The canon of narrative films based in the world of NASCAR isn’t that large.
The most well known are “Days of Thunder” (1990), “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” (2006) and ESPN’s “3: The Dale Earnhardt Story” (2004) which starred Barry Pepper as the late-Dale Earnhardt.
Now you can add “Racer’s Heart: The Bobby Allison Story” to the mix.
Production company Posse Films, which specializes in “inspirational entertainment,” announced this week it is making a biographical film about the life and career of Allison, the 1983 Winston Cup champion and three-time Daytona 500 winner.
“My family and I are thrilled to have this film produced by Posse Films,” Allison said in a release. “Mark (Sutcliffe) and his team at Posse Films are like family to us, and I know we can trust them with our story.”
A press release said the film will document Allison’s rise to the top of NASCAR, the 1988 crash that ended his career at the age of 50 and Bobby and his wife Judy’s loss of their two sons, Davey and Clifford.
The film’s website says the movie is tentatively scheduled for release in fall 2015.
“It is truly an honor to tell Bobby and Judy’s story, and we are committed to telling this compelling true story that will be exciting for NASCAR fans,” said Sutcliffe, chairman of Posse Films. “The further gifts of this story are Bobby and Judy’s lifelong love story and their continued faith through life’s worst kind of tragedies, which will be inspirational for moviegoers of every type.”
The project has been in the works for a few years.
The movie’s website, allisonfilm.com, is connected to a Twitter account that was created in March 2013. The account, which hasn’t tweeted since April 22 of that year, states the film was originally scheduled for production in late-2013 with a release planned for mid-2014.
Posse Films also own the rights to the lives of actor James Dean and Mike Webster, a former center for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
What do you think about this potential movie about Allison and his family? Who do you think should portray Allison on the big screen?
START: The command to start engines will be given by Jean Swift, treasurer of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Counsel, at 12:51 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 1 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 301 laps (318.46 miles) around the 1.058-mile track.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 75. Stage 2 ends on Lap 150.
COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 35
PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 7:30 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 11 a.m. Driver introductions are at 12:05 p.m.
NATIONALANTHEM: Vanessa Salvucci will perform the anthem at 12:45 p.m. The Canadian National Anthem will be performed by Kirk Young at 12:42 p.m.
TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race beginning at 1 p.m. Coverage begins at noon with Countdown to Green on NBCSN. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at noon p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.
FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for a high of 70 degrees and a 78 percent chance of rain and storms at the start of the race.
LOUDON, N.H. — A sea of change is brewing in NASCAR and no idea seems far-fetched anymore.
A Cup race incorporating Charlotte Motor Speedway’s infield road course would have been mocked. Such a race is about two months from happening.
A Cup race on a dirt track? It seems more plausible but still a few years away.
And the idea one driver has of turning a 1.5-mile track into a short track doesn’t seem as farcical as it would have been years earlier.
While the action on the track remains a key focus for NASCAR, the race to retain and reach out to more fans also is key. That’s opened conversation to changes, particularly what venues should hold Cup races.
“To me, if you go to a track that is smaller, it’s better for the fans,” Ryan Newman told NBC Sports. “If you go to a track that is slicker, it’s better for the fans. If you go to a track that is different, it’s better for the fans.
“At this point in our sport, different is good because we’ve done so much of the same in the last 18 years that I’ve been involved as a competitor. I would say as a fan it has become somewhat redundant.”
Newman competed in Wednesday’s Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway and likes the idea of a Cup race on dirt. Cup last ran on dirt Sept. 30, 1970 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Richard Petty won.
Is it time for Cup to return to its roots?
“The Cup Series was not above racing on dirt 40 years ago, 50 years ago,” Newman said. “Dirt is where we get our food from. There’s nothing wrong with racing on it.”
Not everyone agrees.
In the race by public opinion to change the sport, Kyle Larson is pumping the brakes on one idea.
“I wouldn’t like to see Cup on dirt,” Larson said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, echoing comments he made two years ago. “To me, Cup belongs on pavement and real road course tracks.”
Asked what could be done to make Cup racing on dirt a better idea to him, Larson noted improved tires for that surface and more horsepower. He then stopped himself and said: “I don’t really know how to answer the question without making people mad.”
One thing that is becoming evident is there are few bad ideas.
The notion of racing at different tracks is gaining momentum. The last track added to the Cup schedule was Kentucky Speedway in 2011.
“I think that new venues always add excitement,” Denny Hamlin said Friday. “I mean, that’s what really, in my opinion, boomed the popularity in the 2000s, was going to these new race tracks. You know, Kentucky was awesome for the first time and then it’s just kind of – it fizzled out and it’s still the same old Kentucky that it’s always been.
“If you want to talk about a road course, there’s some amazing tracks just north of the border in Canada that are awesome – Montreal and tracks that are made for road course racing. The (Charlotte) roval is a little bit different of a beast because I don’t know how much architect went into coming up with passing zones and the lay of the land.
“It’s certainly a wildcard race and maybe that’s what the fans want. If it is, then we can – we’ll do that every week, but I definitely like the idea of going to new venues because there’s always a level of excitement.’’
But Hamlin also knows change will be slow.
For those wanting races at different venues, NASCAR signed five-year sanctioning agreements with tracks that go through the 2020 season. The 2019 schedule already has been announced. So unless something dramatic happens, there won’t be anything new until 2021.
“None of this is ever going to happen,” Hamlin said of the many venue changes fans and those in the sport support. “Not until these tracks and NASCAR get together and are willing to make changes.”
But fans and those in the sport can dream. While thinking about the possibilities, David Ragan has an idea for his home track of Atlanta Motor Speedway. The track’s rough surface, praised by drivers, likely will need to be repaved soon and with it will be the fear that the multi-lane racing will disappear.
Ragan has a solution for Atlanta. Don’t repave. Rebuild.
“Whenever they go to pave Atlanta Motor Speedway, they need to reduce the size of the track to three-quarters of a mile and build it like Iowa,” Ragan told NBC Sports. “I think they would make a big mistake if they would just repave it.”
It’s a wild idea that doesn’t seem likely to happen. Then again, who had ever heard of a roval two years ago?
Bell took the lead from Keselowski on the final restart with 18 laps to go. Bell was on four fresh tires while Keselowski was on two.
Keselowski hounded the rear bumper of Bell’s No. 20 Toyota for the last five laps but was unable to make a pass attempt.
“The better tires, they didn’t hurt us that’s for sure,” Bell told NBCSN. “(Crew chief) Jason (Ratcliff) was able to put four (tires) on there and, man, we got going there that long green flag run and I was getting really nervous because I didn’t have a (tachometer), so I didn’t really know how I was going to get down pit road, but luckily I’ve got the best spotter on the roof, man, and Tony (Hirschman) was able to kind of guide me and let me know, ‘Alright, I think you can pick it up a little bit,’ and then a couple times he told me to slow it down, so it worked out for us. We were able to take four tires there and that was a big deal.”
It is Bell’s third win of the season and second in a row. He led 93 of 200 laps around the 1-mile track.
POST-RACE INSPECTION: NASCAR announced that the cars of Ryan Preece and John Hunter Nemechek failed heights in inspection after the race. Penalties will be announced next week.
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Keselowski led 72 laps and came in second after he had to start from the rear for being late to the driver-crew chief meeting … Matt Tifft earned his second top five of the season … Ryan Preece has finished in the top five in three of five starts this season.
NOTABLE: There was a 7 minutes and 30 second red flag period to fix sand barrels knocked over by Jeremy Clements at the start of pit road with 34 laps to go … After contending up front for much of the race, Daniel Hemric placed 11th, ending a career-best streak of eight straight top 10s.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I think we would have won today on four (tires), but that’s not the way it played out.” – Brad Keselowski.
WHAT’S NEXT: U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway at 3:30 p.m. ET on July 28 on NBCSN