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General Discussions => Feedback on Racing TV Shows => Topic started by: Desmond on July 24, 2007, 05:55:10 PM

Title: Ultimate NASCAR documentary
Post by: Desmond on July 24, 2007, 05:55:10 PM
I have enjoyed the series of specials on ESPN under the name Ultimate NASCAR.  The best so far was "The Explosion," which was a two-hour documentary movie which ESPN aired last night.

The program, narrated by J.D. Simmons, nailed the reasons for ESPN's popularity, explored the cultural and societal roots of NASCAR, chronicled current stars and trends in NASCAR, and examined the effect of Dale Earnhardt's death.  While the show's tone was mostly positive, it did not shy away from the fact that NASCAR is still seeking racial and gender diversity.

If you haven't seen it yet, look in your program guide and check it out!

Tonight, there are two other shows in the series on ESPN, about the greatest drivers and something called "The Dirt."

Title: Re: Ultimate NASCAR documentary
Post by: Cheryl on July 24, 2007, 06:14:31 PM
I set a Season Pass for these on Tivo when they were first announced, hoping they would be the same shows ESPN produced back in 1999.  I've only watched one so-far, which was last Thursdays "20th greatest finishes."  Much of the footage was recycled stuff from a list show like that that CMT did a couple years ago.  ESPN simply inserted comments by Jerry Punch and Rusty Wallace and a few other things.  I ended up falling alseep before they got to number 1, which I'm sure was the 1979 Daytona race.   ::)

I'm sure we'll watch the rest eventually, but based on the first one, I'm not anticipating anything as good as what the old ESPN produced.


Title: Re: Ultimate NASCAR documentary
Post by: Cheryl on July 25, 2007, 12:52:36 PM
Last night, we watched "the Explosion."  It certainly was an odd conglomeration of things!  Very unevenly produced if you ask me.  Some interesting background about the blue-collar roots of stock car racing and the Scots-Irish folks in appalacia, but just a bit about moonshining.  Then they jumped around to how wild it is in the Talladega campgrounds.  Of course, they had to include the obligatory 1979 fight at Daytona.  Then this big long segment on Earnhardt.  Seems you can't have a documentary of anything these days without showing him.  To give them credit there was some similar coverage of Gordon and then of course, another big segment on Junior.  It just seemed liked the producer was a bit scizophrenic in what he was trying to cover to me.  I couldn't figure out if the explosiion was what's happened since the 90s and what was all the history stuff doing in the same documentary.

Oh yeah, also I lost a lot of respect for Kyle Petty's comments in this show.  He pretty joined the bandwagon that they "need" to leave the good tracks like NW, Rockingham and even said he didn't think just because Darlington was part of the past meant it had to stay on the schedule.  That really bothered me a lot.  I guess he's fully embraced the TV philosophy already - TV ratings are more important than good racing.

I did find it interesting about the guy who made the souvenir business so big.  He said he asked Earnhardt how much he made one year (can't remember when) and he said "about $2000" and the guy who had been selling some item signed by Bobby Allison said Allison had made a much bigger amount (sorry can't remember the actual figure).  Anyway, Earnhardt hired the guy to do his souvenirs and then the guy sold his business to him a few years later for 6 million.  Now that was an explosion!  Then how that beame one of these mega collectible companies.  Can't remember which one - they all blur together for me.

Of the two shows I've watched so far, there was just too much emphasis on that fight in 1979.  I guess I just get tired of hearing about that (or anything) over and over again.

This is an okay show to watch as "summer filler" on TV, but that's about it. 

BTW, the Sunshine Network (one of those hundred regional sports nets we get on Direct) has been showing some good full-length Daytona 500s from the early 90s.  Obviously they were originally packaged by SPEED as they have Matt Yocum as host, but there were a few I didn't have on tape.  89/90/91.  I've been recording them on the Tivo.  91 was on last night and we watched the beginning.  I said the subtitle for these should be "How many ways could Earnhardt find to lose the Daytona 500?"  The famous 1990 upset by Derick Cope was last week and we watched last night's up to the point where he splattered the seagull and hosed his aerodynamics.  Sorry, but that was pretty funny.  I remember having my second Daytona 500 party that year and how we all cracked up when CBS showed the instant replay of the seagull being splattered.  I'm not into blood and guts, but what are the odds of something like that happening?   :laugh:  It was still wild to watch 16 years later...

Sorry to digress...


Title: Re: Ultimate NASCAR documentary
Post by: Desmond on July 25, 2007, 04:56:48 PM
Yesterday, I mentioned "The Dirt."  That show surprised me.

Given the TV often produced by "the new NASCAR," I thought that it was going to be a gossip show of some kind.  Instead, it had to do with the dirt tracks on which stock-car racing started.

There were some very fascinating facts about the pre-NASCAR stock car world.  In addition, a great re-enactment of the meeting at which NASCAR was founded.

The only beef I had was the over-emphasis on Bill France and the Daytona Beach races.  Yes, it is important in that this is how France started as a race promoter.  But the show jumped quickly to that part of the story and stayed on it for a long time.

P.S. The small souvenir firm Hank Jones started is now part of Motorsports Authentics, the ISC/SMI joint venture that sells nearly all the licensed merchandise sold at the tracks and elsewhere.

Title: Re: Ultimate NASCAR documentary
Post by: Lou on July 25, 2007, 08:15:03 PM
(can't remember when) and (sorry can't remember the actual figure) and Can't remember which one - they all blur together for me.

Do I spot a trend here? What's my name dear?

I'll smack myself now so you won't have to later....


Title: Re: Ultimate NASCAR documentary
Post by: Cheryl on July 25, 2007, 09:29:39 PM
(can't remember when) and (sorry can't remember the actual figure) and Can't remember which one - they all blur together for me.

What's my name dear?

Carl?   :angel:


Title: Re: Ultimate NASCAR documentary
Post by: Desmond on July 26, 2007, 04:42:37 PM
Cheryl, you have mentioned the programs ESPN aired in 1999.  What were they?  And what specifically do you like about them more than the current Ultimate NASCAR series?

Title: Re: Ultimate NASCAR documentary
Post by: Cheryl on July 26, 2007, 05:30:58 PM
As I said in my first mention of these new shows, they were documentaries during the 50th anniversary of NASCAR.  They were more down to earth and less hype than these shows today.  I can't remember a lot about them, except that I found them very educational and interesting.  That's one reason I was hoping they'd be showing them again.

These current shows have some good aspects, but they still seem to jump around too much for me.  I watched The Dirt last night and 75% of it was directly from Neal Thompson's book (the one I was telling everyone about a while back).  The parts about Loyd Seay, Roy Hall and Raymond Parks.  Then it just sort of changed directions and had what seemed to me like too abrupt an ending.  I can't imagine who's producing them...