Art and J.J. lost ‘Race’ by not capitalizing on other team’s mistake
Even though Art Velez and J.J. Carrell would’ve loved to have won a million dollars, they say their competitors Rachel and Dave Brown deserved to win “The Amazing Race.”
“They made a really huge mistake and they overcame it and Art and I just didn’t capitalize on it,” J.J. tells CTV.ca, over the phone.
Art and J.J. were in the lead during the final leg in Honolulu, Hawaii, when competitors Rachel and Dave arrived at the final Pit Stop first only to find out they had missed a Roadblock challenge and had to go back and re-trace their steps.
But the border patrol agents, who were struggling at the challenge that involved sledding down a hill on a narrow wooden sled, were not aware of their prime position until Rachel and Dave showed up and said they had already been at the Pit Stop.
“My first reaction was, ‘Wow, we’re in first and we can win this and then the realization set in that man, we’ve been first for a long time and we’ve just squandered that lead,” says J.J.
Art says the sledding challenge was extremely difficult for him.
“There were two pieces of wood that were about eight inches apart and to just have a big dude on there trying to stay balanced on there it was just hard. It’s not something I’m used to,” says Art.
He says he must’ve tried it nearly 30 times before Dave and Rachel showed up, at which time he started to panic.
“When they showed up I was like, ‘Uh-oh.’ It was one of those ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. We were actually winning this thing.’”
Rachel and Dave finished the challenge in record time and managed to get back to the Pit Stop before Art and J.J. could check in and took home the million dollars.
But Art and J.J. say they wouldn’t have done anything differently.
“It just wasn’t our day. We just couldn’t pull it off,” says J.J.
Another thing the guys don’t regret is calling out competitors Jamie and Nary, who were really federal agents, but passed themselves off as teachers so they wouldn’t be seen as a threat.
After the girls said something that made the guys suspicious during an earlier leg, Art and J.J., who are trained to tell detect lies, confronted them but the girls denied it, causing a rift between the two teams.
“I don’t know really how . . . two guys that uncover a lie are now the bad guys and the people that lied are poor, innocent victims,” says J.J.
“We personally we didn’t really care whether they were (officers) but in our profession, and the things that we do, we deal with people that lie to us all the time. That’s our job,” adds Art.
The guys say their police training definitely came in handy throughout the whole “Race.”
“I think being border patrol agents, we’re conditioned to just be given minimal tools and resources and told, ‘Hey go do this’ and that’s kind of how the ‘Race’ is – Here’s a clue, I’m not giving you any more and go figure it out. We’re used to being down and dirty so we just have that mindset of hey this is what we’ve got to do, let’s just go grind it out and do it,” says J.J.
Art and J.J., who had only been working together for about six months before applying to be on the “Race,” say the experience has definitely turned them into lifelong friends.
“When you’re in something that is several years of life compressed into a month period, I think on the back end of the ‘Race’ we became very best friends and (like) brothers now,” says J.J. “We have a bond that transcends time because of what we’ve went through and we’ll always be connected in that way, no matter where we go or what we do.”
They add that the connection came in handy after they returned to work but before they were allowed to tell anyone where they finished on “The Amazing Race.”
“There would be days where we’d just drive into work, (Art) would see me, I’d say, ‘Hey what’s up?’ and then kind of just look into space and then we’d kind of look at each other and know exactly what the other person is thinking: how did we not win ‘The Amazing Race?’” says J.J. with a laugh.
“And then once that’s over with, we could then talk about what’s going on at work but that was the premier thing on our minds so we’re glad it’s finally over so we can step back from it a little bit.”
About Sheri Block
Sheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!