With NASCAR going green at Daytona on Sunday, Brian Williams, the anchor of NBC Nightly News and host of Rock Center, as well as a genuine racing fanatic, buckled in to talk about the sport.
SI: How many races did you make it to last year?
BW: I just made it to the fall race at Charlotte. [But] I went to two short-track races in North Carolina. I'm just as happy on a Friday night at a short track as I am at a superspeedway.
SI: How did you get into racing?
BW: I was six when my dad took me to my first short-track race. It was the Chemung Speedway [in upstate New York]. Then we moved to the Jersey Shore, but that was good because I could see drag racing at Englishtown, and Flemington still ran a really good short track.
SI: What are you excited for this season?
BW: I can't wait for Danica. I think she's got a ton of talent. I think she's got the courage of a member of the infantry, and she can drive.
SI: Who wins in 2012?
BW: I would never make a prediction. But I'm an Earnhardt loyalist, so I will always cheer for Junior.
SI: Any NASCAR tracks you particularly enjoy?
BW: Talladega. I like 'em big. I love the history, the location; the infield is a big bowl of humanity.
SI: What's the fastest you've driven?
BW: 181 at Talladega. I was in the Mello Yello car.
JUSTIN STEPHENS/NBC (WILLIAMS)