The Circuit aims for the checkered flag

We've seen Tom Cruise aim for the top of NASCAR in Days of Thunder. We've laughed at Will Ferrell goofing around in Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby. But step aside now, gentlemen, as Michelle Trachtenberg takes to the oval track in The Circuit.

Poster for the ABC Family The Circuit.
Photo by ABC.

The ABC Family original movie, airing on Sunday, June 8 at 8/7c, features Trachtenberg as Kylie Shines, the estranged daughter of stock car legend Al Shines (Billy Campbell).

Kylie picks up Al's spot on his top team when he crashes out one too many times, setting the scene for a father-daughter rivalry. She has a natural talent for taking on challenges that come her way, but she's still young and at risk of manipulation and exploitation by the team owner. At the same time, she is pursued off the track by Kid Walker (Drew Fuller), the star of the movie's racing series.

Never short of on-track action, The Circuit nevertheless doesn't skimp on off-track drama and character development, either. Trachtenberg, a veteran of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has both the youth and the sex appeal to turn a racing movie into a more complex relationship drama. The family rivalry with her father eventually results in a one-of-a-kind challenge race, after Al concludes that the team is using her as a marketing gimmick rather than giving hear a real opportunity to grow into a star and a champion on her own merits.

As if that were not enough, Kylie also ends up as one corner of a love triangle. While Walker pursues victories over her on the track and her affections at night, her mechanic, Jake Miley, harbors unrequited affection for her, having done so ever since their childhood.

The Circuit should appeal to NASCAR fans and families alike. ABC Family is distributed to some 95 million homes through various cable networks. Following on the success of Danica Patrick in the IndyCar series, and the continuing growth in popularity of NASCAR, The Circuit should find a ready audience throughout the United States, with families and established NASCAR fans alike.

Now where are those second-generation female drivers in real life?