The Ultimate Driver Tell All is back!
For the past 30 years, I have had a backstage pass that any motorsports fan would envy. Growing up at a racetrack, I was invited in as stories were told and lifelong friendships were made. And it is because of these late-night stories communicated around a cooler that I first developed my love of storytelling.
Over the course of the last six years, I have had the opportunity to work alongside the team at NASCAR to create the Ultimate Driver Tell All—an event that is widely considered one of NASCAR’s best fan events held annually. Moreover, it one of the only times that NASCAR’s elite athletes let down their guard and share unfiltered stories of their lives on and off track, and their battles throughout the season.
As part of the production team, we begin working on the show months in advance, touching upon every aspect from scripting and staging to special guests. We start off as a small group, tasked with brainstorming and discussing our wish list of story elements as well as hopeful Chase Contenders. As we get closer to the event, the group expands as every detail is ironed out. The team focuses on the areas that have the greatest potential to entertain the audience and highlight some of the more introverted personalities onstage. We continually work to find balance between producing an event that is billed as the ultimate tell all while also positioning enough constraint to prevent the 16 special guests on stage from getting too far off track.
Following that, NASCAR After the Lap continues to be one of my favorite events of the year, and this year’s event didn’t disappoint. Longtime friend and NBC talent, Rutledge Wood, returned as our host and special guest (not to mention a HUGE NASCAR fan), Guy Fieri, served as co-host and the voice of the audience.
We watched as seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, Jimmie Johnson, was honored, and former NASCAR Champion and constant NASCAR After the Lap personality, Tony Stewart, celebrated his retirement with an audience full of fans, including Tony’s childhood hero and Racing God, AJ Foyt.
The stories told made me feel like I was sitting around that cooler after a long race, swapping stories from the day’s adventure. I felt like I was the only one in the room as former NASCAR Champion, Dale Jarrett, talked about racing against Petty and Earnhardt—and now seeing their accomplishments matched.
I am not sure it’s possible to make this event any better, but I love that NASCAR continues to have confidence in me to try.
Until next year,