Sports people 6/18/02

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

NASCAR goes for a pop stop with Spears movie

If you thought Tom Cruise and NASCAR made for an unlikely team, now here comes popster Britney Spears

The racing league and Spears' production company laid out plans Monday for a NASCAR-themed movie in which Spears will star. The project is in the preliminary writing and development stage and will be written by Jim Hart ("Contact," "Hook"). Spears is to co-star as the daughter of a NASCAR team owner who uses her knowledge and experience in the family business to inspire a former NASCAR driver -- no exact word on the driver -- to regain his desire to return to racing.

"One of NASCAR's objectives is to grow our sport by developing entertainment projects that introduce NASCAR drivers, teams, tracks and their sponsors to an ever-growing audience," said NASCAR vice president of broadcasting Paul Brooks. "We have received numerous movie concepts set in the world of NASCAR, but chose this project because it is a great story that embraces our true, genuine sport as its backdrop. Britney Spears' involvement will help us reach an untapped fan base while serving our core fans with the authentic NASCAR experience."

The Sports Business Journal reported that NASCAR will help market the film, which will contain race footage and drivers appearing as themselves. NASCAR will receive licensing fees for use of race footage and tracks will be paid for access, according to the Sports Business Journal's report, and have a "profit participation in the end gross." The movie is expected to cost $50 million.

"Britney herself has a lot of the values that represent NASCAR and her dad is a big NASCAR fan," Brooks said. "She is close with her family, she's from Louisiana and represents true Americana."

The London Sun has reported that Spears was a fan of the Cruise movie "Days of Thunder," and the new NASCAR movie would begin filming in October.

"We are excited to be working with the NASCAR family," said Ann Carli of Spears' production company. "Our goal is to create a film that honestly portrays the spirit of NASCAR. It is not just about winning -- it's about family, perseverance and the belief that any dream is possible."

This movie would not be Spears' first foray into the NASCAR world. The singer served as grand marshal of the 2001 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

-- From wire reports

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