SPEED Bigger and Better in 2008 As the days tick down until the 2008 NASCAR season officially opens at Daytona, SPEED is poised to shake up NASCAR and put fans in the driver’s seat with dramatic upgrades to enhance their race experience both at the track and on the sofa.
It’s anything but conventional and humdrum at SPEED this season as most everything has undergone a facelift with one of these enhancements giving any Super Bowl party a run for its money.
SPEED has tripled the size of its at-track “Gianormitron” TV to 12’x22’ and taken it High Definition. The motor sports authority also made its SPEED Tower one-third taller, extending it to 60 feet, and revamped all NASCAR on SPEED sets and stages. Additionally, SPEED is gearing up for its HD launch Feb. 7, offering extensive Speedweeks coverage and providing 22 days of testing coverage prior to the Daytona 500, capped off by the re-launch of SPEEDtv.com in widescreen format with new features.
“We want to demonstrate to the avid NASCAR fans that SPEED represents the club they joined,” said Steve Craddock, SPEED Senior VP of Network Programming. “We’re at the track for them and 90-percent of our programming originates from the track. SPEED is not just at the stage -- we’re in the garage, the infield and campgrounds, and with the fans and drivers. We’re there more hours than anyone else ... we work hard and play hard, as they say on Trackside.”
JHE Entertainment Group is spearheading all at-track upgrades, as the company builds, owns and maintains the fleet of traveling SPEED sets.
“The new HD television set is technically three times larger in screen size than the old one,” said Jay Howard, president of JHE Entertainment Group. “You can have a heck of a Super Bowl party with this TV. The SPEED Tower is the ‘lighthouse’ at the race track and provides a fast and effective way for fans to locate the SPEED stage from a distance. Now that it’s 60 feet tall, that will be even easier.”
Howard’s company has also put a lot of time and effort into retooling the four SPEED sets for the 2008 season, giving each one a sharper and more updated look. Trackside Live will sport a new desk this season, adopting the metallic desk Krista Voda sat behind for the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. The Trackside set is actually used for NASCAR Live and Tradin’ Paint, as it can be formatted for three different sizes.
Aside from its new look at the track, SPEED has pulled out all the stops in its television and online coverage. The network will make its much-anticipated HD debut Feb. 7, as part of its 100 hours of Speedweeks coverage at Daytona, besting its previous record of 75 hours. SPEED is also giving NASCAR fans 22 days of comprehensive testing coverage beginning Jan. 7, including sessions for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Furthermore, for the first time, SPEED will offer multiple shows from the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour, hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Additionally, SPEEDtv.com will re-launch in widescreen format with several new features Feb. 6. The new site will feature dramatic across the board improvements in depth and timeliness of motor sports news and information, delivered through a new wide-screen format that is optimized for easy navigation, interactivity with mobile and other applications, social networking and customization.
SPEED will continue to roll out more changes and additions long after the checkered flag waves at Daytona.