There are few people who love what they do more than Lewis Bloom, a/k/a “Stat Guy.”
Since 2001, Bloom has been the official statistician for ESPN’s coverage of NHRA drag racing. He also has added still photography to his ESPN duties, and his work often appears on the event telecasts.
ESPN2 airs 11 hours of coverage of the sport’s biggest event, the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, this holiday weekend, culminating with six hours of Labor Day Monday for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
Front Row spoke to Bloom about his job and the sport he loves.
What is your job description?
I’m the guy who tries to make sure that the facts are said correctly. I like to remind people of what’s the big story so we don’t miss those moments. Some of them are obvious, like when Erica Enders won in Pro Stock, I didn’t have to tell anybody that was a special moment. Drag racing is a very subliminal sport. Take baseball, a lot of things go on and you don’t realize how cool they are until someone pushes them out. My biggest responsibility is to do research for every race, and make sure the producer has information to pull video on, and the announcers have what they need.
How did you get started in the sport?
I grew up a few miles from (Englishtown, N.J.) Raceway Park and I’d be out playing tennis and hear the sounds. I asked my dad what that noise was and he said he thought it was a racetrack, and he asked if I wanted to go there that weekend for my birthday. We went and that was the end of it. I started reading every magazine possible and I have a pretty good memory for obscure facts. Then I got a job there working as an announcer right before my 15th birthday, so I’ve been paid to go to the races ever since then. I still get excited about watching the cars race. That’s the thing that still gets me going. Whether it’s Top Fuel or the beginner class, I appreciate all of it.