Aaron Cohen and the team from Words + Pictures believe being the outsiders on a project can be a good thing.

It’s the approach Cohen and fellow executive producer Connor Schell took when working on “NASCAR: Full Speed,” the Netflix docuseries coming to the streaming service Jan. 30. The five-episode series follows nine drivers on and off the track as they compete for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series championship.

“I think people inside the sport might know things and not necessarily realize how interesting they are to a broader audience,” Cohen told RACER. “I’m a big believer in if you do things for the broader audience, the hardcore fan will also find it interesting if it’s well done. The most ridiculous example I can give is if you read an article on NASCAR or Ryan Blaney or Denny Hamlin in The New York Times or Rolling Stone or something more general, I think the hardcore fan will be really interested in that because it’s an outsider’s perspective.”

The first episode, titled “Playoffs or Bust,” covers the final race of the regular season where the 16-driver playoff field is finalized at Daytona International Speedway. The following three episodes break down each round of the playoffs before the finale, “Across the Line,” goes in-depth leading up to and during the fight for the championship at Phoenix Raceway.

All nine drivers who participated in the series were playoff drivers. Among them was Ryan Blaney, who claimed his first Cup Series championship.

“We definitely embraced the idea that we were not NASCAR experts and all of our storytellers working on the show were not experts,” Cohen continued. “So, to come in from the outside and sort of say, ‘Hey, wow, this is a really interesting world.’ So many aspects are super interesting in terms of all the technical stuff and the characters. They are phenomenal characters and I think that’s something we were thinking of first.

“It’s not so much, ‘OK, let’s look at the calendar and how are we going to set up the playoffs?’ It was, ‘Who are the characters that we really want to focus on and dive in on as much as we can?’ And earn their trust to give us the access that we had. We had some amazing access.”

Denny Hamlin opened up his home, brought cameras into meetings at 23XI Racing, and his motorhome at the racetrack. Hamlin’s two daughters, Molly and Taylor, are featured, as is his mother, Mary Lou and father, Dennis.

William Byron shares insight into his training routine and infatuation building Legos. In the episode featuring Ross Chastain, he shares his family’s story of watermelon farming, what it takes to be a race car driver, and even jokes about the nicknames his fellow drivers have for him (spoiler alert, they’re expletives).

Others featured in the series include Bubba Wallace and Bootie Barker, his crew chief. Barker is unafraid of the camera and his honest thoughts on any situation.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who appears on screen and also served as one of the executive producers, felt the group of drivers who participated in the series understood “the task” of showing their personal lives and what goes on at the track. Tyler Reddick brings cameras into his life with fiancé Alexa DeLeon and son Beau, even giving the backstory of the bet that led to Beau’s name.

“I think a lot of those drivers were selected because of their willingness to get outside of their typical responsibilities and be accessible, giving of their time, dive into a project and try to do a great job,” Earnhardt Jr. told RACER. “The drivers who were chosen were ones who have been willing in the past to take on a new project or idea. When we see the success of this program, other drivers will likely come forward after seeing what’s involved. ‘What is it going to take?’ ‘What do I need to do?’ ‘What is expected of me?’ And the reaction to it from our fans.

“All the drivers that were a part of it, they went above and beyond what I think even they were expecting. So that was nice to see. The drivers are the key to open the door. If the drivers don’t give that access, this does not work. Kudos to the ones that were involved. It helped accomplish and create the program I think Netflix wanted to create.”

Netflix being the streaming platform behind the project likely went a long way. Earnhardt Jr. acknowledged the reach Netflix has and how well known it is. In recent years, Netflix has released some of the most successful sports documentaries whether it be stick-and-ball sports or multiple seasons of “Drive To Survive” following Formula 1.

In putting the series together, Cohen and company were conscious of keeping things simple for new or casual fans while also not boring the die-hard fans. Cohen’s philosophy was if he didn’t understand something, then the viewer wasn’t going to either.

Cohen and Schell spent several days in Charlotte, N.C., over the summer explaining what the series aimed to do and the access needed. It helped make the drivers comfortable and clear on what would be required before filming began.

“It’s really about that matter of trust,” Cohen said.

“I had no doubt that Netflix would have amazing audio, great editing, great production,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I felt they weren’t going to need any advice on making it look great. The trick was going to be how do we get the drivers behind it?”

As a former driver, Earnhardt Jr. knew there would be apprehension about being taken out of context or not represented in the best light. And when it comes to any type of reality show, there is concern over trying to edit someone as the villain. But in this case, the drivers saw the positive being a part of a project that will help grow the sport.

“What I tried to do was help Netflix — the producers and editors — understand these personalities so that they were cast correctly and that the person watching at home who h as never seen or heard of these drivers, understands who these personalities are,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I had a great experience with it, and they didn’t ask too much of my time. I wasn’t burdened by it all and I’m even more thankful I got involved after I saw the finished product.”

All five episodes of “NASCAR: Full Speed” will be released at once and available for streaming as of Jan. 30. They are 45 minutes in length.

Cohen hopes the viewer takeaway, especially those who are invested in following NASCAR and its drivers, get what they’re hoping for with behind-the-scenes access and deeper content from the 2023 season. For the broader audience, Cohen hopes they see how fantastic the sport is and the unique personalities behind the wheel.

“It’s super exciting,” he said. “It’s a fun world, and I think we’re really proud of the way we covered it.”