NASCAR Hot Track is a complementary TV package available exclusively on DirecTV in the United States & on various cable & satellite providers in Canada. It debuted @ the 2007 Daytona 500, which aired on February 18th of that year. In 2007 & 2008, it was a PPV subscription package. However starting in 2009, it's now free for all DirecTV subscribers & the features were noticeably downgraded
NASCAR Hot Track debuted @ the 2007 Daytona 500 on February 18th. Kevin Harvick, who was seen on ch. 796, was the race winner. 5 channels, 795-799, featured different drivers, while a "mix" on ch. 794, was a miniature version of each of the driver channels & links to their full screens. On the day after each race, ch. 793 was used for "shortcuts", 30-minute excerpts of the previous day's (or night's) coverage. Both options have since been eliminated.
The in-car audio option was added @ the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 on March 11th
NASCAR Hot Track includes a view of the race from a driver's in-car camera, unedited communications between the driver, crew chief & spotter & telemetry showing the car's speed & horsepower. Part of the screen also includes the LIVE nationwide race broadcast.
The annual price was $99 per year, paid in 2 monthly installments of $49.50 each. As with all other DirecTV PPV sports packages, there is expected to be an annual renewal discount for subscribers with an account in good standing.
In mid-May 2007, DirecTV began offering a discounted rate of $80 for the remaining races of the season. In July, the price was slashed again, this time to $60. In each case, there are again 2 installments. From late August through the end of the season, the price was $20 for up to the final 11 races, the same price as each individual race up to that time.
In 2008, DirecTV offered a special rate of $40 for the entire season for new subscribers
In 2007 & 2008, Hot Track consisted of 10 channels between 790 & 799. The 1st 4 channels, 790-793, showed drivers selected by the producers & DirecTV. The drivers varied from race to race & will depend on a number of factors, including driver popularity & past performance on a given track. In addition (for some races) 1 driver was selected based on an online vote. For example, the 2008 Daytona 500 free preview had Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvic & Tony Stewart.
During the race, viewers had the option of the LIVE official telecast audio, the separate broadcast dedicated to the driver & in-car communications between the driver & his team. During commercials, only the broadcast audio & in-car channel are available. Also during the breaks, race action is still available, but on a much smaller screen than @ other times.
The 5th ch. (794) simulcasted the main broadcast & provided subscribers a choice of 12 other audio channels from the drivers not chosen otherwise. Kurt Busch, Michael Waltrip & Carl Edwards were among the options @ the free preview.
Channels 795-799, the original Hot Track channels, had the same features, only with HD video & enhanced-quality audio. HD equipment is required to access these channels.
If a driver already chosen has been eliminated from the race before it's conclusion, other drivers were substituted. For example, Jimmie Johnson replaced Gordon @ the 2008 Daytona 500 & Denny Hamlin filled in for Stewart @ the same race the year before. Also, 2 substitutions were made on the same channel @ the 2007 Pepsi 400, also a free preview, as J.J. Yeley filled in for Harvick, who in turn substituted for Stewart
2009: Change from pay-per-view to freeEdit
On December 10th 2008, NASCAR & DirecTV mutually agreed to end Hot Track as a PPV package. For 2009, the package is now free to all DirecTV subscribers. The 4 driver channels (795-798) are still available & in HD, however all other features have been removed.
The free version consists of a split screen shot of the featured drivers' in-car cameras on 1 side & a simulcast of the official race coverage on the other. The simulcast includes full audio, so sometimes 2 different audio feeds (the MRN/PRN Radio broadcast & the teams' 2-way radio) are heard simultaneously. In some instances, including the red-flag delay & the eventual ending to the 2009 Daytona 500, the network telecast is shown alone within a frame. Like the PPV format, the in-car camera shots are commercial-free. Following the final race of 2009, an animation was shown that said "see you in Daytona in 2010"
Driver appearances & performancesEdit
The following drivers were chosen for the 2 seasons that it was on PPV: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Juan Pablo Montoya, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, David Stremme, Mark Martin, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Dale Jarrett, Jamie McMurray, Robby Gordon, Michael Waltrip, Kasey Kahne, Dave Blaney, Reed Sorenson, J.J. Yeley, Boris Said & Martin Truex, Jr.
Earnhardt, Jr. appeared most frequently in 2007, being shown on 24 occasions. However, he was pulled from the lineup during the Chase for the Nextel Cup, for which he failed to qualify, after he had become a regular on almost a weekly basis, as NASCAR & DirecTV agreed to focus on the drivers that made the Chase.
7 drivers won races on the same week(s) that they were featured in that 1st season: Kevin Harvick (Daytona 500, NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge), Matt Kenseth (Auto Club 500), Jimmie Johnson (Kobalt Tools 500), Jeff Gordon (Aaron's 499 & UAW-Ford 500), Juan Pablo Montoya (Toyota/Save Mart 350), Tony Stewart (Allstate 400 @ the Brickyard & Centurion Boats @ the Glen) & Carl Edwards (Sharpie 500 & Dodge Dealers 400)
NASCAR iN CarEdit
NASCAR Hot Track had similar to another service called NASCAR iN Car. NASCAR iN Car was started in 2003 by iN Demand Networks & was exclusive to digital cable subscribers for 3 years.
NASCAR iN Car was discontinued after the introduction of NASCAR Hot Track. NASCAR Hot Track performed better than NASCAR iN Car. NASCAR Hot Track had 100,000 more subscribers than NASCAR iN Car in 2007. NASCAR iN Car had 30,000 subscribers in 2006. The price for a season of NASCAR iN Car was the same as NASCAR Hot Track
NASCAR Hot Track is available through the following cable & satellite providers:
- United States:
- DirecTV (Exclusive provider in US)
- TELUS Satelite TV
- Bell TV
- Rogers Cable
- Shaw Direct
- NFL Football Xtra
- MLB Extra Baseball
- NBA GameCourt
- NHL Hockey Xtra
- SC GamePack
- SC GameCourt
- SC's NCAA March Madness