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Country music star Justin Moore presents a donation to the Hershey Volunteer Fire Company on behalf of Crown Royal, prior to his show on March 26, 2015 in Hershey, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Zimbio/ Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images North America)

So last Thursday at the “day job” I spent part of my lunch hour just chatting away with Justin Moore. Yes THAT Justin Moore. Just us chatting away – like that is an everyday occurrence. Yep – it was one of those rare but uber cool “pinch me okay not really because I hate to be pinched” moments thanks to this here little blog of mine. But you thought this was a NASCAR blog, right? That hasn’t changed- it totally is. Let me start by explaining the correlation:

The last several years Crown Royal has been the title sponsor of the Brickyard 400 and part of that title sponsorship is the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard program. I have posted about this program in years past- as a matter of fact here is my winner announcement post from last year’s “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400. It’s a cool program and if you have a local hero in your community or family- you should definitely take a few minutes to enter them for the chance to be recognized at this year’s race at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Nominations are open through April 12th 2015- so you don’t have much longer to be able to nominate your heroes.

Also if you visited the post about last year’s winner- you will see pictures of country musician Justin Moore with last year’s namesake, John Wayne Walding. Justin has been involved in the “Your Hero’s Name Here” program for several years as well. And that is how I got the chance to chat with Justin about his involvement in “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 as well as other things. So now on to the good part- the interview: (more…)

If you’ve been reading for awhile- you know that I reviewed author the first two books in Simon Wood’s racing thriller series here on BadGroove a couple months ago. As I mentioned in the review, I rather enjoyed both DID NOT FINISH and HOT SEAT and expanded out to Simon’s other “non racing” books.  I am excited that Simon was kind enough to answer some questions for me for BadGroove. So without further adieu:

BG: Did you always want to be a writer? Did you have a proclivity towards writing as a child?

Simon: No, not at all.  I’m dyslexic so I avoided the written word like the plague.  I wanted to draw.  I was a daydreamer coming up with stories but I didn’t begin writing until I was thirty.

BG: Your bio mentions you are a sometimes private investigator. How did you get into private investigation work?

Simon: When I moved to the US, I couldn’t get a job.  My wife and I were living pretty close to the breadline so we were looking to supplement our income so we responded to an ad to become mystery shoppers.  We “shopped” cinemas, electronic stores, fast food joints, etc.  We did well enough that we kept being bumped up the food chain moving to restaurants, to hotels and to finally casinos.  Once we started working in Vegas, we had to get PI licenses.

BG: Does being a “sometimes private investigator” help with being a writer- especially in the suspense/thriller genre?

Simon: To be honest, most of the work was pretty sedate and detail oriented.  The only thing we did have to do was come up with a lot of cover stories as we were undercover a lot of time.  The best thing about the job is all the people watching I got to do.

BG: Who are a couple of your favorite authors and/or books?

Simon: I’m a big Reginald Hill & Raymond Chandler fan.  But I would say my biggest influence is Hitchcock.  He understood human frailty and he liked to poke it with a stick and I like that.

Simon’s books DID NOT FINISH and HOT SEAT are the first two installments that follow Aidy Westlake, a young racer with a pension for finding trouble. Since Simon is an ex-race car driver I wondered how his experience factored into the personality of Aidy.

BG: Did you always want to be a racer? How did you get into it? (more…)