The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

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  • April 9Four members of the debate team qualified for States at their Super Regional tournament on April 6. States will occur April 26 and 27 at JMU.
  • April 9Prom guest forms are available in the front office. Guests who do not attend FCHS must be approved by Mrs. Bruce. Tickets go on sale next week.
  • April 8Culinary will be selling Cake in a Cup, sweet tea, and lemonade during April. Cakes are $3 while sweet tea and lemonade are $1 each.
  • April 8SOL retests will take place April 24 at 8:40 am in room 3110. Contact Ms. Blevins ([email protected]) to sign up.
  • March 26The FCHS Speech team won the State Championship on March 23 at Dominion High School. Five students placed first, two placed second, and one placed third.
The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Matthew Gresham
The NASCAR Cup Series field gets racing at the 2023 Cook Out 400. Photo courtesy of Matthew Gresham.

Netflix’s “NASCAR: Full Speed” Takes First Place

Streaming giant Netflix is feeling the need for speed. After the success of its Formula One show that bolstered Formula One’s popularity in the United States, “Drive to Survive,” Netflix looked deeper into the racing world to find inspiration. Its muse? NASCAR, also known as the National Association for Stock Car Racing. This series, NASCAR: Full Speed, takes place from the week leading up to the regular season finale at Daytona to the season finale at Phoenix. Spoilers ahead for a show that is a recap of 11 races.


The series starts out by focusing on several drivers. One such driver is Denny Hamlin. The show really discusses his struggle with winning a championship. Hamlin’s first season in the NASCAR cup series was in 2006, since then, he’s won 50 races (as of episode one, he now has 51 as of the start of the 2024 season), but he still hasn’t won a championship. Even after so many attempts, and getting close to the championship title, Hamlin has never been able to close out the season to win a championship cup. The creators of “Full Speed” show Hamlin’s struggle through multiple different interviews talking about his struggles, as well as multiple clips of his races.


The second driver it showcases is William Byron. In 2023, Byron had a breakout season, winning five races (as of episode one, six by the end of the season). The show discusses his career. Byron had an unusual rise to the Cup Series. While other drivers got behind the wheel of a car around the time they could walk, Byron didn’t start his career until he was 10. Byron’s racing career started through playing video games like iRacing, a popular online racing simulation. Eventually, he got behind the wheel of a physical car, and raced pretty well. The rest is history.


With episode one taking place at the regular season finale, it shows that Bubba Wallace, driver of the 23, is above the elimination cutoff line, but it also shows that the regular season finale is mounting some pressure for Wallace. The pressure comes from the fact that Wallace could be eliminated from the playoffs because the prospect of a new winner is huge at a track like Daytona, where everyone has a chance of winning. This is because Daytona has a certain type of racing, called pack racing. Pack racing is where everyone, from first to last, are close together. At a track like Daytona, you will see the cars two and three wide, just inches off of each other. This is caused due to restrictor plates, which are little sheets of metal that are put in the engine to restrict air flow, thus lowering the top speed. The restrictor plate, when it was introduced in 1988, brought with it pack racing. The episode shows what the pressure does to these drivers. The episode ends with Chris Buescher winning, and Wallace making the playoffs.


Episode two focuses on the first round of the NASCAR playoffs, the Round of 16. The first round of the playoffs included races at South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway, Kansas Motor Speedway, and Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway. The fears of elimination are shown perfectly at the end of the round through Joey Logano, who was involved in a wreck in the elimination race, knocking him out of the playoffs. It also shows the elation of making it in, as Wallace manages to barely race his way into the Round of 12. The reactions from everyone involved, with the juxtaposition of Logano’s fear and Wallace’s elation, show these emotions perfectly.


Episode three focuses on the Round of 12. This round took place at Texas Motor Speedway, Talladega SuperSpeedway, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (road course – a racing course designed to simulate regular roads – combined with oval). The episode focuses on Wallace and his team. The standout star is his crew chief (who is basically the captain of the team), Bootie Barker. Barker has this dry humor about him that makes him really funny and entertaining to watch. The episode shows the heartbreak of loss as Wallace gets a second place result at Texas, after leading for a good chunk of the race. It also shows the frustration of defeat through Barker. The jovial Barker was extremely frustrated, and uncharacteristically dismissive of the film crew. 


Episode four has to be my favorite episode of the whole series. It starts out by introducing the audience to my favorite NASCAR driver, Christopher Bell. Personal bias aside, the episode does a good job of showcasing that pressure in the final round before the season finale. The drivers have duels at Las Vegas, Miami, and Martinsville. The final race of the round, Martinsville, is the penultimate race of the playoffs, and it is the final chance for drivers to make the championship four. Entering the race, Kyle Larson and Bell were locked in due to Larson winning at Vegas, and Bell taking the trophy home at Miami. However, while two spots are up for grabs, there are six drivers fighting for those final spots. This episode really shows the pain of elimination, as Hamlin gets eliminated due to Byron saving just above the cutline.


The finale focuses on the championship four. Those four are Larson, Bell, Byron, and Ryan Blaney. This episode focuses on the week leading up to the race, the race itself, and a little bit of the aftermath. You see the heartbreak from Bell, his wife, and some of his crew after he has a mechanical failure, ending his bid for a championship. You then contrast that with the elation from Blaney as he wins the title. This episode is great because of that. I love seeing the emotions of these drivers.


This series does a good job of explaining some of the parts of NASCAR. It explains the playoff system, the jobs of the crew chiefs and pit crew, and qualifying. For people who don’t know how racing works, it shows how this all works. They explain qualifying in a very simple way, so people will be able to know what it is. It also shows how these drivers need to talk to the crew chief about what they’re feeling with the car, so then the crew chief can tell the crew what adjustments to make. There is a whole section talking about how the playoffs work, with the drivers giving their explanation about how the playoffs work. The creators of the show want you to understand how this system works.


Overall, this is an absolutely fantastic show. I highly recommend it. This is a great way to get into NASCAR. It gives you multiple drivers to pull for. There are a ton of good moments. I enjoyed this more personal look at NASCAR drivers. 


However, while I enjoyed it a lot, there were a few things that I would have changed. For one, Hamlin appears in four of the five episodes. I would have liked to have seen more drivers like Kyle Busch and regular season champion Martin Truex Jr. instead of Hamlin. I would have also liked to see more of the regular season. However, I can see why they went with just the playoffs instead of the whole season. The whole season would have been 12 episodes if they kept the three races in an episode style. However, they probably would have done separate episodes for the Daytona 500, the regular season finale, and the season finale. That would put the series around 15 episodes, which would have been more work for a series that had people unsure if it would succeed or not. Thankfully, it appears to be a hit. Currently, it is ranked eighth for the Top 10 TV Shows in the U.S. today on Netflix, after reaching a high of fifth when it was released. Overall, I’d say it’s a success. I am giving this show a 9/10, I highly recommend it.

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