Saturday, February 10, 2007

Fox Sports: Bud Shootout - Part One

Mike Joy continues to be the best traffic cop on television. Surrounded by the tired lines and endless chatter of "Larry Mac and old DW," Joy not only quietly controls the booth, but re-sets the race for the viewers on almost a lap-by-lap basis.

Fox Sports continues to make good pictures for HDTV, but even on this first effort, it seems like they are overwhelmed by their own toys. Race fans want to watch the event with some feeling of continuity, which is tough to do when as many as ten different camera angles are used on only one lap. In-car cameras need to have graphics identifying who viewers are seeing, as often it also takes the announcers a moment to get their bearings.

This season Krista Voda is a wonderful addition to the Fox NASCAR coverage. She is a versatile and credible announcer who navigates the tension and personalities of the Nextel Cup Series with ease and grace. Her addition will pay dividends far beyond her pit reporter duties on raceday.

Fox Sports has decided to exclude the new or casual fan of NASCAR in this year's coverage. The format of the Bud Shootout was never explained, highlights of the participating drivers were never shown, and it was simply assumed that viewers knew who drivers were, including the likes of David Gilliand and Boris Said. Perhaps, addressing the issue of new fans might be a positive step for Fox before the actual Daytona 500 broadcast. This is a wonderful opportunity to do just that in primetime on a Saturday night.

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