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The fact that "rear-engine, fuel-injected funny car" has become part of this media-addicted sportsophobe's pop-culture lexicon is a testament to the nimble persistence with which rapid-fire announcer Jan Gabriel and the folks at Smokin' US30 Dragstrip kept their radio and TV commercials pumping.

Gabriel could blow all he wanted. Reverberating repetition may be the key to learning, but one thing remains crystal clear: NO DAY! NO DAY! NO DAY! is when you'll catch me fork over a Jefferson for the privilege of watching cars drive around in circles. I could barely make it through Cars let alone Cars 2, and I swear Talladega Nights caused permanent retina damage.

For proof that the art of ballyhoo and promotional tie-ins have become as obsolete as nitrate stock, look no further than Hollywood's latest desperate attempt to convince gullible speedway habitué that their Blu-ray collections would be incomplete without the addition of Universal Studios Home Entertainment's (a unit of Universal Pictures and division of Universal Studios) Fast Five.

It didn't take long for news of the “Fast Five 225” to arrive "from over by there" in Joliet (pronounced: "Jolly-ette"), Illinois (pronounced: "Ill-i-noise"). Chicagoland Speedway today announced Fast Five, which debuts October 4 on Blu-ray and DVD, as the event title sponsor for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday, September 16.

Had I foreseen this twelve years ago, I'd have never left Chicago.

“We are so thrilled to align with the highly successful The Fast and the Furious franchise and to have this iconic brand as our entitlement partner for the NASCAR Truck Series race this September,” said Scott Paddock, president of Chicagoland Speedway & Route 66 Raceway. “This is truly a unique partnership, and we’re excited that Fast Five is using Chicagoland Speedway as a national platform to promote the roll out of its Blu-ray and DVD release. This is a franchise that really understands what high-octane thrills and pulse-pounding racing is all about, and we look forward to bringing fans that same type of excitement during the ‘Fast Five 225’.”

Paddock, who personally penned every word of the above testimonial (honest Injun'!), should do time in the PR stockade for forgetting to mention that Fast Five, a Universal Pictures release and the biggest and most financially rewarding installment of The Fast and the Furious franchise, stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Dwayne "The Former 'Rock'" Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, and Mariselle Morales as "Hot Beach Girl."

Brewster and Gibson will both put in personal appearances and, hey, while I have your attention ladies and gentlemen, don't forget that Grammy-nominated artist Tyrese Gibson's hotly anticipated new Voltron Recordz/EMI Music Services release Open Invitation hits store shelves November 1. Watch for it in remainder bins sometime before the Christmas rush.

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Colonna Aug. 23, 2011 @ 2:36 p.m.

Jan Gabriel needs a KIDNEY, KIDNEY, KIDNEYYYY!

Oops... too late. He crossed the finish line in January, 2010.


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