Actor Allusion: While introducing Season 9's final Roadblock, which involved finding and putting the flags of every country they visited in order, Phil was shown standing in front of the New Zealand flag in one shot (where he was born), and in between the flags for Canada and Antigua and Barbuda in another (two countries in which he lived).
In the Season 24 premiere, Brendon is shown singing along with the UCLA fight song during the opening task, as he is a grad student at UCLA.
Ascended Fanon: The mat at the beginning of the leg, where teams receive their first clues, has been referred to as the "Pit Start" for years by fans, but it wasn't official until the Phil used the term during Season 19. (Though racers had used it before that, such as T.K. in Season 12).
Season 5: 6th place Charla & Mirna were on cover over 3rd place Brandon & Nicole.
Season 9: 7th place Dave & Lori were on the cover over 3rd place Ray & Yolanda.
Season 10: 6th place Dave & Mary took the place of 2nd place Rob & Kim.
Season 11: Eric & Danielle, despite winning, are shunted off to the side of the All-Stars cover, the smallest of any of the teams, with Danielle coming this close to being hidden behind Oswald. Most likely this is due to them being disliked as winners in the series, while the other teams in the top four are all amongst the most popular teams from the All-Stars era.
Season 12: 5th place Kynt & Vyxsin were on the cover over 3rd place Nicolas & Donald, though this made sense, as T.K. & Rachel won the season, and Ronald & Christina, Nate & Jen, and Kynt & Vyxsin shared the spotlight role for the season.
Season 14: 6th place Mel & Mike made the cover over 4th place Kisha & Jen, which is one of the stranger cover decisions, as Kisha & Jen would come back and win Unfinished Business.
Season 15: 9th place fan favorites Zev & Justin made the cover over 2nd Place Sam & Dan.
Season 17: 6th place Gary & Mallory displaced 4th place Nick & Vicki on the cover, though this is understandable considering Nick's quitting and Gary & Mallory's popularity in Unfinished Business.
Season 18: Despite winning, Kisha & Jen do not get one of the center two spots, those going to the two teams the beat in the finale, Flight Time & Big Easy and Gary & Mallory.
Season 19: Winners Ernie & Cindy are relegated to the left side of the cover, with Andy & Tommy and 5th place Bill & Cathy, who are taking the spot of 2nd place finishers Jeremy & Sandy, in the center.
Deleted Scene: Several deleted scenes are put up on CBS.com following each episode. One of the more notable ones came from the All-Stars premiere, where the teams on the second flight out of Miami randomly ran into Season 4 winner Chip.
Development Gag: Kevin & Drew's Cameo in the first leg of Family Edition was a reference to Season 8 originally being considered for an All-Star edition.
Executive Meddling: Most equalizers at least appear to occur naturally within the course (such as with flight schedules), but sometimes the course is noticeably engineered to keep teams from getting separated too much, like when Bill & Joe fell a day behind at the end of Season 1. This is usually done with a charter bus or plane, or by manipulating operating hours of businesses. The producers may not be able to outright slant the show as much as other CBSreality shows, but most of the sync points are to keep the teams from getting too far ahead or too far behind and let them get a fighting chance. And as shown by a couple instances wherein a team got stuck and was a day behind or managed to get very lucky and waltzed right to the finish line way before the others, they do not always do this.
The most blatantly engineered example (that can be proven) of such course manipulation took place in Season 11, where Dustin & Kandice sat around for half a day, waiting for a charter bus, because two teams were still running leg 7 when they started leg 8, after which they hit an Intersection, which knocked them back into a virtual tie with the teams they had beaten by over twelve hours in the previous leg.
Eric & Danielle, who were on opposing teams in Season 9, was a team forced into All-Stars by executives wanting a hybrid team in the season, even overriding Phil's personal list of teams he wanted to see back. Initially, they wanted Flo & Drew from Season 3, but Flo didn't want to run the race without Zach. Similarly, Eric wanted to re-run the race with Jeremy, but the executives said he had to do it with Danielle to get a spot.
In leg 9 of Season 20, it's pretty obvious that the producers intervened to get Bopper & Mark past a Roadblock so they wouldn't quit on what was supposed to be a non-elimination leg, though at least they waited until all the other teams had finished the leg to do so. See how Bopper goes from pleading with Mark not to kill himself to encouraging him to take just one more try.
Nick and Vick arrived last on a non-elimination leg in Season 17, but an examination by production revealed that some goofs on their part altered the placement of the teams. As a result, the speed bump was removed for Nick and Vick.
Fan Nickname: Even ignoring season-specific nicknames for teams and individual racers, we have "The Philbrow" (Phil's Fascinating Eyebrow), "Philimination" (being Eliminated From The Race by Phil), "Exposition Hands" (An Insert), "Killer Fatigue" (the point when stress starts to take its toll on the racers), "Mercy Kill" (automatically eliminating a team that is trailing to the point that it's simply not possible for them to catch up, barring all the other teams dropping dead before they get to the Pit Stop, instead of making them finish the leg), "NELs" (short for Non-Elimination Legs), and the "Super Leg" (for those double length legs which last two episodes).
Brian Smith (Season 7) was Zack on The Big Bang Theory and is a rather prolific commercial actor.
Jet & Cord originally appeared on Kevin & Drew Unleashed, a three-episode series starring the titular Season 1 racers.
Mike White (of Mel & Mike) is a scriptwriter and actor, writing and playing Ned Schneebly in School of Rock.
Gina Marie appeared in Joey and Danny intro shot of Season 20, apparently Danny once dated her.
Season 21 Ryan Danz originally appeared in The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.
Season 28, the 2016 edition, will feature Burnie Burns and Ashley Jenkins, co-creator and member respectively of Rooster Teeth.
In Memoriam: In Season 16, leg 10 for He Pingping, the world's shortest man, who was the task judge for the noodle Roadblock.
Milestone Celebration: The 25th season. For the occasion, the premiere referenced the first season's starting and finish lines, and filmed the race start publicly in Times Square with fans in attendance rather than at a private location.
Leg 7 was presented as the show's 300th leg.note Though this was heavily debated amongst the fans. Depending on how the math was done considering the inclusion of double legs, the seventh leg could have been anywhere from the 296th to the 304th leg. Season 1-11 had 13 legs each (143 total), Seasons 12 and 13 had 11 legs (22), and everything past that had 12 legs (132 through the end of Season 24). Adding these all up makes leg 7 the 304th leg. Removing all the double legs prior to Unfinished Business, when they were finally recognized as two separate legs, leaves the total at 296. Even just removing the double legs that did not include Virtual Pit Stops (Season 6, leg 6, the Season 8 finale, and Season 10, leg 9) leaves the total at 301.
Real Life: Mean Character, Nice Actor: Due to editing showing mostly bad moments and the competitiveness of some teams can make them come across unlikable to the viewers and (sometimes) the contestants, several racers are nicer in real life than they appear to be in the show, one of the best examples being Ray (Season 7) and Brenchel (20, 24) Also notable is Joe & Bill (1), the Ur-Example of this, who were toned down on All-Stars because they initially didn't like their portrayal.
Real-Life Relative: Phil's father was the Pit Stop greeter when the show visited New Zealand in Season 13. Said Pit Stop was actually at the ranch his father owns.
Recycled Set: Considering how long the show has run, it has visited the dame landmarks multiple times:
Victoria Memorial was used as a Pit Stop in leg 9 of Season 5 and leg 6 of Unfinished Business.
The Konno Hachimangu Shrine in Japan was used as the first Pit Stop in Season 15 and the last Pit Stop in Season 23, both times after a Japanese Game Show task featuring the same host.
In Season 24, both the first route marker and the Pit Stop in Kuala Lumpur were used as route marker locations in previous seasons. Teams had to get their photo taken at the Petronas Towers in Season 3, and climb the stairs at the Batu Caves to get a clue in the original All-Stars. Batu Caves is even used as the first roadblock in Asia Season 4.
The Jemaa el-Fnaa market in Season 25, where the entirety of the fifth leg took place, was previously visited in Season 3, with the Glacier Cafe being clue locations in both seasons.
Season 1, Brennan and Emily broke up with the people they were dating at the time to start dating each other after the Race.
Christina (Season 12) is now married to opposing contestant Azaria, and they were engaged during Unfinished Business. Despite the unpopular pairing of Eric & Danielle on All-Stars, many would have preferred to see Christina return with Azaria rather than her father, as their relationship was at least assumed to be a bit more stable than Eric & Danielle's (and partially because Azaria was a strong racer in his original run).
Season 2 Asia, Rovilson once dated Vanessa before calling it quits in 2008.
Screwed by the Network: Attempted and failed following Season 11. CBS cut the budget, forcing them to reduce Season 12 by two episodes, ordered only one season instead of the usual two, and decided to use it as a mid-season replacement show. When Season 12 finally did air, it was put in a Sunday-night slot and constantly delayed by football games running over. Despite all this, the ratings for Season 12 were the best since Season 7, and it got a full renewal for 2008-2009.
Stunt Casting: It's been going on since at least Season 5note Despite popular belief, this doesn't necessarily mean they were recruited, as several celebrity teams went through the application process, though some of the more notable examples are:
SurvivorSuper Couple Rob & Amber in Season 7. In this case, at least, it worked, as Season 7 remains the highest-rated season and brought in a new wave of viewers who stuck with the show. Of course, their Survivor fame helped them on the course of the race. The roadblock on one leg required navigating a bustling, maze-like South African marketplace to purchase several specific items. Amber was struggling with the task when a bystander recognized her from the show and volunteered to guide her, allowing her to complete the Roadblock in a matter of minutes.
Mike White, who wrote and played Ned Schneebly in School of Rock, in Season 14.
Harlem Globetrotters "Flight Time" & "Big Easy" in Season 15. Also in the same season are Professional poker players Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle. Tiffany was recognized at the airport in Tokyo.
Big Brother 11 players Jeff & Jordan in Season 16.
I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our children.
Survivor couple Ethan Zohn from Survivor: Africa and All-Stars and Jenna Morasca from Survivor: The Amazon and All-Stars on Season 19. It also had athletes in former Indianapolis Colts tight end Marcus Pollard and Olympic snowboarder Andy Finch. As well as Zac Sunderland, the first person under the age of 18 to sail around the world.
Big Brother 12 & 13 players Brendon & Rachel on Season 20 and 24.
Season 21 had Josh Kilmer-Purcell & Brent Rdige, stars of the reality show The Fabulous Beekman Boys, Chippendale performers Jaymes Vaughan (known for having released the dance song "Vampire") and James Davis (frontman for Vegas metal band My Name Engraved), and James LoMenzo, metal bassist from White Lion, Megadeth, and other bands.
Season 22 has former NHL player Bates Battaglia with his brother Anthony who currently plays in the minor leagues, You Tubers Joey Graceffa and Meghan "Strawburry17" Camarena, and country singers Caroline Cutbirth and Jennifer Kuhle of the Stealing Angels. Cutbirth is also said to be a direct descendant of Daniel Boone while Kuhle is the granddaughter of John Wayne.
Chester Pitts II & Ephraim Salaam, former college football and NFL teammates on Season 23.
Strangely averted with former Playmate Victoria Fuller (Season 6), who you never would have known was a Playmate from watching the actual show. Same with aspiring Playmate Jennifer Hopka (Season 14). In fact, the only mention Playboy had ever gotten on the show was when Season 12 departed from the Playboy Mansion.
Jaime Faith Edmondson was also a Playmate, but only became one between Seasons 14 and 18.
The Amazing Race Asia was notorious for this, with most of the cast teams being media personalities in their home countries.
The Amazing Race Vietnam, where it has two celebrity seasons.
The Amazing Race China, the first season is a celebrity season
Actress Vanessa Morgan, and Body Break hosts Hal Johnson & Joanne McLeod on Canada Season 1.
Canada Season 2 has Ice Hockey Player Natalie Spooner & Megan Mikkelson and famous Canadian dancer Rex Harrington.
Throw It In: The double length "Super Legs" were created by mistake in Season 6. Leg 6 was supposed to be a normal non-elimination leg with the losing team getting all their money taken away, but the production crew found out too late that it was illegal to beg in Hungary. So instead, they cut the Pit Stop out of that leg, and cobbled together a clue and an "operating hours" equalizer to keep the teams busy. In following seasons, Super Legs would be preplanned, including their own fake mats where Phil got to tell the teams they were still racing.
Prior to being turned into the ill-fated Family Edition, Season 8 was originally slated to be an All-Star season, including Season 4 winners Reichen & Chip.
Colin & Christie (Season 5) were originally slated to appear in the first All-Stars until Christie got pregnant. Considered one of the best teams to ever run the race, if not the best, every single team (except fellow Season 5 team Charla & Mirna) listed them as that season's biggest snub. Their absence meant we missed out on a possibly epic Final 3 of Colin & Christie, Rob & Amber, and Dustin & Kandice, plus a Rob vs. Colin showdown to see who really was the ultimate "Alpha Male" racer.
Flo and Drew, who started dating after Season 3, were invited back for All-Stars. Flo refused because she didn't want to race without Zach, and she thought the Race brought out the worst in her.
Kelly & Jon (4) were also invited back, but dropped out at the last minute.
Similarly, Brook & Claire (17) were originally slated to appear in "Unfinished Business" until Claire learned that she was pregnant.
Tim & Marie (23) were invited back for the second All-Stars, but declined due to Marie disliking her portrayal in the first half of her season.
Season 8 had a leg in Belize that was canceled due to Hurricane Emily.
Kynt & Vyxsin sent in an audition tape in for Asia 3, though were ultimately rejected for not living in Asia, and the producers not wanting to face new teams against an experienced team.