NASCAR reality series "Changing Lanes" starts on BET

Yeah, let's all admit it, NASCAR and the television network BET don't seem like they fit together, much like Jeff Gordon and Wal-Mart.

BET is an untapped audience for NASCAR, so you can't fault the sport's attempt to go get new fans with "Changing Lanes," a reality show competition for 10 drivers in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity started Wednesday at 8PM ET on BET. (If you missed Wednesday's episode, you can set your DVRs for 9AM ET Saturday, September 4 and 1:30AM ET Sunday, September 5.)

From Sporting News:

That competition will play out this fall in Changing Lanes, a documentary series produced by the NASCAR Media Group that will be televised on BET beginning Wednesday. BET has purchased 10 episodes of the one-hour show, which debuts this week.

It’s a cross between MTV’s Real World and NBC’s The Apprentice.

Changing Lanes examines the challenges of making it as a driver, with one of them being eliminated each week until there’s a lone survivor.

So if you're looking for a mid-week NASCAR fix, flip on over to BET to see what this is all about. It's got to be better than "Jersey Shore," right?

Believe it or not, episodes of "Jersey Shore" may be newer than "Changing Lanes." The winner of "Changing Lanes" got a ride with Revolution Racing -- the NASCAR funded team run by Max Siegel for Drive for Diversity -- for January's Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway.

Yes, that's January 2010, so if you're so inclined, you can go see who earned the seat by simply looking in the box score of a race that's eight months old.

One of the key themes -- true or not -- of the last few years in NASCAR has been the perception that the sport has left its "core fans" in the dust, and quite frankly, this is a blatant grab for new viewers while hoping that those "core fans" will watch a show that was filmed when last year's Halloween candy was still being eaten. (Plus, the show got the 8PM ET timeslot, which is far less prestigious than being an hour or two later on BET's schedule.)

The Drive for Diversity is an admirable program, but for some reason it has always felt like a token attempt to diversify the sport. Maybe that has to do with the relative lack of success (so far) of the program's participants, but don't the 10 participants deserve better than a show that airs nine months after the result is easily available to anyone with a television or an internet connection?

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