The "Friends" team became the fifth team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's sixth Pit Stop at Esplanade Estakada in Baku, Azerbaijan in last place due to attempting to complete a Fast Forward task which they had failed to finish before another team -- putting them in last place and leaving them little opportunity to ever catch up and surpass their fellow Racers.
On Monday, Joey and Danny talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race experience -- including how close they really were to Vanessa Macias and Ralph Kelley heading to the Pit Stop, what they regretted the most from their time on the show, how long it took them to complete the Roadblock and Detour tasks, what played a major role in their elimination that viewers didn't get to see, and why they believed they had to prove themselves to friends and home viewers going into the competition.
Reality TV World: How far behind Vanessa and Ralph do you think you guys finally arrived at the Pit Stop? Because the show made it look like the race between you two was pretty close there at the end.
Danny Horal: We honestly, we don't even know. When we got to the "Apples," we were so adrenaline rushed and kind of pissed off about the hay thing that we weren't looking around to see where everybody else was. We were just trying to find that apple and get out of there as fast as possible, but we honestly don't even know where they went.
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla: When you see other teams at a Detour task or whatever, you don't know whether you're two hours behind or 20 minutes behind. Just because you see another team, you might not be neck and neck. But yeah, we didn't even see anybody, so we didn't even know there was a team that was right ahead of us. It could have been anybody honestly.
Reality TV World: What made you guys choose to take on the Fast Forward task? Did you do it simply because you knew you had a jump on most of the other teams and thought you'd have a chance at remaining in the Race if you lost the task or were you just confident you could beat whoever you ended up going up against?
Danny Horal: First off, we didn't even know what the task was when we read the clue. The clue just said it had something to do with agriculture, so we had no clue if it was physical or mental -- we had no idea. So we just decided going into that leg of the Race, we wanted to come in first.
We came in tenth, eighth, third, second, and now, we wanted to come in first and really get a lead over here and try to win this whole entire race. So I guess once we ripped open the envelope and we saw the Fast Forward, we didn't even read the Detour. We just went right for the Fast Forward.
Reality TV World: You were the second ones to come out of the temple and retrieve the clue for the Fast Forward task, but when did you guys actually learn that Rachel Brown and Dave Brown Jr. decided to also go for the Fast Forward task? Did you first realize that when you noticed them in the cab in front of you? And at that point, did you ever consider changing your minds or were you still set on trying to finish in first place?
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla: To be quite honest, I think that me and Danny were the first people out of the temple. I don't know how it panned out, but we hopped in our cab and obviously decided to do the Fast Forward.
Next thing we know, we're driving -- and maybe we were driving slower or the guy didn't know where he was going -- but the next thing you know, we see one of those cabs drive right past us and it was Dave and Rachel and they get ahead of us. And then obviously, now we're second going to the Fast Forward. So we told our cab to just follow them.
It seemed like once we got to the Fast Forward, they hopped out before us and were there maybe a minute before us -- or 45 seconds. They started stacking the hay and then me and Danny had to take the truck in the back and start stacking the hay. But it seemed like they got a jump start on us, but we were pretty positive that we could beat them.
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[It was] definitely a male-male team compared to a female and a male, so we're like, "Okay, when we do this, go very fast, go hard." And then it seemed like they just finished quicker and we were baffled, like there's no way they're done! It was kind of like, she said, "We're done!" And then we started going like, "No way." But they beat us fair and square.
Reality TV World: Where do you think you went wrong during that hay-stacking Fast Forward task? Do you think you just had a bad strategy and Rachel and Dave's method was more efficient, or do you think you guys just weren't moving fast enough or something?
Danny Horal: We were a couple of two guys from New York. I've never stacked hay in my life, so this was kind of completely new. Looking back on it after watching it, yeah, Joey should have tossed them off the truck ontop of each other maybe, but in the heat of the moment, you're not really thinking about it.
You're just working as hard as you can, but like Joey said, we were the first ones out of that temple. So, it really came down to the cab. If our cab -- it came down to one minute. All I had to do was pick up one piece, one stack of hay, and lift it up. And then we would've been done. So, that one minute was crucial.
Reality TV World: How long do you think you guys were going at the hay-stacking Fast Forward task and how long would you say it took Rachel and Dave to complete it?
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla: I would say honestly, it took an hour, maybe 45 minutes -- probably like an hour to finish that. And we finished right after them. Actually, we didn't even finish. They said they were done and we said, "You know what? We have to leave and we have to go back and do the Detour."
But going back to what you asked Danny or what Danny was replying to, definitely their method of throwing the stacks of hay ontop of each other was more efficient. I was just taking them and throwing them down on the ground all over and Danny was picking them up and stacking them.
It seemed like Dave was throwing it right ontop of the stack and Rachel was just kind of putting them into place. So if we could go back, we would do it their way. But then again, if we could go back, I wouldn't have even done the Fast Forward because it kicked us out of the Race.
We were definitely doing well but because we had a bad cab, we were kind of separated from the pack and the other teams. It seemed like they were together and doing the tasks together and their cabs were communicating with each other. We were by ourselves and our cab really had no clue or no idea where he was going.
Reality TV World: The show made it look like Vanessa and Ralph had already left the "Apples" Detour task before you guys got there. Was that actually the case and do you have any idea how long before you got there they had left?
Danny Horal: When we got to the "Apples," we didn't even -- we were the only team there doing the "Apples." So we had no clue where any of the other teams were. We were pretty much just running our own race and hoping to God that somebody has a penalty or something. We had no clue where any of the other Racers were.
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla: We were actually crossing our fingers that maybe it would be a non-elimination, because one of the things when you're racing, if we see other teams, at least you know that if you're last, you might not be last and there are some teams around you could beat. If you're by yourself and you don't know if you're two hours behind or 10 minutes behind, it's kind of nerve-wracking.
So, we were just doing everything as fast as we could and once we got to the Pit Stop, we were hoping in our minds that it was a non-elimination and it wasn't. There was nothing we could do, but definitely, we wouldn't do the Fast Forward ever again. That's for sure.
Reality TV World: So did you really finish the "Apples" task as quickly as it seemed? How long did it actually take you guys to complete it?
Danny Horal: We knew that apple was going to be at the bottom. There's no way in hell they were going to put it ontop, but we knew that we were probably one of the last teams. So we chose the apples because number one, we didn't want to rub down a man and number two, we were hoping to God that we could just reach in and grab the right apple and get lucky and maybe pull out a comeback.
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla: It probably took about an hour to do that as well. We don't know how long it took the other teams, but it really seemed like -- and even in watching it -- that we did do it pretty quick, but it wasn't quick enough to catch up to the other teams.
Reality TV World: I know you just mentioned that you thought the flagged apple was going to be towards the bottom of the car, but how did you guys come to the conclusion that you should begin looking for the apples in the middle of the car? Did you just think that's probably where they'd hide it?
Danny Horal: We were the only team there, so we had no clue where the other teams were searching. So we just jumped right in and figured they'd put it right in the middle of the car in case there were two teams there going at it at the same time, so.
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla: I think I actually started in the trunk and it just seemed like nothing was in there. I was moving everything to the side, putting apples in cartons, and then we both just went from each side of the windows and just looked in there and then we found it. But it was definitely, you know, very tedious.
Because at one point, we were trying to take out every single apple and put it into cartons, and then we were just trying to move everything to the side just to kind of dig down deep, and then the apples would roll back down and we'd have to move them over.
So it was definitely, you know, a tedious thing. And we felt like we might have been in last place. That's always something that's on your mind, so we never wanted to give up and just hoped to speed through everything and make it to the Pit Stop and beat another team.
Reality TV World: I know you said you got through that "Apples" Detour task pretty quick, but now that you've seen the episode and caught a glimpse of what the "Oil" Detour task was like, looking back, do you regret not starting off with the oil task because it might have been even quicker for you guys than the "Apples" one, or do you think you ultimately made the right decision in choosing "Apples?"
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla: I think Danny might have loved to rub down the man in the oil, but I was fine with the opposite.
Reality TV World: Joey, we didn't see much of you completing the craft simulator task. How did that go and did you struggle with it at all like J.J. Carrell and Vanessa did? J.J. swallowed water because he couldn't break the window at first and Vanessa was basically scared of being underwater in that tight space. Did you think it was difficult or no?
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla: When me and Danny saw that, I said, "I'll do it." I mean, I grew up on a beach. I used to surf and was always in the water. I did some lifeguarding things, and so I was definitely comfortable with the water task. When we used to have to do that stuff, we used to have to stay under the water for a certain amount of time and hold your breath.
So I was like, "You know what? I'll do this one." The only thing was it was a little nerve-wracking when you're strapped in and you have the water rushing in, so you kind of get nervous. But if you just stay calm, it was actually really, really easy to do. I kind of expected to do it pretty quick, which we did, so that was simple.
Reality TV World: So what was going through your minds while you guys were attempting to complete that Roadblock task? Were you freaking out thinking you were in last place and may not recover or were you optimistic you could get it done quickly, move on and avoid coming in last place?
Danny Horal: I was kind of down in the dumps because prior to that, our cab driver -- now that we couldn't successfully complete the Fast Forward -- now our cab driver, opposed to the other cab drivers, is working all by himself whereas the other cab drivers had all the teams together, so they were working together to find each location.
Our cab driver was working by himself, so we had a tough time finding the location of where that Roadblock was, so that kind of put us down in the dumps and it took us a very long time to get over to that.
Reality TV World: You were obviously hoping it would be a non-elimination leg on your way to that Pit Stop, but what did you think your chances actually were of that happening? Did you think they were good or no, considering the Racers had just experienced that two legs prior?
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla: I mean, you honestly never know what's going to happen. We were kind of hoping that maybe it'd be a non-elimination, but we knew that it was over. We felt like honestly when we didn't get that Fast Forward, it was like game over in our minds.
But we didn't want to give up just in case. You never know. There could be a twist or something could happen or, like Danny said, maybe a team gets penalized for something. So, we were kind of down after we lost the Fast Forward, but we were just hoping that something good could happen.
We just finished everything and once we got to the Pit Stop and Phil said, "You guys are the last team and you are eliminated," we basically just looked at each other and said, "We gave it a good run and we tried our best, and hopefully we showed everybody that there's another side to the whole Jersey Shore stereotype."
It's not all about partying and drinking and being cocky and stuck-up. It's about having fun, having a good time and being silly -- laughing and traveling the world and just enjoying everything.
Reality TV World: Were you guys aware at all of the bad relations that existed between Rachel Reilly and Brendon Villegas and Vanessa and Ralph? During a previous leg, it seemed like Rachel and Brendon really disliked Vanessa and it got to the point where they couldn't even work in the same space. Did you notice any of that happening while you were racing?
Danny Horal: We kind of saw it going on, but it was kind of funny just to sit back and watch actually. (Laughs) Because the Race kind of gets in between stuff. You kind of get some down time. So me and Joey, the thing about us, is we were happy go-getting guys, so we got along with each team. A lot of teams didn't get along with Rachel and Brendon. We actually got along with them.
But we also got along with Ralph and Vanessa too, so we played the field good I think. But it was definitely interesting to watch other teams fight, because we're not all about that. We didn't want to get in that kind of drama and stuff, because that's not who we are. We didn't want to play anything up for the cameras or for the show. We were actually just running the Race to win a million dollars and that's it.
Reality TV World: Vanessa and Ralph, Brendon and Rachel R., and Dave and Rachel B. have been shown bickering and arguing throughout the past few legs of the Race. What were your thoughts on these couples and do you think they all will last based on what you've seen? Why do you think they struggled at times to get along and work together?
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla: I think honestly, I don't know how they are outside of the Race or outside of the competition, I mean, obviously they're together for a reason, but it seems like when they're thrown into that type of environment where they have to get certain things done and it's a race and you're against other teams for a million dollars, it seems like it just puts 10-times, 20-times more pressure on.
It was kind of funny, like Danny said, to sit back and watch and see a different dynamic of the couples and how they fight. I know me and Danny, we were doing the same thing in running the Race for a million dollars -- obviously we're not a couple -- but it just seemed like they were fighting a lot.
I guess it was kind of funny to see them fight, but I mean, it definitely doesn't help them out to win a million dollars. Because if you don't get along with your partner and you don't see eye-to-eye on things, you won't go too far in the Race.
Reality TV World: Based upon last night's episode, it looks like Nary Ebeid and Jamie Graetz have kept their cover story that they're actually teachers and not federal agents. What was your reaction when you found out what their real occupations were and do you think their story actually did them any good?
Danny Horal: We had no clue that they weren't teachers. We thought that the whole way, but to be honest, I don't think it even would've made a difference to us. We treated everyone equally.
Reality TV World: So do you think it would have made a difference had you known they were federal agents sooner? Would you have been more intimidated by them?
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla: Not really. Basically whatever the team said to us -- whether they were teachers or friends or personal trainers, whatever, you know -- it really didn't matter. We were just going by who comes in first place, who comes in second.
They could be pro-athletes coming in eighth, seventh, sixth place. It doesn't really matter. It just depends on who's kind of the frontrunner, and so far, they're Art and J.J. and Dave and Rachel. He's like the army guy and then the border patrol guys. So I mean, it doesn't really depend on the profession. It just depends on how well they run the Race and where they place.
Reality TV World: So Joey, how did you get the nickname "Fitness?" And why did it stick with you?
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla: (Laughs) I've honestly had that name "Joey Fitness" for years, maybe since like 2004. It's a couple reasons why. I used to be a fitness model, so for five years, that was my job. So, Fitness model Joey Fitness. I was always in good shape and I used to do personal training as well, so with kind of the whole fitness thing, I was like "Joey the Fitness guy." It just turned into that [nickname].
But my actual friends, they won't call me up and say, "Hey, Joey Fitness, what are you doing?" But they call me Joey. Everybody else -- I'm known on the internet and Twitter and back in the day with Myspace, everybody's like, "Joey Fitness. Joey Fitness." That name just stuck.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on The Amazing Race? Was it your first time applying for the show and would you ever consider doing an all-stars edition if you were given the opportunity?
Danny Horal: It was actually funny. A casting agent saw a picture of us and I guess the whole Jersey Shore thing is kind of sticking out and I guess we fit the bill kind of. So I guess that kind of had a part to play in why we got chosen to do the show. I hope we kind of put a good perception on the East Coast people other than what the Jersey Shore kids are doing.
They kind of put a negative connotation on how kids from the East Coast and New York are really like. There's more than just partying and drinking and doing all the stuff that they do. We were able to travel the world, and I don't know if those kids could. So, I think we did it the right way.
I think the way we were portrayed on the show was as two good guys, so I hope the world saw that. And if there's an all-stars edition, yeah, we definitely want to be brought back. We discussed this and we'd be guaranteed to win if we get brought back on all-stars.
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla: Going back to how we were cast, we had many friends on Facebook and Myspace and we're probably friends with people that always have castings and this and that, so we saw the casting for The Amazing Race, and I guess they were looking for two Jersey Shore-stereotype guys and I guess we fit the bill.
Going back to whether we'd do all-stars, two things I need to say. If we get brought back to The Amazing Race, number one, 100% percent Top 3, we're guaranteed -- Top 3 -- we're guaranteed a win. But if there ever is a Fast Forward involved, we're ripping it up. We're not doing it. We're anti-Fast Forward.
We'll let another team do a Fast Forward, but we're definitely not doing a Fast Forward again because we see what it did to us this time and it knocked us out.