Saturday, September 1, 2007

Another Solid Truck Race In The Books For SPEED

Its just hard sometimes to write another column about the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series coverage on SPEED TV. This network is just completely comfortable with this series, its personalities, and the racing. Its just good TV.

Krista Voda has taken recently to sitting behind a movable set that is positioned right on the grid in front of the two pole-sitting trucks. Her pre-race program, called The Set-Up, is a family oriented show that is easy to enjoy.

The duo of Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander has been the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis of this series for quite a while now. Alexander is the straight man, and he is usually all business in getting his information across. Ray Dunlap is always willing to poke fun at himself, and has done so in the pre-race show on many occasions.

SPEED has taken the approach with this pre-race show that the Truck Series is a family, and they treat the content of the program with dignity. No one is called out, or spoken to in anger, even when tempers at the track are sometimes high. Voda has the same calming effect as Wendy Venturini, and her professionalism cuts right through any potential ego or personality problems.

Part of the success of The Set-Up has been the willingness of Series Director Wayne Auton to be actively involved. NASCAR has worked hand-in-hand with SPEED in putting this coverage together,and the results have been fantastic.

Seemingly each race, the Trucks put on a good show with exciting racing and memorable characters. Imagine seeing stars like Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday, Jack Sprague, Johnny Benson, and Ted Musgrave run in competitive races all the time. Incredibly, its almost a forgotten franchise as far as ESPN and its daily show NASCAR Now is concerned.

As NASCAR enters what is being called its "golden years" by some writers, it seems strange that often the two most exciting races of the weekend are the Craftsman Trucks and the Busch Series. While the Busch Series just moved exclusively to ESPN, the Trucks have certainly found a home on SPEED.

Once again, Rick Allen and Phil Parsons talked viewers through a fun race with good information and a great story at the finish. Parsons is much more effective when he is not joined by Michael Waltrip, whose personality distracts from the focus that Allen and Parsons bring to the Trucks. While another announcer in the booth might be a good addition, it certainly needs to be a Jeff Hammond or Larry McReynolds type. The only additional thing this announce booth needs is a crew chief perspective.

As the Craftsman Truck Series begins to wind down for the season, SPEED has proven that they can handle a major event series at tracks big and small with the same professionalism of the TV big boys. Now, the heat is on ESPN to put some effort into the Busch Series, and see if they can measure-up to the quality of racing and commentary on SPEED.

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


Busch Series Fan! said...

And when was the last time we saw vehicles racing for 16th place in Nextexl or Busch? Speed shows the entire field because they remember that every driver has fans even if they are running in 25th place. I love the truck series as I think the drivers are "hungry" and seem to race more and for the whole race. I think Krista does a fine job too.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your comments on Krista Voda. She is the ultimate professional and does a fantastic job hosting NCTS Setup.

SPEED just plain gets it. They cover the race so well and even make sure to always cover details like panning out from the trucks on the lap where the race becomes official and showing the flagman giving the signal with the crossed flags.

It's these little details that help race fans who aren't at the race really feel like they are there.

Can you tell I love SPEED????

bevo said...

John you're right on about Rick Allen and Phil Parsons. There is no need for a third in the booth, Waltrip needs to walk into the sunset.

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more with your fine article about SPEED and their coverage of the truck races.

Last night's production was well done and the race was pretty darned exciting, too. Krista Voda is so talented and such a great t.v. personality that it's a shame she is only on the truck races.

One thing that I was pleasantly shocked to see during the race last night is that when David Green lost the right front tire, he was basically a sitting duck in the middle of the track but NASCAR never threw the caution. It was kind of refreshing to not see a yellow considering NASCAR officials seem more than trigger-happy when it comes to throwing the yellow flags during the Busch and Cup races for whatever reason-real or imaginary.

shinnery said...

Good race and a good show. Wouldn't have minded seeing a little more of the balloon flyover. I would also like a little more info on the trucks out of the race and why. The tracker across the top of the screen needs to indicate the last truck on the lead lap and number of laps down the others are. We don't need Mikey anywhere.

cwebs said...

I think SPEED did a great job, as usual. I do agree with shinnery, though. They need to show "seconds behind the leader", "laps down", "off", and "out" status for the trucks on the tracker at the top of the screen. It was very difficult to keep track of who was and wasn't on the lead lap, unless the announcers just happened to mention something about a specific truck...

Desmond said...


Normally the intervals and status of the trucks are shown during the race. There was no explanation given in this case; one can only conclude that the real-time scoring system somehow failed.