Home / Tech / Behind the scenes at the Daytona 500 hangar shoot for NASCAR on Fox Sports

Behind the scenes at the Daytona 500 hangar shoot for NASCAR on Fox Sports

Behind the scenes at the Daytona 500 hangar shoot for NASCAR on Fox Sports


Here’s a glance at how the cake is baked, or no matter that saying is.

Daniel Golson/Roadshow

2020 is the 20th yr that Fox Sports is the sole broadcaster for NASCAR, and it is also the 20th anniversary of the first “hangar shoot” that the firm put on. You know throughout the broadcast of a race after they’ll present issues like a brief video clip of a driver crossing their arms in entrance of a cool background? The hangar shoot is when all that stuff is created. I acquired to go behind the scenes and expertise the hangar shoot because it was taking place earlier this week forward of the Daytona 500, and it was fascinating.

The preliminary setup begins the Monday earlier than the 500, however it begins getting actually hectic on Tuesday. (I confirmed up on Wednesday afternoon, a number of hours after the drivers started arriving.) All the footage that is captured at the shoot will probably be used all through the complete season, not simply throughout the 500, so the workforce must be thorough. The similar workforce that works on the hangar shoot can also be the similar workforce that produces the Super Bowl, which additionally aired on Fox Sports this yr, so the crew appeared just a bit extra drained than they normally could be.

This yr’s shoot consisted of 4 distinct setups inside the hangar, every of which had been surrounded by a black tent. The elaborate setups are most akin to a music video set, one thing that crew members say is intentional. Every yr the manufacturing workforce has a giant assembly to brainstorm concepts for that yr’s hangar shoot, with individuals bringing examples from different types of media, and music movies are all the time considered one of the hottest examples. The crew describes it like a automobile wash, the place the drivers are corralled by means of the completely different phases.

One set had a big runway like one thing out of a vogue present, the place the driver would stroll down as lights flashed and pose at the finish of the runway. Another had a background made up of American flag-esque pink white and blue lights that had been managed by a technician, which the drivers would stand in entrance of. Then there was primarily a big field made from lights and screens that might change colours to match the driver’s racing swimsuit, and one other set with giant screens and Fox Sports graphics. The drivers would do poses like cross their arms and look at the digicam, level or give a thumbs up, and snigger or smile.


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Efficiency at the shoot is essential, in response to Bill Richards, govt vp of manufacturing for Fox Sports. “People have walked in and they know what to expect, if we say it will take x amount of time it will take x amount of time,” he mentioned. “We’re efficient, buttoned up, and we’re all here for the same reason: to make these guys look like superheroes and make people want to watch this sport.”

Racing is extra of a personality-driven sport than individuals might imagine, so collaborating in the hangar shoot is a giant alternative for drivers to advertise themselves. But in the early days it was apparently like pulling enamel to get drivers to return to the hangar shoot. Most drivers thought the concept was foolish or a waste of time and that there was no level to it. Richards says Dale Earnhardt Sr. confirmed up that first yr and located it very cool, although, and referred to as up another drivers and inspired them to attend. Attend and luxuriate in it they did, and the shoot began gaining traction.

Richards says the largest change since that first shoot in 2001 is that it has now gotten greater than anyone driver collaborating. “In the first few years it was new to everybody, and it took a few years to get going, but now it’s an absolute part of your Daytona week and we have zero worry about someone missing it. If they miss it, it’s more their problem than our problem.” The savvier drivers have realized that it is the excellent option to promote themselves by means of each the TV and their very own social media posts from the shoot.


Jimmie Johnson is retiring from full-time racing this yr.

Fox Sports

At first all the footage was captured on cassettes, which was a ache in the ass. Everything is digitized and well-organized by room and driver now, making all of it a lot simpler — no extra shedding tapes. The 500 was first broadcast in 4K six years in the past, however only some shooters had been doing it. Now, the majority of the cameras on set (and at the race) shoot in 4K. The hangar shoot itself was a lot smaller and fewer elaborate in these first few years than it has now developed to be, though it has been scaled down by a bit in the previous few years.

When it involves the way forward for the hangar shoot, Richards says it is all about the expertise. “We fight with the budget and then what’s out there technology-wise. What technology is doing is amazing. You can have screens anywhere, you can walk on them, you can have rainfall all around except for the spot in the middle where the person is. Visually, there’s people out there coming up with such amazing things, there’s no limit for the hangar. There’s probably way better to come.”

Many of the well-known and successful drivers that Richards grew up watching are actually retired, like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, and that ties into his favourite factor about producing NASCAR for TV: serving to promote the younger and up-and-coming drivers. “I look at the pre-race and the hangar … our job is to help get these new names out there, and we need their help with personality and getting checkered flags. But TV should do their part to help these guys get as big as the generation before.”

The Daytona 500 airs Sunday, February 16, with the race beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. 

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