A Letter From the Producer: Kyle Bush of Cumberland Creative
Shooting this American Spirit episode with Taylor Canfield was nothing short of an adventure for our three-man team. None of us has ever been to Bakersfield or a Nascar race for that matter. So we had no idea what to expect, but we were ready for whatever lay ahead.
The shoot days had a strict schedule due to the nature of a race weekend. The first shoot day was also the "practice" day for racers. Luckily they didn't allow crews in the track until late morning so we took the early morning hours to get out in the mountains and get some epic "hero" training footage. We met up with Taylor at a gas station in the sticks. We were immediately set at ease for the production after spending a few minutes chatting with Taylor and seeing how easy going and cool headed he was. We knew it would be easy to work with him. These are the shots you see of Taylor running across the ridge-line, etc. Taylor made this process super easy and was totally down to hike up some big dusty mountains to get the shots we needed. He even surprised us with a few solid shot ideas that panned out really well.
The cars continued piling out and just behind the curve Taylor and his crew began getting ready to hit the track. We filmed carefully to get the shots of Taylor suiting up and getting in the car to hit the track. Once he was in, we got in our spots for the best shot of him rolling out into the track and got ready for launch. Taylor got the thumbs up from the crew, hit the switch and..... nothing. The car barely made a noise. The crew didn't seem to phased and Taylor sat calming suited up in the driver seat while the team went through some checks and determined they just needed to charge the battery up for five minutes or so. Time passed and he got the green light again, hit the switch- same result, nothing. They tweaked the hookups on the battery and charged more. This did nothing.
Not long after the crews calm and confident demeanor grew more anxious and more puzzled. The charging was doing nothing and Taylor finally decided to exit the car and his suit. I couldn't blame him We were sweating our asses off and we were not in a small steel cage of a car in a full flameproof race suit and helmet. We talked to a few crew members, no one really knew the issue but everyone seemed confident the crew would use their experience, troubleshoot, and have the issue solved shortly. As super valuable practice hours began passing, the crew was hard at work trying to get this thing figured out. We were impressed with the effort and urgency they went at it with.
The first practice came to end without the team getting the car to start and their work continued. Hours passed and the crew began, understandably, so getting more anxious irritated, and puzzled. Tempers were tested and some were lost as no progress was made. As time continued, this intensified, as crew members began to really get frustrated and irritated at the issue and lack of success no matter what they tried, but not Taylor. Taylor had been leading the effort of the crew on his car the whole time. As tempers flared and attempted starts showed no progress Taylor seemed completely unfazed. Crew members came and went throughout the hours as they tried and failed, but Taylor stayed at the car working. For what lead to be somewhere around 10 hours straight. We never saw Taylor show the slightest sign of losing his cool. He kept his head down with a hyper-focused and worked non stop 10 hours straight into the night on the car. Time was running thin.
The second and final practice had gone by the day and from what we gathered there no solution was in sight. The time to get off the track for the night was approaching fast. It was not looking good for the team at all. The car had seemed to make no progress the entire day and night. Thirty minutes or so before the track would close and force everyone off, another crew from a big well-funded team, who surely witnessed the efforts of Taylor, came over to see if they could help. His fresh perspective and training led him to check some things out. Finally, in movie-like fashion with no time on the clock, they replaced a battery did a few other things and went to start the car again. To everyone's surprise, it cranked up.
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