Sunday, September 23, 2007

ABC Continues To Tweak NEXTEL Cup Telecasts


There was no doubt about it, Sunday afternoon at Dover was going to be a long day. Four hundred laps on a one mile high-banked track is like super-sizing an afternoon at Bristol, TN. The grind takes its toll on the teams, the equipment, and even the TV crew.

Saturday afternoon the NASCAR on ESPN gang that produces the telecasts for both ESPN2 and ABC presented a sparkling Busch Series telecast. Stripped of many production elements that have bogged-down earlier productions, the ESPN2 telecast sizzled. It was all about racing, and the pieces just clicked.

NASCAR viewers this year have seen ESPN move announcers around and change production elements as they tweak their first TV season back in NASCAR. Using their Busch Series coverage as a production model, they rolled out their portion of the NEXTEL Cup schedule loaded for bear. They had all the latest bells and whistles.

Unfortunately, NASCAR does not lend itself to the type of "extras" that the TV crew was trying to insert. The telecasts on ABC had a show host, lots of Infield Studio segments, SportsCenter updates, promos for other sports, and many glossy pre-taped "bumpers" that showed the driver's faces as the program went to commercial break.

By the Pocono race, things got out-of-hand. The race itself became a distraction. The hip-hop music was pounding, the announcers seemed to be on-camera more than the drivers, and the hype for other sports on ESPN was everywhere. Give credit to the ESPN production executives, who jumped right-in to fix things. They have been working on the Cup telecasts race-by-race, and viewers have noticed the changes.

The Sunday Dover telecast retained the SportsCenter updates, the Infield Studio recaps, and the dreaded Draft Tracker. But, the show host was gone. Tim Brewer was also used frequently in the Tech Center as issues in the race presented themselves. It was a balancing act between an action-packed race, and the use of all the ABC TV "gizmos."

Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree have been talking about the sport in their own way since the beginning of the season. Rusty has worked hard to eliminate his "catch phrases," and Petree has been trying to focus on his role as the "TV crew chief."

Today, Wallace continued his "aero loose" theme that viewers know all too well. Certainly, it appears that sometimes when the Draft Tracker effect is used by Wallace, maybe it isn't actually "all about the air."

In the second half of the race, when the drivers are tired and hanging-on for their very survival, things also got that way in the TV booth. The Daly Planet has mentioned several times that Dr. Jerry Punch seems to be very tired, and in this race he had trouble raising the excitement level no matter what was transpiring on the track. These telecasts really miss a high-energy play-by-play announcer who can pump-up both the volume and the viewers when things get exciting.

The pit stop "triple split" and the side-by-side video boxes worked very well again in this telecast. The Director and Producer are getting more comfortable mixing different video and camera elements in this effect, and its flowing smoothly. Strangely, many camera shots were framed too tightly for the upper and lower third video "tickers" on the screen. Sometimes, wider is better for the TV viewer...even in HD.

The ABC Network Master Control had some problems early in the race. Viewers in the Pacific Time Zone saw an entire segment of NASCAR Countdown appear out of a commercial break and air completely about one hour into the live race. While this was a mistake, it was not mentioned on the air or explained on any type of graphic to apologize for the error. Daly Planet readers from Alaska to San Diego were not very happy.

Jerry Punch promoted the commercial free final portion of the race as he did on Saturday in the Busch Series event. Unfortunately, things in the Cup race put ABC in the position of over-ruling that Producer decision and inserting additional commercial inventory. Apparently, there is a bit of a revenue difference between ESPN2 and the ABC national television network.

Punch's explanation that the caution flags somehow "caused" several more commercial breaks just did not wash. Even during the red flag, the choice to stay or go to commercial is something to be honest about to the viewers. If you are going to commercial, then say you are paying the bills...and go. However, if you commit on-the-air to this being the commercial free portion of the race, then don't.

Thanks again to the production team for letting viewers watch the top twenty cars cross the finish line. Even at a fast-paced track like Dover, there was plenty of time to watch all of that, and still capture the excitement of the winning driver and team. What a positive change embraced by the network for the viewers.

As the season winds-down, Dover really battered some Chasers, and threw the plans of many teams up in the air. Hopefully, this will give the NASCAR on ABC gang some new pep as well. Kansas is a nice track for TV, and has none of the logistical hassles of Dover. Now, with the standings shuffled, and tempers a bit tight, the TV gang can go at this race with no pre-set agenda and no pre-produced hype.

This is the time of the year that fans live for. Eight straight weeks of racing ahead, and suddenly no one is a favorite. This is exactly the type of situation that ABC and the ESPN executives had hoped for. Now, there is a storyline to follow, and a reason for new viewers to tune-into what had been a boring season. Kansas should be a crucial TV telecast for ABC in terms of capturing the NFL Football viewers as the race goes head-to-head with the Sunday 1PM early games. No easy task.

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.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree that ESPN is now trying to fix some of its earlier problems, but the west coast feed incident really ruined the broadcast for me. Do we have any information as to why the west coast feed had problems?

Seiko said...

After the great Bush race it was a shame that ESPN couldn't get a Cup race together....

The replay of a pre race show for over 6 minutes without an explanation or even a comment was inexcusable. I'm sure most people thought they were hit in the head and were experiencing time travel or a bad flashback!

Draft Track is really pointless. Even to unexperienced viewers (who don't care anyway)

Rusty every time that there is an accident it is not aero loose.

The thing that most annoyed me today was the top five rundown to commercial. DO IT CONSISTENT. Don't read 1-5 most of the time, then occasionally do it 5-1. The 2 times that Doc did it today 5-1 I was confused for a second trying to figure out what I missed.

Not updating the people further back in the field is somewhat understandable, but when a guy blows an engine tell us about it! Especially if its in the first 5 laps!

The excessive use of the top third rundown without showing time/laps behind leader is annoying. It just seemed they were too busy showing the top 12 in points, points totals instead of actually showing whats going on in the race. I'm not sure if it was just me today, or if it just seemed to be forever till you got to see the time behind in th top third.

Poor use of the tech center again today. When showing the throttle linkage problem, it was poorly explained and poorly presented. This is the what third or fourth time we have seen the valve spring break animation. Do they show you a animation for stealing a base in baseball every game?

Theres alot more, but thats the low lights for me.

Also anyone else really creped out by the way Doc came on with the John Force announcement. My heart stopped!!! God there had to be a better way to do that without making us think h was dead for 30 or so seconds.

Daly Planet Editor said...

You may want to read my additional column up recently on the way ESPN handled the John Force accident during the NHRA event in TX.

Hopefully, the company will standardize how these issues are presented by the ESPN networks across the board.

JD

wickedj said...

JD..remember how calm and polite Mike Joy was when he broke the bad news about Bill France Jr

he spoke of Bill like the friend he was..

we all know Doc Punch has been with ESPN for a few eons, and while off hand i cant remember if he has, im sure hes covered some NHRA and interacted with John...


btw i found a new way to watch the race..mute the tv and listen to MRN and use NASCAR.com's live leaderboard

- Joe

Anonymous said...

They still are force feeding us hip-hop, but in reduced quantities. Daugherty adds no value other than liberal media diversity points.

Anonymous said...

ABC:

Your "DaftTrack" silly colors make about as much sense as Fox's "glowing hockey puck" did, are as much a joke among fans as that was, and the gimmick needs to meet the same quick demise.

Stop insulting the fans.

Stop playing the radios from all 43 cars at the same time. You may think it "sounds cool," but it doesn't. It's dumb.

Get rid of your "hosts" who have only football broadcating experience--unless you're willing to have Rusty Wallace host NFL game overage. No? How about that.

Quit showing NFL promos during green-flag racing.

Stop acting as if green-flag racing is the time to cover the picture with graphics, sound effects, promos, and other crap. WE want to see the race. YOU may think the "wrecks" are "cool." But we who know the sport think the RACING is cool.

Stop lying on the air! When you miss a re-start, having Punch pretend as if you didn't fools NO ONE. When you say "last commercial break," don't find an excuse to do several more.

You know you're in trouble, because you know your staff knows less about NASCAR than its fans do.

ABC, you have no respect for NASCAR or its fans. And, consequently, we (the customers, remember?) feel the same about you.

Jeff said...

I don't understand how ESPN can do such a great job with the NHRA races and suck so bad with the NASCAR. The on air staff needs to be cut in half, most of them just plain don't need to be there.Granted the NHRA is tape delayed, they have more time but they still get the job done with just 5 on air personalities.

I agree, Radio on and sound off on the TV is the best way to watch at this time.

Anonymous said...

There is no point in showing a clock timing the pit stops if you routinely cutaway from the stop before it is complete or--and ABC inexplicably did, over and over--dissolve out the clock before the end of the stop!

See, the point of showing a clock is to show how long the pit stop took to complete. When you dump out before the stop is done, the clock becomes pointless.

Thank god for NASCAR.com.

Anonymous said...

TV video + MRN sound + RaceView = complete rave coverage.

Sad, isn't it?

William said...

I didn't get to watch the whole race but I must point out that the wide camera angles I saw towards the end were excellent! It was fantastic to see more than two cars at once!. At least this gives us the option of seeing the cars race. I don't know if they were on top of the casino or if they were mostly helicopter shots but I was very impressed.
my 2c.

Anonymous said...

It was great that they showed more of the whole field racing, maybe it was because alot of the chasers were a lap or more behind. I really lose interest fast if the tv just shows and talks about the top runners all the time. There is alot of racing going on other than the chase. Please no more Suzy, her voice is soooooooo annoying.

Ed said...

Well Brad Daugherty, I thought when he first appeared on the scene, was an empty face taking up a seat. But Sat's Busch telecast changed my mind. He added value to the team and he was good. Maybe Brad needs to be in the booth and Rusty on the desk. I am afraid that Rusty is rusty and this rust has rusted him on the position that everything--even Jesus' birth--is or was caused by "aero loose." It has really become a REAL boring thing...Funny how one little word can cause this. Funny how just saying "loose" all these years explained everything and it can continue to do so without the "aero" part.

One thing that hit it home for me was the Busch telecast, and when Brad K in the 88 wrecked and took out another car. All these years I have watched and even took part in Cup racing, that when a driver puts a car in a place he shouldn't then generally he "loses it". If you look at the tapes from Sat. Brad Kes by virtue of youth and inexperience and impatience put that car where it shouldn't have been and he lost it. Since the dawn of racing that has been the explanation. Now Rusty wants us to believe all of a sudden this driver phenom is now caused by some aloof and unseen monster called "aero lose". That's just the driver in him...But enough about that. If he continues to go down that path with all these forces against him then ESPN and ABC and NASCAR deserve him.

In defense of ABC/ESPN they are trying new things but the draft tracker is bogus to me; nice try, doesn't work. Simple. Go on to something else. The infield tech things might work, good idea but Tim Brewer needs some more practice. He ain't ready for prime time. He may be in the future but not quite there yet. For instance, we have seen now about a dozen times that failed valve go thru the engine. What gives? there could only be 3 people living in outer Mongolia who haven't seen that explanation yet. These things may be small in some respects but yet they point to a larger problem, they don't have the team chemistry yet...And another commenter said they thought Punch was tired, strangely I too sensed something about Punch's delivery on into the telecast. Maybe he is tired of trying to make the thing work when it's clear there are issues to deal with...Good luck ABC/ESPN. No one want you to fail at this--or even suck at it.

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said...
You may want to read my additional column up recently on the way ESPN handled the John Force accident during the NHRA event in TX.

Hopefully, the company will standardize how these issues are presented by the ESPN networks across the board.

JD

September 24, 2007 1:29 AM


Where did this NHRA column go??!! started with some good comments now it is gone????

Daly Planet Editor said...

The NHRA column is being revised after speaking with some additional media sources. Until two issues are settled for me about the coverage, I am going to hold back on posting.

Both these issues were first reported by readers, and then disputed by the TV gang. When its sorted, it will return.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GinaV24 said...

Happily I was at the race. No commercial interruptions and no idiots in the booth telling me things that are wrong. It was an ugly race, but at least I wasn't wasting a beautiful afternoon at home cursing ESPN.

I'm with one of the other writers. Mute the TV, turn on the live leaderboard and listen to MRN's broadcast. Then, you can follow the race.

Anonymous said...

I was unhappy when ESPN cut away from showing the top 3 cars racing. Matt Kenseth was in 3rd place and gaining ground on the leaders. They went to a Tech piece with Tim Brewer concerning shock absorbers. When they returned to the action, Matt Kenseth was in first place. They never showed a replay of the passes.
I tune in to watch racing and when someone races from 3rd to 1st, I think that should be shown. When we, the viewers have to put up with boring, follow the leader parades much of the time, there should be plenty of opportunity to show the "tech stuff" without missing the action upfront. Being a mechanic and a former race car builder, I am truly fascinated with the tech aspects of racing, but please do a better job in production/timing. At least show a replay when something important happens.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

Just waiting on some additional footage to decide on the NHRA story. Over this season, I have been asked many times to add NHRA coverage to this site.

Next year, we may expand with a new site to talk about several other series. This may include the NHRA, IndyCar, Champ Car and F-1.

Let's keep this thread on-track about the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Dover. If readers have any additional NHRA comments, please email editor@thedalyplanet.tv and do not post again in the NASCAR thread. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why ABC/ESPN refuses to show more than 6 cars as they cross the finish line. at least give us the top 10! it's inexcusable.

Anonymous said...

ESPN should just promise the viewer they will have no more green flag commercials the rest of the way in races like both of the Dover races this weekend.

We're not stupid. We know you have met all of your obligations because of all of the caution flags. Just treat us with some respect!

Obviously, they are going to run some more commercials during a red flag. To be honest with you, I'd probably rather watch commercials than listen to the ESPN bozos talk senselessly for a few minutes...

SophiaZ123 said...

Wow, once again so many comments and I wish it were easier to quote many of you. They one that made me SMILE before my second comment was Ed's comment about Jesus' birth. :-)

Ed said...

Well Brad Daugherty, I thought when he first appeared on the scene, was an empty face taking up a seat. But Sat's Busch telecast changed my mind. He added value to the team and he was good. Maybe Brad needs to be in the booth and Rusty on the desk. I am afraid that Rusty is rusty and this rust has rusted him on the position that everything--even Jesus' birth--is or was caused by "aero loose." It has really become a REAL boring thing...Funny how one little word can cause this. Funny how just saying "loose" all these years explained everything and it can continue to do so without the "aero" part.


Other than that, I learned a HUGE LESSON yesterday. Just because the Busch race was a freak accident of great coverage, GET OUT THE BOOMBOX, put it on the table at the end of the couch, line it up with the earth moon and the stars and tape the dial in place!! I missed those voices of details and excitement Sunday.

I shant make that mistake again.

oh, and John, that's really cool you are expanding this to other forms of racing. Though not a fan of drag racing, I appreciate the sport and have heard of the drivers.

Thanks for this site!

Anonymous said...

If ABC wants an announcer with NASCAR experience, a wealth of knowledge and the excitement of a fan, they need look no further than Pit Road. Alan Bestwick shined as a play-by-play guy for NBC and should be in the booth.

Anonymous said...

I really do think the guys at ESPN read this blog and so to you Rusty Wallace I'd like to ask you pretty please with sugar on top, can you please stop calling them the car of tomorrows? They are the CARS of tomorrow, OK? Thank you. Phew.

SophiaZ123 said...

Well, I FOR ONE on behalf of others would like Rusty to say the cars got LOOSE.

STOP the Aero Loose junk.


Why should HE be the only announcer, after DECADES of announcing feel possessed with the AERO LOOSE, along with other 'catch phrases.'

I tell you what, I thought he came off ARROGANT when he said the I know the fans get tired of me talking about AERO LOOSE.

YES, WE DO so STOP IT PLEASE NICE.

Anonymous said...

It does appear that the race coverage in ABC has gotten better but it still has issues.
I agree with all the other posts about Rusty and the "aero loose" comments. There are times when it does happen but it's not every time. I have to give alot of credit to his crew chiefs if that was all he could tell them was wrong with his car.
The tech center is a good thing but they need to make sure that what they are trying to show us can be seen. It was hard to see the gas pedal release when they were showing it and there was something behind the wheel they were trying to show that I never saw.
As far as the commercials during the red flags go I don't think that they are a bad thing but maybe they should use that time to give us a complete "through the field". I saw that Mikey was running in the top 15 then all of a sudden he was 28th, I would like to know what happened. I am a fan of many drivers and not all of them are in the top 12 or run well every week, I would like to know more about whats going on with them and during the red flag would be the perfect time.
One last thing, now that they used up some extra commercial inventory does that mean that we will see less commercial next race?

Anonymous said...

I must say I have been very frustrated with the coverage too. Although I can usually sit back and wait till they get their legs under them again, there is no excuses for the announcers. All three guys need to be replaced. Not once I have I seen where they have actually commented correctly on what is taking place on the track. I can think of at least three times when either the caution came out, or did not for something on the track, and the announcers were quick to call it, only to get it wrong. There was the one where Hamlin spun going into the pits, and I think it was Rusty said, "caution is out", only to retract it after he realized it did not. There was another one when someone lost a motor and they commented that the caution was not out, yet the ticker at the top of my TV SCREEN showed it had come out.
Again, I can understand the growing pains of production, and finding what works for them, but when your commentators cannot even call the race as it happens, it is just stupid. I am yet another fan that has to mute the TV and listen on the radio. I get SOOOOO upset and the stupidity of the commentators and I truly believe I can do better in the booth.
Said ESPN can cover the NFL so great, yet have no one that can come close for NASCAR. I really hope they do something fast, otherwise my two races a year I attend may be the only NASCAR I see all year.

Ed said...

Many of the comments here reflect many of the same items. Maybe someone will listen and tidy up this shop and make it the show it once was when we had Jenkins, Ned Jarrett and BP in the booth. I am not sure what has changed in recent years to get just plain ole good coverage of a Cup race on the boob tube. Pardon me for not knowing and asking but does anyone out there know this: what happened to the continuity of production teams? Wasn't this Cup coverage done by the same crews most of the times and just the booth personalities and logos changed? I thought that was the case for several years. Didn't a guy by the name of Neil Goldberg do most of the stuff or am I wrong?

Anyway, I tellya ole Boris Said Head has a lot going on to maybe get a chance in the booth. Seen him lately? he seems to have a knack for the camera and can talk without saying 'car of tomorrows.' I guess Rusty hasn't had "Attorneys General " after him to be able to get that. Of course the tobacco companies know what attorneys general are. If Boris Said could get the "driver" thing out his head he would be a great on-air personality.

William said...

They only showed six cars crossing the line because that's all the cars that were on the lead lap.
Since cars don't keep going around the track, that's about all you were going to get.

Steve L said...

I have been a long time fan of NASCAR for four decades. I have all kinds of horror stories from the old days when races were on Wild World of Sports. Back then if during a race there were 30 laps to go and time came for the 6 o'clock news that was it. They went to the news and you never new who won the race until maybe the 11 o'clock news came on or if you were lucky you could read about it in the Monday newspaper. (IF your town had a daily paper, most didn't) Or they were in the heat of a race, three wide with tires sliding and smoking and then all the sudden "and now back to ice skating" or whatever track and field sport and they would hardly ever go back to the end of a race. I remember once there was two laps to go at either Daytona or Talladega and the show ended. Period, nothing. It was a brutal time for fans.

That's why when ESPN started covering the races we fans were in heaven. No one had covered the races this good. They stayed with a race until it was over. And they were good for the most part. They covered the race. A small banner at the top of the screen showed us all the positions with no frilly graphics, sports updates, races centers, just the race at hand. ESPN got better and better and no one could even compare to the quality of the race coverage.

When ESPN bailed on us, (yes, we fans felt betrayed) we thought it was the most horrible thing that ever happened. ESPN was the leader in motorsports, the best and to just leave us, well, it was really hard to say goodby.

You know how things evolved over the years and when we heard they were coming back we thought how good it will be to get our old friend back covering our sport.

We have tried all year to accept ESPN and I feel we gave them plenty of chances, but they have really blown it.

Everyone was excited over last Saturdays Busch race and it was good, almost like the old days, but then Sunday it was right back to what we have all been complaining about. Like they turned a deaf ear to us. One good broadcast out of the whole year? That's it?

I said in a post yesterday, that if NASCAR was paying ESPN to cover a race that they would be out of a job by now. NASCAR would have fired them by now. Well folks, in a way WE ARE paying for ESPN to cover OUR races and they have failed terribly. It's time for NASCAR to stand up for us fans and demand a better job of covering the races or terminate their contract and give it back to the networks that did a far supieror job giving us, the fans, what we want. JUST COVER THE DARN RACES. That's why we are watching in the first place.

Karen said...

Amen to Cars of Tomorrow!!! If we could just get them all to quit saying "between he and whomever" or "with he and whomever" or "for he and whomever," it'd make my day. If you drop the words "and whomever," and say with he or for he, that is gramatically incorrect. Should be between him, with him, for him. Sorry but sends chills up my spine.

Anonymous said...

This is what we get when producers who don't know racing work with directors who jump up and point when there's a wreck and the network sees fit to use talent who doesn't know NASCAR (and in some cases, admit as much on the air).

Talk about the blind leding the blind...

Anonymous said...

wrt to showing the finishing order--it's not just this week. it seems as if ESPN has yet to show at least a complete list of the top 10 finishers at any race, even those where there were 20+ cars on the lead lap.

Daly Planet Editor said...

That's a good point about the finishing order. I think they got surprised that there were so few cars registering on the electronic scoring and then bailed.

With The Chase underway, I think seeing the top twenty finish is a lot more important that the fist pumping and crew jumping festival we saw earlier this season.

Anonymous said...

So it was ABC that inserted the Nascar Countdown! I thought something went wrong with my DVR because I was recording the race as well as watching it. Thanks for clearing that up John, seeing as how they were to stubborn to admit their mistake! And thank God for MRN, and the computer scoring and scanner! With those I hardly missed ABC.

Dot said...

I was one of the viewers that got treated to the pre-race show during the race. I was behind and was fast forwarding through the commercials when the pre race came on about lap 59. I couldn't wait to read the Daly Planet to find out what happened. Thanks John. I guess ESPU knew I had watched Raceday on SPEED and wanted me to catch what I missed on the pre-race.

Anonymous said...

I love the DrafTrax it is awesome how the air moves over the car. and they should get rid of the dish tech center. they tell you the same thing over and over every week. Get rid of Rusty put him in the one booth with Suzie. and Put Brad up with Andy, Doc Jerry Punch. i think brad had much more enthusiasm when he did the busch race on Saturday then rusty did

stricklinfan82 said...

The graphic only showed the top 6 finishers because their graphic shows the lead lap cars trip the line in their order of finish. That graphic should show more than the top 10 and they should re-write the program to show the lapped cars' finishing position as they cross the line, even if they're a lap down. Things might get a little messy if the cars cross the line in an order like: 1st, 2nd, 7th (1 lap down), 3rd, 8th (1 lap down), 14th (2 laps down), 4th, 5th, (30th, 4 laps down), 6th so that's probably why they don't do it that way. In most cases where half of the field is on the lead lap at the end of the day it's no big deal to write the program that way, but they definitely got caught with their pants down when only 6 cars were left on the lead lap.

Anonymous said...

Rusty Wallace was an intriguing pick-up by ESPN because of his penchant for controversy as a driver. I imagined his role on these telecasts as one similar to Jummy Spencer's on SPEED--hard-hitting, controversial and occasionally getting in hot water because of his mouth. Put simply, Rusty was only interesting because he was opinionated. However, Rusty clearly is not adept at thinking on his feet (which is a requisite to make a 4-hour broadcast work), and does not have enough technical knowledge to explain things in terms other than "aero loose." He is simply terrible when he gets excited and tries to string together a complete sentence on the fly. As rough-around-the-edges as Larry Mac, DW and Hammond are, they do not have this problem. For my part, Rusty ruins these broadcasts. At least I will be at the track next weekend and will not have to listen to his "expert analysis."

Petree has been dwarfed by the specter of Larry Mac, perhaps the best analyst the sport has ever seen on the airwaves. But his poor performances are overshadowed by the comedy of Rusty playing out every weekend. Petree's less-than-stellar work is magnified by his co-analyst's stunning incapacity.

And as J.D. correctly pointed out, the Doc is cooked. He was a tremendous pit reporter for ESPN for many years, and I think his style could even be suited to a pit studio host. But what ESPN doesn't realize is this: Racing is exciting! I, for one, have been put to sleep by the Doc. As woeful as Rusty's attempts at correct sentence construction can be, give the man credit for showing emotion.

The solution? ESPN has the requisite personnel in house. Flip Bestwick and Dale Jarrett over to the booth (assuming DJ hangs it up after this season), and Rusty and the Doc over to the infield studio. Perhaps having articulate, excitable compatriots will allow Petree to settle into his role easier. Simply stated, a race telecast should be exciting, and the announcers need to have the capacity to convey this. The Doc can't do it anymore, and Rusty's mindless blather drives viewers away.

The reason ESPN's coverage hasn't worked? The guys in the booth.

Anonymous said...

How can they be so good with ball sports and be so bad at racing. Its always something wrong every sunday. Rusty has got to go....

JHD said...

I guess I've never caught onto the fact the finishing order drop down is limited to the lead lap cars.

Probably because there's always been more than 6 before.

What I've noticed is that ESPN will show the top 10 or so, then the graphic shows the next 2 or 3 more finishers but it bounces back up into itself and disappears from the screen so quickly that it's impossible to see who finished where. It always gives me the impression of "yeah we'll show you who finished outside the top 10, because you've all bitched about it, but we don't care about them so it won't be on the screen for very long. Good luck trying to figure it out with super slo-mo on your DVR."

The other networks that use that same graphic manage to keep it on screen for longer than the blink of an eye, so why can't ESPN?

Ed said...

Anonymous' post at 4:42pm is on target. While I may differ on small points you are on the money. I believe Petree actually has more potential than Rusty. Rusty has just blowed up. He gone in turn ! wide friggin open like he has in the 2 car but this time his stuff ain't stickin. You do have to think on your feet. And you are correct Larry mac is tops. I do have a problem with his grammar but as I understand it he does a grammar coach thing so I am not too hard on him. My point about Larry Mac is that he has a responsibility to be better--not to lose who he is (a guy from the South), but he should work his grammar better so folks outside the South don't think that we are total idiots. Other than that he is tops. But something has to give in the booth. The thing now is driving away viewers.

I have said enough on this subject but there have been many good posts by others on this. It's real. It ain't a bunch of gripes. They have problems in Wonderland and they need to make adjustments.

Anonymous said...

The countdown incident also happened in my mountain time zone market.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thank you for that comment that the rebroadcast of NASCAR Countdown also happened in the Mountain Time Zone.

NASCAR fans are awesome.

JD

Anonymous said...

How can you say ESPN/ABC is getting better? The announcers are clearly watching the race from a television screen in the booth - if at all. They don't notice wrecks until we see it on TV. AND it takes forever for them to show them on TV. I timed how long it took them to show the 70s wreck (7 seconds after it started) and the 11/45 wreck (10, yes 10, seconds after it started). And they both happened on the front stretch! It was absolutely ridiculous.

And speaking of their pit stop boxes - they had Kenseth in a box for the lap 227 caution and he didn't even pit and apparently no one in the booth noticed. Which brings up something else - why don't they talk about pit stops? Who's gonna pit, who's gonna take 4, who's gonna take 2? The FOX and TNT guys are always wondering these things.

I found myself wondering (dreading) how many races are left this year. That is horrible! I NEVER wanted the racing season to end before! Never! They are ruining NASCAR for me.

My husband keeps asking me why I continue to watch if I hate it so much, but I want to see the race. I'm going to have to look into this MRN thing. Hopefully it will allow me to continue to love NASCAR.

haus20 said...

Add me to the list of those who would like to see Doc and Rusty move to the pit studio. AB does belong in the booth, but I don't think that DJ is retiring just yet so there is still a void...maybe ESPN can make him a nice offer to lure him away from another year of disappointment.

ESPN needs to save some money in plane tickets and keep Suzy confined to the NFL sidelines.

Vince said...

I thought putting Rusty in the booth was a bad idea from the beginning. He was brash, arrogant and obnoxious as a driver and he hasn't changed much. His butchering of the English language is one for the books. He does show genuine emotion, but is not a quick thinker and has a problem saying what he is feeling and seeing. I like others here, would love to see AB, DJ and Andy in the booth next year. I think there would be instant chemistry between those three. But to the poster that suggested Boris Said, great idea! I think he'd be great in the booth also, but I don't see him giving up racing any time soon.

I did something novel this weekend. I went to my local short track, Berlin Raceway in Marne Mich, and watched some great racing there on Saturday night. Then I turned the TV on Sunday afternoon for the race and it was so exciting I promptly fell asleep! I urge all of you to support your local short tracks no matter what sanctioning body. You'll see some great racing up close and personal.

Like so many others have said here. My Sundays are usually watching the broadcast with the sound muted and listening to MRN. Those guys are the pros.

Anonymous said...

I will personally give Rusty Wallace one million dollars if he can say "Gilliland" correctly. Heck, I'll throw in another $500,000 for a "Kenseth".

And, yes, it is CarS of Tomorrow, not Car of TomorrowS.

God, make it all stop.

stricklinfan82 said...

Did anyone else notice Monday night that Suzy Kolber can talk to the camera when reporting on football instead of looking down and talking to the pieces of paper that she is pulling every word off of? She does a great job with the football job, it's just a shame that ESPN has to go through the ridiculous expense of flying her to the NASCAR race to work on Sunday. Use one of your dozen NASCAR announcers that actually spends all weekend at the race track and knows what's going on.

If ESPN is going to insist on shoving football announcers down our throats they should be consistent and replace Ron Jaworski with Rusty Wallace in the Monday Night Football booth and Michelle Tafoya with Andy Petree on the sidelines.

Do you think football fans would be happy having NASCAR announcers attempting to cover a sport they know next to nothing about? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with all of the comments here about Punch and Wallace. Those two need to get the boot ASAP! I definitely don't want to see either one of them back next year.


PUNCH -

Seems tired, or maybe this is just how he normally is when he has to speak for more than a minute at a time?

Speaks so slowly and deliberately that he can't keep up with the action.

Seems more interested in getting all of his catch phrases in than actually calling the race accurately.

His strange intonations and odd cadences are repetitive and distracting: "SAILS BY", "NASCAR NEXTEL CUP" (notice how he unnecessarily draws it out each time he says it), "CONtact" (with hard emphasis on the first syllable, and frequently without an accompanying mention of what with), BEING SHOWN IN (xx position), etc...


WALLACE -

Can't Speak Coherently

Extremely Limited Vocabulary

Generally doesn't interact well with others.

Aero Obsession

Can't stop saying "RIGHT NOW". Sometimes, he uses it 3 or 4 times within the space of 2 sentences! I haven't seen anyone else mention this, but I find it extremely distracting! Here's a paraphrased example: "RIGHT NOW, he's having problems RIGHT NOW. He's starting to lose positions RIGHT NOW."

Never blames the 66 or 7 car for accidents in the Busch races.


I could go on, and on, and on, and on...