October 23, 2005 11:01 PM by Joe Blackmon
Twenty-three tenacious young men. Two determined young women. Two 3,400 pound race trucks with 750 horsepower. Two of the toughest racetracks on the NASCAR circuit. Seventeen judges, including legendary NASCAR team owner Jack Roush, scrutinizing their every move. The prize? One of the most sought-after jobs in racing – a fully-sponsored ride on the Roush Racing team in the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Discovery Channel was granted unprecedented access to this closely guarded competition to show viewers, for the first time ever, what happens on the track – and off – in Jack Roush’s “Gong Show.” Discovery Channel’s weekly series, ROUSH RACING DRIVER X, premieres October 24 at 8 PM (ET/PT).
For the last 20 years, Jack Roush has hosted the Gong Show, a process he used to find such top racers as Robby Gordon and last year’s NEXTEL Cup Champion Kurt Busch. Competing race teams and fans alike have always wondered how Jack Roush picks such successful drivers. For the first time ever, viewers will see what goes into the making of a NASCAR superstar on ROUSH RACING DRIVER X.
“Only Discovery Channel can put viewers into the passenger seat of a race truck at top speed as well as into the evaluation room where the real decisions – and drivers’ futures – are made,” said Jane Root, General Manager for Discovery Channel. “Each episode will give viewers a never before seen look into what goes on behind the scenes, from the science of the race trucks to the determination of the athletes – in the nation’s number one spectator sport.”
“Kurt Busch, last year’s NEXTEL Cup champion, won our Gong Show in 1999,” said Jack Roush. “We plan on finding that next talented driver again this year. Our unique competition was conceived to find a champion, not for TV. This show will be totally genuine and totally Roush."
The grueling three-week contest is a battery of rapid succession tests that challenge competitors’ physical and mental strengths, as well as their media savvy and fan appeal. On the track, drivers race on two of the most treacherous tracks on the NASCAR circuit – Martinsville Speedway and Darlington Raceway (known as “The Track too Tough to Tame”). Viewers buckle up for the 150 mph ride with the aid of on-board HDTV cameras.
While drivers must make split-second decisions and endure extreme temperatures inside the vehicle, they must also endure extreme situations off the track, including acting in mock commercials and charming potential sponsors in a surprise meeting to prove they have what it takes to be NASCAR’s next superstar.
Viewers will go behind the scenes and hear what Jack Roush and his team of judges, from marketing gurus to NASCAR drivers, really think of the competitors as they whittle down the competition to choose just one lucky winner of the 2005 Gong Show competition.