The Next Bachelorette has NASCAR ties

Many major news outlets as well as various internet sites and Houston's ABC affiliate KTRK reported this week that the Emily Maynard, winner of ABC's The Bachelor Season 15, will be the next Bachelorette. Her relationship with Brad Womack, the eponymous Bachelor, ended shortly after the show aired over concerns of his readiness to be a husband and father to her young daughter, Ricki. 

Those of you who avoid reality TV the way Nationwide drivers avoid racing next to Steven Wallace might not be aware that Maynard was the fiance of Ricky Hendrick, heir apparent to the Hendrick Motorsports empire. Although he briefly drove in both the Trucks series and Nationwide (at that time Busch) Series, an accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway prompted him to stop racing and become a team owner. Hendrick, along with nine others including his uncle, John Henrick, John's twin daughters, and HMS Chief Engine Builder Randy Dorton, died Oct. 24, 2004 in a plane crash near Martinsville, Virginia while traveling to the race.

According to Scene Daily, Maynard, then 19, discovered she was pregnant just days after Hendrick's death. For the Hendrick family, that discovery was a gift. "Emily came over to the house the night after the memorial service and told us [Hendrick and his wife, Linda] she was pregnant," Hendrick said. "At the lowest time of our life, it was like a miracle that happened for us because we get a chance to have a piece of Ricky left."

During the season of The Bachelor, Maynard told her castmates that her fiance died, but did not reveal that he was a professional racer until the show visited the NASCAR Racing Experience at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the track where Ricky Hendrick's career-ending accident occured. That visit brought back difficult memories for Maynard, but she said she used the experience as somewhat of a catharsis. I don't normally watch the show, but teasers of that episode made me tune in to see exactly what would happen.

Even with the visit to LMS, on camera at least, she only mentioned that her late fiance was a racer and team owner and did not mention that, among other accomplishments, his father's company fielded teams for Cup champions Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.

The multiple sources reporting on the upcoming show indicate that Maynard's major concern in appearing on the show was leaving her daughter. ABC, it appears, wants her on the show badly enough to be moving the location to the Charlotte, NC area so that mother and daughter won't have to be apart.

What does this mean to you, the NASCAR fan? Probably not much. But for watchers of the show it should be interesting to see how the traditional intimate moments are handled in such a conservative area.

And if you happen to tune in and see a tow-headed little girl, you'll know that she's racing royalty.
The Next Bachelorette has NASCAR ties The Next Bachelorette has NASCAR ties Reviewed by Janine Cloud on Thursday, January 19, 2012 Rating: 5