If you’ve ever thought that the shot NASCAR needed to boost its flagging popularity was a comedy series starring Kevin James, boy are you in luck.
The sanctioning body announced Wednesday that “The Crew” would debut on Netflix in 2020. James, the actor and comedian most famous for his roles in the Paul Blart movie series and the “King of Queens” TV series, will be the star. Here’s the word salad that described the show on NASCAR’s website:
James will star in and be the executive producer for the new multi-cam sitcom, The Crew. He will play the role of Kevin the crew chief in the show set in a NASCAR garage.
Crew chief Kevin will be the old-school sort, more likely to don a Darlington Throwback than anything else. But his old-school ways will be out of style with a rapidly modernizing sport: Think your dad telling you to put the cell phone away at dinner in order to have an actual face-to-face conversation.
If you have no idea what the phrase “to don a Darlington Throwback” means, you are not alone. We’re guessing it’s a reference to throwback NASCAR apparel, but retro NASCAR apparel was around and popular in some circles long before Darlington started having throwback themes for its race weekends.
Second, why is NASCAR being compared to the faux pas of having your phone out at a family dinner? It’s simply wanting common decency — not being old school —to expect to have a conversation with family members you’re sharing a meal with.
Two people employed by NASCAR will serve as executive producers on the show.
The announcement of the show comes in the same year as a Formula 1 series on Netflix. That F1 series “Drive to Survive,” however, was a documentary that chronicled the 2018 season. And it got rave reviews.
A NASCAR version of that F1 show would be a fantastic idea and give fans and non-fans an idea of the drama and details that go on behind the scenes during a racing season. Alas, the NASCAR Netflix show will be a scripted comedy starring James. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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