Netflix has achieved huge success in recent years with its Formula 1 series Drive to Survive. The sixth season is highly anticipated this year. Netflix has already applied the Drive to Survive formula to the Tour de France, can it repeat that trick with NASCAR? A bit of documentary, a bit of drama, a bit of the impact of the sport and above all, a lot of personalities in front of the camera… NASCAR Full Speed doesn’t have it.
Drive to Survive clone
This article is called a Netflix viewing tip and although we sometimes recommend something not to watch, this is definitely a series to watch. After all, we know very little about the sport in the Netherlands. Many people don’t really understand it either: always driving in circles, what’s the fun in that? If Netflix wanted to show that it is still very cool with this documentary, then it certainly succeeded. It is certainly not a very original ‘model’, because it seems to follow exactly the same pattern as Drive to Survive. However, that doesn’t bother you, because at least you now have some guidance: even if you know nothing about NASCAR, you know approximately what to expect in terms of storytelling and therefore your brain pays more attention to the content itself.
Plus, there’s a well-known NASCAR voice, Dale Earnhardt Jr., narrating what’s going on. It is sometimes a shame that it contains a lot of jargon. But, you can look through and think, never mind, it will become clear. Moreover, you can always pause Netflix and look up the term, although that is of course not ideal. On the other hand, that is the advantage of on demand. The series could have used some visual support: when Dale mentions a term, he explains what it is in text (or with animations if necessary), because Netflix can also do that very well in its Explained series.
Learning about NASCAR
You actually end up learning something about NASCAR and there’s definitely drama in it. It is an exciting story, you get a lot of images of racing cars and tinkering with cars and that makes it worthwhile. This series might even make you like NASCAR, although it’s also quite fun to watch if you don’t ultimately plan to follow NASCAR closely. However, the teams and guests are a bit… boring. They don’t have nearly as much character as their Formula 1 colleagues. Many less positive things are also not highlighted and that is a shame. Netflix plays it safe by not saying anything about Bubba Wallace, which it also made into a separate production. But nothing is said about other issues surrounding racism that happened in the 2023 season and some moments that were characteristic of the NASCAR season are missed.
It seems very easy to apply the Drive to Survive trick, but in fact it only makes it clear that the differences between racing in Formula 1 and racing in NASCAR are enormous. NASCAR Full Speed could have had a bit more of an image and a bit more control, so that every episode you think: exciting! Now it certainly looks nice, but you have less of that feeling that you want to cheer for a certain team or driver and that is a shame. So we are not really cheering on this NASCAR production, but anyone who is even a little curious about this motor sport will certainly enjoy this documentary series.