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via Imago

via Imago

Popular belief suggests that NASCAR has been gradually losing popularity, especially when it comes to younger fans. That is where several people, including Kenny Wallace, believe that Netflix will come in to help the sport. The biggest example of this would be one of the sport’s biggest competitors, F1’s return to prominence, especially in the US. After ‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’ came into the public eye in 2019, the success of the sport reached unprecedented heights, and today, open-wheel racing has once again become a global phenomenon.

With Netflix set to release a docuseries ‘NASCAR: Full Speed’ covering the 2023 Cup Series Championship, veteran Kenny Wallace has come forward to talk about how the show has the potential to make the tables turn. The series will cover the 2023 Cup Series playoffs with 5 episodes of 45 minutes each. Some of the athletes featured in the trailer were Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Kyle Larson. It is set to be released on January 30, a few days before the 2024 Cup season kicks off.

Kenny Wallace explains how drivers and sponsors have “lost their way”

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Veteran insider Kenny Wallace is among the most vocal in the NASCAR community. Speaking about the docuseries, the 60-year-old, who never shies away from expressing his opinion, whether good or bad, talked about the positive impact of the show’s release.

“The subject at hand this morning…how about NASCAR? NASCAR joined up with Netflix and man this is gonna help. Just like it helped Formula One and here’s why. I’ve said this before on Coffee with Kenny. The reason this Netflix special is gonna help NASCAR, quote me here, it’s going to grow NASCAR in leaps and bounds,” the veteran said on a recent episode of Coffee with Kenny.

One of the main reasons why ‘NASCAR: Full Speed’ is going to be massively helpful to the sport, as per Kenny Wallace, would be in making the drivers popular. The 60-year-old believes that sponsors today are quite lost when it comes to marketing their drivers to the public. Commercials have thinned out and it could be one of the reasons why people’s interest in stock car racing is on the decline.

“The drivers more so have lost their way, the sponsors have lost their way. They sponsor the car and maybe the drivers do some appearances for the sponsors, but the sponsors have quit airing commercials on TV,” the former NASCAR racer divulged.

However, Netflix, with its huge audience, will attempt to humanize these drivers and most importantly, make their faces recognizable. It’s the same formula that was followed in F1’s Drive to Survive documentary. Making the drivers relatable and bringing out their true personalities will perhaps help the fans connect. Talking about the same, the veteran also opened up about NASCAR’s shortcoming that could’ve led to the sport’s struggles.

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Wallace slams NASCAR, pins hopes on Netflix to make the sport popular again

Kenny Wallace believes that it was a collective failure of NASCAR and the sponsors involved who could not properly market the drivers. According to him, Netflix is here to clean that mess up, bring these athletes to new fans, and make their faces more recognizable to everyone. While a polished exterior of a driver and their vehicle on the racetrack is sure to attract fans, an inside look into a racer’s psyche and the struggles they face behind closed doors is sure to bring audiences a lot closer to the sport. 

 “This Netflix special is going to put drivers’ faces on the map…Whether it was NASCAR’s fault or whether it was the sponsors’ fault, collectively all together. It was everybody’s fault. This is why it’s gonna help the sport of NASCAR. It’s gonna take our drivers, put them at the forefront,” Wallace opined.

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The former Cup Series racer has placed a lot of faith in Netflix to help NASCAR regain its lost popularity. While the project does have a lot of promise, things could go south real soon if the series falls short of fans’ expectations. What kind of reaction will NASCAR: Full Speed get? We’ll have to wait till January 30 to find out!

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