‘The Crew’s Kevin James Teases Fights & Flings in Netflix’s NASCAR Comedy

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ERIC LIEBOWITZ/NETFLIX

“We’re at each other’s throats, but we also need each other. Which is a great place to be for a comedy,” Kevin James says of the setup for NASCAR’s first sitcom, The Crew. He stars as Kevin Gibson, the old-school crew chief of the middle-of-the-pack No. 74 Chevy.

When the team’s owner retires, his Stanford-educated daughter, Catherine (Jillian Mueller), takes the reins and looks to modernize the operation: “It used to be all the crew chiefs were people who grew up racing and building cars; now it’s engineers and people who know computers,” says showrunner Jeff Lowell. “We’re at a point where experience doesn’t matter as much as knowledge. The argument I want to make is that it’s both.”

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The actors also tease the backstory we'll get in season 3 on villainous sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove).

Gibson’s job is safe for the moment — the loyal leader is beloved among his crew, which includes MacGyver-like Chuck (Gary Anthony Williams) and tech-savvy Amir (Dan Ahdoot).

But accident-prone driver Jake (Freddie Stroma), who runs more on intuition than intellect, has to fight to keep his seat in the premiere, and the team’s longtime barbecue sponsor will eventually be replaced by the fictitious Fake Steak. (NASCAR’s Reed Sorenson drove the Fake Steak No. 74 in two races last summer so the series would have footage of it in action.)

Kevin James and Sarah Stiles in The Crew (Credit: ERIC LIEBOWITZ/NETFLIX © 2020)

The multicamera workplace comedy also gives NASCAR fan James, a veteran of family sitcoms (The King of Queens, Kevin Can Wait), the chance to play single on TV. Root for sparks to ignite between Gibson and his close friend, office manager Beth (Sarah Stiles), but know that “will they or won’t they?” is the one thing meant to move slowly. Says Lowell, “I am in no rush to have Kevin be married and yelling, ‘Where’s my favorite mug?'”

The Crew, Winter, Netflix