Mike Skinner has had quite an exciting career, from being teammates with Dale Earnhardt in the Cup Series to dominating the Truck Series, he has done everything in NASCAR. However, fans of The Grand Tour know him as The American.
Mike took us back to where it all began in a recent interview with Grand Tour Nation, he said:
“I got a call from Andy [Wilman], and he wanted to come up and sit down and talk to Angie and I. So Andy flew in and drove up here, and we sat right here and met, and we had a conversation, and he said we’re interested in doing a screen test with you if you’d be interested.
And he explained to me what we were gonna do and what the character was, and basically, my character was to be a grumpy old NASCAR driver, retired NASCAR driver, that hated everything British or European; I just loved American muscle, and that was it.
Skinner was then told that he would become more prevalent in the episodes and have more screen time alongside Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.
“Hard to interest me in anything else, and I’m like, okay, I’ll play along with that. And I said, where is it going to go? And he said we’re going to develop your character, and eventually we’re going to have you intermingling more with the guys, and what are your hobbies?
“And I said, well I play the guitar, I’m not very good at it, and he goes, play me something. So we’re going to have you sitting around every once in a while doing stuff like that and just developing your character, and I’m like, okay, I’ll do that.”
With promises of developing his character, Skinner began shooting with The Grand Tour.
He said the following: “So we went over there, and we had some really good shoots. We had some funny stuff. I mean, some of the stuff was my own material; a lot of it was scripted.
“And it seemed like they didn’t have time to do our segments the way I felt that they should be done and we kind of rushed things. I went all the way over there for a one day shoot one time. And that too far to travel to do one day’s work, and we tried to cram two or three shows into one day.”
“I went, you know, they are more focused on dropping people out of the sky and the hokey pokey stuff than what I thought the show should be about, what it is, and I’m not the one that tells them how to do their show.
“And so we all mutually decided that I wasn’t going to come back for the next year, and I decided that there was something better for me to do.”
After one season, The American left the show for good. Mike Skinner has now returned to doing his radio show, Skinner Round-Up that he hosts with his wife, Angie. NASCAR fans can tune in on SiriusXM NASCAR radio to get the latest updates on the sport and enjoy segments like Skinners Garage and Celebrity Drive-By.