Turner Sports’ All Access Pass Focuses in on NASCAR Teams

Turner Sports is bringing a new level of narrative to its six-show NASCAR season, which began last Sunday at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. TNT’s All Access Pass will include behind-the-scenes content featuring a selected driver and team (one per week) throughout the NASCAR Summer Series, along with special off-the-track segments and more.

TNT will follow the driver and team over the entire week as they travel to and prepare for the upcoming race, with coverage beginning as the driver leaves the previous track and continuing throughout the network’s next Summer Series telecast. Among the featured drivers will be Denny Hamlin (Pocono), Brad Keselowski (Michigan), Juan Pablo Montoya (Sonoma), and Kurt Busch (Kentucky).

“It gives a good overall view of what’s going on [between races], something that most fans aren’t really familiar with,” says Tom Sahara, VP, operations and technology, Turner Sports. “We’ve got crews following the teams around and we’re editing those pieces on site so we can get the latest updates on how [the drivers] did in qualifying, if they had any problems, and what they’re doing to fix those problems. It gives the viewer a really good behind-the-scenes view of what goes on with some of their favorite teams.”

Using ENG cameras, Final Cut, and a completely tapeless workflow, TNT will deploy approximately a dozen people to shoot and edit the All Access Pass features.

Additionally, each week, TNT will televise a special feature highlighting a driver away from the track. During the Pocono telecast, the spotlight was focused on Dale Earnhardt Jr. He and TNT’s Ralph Sheheen will talk racing and life outside of NASCAR at Earnhardt’s “Whisky River” property, including his “Car Graveyard.”

The All Access pieces will air weekly during the prerace Countdown to Green Presented by Kelley Blue Book show. Also returning for another season, Inside Trax will showcase audio and video from selected crew chiefs and teams during each race telecast.

TNT’s NASCAR Summer Series continues this weekend at the Michigan International Speedway; a long track, unlike the tri-oval track at the Pocono Raceway.  Because the track layouts vary so greatly, TNT must apply a different philosophy to its coverage every week.

“It’s really about what are the unique features of each track and trying to highlight that,” says Sahara. “In this case, it’s [a] super speedway, so [our focus is] going to be getting in and out of the corners, trying to find the best line. That’s probably what you’re going to see — a bit more coverage down the straightaways.”

NEP’s Supershooter 24 and approximately 40 cameras are used to cover NASCAR’s Summer Series, although that number varies depending on the track.

According to Sahara, the audio crew will build packages from the week’s footage leading up to the broadcast. “This is a part of NASCAR that viewers rarely get a chance to see or hear,” he says. “We’ve done this in the past but only during selected weeks, but, this year, we’re doing it for all six races, starting with Pocono.”

The packages will be broken up and shown interstitially during the race show. Audio will come from the same sources used for the regular NASCAR broadcasts, including track microphones and RF mics on drivers and crew chiefs. Audio will be captured and mixed by Turner Sports A1 Kevin McCloskey and effects mixer Chip Weaver, who also mix the live broadcasts.

This summer marks TNT’s 31st consecutive year of exclusive NASCAR Summer Series coverage.

Karen Hogan contributed to this report.