The green flag will drop over the Bronson Motor Speedway in Florida today as Reality Racing Inc. (RRGI.PK) kicks off The Rookie Challenge, 13-week amateur reality racing show to premier as part of Spike TVs Saturday morning “Powerblock.”
The first two groups of contestants in The Rookie Challenge will take to the track today to see who will advance to compete in the reality TV series.
“We are taking people who think they can drive a Nascar and giving them the opportunity to do that – much the same as American Idol thinks they have people that can sing, we have people who think they can drive a car at 185 miles an hour,” said Reality Racing President Lee Schaefer in a Market News First interview.
The Rookie Challenge combines reality television with stockcar racing. At the end of the show, one contestant will drive away winners of a contract with professional racing team, cash prize, national exposure and a gold championship ring.
More than 16,000 people signed up to compete in the race, and Reality Racing went through the applications one by one to find the most suitable applicants. Though the contestants won’t be crammed in a house or under stage lights Schaefer said personality conflicts and rifts are bound to happen just like any other reality show.
“We wanted to try and make this as close to a real reality show as it is – we haven’t taken the time to have anything scripted … that’s kind of what happens by nature,” said Schaefer. “To me, that’s what it’s about.”
About one-third of the applicants for The Rookie Challenge are women. Schaefer noted that women actually make better drivers – the less weight in the car, the faster it is. But of course, that’s for the judges to decide – and those judges include NASCAR legends Bobby and Donnie Allison, and Cale Yarborough.
Reality Racing shares surged more than 31 percent to 19 cents as of Monday afternoon, continuing a nearly week long trend reversal. Last fall, company shares hung just below 40 cents then steadily slipped to a low of $0.01 in April of this year. News of the new reality series and agreement with Spike seem to give the company leverage.
“As a start out company we’re not without some bumps on the road,” said Schaefer. “We’re financially sound right now and continue to be – a contract with Spike is a huge plus for us.”
The series will premier May 19, 2007, in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.