SBD/Issue 150/Sports Media

BET Next Year To Air New NASCAR Reality Show "Changing Lanes"

Siegel (r) Wants To See More Opportunities
Created In NASCAR For Minorities
BET next season will air a show called "Changing Lanes," a "docu-reality series" that will spotlight drivers in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program, according to Richard Huff of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The 909 Group Founder Max Siegel, whose company manages the Drive for Diversity program, took the idea for the show to NASCAR Media Group COO Jay Abraham, and "together they shopped it to networks." BET has "bought 10 episodes of the hour-long show" which is "expected to launch in 2010." Siegel said that some Drive for Diversity drivers "will participate in the reality show." Siegel: "I wanted to see more opportunities created in NASCAR for people of color, especially on the competition side." Siegel said, "Every week, there's a lot of competition, on-track performance, a lot of back story, and getting to know the participants. We want the audience to get to know what it takes to participate at this level." Huff notes the show is "far from the first reality series to delve into the sport," as FX aired "NASCAR Drivers 360," a show that "followed drivers on and off the track." ABC also "tried a celebrity series pairing stars with drivers in a race competition," while TLC aired "NASCAR Wives" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/23).

BREAKING BARRIERS: In a cover story for HISPANIC magazine, Marissa Rodriguez profiles NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya and writes Montoya is "one of the few Latinos behind the wheel at NASCAR races, but his successes paired with the organization's push for attention among Latinos have caused interest in the sport to grow." A study reveals that 38% of Latinos "call themselves NASCAR fans, at least casually." In '05, NASCAR released data stating that 8.9% of their fan base was Latino, a "small growth from 2001's rate of 8.1[%]." Although Montoya "admits to thinking about the fact that there aren't many Hispanics within the NASCAR family, Montoya says that leaving his imprint as a Latino in NASCAR is not his driving force." Montoya: "I am one of the first Latinos to be able to make it to the top leagues. (But) I don't do it for the legacy, I do it because I love it. It's more of a personal thing" (HISPANIC, 4/ '09 issue).

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