NASCAR Producing Docuseries About Cup Series Playoffs

NASCAR Playoffs

Getty (L-R) Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr. pose with the championship trophy.

Stock car racing’s sanctioning body is providing more access to the Cup Series through a new docuseries. NASCAR has struck a deal with NBC Universal to produce an eight-episode behind-the-scenes look at the 2021 playoffs as 16 drivers fight for the Bill France Cup.

Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal first broke the news, revealing that the series will have the title of “Race for the Championship.” It will air on the USA Network and debut sometime in 2022. The eight episodes will examine how the teams and drivers balance their personal and work lives while contending for the championship trophy.

NASCAR Productions will be in charge of the upcoming documentary series. Senior VP and Chief Digital Officer Tim Clark, Managing Director of Entertainment Marketing & Content Development Matt Summers, and Head of Content Strategy Amy Anderson will all serve as executive producers on the project.

Putting the Series on USA Teases Future Collaborations

With NASCAR having existing relationships with Netflix and the MotorTrend Group, there were multiple streaming platforms available to house the docuseries. However, NASCAR Productions and NBC Universal opted to put the eight episodes on the USA Network, teasing future collaborations.

NBC Universal announced in January that it would shut down the NBC Sports Network, which has served as the home of the NASCAR playoffs for several years, by the end of 2021. All of the existing content would move to either the Peacock streaming platform or the USA Network.

According to Stern, the USA Network will become the home of several NASCAR races during the 2022 season. In a January report by NBC News, NBC Sports Group Chairman Pete Bevacqua said that the NHL games and the NASCAR races would make the move to the USA Network and while potentially raise the viewer numbers.

“This will make USA Network an extraordinarily powerful platform in the media marketplace, and gives our sports programming a significant audience boost,” Bevacqua said.

NASCAR Will Release Multiple Docuseries About the 2021 Season

Bubba Wallace

GettyBubba Wallace arrives on pit road for the Ally 400.

While the upcoming docuseries on USA Network will focus on the Cup Series playoffs, it will not be the only project highlighting the 2021 season. Netflix will also release a series focused entirely on Bubba Wallace and his first season with 23XI Racing.

The project does not yet have a confirmed title, but production continues as Wallace pushes for a spot in the playoffs. A camera crew has followed the Cup Series driver throughout the season, capturing moments at the track and at his home.

“Yeah, [the filming has] been good. It hasn’t been too invasive, which is what I kind of told them from the get-go,” Wallace told Heavy during a June interview. “I don’t want to be followed around 24-7. That just drains the life out of you. They’ve been like a fly on the wall and just capturing behind-the-scenes stuff just to show. You know, what it really takes to be competitive at the club level, so I’m excited to see the final product. [We] should be hopefully seeing some rough cuts here soon.”

“Race for the Championship” and the Wallace docuseries are two confirmed projects in the works, but they may not be the only ones. NASCAR partnered with the MotorTrend Group in 2020 to release a seven-episode docuseries focused on the COVID shutdown, Ryan Newman’s crash in the Daytona 500, and several other major moments.

“NASCAR 2020: Under Pressure” aired exclusively on the MotorTrend app and provided an in-depth look at the 2020 season. There is no confirmed second season just yet, but the Sports Business Journal reported in March that NASCAR is working on “some two-dozen” entertainment projects for various platforms.

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