SPEED launches new NASCAR show
The quiet launch of the new SPEED weekly series NASCAR Smarts was intentional.
The late-hatching idea was to create an interactive 30-minute NASCAR trivia show using the enthusiastic crowds that congregate at the SPEED Stage before and after each weekend’s NASCAR races as participants. With SPEED personalities John Roberts, Kyle Petty and Rutledge Wood game for the unrehearsed effort, the crew rolled into Daytona still tinkering with formats, rules and production ideas.
In Fontana, NASCAR Smarts began finding its rhythm and the audience has responded, delivering an average Nielsen Rating of .75 (548,000 households), making it the third most-watched show of the day behind the popular pre-race program NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR in a Hurry.
“Coming into 2009, we felt very comfortable with our lineup of at-track interview shows and wanted to find a fun way to get the audience more involved in what we do at the track each week,” said Steve Craddock, SPEED SVP of Programming. “We knew it was a bit of a gamble – we didn’t have the show graphics until just before we went on air in Daytona -- but everyone is having a lot of fun with it and the fans really appreciate being included.”
NASCAR Smarts from Las Vegas will air Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
In addition to the new weekend show, SPEED will debut a new Thursday afternoon program NASCAR Classics on March 19 at noon.
In preparation for each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend, SPEED will air a historic race from the upcoming venue, giving fans the opportunity to relive great races from the past from the site where the most current storylines are about to unfold. In addition, viewers will be provided with updated NASCAR news and program information about the weekend ahead via the SPEED ticker.
The first episode will be the 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race from Bristol, highlighted by Kurt Busch’s win from a lap down and the “snow angel” victory celebration.
Said Craddock, “For new fans, it will be a great way to get an extended look into NASCAR’s past, while longtime fans will enjoy the opportunity to relive great moments and memories.”
And at the track, the popular SPEED Stage, which has become a weekly destination for thousands of NASCAR fans, is showing off its new look, including The Home Depot VIP section, a stage-length runway used for easier fan interaction and a new flown speaker system that provides better sound and gives the stage a cleaner look.
“We challenge ourselves every day to come up with the next big idea, the coolest at-track experience and best NASCAR programming on television,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “It’s what defines SPEED.”