NHRA isn’t the only one utilizing an increase in equipment and manpower to handle the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway this weekend. ESPN2, the longtime television partner of NHRA, who will bring the historic NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event to millions watching at home Saturday (7 p.m. ET) and Sunday (5 p.m. ET), also has beefed up its on-site presence.
Shawn Murphy, senior coordinating producer for ESPN2’s NHRA coverage, says seven additional cameras, a helicopter and an estimated 15 more crew members were needed to pull off coverage of NHRA’s first-ever venture into four-wide drag racing.
"We needed the additional equipment to help tell the story," Murphy explained. "A single round of racing will take approximately the same amount of time, but two additional cars will be in the mix each time. We have to tell the story about four racers instead of two during each run, so we’ll have to maximize that time with more camera selections and graphics."
Murphy said ESPN2 added two additional hand-held cameras for the extra lanes at the starting line, a new crane camera positioned near mid-track just outside lane four, an extra super slow-mo camera, a helicopter-mounted camera to provide dramatic overhead visuals, a small robotic camera situated on the wall outside lane four and one additional point of view camera, bringing the grand total of cameras in use by ESPN2 at this event to a whopping 28.
"We plan to continuously remind our viewers that four cars are racing instead of two, that will be very important," Murphy said. "And we have created a lot of graphics packages that will reinforce the rules of how four-wide racing works."