Hey that's my driver! NASCAR stars make TV rounds

With the Daytona 500 less than two weeks away on Feb. 14, NASCAR drivers will be out in force promoting the sport's season-opening event.

They may pop up on reality shows, dramatic series or even in a wrestling ring. Premium cable network HBO has taken an interest in the sport, documenting one driver as he prepares for the big race. And if the show in question doesn't air before the 500, the publicity surrounding it could be enough to get fans pumped for the new season.

For your convenience, here's a rundown on drivers' upcoming TV appearances (in order of scheduled broadcast dates):

Meet the Johnsons
: HBO's documentary series "24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona" debuted last week with praise from critics and fans alike. The four-episode series follows four-time Cup champion Johnson, wife Chandra and crew chief Chad Knaus behind-the-scenes in their professional and personal lives. You don't have to be a Johnson fan to watch - the series also provides a rare look into the inner workings of NASCAR. The show airs Tuesdays, Feb. 2, 9 and 16, leading up to the Daytona 500 and capturing the team on race day for its finale. Episode 2 airs tonight. If you missed the first episode, catch up with Skirts and Scuffs writer Farrah Kaye's review.

Smoke shows off his new bike:
Tony Stewart will appear on "American Chopper" in an episode airing Thursday on TLC. Paul Teutul Sr. and the crew at Orange County Choppers will design a Stewart-Haas Racing-themed bike. The show will feature Stewart and Gene Haas giving Teutul Sr. a tour of the Stewart-Haas Racing facility. Stewart himself is no stranger to the reality series. The two-time Cup champion stopped by in 2007 to check on a bike featuring sponsor Goody's Cool Orange, which was later auctioned off to benefit the Tony Stewart Foundation. Stewart and Teutel Sr. gave race fans a sneak peek of the chopper at the spring 2007 Martinsville race.

Edwards get
s in the ring: Carl Edwards will host WWE Monday Night Raw on Feb. 8 at the Cajundome in Lafayette, La. Edwards follows in the footsteps of Kyle Busch and Joey Logano, who co-hosted the live professional wrestling show in October. The Roush-Fenway driver has an "in" at WWE: Edwards is good friends with John Cena, arguably the organization's most popular wrestler. Edwards taught Cena how to drive a racecar in the 2007 reality series "Fast Cars and Superstars - The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race." Under Edwards' guidance, Cena finished third in the competition. The wrestler/actor later appeared with Edwards and the Gillette Young Guns in a TV commercial. Check your local listings for WWE Monday Night Raw.

Is Danica dying to win?
Danica Patrick, who will make her NASCAR debut in Saturday's ARCA race, will guest star on "CSI: NY" as - what else? - a racecar driver. Patrick will appear as the rival of a racing star, played by Antonio Sabato Jr., who meets an untimely end when his car explodes in New York City during an exhibition race. The CSI gang discovers the racecar was tampered with. Will the clues lead them to Danica's character? Find out Feb. 10, when the episode is scheduled to air on CBS.

Gordon puts his building skills to work:
Jeff Gordon spent some of his offseason building a house for a South Carolina family with the crew of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Police officer Derrick and Amanda Suggs of Loris, S.C., have two children of their own and adopted Amanda's three younger brothers. Not only was their house a full one, but it was falling apart. Derrick's fellow officers nominated the family for an "Extreme Makeover." The Suggs are big NASCAR fans, so the show sought Gordon's help. The four-time Cup champion was more than happy to drive in some nails. A racing theme was even integrated into the new house design - Gordon helped build a go-kart track in the Suggs' backyard. See this NASCAR-inspired episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" on Sunday, April 11, on ABC.

Photo of Carl Edwards from Ford Racing on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26429107@N03/ / CC BY 2.0

Photo of Tony Stewart from duane.schoon on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/duaneschoon/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Hey that's my driver! NASCAR stars make TV rounds Hey that's my driver! NASCAR stars make TV rounds Reviewed by Rebecca Kivak on Tuesday, February 02, 2010 Rating: 5