Exclusive: Andrew Lappitt and Dan Honig talk 'The Amazing Race'
By John Bracchitta, 12/10/2008
"Fraternity Brothers" Andrew Lappitt and Dan Honig want everyone to know that no team makes it to The Amazing Race's finale by accident.
Despite committing a litany of mistakes during The Amazing Race 13's eleven legs, the Arizona State frat boys -- Andrew, a 22-year-old student from Tucson, AZ, and Dan, a 23-year-old hotel manager trainee from Wilmington, DE -- were also able to compensate for their errors and surprise many and finish the race in third place behind "Separated Couple" Ken and Tina Greene and "Brother and Sister" Nick and Starr Spangler.
On Monday, Andrew and Dan spoke to Reality TV World about why they disagreed with the "bumbling" and "stumbling" reputation they seemed to develop during the race, and how much, what had significantly disappointed them about the show's finale broadcast, and why they feel the taxis in Portland, Oregon may be the worst on earth.
Reality TV World: They didn't show much of you guys in the second half of last night's episode. Did you guys actually end up completing the entire final leg or did the producers just send you guys directly to the finish line after Ken and Tina finished in second place?
Dan: We completed everything. We're just as baffled as you are as to why they didn't show it [and] we're pretty disappointed that we completed everything just fine, no problems. I guess because Ken and Tina and Nick and Starr were pretty close they wanted to focus on them.
It's strange because in every other episode teams that have been hours behind have been shown to look like they're just behind. We were about an hour behind, [so] yeah we were significantly behind, but not like ridiculously far behind. Why they didn't show us completing the tasks is a bit baffling.
I'm a little disappointed in that, but we did complete everything.
Andrew: And I'll say, to be honest, most people wanted to see us come in first last night, and I just think that's natural for our audience to think that because we were not a promising team most of this race. We only ran one really good leg, and that was last week. Fifteen minutes into [Sunday's] show, and it already looked like it was over [and] there's no chance. So I don't understand why (pauses) It's like we weren't even racing with them, it's like we were in our own little world! I don't know why they would show that.
I think people would've want[ed] to see us [as] at least competitive, and at least to be trying our best, at least working hard and at least competing with them. So we're a little confused by that, but we don't know as much as they...
Dan: (Interrupting) Yeah, they have their reasons and we respect it, but it was disappointing on our end obviously. So, what're you gonna do?
Reality TV World: About how far behind Ken and Tina did you guys end up arriving at the finish line?
Dan: Andrew and I probably arrived around an hour after them. We were significantly far behind and we knew our fate was pretty much sealed. That leg just seemed like we were running in slow motion.
Reality TV World: How did you fare in that memory board challenge? Like I said, they didn't show it on TV.
Andrew: Yeah! That was one thing we wish they showed because we did the memory board pretty well. We were running back and forth, just like you saw Nick and Starr and Ken and Tina doing it.
Dan: Yeah, and I had a strategy that I wish they showed. You look through the pictures, and after we completed a leg [on the board] I would leave the door [on the clue box] open so we didn't have to go back to the same box again to signify "Oh, well we already did that leg on the board," if that makes any sense. We didn't have to keep going to the same box and looking again.
Andrew: It would take several minutes of opening boxes just to find one piece.
Reality TV World: Over the course of the last leg, was there ever a time when you thought that you could get back into the running, or was your taxi driver really that bad?
Andrew: Well, I'll say this... I don't know if I can say this. Someone wave a red flag... After we got off the zip line (pauses, talks to someone off mic) I mean someone came up to us that works for [The Amazing Race] and said "Listen guys, it's not over guys. This is closer than you think."
So, you know, something tragic could've happened to the other teams so we just kept going. We didn't give up and we just kept going, and I think we did pretty good the rest of the time.
Reality TV World: A lot of the teams we spoke with have said how surprised they were when they realized how important having good cab drivers and good luck was throughout the competition. I take it you both would probably agree with that?
Dan: Yeah absolutely! Luck is part of the game.
Reality TV World:: So, going off of that, do you feel that [bad luck] contributed to you falling behind a lot of the times.
Andrew: There were two things. (pauses) We were not aggressive enough in getting off the flights. Ken and Tina, I think, got in business class of the Lufthansa flight, and Nick and Starr were somewhat sitting ahead of us. There was a bus that went from the gate to the terminal where the taxis and buses come -- you know the concourse -- and there's a bus that takes you there. [So] we get on the bus, and the lady driving the bus, or someone on the bus, says "Oh, I already saw the other teams, they're already ahead. And we were just like "Well, crap. Alright, I guess we gotta catch up."
Then we get into a taxi, and our taxi cab driver was a moron. He didn't know where anything was. (laughs)
Dan: Yeah, it's funny. You think Portland, Oregon -- it's one of the smaller major cities in this country. I'd consider it kind of Americana. And I never thought in a million years that a bad cab driver would happen... We had our worst cab driver experience in Portland, Oregon! We went to Kazakhstan and India and Russia, and the guys who knew the least where in the least expected places.
It was unfortunate, but you know, that's the way it goes and it was our fault. I think the reason we got into that cab was because, like Andrew said, we just felt frustration of having these teams pass us. We wanted to get out of the airport and get on the road already.
It was tough. That wasn't something we could have afforded. I said to Andrew [that] we needed two things to happen to us in this leg of the race to win the $1 million.
[The first was] we needed to run a perfect leg. (Laughs) That was out the window in five minutes. And Ken and Tina and Nick and Starr needed to trip up. They didn't do that, they ran great legs.
So, both of those things needed to happen in order for us to win, and they didn't. So that's what happened, and that's the way it goes.
Reality TV World: How did it feel to make it to the Top 3 and finish in third despite all of the problems that you both seemed to encounter on a regular basis?
Andrew: That day was not the best day for us. As you could see it didn't make us look great at all. But I remember it was from the donut shop to the mansion, we were not happy with our performance and we knew we were third. We took a taxi to the mansion and we, all of the sudden, we realized it was over. We never got eliminated, not many teams can say that, but we never got the boot from the show. That's honorable, that's very honorable and the whole cab ride to the mansion we were so happy. We were saying "Oh, thank god this is over."
Dan: I wasn't happy. I think Andrew was more happy even though I enjoyed every second of it. Like I said, we were happy to get in the Final 3. We completed every Roadblock and Detour in the entire race. No other team can say that, so that was a feather in our cap.
I think Andrew and I ran a great race. I have no regrets about how things went. It's unfortunate that people kind of focus on our moniker as the "bumblers" and the "stumblers" and that we got so lucky. People don't understand, you can't do that and get so [far]. You make your own luck. Isn't the point of the race to not screw up as much as the other teams do? They did! And we didn't screw up as much as they did and we did great things.
People are so focused on our label as a team that they don't realize all of the great things we did! How about me beating everyone in the footrace to the clue box? Or me doing the Bolivia thing in two minutes?
It's unfortunate that people don't think about the whole body of work. They focus on what they want to focus on.
Reality TV World: Ok, well sorry to go down this road right after that, but towards the end of the race [there seemed to be] a few more mistakes made, by you and every [other team] actually, Was that just due to having a hard time concentrating due to fatigue or was it something else?
Dan: Anything specific you're referring to?
Reality TV World: Well just more in general it seemed like everyone had more trouble in the last few legs. Does fatigue set in as the race goes on, and does that play a factor?
Dan: I think the stress level goes up because you know that as teams get knocked out the quality of the competition increases. So you know that if you're making mistakes that all it takes is one to cost you because all the teams that aren't too good are off the show. The teams that haven't been making mistakes are still on it, so you know that one mistake could be the end of you. So yeah we still made mistakes towards the very end, but we didn't make as [many] big mistakes as those other people did.
I think the stress level goes up after each leg and, you know, we made it the whole way.
Andrew: And towards the last, I'd say the last four legs of the race, the race can bring out the worst in people once you're out there so long. Some people star to get wacky. Dan and I began to get a little wacky with each other, you could tell Starr was getting kinda wacky, Tina... You can just see it bring out the worst in people, but that's just [how it is], you spend so many days traveling so much in so little time. Your body isn't gonna react normally to anything that's going on around you in your environment. It's just natural.
Dan: When [Kelly Crabb] and [Christy Cook] got eliminated, to me that was the cutoff point, like "Okay, the lower level teams are gone, and the Top 5 teams... anybody can win."
You could've make a case that [Terence Gerchberg] and [Sarah Leshner] could've won, [Toni and Dallas Imbimbo]... You could make a case for any of the Top 5 teams. It could've gone any way. It was a high quality, a high grade of teams. The best team did win at the end, but I feel that Andrew and I ran a great race, probably could've won there's no question about that. I'm proud of our performance though, we did great.
Reality TV World: In the ninth leg where you were kept alive by the non-elimination leg. Were either of you guys aware that there was one non-elimination with only two legs of the race remaining, or where you scared that you guys could be going home?
Andrew: No, no, no, no, we knew. We were 99% sure...
Dan: (Interrupting) Well... eh. I was pretty sure, but you never know. I don't assume anything on [The Amazing Race], you never know. Every second counts in this race. You always gotta go as fast as you can the entire time, pedal to the metal.
They started before on [The Amazing Race] where they had the last non-elimination leg with three teams just to throw people off because everyone assumes that the non-elimination's with four teams left. That's what they've done in the past. So I felt pretty good about it, but by no means was I like "Well we can slack off" because we knew it was a non-elimination. If you slack off, then that puts you behind for the next leg. So, I try to never think of things in that fashion.
Andrew: You never know, we didn't know. But, like I said, I didn't say I was 100% sure, I should've said I was pretty damn sure. When we were so far behind it was rough, and the least you could do is at least have some fun and I think we did that day and there were some good memories that came out of it.
Reality TV World: Following up on that, were either of you optimistic that you would be able to overcome the additional Speed Bump you would have to [complete] and still make it into the Top 3?
Dan: It was tough because I'm a realistic guy, I don't try to be idealistic. Having the Speed Bump, being hours behind the other teams, and knowing the quality of teams in front of us, it seemed like a real long shot! Like I told you, we needed a miracle to win, and the miracle was not Dallas losing those passports because we got second on that leg. Thank God we didn't get third or else people would be saying for years to come "Oh, well they just made the Final 3 because Dallas made a huge screw up. We earned our second place finish. Ken and Tina were the ones that got bailed out by that.
So it was really tough. We had minimum money, we had the Speed Bump, we were hours behind. But we made our great comeback that day and we passed by Ken and Tina. That was probably our favorite moment of the race, just blowing by them on the way to the Pit Stop.
Reality TV World: How'd you guys end up on the show -- whose idea was it? Was this the first time you have applied for [the show] or had you done it before?
Andrew: I didn't even watch the show really. Dan got me into it. I gave it sort of a "Let's get it over with" attitude. He asked me to try out with him, he said I'd be the best candidate for the job, and I said "Yeah alright, whatever. Let's just do it."
Dan: Yeah, obviously when you send in a video for these types of things you don't have expectations of anything. We had never tried out before. It was just like a fun little project for me and Andrew to do one day, just to say we did it.
We filled out everything to the best of our abilities and then we forgot about it about a week later. The phone call really came out of the blue and, we made it the whole way. We were extremely fortunate to be on such a great program.
Andrew: We did it in the first place, made a three-minute video just so we could show our friends. We weren't even that serious, I think. I mean, maybe Dan was more than me at least because he's into the show. I was very ignorant towards the show until we tried out. Once we tried out I watched some episodes of Season 12, but that was my only other time [with the show] and that's all I did. I didn't interact with the show much and I didn't know that much about it.