Sunday, July 29, 2007
Early Sunday "RaceDay" Misses The Mark
With The Brickyard 400 looming, SPEED decided to split their popular RaceDay program in two. The first thirty minute live show aired at 10AM Eastern Time, and the full two hour show would follow at noon. This was a new approach for the network, and the first thirty minute show required some collective thought about what to include.
Instead of twisting the program around to serve as a "teaser" for the following two hour show, SPEED tried to "squeeze" everything down to fit in this version. Unfortunately, it was a little off key and disjointed.
The RaceDay set is one of the best in racing. The crowd loves to be on camera, and even though SPEED cannot bring itself to focus on one sign or family at a time, its always good to see Americans out and having fun. Indy was no exception, with a great crowd enjoying the sunshine and the TV antics.
John Roberts, Jimmy Spencer, and Kenny Wallace were in a great mood, and had a great time over-stating the importance of this race, just as they over-state everything. That, of course, is one of the reasons fans watch RaceDay. Wallace and Spencer are hilarious in their enthusiasm and opinions. So far this season, its been a roller-coaster ride for those two in the credibility department. But, its always fun.
Roberts and company should have used this show to "set-up" their feature program, but other than "teasing" Wendy Venturini's Real Deal interview with Jeff Gordon, nothing else was focused on that goal. Spencer and Wallace both reacted to the DEI/Ginn merger with some politically correct answers after a colorful explanation of the merger by Venturini.
Unfortunately, SPEED inserted Ricki Rachtman for a weak feature about golfing at Indy. This was time consuming, and ultimately cost Wendy Venturini an opportunity to speak with the key man of the day, Chip Gannassi. Rachtman should have been saved for the two hour show, where his scripted antics can simply fill some time.
This edition of RaceDay was off the mark, and you had the feeling that both Roberts and Venturini knew it. There was no mention of SPEED's Friday night Truck Series race, and no highlights of the Busch race at ORP from Saturday. Team mates Reed Sorenson and Juan Montoya should have been interviewed live, or on tape, about their pole runs. Fans needed news, not goofy golfing.
If SPEED splits RaceDay in the future, perhaps they will focus on the fact that twenty-two minutes of content goes by quickly, and designating a significant amount of that time to preview the "big show" would be a better focus.
With ESPN going head-to-head with this early show with a one hour version of NASCAR Now, SPEED is going to have to clearly understand, as The Daly Planet pointed out earlier, things in "TV land" have changed. Now, when SPEED turns around, they are face-to-face with the most successful TV sports network in the history of cable television. The eight hundred pound gorilla has moved into their house, and is not leaving. Its time to acknowledge that fact, and deal with it.
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