The Frontstretch: Voices From the Cheap Seats: Another NASCAR Movie? by Jeff Meyer -- Friday September 27, 2013

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Voices From the Cheap Seats: Another NASCAR Movie?

Jeff Meyer · Friday September 27, 2013


Here is the latest effort by Brian France and company to right the sinking ship that used to be a sport.

NASCAR Movie In The Works: Hollywood producer Neal Edelstein, whose films have included dramas (“Mulholland Drive”), mysteries (“The Ring”) and horror movies (“Haunting Melissa”) wants to make a movie centered on a NASCAR driver. It’s an idea pitched to him by NASCAR Vice President Zane Stoddard. And they’re meeting to discuss how Universal Pictures, which agreed to finance the movie’s early development, views the initial script.

Why a NASCAR-related film? There’s been an “explosion of action sports in this country,” Edelstein said to the Los Angeles Times. “Well, the original action sport is NASCAR. It has great texture for movies.” The film is one of several projects being pursued by Stoddard and his nine-person NASCAR Entertainment Marketing staff to infiltrate pop culture with everything NASCAR in order to boost stock-car racing’s sagging popularity. They also arrange driver cameos on television shows, develop new NASCAR-themed programs for TV and online outlets and bring celebrities to NASCAR races. NASCAR Entertainment’s strategy is part of a five-year plan NASCAR announced in 2011 to grow the sport. “When we get to the end of that five years,” Stoddard said, “we will have a very clear measurement of where we are.”

NASCAR has been in the movies before, notably in the Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman film Days of Thunder.

While this little blurb is only part of the story, it did pique my curiosity to actually read the whole story as posted in that revered publication, the Los Angeles Times, and I was even more sickened.

First of all, is this the best some idiot Vice President of NASCAR can come up with to help restore the popularity of the sport? So this is path we are forced to go down? And to think, they pay these high-falootin’ idiots hundreds of thousands a dollars a year!

We all know the history of NASCAR-themed movies. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were nice eye candy to look at in “Days of Thunder,” but the reality of it was… well, there was no NASCAR reality in it! To be totally honest, the comedy “Talladega Nights” probably had closer ties to the state NASCAR is currently in than anything.

Both movies did nothing other than to provide a few laughs and to raise the stature of the sport… not that Talladega Nights was even trying to. It was, after all, meant to be a spoof-type movie from the beginning.

Another thought that strikes me is, if you’re dead set on making a movie that is meant to save your sinking image, who the heck is Neal Edelstein? How successful were the three movies mentioned in the article? Be honest now, by a show of hands, how many of you out there have actually seen those movies?

Keep them up! Keep them up! Let me get a count here… uh, OK, looks like 486 or so from here! Nothing like going all out and getting some top-notch talent!

From where I sit, the problem can be summed up by one sentence in the press release. “The film is one of several projects being pursued by Stoddard and his nine-person NASCAR Entertainment Marketing staff to infiltrate pop culture with everything NASCAR in order to boost stock-car racing’s sagging popularity.”

Pop culture? Is that where the salvation of NASCAR lies? I thought we already went after that demographic years ago? Oh, excuse me, that was the “casual fan!” Yeah, that worked out real good, didn’t it? Let’s go down the same road but name it something else! Brilliant!

One other sentence in the article is more of a prophecy, not to mention something that might be uttered by Captain Obvious. “When we get to the end of that five years,” Stoddard said, “we will have a very clear measurement of where we are.”

And this guy is a Vice President? Yeah, at the end of five years, NASCAR will look around and yearn for the days when ratings/popularity were at their present level… eight to 18 percent lower than a few years ago.

I tell ya, it has gotta hurt to be that stupid!

On a different note, one of “How’s THAT work?”

Aaron’s released a short statement recently regarding the situation at Michael Waltrip Racing. “Aaron’s would like to thank NASCAR fans for their continued loyalty during this time of uncertainty,” they said. “We became a sponsor of MWR 14 years ago and remain dedicated to MWR, to NASCAR and to the fans.”

Now, you know me. I am a stickler for details when it comes to dishing out false information but please correct me if I am wrong. How did Aaron’s become a sponsor of MWR 14 years ago when MWR is only 6 years old?

Check your rental agreements, folks!

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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09/27/2013 07:43 AM

Just do another Talladega Nights but with lots of nude women. Oh, and fancy, high-dollar RV’s and planes and helicopters.

Oh, and that man made out of money from the commercials running around spraying money everywhere.

That’s the Brian France Nascar of today. No need to even have race cars in the movie.

09/27/2013 08:39 AM

Let’s see how the movie Rush does starting this weekend. If the crowds come out for a movie on F1, that would indicate the potential for a movie on Nascar. I agree with the criticism of the director, part of the marketing for any movie is to have a successful and respected director (along with cast) on board from the beginning.

09/27/2013 11:14 AM

lol @ jp.

nascar movie = sad as i think any licenced movie is a not so transparent money grab. although the irony is killing me. actors playing racers who are performing to a script… with a known outcome… heh.

09/27/2013 11:45 AM

Rush is drawing well and anything following it featuring Nascar will be a joke. Unless they do a comedy starring Brian France as a bum who wakes up one morning to discover he has inherited Nascar and proceeds to pull a George and almost destroys it in ten years.

Kevin in SoCal
09/27/2013 12:49 PM

The Ring was a very good horror movie and was much different than the typical hack’and’slash of normal horror movies. I’ve heard of Mulholland Drive, but never heard of Haunting Melissa.
I think Aaron’s meant they’ve been a sponsor of Waltrip himself for 14 years.

09/27/2013 01:04 PM

I heard last year that Patrick Dempsey was interested in doing a movie about Bobby Allison. I think a film about him with all the triumph and tragedy in his life would make an excellent film.

09/27/2013 01:47 PM

Another classic stock car movie in the works. Shades of Elvis’ Spinout and Speedway and the Oscar-worthy Burt Reynolds Stroker Ace.

If Brian sticks his nose (either red or brown depending on the day of the week) in, chances are it won’t get made.

Michael in SoCal
09/27/2013 04:04 PM

A Nascar movie similar to Mullholland Drive would be great. But everyone would hate it, except me.

Marty C
09/27/2013 04:15 PM

I pretty much had the same reaction as you when I read the original article. I don’t believe films about NASCAR are going to draw in new fans. Really, the only people that go to see them are already NASCAR fans and they go hoping to see a good racing film that usually ends up being a love story that takes place around race cars. The exceptions being “Stroker Ace” and “Talladega Nights” which set out to be comedies.

I think “Days of Thunder” set NASCAR back 10 years. They had a chance to make a really good racing movie and they blew it.

I think the 2 best racing movies ever made (I haven’t seen “Rush” so I can’t comment on it) were “Le Mans” with Steve McQueen, and “Grand Prix” with James Garner. Even though there was some romance involved both movies were about racing and the photography and action were phenomenal in both.

09/27/2013 07:24 PM

Aaron’s was a personal sponsor of Mikey so I guess that’s what they mean.

09/27/2013 10:14 PM

There doesn’t need to be a movie but a documentary…of the Brian France years.

However, if done honestly, it would be the last nail in the coffin.


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
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Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.