Home Again: Clint Bowyer

NASCAR driver and hyperactive man-child, Clint Bowyer, visits his hometown. He’s like the Godfather there now.

BONUS: Behind the scenes photos of the shoot.

Example par excellence:

You wish you were this cool. In the 90's, at least.
You wish you were this cool. In the 90’s, at least.

FIRST LOOK–Home Again: Clint Bowyer

Preview of the feature I was in Kansas for last week. It’s format is identical to the teasers for the previous Home Again features. If it ain’t broke, you know? It will air next Thursday night on NASCAR Race Hub.

I was tempted to end the teaser with this picture:

…but I decided to save it and all its glory for the actual feature.

Driven: Kris Martin

This guy is the most optimistic person I’ve met in my entire life. For a cynical guy like myself, that’s saying something. Hope his story has the same impact on you as it did on me.

Next week, I’ll have a blog post on my experience in Canada, meeting him, and confronting my own cynicism. For now, enjoy the final product.

This originally aired on March 14th, 2013, on NASCAR Race Hub.

Ken Squire’s Milk Bowl

The “Milk Bowl” is an unique slice of Americana, set in the brilliant fall foliage of Vermont, and is the creation of legendary NASCAR announcer, Ken Squier. This feature originally aired on February 28, 2013 on Speed.

RELATED: Ken Squier, Eve Carson, and finding myself in sensitive situations.

Story of a Race

When I first became a feature producer, my coordinating producer, Neil “Sully” Sullivan, pitched me on a different kind of highlight video. He had this singular vision: race day as seen from the POV of the fans, crews, drivers, track workers, etc; the day hurtles towards the race, helped along by a relentless track from Icelandic band Sigur Rós. To Neil, it became a sort of obsession, as he found a way to bring it up in almost any conversation with me—it was his white whale. And like Moby Dick, it seemed to always be just off the horizon, on the cusp of being caught, but just outside of his reach. To shoot all of the footage would take quite a commitment, and the clearance rights to use the Sigur Rós track were too expensive at the time.

Neil left Speed before the project could be realized, and he thought it was dead. It never fully left my mind, however, and it nagged at me, like a small pebble in my shoe that I couldn’t shake out. I pitched the idea again to my new CP, and he was on board. So well before dawn broke one cold October morning last fall, I went out to Charlotte Motor Speedway with a shooter, and we proceeded to fling ourselves around the track from sunup to sundown. It was the first race I had ever been at for work, and it was chaotic to try to get everything we needed; an impossible task, in fact—I knew by the end of it that I would need to supplement it with other footage. I was exhausted by the time we left, and I wasn’t even the one shooting.

This past Wednesday, 2 years later, Neil’s idea finally made the air. It was our last show before the Daytona 500, so it was used to build anticipation for the start of the season. I’m toying with the idea of doing a sequel at the end of the year, with highlights from this season, as this was a truncated version of Neil’s full vision. Still, it actually happened—Moby Dick was felled. (It nearly didn’t happen: Sigur Rós’s label waited 2 minutes before our deadline to grant approval to use their song. We wanted to pay them a good amount for their music, and they almost missed it. I hate the music industry sometimes.)

It’s called the “Story of a Race.” Hope you enjoy it!

UPDATE: Picture Too Perfect

It appears my worrying was for naught. Tamping down on grandiose language didn’t tamp down the emotion of watching Shane Hmiel drive again, if viewer reactions on Twitter are any indication. I’m always humbled by the outpouring of emotion whenever I do a story on Shane—last night was no different, with viewers sharing their own stories with the #ShaneDrives hashtag.

DeLana Harvick, one of the most visible women in NASCAR, was also touched by the feature, and felt compelled to pass it around. (Incidentally, a conversation between her and Shane’s mom on Twitter was the catalyst for getting Shane in the car in the first place.)

And while most of the time you shouldn’t care one whit what the subject thinks, as it can compromise the integrity of the piece, I felt relieved when Shane himself felt I didn’t misrepresent his achievement. Intensely personal stories are always tricky, and I’m happy when they’re happy, especially with stuff that is difficult for them to watch.

If you missed it, I’ll leave the full feature here so you can check it out for yourself. If you find it as meaningful as some people have, leave a comment. And if all this talk about emotions is making you queasy, don’t worry—my next feature won’t be nearly as dramatic.