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Calling it the biggest weekend in Speed’s 14-year history, the motorsports network will broadcast live the Sprint All-Star Race this Saturday and the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame inductions on Sunday. In charge of the Fox Sports property since 2005 is Hunter Nickell, a former high school teacher and coach who has engineered Speed’s growth from a niche channel to distribution of more than 75 million in the
Nickell, a native of Detroit, came to Speed from FSN South in Atlanta, where he had spent the previous 15 years. At Speed, Nickell guided the network’s move into its new HD-friendly headquarters in north Charlotte in 2008. He also has negotiated deals that brought more live NASCAR programming to the channel. Preferring to work at his unique stand-up desk for most of the day, Nickell says he thinks best on his feet.
1. “Driving With The Devil,” an account of NASCAR’s early days; 2. Nickell rode in this Grand-Am car at Daytona; 3. Champagne bottles celebrating the 200th broadcast of Speed’s “Trackside” show; 4. Nickell prefers a wide-screen computer moniter that enables him to view entire Web pages.
5. A whitewater rafting adventure that Nickell took with Speed employees; 6. Artwork of Bruce Springsteen, Nickell’s favorite artist; 7. A commemorative clock from the Darrell Gwynn Foundation; 8. A USB drive in the shape of an open-wheel car.
The flatscreen in Nickell’s office naturally plays Speed 24/7. Nickell’s love of racing has even included a short stint as crew chief on his son Pete’s Legends car. This 11 1/2-by-17-inch book was part of Speed’s pitch to NASCAR to broadcast its inaugural Hall of Fame inductions. The book is titled “NASCAR Heroes: Racing to Glory.” These placards are known as lenticulars, a type of 3-D printing, and feature the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s first class. They were used as props in Nickell’s pitch to NASCAR. The “NASCAR Heroes” book outlined Speed’s coverage plans for the induction ceremony, which included last week’s Hall opening and a sneak peek for viewers. Among the books in Nickell’s office are “The First Tycoon — The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt” and “The Weekend Starts on Wednesday: True Stories of Remarkable NASCAR Fans.”