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'The Bachelor' host: Emily Maynard's NASCAR date was intentional


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/26/2011 

The Bachelor's upcoming group date in which Brad Womack took bachelorette Emily Maynard to a NASCAR track was not a coincidence.

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The Bachelor host Chris Harrison has admitted the show intentionally scheduled the Las Vegas Motor Speedway group date to include Maynard, whose fiance, NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick, was tragically killed in a 2004 plane crash days before the bachelorette learned she was pregnant with his daughter.

"We have to force the issue because we have such a time constraint. It puts Brad on the spot, puts Emily on the spot, like you guys are either going to deal with this and go forward, or it's not going to happen and it's over," Harrison told tvguide.com.

Many viewers have expressed criticism of the date after seeing it teased at the conclusion of Monday night's The Bachelor broadcast. However, while Harrison said he understands their feelings, he is defending the show's decision to have Maynard -- whom the teaser showed being uncomfortable during the eight-on-one group date -- be one of the women which accompanied Womack on the outing, which will be shown on next Monday's episode.

"If you take it at face value, I get why people are angry, but people need to see the date and see how it plays out. This is another watershed, breakthrough moment and it's therapeutic for Brad and Emily," Harrison explained. "It's a very moving episode and obviously a moving date. It's definitely scary, but again if you play armchair psychologist, it's kind of a hurdle they need to get over."

Harrison also attempted to explain Womack's concerns about the 24-year-old children's hospital event planner and single mom from Charlotte, NC.

"He's intimidated by Emily a little bit and I get it: She's beautiful, she's sweet and now that Brad knows her story, he knows what he's dealing with," he said.

"There's that constant thing in the back of your head: If I'm not really serious about her, then I need to let her go. You don't want to take her through that and break her heart. I think he's constantly thinking about that with her."

(Photo credit ABC)


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