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NBC Insider Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge

Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challenge's After Show, Best Builds, Keeps the Debate Going

Curious how the Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challenge judges made their ruling in Episode 1? 

By Tyler McCarthy

If you tuned into the premiere of NBC’s Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challenge and simply couldn’t get enough of the hottest automotive design competition of the season, we’ve got good news. The debate over the two cars continues on the series’ official after show, Best Builds.

How to Watch

Watch Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challenge on NBC and Peacock.

That’s right, after each episode, fans can tune into a lengthy behind-the-scenes conversation with host Rutledge Wood and the episode’s resident Hot Wheels experts, Dalal Elsheikh and Hertrech Eugene. Together, they’ll break down what happened in the latest episode and offer some extra insight into what went into their decision in selecting a winner to advance to the finals.

Spoiler Alert: This story discusses the winner of Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge Episode 1.

In the first episode, the trio broke down the very close competition between Jim’s wheelie-poppin’ Dodge Charger and Jadejha’s futuristic 2009 Chevrolet Camaro. In the end, they gave a slight edge to Jim thanks to his imaginative engineering prowess and the spectacle of getting the beast on two wheels despite failing to truly incorporate the twist design element handed down by the Inspirationator 5000. 

RELATED: Where to Watch Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge – Premiere Date, Celeb Judges & More

“Oh man, that thing blew me away,” Elsheikh said. “I’ve got to be honest, it was such a tight race, I couldn’t tell who was going to take it but Jim really won my heart over when that thing performed. I was not expecting it to go that high!” 

The whole panel heaped praise on Jadejha’s car, though, noting that they loved the silhouette it cast as well as the way she incorporated both the design twist as well as her aunt’s words of affirmation that made the car deeply personal and unique to her. They added to the discussion they began on the episode by noting that the bodywork her team did on the Camaro made it look cool, but was ultimately its undoing as the “stance” and “functionality” of the car suffered for them — Those wheels really stuck out.

For Eugene, the clincher was the paint scheme on Jim’s Charger, which the duo revealed was “Spectraflame,” which is a Hot Wheels term used by Mattel for the metallic finishes on some of the original Hot Wheels paint schemes from 1968 through 1972. 

That’s not the only thing they revealed about what they’re looking for in a Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge winner. It turns out they look at seven key criteria when selecting who should go on to the finale for a shot at a larger cash prize and a chance to have their bonkers design immortalized as a Hot Wheels diecast. 

The top three things they’re looking out for are: originality, execution, and hotness. However, within those categories, they make sure to factor in the car’s transformation, the team’s take on the twist, how well it fits in with the Hot Wheels collection and, finally, how they incorporated their personal story into the car so that it not only packs a punch on the track but in emotionality too

Tune into both Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge on Tuesdays at 10PM ET/PT and catch the after show for more once it’s all done.