CONCORD, N.C. -- If you haven't seen the in-depth Hendrick Motorsports docuseries "Road to Race Day" -- or you want to relive the show's thrilling moments -- now's the time.
Every episode of the eight-part series is available -- for free -- on the go90 streaming platform. Complex Networks, Film 45, Markay Media, and NASCAR champions Hendrick Motorsports teamed up to provide the journey deep inside the teamwork, sophistication and heart that makes stock car racing an American institution.
The series goes behind the scenes with the organization during the 2016 season, delivering unprecedented access to witness the passion, determination, and talent that propels its superstar drivers and crew to be the winningest team in professional stock car racing.
The New York Times called it an “adrenaline-driven documentary series.”
Paste Magazine noted that the very first episode, focusing on Chase Elliott as he began his rookie of the year campaign with the No. 24 team, “contains some of the most beautiful slow-motion sports footage I’ve ever seen on television.”
Getting such an inside look at pit crews and other team members and their relationships with the drivers stood out in particular to the author.
“Onscreen, this feels breathtakingly new,” he wrote.
Below is just a taste of some of the highlights -- both on and off the track -- provided throughout the series, directed by Cynthia Hill (A Chef’s Life, Private Violence) and executive produced by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Patriots Day).
10) One episode culminates with the 2016 Brickyard 400, with all of the teams battling the heat and an eventful race that ultimately went to overtime. As the laps wound down with Kasey Kahne posturing to earn a free pass, we see several interactions between No. 5 team crew chief Keith Rodden and NASCAR officials as he argues his team’s case. It’s yet another example of the unique behind-the-scenes look that “Road to Race Day” provides that fans previously never would have been able to see.
9) A running theme throughout one episode is Hendrick Motorsports’ pit crew tryout combine. We watch as the athletes are run through a variety of drills while current pit crew members take in the action. As the coaches make the final decisions on who made the cut, the cameras go inside the meeting rooms on campus during deliberations and ultimately the tough phone calls made to those athletes who won’t get the official call-up to the organization.
8) No. 24 team interior mechanic Jordan Allen makes a cameo, and we find out that he’s about to get married. By the end of one episode, cameras head to uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, for the big wedding day – and the family atmosphere at Hendrick Motorsports is obvious as many of Allen’s teammates are in attendance.
7) We get right in the action as Elliott and the No. 24 team uses a paintball excursion for a bit of team building. And we get to follow Elliott and his dad, Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, as they strap in to fly with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, with the cameras right there for every step of the thrilling excursion.
6) The highlight of one episode very well may be Talladega qualifying. Dale Earnhardt Jr. shoots to the top of the board in the final round with just two drivers to go, but one of them is teammate Elliott. Elliott takes the pole position – nearly 30 years after his father, Bill, set the all-time fastest qualifying lap in NASCAR Cup Series history. Afterward, Johnson walks up to Earnhardt to joke that the rookie winning the pole over them showed that he’s “not showing his elders respect.”
5) The cameras follow Earnhardt and Super Bowl champion quarterback Peyton Manning as the two athletes chat on the grid prior to the race. Manning is especially interested in all the communication that occurs inside the car throughout the race and compares it to how he communicates on the field in the NFL.
4) We get the inside scoop on the No. 48 team’s strategy for the All-Star Race, which includes falling to 12th place prior to the final sprint to the finish. When Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen draws the magic number of 11 – meaning the first 11 cars were forced to pit – it puts Johnson on the front row for the restart. It’s an unprecedented look into how the team’s thorough preparation plays out on the racetrack.
3) The action during the 600-mile race at Charlotte is chronicled, including Johnson’s race all the way to the front of the pack during a battle with Martin Truex Jr. Afterward, Knaus gives his take on the race, letting the cameras in on his mindset: “I hate losing more than I enjoy winning. It hangs with me a lot longer.”
2) We watch the No. 88 team band together to overcome a power issue that put Earnhardt down two laps at the beginning of the race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Slowly but surely, Earnhardt gains back the laps and battles all the way to the runner-up position, and we’re along for the ride to see exactly what it took.
1) One of the most entertaining parts of one episode comes courtesy of No. 24 interior mechanic Allen – who had previously worked with Jeff Gordon – and No. 88 interior mechanic Adam Jordan – who was set to work with Gordon this time around as he returns to serve as a fill-in driver for the No. 88 team team. Allen runs Jordan through Gordon’s tendencies and pre-race routine so that the return to the track can be as smooth as possible. The collaboration between the two men is a clear example of how four race teams that compete with one another on the racetrack can still work together as teammates.