This week, The Final Lap Weekly Podcast will reach an impressive milestone: 600 episodes.
That’s right. Believe it or not, there was a time long ago when drivers weren’t saying what and measuring tools like the Nimitz stick had yet been dreamt up.
More than a decade ago, February 11, 2008 to be exact, a journey began when the first episode of the then titled The Final Lap Chat went live. As the show heads into the 600th milestone episode, it continues to flourish under the leadership of long-time radio veteran and host Kerry Murphey.
For Murphey, the spawning of the internet’s longest-running NASCAR podcast started with a short-form radio show that he created in the early 2000’s.
“The Final Lap Weekly has been a passion of mine since the very beginning.” Murphey said. “In 2004 the syndicated short-form radio show was a hit, airing on over 250 stations back in the day. Having that show established and running like a well-oiled machine, in 2008, I wanted to try my hand at a longer talk show version of the show. I kept hearing about this new thing called ‘podcasting’ and figured I’d give that a try.”
Since the beginning, the mantra for the podcast has been a fun and lighthearted atmosphere, great audio quality and above all else consistency.
Week-in and week-out without fail, The Final Lap continues to break down news and provide fun banter about NASCAR, even thru the off-season months.
Originally, the couple of guys talkin’ racin’ were Murphey and former motorsports competitor and journalist Paul Northrop.
The duo laid the foundation of greatness over the first 187 episodes of the show’s history.
Northrop is happy that the project he helped get off the ground is still churning out shows.
“Congratulations Kerry & Toby with The Final Lap Weekly Podcast on your 600th show, well done!” said Northrop. “Here’s to the future of racing and to further great shows with TFL.”
When Northrop needed to step away from the show after episode 187, due to personal reasons, Murphey had to find a suitable co-host.
Murphey had met NASCAR journalist Toby Christie as they sat at the same table during the 2010 NASCAR Awards banquet. The two struck up a conversation that evening and exchanged information.
A little over a year later, Murphey called on Christie, who had appeared as a guest or guest-host in six-previous episodes.
“When I swapped contact info with Kerry, I fully expected to work on something in the future with him,” Christie explained. “However, never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be the co-host of a podcast with him for more than 400 episodes and counting. It has been a wild ride so far and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the show.”
The two clicked and after a while their chemistry bolstered.
While the on-air chemistry among the hosts of the show over the years have been crucial to the success of the podcast, which has recorded millions of downloads in its history, just as critical has been the impeccable quality of the guests that have been interviewed by Kerry, Toby and Paul.
Among the notable names who have appeared on the show in the past are: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Chase Elliott, Rusty Wallace and Terry Labonte – just to name a few.
Justin Allgaier has the distinguished honor of making the most guest appearances in show history with 15 interviews over the years.
In all, the show has had 178 different interview subjects appear on the show for a total of 293 separate interviews.
Altogether, the NASCAR drivers who have taken time to speak to listeners of The Final Lap have combined to win 863 NASCAR Cup Series races, 26 Cup Series championships, 738 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, 23 Xfinity Series championships, 336 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series wins and 14 Truck Series championships.
It has truly been a total team effort for everyone involved in getting the podcast to 600 episodes.
“I want to sincerely thank the fans for coming back each and every week to listen to our brand of NASCAR entertainment.” Murphey said. “I would also like to thank United Stations Radio Networks for your continued support of all things The Final Lap, Paul Northrop for kicking this whole thing off with me as well as all of the drivers and their PR for granting us access for interviews, NASCAR for treating us so well over the years, and of course Toby Christie who works tirelessly on this show, website and social media and has exploded into a wildly popular journalist in his own right at his website, TobyChristie.com. Thank you all!”
Episode No. 600 of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast will be available Thursday on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts and just about every other major podcasting platform.
How much has the world changed since the first episode of The Final Lap Weekly dropped?
Here are some reference points in popular culture in February, 2008:
- The President of the United States was George W. Bush
- Fool’s Gold with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson was No. 1 movie in the Box Office
- Jimmie Johnson was a two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion
- The Song “Low” by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts
- Gas was an average of $3.27 per gallon in the United States
- The Office would begin it’s fourth of nine seasons on TV a month after TFLW made its debut