Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Gibbs News Fills An Empty Wednesday For TV Networks

Its one day too early to preview Richmond. Its two days too late to talk about the Fontana weekend. Face it, Wednesdays are a bummer in NASCAR TV land.

SPEED Channel has a morning mix of post-produced programming, and no NASCAR news show on weekdays. Wednesday night on SPEED is PINKS, Super Bikes, and Unique Whips several times over. It used to be a replay of the NEXTEL Cup race from the previous weekend.

ESPN has the remnants of Cold Pizza, a program moved out of NYC and back to the mothership of Bristol, CT. It is now called First Take, and fills a multi-hour block of time on weekday mornings on ESPN2. They also have the ESPN News Network, which is often a replay when no sporting events or breaking news stories are in progress.

Both SPEED and ESPN received a gift this Wednesday when Joe Gibbs Racing decided to schedule their "move to Toyota" press conference for 11 AM Eastern Time. SPEED continued to display curious behavior by once again covering a big press conference live, despite the fact they have no NASCAR news daily show.

This commitment to keeping up with NASCAR has to be suggesting to viewers that SPEED's management team might be thinking about ramping-up a daily show next season. With the NHRA, IndyCar, NEXTEL Cup, Busch Series, and Champ Car races being shown on ESPN/ABC, SPEED's only high-profile racing is the Craftsman Truck Series.

The one thing SPEED has done very successfully is to provide NASCAR "support programming" like RaceDay, Victory Lane, Inside NEXTEL Cup, Trackside and NASCAR Live. The network has become the place to turn-on not for the racing, but for the news and information about it. What an interesting concept.

SPEED covered the entire Gibbs Racing news conference with Steve Byrnes hosting in the studio, and Bob Dillner on site. It was straightforward, and sometimes pretty boring. But, it was live and fans could see and hear what was happening.

ESPN's First Take chose to record the press conference rather than go live. When update reporter Michael Kim introduced the edited piece, he said Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin would no longer have to drive their Pontiac's. At least ESPN spelled their names right. First Take showed two minutes of rather obtuse clips from Tony and Denny, and then launched right back into NFL football. Their treatment of this story was just...strange. No on-site reporter, no liveshot, and no follow-up. It was just there, and then gone.

If ESPN's News Network carried any part of this press conference, I did not see it during my constant scanning. Certainly, it will make the thirty minute wheel as a new item, but it was not the breaking news in the corner of the screen. I also did not happen to catch any anchor talking about it during the 11AM hour.

ESPN's NASCAR Now took the Gibb's gift and ran with it. As The Daly Planet has discussed in the past, Wednesday shows in this series have run the gamut from hard news to complete fluff. Its a weekday searching for a racing personality.

This single story was easy to understand, and Marty Smith on-scene made it even easier by following the press conference with some individual sound bites of the primaries. Erik Kuselias had been clued-in well in advance, and he had all his facts and figures straight in this one. Once again, good editing and sound from ESPN.

Brad Daugherty stopped-by to put his owners perspective on this announcement, and really made some questionable comments about this move. He talks in theory a lot, and he is clearly a good businessman. He carefully avoided the key issues about reliability, foreign car sentiment in America, and what exactly Toyota would be giving Gibbs...other than a whole lot of money.

The show featured a good retrospective on the beginnings of Joe Gibbs interest in NASCAR, including his first drivers and teams. This is exactly what the fans want, and would like to have more of during the mid-week. History, even from the last decade, plays a big role in NASCAR and helps to educate new fans.

NASCAR Now could have used some expert analysis from someone other than Daugherty. Jerry Punch, Allen Bestwick, or Mike Massaro could have used their longtime NASCAR experience to put this move in a larger historical perspective, and that "big picture" look at this issue would have helped. Punch would have been especially good in this regard. He was missed.

All in all, another interesting event in NASCAR history that was covered very differently by two very different networks. The NASCAR TV partners continue to show their strengths and weaknesses as the season hits its high point. This weekend at Richmond, the TV issues will be intense, and the national exposure will be at an all-time high for SPEED, ESPN, and ABC.

In a way, its great that issues like Kyle Busch, Gibbs to Toyota, Junior to Hendrick, and even Yeley to Hall of Fame are settled. This weekend, under the lights, the TV networks can get back to concentrating on racing. Richmond is just the track to do it.

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


Labbie said...

I think ESPN didn't cover it live so it could be


for NASCAR Now.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what foreign car sentiment Brad needed to address. Clearly that sentiment is good. The Camry and Accord are the top two selling passenger cars in the US.

shinnery said...

I have one question, does anybody think there will be A Toyota in the chase next year?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Its an issue that was hotly debated before Toyota entered the highest level of NASCAR. Its not a criticism, as I believe you are taking it.

The question is, will Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch face a backlash? No one cared about Michael Waltrip's act and his quick fade into oblivion.

Bill Davis was lowkey, and Dave Blaney is also. The Red Bull team was below the radar for this season.

Gibbs will be the first top tier team to put three Toyotas out there and with it.

Just like Junior's fans have to wrap their brains around the fact he is bud-less, number-less, and DEI-less, so do Gibbs fans. Especially if they are driving a Chevy because thats what Tony drives.

Its an issue, not a crticism. There is a big difference. Thanks for your comment, and allowing me to clarify that point.


Anonymous said...

I understand what you're saying John. In the same respect, I think we all know that Tony, Denny, and Kyle will not fade anywhere next year. A great driver can still overcome slightly inferior equipment, and we can't even be sure that's what Tony and pals will have next year. I'm sure when Gibbs made this choice, aside from the money figures, they have to have guarantees from Toyota that Toyota will put forth an effort unmatched by any manufacturer, in order to get their brand up to snuff with the rest of the players.

That being said, I've said this before and continue to stand by it: if you use a product, car included, just because a famous person does, you're doing yourself a disservice. Also, as Americans we should educate ourselves as to what's "foreign" and what's domestic. The Camry is made in the USA with many parts from America. A Motortrend article had an interesting stat. 90% of the Camry is from local parts, when compared with the very American Ford Mustang, which is only 65% American parts.

Anonymous said...

Shinnery, I think there will be at least 3 Toyotas in the Chase next year. Tony, Denny, and Kyle are just too good to be left out. And I think Toyota now realizes that they're truly playing with the big boys. Roush with Ford, Hendrick with Chevy, Penske with Dodge, and now Gibbs with Toyota. I'm actually pretty excited that four top teams have four different manufacturers. Childress obviously has Chevy, but I think you have a lot of drivers here who are skillwise evenly matched. Equipment will now play a very big part. Should be very exciting next year. I know the COT is very cookie-cutter, but as Hendrick proved this year, some just have it figured out better than others.

stricklinfan82 said...

I didn't watch any of the ESPN coverage because I knew Speed, as an auto racing network, would cover much more of the news conference. That is disappointing to hear about ESPN's lack of coverage of the news conference. I didn't expect First Take to cover it, because showing live news conferences aren't typically part of that show's format. I am surprised though that ESPNEWS apparently didn't cover the news conference live. Showing live news conferences is exactly what ESPNEWS is there for. They constantly show live coverage of any and all types of news conferences, from press conferences after football games to mid-week college coaches' news conferences to live boxing weigh-ins.

Omitting such an important NASCAR news conference, if they did indeed ignore it as Mr. Daly reported, doesn't make much sense to me. Skipping out on the announcement of J.J. Yeley signing with Hall of Fame Racing is one thing, but Joe Gibbs Racing moving to Toyota is a pretty big deal. I guess the ESPN executives don't know the difference between an important story and an unimportant story.

If Michael Kim did introduce the news conference highlights by mentioning that Gibbs was leaving Pontiac for Toyota that is completely inexcusable. Do I expect Michael Kim to watch NASCAR every Sunday and know what car make every driver runs? No. But that's what a little thing called "research" is for. I don't expect newscasters to know every stat about every sport off the top of their head, but how in the world did someone at ESPN go about putting the word "Pontiac" anywhere near the teleprompter? A "NASCAR guy" wouldn't have printed that based on their own personal knowledge because clearly Pontiac left the sport in 2004 and Gibbs hasn't run Pontiacs since 2002. So if Kim or some other researcher at ESPN had to look up Gibbs's current car make, how did they come up with Pontiac???? I'm completely clueless as to how that could have happened.

Mr. Daly, you're an experienced TV guy. How in the world can such a huge mistake like that make it to the air without being double-checked beforehand and who would typically be responsible for allowing such a boneheaded mistake to happen?

Anonymous said...

Of course ESPN didn't care about it.

Junior wasn't involved.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 12:01am,

Check your figures again, and dont believe anything you read from Motortrend or Car & Driver. They are so anti-American they're either liberals or terrorists. Do a Yahoo or Google search for "Domestic automobile content" and read the truth.
Kevin in SoCal

Daly Planet Editor said...


That's a great question. You would normally bring in someone from the staff who is familiar with a certain sport if there is a press conference or big story. That is what surprised me, that the First Take staff did the whole thing when we knew Marty Smith was there.

As I have mentioned before, ESPN2 has been a success without NASCAR and fitting this type of content into all the news and opinion shows is going to be a struggle. We saw it on this story.

Anonymous said...

so anti-American they're either liberals or terrorists.

Don't be a jerk. Just because someone doesn't agree with your political beliefs doesn't make them a "terrorist," Rush.

Ron P said...

I have only this to say about Toyota and Gibbs.
Toyota entered the Truck Series with a stolen engine design from Dodge thanks to Bill Daveis. Toyota was then forced by Nascar to come up with their own Cup Engine, because of Dodge Winning their law Suit against Toyota and the "Stolen Engine."
Now Toyota's success in the Cup is not happening:
So how does Toyota fix this, easy steal an engin from the Top NA$CAR AUTO Maker Chevy. But you can't just go into a Cup grage and steal an engine ( see comment above on Bill Davis). So if you can't steal one, Buy your way into a Top Chevy Shop.
Hey Chevy, I hope you had a good count of all the Blocks and Heads you gave Gibbs. Because I can guarantee that a few have made their way to TRD in California.
Thanks Joe and JD for sell out for the Dollar. You told us that Beer and Alcohol sponsors are bad but I guess the All Mighty Doller is OK.
Tony' I'll miss being a fan of yours.
さようなら吸盤は、勝利の車線の会う。日本はまだ、Remeber の真珠湾吸う!

Anonymous said...

Because I can guarantee that a few have made their way to TRD in California.

Not unless you actually saw it happen, you can't. You assume it, but you cannot possibly guarantee it.

haus20 said...

Ok let me think about this...I could be 2nd or 3rd in the pecking order at GM and hope that I am getting the same info that Hendrick and DEI/RCR are getting or I can be number one at Toyota with more resources and know that I am getting the best information. O, and by the way, get better compensation as well. That isn't chasing the almighty dollar that is a good business decision...JGR wants to win championships and they feel that Toyota gives them the best opportunity to do that. That is after all the purpose of having a race team correct?

Anonymous said...

Based on the 2006 stats from the Highway Traffic Safety Administration, that amount of American content and the place of assembly is interesting for the NASCAR models…

The Ford Fusion contains 50% American content and is assembled in Canada.
The Dodge Charger contains 72% American content and is assembled in Canada.
The Chevy Impala contains 90% American content and is assembled in Canada.
The Toyota Camry contains 75% American content and is assembled in KY.
American content means USA and Canada combined.

However, that's not the focus of John's comments now is it? Back on topic...

Anonymous said...

I hear the dirge starting already. I would call it NA$CAR'S death knell. You might as well change the name to JAPCAR. Does nascar not have a clue as to what they are going to lose by allowing these moves they've made in the last few years. I've said it before and I'll say it again. They seem to have no regard for the fans that got them where they are. But what will they do when all the bandwagon fans leave? It's already happening. Just look at the tv ratings. Micah

Anonymous said...

Many of the "fans who got them where they are" drive Toyotas, Hondas, and Nissans.

Anonymous said...

THIS FAN helped get them where they are since 1970 and I say welcome aboard Toyota. I hope you win early and win big.
grammi girl

Anonymous said...

Yeah and Subarus

Anonymous said...

Sad to see so many are still stuck in the dark ages......

Toyota is hardly a foreign car company anymore....

Get over it & yourselves..

garry said...

The only two reasons that ESPN chose to have Brad Daugherty do the piece, is so they cover two planes- First, they played the race card with him being black.Second-thay can figure that the stick and ball types watching at that hour will know him as a former NBA star,and they can only relate to stick and ball people.

garry said...

I also firmly believe (because my brother works for a top tier NASCAR team) that Brian France is somewhere behind the scenes, saying, "Look, I brought Toyota int this sport and I have egg on my face. You(Joe Gibbs) need to do this for the betterment of the sport." And you can almost hear the fading comment, "Or else....."

Chuck said...

As to the American made issue, you can find this listing on that ranks vehicles sold in the US by their relative domestic content (including assembly). All of the top ten below are built in America (not Mexico or Canada while having utmost respect for our neighbors to the north and south, those plants don't employ "American" workers).

Toyota employs over 35,000 in the USA.

.. and I drive a Chevrolet...

Rank Make/Model
1. Ford F-150* ;
2. Toyota Camry**,Camry Solara 3. Chevrolet Silverado 1500*
4. Chevrolet Cobalt
5. Ford Focus
6. Toyota Sienna
7. Chevrolet Malibu,
8. Pontiac G6
9. Ford Escape**
10. Toyota Tundra

Anonymous said...

First let me address the issue of Toyota and the fans. If you go to a race look at the cars and trucks that are in the parking lot, even in Darlington, there are alot of Toyotas and Hondas. So just because they haven't been in the sport before doesn't mean that they don't belong. If you are looking at foreign ownership of the cars that are racing look at Dodge, they were owned by a German company until a few months ago.
Now back to the main topic, the coverage. I thought that NASCAR Now did a nice job covering the story. I am a fan of Marty's and think he always brings something to the interview because of his history with the teams and drivers. The only thing I would have done was to bring in Tim Brewer to talk about the differences in the engines and set-ups or if there is one. That's the area that Gibbs is going to have to work on because with the COT the bodies will be the same.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, ESPN put Brad out there because he's black. And just because someone is Liberal doesn't make them anti-American. It was liberal thinking that got women and African Americans the vote. It was liberal thinking that lifted prohibition. Or would you rather Dale Jr drive the Hi-C car? Do us all a favor and don't live up to the incorrect stereotype that it put on all NASCAR fans. We're not like you, so don't try to represent us.

That being said, it's sick that you would be mad that a foreign car is used in NASCAR. Would I stop rooting for the Orioles if they used bats made in Spain? Would I ditch the Capitals because their Graf skates are made in Switzerland?

Furthermore, TV ratings for NASCAR are declining as is new interest in the sport. Bringing Toyota to the #1 series and now signing a big team to use the brand could bring fans in from Japan. Look at how they embrace the Mariners with Ichiro or the Red Sox with Matsuzaka. If JGR wins consistently in Toyotas, it will be a source of pride that their product is succeeding.

Ron P said...

haus20 said...
Ok let me think about this...I could be 2nd or 3rd in the pecking order at GM and hope that I am getting the same info that Hendrick and DEI/RCR are getting.

Hey haus20,
2nd or third in pecking order??? In the past 7 years Gibbs has had 3 Cup Championships. In the past 4 years they have 139 top 10 finishs.
I'm sorry thats not a 2nd or third ranked team. DEI getting the best engines..... I guess JR and Truex and Manard didn't blow all those engines or transmissions this year. You must be watching a different NASCAR than the rest of us.
Toyota is not an American Company, if it was it Headquarters would be in America and not Toyota City Japan. Ford and Chevy made in Mexico? I don't care their headquarters are in the US and the money comes here, not to Japan.
Also did anyone notice that Toyota's Head of American operations just bailed yesterday to go to work for Dodge????
My main beef with Toyota is they "buy" yes I said "buy" their way into racing series and then trash/destroy the series with rule change demands. Please don't tell me that Cart, IRHell,are better because Toyota and Honda came into those series, they are not. In the next few years you will see Toyota push for Spec Crate engines, And once Nascar switches from Push Rod V8's to Fuel Injection we can finally put the lid on the NASCAR coffin.
To all, go to your local short track this Saturday and support your local racers, they need it, They are racing on a budget, trying to raise families. Eckeeing out a living doing what they love and what we love to watch. Their kids go to your schools, they help your local economy.
Trust me Brain France and Katsuaki Watanabe all ready have enough money.

Anonymous said...

To all, go to your local short track this Saturday and support your local racers, they need it, They are racing on a budget, trying to raise families.

Look, I like Saturday races, but just like Single-A baseball isn't the same as MLB, they're not the same thing as watching a Cup race. You're not going to attract a crowd by begging ("they need your money")--that's not why people go to races, to be charitable.

If you're so blind that you don't care that "American" cars are being built in other countries, which takes away American jobs, there's not much that can be done for you.

Richard in N.C. said...

In my opinion Toyota's coming into NASCAR Busch & Cup racing has been one of the most poorly, unprofessionally covered news stories of the century. Almost uniformly the media has portrayed Toyota as an evil, spendthrift company that would just "buy" success - ignoring the fact that Toyota has spent over $1.25 BILLION in Formula 1 in the past 5 or 6 years with no wins to show for it. Toyota has proven in F1 that money alone will not buy success - but that is an inconvenient fact to the NASCAR media, especially the newspapers. Since ESPN is an entertainment channel now, facts are irrelevant to them.

Anonymous said...

I really don't notice or care what car a driver drives. I like the driver / team based on the just that, the driver / team. If Jeff Gordon started driving a Toyota tomorrow, I would still route for him, and drive my Ford Taurus. A car is a car, a team is a team. I purchase my car based on cost, performance and options, not on what it is, and I choose my favorite drivers based on performance and charisma, not on what they drive. Gibbs in a Toyota next year? I will still think Tony is a great driver that needs to loose weight, Hamlin is a great driver that needs to be consistant, and Shrub (Kyle Busch) is a great driver that has potential.

Bill H

P.S. - will you have open comments for Speeds "The Chase is On" tonight?

Vince said...

As for the debate about Japaneese cars vs American in NASCAR, who cares? The cars all look the same anyway. Back in the day when the cars actually looked like something off the showroom floor it made a difference, but not anymore. I'm from Michigan and the auto parts manufactures that I know around here make parts for pretty much all makes. Foreign and domestic. And I challenge anybody to look at a Cup car from 50 feet way with just the primer paint on it and tell me if it is a Toyota, Ford, Dodge or Chevy. You can't do it.

As for Brad Daugherty, I have yet to hear anything revealing come out of his mouth. He's Mr. Obvious.

And don't get me started on Erik with a K, as in Klueless!!

I'd love to see Speed do a daily Nascar show. Compete head to head with ESPN and see how many viewers ESPN gets.

Seeing that it's Thursday and another slow news day, it'll be interesting to see what ESPN and Erik with a K can hype on NascarNow tonight.

haus20 said...

RonP...Everyone knows that Hendrick is the apple of Chevrolet's eye. So that would make Gibbs no better than 2nd in line. It is possible that Gibbs is not getting all of the technical support from Chevrolet that they think Hendrick is getting or that they think they deserve. All of those stats that you give are nice, but if Gibbs thinks they can be even better by making a change, they would be foolish not to. You don't retain sponsors because you used to be good or you have had a lot of wins, you keep sponsors because you continue to win and continue to improve and be competitive.

Teams that become complacent with where they are fail. You always have to try to improve what you have. I reiterate - this is a good business decision.

cwebs said...

While garry’s comments about Brad Daugherty were a little brash, they shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. When ESPN continues to use a commentator who has trouble making germane and insightful comments about racing, we are left to wonder why.

Is it because he’s black? I don’t really know, but it’s certainly possible. There seems to be a prevailing sentiment among the “elites” of our society that diversity must be achieved at any cost and without regard to practicality. Because of this well-known (or at least widely-perceived) predilection, people will understandably be suspicious of ESPN’s motives here.

If ESPN is keeping Daugherty around simply because he’s black, then they are doing themselves a disservice. In addition to harming the quality and reputation of the network, they would also be disrespecting Mr. Daugherty himself, not to mention the fans.

Of course, without inside information, we don’t know exactly why Brad is featured so prominently during ESPN’s NASCAR coverage (including the race broadcast itself). While it might be easy to say that it “must” be because of his skin color, how do you then explain the continued presence of Tim Cowlishaw?


Ron P. said...

Hey haus20,
...this is a good business decision.
That is your opinion and I respect that. I guess we just disagree on this one.
But I don't think it was good for Gibbs. I do think it was good for Toyota. Gibbs has nothing to gain and everything to loose. Toyota on the other hand has everything to gain, better chassis design, better engine department ( I stand by my original statement about the engines). I'll bet the new Toyota Engine that they will bring to Daytona will look a lot like the new Chevy Engine.
But what does Gibbs get???? Money??? I guess that's it. Toyota has shown nothing this year, a few freak finishes due to good calls by crew chiefs. A few Pole high Pole positions due to Qualifying Setups during impound races. Those top cars by the way finished in the back on those races. But it's OK things change.
We will see what next year brings. But I fear, I will not be watching next year. Too many changes for my taste, poor TV coverage, Overpriced tickets. Cookie Cutter Cars on Cookie Cutter Tracks and that GD ugly wing.Too bad, it use to be a great sport. Even when the foreign cars ran in the 50's...Anybody besides me remember the Convertable Series????
Can we at least agree that they need to go back to Darlington on Labor Day?

And to anonymous: who said:....If you're so blind that you don't care that "American" cars are being built in other countries, which takes away American jobs, there's not much that can be done for you.

The jobs left because of the greed and stupidity of the Unions. They let it happen, Where was your Congressman and Senators when they took the jobs away? Why did they vote for NAFTA? Where were the Unions when they closed down the plants and moved the Jobs. Don't blame me for the jobs leaving. I live in an area of 3 Major Car Plants, 2 are closing this year. Is that my Fault too??? I drive American Cars, always have, First Car a 66 Pontiac Bonneville, then a Ford,then GMC,Dodge and Now I drive Pontiac again.
I made sure that each car was actuality made and assembled in America. It's harder today to do that but it's not my fault they build cars outside the States. But at least the money from those car sales comes back to America and goes back into the American economy. And how come It's OK for you that Toyota builds outside of their country but it's not OK for the US Auto Makers??? I didn't see you crying for the lost jobs in Japan???
Oh and I work for an Major American Company not to many of them left either....But I suppose that's my fault too.
"Hasta Pronto" (In keeping with the spirit)

Anonymous said...

So you buy cars built by foreigners, who then put an "American" brand name on those cars, and make the CEOs of the companies who outsourced those jobs to other countries?

But you won't buy cars that are made by Americans in America?

You've got an interesting perspective. Not real smart, but interesting.