Plot: What’s it about?
As the cars race at insane speeds around the track, the drivers inside use all of their concentration and skills to try to grab the checkered flag. NASCAR is the elite of the elite for these racers, the best of the best and to get to this point, they have worked hard, sacrificed, and endured countless obstacles. In Driven to Win, you’re taken behind the wheel with these drivers, a selection of NASCAR’s hottest rising stars. Each episode highlights one of the up and coming drivers, explores the path they took to reach the biggest league in racing, some of which are more winding than others. You’ll see how some drivers managed to grab instant success and others had to wait for their break. Some of the drivers faced incredible obstacles and had to break huge barriers, but persevered and rose to achieve their dream. The drivers profiled in Driven to Win include Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Erin Crocker, Brian Vickers, Kyle Busch, and others. This thirteen volume series offers a glimpse into what it takes to race for NASCAR, and how driven these racers are, even off the track.
I feel I should mention right off the top, I am not a fan of NASCAR, not even close. In truth, I wouldn’t sit down and watch a race unless I was at gun point and even then, I’d blink as much as possible. So in other words, I am by no means the target demographic for Driven to Win. I did indeed peruse this first season however, to see if what happens behind the scenes would interest me, even if the racetrack doesn’t. Although I didn’t expect too much, the series turns out to be more than solid. This is not the usual reality series, in that each episode is a biography that focuses on one driver. So if you wanted to be inside as the season rolled on or whatever, this isn’t your show, but you do learn a lot about how NASCAR works. Driven to Win takes what is, to most of us anyway, a faceless sport outside of a few famous names, and introduces us to the folks behind the wheel. If you’re already into NASCAR, I assume this would help you connect more with the drivers and have more of an investment in the races, which is great if you ask me. The personal side of the racers is quite candid, as we learn what inspired them to race and how they were able to reach that goal. They also talk about their experiences on the track, from the highs and lows to their interactions with other drivers. A more than solid series and for NASCAR fans, a real treat, so if you’re into the races, Driven to Win is recommended.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. As expected, the format produces some flaws, such as inconsistent light, but in a documentary feature like this, you can’t expect perfect lighting and other photographic bliss. The colors look good and flesh tones are accurate, while the contrast is acceptable, if a little inconsistent at times. But considering the nature of the material and the equipment used, this looks as good as we could ask.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio here is rather basic, as the series is more about dialogue than music or brash sound effects. So if you’ve seen a reality show before, you should know what to expect, a track that is clean and effective, but unmemorable. Then again, we wouldn’t want a dynamic track in this case, as it would distract from the material too much. We need to focus on the people and their dialogue, not the surround channels. The dialogue is smooth and always clear here, so no vocals wind up muffled or drowned out by other elements. Given the racetrack’s audio dynamics, this could have been better, but this is still solid.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes a behind the scenes featurette, a Q&A session with the drivers, and detailed bios on the drivers involved.