Guest Author - Debbie Lester
CMT has teamed up with the NASCAR Media Group to bring us a new exclusive. Ride Of Their Lives is a story told by those who lived it and narrated by Kevin Costner. Using clever editing, interviews from the past and the present are used to tell the story of how NASCAR grew from the “backwoods garages to the modern day Super Speedways".
The stories told here are not only the tales every NASCAR movie includes, but some of the behind the scenes moments that don’t usually make it off the cutting room floor.
I really enjoyed this movie because I felt that it really told the story of how important family is to NASCAR. How racing families started out and left their mark on NASCAR history. It delved into the relationships between members of the same families and how racing helped to shape their family dynamics. The movie showed the sacrifices that families make to race, the exaltation of winning and the heartache of tragedy and how NASCAR stands together as a family in itself.
The impeccable art work of Sam Bass was shown throughout the movie to illustrate a point or to show a driver that each segment was about. Sam Bass has chronicled the history of NASCAR in paintings which any NASCAR fan would be privileged to own.
There were several segments that were thought provoking and gave a clear picture of the times not only in NASCAR but in our country at large. From segregation to feminism. What happened in NASCAR was generally what was happening in the world.
The segment about Wendall Scott and the issues he faced as the first African American NASCAR driver was compelling. It talked about his struggles on and off the track, trying to make ends meet just to go from track to track and race. While segregation ran rampant and in a sport born in the South, Wendall Scott stood strong and represented his family with pride in tough times.
The segment featuring Stevie Waltrip, the wife of racing legend Darrell Waltrip showed how feminism in the 1970’s was viewed not only on the track but off. There were signs posted saying that no women or children were not allowed on pit road up until this time, but Stevie Waltrip persisted until she was able to support and work with her husband in the pits for over 30 years.
The story about the career of Bobby Allison is no secret to most NASCAR fans, but in Ride Of Their Lives it showed the bonds of family and how tragedy touched the Allison family. Both sons were killed in track related accidents. Clifford Allison was killed in an on track accident and Davey Allison was killed in a helicopter accident at Talledega Speedway.
It was easy to see that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was still highly emotional when discussing the death of his father, NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. The segment where he and Rick Hendrick talked about their bond was poignant and heart wrenching. Dale Jr. had a lost a father and Rick Hendrick had lost a son and both had found in each other a person to lean on, learn from and move on.
Ride Of Their Lives is a story about racing. It’s a story about winners like Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Tim Richmond and many others. But, most all it was story about family. A Story about winning and losing, sacrifice and reward on and off the track. It is the story of NASCAR.
Ride Of Their Lives will be coming to DVD Feb. 10th of 2009. I encourage any NASCAR fan to see this movie. It was a great look into what has made NASCAR great, family.