Exclusive: Tim Wiyninger and Daniel "Danny" Merkey talk 'The Amazing Race' (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/05/2013
The Amazing Race eliminated Tim Wiyninger and Daniel "Danny" Merkey during Sunday night's sixth broadcast of the CBS reality competition's 23rd season.
The "Best Friends" became the fifth team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's sixth Pit Stop at The Gloriette, the centerpiece of the Schonbrunn Palace's garden, in last place.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Tim and Danny talked about their The Amazing Race experience. Below is the concluding portion of their interview. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: Rowan Joseph and Shane Partlow told me earlier in the season they really disliked Leo Temory and Jamal Zadran because they stole money and lied to people's faces and what not. However, when I spoke with Brandon Squyres and Adam Switzer, they said the guys didn't really do anything wrong because they were just running the Race and playing to win -- not to make friends. So how did you view Leo and Jamal's strategy and behavior?
Tim Wiyninger: I think, I don't know, I think Leo and Jamal, they ran their race. And I think it was a fair race, you know? There's this saying, nothing that they can't do about what they did. And I know, like, I saw little kids offer them money for them to take on the Race and Leo and Jamal denied it.
I think they're personally good guys. I think they do some of the things they do just to get some better camera time, I'm not quite sure, but I don't know. It's fair game, you know?
Reality TV World: Rowan had also called Marie "Reebs" Mazzocchi the "devil" during one of the previous episodes. She's apparently rubbed most of the teams the wrong way, so what did you guys think of her while you were racing? And did you ever consider making a play for their extra Express Pass or no?
Daniel "Danny" Merkey: I enjoyed Marie, like me and Tim talked to her and [Timothy Sweeney] quite a bit during the Race. I mean, we weren't really necessarily -- I mean, we definitely could've used the Express Pass, especially on that singing challenge -- we would've used it in about a second -- but we just happened to be with them on the bus in Chile.
So I don't know, we were able to spend some time with them, and out of all the teams, I mean, we got along with them just as well as we did [Jason Case and Amy Diaz] or the beards [Brandon and Adam]. I mean, we really didn't mind them.
Tim Wiyninger: We kind of understood.
Daniel "Danny" Merkey: Yeah.
Tim Wiyninger: If you can get past the foreign, she's a sweetheart. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: What are your thoughts on how Marie and Timothy stole Jason and Amy's cab since the couple's bags were placed on the ground by the driver? Do you see a move like that as being Race-acceptable or just a low blow? And what would you have done if you were in Marie and Timothy's shoes at the moment they stole the cab?
Tim Wiyninger: I think it was fair because the bags were out of the cab. And everybody says we're the nice team, so they don't think we would take the cab, but if we were in that exact same situation and the cab was open to anybody at that time and the bags weren't in the cab [we'd do the same], so I think that was a smart move on their part.
And Marie, she's not scared of any repercussions from other teams. She doesn't give a crap what anybody else thinks, so it just played even better for her. So I probably would've done the same thing. I probably would've felt bad about it, but it's fair game, you know? Do what you can do to win that million dollars.
Reality TV World: If you two were in Jason and Amy's position at the Fast Forward task in that they could wait for the wind to die down to bungee jump at least 10 minutes or longer or just skip it entirely and head back to the Detour task, what would you have done?
Daniel "Danny" Merkey: Oh, that's tough to say! I would've wanted to leave. I would've probably been more on Jay's [side] of the stance, you know, you're there -- especially at that point in the Race, knowing that you're not beat yet even though you went out of the way, but I don't know.
It would've been hard to leave at the same time knowing that at any second you could just jump up there, do it and not have to worry about anything. But I think I would've left.
Tim Wiyninger: Yeah, it was really windy. We're from Oklahoma, you know, this is a windy state, and it was so much windier there than it was here. Wind doesn't just die down randomly, you know, especially the higher up you are, the windier it gets. So I think they'd still be standing up there if they decided to stick with it.
Reality TV World: Do you think the teams have underestimated Allison "Ally" Mello and Ashley Covert and Nicole "Nicky" Getz and Kim DeJesus? Brandon and Adam seemed to suggest it was all luck involved for those two teams to have made it this far, but Chester Pitts II and Ephraim Salaam said the girls were definitely underestimated. Since there's only one all-male team left, what do you think?
Tim Wiyninger: I agree with Chester and E. I think they're underestimated. Nicky and Kim, whenever they were in the Santiago airport or Santiago going to Portugal, they made kind of a smart move and that was all them thinking about how to get on the waiting list. That's not just luck, that's their brains right there.
I think they're running it pretty well from what we first expected of them. We figured we would get past both of those teams in the Race, and look where we are now.
Daniel "Danny" Merkey: (Laughs)
Tim Wiyninger: Ally and Ashley, they're going pretty good too. They teamed up with Leo and Jamal, the all-male team, and they're helping Ally and Ashley, so that's smart on their part.
Reality TV World: I was going to ask you about that. The fact Ally and Ashley have made it this far, how much of their success would you attribute to Leo and Jamal's help and sort of guidance?
Daniel "Danny" Merkey: Personally, I think that set Ally and Ashley back just from the point of view of they could've been, I don't know. By teaming up with the Afghanimals, they kind of put themselves out there because of the way that the Afghanimals ran the Race and, you know, their tactics and antics. So immediately, they just kind of got grouped in with them, you know?
So I feel like they would've been better off kind of doing their own thing, because I feel like they had a smaller target than the Afghanimals, but they still kind of put a target on their back as far as running the Race with them and their alliance.
Reality TV World: Looking back on the way you two ran the Race, do either of you have any regrets? Do you wish you had done anything differently to better your chances of winning the whole thing?
Tim Wiyninger: I probably could've gotten us some music lessons before coming on the Race. That would've been very beneficial.
Daniel "Danny" Merkey: (Laughs) Well I think we ran the Race the best that we could, you know? I know we were in the last half of the group in each leg, but if you think about it, we're on the second plane in LA leaving but we're from a small town and a lot of the teams are from California, so of course we're most likely getting on that second plane. And we got second out of fourth on that and the same thing with the bus ride on that second leg.
It just took us forever to get to the Detour before we could get on the bus, and we actually finished first out of five teams on that one. So I think if we would've just been on the first plane and on the first bus, we would've placed higher in those legs. And so, I think we did pretty well. We knocked out the challenges, it was just getting to them that was our problem.
Reality TV World: You were shown saying how much it would mean to you to win the money because you really needed it. What would you have spent the million dollars on if you ended up winning it? Did you have any plans?
Tim Wiyninger: I would've paid off a lot of debt. We have a lot of debt and that's what I would've done, paid off all my debt and be debt free and save up. I'd still be working the same job probably. Maybe I would cut my 80-hour work week to a 40-hour work week, but we'll see.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on The Amazing Race and was it your first time applying for the show?
Daniel "Danny" Merkey: Yeah, we were cast, it was our first time applying. We work 80 hours a week so we're always trying to think of get-rich-quick schemes, (laughs) and we were like, "Man, we should go on a game show!" Well me and Tim have known each other for since we were little kids and we're super competitive people. So we thought that would be cool.
And so we sent in like a 15-second clip. We filled out the application online, sent in the clip, and then I kind of just forgot about it. And then a couple of months later, they called us. (Laughs) So it was kind of just dumb luck I guess! I mean, I don't know if we were just what they were looking for at the time or what!
Above is the concluding portion of Tim and Danny's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Click here to read the first half.