Comedian Howie Mandel spices up NASCAR interviews

Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks to the media after the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon at Encore Las Vegas on November 29, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images for NASCAR)

LAS VEGAS — Comedian Howie Mandel brought his act to Las Vegas a day early — and incognito.

The host of Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series awards banquet at the Wynn, Mandel turned up at Thursday’s interview sessions after the Myers Brothers Luncheon, wearing a wig and holding a microphone, pretending to be a member of the press corps.

As Dale Earnhardt Jr. began to answer a serious question, Mandel yelled from the fringe of the scrum, “Can’t hear you!”

Earnhardt began again. Mandel interrupted. “Can’t hear you! Not getting it. Can you talk so we can all get it?”

“I can only speak as loud as I can speak,” Earnhardt replied.

“OK, go ahead,” Mandel said.

A radio reporter, who didn’t recognize the comedian, offered to hold his microphone closer to Earnhardt.

“No, I’ve got it,” Mandel said.

For the third time, Earnhardt began to answer.

“Louder!” Mandel shouted, and Earnhardt smiled as recognition dawned.

“I know this guy,” Earnhardt chuckled. “I know who this guy is. He’s going to keep going.”

“He’s screwing up my sound bite,” said the radio reporter.

“Louder!” shouted Mandel before exiting the group, leaving Earnhardt and the reporters laughing.

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