NASCAR has gained fans left and right over the last few years - there's even a "NASCAR" cartoon series to try and pull in new fans from the younger crowd and last Summer's hit movie, "Talladega Nights". "Driven to Win" is a Biography Channel series that took viewers into the lives of thirteen of the sport's most popular drivers. Sort of a "Behind the Music" for NASCAR.
Those who are looking for a more technical, specific exploration into NASCAR - the cars, the parts, etc. - will not really find what they're looking for here. Episodes provide a look at the early years of each star and how they got involved in the sport, some of their biggest wins, a good deal of footage of the star on the track and interviews with the star discussing some of the biggest moments of their career.
It'll probably be entertaining for fans looking to learn more about their favorite stars, but the show doesn't always go very deeply into what makes that star different. "Why are they the best?" (Deep announcer voice) "Because they're the best." I would have liked to have seen more about the day-to-day life of each of these stars, instead. How do they prepare for a race? What do they do during downtime between races?
Moderately more interesting are episodes devoted to "Erin Crocker" and "Reggie White's Dream". Erin Crocker is a young woman whose father inspired her to take up the sport. The episode follows Crocker's training and how she made her way up the ranks of the traditionally male-dominated sport. "Reggie White's Dream" takes a look at how the former football player (along with Joe Gibbs) has sought out minority players and how the sport in general has tried to become more diverse. Sadly, White passed away and Gibbs returned to the NFL, but J.D. Gibbs (Joe's son) took up the cause and continued what Reggie White and his father started. The episode provides a look at three minority players in the sport and how they became interested and involved.
Overall, "Driven to Win" is a mildly enjoyable series, although it mainly provides a basic overview of some of the stars of the sport. As a result, the show is mainly recommended for the more hardcore fans of the sport.
01 - Kasey Kahne
02 - Kyle Busch
03 - Erin Crocker
04 - Carl Edwards
05 - Rusty & Stephen Wallace
06 - Greg Biffle
07 - Martin Truex, Jr.
08 - Brian Vickers
09 - Casey Mears
10 - Richard Childress Racing
11 - Jamie McMurray
12 - Chip Ganassi Racing: David Stremme & Reed Sorenson
13 - Reggie White's Dream: Chris Bristol/Aric Almirola/Marc Davis
VIDEO: "Driven" is presented by A & E in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality is within reasonable expectations for this kind of program. Sharpness and detail are inconsistent, but the picture looks crisp and clear at best and mildly fuzzy at worst. However, most of the time the picture looks at least mildly well-defined and clear.
Flaws include some noticable shimmering and some slight artifacting. No edge enhancement or wear to the source material is seen. Colors remain bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: Audio is a perfectly fine stereo soundtrack, with clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: We get a nice set of short featurettes that provides the kind of behind-the-scenes details on NASCAR that the episodes really don't go into (pit crews, rules, etc.) Also included are some additional interview snippets and text biographies.
Final Thoughts: "Driven" offers an overview of some of NASCAR's brightest stars, but doesn't go too deeply into the sport. Fans will likely find it a lot of fun, but it's not likely to capture the attention of non-fans. The DVD offers fine audio/video quality and bonus featurettes that begin to make up for the details that the episodes largely leave out.