A look into the final Winston Cup ever, if we're that lucky.
As you're all aware by now, I am no NASCAR fan. To me, car racing is about as riveting and pointless as golf. I have never understood the big deal about watching expensive, overly souped-up cars racing around a big track for several laps. Sometimes I wonder if the fans watch just to check out the crashes. On second thought, let me shut up before David Cronenberg decides to make a sequel to Crash.
The most grueling event in all NASCAR racing is the Winston Cup. An event that takes ten months to complete, 2003 marked the supposed final year of the event. I say supposed because as we all know, if something is advertised as final, it never is. (Examples include Terry Funk, the pro wrestler who has retired more times than I can count; Michael Jordan, the basketball equivalent of Funk; and the never-ending Friday the 13th film series.)
Anyway, back to the disc. Like the previous NASCAR release I reviewed—A Decade at the Brickyard—NASCAR Winston Cup 2003 suffers from cramming too much into too short a running time. How can ten months of activity be properly represented in 82 minutes? Well, the simple answer is: It can't. The end product is nothing more than a cut and paste job, with the paste being little more than Ken Squier's monotone narration. It's not even as good as Brickyard, this one being particularly incoherent. Non-fans will go nuts trying to figure out what exactly is happening, even when it's being explained in front of us.
Universal Music has done their typically good technical work on this disc. The video transfer, which alternates between full frame and a few scenes presented in 1.66:1 non-anamorphic widescreen, looks great. Colors are bold with minimal artifacting and grain. Surprisingly, no edge enhancement is present, a problem that plagued some previous UM releases. NASCAR fans will love it.
Sound is an extremely loud Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround stereo mix. Warning: You might lose your hearing if you listen to this mix at full capacity. There were many moments that were mixed too loudly for my ears. Yes, stereo sound is great, but do they have to subject everyone to a potential earache?
Extras include an interview with the 2003 Winston Cup winner, whose identity I will leave you to discover. I will say that his interview provides the few insights to be found in this disc.
Farewell to Winston is a short featurette that amounts to little more than one of those living slide shows they torture us with at weddings and graduations. I don't like watching them there and I hated it even more here. At least give us something to think about!
The trivia game is the same as those found on the other NASCAR discs. Its primary function is to tell you where to find the Easter eggs. Statistics tell you the winners of this and other Winston Cups. I didn't even bother this time around. I had other discs to watch.
Promos for a NASCAR FM radio station (why?), an all-NASCAR pay-per-view cable station (again, why? where's one for wrestling?), and additional NASCAR discs (once more I ask, why?) are the usual commercials designed to steal precious hours from your life.
I recommend that all non-NASCAR fans stay far, far away from this disc. There are better things to do with your time. As for NASCAR fans, go ahead and buy this disc. You're not going to hurt my feelings.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Universal Music
• Interview with 2003 Winston Cup Champion
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