NASCAR royalty launch new made-for-TV series
Three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and three-time championship-winning crew chief Ray Evernham have joined forces with several other investors to launch a new all-star racing series.
The new Superstar Racing Series will feature short, sprint races, with an emphasis on head-to-head competition among the top drivers from a wide range of racing disciplines. As such, each round will challenge drivers in different ways.
The new series has been made with entertaining a mainstream television audience in mind, and has already won a deal from CBS, who will broadcast the races in prime time on Saturday nights from next summer, when the sport’s inaugural season gets underway. In order to meet this made-for-tv brief, the races are expected to fit into a two-hour prime time slot, and feature 90 minutes of racing. There will be no pit stops, but instead will feature a halftime period, where drivers and crew chiefs will make adjustments to the car and strategy.
“We’ve set this up to bring the focus back to the drivers and their ability to compete head-to-head as opposed to the car deciding who wins,” said Evernham, who is spearheading the design of the new racers. “That is going to create a unique dynamic for fans at the track and everywhere else, adding superstar calibre drivers and our unique racing features, you’re going to see all kinds of emotions playing out live.”
CBS Sports chairman, Sean McManus, added: “We are looking forward to teaming with Superstar Racing Experience to bring this exciting new auto racing series to CBS in primetime. This innovative racing series will feature great drivers competing on short tracks and will provide viewers with unique, behind-the-scenes access, bringing fans closer to the action
“With the backing from legends in the racing industry, the quality of the drivers and the competition, and the atmosphere that short tracks will help to create, the Superstar Racing Experience is a great addition to our live summer sports programming that racing fans will embrace.”
In some ways the series will serve as a spiritual successor to the International Race of Champions, commented Stewart, which between 1974 and 2006 brought racers from various disciplines together for an all-star series.
“When that series went away I think it left a big hole,” he commented. “It didn’t need to be filled then, but we have an opening now that gives an opportunity for guys like myself and a lot of the guys who will be invited who can still drive race cars, still have that ability, and still want to race to come back. Hopefully they will feel the way I did, like it’s a cool opportunity to take seriously and be looked up to as the best out there.”