Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Madhouse" Paints A Scripted Picture


Update: Great fan comments on this post. What a mixed reaction to this first program. No ratings info from History Channel, series returns Sunday at 10PM ET.

When entertainment TV takes on a reality topic, the results are usually interesting. Sunday night, the History Channel offered Madhouse. This program was edited from footage obtained during the 2009 racing season at Bowman Gray stadium in Winston Salem, NC.

It was produced by Triage Entertainment from Los Angeles, CA. Their credits include The Next Iron Chef, Home for the Holidays with Faith Hill and The Mentalist.

Madhouse is called a "docusoap." This hybrid word gives the production company and the TV network a very wide berth in producing the series. Basically, it puts right up front the fact that the series is based on real events that take place. In this case, a summer of racing at Bowman Gray. That would be the "docu" portion.

The wide berth comes with the admission of the "soap" part. From the start of the first episode, it was painfully obvious that a script was involved. It may not have contained specific words for the participants to say, but it was certainly clear that situations were staged and conflict was emphasized.

The goal of this type of series is to get viewers involved and keep them coming back. The premise of Madhouse is not the racing, but the off-track feuds and family conflicts that overshadow the action on the track. To some, this is a travesty as the sport of short track racing is much more than just animosity.

Casual viewers and perhaps those never exposed to racing are almost certainly going to be drawn in by this strange mix of family conflict that seems to be played out at high speeds on a racetrack. Painted as rednecks and compared to the Hatfields and McCoys, the end result was certainly not pretty.

Triage Entertainment made sure to include the angry fans flashing the middle digit. The audience seemed to be there for the fights, not the racing. Compared to gladiators, the winner's pit crew ran down the track after the race screaming "Kiss it, kiss it" to the fans. It was not a pretty picture of Americans.

The voice that tied the program together was a local radio DJ who seemed very clearly to be reading a script created long after the racing footage had been shot. Something had to be done by the producers to create a theme. In this episode, it was that the entire town was excited for this family rivalry to resume.

Madhouse is certainly not for everyone. Opinions were varied even after the preview of the first episode was seen. After opening with footage of one driver ramming his race car repeatedly into a stopped car on the track, this first show closed with a montage of violence off the track.

Profanity, fist fights and insults were used in the closing minutes to entice TV viewers back next week for more. Little of the actual racing, the mechanical aspects or the positive side of the sport was shown. It seems that is exactly how the producers and the network intended it to be.

Here are some early comments from media members:

Shawn Courchesne of The Hartford Courant: Madhouse doesn't paint a picture of short tracks. It doodles a caricature portraying the sport as entirely unkempt and disgustingly violent.

Dave Moody from Sirius Speedway and MRN Radio: Is it just me, or has the first 15 minutes of Madhouse already set the sport back 50 years? Madhouse is an embarrassment to the sport.

Jade Gurss of SPEEDtv.com: My impression of the first episode of Madhouse? Two words: Red. Neck.

Alan Cavanna, a Charlotte area TV journalist: It's a show about short track racing in North Carolina. Were you expecting the wine-and-cheese crowd?

RyanMcGee from ESPN the Magazine: Watching last night's "Madhouse". A lot of folks are angry over it, but I've been to Bowman-Gray a lot. Love it there. This isn't a stretch.

Time for you to offer an opinion on this first program and how this series makes you feel as a race fan? To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

48 comments:

brad said...

Like I stated on you twitter JD, I went in to "Madhouse" with an open mind. When I first heard about this show I had hopes that we would see a series based on racing. What I saw was an hour of sensationalizing every bad aspect of Nascar and racing in general. The "red neck" fan syndrome, the wrestling on wheels just to name a few. we as fans and a some of the media spend a lot of time trying to educate casual fans about what realy goes on in racing. However this show makes it appear that the stereotypical "red neck" fan is all that fills the stands and only show up to see wrecks and fighting. No doubt the finger wave goes on at every track and they made a point to show that and the team yelling "kiss it".Very classy. Where was the shot of the fans cheering in the crowd? They also spent the majority of the time playing up the premeditated planning of wrecking competitors. While no driver forgets what happens no driver I have watched at the short track or the big time go into every race looking to wreck the other drivers. They could have played up the rivalry aspect without making it seem that the Bowman Gray drivers run a demolition derby. I have been to numerous short tracks and in the past a lot of this mantality existed but times have changed. atleast in West Kentucky and Western Tennessee. I honestly hope that these guys are just the victim of the editing room. Maybe the tone will be diffferent in the future but i doubt it with the promo for episode 2. Good luck in the future to all drivers chronicled in this show because in my opinion they have not done you or the sport any favors. I am sure there will be a number of poeple that feel the exact opposite and that is cool, I just thought they could have done something better with this opportunity. Thaks JD!

dshaf said...

I agree with all of the criticisms listed above but at the same time I must say that before seeing this show I really didn't know that much about Bowman Gray Stadium.

Now it's on my list of past NASCAR tracks I'd like to visit some day. (North Wilkesboro, Occoneechee, etc.)

So some good has come from it...

KoHoSo said...

The overwhelming majority of my disgust with this program comes from the fact that I have no idea what Madhouse has to do with history. For many years I used to watch The History Channel more than any other station on my dial as I have always loved documentaries and the subject in general even when I was a young kid. Now...well, in the era when MTV doesn't show music and Speed rarely shows racing, I guess that I should not be surprised.

I had no doubt that Madhouse would be sensationalized and scripted to some degree. However, I still wanted to give it a chance as I hoped that some element of it might help generate interest in North America's many struggling short tracks that could use all of the attention they can get.

I caught a good portion of the east coast feed of the show via, shall we say, "alternative means" this evening and I was appalled. Now, don't get me wrong -- I think that any of us that have spent any true quality time around local short track racing know full well that some of the things depicted in this show do happen. However, to slant things so badly (not to mention present them so poorly -- at least in the eyes of a marginally knowledgeable racing fan) bordered on the disgusting.

It's the Jersey Shore of racing programs. I guess it's OK for that desired 18-to-35 year old male demographic who were never taught a lick of sense by their parents but I was disgusted. I think we all used to expect better from the networks under the A&E umbrella. I'd like to know when Disney got a share of AETN and whether or not they have any direct influence on this trash.

Anonymous said...

I liked the show as fiction, but hated the so not true picture it painted of typical Modified racing! I would sure like to know what Ken Schrader & Kenny Wallace's input/opinionwould be about 'Madhouse'.They are veterans of Modified racing & have been to tracks coast to coast.I personally have only been to a couple Mod races to watch Schrader & K.Wallace.Hanging out after the race behind the scenes with Kenny Wallace, I saw NOTHING in any way simular to what this show portrayed!! I am dismayed at the poor light this puts racing in.By the way, I'm in Iowa, so maybe we act different,know we talk different!..LOL..

D Rohr said...

Lets look at it like this.. there are those that are going to not like the show because of the picture that it paints about racing and some of the stereotypes. Thats fine. I get it and am cool with people not liking it.

Here is the thing. What was portrayed actually happened. Was is scripted- I dont think that is the right word. Coax or coerced might be a better term. ANYTIME there is a camera around it builds intensity. People get excited. From a sporting event to a rock show- if the red light of the camera is on that's these peoples chance to get their 15 minutes of fame. It's like beer muscles.

Some of the stuff at the diners etc might be a stretch, but you have got to think about it like this; That is those peoples lively hood. Saturday night throw down, knock down, back lot, wheel to wheel, hate the other driver-his wife-his kids because he wrecked you last weekend and you had to chose a new tie-rod over the rent, racing. (With the exception of Tim Brown)

Ive heard all the stories about the conflicts, fights, rivalries and tonight SAW it. There is a story from a few years ago that a guy went to the fence and gave the fans the middle finger. They reached through, pulled him up and over and beat the hell out of him. It's a rowdy bunch there. Always has been.

The one thing you have to remember is that this show takes place in Winston Salem NC and not Los Angeles or NYC- Oh wait; If you've ever been to a sporting event in those cities you'd see the SAME THING. Rowdy fans. Rivalries. Conflict. Four letter words. The two exceptions may be that in LA or NYC there is less mullets and more teeth.

Great show. Cant wait for next week.

PS-The Jersey Shore parallel is a good one; but you cant not watch it. Its just that funny and addicting.

West Coast Diane said...

Love TDP! Reading Twitter comments told me it would be a waste of my time. The few, longer, reviews here confirmed it.

Thanks for watching, so I don't have to...LOL!

Barry said...

Speaking as a professional logger, I would imagine it's pretty safe to say that "Madhouse" is as accurate in its potrayal of Saturday night short-track racing as the preceding show ("Ax Men") was for my profession.

Dannyboy said...

As a kid in the 60s I was able to attend races in a little bullring in Staten Island, NYC of all places: Weissglass Stadium. It was a true circle track, not even 1/4 mile. Jalopies and modifieds. This was the heyday, and racers came from bigger, sanctioned tracks in L.I. and NJ. Never saw intentional crashing there. EVER.

Fast fwd to the 1980s-90s-2000s in east county San Diego (which is blue-collar/redneck country. Until just a few short years ago, Cajon Speedway, "The Fastest 3/8-mi Paved Oval in the West" hosted anywhere from 1500 to 3000 fans every Saturday nite from March thru October November. I had the privilege of being closely acquainted with a family member of a 2-time track champion, and attended many races and post-race get-togethers at local restaurants.

This is a track where I watched Indycar racers Billy Boat and Davey Hamilton race. Davey set the all time track record in a Super Modified. I met Ken Schrader, Jimmy Spencer, Dave Blaney and Kenny Wallace when they did a celebrity race there on Fontana weekend.

Nothing like Madhouse ever happened in front of me, and I spent an awful lot of time in the pits. I knew drivers in all the classes from Pony Stocks up to Southwest Tour cars.

A husband and wife raced each other in the Street Stock class. One night they got together and he came out the worse. Because they had separate crews, they didn't even get to talk until meeting at the restaurant an hour later. A hilarious conversation went something like:

Him: "What did you DO??" Her: "Well, you told me if something happened to just keep my foot in it so I DID!" Him: "Yes, but not if your fender is in MY DOOR!" The entire restaurant heard this and was rolling on the floor laughing.

You couldn't script anything like that. And that is why after only 10-15 minutes of "Madhouse" I've seen all I will ever see of that POS. Plus: they don't really show any RACING! Just quick shaky shots of cars going fast or wrecking.

Shame on the drivers that brought such embarrassment to our sport!

Anonymous said...

Crap, crap and double crap

Clearly an attempt by know-nothing Hollywood elitists who are trying to leverage the NASCAR name into yet another concocted, coached, semi-scripted piece of tv trash.

The bigger question, and one I'm surprise JD didnt ask, is what is a show like this doing on HISTORY CHANNEL?? HISTORY!! As in the past. FACTUAL< TRUE REAL< ACTUALLY HAPPENED!!!
The fact that A&E, History, Bravo, G4 and other networks are permitted by cable ans satellite operators to stray so far from their original programming promise to the viewer is outrageous.

History-schmystery. Kepp this piece of junk.

Bray

rich said...

If we don't talk about it, it will go away fast

Anonymous said...

truth hurts,i've been going to bowmen gray stadium for many years.pretty accurate to me.go puddin.

GinaV24 said...

Well, the comparison the the "Jersey Shore" show is a real good one. Being a NJ native and having spent a good portion of my life trying to convince people that everyone born in NJ is not a stereotype, Jersey Shore has now made that impossible. I really like short track racing and thought it would be fun to watch this show. I'm sorry that I wasted my time on it. I won't make the mistake a second time, just as I don't bother to watch the Jersey Shore program. I know that everyone isn't perfect, but this type of show just casts racing in a bad light. Might as well be the Jerry Springer show. Yuck.

Donna in FL said...

OK I took a look. Why is this on the HISTORY channel?? I grew up around the tracks in NJ-PA. While there was some drama that I can recall, that wasn't the focus of racing. This Madhouse isn't how I want to see current short track racing in general portrayed, like this was or is normal everywhere. Maybe the Soap channel would be more appropriate? All this is showing is why guys like these won't win alot or get top tier rides. And tearing up equipment like that is a huge NO-NO or so I was taught!!

Joe said...

As someone who has been to Bowman Gray, I thought the show was right-on. Granted, not a whole lot of what happens in the show happens at MOST race tracks. But at Bowman Gray, there are a lot of fights, intentional wrecking and fan exploits on a nightly basis.

Think about it: Most ho-hum short tracks attract anywhere from 300 to 1,000 people on a given night. Bowman Gray brings in 12,000.

A lot of people are there to see the wrecks and the fights. It's the Bristol of short track racing, and it's completely different than any other track -- and I've been to hundreds -- that I've ever been to.

Bowman Gray has an "it" quality that goes well beyond just racing. And I thought "Madhouse" captured that well.

Shootout Style said...

I wouldn't characterize it as "scripted". This stuff actually did happen, and it didn't need provoking. Bowman Gray Stadium is a notorious place for a reason. They are racing full-blown modifieds on basically a high-school running track.

Just think if you took all the Cup races from Bristol from 1992 to 2007. Take everything that happened, but condense all into one year racing every Saturday, shrink the track by half, remove the fenders, and then drop the banking down to zero. You wouldn't need to create any drama, just turn on the cameras.

Tripp said...

What rubbish!

I watched the premier expecting grudges, back stories and some racing. What I saw was a cynical portrayal of the worst of the racing scene.

Over the last three years I've spent a lot of time around short tracks and the racers who run there. Yes, I've seen some drivers who exhibit traits like those in Madhouse but nowhere near what the show portrayed. Racers are passionate and champions are driven but neither are typically neolithic mouth breathers like those in the show.

Moody's right in a way. This will hurt racing, but 50 years ago racing wasn't like Madhouse either. Last summer I did a documentary on a race track in the northeast and spent a fair amount of time with drivers who ran there half a century ago and although their memories were washed through the romantic prism of time, the facts proved that they drove hard, made friends and rivals but it never looked like Madhouse.

Having never been to Bowman Gray I don't know what it's like there. Based upon this show, Thunder Road must be the polar opposite to BG. From the lowliest mini driver to the fastest late model pilot, they all charge hard, but do it without wearing hauler-sized grudges. The track officials wouldn't permit it. I dare say that's true for most tracks.

Apparently the new mantra for History and other networks is never let truth or reality get in the way of a good story. Welcome to sensationalist nation. I think it's pathetic.

Dot said...

I didn't get to see Madhouse until 10PM PT. I read what was happening on Twitter.

When I saw that Tim Brown works for MWR and on Marcos' car, I chose him to follow on the track.

I'm not sure if I like the show or not. What did amaze me was the blatant wrecking. Don't they get penalized for that? What about the fighting? No penalty for that either? Can someone answer these questions? They weren't addressed on the show. Thanks.

50 yr. fan said...

Just another reality show with
no real content. Everyone wants
to have an "attitude". Just like
the Ax Men that preceded it.

yankeegranny said...

Loved it. Husband who hates all things NASCAR thought it was stupid, but will be back to watch it next week. This is the first NASCAR type if show that I can ever remember him watching and he is talking about going to one of the races the next time we visit his brother in NC. So what if it is scripted: is it anymore scripted that what HASCAR is shoving down our throats with the COT and the politically correctness of the NASCAR scene that is driving fans away in droves????

Kurt said...

Seems to me that there's two schools of thought in all these comments. Those who have been to Bowman Gray who say it's acurate, and those who have never been to Bowman Gray who can't seem to believe it.
I'm on the "been there" side. Plus, I've spent enough time in the Mt Airy, NC area to get a feel for the local folks. A lot of the people I knew wear "Redneck" as a badge of courage! Like it or not, this program shows it like it is. It might be the only track in the country where things are this crazy but that why it was selected, because of it's entertainment value.
You also have to get past that it's not a show about racing. It's a show about people that race. Whether it's good or bad for racing well, that remains to be seen.

Dannyboy said...

Well I must defer to commenters JOE, KURT and SHOOTOUT STYLE since they'be been there.

Bowman Gray does indeed look like a H.S. running track stadium, and I can't imagine what the on-track action must devolve into every night.

Nevertheless, all of these reality shows are trying to re-create the magic of some of the early ones like the original Jesse James specials and American Chopper. When the same production company that made AC came out with American Hot Rod, focusing on Boyd Coddington's shop I was thrilled, because I come from the old school hot rod crowd. early-on, it became obvious that they were prompting the "cast" to get up in each others' grilles, and the chemistry in that shop was nothing like the family antics of OCC. Didn't last for me, even though the show was renewed at least once or twice. I couldn't watch it. Fighting is only compelling if you care about somebody. I predict one-and-done for MADHOUSE.

Anonymous said...

Maybe some areas of the show and Bowman Gray should take place today in NASCAR's major series. Look at the fan fervor and the villans. I know we can't go backwards 30 years but in many ways the "Good Old Days" were much better racing and had fan support.

Jim from Atlanta said...

I read all of the comments here with great interest. There are a few people who posted such as Joe who have been to Bowman Gray and obviously get it. I've been there too and while some of this show may be sensationalized, it's not too far from the truth of what goes on there.

Bowman Gray is a very unique racetrack with some unique drivers and fans unlike what you'll see elsewhere.

I've been to lots of short tracks up and down the east coast and Bowman Gray is the only one I've seen where drivers ride for the first half of the event and aggressively try to take each other out in the second half

Oh, and by the the way, don't be critical of Madhouse when you post comments such as "I've never been to Bowman Gray, but...". Unless you've been there, you couldn't possibly understand.

Anonymous said...

Kurt says it best....It's a show about people who race, not about racing. As a long time North Carolinian, and long time race fan, I thought the show was good. Nothing insulting about it.

It's not some vanilla corporate driver spilling the same corporate line week after week a la Jimmy Johnson. These guys and gals fight and claw every day to find money for the racecar and hope to win half of it back on Friday/Saturday night.

I challenge all TDP'ers to spend a few weeks out at your local short track. Find out who's feudin' who. Then come back and rate "Madhouse". You might see it a little differently then.

KoHoSo said...

Since we have now had some Planeteers vouch for the general accuracy of what Bowman-Gray is really like, I will gladly defer to their reports and opinions. Maybe I will even give the show one more chance to be as fair as possible. However, I must admit that Madhouse still makes me feel a little queasy kind of like other places in this country that (for one example) take high school football too seriously. I will try my best to look at it with a more open mind if I can stand to watch it again but I still stick with my other point that this show has no more business being on the History Channel than a show about tow truck drivers does on Speed.

Darcie said...

The History Channel has gone the way of most TV channels, oversensationalized, gaudy and nowhere near what the channel started out to be. With programs like MonsterQuest, Gangland and Pawn Kings it's not surprising that the History Channel would produce such a program. Many channels today are only concerned with money and I guess our society has proven that they only seem to be interested in the lowest common denominator of our society as evidenced by such horrible shows as Jersey Shore and the Real Housewives. Pretty sad state of affairs, especially when you consider all the really great storylines that could be told about racing at all levels.

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...

I don't watch junk like this. With all the comments from you fine people, I don't have to.

BTW- Since 'RaceHub' (the first soley NASCAR related show) starts tonight, Happy NASCAR New Year everyone!

Dot said...

I meant to mention this in my prior post. I noticed the Lexan spoiler on one of the cars. Not sure if the others had it or not.

Darcie said...

Boy, listening to Sirius Nascar and they've really been stirred up. Most of the callers who are from North Carolina are totally up in arms about the portrayal of Southerners as a whole and racing fans in particular. But, there was a certain number who called and said that what was shown is exactly what goes on at Bowman Gray. I found that interesting.

But, in the long run, all this publicity is exactly what the producers of this show wanted, whether it's negative or not. Many Sirius callers said they didn't see the first show, but that they will definitely watch the next one. Isn't this exactly how stuff like this happens? The show might stink, but because of all the hoopla, people are now going to tune in, which lends a certain amount of credibility.

Rainy2228 said...

Well...count me as one who HAS been to Bowman-Gray and enjoyed it immensely and DO plan to go back. I have been involved in nascar since 1958, been to many tracks, ran a Late Model Sportsman on asphalt, and have seen the decline in real racing in the sucessive years. I have also been on Cup/Busch teams, so saying this I feel qualified to comment. The show Madhouse may have been scripted to some degree, and edited to a larger extent but......THERE ARE BUTTS IN THE SEATS up there and they nearly sellout each Saturday night. The same cannot be said for Hickory Speedway, Tri County, Concord Motorsportpark and MANY other weekly tracks. Say what you will about Cup/Busch racing on Saturday nights, they depleting spectatorship at the local tracks, but I rebutt those accusations by again saying B-G sells out each week and it has NOTHING to do with "redneck" mentality. It DOES have to do with EMOTION and thats so sorely lacking in so many of nascars other divisions, even filtering down to those other local tracks Ive been to. At Hickory, as recently as 2006, if a competitor nerfed another, he was sent to the rear of the field and warned to not nerf another. If that did happen, the racer was suspended and not allowed back for weeks or a number of races. And attendance DROPPED. HMS and other local tracks cant put 2,000 butts in the seats. B-G has fantastic attendance, with people planning to come back the next week. So much for "Vanilla racing" huh? There isnt a "bad aspect" of nascar shown on Madhouse. I find it more entertaining than Cup racing (the COT being a major cause) The advent of no testing, plain, corporate drivers and crews, and no one chasing the possibility of the 48 car using traction control are killing the sport I have loved, been involved in and followed like a lemming until now. When I am not at B-G on Saturday nights, Ill probably be at an NHRA event. They race and are exciting. Cup racing is not. Long live Bowman-Gray and the way they RACE.

Rob said...

Bowman Gray Stadium is my home track. The place just oozes history, as anyone there could tell you. Seeing the oldest division of Nascar racing on the oldest (or darn close to) Nascar track is something ever racing fan should see at least once.

You will understand my anger at how BGS fans are presented on this show then. The other posters sum up my feeling well, so I won't repeat them. Although I have to admit there are some "chicken bone throwers", they are no more prevalent than any other sporting event such as the drunks at an NFL or baseball game.

My only hope is that people aren't put off of visiting Bowman Gray because of this show. I can assure you that the stadium and North Carolinians aren't like what you see on TV.

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for all you sophisticared, politically correct, civilized folk that has never experienced Saturday Night at the Fights at your local short tracks. Thats where I learned black and white, right and wrong, courage, when to keep your mouth shut and sometimes the little guy does win.

Anonymous said...

I heard the same phrase used last night on two different "reality" shows. "This ain't my first time to the rodeo." MADHOUSE was one of those shows.

Makes me wonder, who's "helping" reality show stars with cute little phrases that can be thrown out as unscripted.

Did anyone see the HBO movie titled DIRTY DRIVING: Thunder Cars (I think??) about a small town dying economically and the local track racers? That was head and shoulders better than Madhouse, but its focus was on the desperation bleeding through the men who'd lost long-time jobs onto the track.

Anonymous said...

What's the matter folks? Don't like what you see when you look in the mirror?

Anonymous said...

I've been going to Bowman Gray now for over 20 years, ever since I was a little boy, what the show shows and what the people who have never been there before see is what really happens on a week to week basis. The action the rivalry all of that is true and historic of short track Bowman Gray, fueds come easy when you put that many cars on a 1/4 mile track on a Saturday night, it's natural. One thing the show didnt show was the fact that yes Junior Miller and the Myers brothers are BIG rivals but Tim Brown is just as much of a rival, if not more to Burt than what I saw on the show. And I dont want to disagree but from the middle finger to the "kiss it" scene, stereotypical "redneck" fans are at Truck, Nationwide, Cup, F1, Indy Car and Drag races too, why people associate NASCAR with rednecks I guess is because it was built in the south, this show shows off my local favorite track like it really is, ALOT of people do get excited when they see Burt, Jason, Tim and Junior run there, who wouldnt be, fireworks is what NASCAR needs, thats what the people want thats what they need to do, NASCAR is a buisness over all, if fans dont get what they want the loose profit.

terry said...

These two drivers are the disgrace of modified tour racing. The behavior of these guys on the track continuosly should be put on the computer game not in our back yards afterall someone is going to get hurt real bad and to show this on tv of this fued is a shameful reminder that this behavior shouldn`t be tolerated as nascar should suspend these two indefenatly if they cont this fued in 2010 this program is a embarrasment to the state of modified racing this behavior has no place on tv

Anonymous said...

i say we add it to the chase!!

Rich said...

I loved the racing.......all 10 seconds of it.

Anonymous said...

This just in during a LIVE interview on RaceTalkRadio.com, Burt Myers says..."Anyone who thinks this show is scripted needs to get out to Bowman Grey Stadium."

Anonymous said...

Those of ya who say Bowman Gray looks like a high school track? You're close. It's the home field to Winston-Salem State University's football team, and that's the reason why the racing season at BGS is so short. And how's that for irony: A stadium inhabited by the rednecks part of the year and home to a historically black college football team during the fall - ha!

Anonymous said...

I watched Madhouse with a cautious eye, knowing how"reality" shows are portrayed now.Too little racing, but after the first 15 minutes I saw that coming. My pproblem with the show is, as most race fans know, what if the guys not featured run away with the season?Unlike Axmen, where they are trying to make a competition out of companies working hundreds of miles apart., these guys face each other week after week. I too have been to BG on a few occasions, I have seen a few things the show featured, good and bad,but after spending 8 years of watching what my brother and I refer to as "slotcar" racing at our home track, Chicagoland Speedway, its nice to see alittle enthusiasm at a race track. Ill DVR the show, but wont go out of my way to watch it.As a former fan of the History channel, Ive watched it go down the tubes, case in point, this Life After People show. for years weve been told that all those plastic hamburger boxes will be around for amillion years, yet on that show..nothing. Well at least after Im gone I wont have to hear Chris Myers and Digger anymore

JohnP said...

After reading the comments, this show sounds as dumb as "Ice Road Truckers" and "Ax-Men".

Where is the history, History Channel? "50Yr Old Fan" said it best, just another reality show

bevo said...

Yes it's real people but the show is still written. Just do an IMDB search on the crew - credits include "Survivor", "Big Brother", "Amazing Race", "Extreme Makeover" and on and on.

They know the soap opera they want to tell. Madhouse has as much to do with racing as "Get Smart" had to do with the CIA.

Vince said...

I lived about 15 miles from Bowman Gray Stadium in the 60's when I was a teen. I spent every Saturday night there during the racing season back then. I don't remember it being quite as wild back then, but there were rivalaries going on then too. Fathers or uncles of some of the guys that are rivals today.

Believe it or not, back then they used to race full bodied Grand National stock cars (as they were called then) there twice a year. I vividly remember Richard Petty kicking butt there in 1967 when he won 20 some races in a row. He was driving a big 67 Plymouth Belvedere. Amazing to see them race those huge cars on that small, flat tight track.

One year Bobby Allison got spun out by somebody, I can't remember who. But Bobby waited in the infield between the third and fourth turns for who ever spun him out to come back around. Then he pulled out and knocked the crap out of him. Totaled both cars. It was GREAT!!

Hot shoes back then in the Mods? Perk Brown, Paul Radford, Billy and Jimmy Hensley to name a few.

If you want to see real racing, go to your local track. My local track now is Berlin Raceway outside of Grand Rapids MI. I've seen a few fist fights in the pits there too. And the racing is great.

Anonymous said...

I thought the show was very entertaining, just like real races at BGS are entertaining. They pack those seats every saturday night because it's known to get a little out of control.

I didn't think that they went out of their way to show "red necks". If you have ever been to a race there, you'd understand.
Also, to say it's offensive, is really putting down the people that they showed. I love how everyone here is cool with judging other people.
why not just watch and enjoy?

glenc1 said...

I made a comment yesterday that never showed up for some reason, but this time let me just say this...I find it curious that so many who are regulars there are on both sides...it would seem that perceptions can be very different depending on who you are. I don't go to the local track often (and this is in NY State) but I have seen and heard any number of ugly things (as I have at NASCAR races), from gestures to obscenities, to relatives shouting at rival teams--adult beverages are often involved, of course.

I used to love History, but most of the good documentaries are gone now. I can only guess that I'm a minority, and the ratings just aren't there.

John Willis, Chico said...

I hope I'm not too late to weigh in on this but I have a quetion and a comment.
Question; Does anyone rember a video from the '70's or 80's by Nick Lowe or Dave Edmonds called, I think, "Crawling from the Werckage"? The video showed Modifides(?)racing on a dirt track in either Australia or New Zeland. The cars had nerf bars all around the cars including the wheels and they raced as teams. It looked like they, as teams, would intentionally knock the leading race car off the race track giving way to their team mate, of course the next leader was a target. And on and on. With the protective nerf bars completly surrounding the car little damage was done to the car when it was knocked out of the race.
Those cars were made to knock each other around. NASCAR modifides are tough but delicate cars and aren't necessarly intended to run into each other, other than the track in question aparently.
Comment: I participated in dirt track racing at the now closed San Jose Fairgrounds Speedway in California back in the 80's, we were a low budget team. We won three championships and set a number of records.
San Jose had several families that had participated in the area for decades (the Keatings among others)and on occasion there would be a dust-up between the long standing compeditors, shouting and such and I did whitness a time or two when a compeditor aparently intentionaly took out another racer. One of those instances it netted the offending driver a "lifetime" ban from the track, one of several for that particular compeditor.
All of this type of racing was beyond comprehention for our small unfunded team. We worked for weeks in the winter preparing our race car and that continued throuout the racing season. Race car parts are very expensive and the time repairing the car after a wreck during the week took away from improving the car.
To watch a race car driver repeatidly run into another racer with intent would have certainly gotten the driver time off as a responce from the officials and to think that a true racer would intentionaly wreck his and another car does not fit with what I experienced first hand.
We didn't much like each other at the track but to wreck your own car and another without the track officials taking charge does not fit with anything I have seen within NASCAR.
I don't know if it's History Channel, the track or NASCAR that is allowing this but it ain't racing.
We watched the first fifteen minutes or so of the program but have deleated the remainder of the program and will not watch the remainder of the season.
Now if they would put nerf bars all around the cars and team up that would be different, something to be expected and permitted. But this is not the type of racing that I love.
Here's to a great up coming racing season.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to those who vouch that what was shown is what actually occurs, IMHO what they portray on that show is not real racing.

Having grown up watching the Modifieds in the Northeast, certainly there were rivalries and heated emotions, but I never saw an imbecile purposely ram the side of a race car three times after the race was over AND apparently get away with it.

The BGS fans proudly proclaim that they pack the house - what else would you expect from the equivalent of professional wrestling? Those involved shouldn't wear firesuits - they should wear tights!

Sorry, but Moody nailed it right on the head.