When Sean Buckley first traveled from California to Indiana more than a decade ago, he was immediately mesmerized by the dynamic traditional sprint-car scene in the Hoosier State. In the years following he eventually relocated to Indiana, hosting an Internet radio show and honing his skills as a videographer.
Buckley’s first major project was released on DVD this past week, and it reveals his passion for Indiana sprint-car racing. “Follow The Corn” is a 66-minute documentary featuring a range of character studies that perfectly capture the well-known sprint-car hotbed. Buckley’s debut work is both interesting and entertaining, and he has established himself as a bona fide artist with this project.
When Buckley first appeared as a media personality some years ago, he was an in-your-face, edgy personality who loved to not just push the envelope but obliterate it. But there is none of that here; “Follow the Corn” is beautifully done with an artistic flair that fits well within the mainstream values of the traditional sprint-car audience.
Buckley is the driving force of this project, but does not appear on camera. It is obvious that this is a labor of love, as he poured all of himself into this work. He was behind the camera, he did the interviewing, he sat in the editing bay, and he is the guy beating the drum to make the project work from a commercial standpoint.
The style is simple, and perfect. The film mixes in-depth, on-camera interviews with plenty of track footage, providing the viewer with a good perspective on both the subject and the person being interviewed. It makes the viewer feel as though the characters have stopped by the house for a pleasant chat.
The film opens with a look at Thomas Meseraull and car owner Paul Hazen, and then features a glimpse of the iconic push trucks and the people who drive them. We then move to a wonderful conversation with grass-roots racer Troy Link, followed by a visit with Hall of Fame racer Jack Hewitt.
We are then treated to a unique behind-the-scenes moment with James Corsaro, Jr., the seemingly invisible man on the pit PA system at Kokomo Speedway. The film is capped off with a segment each on California transplant Damion Gardner and Indiana legend Jon Stanbrough.
At 66 minutes the film might first appear to be on the longish side. However, once you begin watching you realize that when you reach the 50-minute mark you suddenly wish there was another 50 minutes to go.
In addition to the feature film, the DVD features a range of eclectic extras, including some tire-smoking burnouts by Stanbrough and his vintage Corvette; a look at Gardner’s passion for motorcycles; a glimpse of Jerry Spencer’s unique “pit pass” tattoo; a humorous piece showing Link searching the pit area for a spare driving uniform after leaving his at home; and opinions from a variety of competitors on Indiana sprint-car racing.
It’s fairly obvious that Buckley has only scratched the surface with this project, because this is clearly a medium in which short-track racing plays well; lots of action, lots of colorful personalities and lots of interesting places at which to race.
“Follow The Corn” is a project not just for lovers of sprint-car racing; it’s something for lovers of racing, period. Buckley may well discover an audience eager for projects like this, and hopefully he’ll come through with Act II very soon.
“FOLLOW THE CORN”
Written and Produced by Sean Buckley
DVD, 66 minutes
$25 including shipping