The hard-partying NASCAR driver everyone's talking about

NASCAR driver Brian Vickers abandoned his 2010 season after suffering a pulmonary embolism. Now he's back with an interview in Maxim sure to shake the sport's stodgy fans. He drinks, he hits on chicks, he calls Jeff Gordon no fun.

In a rare moment of honesty from the usually tightly-controlled NASCAR universe, Vickers talks about going out drinking near his SoHo bachelor pad and tries to get women to sleep with him. This is a standard part of racing (well, not the SoHo part), but something you rarely see written up, which makes reporter Mike Guy's first-hand account noteworthy.

I join him on one of those nights, in a bar on Houston Street. Vickers is drinking like an elite athlete-draining a succession of vodkas, waiting for the bar's owner, a dissolute pop singer named Gavin DeGraw. Vickers makes a phone call to Jeff Gordon, hectoring him for not coming out to get trashed.

"Fuckin' Gordon," Vickers says. "He used to be a lot of fun."

[...]

The night is ending-or nearly. BV's crew wanders thirstily into the Hiro Ballroom. To a female companion, Vickers wonders aloud who the hottest chick in the room is, and they agree on a willowy blonde looking bored on the dance floor with a banker type.

"I'm going to go give her a ride," Vickers says. "Hell, what do I have to lose?"

By NASCAR's public standards, that makes him Charlie Sheen. Perfect timing, then, right before the Daytona 500.

Photo: Getty Images