news or analyzing the latest driver signing. When they talk about NASCAR news, it’s usually more along the lines of discussing the tattoo Austin Dillon got on his butt after winning the Daytona 500 than analyzing the race itself. “I would pick somewhere other than the bum, but, hey, that’s what they wanted to do,” Blaney said.
Sometimes they come close to breaking news, if only by accident. Asked during a Q&A before a live audience if he had ever been arrested, Clint Bowyer said, “You’ve got to clarify arrested,” and later added, “I didn’t have to wear orange,” but the conversation went elsewhere before he divulged any details.
Even after Blaney’s win at the Roval — one of the most talked-about finishes of the season — the GCOE crew didn’t stay on the subject for long. Soon the conversation turned to what the trophy could be used as — a giant beer mug, a fish tank and the flux capacitor from the Back to the Future movies — and the reaction of fans, including audio of a Blaney supporter screaming himself hoarse, expletives included. Old habits die hard.
—by Matt Crossman