‘Top Gear’s’ Rutledge Wood Gets New Series

Top Gear

Top Gear

Rutledge Wood is one of my best friends, so naturally I jumped on getting to report that he’ll be shooting a new series for the History Channel that will air this spring. Click on over to Starpulse to find out the details about his upcoming gig (and no, we still don’t know anything about Top Gear yet).

Click here to read about Lost In Transmission at Starpulse.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of History

Rutledge Wood Dishes On ‘Top Gear’ Season 4

Top Gear

Top Gear

One of the fun things about a new Top Gear season is that the guys are always willing to sit down with me and dish on everything that happens on the road. So, since I poked Adam Ferrara last week, it was time to catch up with the bearded one himself, Rutledge Wood. Click on over to Starpulse for the latest from Rut, and don’t miss a new episode tonight!

Click here to read my Top Gear interview with Rutledge Wood at Starpulse.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Finish Line: ‘Top Gear’ Returns For More Season 4

Top Gear

Top Gear

You can stop crying into your beer. After a six-month hiatus, History’s Top Gear has mercifully returned with new episodes to make us laugh, smile and cry in the name of love of the automobile. From muscle cars to rally cars, the Grand Canyon to Germany, it’s going to be one crazy summer. To prepare for this momentous occasion, BFTV scoured the country (okay, the state of California) to catch up with hosts Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust and Rutledge Wood, and talk a little Top Gear.

Are they as upended by the split seasons as we are? “It can be a little confusing,” Rutledge laughed. “We’re very lucky to have the loyal viewers that we do. The three of us try to put a lot of effort in to make sure people know when it’s coming back and where. For me, [June 3rd]’s a great day, because  that is my daughter Elsie’s birthday.” So if you’re reading this, jump on Twitter and wish her a happy birthday, would you?

You might also want to say a few prayers for the guys, because as usual, they’re doing crazy things with cars for our entertainment and their own amusement. “This season has been particularly a lot of fun, because of the cars we go to drive,” reflected Adam. “I got to drive a 700 horsepower ’68 Camaro. That’s a drag car. That was just incredible.

“I’ve never been so nervous as yesterday,” he added. “I drove Fred Astaire’s 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I that they let out of the Petersen [Automotive] Museum for me. That’s the most terrified I’ve ever been. It’s a piece of history.”

“I know we’ve done some cool stuff,” Tanner said. “We’ve been to the far corners of the continental United States – northeastern Maine and northwestern Washington state. But we’re doing a lot of shooting in Europe and getting on the Autobahn and the Nurburgring, doing some really cool stuff with cars that are nice cars that you normally would never see here.”

Europe being the home of the original UK edition of Top Gear, one of the most-watched programs in the world. We’ve seen UK hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May visit the US numerous times, but this will be the first time that our show is coming to their home turf. What were the expectations going into that trip?

“It’s funny because of the way that our show is airing in other countries,” Rutledge said. “It’s fascinating to see…We sort of forget that other people can see the show in other parts of the world. What you hope is that all the people that we see over there will love the show and have seen it. We always try to be very delicate in the way we do things. I’m really excited to get over there.”

Top Gear USA

For all the new stuff that you’re about to see in these fresh episodes, some things about Top Gear will always remain the same. Such as Rutledge freaking out. “When you see what happened down in Gainesville,” he teased, “That was one of those [moments]. I’ll leave that up to your imagination. Apparently someone on our show loves that show Fear Factor.

“I then got a different kind of a scare when I stood up a Dodge Challenger drag car,” he added. “When I say stood up, you could see the entire underside of the car. That was a different kind of scary.”

Then there’s Tanner finding ways to torment Adam. Be on the lookout for a segment where Tanner gets to be Adam’s driver. “It’s sometimes better than him driving himself, I think,” Tanner joked, but he was behind the wheel for good reason: the car involved is a pricey one. “I don’t even know what that car cost, but it was pretty expensive. I know that the wood inside was $50,000.”

“I beat him up around the road and had fun,” he added. “The episode where I took Rutledge in the limo trying to drift it, it’s kind of like that scenario. I will say Adam didn’t last as long as Rutledge.”

What’s Adam doing? Being Adam Ferrara – almost completely fearless and prone to property destruction. Asked what he’s learned from his Top Gear years, he told us, “I learned that, Tanner put it very well. ‘You don’t have a risk management system,'” he laughed. “He goes, ‘You come in and you just do it. You just barrel your way through things. When things start going bad, you keep going.'”

Oh, and enduring plenty of Paul Blart: Mall Cop jokes from Rutledge. “He’s not going to stop,” he quipped. “It doesn’t matter. He’s not going to stop at all. Now he’s making Nurse Jackie jokes.” (Adam, of course, having been promoted to series regular on the Showtime drama for this season.)

It’s the guys’ job to push the limits of what cars can do, and that’s fantastic, but do you ever wonder how they explain the possibly life-threatening things they’re about to attempt to other people? We asked Rutledge how his wife reacts when he tells her what he’s up to. “I think my mom is more worried about it than my wife is most of the time,” he said. “My wife, Rachel, is so wonderful to me. She knows I’m having the time of my life. She’s my biggest cheerleader.

“I have had, on more one occasion, to call my life insurance guy to make sure these shenanigans are going to be covered,” he added with a laugh. “That’s not my favorite thing to do. And they took a couple days once to get back to me.”

That’s not to say his loved ones aren’t a little worried for him, especially when they actually see the final cut. “Sometimes my wife will freak out and I am sitting on the couch watching the show with her,” he told us. “She’s nervous about if I’m going to make it [and] I’m sitting right next to her.”

Top Gear USA

All three hosts have had plenty to do during their time off. Rutledge returned to defend his title at this year’s Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race and welcomed a new baby. Adam worked on Nurse Jackie and continues to book stand-up appearances around the country. Tanner tried his hand at truck racing and, by the time you read this, will be gearing up for X Games Austin. But even with successful individual careers, they always come back to Top Gear.

It’s obvious that they love the insanity, they love each other, and they love the audience. We might have had to track them all down because they’re so busy, but these three amazing, funny, down-to-earth guys are always happy to sit back and talk about the opportunities the show has given them and how proud they are of what this little spinoff that could has done since it first debuted almost four years ago.

“I just want [the show] to be something people tell their friends about,” Rutledge continued. “You wouldn’t believe how many parents would tell me ‘We watch Top Gear with our kids.’ It’s really touching for the three of us. We didn’t know that a 17-year-old girl would want to watch the show with her dad. It’s just cool to feel like we’re a part of a conversation for so many different age groups.”

Top Gear has certainly evolved since its premiere, and so have its hosts. Tanner achieved even more accolades in motorsport before leaving his longtime Global Rallycross team to join forces with Volkswagen this offseason, and then there’s the truck racing. Adam has Nurse Jackie and is working on his second stand-up comedy special. Rutledge is a dad again, plus he finally won a professional race. Yet the fundamental DNA of the show remains the same: three of the best guys that we know, sharing the same passion for cars strong enough that they’re willing to do anything and everything they can with them. It’s just like getting together with your friends, except they have a bigger budget and more plaid shirts.

Do they ever think they’ll hit their limit? A time when they can’t think of anything crazier to do or any place they haven’t gone? It doesn’t seem like it. “I think we’ve started that insanity and we’re comfortable there,” Adam said. “I don’t know if there is a limit. Every time we think we’ve done everything, someone comes up with a better idea and we’re like, ‘Oh, then we can do this.’ So it’s collective lunacy. One guy starts with an idea, then the rest of us throw some more crazy ideas into it, and it just builds up.”

“I think when you get to season four and season five of a show like this that has all these quirky ideas, you start to wonder if it’s going to run dry,” Tanner agreed. “And I think this year, there’s an epiphany that that’s not going to happen. It can never really run dry, becase you’re dealing with three individuals that are not really acting like anybody. They’re just being themselves.

“We all have genuinely such different tastes, such different opinions on things, that when the producers write the idea for how it’s going to go on the road and give us our challenges and things like that, the meat that’s on the bones is all so genuine that it feels like you could just keep doing it for forever.” Hopefully they will, because we can’t think of any place else we’d rather be, then rejoining them on the road.

New episodes of Top Gear begin tonight at 9 PM ET/PT on History (check your local listings for specific channel); after each episode airs, check back here for our recaps. For more with the guys, be sure you’re following them on Twitter (@AdamFerrara, @TannerFoust and @RutledgeWood).

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Photo Credit: Matthew McDermott/Courtesy of BBC Worldwide

‘Top Gear’ (USA): Season 4 Finale Chat With Adam Ferrara And Rutledge Wood

Top Gear USA

Top Gear USA

It’s time to turn in the keys for another season. History’s Top Gear wraps things up tonight, and to send off our favorite motoring show in style, BFTV sat down with two of the show’s three hosts – the always hilarious Adam Ferrara and the ridiculously loveable Rutledge Wood – for one last question and answer session. (We can only assume Tanner Foust was somewhere continuing his plans for world domination.)

Now that we’ve reached the end of Season 4, what would you say you’ve learned from this season’s episodes?

Adam: That homemade amphibious vehicles can sink very quickly!
Rutledge: Hmm. I always learn a lot about Adam and Tanner more than I learn about myself I think. I learned that they’re both great swimmers after the debacle in Lake Ontario. By the way, if any of your readers are doing any scuba diving in that lake and see a Jeep Fan Boat, please let us know. There’s a very nice camera set up on that one since IT’S THE LAST ONE WE THOUGHT MIGHT FREAKING SINK! Haha. Sorry about the caps.

What would you say was your proudest accomplishment of the season?

Adam: Getting Rut’s VW out of the water after crossing Lake Ontario was pretty cool!
Rutledge: For me, honestly, it was not dying in the last show. I’ve driven some crappy cars in my day, but that ’33 Ford Rat Rod was among the worst. The weird thing is it was really fun to drive, right up until the moment you had to reach for the brake pedal. Then you said a prayer and hoped to come out the other side alive.

From a personal standpoint, any favorite memories that you made in the process?

Adam: There are so many, and nearly every one of them involves us laughing like idiots or almost dying. We started the show as colleagues, then friends and now brothers – dysfunction and all.
Rutledge: Trying to cross one of the Great Lakes with two of my closest friends in an amphibious car is something I’ll never forget. That was unreal. Oh, and I finally got to answer the question that’s been burning inside me for ages: What’s it like to drive inside a mall?

There was some cheating going on in certain challenges this season. Is it fair to say the rules of Top Gear challenges have become kind of arbitrary now?

Adam: Now? They’re never really arbitrary as much as it’s two against one.  Whoever’s winning, the other two will find a way to knock them down.
Rutledge: Cheating? Us? Never! Haha. The whole premise is really to do better than the other two idiots you’re standing with, so sometimes, we have to get creative. Also, Tanner jumps the start of any timed event, and Adam never pays attention to what the rules are anyway, so we’re probably just doing the best we can.

You guys are all used to having the fans comment on what you do, but do your loved ones/family members ever watch the show and think you’re crazy? Or what do they think when they see what you’ve accomplished?

Adam: Well, I never really tell my wife what I’ve done, so when she sees the show, I get a lot of “What the hell were you thinking?!”
Rutledge: My mom and my wife get scared while they watch the show, and then afterwards want me to fill them in on all of the action behind the scenes. So many of my closest friends are texting me and watching right along with us, and that’s one of the coolest things ever. When people that don’t have to watch, watch…that means a lot. My dad is funny about it because sometimes I think he gets pressure from my mom to tell me things like “You know, as a father, that wasn’t a good idea,” but what he really wants to say is “Holy crap! That was awesome! I tried that once when I was 17!”

At the end of the season, does all the constant travel and/or all the shenanigans catch up with you at all? What’s it feel like when you’re finally done?

Adam: We are all pretty banged up at the end, but there is no rest for the wicked, because we all go on to our other jobs.
Rutledge: I get a good cold or fever for a few days after a year like this…my travel with Top Gear and with NASCAR has been so intense this year that my body just got used to never slowing down. The moment that I do, it seems like my body just needs to chill out for 3 days, sleep a ton, and then I’m good to go again.

Now that the season’s over, what’s in your plans until we hopefully come back for Season 5? Anything we should look out for?

Adam: Well, I’m shooting Season 6 of Nurse Jackie now, which will air April 2014. After that wraps up, we’ll start shooting the next season of Top Gear, so like I said, no rest for the wicked.
Rutledge: I’m going to spend every moment I can with my wife and daughters. I’ll probably have some fun working on my cars too, but that’s priority number one for me!

Lastly, every good drive has driving music involved. So what’s on your driving music playlist?

Adam: Each song puts you in a certain driving mood and they aren’t in any specific order: AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Blondie – Call Me, Eagles – In The City, The Who – The Real Me, Aerosmith – Sweet Emotion, Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower, John Lennon – Imagine, Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks, Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire, Deep Purple – Highway Star, Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here, Collective Soul – Shine, Warren Zevon – Lawyers Guns and Money, ZZ Top – Waiting for the Bus.
Rutledge: For me, my driving music taste can really depend on the vehicle, the road, and how long I’m in the car. My most played stuff in the car is (in no particular order): Yellowcard, New Found Glory, Left Front Tire, Jay Z, Outkast, John Mayer, Randy Montana, Motion City Soundtrack, 311, and some other weird stuff.

The Top Gear season finale airs tonight at 9 PM ET/PT on History. If you’re on Twitter, be sure to join Adam, Tanner and Rutledge for the show’s final live-tweet of the season at @AdamFerrara, @RutledgeWood and @TannerFoust respectively.

You can also keep up with the guys in the offseason by visiting their official websites: adamferrara.com, therutledgewood.com, and tannerfoust.com.

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

The BFTV Interview: Rutledge Wood

Top Gear USA

Top Gear USA

Lots of people would love to be a Top Gear co-host, but what does it really take to front TV’s most popular car show? As History finally gives us back our Top Gear tonight, BFTV wrangled some time with the loveable Rutledge Wood – he of the plaid shirts and this year’s Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race champ – to discuss the job requirements for working alongside Adam Ferrara and Tanner Foust.

“It takes a lot more effort to shoot a show for Top Gear than most people would think,” Rut told us, “but I think that’s part of what we have to do as hosts and not let people in on that side of it. I mean, we have easily the coolest job in the world, so you won’t get a lot of sympathy from your friends if you had something to gripe about, but we all work very hard at making the best show we can.”

For Rut, the success of the show starts with the folks behind the scenes. “We are extremely blessed to have a crew that climb to the highest mountains and swim through rivers for us to get some beautiful shots, and they truly deserve the most credit,” he explained. “Our POV team – inside the car and small cameras mounted to the cars – are the best in the business. Greg and Roush that do that job have to climb in, around, and under some of the tightest and delicate places. And all day long, they have to look at us and hear us talk. They probably hear our voices in their sleep!

“We shoot roughly sun up to sun down, so it takes a lot of moving parts and pieces to get it all done and the three of us are hugely appreciative for how hard everyone on our crew works,” he added. “Then the editors, bless their hearts, they have to take all this crap we give them and make a show out of it!”

But what about Rut’s colleagues, X Games 2013 gold medalist Tanner Foust and the always hilarious Adam Ferrara? What’s allowed them to click so well and create that chemistry that’s so essential to the Top Gear franchise? Rut reflected, “I think that we are three insanely lucky guys to get to do something we love. We’re all very different people with lots in common and tons of things that are unique to ourselves.

“I think that’s what makes this show work. We really are great friends now, which makes us want to beat each other even more – and it makes us want to see the others win and succeed that much more. It’s like family now.”

For an example of the bond between co-hosts, check out this footage from the guys’ recent trip to Alaska.

Rutledge had an impressive career way before he joined Top Gear: motor racing fans will know him as a NASCAR analyst and host for SPEED Channel (now Fox Sports One), Those duties have earned him plenty of clout already. But he told us that hosting Top Gear has raised his profile even further. “Totally!” he enthused. “I’ve been on the road with NASCAR for the SPEED Channel, which just changed their name to Fox Sports One, for nine years and my friend Kyle Petty was who really noticed the big change.

“We were somewhere with his dad, Richard Petty, aka ‘The King,’ and these two guys walked right past both of them to say hello to me and tell me how much they like the show. I think it actually made Kyle proud of me that the show has put me out there like that,” Rut continued, adding that there’s been another benefit to the additional exposure. “It actually really helps me on my other job at FS1, because when celebrities are out at the racetrack and I get to interview them, a ton of them have seen the show before, so it makes them even more comfortable with me.”

What can we expect in the rest of Top Gear‘s new season, which starts back up on History tonight? “We got to shoot in some really cool locations this season,” Rut revealed. “I loved going to Idaho. It’s honestly one of the prettiest states and the people there are awesome. I loved Buffalo and the surrounding areas, but someone in a Passat almost took me out at a crosswalk – so it was my rude awakening that Southern hospitality does not exist up north!”

“We always have fun honestly, even when the producers have gotten us in something that’s crazy grueling and hard on us,” he continued. “But on occasion, something happens that isn’t planned, and that’s when we really see how much of a family it is at Top Gear. One of our most important people on a shoot is one of our co-executive producers, Tabitha Lentle. She’s a beautiful gal from New Zealand who has the daunting task of trying to keep the three of us focused on what we’re actually trying to do, which is no easy task. She’s the one who has to get us energetic after lunch, and listen to us when we complain about how early we got up and everything in between.

“If she yells at you – which is rare – you know it’s serious because we are a family out there and we never want to see anyone hurt,” he commented. “But it was pretty funny when Tanner and I stood together watching her yell at Adam for going crazy in an electric drag car this year. Adam has many talents, but modulating throttle input is not his greatest – and we almost saw him truly define the old saying ‘checkers or wreckers’ that day.”

It all adds up to not only TV’s best motoring show, but also one of the most fun programs you’ll ever get to watch. And for as jaw-dropping as the various automotive shenanigans are, the real heart of the series is who’s behind the wheel. There’s no doubt that Rutledge is one of the most down-to-earth, adorable and entertaining personalities on television. Just check out what he said when we asked him to tell us one important thing that hosting Top Gear has taught him.

“When I won the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race this year, it surprised a lot of people that I could win,” he reflected. “And it made me realize that anyone out next to Tanner Foust looks like a crappy driver. So don’t take it personally when a 14-year-old kid tells you on Twitter that you suck at driving. Just tell him riding the bus like he does sucks more and move on down the road!”

New episodes of Top Gear resume tonight at 9 PM ET/PT on History. You can also keep up with Rutledge personally by visiting his website (therutledgewood.com) or following him on Twitter (@RutledgeWood).

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of History Channel

‘Top Gear’ (USA) Season 4 Roundtable: What’s Next?

Top Gear USA

Top Gear USA

It’s that time again: Top Gear USA is revving its engines, and we’re going along for the ride. Last week BFTV snagged some face time with hosts Adam Ferrara, Rutledge Wood and Tanner Foust to find out what they could tell us about Season 4. Read on to discover what you can expect!

Tonight’s premiere is called “Coast to Coast,” so you can figure out the mission. But as always with Top Gear, it’s less the destination and more the journey. What can we expect on the guys’ cross-country adventure? “That was a really, really ambitious trip. We were flying across the country,” said Rutledge.

“We got pulled over in Missouri, in the rain. Adam and I, at least, were very candid. The cop walked up to me and he said, ‘What’s going on?’ and I answered, not trying to be a smarty-pants but very honestly, ‘Oh, not much, what’s up with you?’ Adam just said, ‘Yeah, you just want to talk to those people up front.  I’m really not your guy here.'”

“Yeah, go talk to the people with the English accent,” Adam concurred, referring to the show’s producers. “They know everything.”

“The coolest thing for sure [was] when we shut down the Eisenhower Tunnel,” Rutledge continued. “That’s [in the] top ten coolest things I’ve ever done in my life.”

“That was the highlight for me for sure,” Tanner agreed, giving us a little background on what made the experience so memorable. “[It’s] been around for forty years; [it was] built in 1973.  It’s like one of the busiest tunnels in the country, and it was the longest tunnel in the world, when it was built. We shut it down and went over 160 miles an hour through it.  [We were] the fastest recorded cars ever to go through that tunnel in 40 years.  It was amazing; the sound and everything is awesome.”

Or as Adam described it: “You actually felt like a torpedo coming out of a tube.”

Other things to look out for in this episode include Adam being crippled by his choice of car (“I showed up in a Viper with the posture of a jumbo shrimp,” he quipped), lots of off-color jokes when the guys trek through Intercourse, Pennsylvania, and their arrival in New York City in a helicopter. That’s a pretty fantastic opener!

TG401 Still 2

But what about the rest of this season? Look for the trio to tackle one of Top Gear‘s top challenges – amphibious cars – in Buffalo, which also involves them shutting down the Skyway. They’ll also be making their own convertibles and taking them to Alaska. And of course, there will be plenty more banter and oneupsmanship taking place.

What you won’t see in Season 4 is any more studio time. For the second season in a row, the studio portion of the program – which is comprised of the Big Star, Small Car and Stig track laps – didn’t make the cut. “There is no studio this season,” Rutledge confirmed. “We really miss that, we love doing it, but it has given us a lot more time back to tell a story.”

“We enjoy both. I just think it was a choice that was made above our heads,” added Adam. “But I do miss it. I miss the interaction with the fans.”

“Number one for us is missing getting to meet fans and interact with them at the studio,” Rutledge continued, although he quipped, “Adam and I don’t really miss not talking to The Stig since he or she won’t speak to us.”

Not all is lost, though, because he added that “there are going to be some celebrities you’re going to see in the first show. We’re kind of always brainstorming. All these people we know are always off shooting, and we’re doing the same, just in weird places.” (So maybe we’ll still get Michael Trucco on the show yet.)

As for the number-one burning question, the idea of a crossover between Top Gear USA and its UK predecessor is still very much alive, though not in the works yet. “I always wanted to,” said Adam.

“You saw what they did with the Aussie guys, right?” Tanner interjected, referring to the hosts of the late Top Gear Australia. “It’s not going to go well. It’s going to be some kind of payback for the Boston Tea Party or something.”

“That’s what I want to do!” Adam replied. “I want to do the Revolutionary War in cars.  We’ll go to York Town because, you know, we’d win and it’s a home game for us.”

“That’s a brilliant idea,” Rutledge chimed in, before explaining, “We’ve talked a lot about it.  They only do eight shows a year now; they’re not doing nearly as many as they used to. And Adam’s got Nurse Jackie and stand-up, I travel with NASCAR, Tanner races all over the world, so our own schedule is hard enough to worry about. It’s even harder to think about theirs.

“It’s something we’d all love to do someday.  But we’ve always said that because we know they’re going to cheat and they know that we’re going to cheat, that the only way to do it is to park two aircraft carriers next to each other in the Atlantic and shoot it right there.”

Besides, it sounds like Adam, Rutledge and Tanner are causing enough trouble on their own, before you throw anyone else in the mix. Referring to the aforementioned convertibles in Alaska installment, Rutledge revealed, “I was laughing so much doing the voiceover for that show. That was one of those shows where we kind of lost our minds.”

Continued Adam, “Rut said something yesterday to me that I think was brilliant.  We’re having such a good time, we forget this is going to be on TV; and then when we see the stupid [stuff] we do – we’re like, ‘Oh, wait a minute, everyone’s going to see that!'” And we certainly can’t wait to see it.

Top Gear‘s season premiere is tonight at 9 PM ET/PT on History. If you’re watching the East Coast feed, be sure to join me for the first of our weekly live-tweets by using the hashtag #TopGear. Stay tuned, as we’ll bring you more quips and observations from Adam, Rutledge and Tanner down the road as well.

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Photo Credits: Dan de Castro / Courtesy of BBC Worldwide

Third ‘Gear’: Inside Season 3.5 of History’s ‘Top Gear’

Top Gear

America’s wildest show on wheels is back. History’s Top Gear is returning to your screens tonight for ten more episodes of car-centric adventure fueled by human craziness. Hosts Adam Ferrara, Rutledge Wood and Tanner Foust are still doing everything they can (and some things they shouldn’t) behind the wheel, including revisiting their college cars, taking on RVs, and facing the apocalypse. Yes, the apocalypse.

BFTV recently joined Adam, Rutledge and Tanner on location to get the scoop on some of the mayhem coming your way. The fun starts tonight with ‘College Cars,’ in which the guys get back behind the wheel of their early rides and head for what’s supposed to be spring break. “We went to Mexico,” Adam said, “with the cars we had in college.” If the pictures in this article are any indication, things got very interesting.

From then on, the action never really stops, with the guys taking on another British Top Gear challenge, this one adapted for America’s favorite motorsport. “We had to make RVs and we took them to a NASCAR race,” revealed Adam. Said Tanner: “It’s an interesting scene. We camped out in the infield of Charlotte [Motor Speedway].”

“We had some NASCAR drivers in the show,” added Rutledge, “and you can’t give a professional driver any sort of vehicle and ask them to take it easy.” But the biggest offender in that forthcoming episode might have been Adam, who let slip that “I almost killed a camera guy with a tree.”

He’s not the only one risking potential bodily harm yet again this season. “There’s something coming up this season that is the closest to Fear Factor I’ve ever been a part of, in a terrifying way,” admitted Rutledge, who’s already been sent to the hospital once (in season two), “which will probably be funny to other people.”

“There’s a rodent wrangler involved,” added Tanner.

Also coming up in the second half of season three is something long overdue: after a Tanner-centric installment and a Rutledge-themed show in past cycles, Adam finally gets his own episode. “I teach the guys football and get to drive one of my dream cars,” he teased.

The guys will build a vehicle meant to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, too – a behemoth that must be seen to be believed, armed to the teeth and with plenty of property destruction that follows in its wake.

And if that’s still not enough for you, they’ll head to Sin City. “We were in Vegas because we decided that we wanted to learn about taxi drivers, and we thought we should make our own [taxis],” revealed Rutledge. “That was really fun because we got to go drive around Vegas and pick up random people. we also got to ride with cabbies and learn.

“We also had to ride in everyone else’s taxi,” he continued, although that part of the episode didn’t go so well. “Tanner and I rode in the back of Adam’s taxi, and there was a physical altercation in the back,” he added. “I left bleeding.”

But Tanner got his in the end: “I get a call for some exotic dancers,” he said. “Male exotic dancers.”

For those missing the more traditional elements of the show, Rutledge explained that while they haven’t had as many in-studio segments as challenges this season, he and the guys haven’t forgotten about that part of Top Gear. “We kind of didn’t have time for the studio,” he said. “We love to do the studio, we all love to do the Stig laps. For me, I love the studio the most because we get to really connect with the fans. It’s the best time to do that.”

There are a few challenges from TGUS‘s already impressive history that the guys would like a second shot at. Adam wants a do-over on “The hill climb in Death Valley,” he said. “I realized I forgot to put the Bronco in four-wheel drive and that pissed me off.”

“An episode that has yet to air that I’d like another shot at [is] the ‘Cheap Speed’ episode where we tried to go 150 miles per hour for very little money,” said Rutledge. “There are a couple of things I could have done differently that might have had an impact.  For one, I should have tested the nitrous kit beforehand.” Sounds ominous…

Top Gear

The escapades that happen are only half of what’s made Top Gear such a joy to watch. The chemistry between the hosting trio has continued to improve with each season, and both Adam and Rutledge pointed to the same episode as the moment when things started to click.

“Everything really seemed to come together with cast, crew [and] production throughout the Alaska episode [“America’s Toughest Trucks” from season one],” said Rutledge. “The insanity of that journey, and it really being the first extended journey we had done, seemed to shed some light on who the three of us really were.”

Agreed Adam, “It was the first time we went on a journey and camped out. We laughed and got on each other’s nerves.”

Three seasons in, one of the things all the hosts can agree upon is that spending this much time in each other’s company has taught them a thing or two. “I learned Rut has limited peripheral vision and have been exploiting that for my amusement between takes,” said Adam. “I learned that for all of Tanner’s competitive instincts to finish first, he is always the last one down for call time in the morning.”

Added Rutledge, “I’ve learned both Adam and Tanner are crazy in different ways. Adam is crazy behind the wheel of any vehicle no matter the circumstance. That’s why I don’t really like riding with him, even in a rental. He truly earns the name ‘The Wrecker.’ Tanner is the opposite side of crazy. He does things with a car that no one would ever think possible.”

Each of the hosts lead pretty exciting lives, whether it’s Tanner on the racetrack, Rutledge working with the folks at SPEED Channel, or Adam taping a multi-episode arc on Showtime’s original series Nurse Jackie. So if they could be each other for a day, who would the guys want to swap places with?

“I would have switched places with Tanner in the farming episode [season three’s “The Tractor Challenge”] because I wanted to drive the [Lamborghini] Aventador,” said Adam, who added “I would switch places with Rut at a NASCAR race. He’s like the mayor – everybody knows him and I wouldn’t have to wait on any lines.”

Meanwhile, Rutledge would be “Adam, so that I knew how to string curse words together the way a true New Yorker does.” Clearly, these three gentlemen have plenty of love for one another – which, like true friends, includes never being afraid to make fun of each other.

That’s what lies at the heart of History’s Top Gear: things may not always go right, and sometimes they might explode, crash or catch on fire, but at the end of the day this show is about three guys and their boundless love of cars – something that they share with all of us at home every Tuesday.

In addition to new episodes of the show, there’s also a special opportunity coming up for Southern California-based TG fans. Adam is bringing his stand-up comedy to San Diego’s House of Blues on February 20 in order to benefit the 9/11 Patch Project, which raises funds for a variety of September 11-related charities. For more information, including how to purchase tickets and more details on the 9/11 Patch Project, you can also click here.

Top Gear resumes its third season tonight at 9 PM ET/PT on History. Fans can join myself and co-host Adam Ferrara (@adamferrara) for a live-tweet during the airing of the episode.

For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my official website and follow me on Twitter (@tvbrittanyf).

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.