10 Questions for The Orange Cone
You’ve seen him on the race track at the entrance to pit road, and more than 17,000 NASCAR fans follow him on Twitter. We’re talking about @TheOrangeCone, named by Mashable as one of the 10 Best Inanimate Objects on Twitter. Some may argue that he has the best seat in the speedway, though his position is fraught with danger, as a recent run-in with our own Kyle Busch can attest.
We caught up with Cone before practice Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway.
1. How long have you been on the job? Is the Orange Cone like the Dread Pirate Roberts?
I got my start in June 2003 after Rusty Wallace inexplicably drilled Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the door at Michigan. Junior was coming to the pits and he changed his mind, but Rusty must have been been giving Steve [Wallace] lessons for the future because he just flat out drilled him. I’ve been here ever since. As far as Dread Pirate Roberts, well, The Princess Bride certainly gives us all some life lessons to live by.
The infamous 2003 Michigan incident:
2. What do you remember most from your first race?
The biggest thing I remember was how happy the drivers were to see me. “Finally, there will be order coming to pit road,” was what one future five-time consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion (who wishes to remain nameless to protect his privacy) told me that weekend. However, Rusty gave me the stink-eye every time he saw me. Heck, he still does.
3. What’s your fondest memory from a race?
When I live-tweeted a round of green flag pit stops the first time. I picked up 200,000 followers almost immediately.
4. You had a run-in with our own Kyle Busch a few weeks back at Las Vegas. Any hard feelings?
The only thing I wish was different was that he was in the Interstate Batteries colors. My friends at SPEED have gone out of their way to promote me and have replayed that incident many times, and you would have had boffo coverage out of it. I like M&Ms and all, especially the green one, but they don’t interact with me on Twitter like you do. I even remember when my Sprint mobile device died during a race and you supplied me with a battery to charge off of. #respect
5. How did you bounce back so quickly from that incident?
Well, I am made of rubber.
6. What do you do between race weekends?
I usually hang out with a cast of pretty hot women I call my #HotHoneys. We lounge around in my hot tub, play Scrabble, and even do roller derby. They do get upset with all the time I spend online but even they understand that my fan base demands quality time and interaction. I am The People’s Cone; I am here to please.
7. You’re scheduled to work Saturday night at Texas, then Sunday at Rockingham. Do you take a private jet or fly commercial?
Every time I fly commercial, I end up in the cargo hold. Kasey Kahne promises me that to make up for hitting me at Daytona he will let me fly with him. I saw him at the Sprint Car races at Attica and he pretended like he’d never seen me before, so we’ll see.
8. We’ve seen pictures of you in plain orange and some with reflective stripes. What’s your preferred look?
Depends on the time of day. If it’s a night race, I like the reflective stripes. It doesn’t usually prevent an out-of-control racecar from smacking me into the next time zone, but it’s peace of mind, you know? I will say this, my female fans tend to lose their minds when I am on pit road in my “mold day suit” if you know what I mean.
9. Rumors are circulating that connect you with the Spanish supermodel Piso Mojado. Care to comment on those?
I cannot comment on that due to privacy concerns. I can say, however, that the whole Kanye West thing is Kim Kardashian’s way of throwing the paparazzi off the trail of her pursuing me again. I will categorically deny that I am involved with her. I think my fans would all jam an oily rag in my conehole and set it ablaze if I went down that road again.
10. What do you plan to do after you retire from your racing career?
I’ll probably get back into movies. No more of this “stunt cone” business though, I am talking leading man-type roles from here on out. I think I could easily play Jack Ryan if they ever rebooted The Hunt for Red October or any of the Clancy novels. I was considered for the Jason Bourne movies too but #Darby [John Darby, NASCAR's Managing Director of Competition] wouldn’t give me the time off.
BONUS QUESTION: You seem to have relatives all over the globe. Care to give a shout-out?
There’s literally billions of cones, pylons and construction barrels all over the world. All I will say is this: Whenever you see one, show them the respect they deserve. They go about their work quietly and in complete anonymity. They don’t seek the spotlight; they only ask you don’t run them over.
Thank you, Cone, for your honest answers. #Respect. (And check out this great photo documentary on just how hard-working Cone and his relatives are.)