(Press Release from Vault Productions)
When the New London-Waterford Speedbowl opens for the 2017 season in early May, the Vault Productions crew will begin filming their 8th season of their racing web series Sid’s View. The past two seasons, the series had been produced with a very limited crew led by VP founder Tom ‘Sid’ DiMaggio, with help from his wife Tiesha and Kathy Courtemanche, but the upcoming season will mark the return of the 3 VP crew members that produced the series collectively from 2012-2014.
Jesse Gleason and Brent Gleason, who created Sid’s View with DiMaggio in 2010, will return more frequently this season to operate the cameras on Saturday nights. Phil Jacques, who joined in 2012, will also be back to manage the numerous in-car cameras utilized each week as well as contribute as a camera op. Jesse, Brent and Phil are racers themselves, each of them compete at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in the Limited Sportsman division. All 3 of them won features events during 2016 and finished in the top 10 in championship points.
“It’s really exciting to have Jesse, Brent & Phil back more often this season” said DiMaggio. “They really are the best at what they do for Sid’s View. I had great support the past 2 seasons to keep things going, but with these guys returning we’ll really be able to get back to the style of coverage that helped build our Sid’s View brand. And with Kenny (Stuart) being able to help again when he can, it should really be a great season capturing the action.” Kenny Stuart, who joined the VP crew in 2013, will once again support with in-car cameras on several long-distance and touring series events. DiMaggio will step back from camera duties on race day and continue as the series’ executive producer & editor.
With Tom Fox returning as Race Director at the Speedbowl this season, it also paves the way for the return of the Honest John’s Used Cars Webby Cam, a popular segment that utilizes footage captured via a chest-harnessed GoPro camera worn by long-time track official Eric Webster. Webster held the Race Director position at NLWS in 2016, and therefore was unable to patrol the infield on his four-wheeler each week.
“What can I say about the Webby? He always gets such compelling footage. We love the uniqueness it gives our coverage,” DiMaggio explained. “Webby’s the perfect guy to operate that camera, he’s got the perfect temperament for it. That’s why we didn’t try the same concept with someone else last year. We’re beyond thrilled he’ll be back again on a weekly basis working with us. I hope our fans our excited too”
Other unique cameras that the crew plans to utilize again will be the sponsor-wanted Flagger Cam, which utilizes a special eye-glasses-style camera worn by numerous flagmen throughout the year; the Belltown Motors Wrecker Cam, which captures the Speedbowl Wrecker Crew in action each week, the Critical Gear Cam on the backstretch, the sponsor-wanted Turn 4 Cam and the Waddell Communications Front Bumper Cam, which captures a great, up-close vantage point of the tight racing action at the Speedbowl.
Having an experienced crew on-hand to handle a majority of the camera work will allow DiMaggio to contribute more to the grandstand commentary aspect during the features that became a unique style to the “Sid’s View” series from 2010-2014.
“While I did more of the camera work myself the past couple of seasons, I was concentrating more than commentating during the features. I had people come up to me many times the last 2 seasons saying how they missed the commentary. We should be able to get back to that more this season.”
WACKY WEDNESDAY COVERAGE ADDED
Vault Productions will also team up with Nick Teto from YankeeRacer.com for some coverage of select Wild N’ Wacky Wednesday events. This marks the first time the VP Crew will attempt to film the mid-week series. Teto will serve as lead cameraman on Wednesdays. “We’ve been asked quite a bit by the Wednesday teams if we would film their mid-week series” said DiMaggio. “My personal schedule makes that difficult, but with Nick offering to film most of their events, we’re going to try it out and see how it goes.” DiMaggio and Teto recently collaborated on some video work for Sunoco Race Fuels during last October’s Thompson World Series weekend. They are both active racing historians as well and have collaborated on historical research many times over the years.
As of now, DiMaggio is cautious to commit past June for the Wednesday series coverage. “We’ll see how the first month goes. If we gain enough sponsor support for Wednesday series, we’d love to continue that coverage throughout the year. Sponsorship is key in any expansion of our series” Newcomer Meghan Cook will also join the VP Crew this year to support both the Saturday and Wednesday productions.
THEME SONG RETURNS
The original song “Traveling Home” written & recorded by local musician John Fries will also return as the theme song for the “Sid’s View” web series. The 2011 song was previously used as the theme from 2012-2015. DiMaggio revamped the opening sequence for the 2016 season and used sound effects instead of music.
“Last year’s revised intro was a good idea in theory, because it less time in the edit booth to update each week. But even I have to admit all those electronic sound effects I used instead of music got annoying after a while.” DiMaggio said with a chuckle. “Nothing’s more important to our web series than capturing the action on the track, but those little things bother me when they don’t go right. I made a bad choice there, should have never changed it. Thankfully John has agreed to let use it again. John and I have been friends for over 20 years, so it’s also great to play small part in keeping his music out there for people to hear on a regular basis.”
John Fries continues to write & record his own music. His most recent release was an acoustic EP that came out earlier this year.
STAFFORD SPEEDWAY PROJECT
DiMaggio will also branch out for a new project at Stafford Speedway on Friday nights.
“We’ve been talking with the guys at Stafford for a while trying to see what we could do up there. Something like what we do at Waterford isn’t really feasible right now, and we wouldn’t want to do the same thing anyway.” DiMaggio confirmed the Stafford videos won’t be done in the Sid’s View style of race coverage from a fan’s point of view. “The Stafford project won’t be race coverage as much as a chance to experiment with in-car cameras to get some compelling footage to watch.” DiMaggio said he won’t be at Stafford for every Friday event, but will make a majority of the events on their schedule . “Our only goal to start is to get some compelling footage to watch. I’m looking forward to going up there on Fridays and being creative with how we capture the action using in-car cameras.”
DOCUMENTARY SERIES UPDATE
DiMaggio’s on-going nostalgic project, a documentary series on the history of the Speedbowl, is currently in post-production. The 6-part series will be approximately 10 hours long in total once completed and covers the tracks history from it’s original construction in 1950-51 to it’s survival through a foreclosure auction on the property in late 2014. “We made some great progress so far this off-season. We finally finished all of our interviews, now it’s just a ton of editing to put all the stories together in a cohesive flow,” DiMaggio explained. “This project is taking forever, but the stories are coming out great in the edit. I’m equal parts excited to finally be this far along, yet frustrated I’m not done yet.” Largely funded on his own and based on his research at speedbowlhistory.com, DiMaggio first began production of the documentary back in 2010. He maintains it’s still too early to announce a release date. All the details on this nostalgic project can be found online at speedbowldocumentary.com.
WEB SERIES SUPPORT CONTINUES
The “Sid’s View” series is produced in part by the support of a dedicated sponsorship team that includes Honest John’s Used Cars of North Branford, Belltown Motors of East Hampton, GRE6.com, Waddell Communications, Michael V. Williams Builders, LLC of Old Lyme, Nick Service Center in North Branford, ServPro of Norwich and Critical Signs & Critical Screenprinting, both in Waterford. All of them have also contributed to the documentary series project as well.
The “Sid’s View” series has increased it viewership in total views and minutes watched every season since it’s debut in 2010. The August 20, 2016 episode of the SK Modified race, featuring the wild crash that resulted in Adam Gada being suspended upside-down in his car for a half-hour, became the most watched “Sid’s View” episode in history within 36 hours of it’s release. As of March 2017, it passed 24,000 total views on YouTube.
Vault Productions is still looking for additional sponsorship for the 2017 season. There are packages available for the Speedbowl’s Saturday series, their Wacky Wednesday series as well as off-season options which help fund the documentary series and other nostalgic projects. Anyone interested can visit sidsview.com/sponsorship for rates and package details.