Friday, August 24, 2007

Long Night At Bristol For ESPN


The NASCAR Countdown pre-race show is designed to set the table for ESPN viewers. The version of the show that precedes the Busch Series race is thirty minutes in length. After a lot of different faces this season, it seems that ESPN has finally decided to allow the popular Allen Bestwick to host this program.

Friday night in Bristol, Bestwick tried his best to keep things organized and flowing, but it was a tough task. Tim Brewer double-clutched right away in the Tech Center in a preview of a what was in store for viewers. It would be only the beginning of a very long night in sports TV land for the network.

The Countdown show works best when either Andy Petree or Rusty Wallace appear in-person on the Infield Studio set. The "voice of the fans" Brad Daugherty simply does not have enough driver or crew chief experience to understand and explain the nuances of tracks like Bristol. In this show, Wallace appeared on the set, touched all the bases, and then ran-off to the broadcast booth.

Someone has been working very hard with Rusty on his TV skills. Gone is the "aww shucks, I'll tell you what" version of Wallace. It has been replaced with a well-spoken adult who calls others by their name and is now on his best manners all night long. He thinks before he talks, and it has made a big difference. Even under adverse circumstances, like ESPN was about to experience, Rusty now stays composed and hangs-in like his part-time co-analyst Dale Jarrett.

Jack Ingram is a great guy, and was a tough driver in the old days of what is now the Busch Series. ESPN tried to help viewers with the link between Ingram and Kevin Harvick, but it was a tough sell. The NASCAR fans of today have no use for the Red Farmers, Tommy Houstons, and Sammy Ards of the past. Harvick and Bestwick did their best to make this segment fly, but it clearly did not lift-off the ground.

Next-up, poor Dave Burns got stuck in a pick-up truck on thirty-six degrees of banking with two drivers who clearly did not care to do anything with him except plug their sponsors and fool around. Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards wanted to do anything but deal with Burns. Perky Jamie Little was a little luckier with new dad Jason Leffler and actually got a couple of good questions answered.

Brad Daugherty is just tough to talk about. He knows his NASCAR racing, he knows the TV environment, and he knows business. What is not made clear to the fans is why we need to know what he knows. His role is new, and ESPN does not let him interview anyone on the set, he does not do any kind of feature reports, and he basically agrees with everything Bestwick says about anything. I think he is a great guy, and certainly a super fan, but I just don't...get it.

Bestwick handed the program off to Jerry Punch, and away they went. It was amazing that during the on-camera open, neither Wallace or Petree mentioned the fact that it was the Craftsman Truck race on Wednesday night that confirmed a solid second racing groove on this re-surfaced track. Both analysts talked about cars racing all over the track, but they never mentioned how they would know this fact. Talk about avoiding the Truck Series and SPEED Channel at all costs.

ESPN's "start your engines" video and audio special effect is a good addition to the telecast. This montage is fun to watch. It is much better than the Full Throttle mess that still needs to be somehow limited to only the top ten cars. The in-car reporter Dale Jarrett did his best Juan Montoya imitation by blowing-off the pre-race ESPN chat. Punch and company showed some class by hanging-in and returning to him before the start.

When the green fell, ESPN knew they were going to be in for a challenge. The small lap times, the action all around the track, and the fast pace of position changes always make things tough at Bristol, where I have done many races. As a TV crew, you try to get some momentum going just like a good NASCAR team. Sometimes, things just fall your way, and sometimes...it just goes down like it did Friday night.

The live TV coverage missing accidents at Bristol is absolutely going to happen. Unfortunately, for ESPN it happened a whole lot during the significant commercial load in this Busch Series race. The partner to missing accidents is then missing the race re-starts coming back from break. It almost seems like things can just get out of rhythm and stay that way.

Let's face facts, ESPN missed a lot of on-track action. Sometimes, they were in commercial when an incident happened, sometimes they were in commercial when a lead change happened, sometimes they were in commercial and missed a re-start. Do you sense a theme here?

Allen Bestwick was often times the voice viewers heard when coming back from break. Still located in the Infield Studio, Bestwick hosted multiple recaps, talked directly to pit reporters, and tried with all his might to draw Brad Daugherty into the mix.

While this was well-intentioned, it often drew attention to the fact that Dr. Jerry Punch is primarily a reporter, and is "moonlighting" in the NASCAR booth as ESPN's play-by-play announcer. Somehow, if these roles were reversed, it might give Punch a break and let Bestwick carry the heavy load for the Busch Series races as he did earlier this season.

Andy Petree continues to cruise though all the chaos without a problem. He has been the surprise of the TV crew this season, and continues to be a clear and authoritative voice for ESPN on the NASCAR scene. If only he could lend his credibility to the network's daily racing show called NASCAR Now. Apparently, Petree is a bit busy during the week.

It was such a pleasure to see two-wide racing return to Bristol after all the years of "the chrome horn" being the only way to pass. Actually seeing the occasional three-wide alignment on the straightways was amazing. ESPN tried to mix the low angle, in-car, and up high camera shots to keep the feeling of speed and intensity for the viewers. Regardless of the crash captures, the network stayed intense and focused on keeping ahead of the racing action lap-after-lap.

As we noted in an earlier Daly Planet column, ESPN needs to aggressively keep changing the Tech Center until they get it right. It needs a Steadicam instead of a shoulder-mounted camera, because almost all of Brewer's toys are on ground level. During green flag racing, it needs to only be put in a side-by-side split screen box. That would avoid a moment like tonight, where Brent Sherman's accident was missed for a full screen report...on a broken wheel.

What a difference it made when ESPN left the Draft-Tracker at home this week. Once or twice in a broadcast to help viewers understand drafting, this effect is absolutely fun and interesting to watch. Unfortunately, last week at Michigan ESPN beat this poor special effect to death. The lack of Rusty being forced to say "aero push" fifteen or twenty times a show was a refreshing break.

When the red flag came out for the Marcos Ambrose accident, Bestwick and Daugherty took over in the Infield Studio. This would have been the perfect time to allow Tim Brewer to update any topic relating to the race from the Tech Center. Instead, the broadcast talked to ESPN's own Dale Jarrett, who was absolutely not a factor of any kind in the race.

Having come a long way in a short period of time, pit reporter Jamie Little has got to get the hustle award for this telecast. Little jumps-in and frequently contributes great information to the broadcast booth from a pit road perspective. She is still working on her volume control, but once again put her best foot forward as a new member of the NASCAR TV team.

ESPN was on top of the Kyle Busch pit violation, and both Petree and Wallace were outspoken in their criticism of NASCAR's officiating. The network had all the replays, spoke with his crew chief, and then remembered to follow-up with Busch even after the race was over.

We need to make two more points in this telecast. The first one is easy. It is ridiculous for a national TV network to go to commercial with twenty laps to go at Bristol...period. With the high number of cautions, and even a red flag period, there was absolutely only one reason to head to break...make even more money.

If the in-action commercial rotation was not finished with twenty laps to go, the NASCAR production team needs to have a meeting. If they pull this stunt on Saturday during the closing laps of a key NEXTEL Cup race, the roar from the fans will be clearly heard in the halls of both NASCAR's Daytona and Charlotte offices.

Finally, while TV relies on people, it also relies on equipment. We talk a lot at The Daly Planet about the decisions actual people make that affect our TV viewing, and love of this sport. Equipment is different. Digital TV with High Definition and all the bells and whistles has been fantastic this season for ESPN.

It was simply a shame that with three laps to go, ESPN lost their satellite pathway for transmission of the program. While I am sure we will get an official press release about this soon, it certainly cannot be blamed on the production crew, the engineering staff, or even Erik Kuselias. Yes, even the K-man is off the hook for this one.

The network recovered the best it could, replayed the lost portion several times, and then continued with a good array of post-race interviews. Maybe this signals the one technical problem the network will have this season, and now it is out of the way. Just too bad it happened at such an exciting race.

It was a rough Friday night in Tennessee for ESPN, and now they face perhaps the toughest test in NASCAR...the NEXTEL Cup night race at Bristol. The crowd will be wild, the action will be crazy, and everyone on the TV crew had better show-up with their game faces on. Let's hope momentum swings, and finds favor with the NASCAR on ESPN crew Saturday night. After Friday, its has to get better...right?

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below, or email editor@thedalyplanet.tv if you wish not to be published. Thanks again for taking the time to stop-by and leave your opinion.

40 comments:

Matt said...

While tonight was full of new problems, the problem that consistently seems to affect the broadcast is a lack of chemistry. There just seems to be no connetction between Doc, Rusty and Andy. They hardly ever talk to each other and act like they aren't even friends. The difference between those three and Steve, Larry, and Jeff in the SPEED booth is like night and day. While Allen Bestwick and Marty Reid can have chemistry with any announcers they are paired with, these guys who have been together for almost a year between tryouts and actual race broadcasts still seem like strangers to each other.

bevo said...

Good way to sum up the broadcast John. I apologize for assuming that it was someone hitting the wrong switch for the end of the race. I would appreciate a laymans explanation of what "losing a satellite pathway" means.

As an aside, van we have Marty Reid back for the NHRA broadcast? Please?

wickedj said...

Bevo, please take Reid back to NHRA and please keep him :) if you REALLY want you can have Doc Punch too...

put Allen in the booth w/ Rusty and Andy and well find someone to be in the Hollywood Hotel..anybody know if Glenn Jarrett or Ned is busy? :)

i would rank this race a nice big F- for ESPN..

i just thought of something horrible..Talladega is coming up, can you IMAGINE how much ESPN is going to wear that draft tracker out?

Seiko said...

Lack of chemistry is probably the most frustrating thing to watch.

Even during the TNT fiasco we got decent announcing (well lets leave Sonoma out of this)

ESPN PLEASE do something.

Tim Brewer (nice guy) has the appearance of a 20 day old lobster rotting on the side of the road, only with less personality.

Dr. Punch, is not working in the booth. Put him back in the pits.

Rusty Wallace, I think he will work out after some time. But I just don't like him, he comes off as having zero humor nor the ability to shut his mouth.

Andy Peetre is great, he comes out looking like a nice guy, that is very knowledgeable about the sport. (and we all know he is)


For now like a lot of the NASCAR fans, Watch the race on mute with the radio going. I can take another 20 minute fuzzy air draft track while the green flag is out, never mind the fact of horrid announcing.

Gilbert Sam, Jr. said...

As a fan of Brad, and as you mentioned, I love him to venture out and maybe do some feature interviews or discussions.. Instead of talking the ABCs on NASCAR.

Shoop said...

I'm sorry, but the Busch coverage at Bristol was terrible. Never once did I feel, as a viewer, that I knew what was going on.

The alarming number of restarts and accidents that were missed were one thing, but completely missing the Kyle Busch penalty was inexcusable.

Yes, the explained what happened.......but there had been 5-10 GREEN laps run before they ever MENTIONED it. Meaning, they had the entire caution period PLUS 5-10 laps of green before they ever "got around to it". This was the best car on the racetrack, whos had constant track position problems since the start of the race, and they "forgot" about him? Ridiculous.

Another thing is the running order. At no point during the race, did I know how many laps down my favorite driver was...and I also had NO CLUE what happened to him. As a 3-time Busch winner at Bristol, AND the defending champ of this very race, I believe that that is unacceptable. We're not talking about Mark Green here, we're talking about Matt Kenseth.

What happened to him? He was running 11th.......and all of a sudden he's 41st, with no explanation. No follow up. Suddenly, I catch a glimpse of him back on the track.....and again, no update, no explanation. This morning, I wake up and look at the results of the race to find out that he was 21 laps down. I had no idea. Thanks ESPN.

Like I said, the whole race I didnt feel like I was "in the loop". It was a constant "catching up" job by ESPN, and a constant question of "whats going on?" coming from me, the viewer.

Way to go ESPN.

Danny King said...

It really bothers me that ESPN only chooses to talk to the "star" racer when an accident happens.Twice a Cup racer had an incident with a Busch racer and ESPN didn't get the Busch guys side of it.[Burton-McClure] the most obvious.'Course the Busch series is nothing more than a glorified cup practice anymore,and then the cup guys bitch if they have a problem with a Busch racer.Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Pathetic. Awkward. Allan Bestwick has to go back to "play by play".
And how many times did they come back from commercial not only missing the restart....but back under yellow because of an accident they missed also.
This bunch is in over their heads, and the NA$CAR fan is the one that suffers.

Anonymous said...

I about fell out of my chair when ESPN went to commercial with 20 laps left in the race. I can live with most of the announcers, but Daugherty is a joke. He adds NOTHING to the show. This isn't basketball ESPN. I only hope tonight's coverage is better.

Statboy said...

Kenseth I think broke a track bar of something like that. It was kinda hard to make out on my scanner at the track.

I'm sorry that people watching on tv missed such a great race. That was without a doubt the best race I've been too and probably one of the better races I've seen in all my years of being a NASCAR fan.

I said this last week. It seems to me that ESPN should pull some tapes out of the archive and see how they used to handle NASCAR broadcasts.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Bevo,

Satellite uplink trucks, like the one pictured on the column, are usually very reliable. They simply accept a signal (feed) by wire from the main production truck. That would be one of those big white trailers in the pic.

The uplink is basically just a bigger version of the satellite truck your local news station might have. These big brothers have HD capability, and can handle such fun things as many audio channels and even scrambled signals, called encoding, so that no one can pick off and watch the "clean" incoming feed to ESPN (the one with no commercials).

The uplink points at a pre-determined satellite, dials in on a specific transponder on that bird, then clears his signal with both the company that owns the satellite and the network receiving the incoming feed.

So, they simply route the program feed by wire to their truck, run it through their electronics, and send it up in the air to a domestic satellite. The network then uses its downlink dish to receive the feed and routes it to their Master Control for commercial insertion.

If a feed needs a studio segment, like a college basketball game at halftime, the feed is simply routed through one of the Production Control Rooms (PCR's) first and then sent down to MCR for commercial insertion.

Rarely does an uplink truck experience problems that are not associated with weather. Its a simple piece of equipment, and only needs a reliable source of electrical power to operate.

Julie said...

From what we could see I think this was some of the best racing they've had at Bristol in years... which only highlights the horrendous nature of the coverage that ESPN devoted to it. It seems that the challenge of Bristol was a task they just weren't up to. The timing of the commercials was so bad that it's hard to imagine an automated program doing a worse job. Maybe we would have lucked into catching more of the action if the timing was already set. I was appalled when they cut away to commercial with less than 20 to go, and to have them comment that there was "great racing going on" when they brought us back from commercial only seemed to add insult to injury.

I hope shame if nothing else will compel ESPN to work hard to improve their coverage. I'd like to think the odds of it getting better are good, because it's hard to imagine how it could be much worse.

cwebs said...

Did anyone else catch the repeat of the race that aired at 1:30am??? I recorded it out of morbid curiosity. I thought maybe there might me a chance that they would piece together the end of the race to make it a little more coherent for anyone who was watching. When I ran back the recording this morning, I was shocked, SHOCKED at what I saw.

They went to commercial with 22 laps to go, just as in the live broadcast. Then, are you ready for this(???), when they came back from commercial, it was halfway through the final lap!!!

That's right, if you were one of the unfortunate souls who was depending on the re-air of the race as your only chance to see it, then you didn't even get to see the portion between 13 laps to go and 3 laps to go!!!

Strangely, the point at which they did come back from that late-race commercial on the re-air was about half a lap from the finish, and hence about half a lap more of the final lap than was put out on the re-air than on the live broadcast. Still, that doesn't make up for the lost TEN laps which were very exciting with Ryan Newman getting squeezed between two cars and giving up the lead!!!

Now, in addition to this, the broadcast at 1:30am also started after the invocation and the national anthem. It started where the first commercial ended on the live broadcast. Added to the cutout of 10 laps of racing at the end, this was almost 10 minutes of non-commercial time that simply vanished. The re-air was 2.5 hours long, same as the original live broadcast. I'm not going to sit through the whole recording of the re-air to check for other omissions, but I can only assume that they added EVEN MORE commercial time to the re-air than was already present in the live broadcast!

Thanks again go to NASCAR, the nice folks who sold us out to ESPN. Do they have any leverage over ESPN's coverage at all? If they do, then it's darn well time to start exercising it...

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey Guys,

Did anyone see any articles on the Internet that mentioned the satellite problems or discussed ESPN's presentation of the race?

If you would list them, I think we all would appreciate it.

JD

Anonymous said...

Lots of comments in the Busch race thread on the SpeedTv fourms. Long thread, but lots of ESPN TV coverage comments, even saw the "Daly Planet" mentioned on it.
JS

Anonymous said...

Did, or did not, NASCAR officials say they made a mistake in the Kyle Busch/commit line debacle?

I couldn't tell. It was as if the ESPN crew was afraid to make a definitive statement.

bevo said...

John -

Thank you for the explanation. I remember a couple of years ago ESPN did a Saturday night college football game (Florida St. I think) where they had the game on ESPN, the truck with the producer and director on 2, and another with isolated cameras on ESPN U. It was interesting to see the behind-the-scenes production. Once they get everything worked out with the broadcast it would be great to see them do the same thing with a Cup race. That's why it's so frustrating to see them struggle so much right now. They are capable of doing a great job. I'm giving them the benefit of a doubt that the posters last night from ESPN are not representative of the people trying their best to put on a quality show.

bevo said...

The AP Wire story on ESPN.com mentions it. :)

TexasRaceLady said...

I nearly shot my televison when the signal cut out.

Thank you, John, for the clear explanation of what might have happened.

Along with so many others, I could not believe that with 20 laps to go, the 4-letter network went to commercial.

This is NOT the ESPN coverage I remember from years gone by.

I must say, though, it was a pleasure to see 2 and 3 wide racing at Bristol again. Brings back memories of the days before concrete. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

I flipped out when ESPN decided to cut away from green flag racing to show Tim Brewer discuss a broken wheel.

Side-by-side may have been okay, but ESPN gave Brewer the whole screen. I was screaming "Get back to the %$#! race you morons!"

Show this kind of junk under yellow and on pre-race shows. This is Bristol. Do NOT cut away from the race.

SophiaZ123 said...

Wow. so many good points and gripes, too many good posts to try to quote and address!!

I agree with all the criticism of ESPN as they DESERVE IT.

John, thanks for the detailed explanation, though I only understood part of it. I just think it's BIZARRE that happened with no STORMS to blame it on?

But I think I said this elsewhere folks,

IF we saw GOOD COMMENTATING, IF we saw good CAMERA WORK, IF we saw interviews with Busch guys, If we heard follow ups to engine issues and crashes,

If the talking heads KNEW what was going on on MY TV AT HOME, I could've FORGIVEN the HORRIBLE LOSS of signal at the end.

BUT, somebody mention
s ESPN should've composed themselves, given the guys in the booth more of a heads up and THEN showed the final three laps...as opposed to Kasey winning and then going backwards to show us the three laps.

though I have gripes with FOx and their overkill graphics

(which triggered the one poster here who MENTIONEDE TALLADEGA!! We gotta get a petition to NOT USE THE DRAFT TRACKER during THAT RACE!)

I have a feeling if DW and Larry Mac would've known the TV Fans lost the race at home, they would've FELT EMPATHY FOR US.

I think they would've been apologizing PROFUSELY.

We got none of that from ESPN, sadly because the guys in the booth don't seem to care.

ALso, I agree those guys have no chemistry.


(please, please, PLEASE, espn, get rid of the draft tracker)

I have to RESPECTFULLY disagree with you John, that thing is a WASTE OF RACING..use it ONLY during pre race or maybe ONE CAUTION....that's IT.

Also, Jamie may be a nice girl, but her voice grates on me, she is too perky, and needs to cut back on the caffiene or maybe snap her Zolofts in half? I dunno. NOTHING personal Jamie I just always feel GRUMPY when she is on my tv.

:-)

Thanks again John for opening up the site to us.

bevo said...

OK - signed up for a Blogger account. Now I can be legit!

Going to be interesting this evening. I might even decide not to watch HotPass and go with the ESPN coverage instead.

Desmond said...

John, thanks for the explanation of how uplink/downlink works on a live broadcast. It makes me marvel at how we get to see all the live programs (sports/news) that are on TV.

That being said, and based only on the reading I just did, I have only one (legal) possible explanation. That is to say, there may have been a temporary power surge which took out the uplink equipment. By the time the power was restored, the race was over.

Steve L said...

I was at the race, and BOY, what a RACE!! That was about the best racing I've seen in years and I go to about 10 per year.

I had the scanner on the ESPN coverage and was wondering if it was as bad on TV as it was live in my ear? I realize Bristol is a hard track to cover because there's so much going on all over the track. At times, they were three wide clear back in the thirty-fifth spot. Even I had a hard time watching all the little mini races going on and I was there.

Andy said several times during a commercial break that they (the fans), were missing too many restarts, that it wasn't good for the viewers. He seemed more concerned about it than any of the other announcers.

But, when they went to commericial with 20 to go, he was upset and said the race would be over before the network returned. He himself could not believe they did this to the viewers!

Then when they found out the signal was lost at the end, Rusty and Punch laughed that it had happened, as if to say "what else can go wrong?".

After they went off air I heard the producer tell everyone they did a "great job", "good show" he said.

Was he watching the same race? I recorded the race on my TIVO but I'm not too sure I want to ruin it by watching something I know will upset me! NASCAR, it's past time to fix this!

Rusty, I'm tired of hearing about Steven, conflict of interest. Punch, go back in the pits or better yet, retire. Petree, learn the english language.

Signed, Almost a former NASCAR fan.

SophiaZ123 said...

John

That's Racing mentioned the ESPN thing last night.

http://www.thatsracin.com/

Steve

Your Live race update and comments about the guys in the booth, if being taken in the proper context, makes me REALLY have zero respect for Punch and Rusty. I hardly think even DW or Larry would've "LAUGHED" at the lost signal.

I am glad Andee at least gives a damn.

Bevo,

Yea, watch the race on ESPN so you can see what normal folks have to put up with!! But I TELL YOU WHAT, I am getting out the boombox for the race.

Just in case

>:- }

Daly Planet Editor said...

A new post is up about Saturday's one hour NASCAR Now. And you thought the race has issues....

Anonymous said...

John and others. Believe it or not this is not the first time that ESPN has lost its satelite feed during a NASCAR telecast. A few weeks back, a simlar if not same thing happend during coverage of the Nextel Cup Series practice session from Watkins Glen. The screen went dark and we got an unusally camera shot, and then commercial. Jerry Punch told viewers after the break that the feed from the glen, to the bristol CT headquarters was interrupted. Which is what happend last night.

Perhaps ESPN need to look into this problem>

projectpappy09 said...

Boy, after all of these complaints, it makes me happy that I didn't even bother watching the end of the race (I had it on TiVo), after I read what happened with the coverage.

Matt said...

I'm glad to hear SOMEONE on the ESPN staff actually cares about the coverage of NASCAR. I am so worried about tonight's broadcast I am looking for a website that has PRN's radio broadcast. Does anyone know of one other than NASCAR.com?

bevo said...

SophiaZ123 -

I'll watch on Tivo so I can synch it up with my Sirius and switch between the ESPN audio and PRN.

Hope it's not another TNT at Sonoma type of broadcast.

stricklinfan82 said...

The ESPN2 re-air went to commercial with 22 laps to go and then after the break showed the last 2 laps, which is slightly more than we got to see live. The other thing I noticed that's lacking in ESPN's coverage is the announcers' call of the finish of the races. Rather than getting excited, ESPN basically sits there in silence every time an exciting finish happens. Last night Punch was silent as the cars crossed the finish line, and that was followed by Rusty calmly saying "Leffler spins" and then a few seconds later Punch calmly and quietly said "Kasey Kahne gets the win". How about adding a little excitement in calling the cars coming to the finish line side-by-side? Even Bill Weber knows to get excited when there is a battle to the finish line in a race. Some of the best finishes in NASCAR history are remembered alongside the memorable call of the event - Ken Squier's call of the last lap of the 1979 Daytona 500, Bob Jenkins' last lap of the 1991 Champion 400 at Michigan, Ned Jarrett's last lap of the 1993 Daytona 500, Mike Joy's last green lap of the 1998 Daytona 500 etc.

Am I the only one that notices that Dr. Punch seems completely bored and mellow on the mic when there is an exciting finish going on? He blew the call at Bristol Friday night and if I remember correctly didn't he do something similar at Talladega in the Busch race, basically sitting back and saying nothing as Bobby Labonte was passing Tony Stewart and beating him to the line by inches?

Don't get me wrong I've loved Dr. Punch's work for years but he needs to get into the races, and especially the finishes a little more as a play-by-play man.

stricklinfan82 said...

Does anyone want to give their over/under on when ESPN's last green flag commercial will take place in the Cup race tonight? I'll say lap 480.

Anonymous said...

The headline should be"Long Night at Bristol For Race Fans." For longtime race fans the the television coverage sucks. I do not understand why the coverage is aimed toward recruting new viewers. For instance, week after week we watch as the commentator explains how downforce effects the race car. WE KNOW !!! Show us the race!!! NASCAR needs to wise up and give the real supporters and fans of racing the option of a pay for view television broadcast.

GinaV24 said...

Reading this article and the posts make me wonder whether I'm going to waste time watching the broadcast for the cup race at Bristol tonight. Maybe I'll mute the TV and just listen to my Sirius radio broadcast. I probably won't want to bang my head on the wall then.

Anonymous said...

I agree w/everyone who said there is no chemistry between the booth announcers. I'll go further and say there is no chemistry between any of the reporters and/or announcers. I can always pick up an undercurrent that none of them like one another. It also appears the drivers don't like or respect the pit reporters, i.e. the comments from Jr, the drivers who blew off Dave Burns, etc.

cwebs said...

stricklinfan82 -

On the re-air, they did go to commercial with 22 laps to go, just like on the live broadcast. Obviously, there wasn't really any way to change that for the re-air.

BUT, they DID NOT come back from that commercial with 2 laps to go, at least on the re-air that was shown on my cable system (Comcast, in New England). I just went back and looked at the recording again to confirm it. When they came out of the Captain Morgan commercial, the scoring line at the top did read "2 Laps To Go", but it instantly changed to "Final Lap". When we first see the cars, there is no audio, but they are coming off turn 2 on the final lap. The first thing Punch can be heard saying is "Final Lap, who will it be. White flag waves, they're half a lap away".

So, the person who watched only the re-air did get to see the last half lap, whereas on the live broadcast, we came back right when they crossed the finish line. BUT, the segment between 13-to-go and 3-to-go, was never shown at all on the re-air!

Yes, they did show the same replays of the last couple laps after noting the "satellite issue" on both broadcasts, but it was pretty anti-climactic by that point, since the viewer already knew who won the race.

cwebs said...

matt -

I agree with you completely, there doesn't seem to be much chemistry, if any, between the ESPN announcers. On the other hand, I watched almost all of SPEED's coverage on Friday afternoon, and those guys were wonderful! There was almost never an awkward moment, plenty of good info was dispensed, and a good time was had by all. There were one or two hiccups, but overall their coverage of practice and qualifying was A+++++++


shoop -

I think you are absolutely right about the coverage of the Kyle Busch penalty. It was "a day late and a dollar short". If ESPN had been showing a live view of the cars heading for pit road (instead of showing the umpteenth replay of a wreck), they would have caught this right away. I think it would have benefited the viewers, NASCAR, and Kyle Busch if this had been shown live. Someone watching the TV feed at the track would have told NASCAR what was shown by ESPN, and they would have changed the call before the restart.

I also agree that we were almost never really "in the loop" with what was happening on the track. I've been beating that drum for a while! Similar things happened at both the Brickyard and Michigan, especially near the end of the race!


sophiaz -

I agree completely! If ESPN had been doing a good job for the whole race, then we might actually have felt sorry for them when the satellite problem happened. Since they don't seem to care about us, then how/why are we supposed to care about them???

I'm afraid that the uproar over the satellite issue may just manage to obscure all the other problems they had last night. Sadly, ESPN is probably getting lots of sympathy from those who only heard about the late hiccup and didn't have to sit through the first 247 laps of poor coverage!


steve l -

Thanks for posting those juicy bits of info! Verrryyyyy interesting stuff!!!


stricklinfan82 -

I concur with your opinion about the lackadaisical booth response to exciting finishes. They were far too sanguine last night when the cars were crossing the finish line!

Anonymous said...

Check out this post from Jayski. Interesting stuff... blamed on human error... Maybe they should have also apologized for going to break with 20 to go at a half mile track!!

http://www.jayski.com/cupnews.htm
ESPN apologizes for lost Busch race feed: ESPN has apologized for losing the video of the last few laps of the Food City 250 Busch Series race Friday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Viewers at home watching on ESPN2 saw a blank screen for those last laps, which featured a dicey duel between Jason Leffler and Kasey Kahne, with Kahne holding off Leffler to win the race. "We sincerely apologize for briefly losing transmission due to human error and have taken steps to prevent this from happening again," ESPN spokesman George McNeilly said Saturday. "As soon as transmission was re-established we apologized to viewers and replayed the last two laps of the race."(SceneDaily.com)(8-25-2007)

cwebs said...

AHA! So, it was human error!!! What are all the apologists going to say now???

cwebs

Anonymous said...

To the above poster asking about Glenn Jarrett , I saw him last week as ESPN was interviewing somone after the race. It looked as if he was working as a radio person as I saw no camera in front of him. All I saw was a head set on him and a mike in hand. So he's around the race track some where...