With only seven seconds to make a first impression, JHE understands the need to make it a good one. From sporting events to festivals, JHE’s live shows team knows how to wow the crowd in seven seconds or less.
Since the company’s inception, JHE has specialized in producing extraordinary opening ceremonies for NASCAR and other sports entities. The producer of 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series opening ceremonies, JHE’s live shows team knows how to set the stage for a show that parallels the intensity of the competition while dazzling fans and clients.
Each opening ceremony is different, utilizing a variety of services including concerts, pyro, lighting, technology, flybys and more. By combining each element, JHE creates a standout show that wows its partners and fans alike.
Since his first visit to the Daytona 500 in 1991, it has changed dramatically. JHE’s senior director of transportation, Terry Hodges, sat down and shared how the race, track and traffic has changed in the past 24 years:
In 1991, even the Speedway was different. With only one tunnel, we used to have to drive over the race track to set the haulers and park on the backstretch of the track. I was 21 and wide eyed working on the marketing and promotions team for Dale Earnhardt Jr. During race week, you would set up at the Ocean Center and constantly run back and forth to and from the track. Traffic wasn’t nearly as bad so it was possible.
After seven years with the team, I started working for Racing Radios, the two-way radio communication provider for NASCAR and their teams. I was installing helmet kits for each driver; drilling holes and running wires for their microphones. It never made me nervous until I found out that the crazy paint jobs inside – crossbones, skulls and more – cost $5,500. Not many people knew this even existed because you couldn’t see it unless the helmet was in your hands. I got to see some really cool stuff!
After that, I worked as a NASCAR official for four years and was responsible for inspecting each car. It was a long two days; working from 6 a.m. to midnight. Teams tried to get away with the craziest things – golf ball tape, sterno and drop-down panels to name a few – to make their cars go faster.
My first race at JHE was the hardest our team has ever worked in our lives. It was the year we acquired both The Sprint Experience and moved our corporate offices to Harrisburg, North Carolina. For three straight weeks, every single JHE team member worked from 5 a.m. to midnight. A lot of people thought we couldn’t do it but we got to Daytona and pulled off every single project seamlessly.
Today, it is always the “getting to Daytona” part that is most difficult. Once we get to track, we get our “sea legs” (a Navy term) and the adrenalin always pushes us to where we need to be. The look of pride everyone’s face at the end of the race is the absolute best feeling and nothing beats that.
Every year though, I am amazed at the track’s sound. My favorite memory will always be the sound of the track. You arrive at 5 a.m. and it is still dark and eerily quiet. As the day goes by, the sound begins to buzz around you and the ambient noise begins to build. By race time, it’s deafening. It’s phenomenal; literally the quiet before the storm. It’s been this way since my first race.
While this year's contestants were all "goose bump" moments for our team, the JHE employees ultimately selected All-Star Driver Intros for the win during the annual "Dog & Pony Awards" Show. Take a look inside each of our top-4 contenders:
50 Plane PIR Flyby
As a way to celebrate Phoenix International Raceway's 50th anniversary, JHE coordinated a world record setting 50 plane flyby. It took a lot of planning with hotels, FAA and local airports plus coordination of 55 planes from 13 different states and a whole bunch of JHE teamwork to make it happen.
Richmond Pre- and Post-Race
Our team helped amp up the Richmond pre- and post-race show into essentially a miniature All-Star Race with a full blown post-race party. The fact that the show was created 100 percent in-house by JHE (audio, video, lighting, fabrication and team) was our biggest goose bump moment.
NASCAR After the Lap
The JHE in-house team produced and executed a seamless event for this year's annual ultimate driver tell-all event.
NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Driver Introductions
The only way to make driver introductions for this race any harder was to add a live musical component... so that is exactly what our team did. With no additional time allotment, we built off our 2013 stage concept and added the musical element of a Jake Owen concert to make the 2014 Sprint All-Star Race driver introductions one of the most talked about NASCAR moments of the year.
With 60 team members and 22 trucks deployed to execute events for seven clients, JHE finished the NASCAR season in style in Miami, Florida.
The week's events included production of the finale NASCAR Fuel for Business meeting for 2014; The Sprint Experience; opening and closing ceremonies including a concert by Jason Aldean; a midway concert; NASCAR Social Wall Powered by HP; the NASCAR Cabana; NASCAR hospitality; and Freightliner hospitality.
Before the NASCAR season gets underway, we took a few minutes to sit down with one of our Technical Production Coordinators, Clifton Hutchinson. Let's find out more about Clifton with our 10 Questions!