A&E // 2006 // 286 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Neal Masri (Retired) // August 30th, 2006
An inside look at NASCAR's rising stars.
Drive fast. Turn left.
Thirteen of the top young drivers of NASCAR are profiled here. Each episode starts with the driver's childhood story and works its way forward to his current NASCAR career. Extensive interviews coupled with lots of race footage are the main attractions here.
This two disc set contains the entire 13-episode run of NASCAR Driven to Win. Episodes listed below:
* "Kasey Kahne"
* "Kyle Busch"
* "Erin Crocker"
* "Carl Edwards"
* "Rusty and Stephen Wallace"
* "Greg Biffle"
* "Martin Truex, Jr."
* "Brian Vickers"
* "Casey Mears"
* "Richard Childress Racing"
* "Jamie McMurray"
* "Chip Ganassi Racing: David Stremme & Reed Sorenson"
* "Reggie White's Dream: Chris Bristol/Aric Almirola/Marc Davis"
NASCAR has exploded in popularity in recent years. As that growth has occurred, NASCAR drivers have become recognizable celebrities (even outside the traditional NASCAR bastions in the Southern U.S.). Along with that fame comes shows like this -- the life stories of some of NASCAR's up and coming drivers.
If you've ever seen an episode of A&E Biography, the formula will be familiar to you. Each half-hour episode delves pretty deeply into the lives of the drivers and will likely give fans any and all information they might want. Drivers profiled include Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and other, lesser-known drivers. A couple of episodes cover teams of multiple drivers.
Most interesting is the episode entitled "Reggie White's Dream." It covers three up and coming African-American drivers. Anyone who has ever been to a Nextel Cup race has seen an overwhelmingly white crowd (not to mention the occasional Confederate flag). Needless to say, the sport has not been a bastion of diversity. What surprised me most was the frankness of NASCAR officials regarding their lily white past. In 2003, Football greats Reggie White and Joe Gibbs began an effort to bring more minority drivers to racing. Some progress has been made. There are a few drivers of color in NASCAR feeder series, but still not one full time Nextel Cup driver. It was a huge story when an African-American driver started a Nextel cup race in 2006 (the first in 20 years). NASCAR will have done its job when an African-American NASCAR driver is no longer a big story.
I am a fan of NASCAR racing (insert redneck joke here). Even so, I found myself thinking more than once that I'm not sure I really want to know this much about these guys (and one girl). However, NASCAR followers are a fanatical bunch. I am sure that there are fans out there that want to hear every detail of their favorite driver's childhood. I just don't think I'm that guy.
The video quality is on par for a recent television DVD release. Interviews and race footage come from a variety of sources, as one would expect for a documentary. Audio is unremarkable with dialogue coming through adequately.
A few extras are provided. The most significant is a collection of short pieces entitled "All Access." These behind-the-scenes snippets range from the inner workings of NASCAR officiating to profiles of how pit crews operate. "Driver Q&A" is exactly as it sounds, a collection of interview snippets with some of the drivers. Lastly, we have "Driver Biographies," a text-based feature with, you guessed it, driver biographical information.
Sounds like a pretty complete package. What's missing? Three things actually -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, and Jeff Gordon. Between these three guys you have the favorite driver of about 90% of NASCAR fans. None of them are profiled in Season One. I realize that the focus is on the younger drivers. Just throw in one of the big guys every now and then.
In reviewing this title, I thought, "Do a bunch of NASCAR drivers really deserve the same A&E Biography treatment as the likes of Albert Einstein and Gandhi?" Well, let's see Gandhi go three wide at 200 mph.
File this one under "F" for "Fans Only." If you are not one of the NASCAR faithful, I seriously doubt you will be interested. Even if you are, many of NASCAR's biggest names are missing from this package.
Not guilty if you're a NASCAR fan. Otherwise, black-flag this one.
Review content copyright © 2006 Neal Masri; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 286 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* All Access: NASCAR Behind-the-Scenes
* Hot Laps: Driver Q&A
* Driver Bios
* Official site