Drivers Give ‘NASCAR: Full Speed,’ Netflix Positive Reviews

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Three weeks after the Netflix documentary ‘NASCAR: Full Speed’ debuted, the drivers featured in the show were largely positive about the experience.


2023 NASCAR Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney recognized that avenues like Netflix are how the sport has to grab the attention of new race fans and casual fans. Ahead of the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, he met fans that attended, or planned to attend, their first race because of watching the documentary that had NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr as an executive producer.

Drivers were overwhelming positive with their reviews of netflix's nascar: full speed.
Ryan Blaney. (Photo by Nigel Kinrade/Nigel Kinrade Photography)

The show made drivers like Blaney, Christopher Bell, William Byron, Ross Chastain, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Tyler Reddick, and Bubba Wallace relatable to the average fan and casual fan alike. As the defending champion hoped, the show bridged the gap between those already fans while introducing the stock car series to new fans.

“I thought (the show) was positive,” Blaney said. “I haven’t seen too many negative things about it, honestly. I think everyone really enjoyed it and you hope it reaches across the board. You hope it reaches the NASCAR fan already, and then you hope it reaches somebody who doesn’t know anything about the sport. That’s what that platform does – Netflix.

“I met a lot of people in L.A. who were like, ‘This is our first race because we watched the Netflix documentary. We were intrigued and we want to check it out.’ That’s what you hope to do. That’s how you have to grasp people. It gets harder and harder to grasp a new audience every year whatever it is – any sport. It’s hard to grab. How do you make somebody a fan of what you do and just putting a product on TV, on the track, the field, the court, that’s not enough anymore. 

“You have to be relatable, and these shows have really done a good job of relating to people who don’t do that sport, showing us as people, showing us in our every day lives, showing the emotions of the playoffs, the ups and downs, the heartaches of it. For some reason as a human race, we love seeing heartache and pain and I think the documentary showed a lot of heartache and pain in the playoffs and pride, and I think people really liked that.”

For Blaney, the NASCAR docuseries compared it to ‘Quarterback,’ which followed Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ 2022 NFL season. The NFL documentary gave him a different perspective on what it’s like to be an NFL quarterback. The NASCAR documentary opens the same perspective from the viewpoint of a racecar driver.

Those featured in the series varied just how much of their lives they opened to the film crews. For Blaney, his door opened about 80 percent, giving diehard NASCAR fans, casual fans, and new fans a glimpse into the life of a racecar driver.

“I have no idea what it’s like to be an NFL quarterback, but watching that show and seeing those guys, it gave me a whole new perspective,” Blaney stated. “Like, ‘Man, I like that guy.’ You can kind of relate to those people, so I think it did a good job. Hopefully, it sticks around. Hopefully, it comes back because I think people really enjoyed it and I think the drivers enjoyed opening up as well, and I think you would have more drivers open up even more if it comes back again. 

“You kind of understand what it does, the reach that it has, and I think you’re (going to) have more people be like, ‘OK.’ Really open your doors. I opened my doors up probably 80 percent. Some guys were more, and some guys were less, and I think if that comes back that more guys will open their doors up a lot more, which is good.”

One part of that glimpse of the life of a racer is the pre-race to the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Cameras captured Gianna Tulio, Blaney’s fiancé, wishing him luck, telling him “And remember, be Ryan fucking Blaney.” The moment was even featured in the trailer for the docuseries.

Blaney joked about Tulio being embarrassed at first about the hot mic moment. Since then, she has come around to embracing the moment.

“She was mortified when that was caught on microphone,” Blaney recalled. “When we watched it a few days before it came out, she’s like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe they put that in there.’ And it was on the trailer. I was like, ‘That’s bold putting it on the trailer.’ But it was fine. I think she’s gotten over her embarrassment of that and she’s embraced it. She’s like, ‘Yeah, I said that.’ So, maybe we’ll make some shirts. I can’t have the full wording on the shirts, but we’ll bleep out some letters.”


Drivers were overwhelming positive with their reviews of netflix's nascar: full speed.
William Byron. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Some drivers, like Byron, were skeptical of the Netflix docuseries heading into it. However, the skepticism about what the show would look like was quickly erased as he was impressed with how the show turned out.

“It was really cool, and I liked it a lot,” Byron said. “I thought they did a good job editing it and really making everyone look good. It was good. I was skeptical going in of what it was going to look like, but it turned out better than I thought.”

Aside from the competitive side of the sport, the personal lives of drivers and crew members were put on display. An example of that includes Bootie Barker’s bourbon collection, Byron’s Lego collection, and more.


Trackhouse Racing’s Chastain chose to show his watermelon farm on the docuseries. Like his competitors, he was able to be his authentic self. The 2022 Cup Series runner-up was asked by producers if he wanted to add anything else but opted to remain true to himself. He enjoyed the experience of the show overall and mentioned that to his team owner Justin Marks.

“It’s cool to show me, and that’s what I told Justin and that’s what I told Trackhouse when we were negotiating my contract… and the Netflix group,” Chastain said.

“I told them ‘Hey, I’m not going to give you the soundbites that you’re looking for.’ There were times when we would be talking with the producers and the cameras would be rolling and they’re asking me questions and they’d say, ‘Is that all you want to say?’ and I’m like ‘Yes that’s my honest answer. I’m me.’ So, when we were planning out stuff for them to capture, I told them I’d be out at the farm if they wanted to come see it, and they did. I’m glad they showed that because it’s really me.”


Like Blaney, Hamlin thought that Netflix represented both him, and the sport as a whole, in a positive light. Echoing the thoughts of the defending champion, the three-time Daytona 500 winner thought that the show was a good introduction for casual fans and new fans.

Where Hamlin had some reservations was the lack of editing rights. Having no hand in the production, he wasn’t sure how he and others would be portrayed until the show aired. Overall, the show captured the persona he and his competitors have both on and off the track.

“I felt that they did a really good job of kind of encapsulating who I am as a person,” Hamlin admitted. “I thought it was very fair to me. Personally, I thought that how the other drivers were portrayed was fair, because it’s how I see them as well and I probably know them a little bit more than the casual race fan. I thought it was all very fair and you always worry about that stuff when you don’t have any editing rights, or you don’t know how it’s going to get produced or anything like that.

“I thought it was a very good introduction for new fans because they also were kind of teaching you some stuff on here’s how it works, right? I think that’s the toughest part for our casual fan to latch on is that they see the cars going around in circles, they just have no idea what gets them to that point.”

The 51-time Cup Series winner was quick to point out that there’s more stories to be told in the NASCAR garage. Those range from how one car is faster than another to the lives of other drivers.

“There’s an even bigger element that can be told about what makes this car maybe a little bit faster than the next or this driver a little bit more talented than the other or whatever it might be,” Hamlin continued. “There’s still lots of stories to be told amongst a bunch of drivers that hopefully you’ll get to see in the future.”


One driver, Reddick, who was featured in the show hasn’t had a chance to watch the full series yet. While his fiancé, Alexa DeLeon, has, the 23XI Racing driver hasn’t completed a full episode of the series just yet. DeLeon, Reddick, and their son Beau were featured prominently in several episodes.

Drivers were overwhelming positive with their reviews of netflix's nascar: full speed.
Tyler Reddick. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Reddick also noticed a significant increase in his following on social media as well as other drivers that were featured on the show. Hamlin had one of the biggest gains in the first week, gaining over 5,000 followers combined across the major social media platforms.

“It was fun honestly,” Reddick explained. “More than anything, they were just following us around with what we were doing, so it wasn’t a lot of heavy lifting work for me or anything. I just enjoyed the process. I keep telling myself I’m going to finally watch the whole thing. Alexa has. I feel like everyone in my family has, my friends have.

“I just need to sit down and watch it. Might as well do it while I’m here. I have some free time on Saturday or Sunday if the weather doesn’t get better. It seems like it’s all been good feedback so far. Certainly, a number of drivers, including myself, have saw a pretty significant bump in their following on different social channels.”

NASCAR and its’ fan base overall responded positively to the portrayal of the sport in the docuseries. Whether the increases in social media followers, TV viewers, and fans in attendance continue, only time will tell.

The first points race for the Cup Series season, the Daytona 500, is scheduled for Sunday, February 18 at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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