(CBS Local)- CBS Sports announced a new partnership on Monday with Superstar Racing Experience, a new sports property that will combine with CBS Sports to produce a six-race, short-track series that will air Saturday nights on CBS Television Network and CBS All Access beginning in the summer of 2021.
Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) is the brainchild of The Montag Group, NASCAR Hall of Famers Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart and investor George Pyne. It will feature sprint races with no pit stops and an emphasis on head-to-head competition among drivers from a variety of racing backgrounds.
“Ray and I kept in touch and we just had this idea that, to go back to the heartland where the fans are and give the fans something that they want and modernize it,” said Pyne in a Zoom call with reporters Monday. “Have shorter races, more exciting formats, and really bring to life the driver personalities.”
For Evernham, the most important aspect of the series for him is that it will be driver skill focused rather than focused on the improved technologies of the cars themselves. He told reporters that going to tracks that drivers grew up racing on is important in that it brings the series to the fans and also to tracks where speeds will be lower and cars will remain closer together making for exciting action.
“The places where a lot of these legends grew up where the names and faces that you have seen become motorsports superstars started and future superstars are working there now,” said Evernham.
The series will feature drivers and mechanics from many of the top circuits in the world with both Stewart and Evernham joining competition alongside rising stars of the sport. The races will have about 90 minutes of drive time with no pit stops but instead there will be a halftime, during which teams can make adjustments. Evernham says that interest from potential drivers for the series has already begun pouring in since the announcement of the series was made this morning.
“We’ve gotten a tremendous amount of interest just since we made this announcement, my phone has been ringing off the hook this morning,” said Evernham. “Really it’s about putting people in positions that are current superstars and legends or future superstars and legends. We have looked at a lot of different formats with possibly working in guest drivers for one or two offs. Or maybe giving a “Rocky Balboa” shot against our drivers.
The list of drivers set to compete already has one name involved, the aforementioned NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart. Stewart says he’s excited to return to the track with SRX because this is something he feels he has been missing the last few years. He did make one thing very clear, the series is not meant as a competitor to NASCAR.
“We’re not running on the same nights as NASCAR, it’s not meant to be competition for anybody,” said Stewart. “It’s meant to bring a product that the fans are looking for and fans want to see. I go to dirt tracks across the country weekly and fans say, ‘we miss seeing you on TV in a race car.’ So this is a perfect opportunity for a lot of drivers like myself to be able to get back and compete against each other in a diverse style of racing.”
For CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus, the most exciting part of the new series is that it is a made for television product in that it brings the drama sports fans want of head-to-head competition between some of the biggest name drivers.
“It’s not about the cars and it’s not about the technology, it’s about the drivers and the action on the track is what’s going to be what gets people interested in this property,” said McManus. “The authenticity and credibility, that’s going to be what people tune in to see. Who, with identical cars, is going to be able to use his driving experience to win the races. I think it’s custom-made for primetime television in the summer.
That primetime television audience will be getting introduced to some tracks that they likely have never seen before. While there isn’t a definitive list, Evernham did mention places like Nashville Fairgounds Speedway, Stafford Springs Connecticut, and Pensacola, Florida. More information will be forthcoming about drivers involved and specific tracks, but for now, the excitement of the new series is clear.
CBS Sports broadcast coverage will be available to stream live via the CBS All Access subscription service.