Humans > Legend

You can probably beat ‘Jeopardy!’ sensation James Holzhauer

If the questions were all about cars and motoring, that is

On April 17, this man set a new record for the highest single-game winnings. Beat that. SCREENSHOT FROM JEOPARDY!

Game shows are a thing in America, and among them Jeopardy! is the most popular. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a trivia quiz in which you battle two opponents. A betting component adds excitement to the game, and the player with the largest haul at the end wins.

We discuss Jeopardy! because the show is currently hot again—thanks to a contestant named James Holzhauer. A professional sports gambler, Holzhauer has taken the game show by storm, winning 22 consecutive games so far as of this writing and setting a new record for the biggest single-game prize total of $131,127 (April 17). In all, he has pocketed a cumulative $1,691,008. He is so good that people now expect him to break the records for highest regular-season winnings ($2,520,700, by Ken Jennings) and consecutive games won (74, also by Jennings).

James Holzhauer is this dominant. Poor rivals. SCREENSHOT FROM JEOPARDY!

But Holzhauer is far from perfect. Of course he has answered some questions incorrectly. And of the questions that have baffled the 34-year-old reigning champ, three fall under our favorite subject: motoring. Yep, it seems Mr. Holzhauer routinely gets stumped when the question involves cars. Here, so far, are the automobile-related questions he has failed to give the right answers to.

1. Modern auto safety took a big step in 1966 as LBJ [Lyndon B. Johnson] signed bills mandating seatbelts and rupture-resistant these. (Answer: fuel tanks)

2. Introduced in the 1980s, this Ferrari model has a name that means “red head.” (Answer: Testarossa)

3. This manifold supplies fuel and air to your car’s cylinders. (Answer: intake manifold)

These questions would be so easy even for the casual car fan that you’re probably thinking: “Mmm…I can beat this guy.”

Er, no, you can’t. For one, Holzhauer has a response accuracy rate of 97%. For another, to win a single game (and not just one round), you will have to be very knowledgeable about a wide variety of subjects, not just cars. Unless they ask 10 straight motoring-centric questions—or unless your name is Bong Barrameda—your chances against Holzhauer are pretty slim. Go ask those who’ve tried.

Still, it’s always a thrill to be able to give the correct answer on Jeopardy! when the best player cannot. Too bad you don’t earn money for it.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist for 26 years. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.