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NASCAR “telenovela” to debut in April

Mar 30, 2013, 4:15 PM EDT

NASCARs Novela Auto Racing AP

Wheel-to-wheel action on the track and a love triangle between drivers off of it are the core elements of one of NASCAR’s latest attempts to woo the Latino market: A telenovela.

“Arranque de Pasion: La Historia de Ela,” which will debut online next month before hitting TV screens in May, takes place in a fictionalized version of NASCAR and stars Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo (pictured) as female racer Ela Rivella, who’s caught between two racing brothers.

North America’s most popular motorsports category has been involved as a co-producer in the project, keeping watch over authenticity and content matters.

“It’s our opportunity to meet [Latinos] where they’re at, within the genres they’re already invested in,” NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing Zane Stoddard told the AP’s Greg Beacham. “I feel like our sport is uniquely accessible in terms of relationships, family and all the things that drive television shows.”

However, it appears that NASCAR is letting the show’s production company handle creation of any dramatic, over-the-top plot twists that come with any proper telenovela, with Stoddard instead mentioning his series’ role as more of a “sounding board.”

“Because the novela is such a specific kind of story, very dramatic, we didn’t want to pretend we understood the kind of storytelling that takes place in [them],” he said. “We know what we know, and we know what we don’t know. We rely primarily on them to begin with the story and then allow us…to layer authenticity over it.”

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