Wednesday, October 10, 2007
ESPN's "Chasing Glory" Flies Under The Radar
5:30PM on a Wednesday afternoon is the last place you would expect to find one of the finest NASCAR programs on television. ESPN2 has rolled-out the Chasing Glory series without any fanfare and with limited promotion. The only question is...why?
Another fine program series from the people at NASCAR Images has grabbed viewers and gotten them asking where this type of series has been on ESPN?
The series consists of eleven programs each thirty minutes in length that profile the drivers involved in the 2007 NEXTEL Chase for the Championship. On this Wednesday, the story of Kyle Busch was told in unblinking reality.
The program format is familiar to fans of NASCAR Images. As many of the Images personnel made the move over to NASCAR from NFL Films, the influence of that company is made very clear. The booming off-camera announcer hosts the program, and lets the subject matter unfold through a series of sound bites with the featured personality. These are surrounded by flowing music, and dramatic transitions to raw natural sounds.
The series was only announced on October 4th in an ESPN Media release. Julie Sobieski, an ESPN Programming Executive, said "this program gives NASCAR fans new insight and information from their favorite drivers as they deal with the rigors and stress of competing for the championship."
In this episode, there was plenty of new insight into a fresh face in the sport with a very high-profile. Busch was shown back home in Las Vegas beginning with his go-kart roots and his rise up through the Legends Series. The family photos and the honest comments are something NASCAR Images has perfected in producing this type of reality series for various networks.
Most importantly, Busch was allowed to be himself, in every way. Playing in his pool at home, he looked a lot younger than his driver's license would indicate. Shown in casual settings, Busch appeared to be a calm young man. Then, the transition to race car driver began with a review of his accident with Dale Junior.
The intense young man is finally revealed and the Kyle Busch that the media loves to hate comes to life. As with many of these athletes, Busch has the two distinct sides of his personality that he must come to learn to balance. This profile was fascinating.
The music builds and the drama increases as the Kansas race comes to an end. NASCAR Images did a great job in laying-out all the stories that went with the fates of The Chase contenders during and after this event. Then, just like that, the thirty minutes are done and Chasing Glory is gone.
In the same vein as the fantastic Survival of the Fastest series on SPEED, this ESPN2 series is top-of-the-line from start to finish. The series continues on Wednesdays at 5:30 or 6PM through December 11th on ESPN2.
Perhaps, next season will bring some additional long-form feature style programming from NASCAR Images that will migrate over to other TV networks or InternetTV. Fans are continually frustrated by missing these two fine series because of their awkward air times and the fact they are not available for replay on the Internet without cost.
NASCAR would be much better served if this type of outstanding product was made more readily available to the fans than the Wednesday at 5:30PM timeslot provides.
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