Monday, June 25, 2007

TNT's Sonoma Coverage Has NASCAR Fans Still Steaming

The Daly Planet was overwhelmed with email and comments about the TNT broadcast of the NEXTEL Cup race from Sonoma, CA. Long after the race broadcast had gone off the air, fans were still steaming about a wide variety of issues. On NASCAR forums, chat boards, and blogs across the Internet, fans were letting it fly.

Here are some samples of the comments from NASCAR fans who watched the TNT telecast that were left on The Daly Planet:

"This just appears to be a three hour promo for TNT's primetime shows. They showed nothing but the top three cars for the last forty laps. No "through the field," no updates on the "road ringers," NOTHING! And they didn't have the courtesy to show us the results at the end of the race. HORRIBLE!"

"What looked promising a couple of weeks ago has gone horribly wrong. Bill Weber is not a play-by-play guy. I think he could do some great features, but he should not be calling a race."

"Biffle and Bowyer finish in the top five but its almost like they were never in the race. I barely recall hearing their names. I too was amazed that they did not show the finishing order when the race ended. As a new fan of NASCAR this year...I wanted to better understand who was gambling on fuel...especially in the top ten. I kept wondering how Harvick, Biffle, and Bowyer finished so high when they weren't even talked about for most of the race."

"After a huge pre-race hype about the twenty-four and forty-eight cars starting at the back of the field, did fans get to watch them drive forward? No."

"It still pains me that we only get to see two or three cars finish the race. We watch for five or six hours just to see who came in first and second? This is horrible."

"I would like to thank TNT for letting me watch a race in between their commercials."

"At least they could have checked in with Kyle one last time to find out how his race went. I'm assuming he ran out of gas because he finished thirty-ninth. I wonder how many other cars ran out of gas on the last laps. Thanks to TNT, we never found out."

"TNT bungled the close of their broadcast big time. They showed only the first two cars finish and went to commercial. They didn't fill us in on who ran out of gas and who made it. They didn't even tell us the fate of Kyle Petty, who was part of their broadcast. Their biggest blunder, however, was their failure to show the finishing order before they went off the air."

"TNT needs to figure out sometimes you have to find the race within the race and cover it. To be honest, I think the TNT crew was confused, and Larry Mac was too sick to straighten them out."

"For a network that claims "we know drama," they sure struggled to find a storyline during their race coverage."

"NASCAR wonders why the TV ratings are dropping and does not think its a big deal. Its obvious to me they are not watching the same thing we are watching. I doubt if they are watching at all."

The Daly Planet thanks the hundreds of fans who emailed and left comments with reference to the TNT coverage. Please feel free to leave additional comments on this post.

The story of the problems with the TV coverage appeared on very few media outlets other than The Daly Planet. Thank you for supporting our honest and open discussion about what you see on TV where NASCAR is involved. We will continue to post new columns each and every day until the end of the NASCAR racing season.


dave said...

I thought the first TNT race was good. I liked Kyle's input and for a first timer, he did a good job. It's pretty much been down hill since then. to be fair, I know a bit about television production so here are a couple of tips for the TNT producers. #1- When Webber starts in with the drama, cut his mic. #2- At the end of the race, show the viewers where the drives finished - 2 or 3 font panels will do it. ( see viewers may not know where drivers 3 through 43 finishes BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T SHOW THEM DURING THE RACE! ) That's it. More helpful tips next week if I can stomach sitting though another TNT broadcast.

Vince said...

Well TNT, you've established a new low in NASCAR race coverage. The guys in the booth covering the race obviously had no clue what was going on in the race. And the guys in the production truck didn't either. The only drivers they showed all day were the leaders. No explanation of who ran out of gas at the end. No finishing order. No showing of anybody other than the first couple of cars crossing the finish line.

And TNT paid NASCAR how much for the rights to broadcast their portion of the schedule? I'm sure Brian France and NASCAR are laughing all the way to the bank. Pathetic. Do you think the NFL would put up with this kind of coverage of their games by the networks?? I doubt it. Come on Brian, get a backbone! Hold the networks accountable for their coverage!

Isaiah Kilgore said...

I really looked forward to the TNT coverage. I really like the TNT suff after FOX is done. FOX does a great job of showing a race, but TNT just had a nice different feel. I like Bill and the crew. I think that the production has some cool stuff...BUT they should not go to commercial when Montoya had just won the race. That was stupid. You don't go and change to commercial when the first Hispanic driver has just won in the top series. This was big news. TNT can do a good job if it chooses to when they hit Daytona. I don't care about the NH race but the Daytona race is what I want to see. If you think that it was bad being a big commercial with a race inbetween, just wait. TNT better not screw this on up! Even if TNT does some stupid stuff it is still better than the joke that is ESPN's coverage.

RI8girl said...

One good thing about the coverage was the way Webber glossed over Kyle's little oops! For once the driver won't be penalized for having an incar camera and mic foist on him in the middle of a cut throat race! I agree, if Larry Mac wasn't sick we would have seen the race within the race or at the very least heard about it. The buisness with not showing the finnishing order is just bad TV.

PenskeFan said...

I didn't even see them show the final finishing order, just the unofficial points . I went back and forth with my Tivo looking for the results, but they just were not there.

Haus said...

I have been watching my hotpass alot more during this TNT coverage. I was not able to see the last half of the race live, but I TIVO'd the TNT coverage as well as the Tony Stewart hot pass channel which I was watching. Ray Dunlap did a great job of telling what fuel strategy most every driver was on. Even though it was the Stewart channel, I had a good idea of what everyone else was doing. I finished watching the hot pass coverage then watched the last 30 or so laps on TNT. I definitely didn't miss much on TNT. I agree with the other comments. TNT doesn't get it.

Jim said...

These TNT guys are just buffoons. In the last two weeks my favorite driver , Matt Kenseth, has been shown on a graphic to be driving for Ray Evernham, has been shown as driving the number 26 (McMurray's ride) and was shown at the end of a spinout as a guy who just can't handle a road course ( Bobby Labonte spun him out but the cameras never saw it) I don't like all the commercials either, but anyone trying to cover a race will have to sell a lot of them. But I can't understand the complete lack of knowledge displayed by this race coverage crew.

Matthew said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Regarding your column on the Sonoma race coverage, I could not have said it better, and you took the words right out of my mouth on may occasions. Hell, at Michigan, MWR had (2) cars in the top15 and they never said one thing about it at the end of the race, but the sure are all over jumping on that team when the bad occurs. Very one sided and extremely poor follow through after EVERY race they have covered so far!!!!!

zppr17j said...

congrats to FOX for being less worse than TNT. to TNT, thank you, without your coverage i'wouldn't have gotten that nap and my lawn done.

don said...

Thank God for Trackpass and Race View
At least we can watch the finish of the race as everyone crosses the finish line. And how else would anyone know Tony and Jeff were catching and passing cars in the final green flag run, they sure never showed it on TV

Michelle said...

I was sadly disappointed that no one was able to find out where all the drivers finished the race this past Sunday. I couldn't believe TNT broke for commercial at such a crucial moment. I've always been a fan of the Fox broadcast. It's always been so informative and entertaining. While I did enjoy listening to Kyle Petty, he's no DW. Larry McReynolds is a big help to that TNT bunch. Webber does get on my nerves and so does Wally. I really miss BP. He was always fun. I'm hoping ESPN does a much better job.

Joe from Philly said...

I wonder how much Speed TV is paying TNT? Their mishandling of the post race MUST be increasing Speeds viewership ratings!

duane said...

How in the world can a sports network not show the finishing order? It is obvious that we are not going to get to see the cars crossing the finish line, but at least show the finishing order before you sign off. I had to wait for NASCAR Vistory Lane to find out where everyone finished. Yes I could have looked on the internet, but I shouldn't have to.

I agree with Vince on NASCAR seemingly putting up with ESPN's sorry coverage of this sport. Not to debate on whether or not I agree with NASCAR's decision about the 24/48 "infractions", but why don't they put that kind of enforcement into the network that is carrying their sport?

"While the coverage meets the basic criteria of the contract, we do not feel that it should be broadcast in this manner." Then come back on Tuesday and slap ESPN with a huge fine, suspend the hosts indefinately, and put the rest of the show on probation. Maybe that will wake them up, but I doubt it.

Valerie said...

Kyle Petty said it best..."What the F#%! was that?????"

Greg said...

I happened to turn to the radio station the race was on (never watch them live, impossible to deal with commercials, tivo it) and the guys at MRN did a GREAT job of tracking who was where the last 20 laps I listened. They pulled all the drama from that race and it was actually exciting to listen to. When I got home and watched the TNT coverage it was like it was not the same race at all. A really bad joke of a telecast.

Ben Simo said...

TNT failed to show the finish of the race, or even the finishing order, beyond the first two cars two weeks in a row!

TNT also failed to show much of the action outside the top five for the entire race.

And what about those people that started near or at the rear of the field but finished near the front? This includes the winner. How'd they get to the front? TNT doesn't seem to know that there's 43 drivers in the race. And their viewers wouldn't know that by watching the coverage.

I don't think it can get much worse and I fear that it won't get better next time.

TNT does not know drama.

Mike said...

I don't have cable or satellite, so this schedule has given me a break from NASCAR. I watch IRL and even Champ Car and Rolex. My prediction - the cable schedule will do the same thing to NASCAR that CBS did to baseball back in 1990 (they televised more games in the post season than all season long - no MLB Saturday game of the week). Don't complain when the big dollar netwrok ratings drop. Less is NOT more.

Lance said...

do like i used to do (or when i can) watch the race on t.v and tune into MRN for the play by play. can't get MRN in nyc, but as soon as you cross the mason-dixon line...YEEEEHAW!!!!

Anonymous said...

I dropped cable several years ago. The radio broadcast was well done. The "pit lane" camera on showed all of the action in the turn 11 hairpin. It sounds like my way of enjoying the race was better than the actual live TV broadcast.

Anonymous said...

The problem some here are missing is that it goes beyond the booth. The guys in the truck are either half asleep and/or lazy at doing their job. I like some of dave's ideas.

In their defense, I think we will see Through the Field back this week. As far as commercials go, I hate it as well during green flag racing. However, if there are few to no cautions in a race, what can you do about it? The guys in the booth have no control on when to break. Doing side-by-side a la the IRL race would help if NASCAR and the corporate sponsors could put their egos aside.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog, referred to it from Jayski...neat angle on the action...and you do a good job.

I've never really given much thought to what is going on behind the scenes. After Sonoma, I had a weird feeling like something wasn't quite right with the broadcast, in addition to the lack of post-race necessities. Coming across this entry really opened my eyes. Now I know why I don't like Bill Weber!

Like everyone else, I miss BP. I'm neutral on Wally and now really dislike BW. This is old stuff but it's something that's always irked me about him. When Bill Elliott (my favorite driver) won the Brickyard in '02, BW was in victory lane. His first word to Awesome was "Hey!" in "Hey, over here...this is where you ought to be looking!" I thought, "How rude and uncouth..." Not being a real "read between the lines" guy, I just shuffled BW to the background after that.

I've always liked Allen Bestwick. He's kind of a straight guy (like in a comedy team) but is real knowledgeable. He is real smooth at leading the "experts" to the subject matter and the nitty gritty. He needs to be back up in the booth. I agree with the consensus on the Milwaukee race. The broadcast was so good (other than the obligatory Wallace family adventures) that I didn't really notice the broadcast, but the race really stood out. That's a good sign.

I know that lots of people don't like DW. I'm not a fanatic about him but I think he's more good than bad. Just my opinion though.

Larry Mac is good. Southern charm and a good racing head.

What do you all think of Mike Joy? I like him. He's a little more "insider-ish" than Bestwick, but I like his voice and almost grandfatherly style. And he always seems to be linked with DW.

I like Kyle as a reporter. I don't think the in race reporter stuff is a good idea though...ESPECIALLY at Sonoma!! Maybe at Fontana or Michigan or Pocono where there's plenty of straightaway and plenty of racing room, but not at certain tracks. TNT should take the complete blame for the prayer and the F-bomb (that was just weird).

I've always favored Fox's broadcast over TNT/NBC. It's mixed since there are characters on both sides that are good and bad (and Chris Myers), but I've never been comfortable with the latter's commitment as a network to bringing a high quality product. They just seem to want to jazz it up and put it out. Both do it.

Again, good blog!! Keep up the good work.


Anonymous said...

for a journalist and writer in nascar with all this experience it's sad that you misspelled jack Roush's last name everytime you used it in the red sox love entry. i guess bashing others comes easy but spelling is a little harder to master.

Hoosier Man said...

iT'S like the funeral where the preacher asked if anyone wanted to say some words about the recently departed and there came a loud voice from from the rear of the congregation: "his brother was even worse...". Well friends, NEW HAMPSHIRE WAS EVEN WORSE!

Anonymous said...

Here in Atlanta...TNT Headquarters...we kept loosing the signal and could'nt even see the race for minutes at a time. It may have been Comcast cable but it does'nt matter. The free Racebuddy was TNT's only saving grace...the end of the race was cool...Go Kasey