Rutledge Wood is one of those media celebrities who is exactly who seems to be on television. He’s just generally a decent guy who happens to love cars with everything he’s got.
Approachable, laid back and enthusiastic, his natural amiableness led him to a career change from a PR position promoting racing coverage to an on-air position with the Speed Channel covering NASCAR and a co-host position on The HIstory Channel’s Top Gear.. His ability to put drivers at ease allows him to get the sport’s top personalities to open up about their profession.
Valvoline tabbed Wood to serve as a promotional spokesman for its line of NextGen motor oils. Wood is asked to put forward a friendly case for the recycled oil as Valvoline chemists and engineers perfect the new formulations of NextGen – combining top shelf lubricant with recycled oil. That reclaimed oil goes through such a rigorous filtering and purification process that it comes out cleaner than the new oil entering the mix.
The resulting motor oil benefits the environment two ways, according to Valvoline. First, recycling oil obviously preserves our existing supply. And, NextGen’s purity burns cleaner than conventional oil.
We caught out to Wood on the NASCAR trail and asked him about his love of racing and how a recycled oil plays into his passion for cars.
Crave Online: You have a gift to get drivers to open up about what they do. What is the one impression you most often take away from your discussions with them?
Rutledge Wood: They’re just good people and like anyone else – except they have a different sense of what they can handle and how much of a risk they can take behind the wheel. When I’m on a track, I can drive fairly well. But I have a sense of when I need to back off because something bad might happen. I don’t think professional drivers have that sense – or they think in terms of what they need to do rather than worry about what might take place.
Crave Online: As a Top Gear host and a veteran NASCAR reporter, what was your take when you first saw Valvoline NextGen recycled motor oil becoming widely adopted in the Sprint Cup chase?
Rutledge Wood: Yes, I’m obviously a huge car guy. My father was that typical Tim Allen type, but I was born on Earth Day – and my mother is a huge hippie. I’m aware of environmental issues. I know that one gallon of used motor oil can poison one million gallons of water. So, I think it’s awesome to see Valvoline NextGen gaining acceptance in NASCAR.
Crave Online: Do you think NASCAR Sprint Cup’s use of NextGen will make it more acceptable for average drivers to put it in their cars?
Rutledge Wood: Yes, I think NextGen is proof that there are ways to go green without giving up a love of performance driving. What NextGen says is a car lover can do something to protect the environment that won’t cost him or her any performance or fun behind the wheel. Car people aren’t just immediately anti-green. They can care about the environment. They just love cars.
Crave Online: You just wrapped the second season of Top Gear U.S. Any word on a third season coming up soon?
Rutledge Wood: No word yet, but we’re hoping. We had a blast making the second season, and I think we’re hitting our stride now. I think we’re all optimistic we’ll be back.
Photo Credit: Starbux/WENN.com