Revved Up is the NASCAR follow up to last year’s NFL tailgate travelogue Tailgate 32. So this week we get a chance to see how the team behind that epic series decided to follow it up.

Tailgate 32‘ was one of the most ambitious series I’ve seen to date, a seventeen plus week trip around the nation to every stadium in the NFL. It felt more like an amazing thing to do, and document, than a business minded series. ‘Revved Up,’ on the other hand, feels like a second effort from a couple of guys who learned an absolute ton from their first rodeo (their next show perhaps?!). So for this article I want to examine what changed.

“I think he [Kyle Busch] is the illegitimate son of Dale, Sr….he must be rolling in his grave.”

‘Revved Up’ is the first series I’ve watched which I had previously seen an advertisement for. If you’ve been watching shows on Blip.tvlately there is a good you’ve seen their banner ad or pre roll. This push by Blip is because ‘Revved Up’ is a Blip original series, born out of the relationships formed during the release of ‘Tailgate 32.’

NASCAR is all about sponsorships, so you might not notice the connection to Kingsford charcoal so easily. Blip helped get Kingsford on board with the series, who in turn help get them some of their NASCAR connections. Looking back it is easy to see Kingsford all over this thing, but it’s important to note that I didn’t even notice until it was brought to my attention. What’s great about looking at the show from this perspective, at least for other creators out there, is that Mike & John originally set out to do something that would be personally gratifying and that in turn opened up the door up for this show. They used their experience and essentially took that back into the marketplace, asking potential sponsors ‘how can we help you?’ Maybe a NASCAR trip wasn’t what they would’ve done were they to foot the bill themselves again, but it might be just as gratifying to work with a sponsor, have them open doors for you that you couldn’t have yourself and then not have to worry too much about the money.

Darlington Car Hauler Parade

If you’ve seen both shows you’ll notice two very distinct differences. First is that Revved Up is only 6 episodes long, compared to their previous mark of 32. A lot of the episodes overlap as well, a marked difference from ‘Tailgate 32’ which highlighted a completely different location for every episode. Here, rather than a months long road trip, we are treated to something more along the lines of a series of weekend getaways along the coast. The second thing you’ll notice is the distinct lack of a giant RV stocked with tons of beer. If they learned anything the first time around it was that beer will be provide to them simply because they are carrying around a sweet camera. They probably also figured out that $300+ per game for parking was not sustainable on a web budget.

As for the quality of the show itself, it’s certainly well produced, and if you were familiar with ‘Tailgate 32’ you shouldn’t notice much difference. Football fans might not be as interested in the series, being that this one was NASCAR themed but that would be a mistake. Ultimately neither show ended up being about the sport it followed, rather the biggest highlight is the look into the cultures that surround them. Revved Up is a great insight into the culture that surrounds NASCAR, the people involved and the places they visit. While the major selling point of this series might be the very candid interview with Bobby Labonte the real highlights are the interesting characters they meet along the way.

If there was one criticism to be had it was that the show really feels like a sit back, relax and watch program like you would find on cable, yet you really can’t just sit back and enjoy it since the episodes are so short (under five minutes). This limitation was the one request of the headline sponsor, which is not all that surprising. Web video has become a bit pigeonholed in terms of expectations for length, but finding the ideal length is a much more complex issue than I had originally believed. The ideal length has everything to do with the viewing habits of your audience and how people are finding your show. If audiences are finding ‘Revved Up’ through a search for “Bobby Labonte interview” then five minutes is a great length, but if they are fans of the show itself, or sitting down to watch an episode then fifteen or so minutes would’ve been a far more compelling way of letting the audience meet the characters. For a sponsor though, getting viewers back to those commercials might be of a higher importance.

You can find Revved Up right alongside Tailgate 32 at their official site