SBJ/October 23 - 29, 2006/This Weeks News

Ganassi teams star in new Speed show

A Speed Channel television show targeted for mid-November will offer an inside look at Chip Ganassi’s IndyCar and NASCAR operations.

Chip Ganassi provided the producer of
“Racing Incorporated” with full access.
Ganassi provided Kestrel Communications, the show’s producer, with unprecedented access to his shops and business meetings for about three weeks in August, said John Olguin, Ganassi’s vice president of communications.

The result is “Racing Incorporated,” a pair of one-hour shows that will air on Nov. 15 and 16 at 8 p.m. and repeat at 11 p.m. each night. The shows go inside Ganassi’s IndyCar operation in Indianapolis and his NASCAR shop in Concord, N.C., and follows his different teams to the track.

“It’s not really a reality show,” said Robert Ecker, Speed’s vice president of programming. “It’s more like heightened reality. There will be some drama.”

It took time for Ganassi’s executives to warm to the idea of having cameras follow their every move. At times, they felt like they were undressing in public, simply because race teams work so hard to gain a competitive advantage and to keep that advantage a secret.

“It’s like those dreams you have where you’re walking around without any clothes on,” said Mike Hull, Ganassi’s managing director of the Indy operation. “We’re not used to somebody from the outside being a part of the process.

“But in racing, the whole idea is to be first and I think we’re the first team to really open the doors as much as we did. This is going to offer a perspective on the broad spectrum of racing that’s done under one umbrella.”

Kestrel Communications elected to feature Ganassi’s operation because he fields teams in four different series: IndyCar, Nextel Cup, Busch and Rolex Grand American.

Executive producer Ned Simon placed a crew — a producer, cameraman and audio technician — at both shops and filmed everything from testing the cars to strategy sessions. Production costs ran $100,000 per episode.

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