Jason Jones takes ‘Detour’ to Dover NASCAR race

Jason Jones, right, star of the TBS comedy series “The Detour,” and formerly of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” will serve as the grand marshal for Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive For Autism Nascar Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway. Free concerts and autograph signings will highlight the off-track action at the track this weekend. (TBS photo/James Bridges)

Jason Jones, right, star of the TBS comedy series “The Detour,” and formerly of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” will serve as the grand marshal for Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive For Autism Nascar Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway. Free concerts and autograph signings will highlight the off-track action at the track this weekend. (TBS photo/James Bridges)

In 2014, Canadian-born Jason Jones filled out all the necessary paperwork and took the oath to become an American citizen.

This weekend, he’ll actually feel like one.

Mr. Jones, best known for his work as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” for 10 years and currently star of the hit TBS comedy “The Detour,” will be grand marshal for Sunday’s AAA Drive for Autism 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway.

“This will be the final part of my initiation to officially become an American citizen,” Mr. Jones joked in a phone interview last week from his home base in New York City.

A self-described “virgin NASCAR-goer,” this will be his first race experience.

“I’m excited. I didn’t even understand it until I came to America. We had the Molson Indy Toronto race growing up, which was cool. But the first time I saw NASCAR and they were going around in a circle. I thought, ‘Oh right. This is different,’” said the 42-year-old Mr. Jones.

Best Bets logo CLEAR copy“(Coming to Dover) is a really big deal and I’m not quite sure what to expect. I’m just going to show up and be game for anything.”

The inspiration for his Dover appearance stems from an upcoming episode of “The Detour,” where his character ends up on a NASCAR track.

“We shot it at Atlanta Motor Speedway and I’m driving this minivan and I get boxed in by three NASCAR cars and they are rubbing up against the wall,” he said.

“I cannot wait to see that in person. It should really be awesome.”

“The Detour,” starring, written and produced by Mr. Jones, follows the adventures of the dysfunctional Parker family as they strike out on a road trip from Syracuse, New York, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with plenty of mostly unplanned pit stops in between.

Mr. Jones plays Nate while Natalie Zea is his wife Robin and Ashley Gerasimovich and Liam Carroll are their pre-teen twins.

The reasons behind why they are on the road trip instead of taking their originally planned flight to Florida adds another layer to the show.

The series, renewed for a second season before its official premiere, has received high ratings and critical raves.

“I am gratified by it all but like any good American, I want more. It’s been pretty much a universal liking of the show. It’s just now a case of getting to the next level,” Mr. Jones said.

“I’m just really wanting to share it with as many people as possible. I’m really proud of it. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

The show was created by Mr. Jones and his wife, Samantha Bee, who also has a Monday night TBS show with “Full Frontal,” a weekly comedic look at the headlines in the same vein as “The Daily Show.”

‘The Detour’ is loosely based on their experiences with three kids on the road.

While the family is on a road trip, Mr. Jones doesn’t think of it as “road trip comedy” in the normal sense.

“I just think it’s a more honest look at a family than you’ve seen before. They are a very fragile family. The idea was to put them on the road and have them utterly be pulled apart,” he said, adding that the second season will not involve a road trip at all.

And despite the fact that it’s about a family, the show’s content is about as far away from “The Brady Bunch” as you can get. Bodily fluids, frank talk and politically incorrect situations abound.

“We shot the pilot and we were pretty confident that the show was going to get picked up. There was then some changeover and a new president came in and we figured ‘this thing is dead,’” he said.

“So I started pitching it to the new president and he said ‘I want to go darker.’ I said ‘Trust me, that’s my dream to make it darker.’ We held back in the pilot. The previous regime wanted it to be more family oriented. In the pilot we end up in a strip club and it gets much darker from there.”

Just as Ms. Bee is Mr. Jones’ partner on “The Detour,” he serves as a producer on her “Full Frontal” series.

“I have the best job over there. I come in on Mondays when they tape the show. I’ll watch rehearsals and throw out some jokes that I think are awesome. Sometimes they like them. Sometimes they don’t,” he said.

Both Mr. Jones and Ms. Bee left “The Daily Show” around the same time and both landed at TBS. He said that was no accident.

“It was really the perfect storm. TBS was deciding whether to pick up the show. (Host) Jon Stewart left ‘The Daily Show’ and we were floated, at least in the media, as possible replacements,” he said.

“That made TBS want to pick up ‘The Detour’ and I was gone. They then asked Sam if she would be interested in a weekly show. The whole thing happened in a space of two or three weeks.”

Regardless, Mr. Jones says he was ready to leave “The Daily Show,” where he was known for his reports from the far-flung edges of the earth.

“‘The Daily Show’ was Jon. I could not have worked for anyone else and didn’t want to work for anyone else. I didn’t even want to work for myself. So yeah, I think it’s all worked out for the better,” he said.

Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway gets underway at 1 p.m.

Concerts and more on track

Prior to the race Sunday, country music artist and actress Jana Kramer will perform a free concert at the track’s Victory Plaza at 10:30 a.m.

Ms. Kramer’s most recent album “Thirty One” came out in 2015 and features the hit “I Got the Boy” and latest single “Said No One Ever.”

Country singer Jana Kramer will perform a free concert Sunday at 10:30 a.m. in Victory Plaza at Dover International Speedway prior to the afternoon NASCAR Sprint Cup race. (Submitted photo)

Country singer Jana Kramer will perform a free concert Sunday at 10:30 a.m. in Victory Plaza at Dover International Speedway prior to the afternoon NASCAR Sprint Cup race. (Submitted photo)

Her self-titled debut album was released in 2012 and included the popular track “Why Ya Wanna.”

Ms. Kramer, 32, first hit the spotlight as a cast member on The CW drama “One Tree Hill,” where she played actress Alex Dupree. Ms. Kramer has also appeared on HBO’s “Entourage” and NBC’s “Friday Night Lights.”

Singer and actor Trevor Jackson will sing the national anthem prior to Sunday’s race.

Also in Victory Plaza, on Saturday, country music singers Sam Grow and Tom Dixon will appear for free concerts prior to the 3:30 p.m. Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash race.

Mr. Grow, recently named one of the “Top 20 Country Artists to Watch in 2016 by the Huffington Post, is a Maryland native. His show will begin around 11 a.m.

His recent single “Is It You,” has received significant airplay across the country.

Mr. Dixon’s performance will begin around 9 a.m. and he will also sing the national anthem prior to the Saturday race.

Friday’s activities will be highlighted by a Camping World Truck Series drivers’ autograph session at noon in the FanZone. The truck race will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Along with the concerts, Saturday will see an autograph session by driver Elliot Sadler in the FanZone at 10 a.m.

On Sunday at 9:35 a.m., drivers Matt Kenseth, Casey Mears and Clint Bowyer will pose for photos, sign autographs and interact with a group of 100 young fans at Monster Mile Youth Nation. The youth-only autograph session is open to all Monster Mile Youth Nation ticketholders. Ticket packages cost $20. Call (800) 441-RACE to order tickets.

At 9:50 a.m., Delaware State University’s Percussion Band performs at Victory Plaza.

For tickets or more information to these events and more, call (800) 441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com.

Napier at Schwartz Center

James Napier, former owner of Capital Shoe Repair and Leather Work in downtown Dover, often played his guitar “Sugar” in his shop.

Saturday night at 7:30, he will perform a concert on the Schwartz Center for the Arts stage that will feature a tribute to Sam Cooke. He recently closed his business to head out on a three-year concert tour under his stage name of La Shaade.

He is also on a mission to help discover the next great young vocal talents from around the country and will showcase the winner of the Dover talent competition held as a part of his show.

Tickets, at $24-$30, are available by visiting schwartzcenter.com, calling 678-5152 or the box office at 226 S. State St.

Band Bash at Legion

The fifth annual Band Bash will be held Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. at American Legion C.K.R.T. Post 7, 17448 S. Dupont Highway, Harrington.

There will be 10 bands including Red Bullett, At Risk, Weekday Warriors, Judy Sings The Blues, Sweetwater, Parental Guidance, Chainbreak, Perception and Kick Back

Admission is $5 with an all you can drink cup for $10. This is an outdoor event so chairs are suggested.

All proceeds will benefit local veteran projects. Call (302) 398-3566 for more information. There will be food available for purchase.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters, George Clooney and Julia Roberts star in the suspense film “Money Monster,” the horror thriller “Green Room” and Kevin Bacon is featured in the supernatural thriller “The Darkness.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the Robert DeNiro comedy “Dirty Grandpa.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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