LAS VEGAS (AP) — Standing 7-feet-2, there is no chance Dikembe Mutombo could squeeze into a stock car. It didn't stop the NBA Hall of Famer from becoming one of the most enthusiastic fans at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday.

The affable Congolese shot-blocking great was in town to unveil a Mobil 1 commercial he shot with NASCAR Cup driver Kevin Harvick. And the more he learns about driving and pit stops, the stronger Mutombo's signature finger wag is to critics who say NASCAR drivers aren't athletes.

"I believe you have to be physically fit and mentally fit for you to sit inside there and loop around for 300 times, 200 times," Mutombo said. "You wonder, what's going through their mind? How do they process things? When do I have to speed? When do I have to slow down?"

Mutombo entered with some racing knowledge. He said his brother-in-law went to school near the site of the Daytona 500 and had been to the track a few times on non-race days.

But Friday's Cup practice was his first full NASCAR experience. And Mutombo wanted one key question answered as he learned about lengthy races.

"When do they go to the bathroom?" he said.

The 50-year-old Mutombo, who ranks second behind Hakeem Olajuwon in NBA history with 3,289 blocks, also signed basketballs at a sponsor event with Harvick at a Las Vegas Strip casino Thursday night. He was asked if he had challenged the 5-10 Harvick to some one-on-one.

"You now what, it's just better for him to sign the ball. That's as close as he's going to get to the basket," Mutombo said. "Because if he tried to let one go, he's just going to get the finger. No, no, no, not today."

Harvick, though, had a quick reply to his new friend.

"That's also as close as he'll get to driving a car," Harvick said. "We'll stick to what we do best."


More AP auto racing coverage: