Ask Ping!

Ask Ping!

May 13, 2011 12:30pm

Can you tell me why James Stewart had Steve Erkel stand in for him for the podium interviews at Vegas? "Sorry K-Dub... Did I do that???"


Dear ?,

You know, I thought the exact same thing when I saw him throw on those glasses. I couldn’t tell if he looked more like Steve Erkel or a black version of Buddy Holly, but it smelled of an Oakley marketing ploy. What self-respecting rider would put glasses on for a podium interview? Does Erin spit when she talks? Were they prescription? The only thing I know for sure is that somewhere, in some trigonometry think tank in a well-lit study hall, a nerd is missing his glasses.



Hello Ping,

As a teacher of all things moto-related (evidenced by your successful 'Motocross 101' series), I had to ask you about something I've noticed lately. While watching, among others this season, when Chad Reed and James Stewart pick their bikes off the ground I noticed how they grabbed the handlebars cross-armed. Obviously I never made it big in MX, but when I was tearing up my local tracks and wadded, I always grabbed the clutch side with my left, and the throttle side with my right hand. That way once the bike is up, you could get it moving quickly and hop on faster than John Wayne on a horse in a western movie. Specifically, in ATL when Reed got up it took him a few extra seconds to get switched and moving. I can't help but wonder if he could have stayed in front of Dungey, or passed him back, if had he gotten moving quicker. Have you noticed this? Thanks for reading. You know how us moto fans over-analyze everything. Perhaps you can address this in your next installment, 'Motocross 101, 2.0'.

Jake in Atlanta



    • Maybe his eyes were just crossed after getting slammed like this?
Dear Jake,

I couldn’t find any pictures to support this cross-armed pickup theory of yours, but in my head I can picture it happening. I’m with you: When I get flicked off the first thing I do is reach for the clutch. I’m probably already tired and the beating that the ground just gave me definitely isn’t helping things. The last thing I want to do is sit there and kick a hot four stroke for five minutes. This leads me to the only conclusion I could come to and that is that the guys were reaching for the clutch with their right hands. Maybe the bike was on the ground in such a way that it was easier and quicker to get to the clutch with their right hand? After all, pulling the clutch in is priority one when trying to keep the motor running in a crash. If that isn’t it then I have no idea what was going on. I’ll keep an eye on the situation though.


Hi Ping,

I’m hoping you could weigh in on several questions/thoughts I have:

  • · Next time you are at the races could you ask Erin to hold the microphone a little closer to her mouth when she’s doing a piece trackside? I can barely hear her let alone the people she’s actually interviewing. I’m sure with some practice, like several years covering Supercross, she could figure out that there are loud bikes in the background.
  • · If your theory that all people with tattoos are not hookers but all hookers have tattoos is true, could the same apply to Bubba? If not all crashes are James’ fault but all crashes involve James, doesn’t it make sense that James is the common denominator? If you look at the last several races, most game-changing crashes have involved the “Fastest Man On The Planet™”.  Maybe it’s time James chilled out a little? I’m cool with a guy hammering down to get it done, but when you’re so out of control that you clean out the top guys and several not top guys in the process don’t you think that’s a little over the top?
  • · Ralph Sheheen, gold chain?
  • · Barcia. Can he make a pass without making contact with someone? If your name is Bam Bam and you are a dirt bike racer, something’s wrong. With a name like that, you either need to be a cartoon or Macho Man Randy Savage’s kid. Maybe in Bam’s next interview he could get his neck all veiny (macho stripes) and through clenched teeth grind out a “Bone Saw™”.
  • · Barcia. Broken wrist, I don’t think so. Maybe a hairline fracture that can only be seen from the Hubble? Maybe it’s sprained, yes, but broken, no. I’ve broken several bones and I think Barcia is just hunting some media attention. Maybe he wants to show Erin how to use the mic?

Thanks. I’m gonna go dress up like the Ultimate Warrior and wrestle with my kids while I await your response.




  • That's right, Bishes, I roll a gold chain. Take that
Dear Nate,

First point: I’ll give Erin the memo for you. In her defense, she is usually wearing a snug-fitting set of helicopter pilot headphones and she could be listening to some soothing jazz tunes in there and not even hear the bikes in the background. Suggestion for you: turn the volume up on your TV.

Second point: Let’s check in with Kevin Windham about that theory, shall we?

Third point: Hey, pimps gotta pimp. Ralph can’t help himself.

Fourth point: Damn teenage testosterone. Let’s all remember what it was like to be 17 and pimpled up and so full of that sweet man hormone that your aggression overrode your common sense. Justin will chill out in time.

Fifth: It’s completely possible to have a small fracture and continue competing. I really don’t think he was looking for media attention and if he was he could have simply grown back that hilarious split-chin beard that he had at the opener. He would have been a regular on this column anyway.

Thanks for all the questions, Nate. I don’t really get all the wrestling references but try not to damage your children emotionally with the costume and bizarre role-play.



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