Sunday, October 7, 2007

ABC Struggles With Multiple Storylines At Talladega

One of the most interesting things about NASCAR is that no one can predict what is going to happen in a race. The experts can offer opinions, but once things get underway there is a living and breathing animal created that follows no pre-set course. This was certainly the case at Talladega on Sunday.

When the experts believe that the animal will be calm, it is chaos that often ensues. When the danger level is said to be high, things are sometimes so boring that no one can believe it. Race fans experienced both of those in the Truck and ARCA races leading up to the Sunday NEXTEL Cup event.

Single line "racing" was the order of the day for the Trucks, and the experienced TV crew on SPEED had to work to generate excitement into the racing action. By the time the Sunday NEXTEL Cup event rolled-around, ABC may have had a clue that this one would require a lot of effort to keep the viewers involved.

Pre-race host Suzy Kolber suggested that "big wrecks might be getting bigger" because of the COT. Brad Daugherty said no one could "lay back." Well, in fact the track and the drivers had other opinions.

Dr. Jerry Punch, Rusty Wallace, and Andy Petree led the viewers through the pre-race stories of the COT, the slow cars at the front, and even the presence of Formula-1 star Jacques Villeneuve in the race. Then, reality began to take hold and by lap twelve it looked more like a tire test than a race.

When the Ford guys fell to the back of the field and formed a line, it was a preview of things to come. ABC decided to play it straight, and kept the focus on the leader of the race and the speed that the COT was carrying. By lap fifteen, it was clear that the old days of "no passing" were back in full force.

Even after a series of caution flags which allowed ABC to insert a big commercial inventory, things had returned to single file racing by lap 35. This was the signal for ABC to switch modes and realize that they were going to have to contribute their own excitement to keep this event interesting.

ABC has a lot of TV gizmos and pre-produced features, and by lap fifty they began to use them. With no big crashes, ABC decided to reach way back and show the Kyle Busch accident from a Busch Series race. This graphic crash footage was intended to show bored viewers what might happen at any moment. If the action on the track continued to be this calm, it was clear ABC would do anything to spice it up.

Early contact between Greg Biffle and David Gilliland was missed by the TV crew. Punch was not watching the action on the track, and the announcers had to wait until the TV replay to find out what had happened. As we have spoken about before on The Daly Planet, the choice between watching the TV monitors in the booth and the action on the track is a tough one for the TV announcers. The ABC gang has been having a tough time with this issue all season long.

As racing resumed, Jerry Punch was put in the difficult position of talking non-stop because of the calmness of the race itself. There was nothing for Rusty and Andy to analyze, nothing for Tim in the Tech Center to talk about, and nothing for Brad in the Infield Studio to ask about. Punch dug deep for anything and everything he knew about the drivers being featured. It made for a long day.

Rusty Wallace can watch the action and then comment on it, but it is tough to make casual conversation with him on-the-air. He speaks in short and choppy statements, that do not really allow the topic at hand to be expanded. His intensity was high early on, but he does not allow Andy Petree to talk with him, rather Wallace talks at him and then Andy reacts.

When Jeff Burton blew an engine at lap 91, it began a series of events that would throw the ABC gang off their plan, and affect the rest of the race. Punch reminded his own experts that others in the race had the exact same engine package as Burton, and certainly this was going to be a key element for Tim Brewer to explain. While Brewer later showed the general area of the engine failures, he never explained to viewers what these teams had in common. This should have been a moment for him to shine, and it was not. In this race, mechanical failure was the number one story.

Since things were calm, ABC unveiled a new wrinkle to the Draft Track feature. This time, their contention was that two cars who shared the same column of air were in "draft lock." Veteran NASCAR fans might have been laughing, but for new fans the point was well made. Two cars on this big track exactly in line can gain speed.

Around lap one hundred, there was a spurt of racing that excited the ABC crew and especially Rusty Wallace. This real racing deterred the network from following up aggressively on the engine failure issue. There still had been no Tim Brewer information on that topic offered to viewers at all on this point.

By lap one hundred and twelve when Martin Tuex Jr. had his engine failure, the warning bells should have gone off for the ABC gang. Petree and Wallace pointed out the DEI/RCR engine cooperative effort, but no pit reporter ever tracked down the engine man at the track. Brewer only appeared after this latest failure, and referenced several things like lighter oil and bottom end failures. Brewer should have had a picture or model of what an engine looks like after this failure.

Dave Burns referenced that Truex had "just talked to" the DEI/RCR engine guys, but Burns himself never asked that key player any questions. Once again, the story was right in front of them, but ABC stuck to driver interviews.

With under seventy laps to go, everyone was single file and content to stay there. The pit reporters tried to update their assigned teams, but even the engine tuner for Harvick was not the right person to comment on this situation. Where were the RCR and DEI executives? If they would not speak on camera, then tell viewers they refused.

When Dale Junior also blew his engine, even Rusty Wallace said "this has got to be killing Richard Childress." The only problem was, we never heard from Childress. The network was now really off-balance, and the problems began. They would continue through the network's sign-off.

Dale Jarrett sat on the track in his crashed car. Even as Jerry Punch tried to dance around the issue, it was clear that no one in the announce booth had a clue to what had happened. Right now, it was all about Junior. This was the turning point of the race for ABC, as they never showed or followed-up about the Dale Jarrett accident.

Something threw the ABC crew for a loop around lap fifty, and they never came back. Even as Dale Jarrett's car was shown being towed away, the ABC gang broke out the Draft Tracker and their new "draft lock" concept. Imagine that. One former champion and current ESPN/ABC analyst had been involved in an accident, and then totally ignored. We never heard from Jarrett again.

Then, the ABC crew was never informed that Jeff Gordon had a drive-thru penalty. It took them by surprise when he appeared on pit road, and Punch was especially rattled. Luckily, the network found the footage of his pit stop, and was able to save some face on this one. Someone in the production truck missed a big one.

Now, only forty-six laps to go and the worst interview of the century happened for the NASCAR on ABC gang this year. Reporter Dave Burns was following the ABC/ESPN model of just asking one too many questions, and Junior unloaded. When Dave Burns asked Junior about the "racing" and the fact he was "mixing it up" there was only one good response, and Junior gave it.

"I don't know what you are watching" said Junior. "Ain't all that running around the top boring?" he continued. "It was really boring riding up there, first, fourth, whatever..just nothing going on." That was not what NASCAR and ABC wanted to hear.

Suddenly, the cameras captured a big wreck on the track. Incredibly, it was almost ten seconds before Jerry Punch exclaimed "Oh, there is trouble on the race track." Once again, the ABC crew had been caught not watching the action on the track, and this time it was clear to all they were focusing on Junior alone. Punch had no clue what had transpired, and once again it was going to take replays to sort it all out.

This is a big pitfall of this crew. Any of the three top-side announcers should call out when something is happening on the track. How many times have we heard Larry McReynolds or Jeff Hammond do this on Fox? Kyle Petty on TNT was not shy about interrupting Bill Weber when something occurred and he saw it first. No one on the ABC crew said a word for the first ten seconds of this accident.

Wallace and Petree were also silent as it was clear they had not seen it as well. Only when the TV cameras started to focus on the car numbers did Punch and company begin to sort it out. How is it possible that one member of the crew is not watching the track at all times? Petree and Wallace were seeing this incident for the first time when it was replayed, and that was made very clear by their remarks.

ABC took this opportunity to insert several more commercial breaks, so they could pave the way once again to offer the critical final laps of this race without commercial interruption. Well, that was the theory. NASCAR fans were about to find out that was not the reality. Not by a long shot.

Viewers had still not heard from Dale Jarrett about his crash and had not heard from Richard Childress about his engines, and their critical failures. Now, with thirty five laps to go Kenny Schrader had slammed the wall and a caution had come out. Viewers knew that because they were watching, but what they were hearing was a meaningless interview of Kyle Busch, which ABC would not end for a crash involving a "non-Chaser." What a poor decision.

With thirty laps to go, ABC finally got their wish of good racing that was not single file. Immediately, the network went to commercial break. When they returned, Kyle Petty had slammed the wall and the race was under caution. After several replays, the network went to commercial break again.

It was during these replays that Kyle Petty was interviewed. For the first time ABC viewers found-out that it was Kyle that had wrecked Dale Jarrett earlier in the race. The irony was, the ABC reporter had not even asked about that incident, and probably did not know about it. Petty simply brought it up.

With only thirteen laps to go, an incident brought out the caution. It was clear by this time that Jerry Punch had run out of gas. He does not bring any excitement or intensity to his commentary, and this is especially true late in races. He simply comments on what viewers are seeing on the TV as a "reporter." In this incident, it took Rusty Wallace to point out that pole-sitter Michael Waltrip was in the middle of it.

ABC also chose to show three commercials during this time, rather than reset the field because there were less than ten laps to go. With all the commercial inventory that ABC ran earlier in the race, viewers were anticipating a commercial free period at the end. This was the perfect time for a race recap and a reset, not another rather adult promo for Desperate Housewives.

Punch called the last several laps of pushing and shoving with Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree trying to keep the excitement level high, but the inability to pass was a problem the ABC bunch could not solve from the booth. Luckily, the late move of Jeff Gordon worked to end the race on a good note. There was just one problem.

Incredibly, ABC completely missed it. Jeff Gordon moving-up in front of Tony Stewart to win the race was only seen live by the fans at the track. ABC showed a close-up camera shot of the middle of the pack on the last lap when they should have been using a shot that showed all the cars.

All of a sudden, the next picture showed Gordon in front of Stewart, and only Andy Petree recognized that this had happened. The bottom line is, ABC missed the winning move of the race on the final lap.

As Gordon began his cool down lap, the word came down from NASCAR. Get to Victory Lane if you want to be interviewed. The clock on the wall said it was almost 6PM, the race was over, and ABC was about to leave the building. Only then, as Gordon was heeding their call, did viewers get a replay to show them what they should have seen live. Gordon's move for the race win was both fantastic, and lucky.

The winner's interview was short and sweet and ABC was gone. No Tony Stewart. No Jimmie Johnson. No Kurt Busch. No Ryan Newman. No Richard Childress. The stories that ABC had built-up during this last exciting run were not going to be paid-off because this was broadcast TV and they were out of time. Just like that, it was over.

ESPN was involved in NFL football highlights, ESPN News never followed-up, and once again the inability of ABC and ESPN to coordinate NASCAR post-race activities drove the fans directly to SPEED Channel.

This ABC telecast had been the only thing the network had done from the track all weekend long. SPEED handled the practice and qualifying, and also carried the ARCA and the Craftsman Truck Series races live. ABC was only there for the NEXTEL Cup Chase for the Championship, and left the air without interviewing any of the other Chase drivers or following-up on any of the stories of the event itself.

In this first year of ABC as a NASCAR TV partner, there certainly have been some interesting decisions involving on-air activity. Perhaps, with only a handful of races left this season, giving NASCAR fifteen more minutes on ABC to talk to the key players in the race, and The Chase, would have been the right decision.

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 and leave your opinion.


Matt said...

I couldn't agree more, John. This is the problem when a network puts in three people who have very little experience in actually sitting in a TV booth calling a race. It is obvious that Rusty, Jerry, and Andy are all learning how to call a race and just not able to pick it up. It is very surprising frankly. ESPN/ABC is stiil in the same position they were back in August and show no signs of improvement. And considering that they have been doing this for almost a year with practice races and Busch races I'm guessing that these three just aren't going to improve. If ESPN/ABC doesn't make some changes, they will be the reason for NASCAR's ratings decline.

As for the quick exit off the air, that can be solved by simply starting the races 30 Min earlier. I think we can cut pre-race down by a half-hour and add the more important post-race coverage.

Anonymous said...

JD, could you look in to the alleged complaints by local news affiliates that have apparently resulted in rushed post-race coverage?

Anonymous said...

Matt said...
As for the quick exit off the air, that can be solved by simply starting the races 30 Min earlier. I think we can cut pre-race down by a half-hour and add the more important post-race coverage.
October 8, 2007 12:26 AM

I think there is so much that goes into the start of a race and so many people involved, that it may not be too easy to move the start of a race.

SophiaZ123 said...


You left out the major blunder of Tim showing a car problem from what was it, KANSAS? We're not in Kansas anymore?

We had MRN on the whole race. I swear I miss the TNT or NBC days of BREAKING FROM COMMERCIAL when something happened like a wreck. This is the "CHASE" correct?

So many lead changes or spins happened during the tv commercials, the MRN guys excitement was superb. We had the tv muted and after one commercial, there was so much recaping and graphics and some old video we were screaming at the tv in unison SHOW THE RACE!!

This happened numerous times and sometimes, the changes that occured during the commercial were NOT mentioned or majorly delayed.

Are the guys actually WATCHING THE RACE AT ALL? Or are they watching football games or playing Yahtzee????

It is PREPOSTEROUS we are supposed to take this pEESPN gang seriously.

HONESTLY, Stevie Wonder could call the race better than these guys. They all sit there like they are deaf, blind.

Had it not been for MRN today, I would've been kicked off this site as I am not sure I could've written in a ladylike manner. This group could drive the Pope to swearing like a sailor.

But what irks me just as much is NASCAR DOES NOT CARE.

Also, for the folks who do not have SPEED, they are left sitting in the dark without even a candle blowing in the wind.

Rusty "I wanna hear my voice" SO NEEDS to disappear. Kinda like Ray Dunlap did this week, only Rusty needs to go for GOOD.

Thanks for the run down of the race.

Just when we think it can't get worse, it does.

Oh, and they needed to cut Jr's questioning short as anybody could tell he was being a good sport about things but the interviewer? CLUELESS.

ANd when they interviewed Kyle when the big one happened, they NEVER cut away from kyle. WTH??? We NO LONGER CARED what he thought.


8 YEARS OF THIS MANURE?? ESPN should be fired and found in breach of CONTRACT for "not delivering the goods."

PUTRID, coverage.

Those guys at MRN paint a wonderful picture in one's mind and when their voice goes up half an octave, you know something is going on.

I wish I could say the same for the PRN gang but they don't do it for me like MRN.

Daly Planet Editor said...

As we discussed earlier, broadcast TV networks are very different than cable networks like ESPN or SPEED.

The broadcast network has a "window" that belongs to sports, and when that time period is over...its just over.

On the east coast, the network feed to the affiliates was to end at 6PM. The network itself is done, and the local stations are now in charge. Remember, the network just feeds product to the local stations as a part of a network contract.

Cable networks have no such agenda. They simply send one signal directly to both satellite and cable home viewers. As we have said many times, there is no "off time" for ESPN and SPEED. They are on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

I just wish that ESPN has used ESPN News or even ESPN Classic to host a good thirty minute post-race show using the network announcers and pit reporters already on site. Oh well...

stricklinfan82 said...

Another poor job of coverage.

I thought the planning out of commercial breaks was poorly done. At a track this large caution flag laps take forever, and it seemed to me that they spent way too much time watching the cars run around under yellow when they could have fit in commercial breaks. They also could have squeezed in an extra break or two in the middle of the race when the whole field was content to run single file. Instead they watched the single file parade for several consecutive laps and then went to commercial just in time to miss the start of green flag pit stops.

There was no follow-up at all about Dale Jarrett's crash. They showed Junior blow up and then several minutes later we saw Jarrett's damaged car. I can understand the cameras missing the incident because they can't catch everything but why not interview ESPN's own Dale Jarrett to find out what happened? If Kyle Petty hadn't crashed and told us that he wrecked the 44 car we would have never known what happened to him.

The biggest blunder of them all - THEY MISSED THE PASS FOR THE LEAD ON THE LAST LAP!!!!! How the hell can that possibly happen? Of all the simple and fundamental mistakes to make this is just about the worst.

As if the draft track wasn't bad enough already, ESPN invented a new term called "draft lock" and added a 3rd color to the color-coded drawing of the air. Ugh.

Dr. Punch joked during the commercial with 9 laps to go that when they came back from break he should make the viewers' day by telling them that the final 9 laps will be aired commercial free. Hahaha that's almost funny and I'm glad he thought better of it. I don't know what's so funny about poking fun at fans for expecting the commercials to be spaced out enough so we can see the final part of the race uninterrupted by commercials. The guys in the booth don't care when the commercials run because they can watch the entire race regardless. Unfortunately the fans at home don't have the same luxury.

The ONLY good thing I have to say about their coverage was the lack of Brent Musburger. He never adds anything to the broadcast, and one NASCAR-novice host is plenty. Since next week's race is on a Saturday I'm hoping that he's off doing a college football game and will be left off the ESPN on ABC NASCAR broadcast next week.

Next week the college football game on ABC on Saturday afternoon comes on the air at 3:30. Since college games typical last no less than 3 1/2 hours I sense a conflict coming with the 7:00 Cup race. Maybe we'll even have a flashback to the 2005 fall Cup race at Charlotte where only a miracle last second touchdown by USC prevented overtime and enabled NBC to switch to Charlotte just seconds before the green flag fell.

Mr. Daly, do you know if ABC has a "drop-dead time" when they would move the race to cable if it ran too long because of some sort of weather delay? It's obviously 6:00 on Sundays as evidenced by Kansas but I was curious if such a drop-dead time existed for them to get off the air on a Saturday night or if they'll actually stick with the race no matter how long it takes.

Eric said...

"It was clear by this time that Jerry Punch had run out of gas. He does not bring any excitement or intensity to his commentary, and this is especially true late in races"
I have been saying this for weeks at various sites and emails. He is horrible.

"The winner's interview was short and sweet and ABC was gone. No Tony Stewart. No Jimmie Johnson. No Kurt Busch. No Ryan Newman. No Richard Childress. The stories that ABC had built-up during this last exciting run were not going to be paid-off because this was broadcast TV and they were out of time. Just like that, it was over."

Again, NASCAR made its bed with ABC/ESPN wanting to have the Chase races on a broadcast network and this is what they got. Instead of the metophorically speaking bed being nice and fluffy, its a sheet of plywood with nails sticking out of it. Enjoy that TV money Brian France because most of us are not enjoying anything about this debacle.
Makes one wonder if the race goes long at Miami if they will just do a quick interview with the champion and then *poof* thats it until Feb 08?

Anonymous said...

I spent the weekend in a vacation rental home in Kissimmee, whose basic 70 channels of cable didn't include SPEED. No raceday, no victory lane, and all those promised postrace interviews on Sportscenter were yet another abc/espn letdown. I'm going to start eading a better life in case this is what hell is like....

Anonymous said...

The ABC/ESPN coverage was terribly awful, wasn't it ?

It seems all the money and all the gizmos and highly compensated shills cannot produce quality reporting and sports programming.

Shame on ABC/ESPN and NASCAR for an inferior product.

Anonymous said...

Don't know about you guys, but I had no problem following the action on ABC.

Of course, I was listening to the play-by-play on MRN while watching the TV picture.

There's no point in trying to listen to the guys on ABC. THey honestly do not know what's happening on the track in front of them.

And "draft lock?" Yeah. Nice try.

jfs-va said...

Suddenly, the cameras captured a big wreck on the track. Incredibly, it was almost ten seconds before Jerry Punch exclaimed "Oh, there is trouble on the race track."

I started yelling at the screen when this happened. My wife thought I was nuts. I was like, stop the interview, talk about what's happening on the track. Too funny.

tv-less in miami said...

The Miami ABC affiliate(wplg website: will again air news instead of the pre-race for Charlotte on Saturday night. They have no clue about NASCAR or its fans, the fox affiliate is so much better in that regard, they do actually follow network programming. I wish FOX would broadcast all the races. Someone send Rusty Wallace a roll of duct tape for his mouth.

KE said...

ABC also messed up when the 01 was dropping to the bottom to run, one of the pit announcers mentioned problems with the 01, but one of the booth guys 'changed that to 07', then they showed the 07, & pit reporter followed up with a report saying there was no problem with the 07. Well dah!! it was the 01 (another DEI/RCR engine), but I guess since it was only Aric A .... Another missed chance to hi-light the problems with the RCR/DEI engine pagage. At least teh initial camera man caught the 01 on the bottom.

LuckyForward said...

This is your best commentary this season, Mr. Daly. Thank you.

Yesterday I was on the road from Huntersville, NC to my home in Nashville, TN. I listened to the race on MRN and my wife (who casually watches NASCAR with me on the weekends) immediately commented, "These radio guys are so much better than the TV guys! You don't even need a picture to imagine the action!" Then we returned home, got the race on TV, and we both promptly fell asleep with the tired and bland reporting.

One other interesting note: it is clear that MRN is owned by NASCAR. During the race, ALL the MRN announcers did a big buildup for E., Jr. At the end of the discussion we were told how we could go to NASCAR.COM and buy Little E #88 merchandise. And by putting "MRN" in at checkout, buyers could save 15%!

It reminded me once again the reality of NASCAR: It's all about the buck!

Anonymous said...

It's funny...two comsumate and experienced pit reporters (Weber, Punch) inexplicably get moved up to the booth, where they consistently do a poor job, while a consumate play-by-play man in Bestwick can't get a whiff of the TV booth, and has to do Weber and Punch's roles instead to stay in the sport.

I'd really like to know what Bestwick did or said to get blackballed like that on multiple networks (Speed, NBC/TNT, ESPN/ABC).

Anonymous said...

I just sat there amazed that no one said a thing about DJ's crash, I was wondering what happened because the only one they interviewed was Jr. DJ was moving up in the field when this happened and had a good race going, only later did we hear Kyle Petty admit he ran over Dale. Everyone was saying how those Toyota's that qualifyed so well would blow because of their set-ups? Not one blew and Mikey had a great race going until the tire, all were out only because of tires or crashes that were not their fault. ABC could have talked about that during the boring times. Blaney qualified 2nd and came in 3rd, looks like they all had good setups.

Anonymous said...

I think the most pertinent question that all fan's of NASCAR should be asking is how does it feel to have your driver not exist. If it is not Dale Jr. or one of the 12 in the chase ABC doesn't even talk about them nor after a wreck get a comment from them. My favorite driver is Robby Gordon and though while not a taste many would share he was the first one taken out by Labonte, the crew never even mentioned him either during the inital coverage of the wreck or in subsequent replays. He only was mentioned when they showed a list of all involved. I know other fans have similar issues, the race for the chase is fairly boring the way ABC covers it, they really need to remember that other drivers exists and that their fans care about this. With the way rating are it appears that the only ones watching are the die hard NASCAR fans and most of them I know feel that this has been the most boring coverage ever with no attention to detail.

haus20 said...

Well, if the empty suits at ESPN have half a brain, their will be changes in the booth next year...Since DJ looks to be retiring, it is possible to see a Bestwick - Jarrett - Petree booth next year...

Anonymous said...

ABC's style of coverage will lead to a ratings massive drop, and here's why:

They're attracting new viewers (let us say), but not necessarily rabid (not "rapid") fans who will remain loyal to the sport;

Meanwhile, the sloppy, must-tell-a-story-at-all-costs-even-if-it-means-ignoring-other-drivers coverage is alienating the current, and more loyal, NASCAR fans.

By the time the ABC/ESPN contract is up, I predict ratings will have dropped so low that the network won't want to pay for the series again, never comprehending that they, themselves, drove away the audience.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes laugh when I remember the comments from NASCAR fans in Scene magazine or other places from 2001 to 2006 when TNT/NBC has the coverage second half. They used to be that ESPN should be brought back - they had better coverage prior to 2001. Funny how things change.

Jo said...

All I can say is "Thank God for Hotpass on DirecTV." I've stopped watching the network feed all together. There's no point in watching such awful coverage when you can watch the race from a particular driver's POV with live audio and then put MRN on with Trackpass on the computer. It's just disappointing; I had such high hopes for ESPN but they have let me down, big time.

Anonymous said...

I attended the New Hampshire race in Sept and listened to the ABC crew on the scanner. Now in past years I have listened many times to the NBC/TNT crew and once to Fox guys (2005 in Dover Spring). Mike and Darrell actually gear their talk during network commercials to the fans listening on the scanner. Banny Parsons (RIP Benny) used to show real emotion during commercials. During Loudon I had to check the scanner to make sure it was still on cause there was no talk during commercials for many minutes.

To the race at Talladega. I actually liked the broadcast mostly because it was the first NASCAR broadcast I watched on my new High Def TV and actually couldn't hear the announcers much.

Sara and Bobby said...

6 races until we get Mike Joy, DW, Larry Mc, Hammond, Matt Yocum, Dr Dick Berrgren, and the rest. The best team in Nascar.

Until then, I will just watch Hot Pass. Hopefully my favorate driver will be one of the five for the next few weeks at least.

These guys/ladies from Espn on ABC are just jokes. Each week I say to myself, really, how much worse can it get? And it gets worse.

My question is, will Espn do anything to fix it? And what's with telling the driver to hurry to victory lane or you won't be interviewed????

Jaime Little (please someone take away her Red Bull) is horrible, and does anyone notice that Shannon wears a firesuit for the prerace show, yet doesn't work the race? I guess there's a big chance of fire on the grid or where they introduce the drivers. LOL

PTBOY said...

You sure hit the nail on the head. One miutes Gordon is locked to Johnson's bumper, the next he's was very poor coverage.

These guys add nothing tothe coverage. I am really surprised that Petrie has so littel to add compared to Jeff Hammond and Larry Mac. Rusty does nothing but had prediction which always turn out to be wrong. Unlike the eeriely prescient D.W.

However, to be fair I saw a victory lane interview by ABC following the race, I saw it on ABC in the Philadelphia market. Apparently, they switched to the ESPN feed for the victory lane interview, and then back to ABC for the news. After that, like you said I was off to SPEED.

Ron P. said...

Anybody notice the empty seats?
I can not stand what ABC/E$PN has done to the coverage. Please put Bestwick in the Booth!!! Send Jerry Punch back to the pits where we belongs and Put Rusty out to pasture. ... Anybody catch Jerry Punchs screw up ( oops sorry I mean this screw up there are just so many of his)the "Tony Eury Jr. Long Time Cousin of Dale ErnhartJr...." I can't take it anymore, I never thought I'd say these words... "Bring back NBC."

Anonymous said...

Jerry Punch screw up

beginning of race he meant to say that the pit windown was (actually don't remember numbers) lets say 48-52 laps but what comes out is 48-52 miles per hour. This is after saying the pit road speed.

Jerry is a professional broadcaster?

Anonymous said...

another issue: Why doesn't ESPN cooperate with Speed TV (and I guess also the other way around)? This is getting real old fast.

Memo to ESPN- If Speed had not carried qualifying and happy hour I guess then no one would have and that would have not made NASCAR or Brian France happy.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I completly agree with all of your observations Mr. Daily. I usually read your blogs from a link on Jayski, How long do you think ESPN will let Jayski continue to link your site. Now that they own Jayski.

Joe from Philly said...

Spot on.

They are completely lost. Even an amateur can tell that all three booth guys are monitor watchers. I honestly don't remember ever hearing one of them yell out 'TROUBLE' w/o already know there was because it was on camera. It's just terrible that these guys don't have someone coaching them on something so rudimentary as watching the live action instead of your monitor.

Maybe all three will improve with experience but I really think it was a mistake to throw 3 rookies up there together.

I really don't like Rusty but I think he'd wouldn't be half as bad as he is if he had someone like Mike Joy up there with him. Think about how 'green' McReynolds and Waltrip were at first. Mike Joy guided them well and was able to carry the broadcast when those two were lost. Punch can't do that. It's a shame. Every time I hear Punch struggle, I think to myself "Where is Tom Jenkins?????"

My personal Wish list for 2008:

Booth: Tom Jenkins, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree

Desk/pit: Jerry Punch

Pits: Punch joins Allen Bestwick, Matt Yocum and others.

That's just the personalities. Their production staff needs some work too but I believe a strong, experienced lead announcer could command better production decisions.

Not even sure Jenkins and Yocum would be available but that doesn't stop me from putting them on my wish list ;-)

formerfan said...


Cyndee said...

Hard to believe that this is the same network we used to love. That Disney kool-aid must be some strong stuff. Allen Bestwick belongs in the booth!

Anonymous said...

John I agree with you where you talk about Rusty and the other announcers not interuptting when they see trouble on the track. I think it is a must they do that.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps after yesterdays race, ABC has learned if they can't have postrace coverage on their network then they should show it on a different one. Hopefully they learn from their mistakes. It will be interesting to see what happens if this plays out next week or the weeks to come.

Anonymous said...

want to put a positive note on ABC/ESPN coverage this year.

Mike Massaro has been an excellent pit reporter all year.

Anonymous said...

I agree with throwing post-race coverage to ESPN Classic. They just show games from the past (I know, on occasion, they start a game or two if something else is running over). Remember when NBC would run over and Bill Weber would announce that continuing coverage would be on CNBC? I remember because I had to look up what channel that was. But, at least they made an effort to show some post-race coverage. JD, does ABC/ESPN just not get it (the concept that people want the post-race interviews, etc.) or can they really not do this?

Anonymous said...

"As we discussed earlier, broadcast TV networks are very different than cable networks like ESPN or SPEED.

The broadcast network has a "window" that belongs to sports, and when that time period is over...its just over."

I'm not doubting you, but how can that be when the NFL on CBS football in the past has often run into the program "60 Minutes" by 20 or 30 minutes? And that was common even when 60 Minutes was one of the top-rated shows every week. Is that because 60 Minutes and the NFL were both network broadcasts and not local?

You just always knew and accepted that during football season that some of the CBS shows would be delayed that evening and got used to it.

I just think NASCAR doesn't have that kind of pull with the networks like the NFL does.

Steven said...

Massaro has been an excellent pit reporter all year? That's why Dale Jr, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, to name a few have had major issues with him. Watching Fox, there is an art to asking the questions we all want and not getting the look of death from the driver. Plus, Jamie Little has done a better job than Massaro this year, and that isn't saying a lot. I think he gets the biggest disappointment award for 2007.

Anonymous said...

I don't know who is in charge at Espn, but please you need to sit down and be honest with yourself. Is this really the best product you can give us?

Stephanie said...

Joe from Philly wrote,
My personal Wish list for 2008:

Booth: Bob Jenkins, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree

Desk/pit: Jerry Punch

Pits: Punch joins Allen Bestwick, Matt Yocum and others.

That's just the personalities. Their production staff needs some work too but I believe a strong, experienced lead announcer could command better production decisions.

Not even sure Jenkins and Yocum would be available but that doesn't stop me from putting them on my wish list ;-)

AMEN Joe! Now there is a broadcast team.

Anonymous said...

"I'd really like to know what Bestwick did or said to get blackballed like that on multiple networks (Speed, NBC/TNT, ESPN/ABC)."

Two bits he has a working brain, is an independent thinker, and isn't a company yes-man. Just my guess, of course, but I don't see Allen being a very good sheep. :) (And I like him that way!! LOL)

Anonymous said...

One easy change for next year would be DJ (only running 1st 6 races next year) coming in for ESPN's 2nd half coverage and Rusty leaving ESPN saying that he wants to own a team. (since his contract won't allow it, this lets him leave on his terms)
Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Rusty Wallace had one bright point on the Countdown studio show yesterday - he strongly disagreed with the active drivers' opinions that Villeneuve shouldn't be allowed to race. He got his point across clearly and I was impressed.
But Rusty doesn't seem to be improving in the booth.

Here's where I got really frustrated when Rusty: Johnny Sauter took the lead yesterday and no one would work with him (which is exactly what happened at Talladega in the spring, as shown on NASCAR in Primetime). Andy Petree said this is where the politics of racing come out. I was interested to hear more of what he was going to say, but Rusty immediately butted in and said "this isn't politics, this is driving!" or some such nonsense.

Then there was dead silence from Petree. A few seconds later, Dr. Punch quickly noted Sauter was hung out to dry, but the moment was lost for Petree to expound on how important help from other drivers is at a track like Dega.

That's where Rusty fails in the booth. Maybe he can stay in the studio, but it's a no-brainer that ESPN needs to have Jarrett in the both next year.

Anonymous said...

This is the first year, EVER, that I have actually planned road trips/errands on race day. I watch Race Day on SPEED, and then I'm off. The radio coverage by MRN and PRN are extraordinary! I couldn't believe how exciting the Kansas race was -- ON MY RADIO! It was thrilling! I no longer fear missing a race on TV, so long as ESPN is at the helm. I *love* racing but they singlehandedly destroy it for me.

I have been looking forward to Talladega all year. I don't get into the wreckfest, rather I greatly enjoy the aero/freight-train deal :) it can be some darn cool racing. I love how the cars are flat-out top speed all day long.

But yesterday, I FELL ASLEEP somewhere around lap 60. FELL ASLEEP.

I woke up to Jerry Punch repeating "the big one" in an awkward lilt (as in, "that's what I am supposed to call this thing, right?") only to find out that only 10 cars were involved, which I am sorry but that does not make it The big one. ;) Not that he would know...

Honestly, they could pick 3 random fans from the stands and stick them in the booth, and you'd have a hell of a lot finer calling of the race than we do with the 3 Stooges.


Mike24 said...

Would someone PLEASE wake me up from this nightmare called ESPN/ABC. Just when I think it can get no worse man I take a hit beside the head!

The coverage was as pathetic as ever, would someone tell the bozos in the booth to watch the race. Why the hell are they even there?

I should have went with my first gut feeling go fishing for Salmon on Lake MI. or watch what I thought would be an exciting race. That was BORING until the last 50 laps.

I have to wonder if Brian France Jr. ever watches the race via TV if so I have to wonder why he allows such pathetic coverage to continue....PLEASE wake me!!

Anonymous said...

[quote] Anonymous said...

"I'd really like to know what Bestwick did or said to get blackballed like that on multiple networks (Speed, NBC/TNT, ESPN/ABC)."[/quote]

AB left TNT to go to ESPN and ESPN has an exclusive contract with him meaning he can work for no one else. Stop with blackballed theory.

He went for the money and working for 9 months instead of 4 months with TNT(Last year) and six races this year. No brainer for him.

Anonymous said...

When NBC is televising the Notre Dame football games, and run out of network time for the post-game show, they run the show on In fact, they take extra time and do a very comprehensive job. Why cant ABC move coverage over to or another web site?

Anonymous said...

Fox is also not going to allow Matt Yocum to work for ESPN cause they have races all year and that would conflict with Fox and ESPN would also not be happy.

Problem was allowing ESPN to have Busch races all year and that locked in or locked out certain announcers.

Again ESPN does not play well with other networks.

Anonymous said...

ABC talks a good game about wanting sports but can't deliver.

The notion that Fox does not have a national cable channel they can switch races to is kinda bogus. Isn't that what Speed is for? They switched a truck race from Fox to Speed earlier in the year after a rain delay.

Now this is not a knock on ABC after Kansas but more of a why can't ABC stay on after 6PM Eastern? Fox has no problem doing that routinely during the NASCAR, NFL and MLB seasons.

Again ABC is more talk than action.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:19PM - Please scroll down to the next story on my site and you will get your answer about which should come as no surprise.


IPingUPing said...

I worked in local TV for 10 years, and one of my jobs was to create contingency plans if network sports runs over because network sports always runs over. So, if this ran over 5 minutes to get a couple of more interviews, it would not have been unreasonable.
Would a couple of affiliates complain, sure, but that's what affiliates do!

SophiaZ123 said...


No offense but I think Jayski has lost credibility for many stories. HIS site used to be the FIRST I went to but I find he is often SCOOPED by stories posted on SPEED forums. I don't even post that much at SPEED but for the breaking story du jour, somebody starts a thread about it there before Jayski.

I am NOT surprised he "CHOSE" not to link your story because you, and many here, SPEAK THE TRUTH about the problems with ESPN. And it is JUSTIFIABLE criticism.

Sadly, ESPN, and apparently, NASCAR, can't handle the truth or do not care due as they laugh their way to the bank.


It is only YOUR independent spirit that has the chupzpah to tell it like it is.

I see only one other writer today complaining about ESPN and Rusty.

Frankly, I am losing interest in searching for the complains on the net anyway. This place is good enough for me and as I mentioned,




Only the $$$$

If it were not for this great site to sound off, I think more hammers, shoes and such would be sailing through our TV sets.

ok, j/k...can't afford to replace them but it's TEMPTING, ain't it?

Anonymous said...

We waited 6 years for this? The ABC/ESPN return to NASCAR has been very disappointing. They have oversold these telecasts to the point that we the viewers are missing alot of the things we have seen in the past. ESPN/ABC has missed numerous restarts. The solution is to now show the pitstops taped in replay, as they did twice in Kansas or not at all, as this week in Talladega. It almost seems that the production truck is suprised that the pitstop is occurring. All the bells and whistles don't matter if you don't see the forrest through the trees!

Anonymous said...


ESPN & Nascar aren't stupid, I am sure somewhere in their 8 year contract there are clauses that would let one or the other back out of the contract with penalties if, on Nascar's side the racing is not portrayed (sp?) the way they want, or on ESPN's side ratings drop below a certain amount. My question is, is there anyway of learning if this is true? I could envision that in the contract it would state that at sometime (probably after a season), they would come together to discuss problems in the coverage and if not able to come to a solution then the contract could be changed.

Bill H (aka BillWebz)

Ann_Ominous said...

Sophia is right. I am getting quite a potty mouth in my old age and it is coming from constantly yelling "Shut the beep up!!" at the tv during the races.

If it wasn't for DirecTV HotPass, I probably would of quit watching altogether.

And as a big Rusty Wallace fan, I have to make a personal appeal to Rusty: get out while you can keep some dignity!!! Your Busch team is tanking without your supervision anyway.

Lisa Hogan said...

Maybe it’s just me; but, the race coverage on ESPN seems to getting worse instead of better. I have nothing against anyone in the booth. There’s just not the right chemistry. All of them seem to be watching either a computer monitor or a TV monitor instead of the race. I know that it’s difficult to see the whole track from the booth at some races. Also, I don’t know how much of what they say or do is coming through their earpiece.

Dr. Punch seems to have the hardest time with this. Several times yesterday, he would be describing something on the track that didn’t make sense because he was several seconds behind what I was seeing on TV. Is he waiting for someone to type something for him to read?

It seems like Dale Jr. would be one of their easiest interviews; yet, they even seem to mess those up. Mike Massaro does not impress me. There seems to be some kind of attitude there.

I said, at the start of the season, that I would consider this as the ESPN rookie year. I will be able to judge when the Nationwide Series starts if they have improved. If not, I will be going to radio, etc.

PO'd In ID said...


How's this for a multiple storyline? My local ABC channel, KIFI, showed the Mormon General Conference from Salt Lake City.

The race from Talladega was shown tape delayed at 10:30 PM.

WTF??? Are there affiliate rule to prevent the sort of thing?

Anonymous said...

It is my opinion as well. The race broadcast was sub standard.

There is still an ongoing cultural conflict that prevents the program director from discerning what is relevant to viewers regarding the race itself. The produced pieces, the mandatory Suzi and Brad spots etc. WILL be shown in their proper order no matter what else is happening.

TV can recover and mask their goofs with replays, but the reporting component is sadly lacking. When the cars were running the top single file, there were missed opportunities to really cover the engine issues or the DJ accident.

My personal peeve was barely mentioning that Dave Blaney made Jeff Gordon's win possible with a car that, in qualifying trim, was predicted to be bad in the race. He finished third. It was a good story.

ABC gets a D from me.

Anonymous said...

Per the ESPN coverage: I watched Sportscenter, ESPN NEWS, and NASCAR Now (the late edition). It was intriguing to me that all of the race highlights (which seemed unusually brief for those programs, maybe because the race was boring) prominently featured Dale Earnhardt Jr's radio communication with his spotter asking for the Redskins score and him responding "Hell,yeah!" when he heard they were leading.

It was funny if you are a regular race fan because that's just Dale Jr. But if you are a regular sports fan unfamiliar with NASCAR, I think the exchange made the race look silly, especially when there was nothing else of racing note shown. The anchors all got a good chuckle out of it. They probably are thinking: How interesting can NASCAR be when one of the two guys that we recognize is driving 190 miles an hour asking for Redskins scores?

Ryan Burr even said something to the effect of "it's nice to see Junior has his priorities straight". Again, a joke, but my point is that is what NASCAR on ESPN seems to be regarded as by many of its own staffers:

A joke.

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said...
Anon 10:19PM - Please scroll down to the next story on my site and you will get your answer about which should come as no surprise.


When you run multiple stories on the blog in 1 day, I think Jayski has always just used one link from that day. Still gets people over fro the stories.

AndyPandy said...

To anonymous at 11:41 AM regarding the Bestwick blackballed theory:

I believe what the poster was referring to was the fact that Bestwick was removed as host of Inside Nextel Cup on SPEED for Despain, then bumped from booth to the pits on NBC Nextel Cup coverage for Weber, and now stuck in the pits on ESPN instead of in the booth where Punch is. Some of us believe that he would do a much better job than Despain, Weber or Punch. I'm not saying that those three are worthless - it's more like there's a better role for each of them, and Bestwick is a better fit for those spots.

It just seems like he must be peeing off some high folks who are keeping him out of the top jobs.

SophiaZ123 said...

I have seen Jayski liste multiple stories on some days...but lately, I have this place bookmarked and come straight here..then might notice how this place is listed when checking out the other new sites.

He claims he did not sell out but I've got a news flash for him, many folks think HE DID. And now that ESPN is SO DREADFUL, jayski is seen as a SUPPORTER/shill for the insults to the fans. Jayski is not responsible for the horrid coverage but I wonder how long his contract with ES P U is?

My condolences to the poster who had to see the raced dumped to night time due to the Mormon whatever.

And wonder why the ratings are going down the tubes NASCAR?? Brian France and Mike Helton can put ALL THE SPIN they want on the POSITIVITIES and "It's all about the FANS" but TPTB are nothing but POLITICIANS trying to brain wash the serious fans into TELLING US WHAT WE WANT. The CHASE, rules by 'individual situations and past events.' It can't be BOTH.

I still would LOVE to know if RObbie GOrdon would've won the race at Kansas had HE been in da Bif's situation.

When you refuse to see the faith crumbling of the devoted fans, and KNOWINGLY shoot yourselves in the feet, one toe at a time, do not be surprised.

Oh, and I noticed some empty seats at TALLADEGA. And nobody ever comments on the empty seats on the TV. I read some stadiums even paint the seats different color so it LOOKS like people are in the empty seats from a long distance.

You can spin it ANYWAY you want NASCAR, but your spinning is making many of us nauseated.


Anonymous said...

Boy, I bet there are lots of people with websites that would like to have their site linked from Jayski almost everyday!!! I'd guess a good amount of traffic comes from there.

Anonymous said...

I've said it once and I'll say it again, TrackPass is the only way to go with the races. (As long as doesn't eff it up like they did the Live Leaderboard last week.) I know more about what's happening on the track just by listening to my favorite driver along with his crew chief and spotter. Sometimes I'll tune in to the radio coverage to see what they are saying but it's usually not for more than a couple of minutes or so.

The only time I'll turn the t.v. volume up is when there's an interview of one of my favorite drivers. Considering ABC's shoddy coverage, I don't turn it up too often these days.

I agree with a comment by you, JD, that you made in an interview recently. NASCAR needs their own channel like what the NFL network has. I'd gladly pay more money for a dedicated channel if it meant better reporting and coverage.

Chris in Austin

shload said... start a website from your rented home, by yourself, while working a fulltime NJ of all places..A multi-billion dollar company offers to buy you out and partner with you...This is the American Dream that more of use should strive for..We all should try to "sell-out"

Steve L. in Tenn said...

I have always watched the races with the sound coming out my stereo speakers. I always thought the 'crank it up' thing was lame but they did have very good sound. Honestly, the sound of the cars, crowd, and even the pit reporters with ESPN just isn't right. I really pay attention to the sound during the races and these guys are terrible! Usually in stereo when a car goes by the sound will start in one speaker and cross over into the other speaker. The sound with ESPN just sounds muffled, like a constant noise. Like the mic is too far away from the track.

I remember a few times in the past (pre-
ESPN) where the sound of the cars was way too loud and almost a distraction over the announcers. But I do think ESPN needs to take a look (or an ear) at the sound and make changes as well.

They really need to start all over from scratch. New announcers, production team, sound technicians, director, everything. Race teams know when things are not right and make changes accordingly, why can't ESPN?

Desmond said...

That the Kyle Busch interview continued to run right as the Ken Schrader crash was ignored entirely shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone following what has been on ESPN this season. I was excited about its return, now I can't wait until it is over.

As for announcers, here's who I would have if put in charge of NASCAR coverage on television:

Pre-race show: Allen Bestwick, Michael Waltrip, Johnny Benson, Ken Schrader (Jimmy Spencer and/or Kenny Wallace can substitute depending on the race lineup) with reports from Krista Voda

Race: Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds, Phil Parsons (because Benny is dead)

Pits: Dr. Jerry Punch, Bill Weber, Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum

This is not a realistic lineup because of network affiliations and other issues. But these guys in this configuration would set a good tone for things to come.

darbar said...

The guys in the ABC truck seem to miss everything. One question: Do they not have the number of cameras at the track as Fox? Do they not have the monitors in the production truck, and is anyone watching? I hardly think so, due to the fact that so many important things are being missed.

I know John appears to like Suzy Kolber and I can give her credit for stepping out of her element, but she really cannot handle Nascar. Whenever she's doing an "interview" with anyone not in the booth, her comments and questions sound as if she's reading them off a script. There's no spontaneous give and take and she seems unable to deviate from a script. This is not the case with other hosts or on the scene reporters. She's just way too out of place doing Nascar.

What's so important in ABC's lineup that they cannot push back their evening schedule even by 15 minutes? So what if Desperate Housewifes starts at 9:15 instead of 9? But, come hell or high water, ABC has to be off the air by their appointed hour or else. NFL football ran over on Sunday on CBS, yet you didn't see them leaving any game so they could get to 60 Minutes right at 7. CBS sees the importance of finishing a program before going on to another one, even if it starts late.

Anonymous said...

From an unbiased source with actual numbers, funny none of this gets mentioned on this blog:

Less Promos from 06 14-17
Less Commercials from 06 149-151
Less Comm Minutes from 06 62-65

Not huge changes, but they are less than what was in last years coverage of the race. These should be positive aspects of the race coverage.

Anonymous said...

Last 2 weeks not including this weekend(numbers not out yet) the ABC Saturday College Football has beat the Sunday Nascar Race in National ratings. We all know what MNF does, maybe the best production crews and trucks are with the the higher rated shows. It's very surprising to see Saturday College ball beating NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
From an unbiased source with actual numbers, funny none of this gets mentioned on this blog:

Less Promos from 06 14-17
Less Commercials from 06 149-151
Less Comm Minutes from 06 62-65

Not huge changes, but they are less than what was in last years coverage of the race. These should be positive aspects of the race coverage.

You really cant use the 06 numbers. NBC was on the way out and was milking the nascar coverage for what it was worth.

Anonymous said...

UPDATE: For those of you asking, chose not to link this story. That is Jay's right as the editor of that website. You can make your own judgements about the fact that ESPN owns the website.

Boy that takes some B****, will we still see this site linked by Jay anymore? I thought it was great this site was linked, it is how I first found it and I'll bet many others did too. Why must we make judgements on Jay for one story not linked when you have done much worse trashing of ESPN before, and those got linked.

Anonymous said...

If you want to know what ESPN thinks of NASCAR as a franchise property (Mr. Brian France says that's why they chose ESPN, because it will treat NASCAR like the franchise it is), look at

During Daytona Speedweeks, the NASCAR tab on the home page was listed right next to the NFL and NBA tabs. So the first four tabs looked like this: NFL, NBA, NASCAR, MLB.

But since early this summer while ESPN has been airing the races, this is what the heading order across the top of the page is on
NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, ESPNU, College FB, Men's BB, Women's BB, NASCAR.

So now NASCAR is pretty far down the totem pole, even online.

Anonymous said...

you are what you are, in the eyes of the whole country.

Anonymous said...

I've read through all the comments, and couldn't agree more with most of them! Rusty Wallace has to go. He and Petry just don't see eye to eye on anything, and it seems like Andy is afraid to butt heads with him! ESPN/ABC coverage is horrible. No one commented on the one pit stop when they showed three cars in the boxes on the left, and two of them were the #41 car!!! I thought they would change it real quick, but left both of them up through the whole stop. Even the guys in the truck are sleeping!!

Anonymous said...

I am tired of hearing Jerry Punch sound as if he is reading from the phone book. Argghhh! Also, the inability to conduct interviews with crashed-out drivers when they are under caution, instead of during green flag runs is mind numbing. They purposefully wait until green flag racing , then shrink the screen, and talk to the drivers that are out. EVERY single crash happened at commercial,woops-with the exception of the big one, and that was happening at a track where the announcers weren't. Apparently, the producers told the crew to go to Rockingham, as that had to be the case, because the booth announcers were watching an entirely different race altogether. The only time I heard Jerry get excited all year, is when Jeff Gordon took the lead. That shows his true colors right there. Again, when is NASCAR going to step in and realize that ESPN is destroying the integrity of live coverage??

Anonymous said...

To Sophiaz123 and anon 3:10pm:
Today on the Jayski site, I read 10 story links and 4 of those links took ABC/ESPN seriously to task over yesterday's telecast. None of those links were broadcast media sites. Also keep in mind that links to SPEED, FOX, CBS and other broadcast sites are regularly included. I have been amazed that daily links to the Planet have been included, except if JD doesn't have a new column that day.Methinks that ESPN knows better than to censor the Jayski site, otherwise I think we'd all see a new Jayski site somewhere else. (Besides, one link to the Planet is sufficient - the content here is so excellent that one would have to be brain-dead not to scroll down and find other columns!)
Tom in Dayton, OH.

SophiaZ123 said...


Thanks Tom in Dayton from a 'fellow 'NASCAR fan in SW Ohio.

I just want to apologize if I sounded harsh about Jayski earlier...I DO enjoy his site and did not mean to sound like I made him a SELL OUT as I appreciate his beginnings and ability to make a living out of what he does.

I just DO find it curious he does not get the scoops first as much or maybe his site is so big, I just can't find them so quickly anymore...and honestly, I am so disenchanted with the ESPN stuff, I stick with whatever headlines grabs me on SPEED or the SPEEDboards or That's Racing, etc.

I sometimes wish this place had an edit button so I could calm my rantings down...not to mention I have to make this site GIANT text in order to read things as I am awaiting new way over do reading glasses. THANKS to Mozilla, I can make this site GIANT fonts and this site is easy on the eyes.

Thanks for the heads up on other sites, Tom...wish you would post them here or leave breadcrumbs but I shall take your word for it.


SophiaZ123 said...

Anon 4.03

NASCAR appears to have lost their integrity.

WILD about the 41 in two pit boxes on the telly.

YES INTERVIEW the drivers during the cautions. I don't even like seeing the drivers I really LIKE being interviewed during the GF racing. Jr's interview needed to end quicker and I forgot the Kyle thing was for Schrader's wreck..then again, Schrader must be in the 'who cares' category since he is not in THE CHASE.

the gripes are endless with ESPN and I KEEP saying I am going to stop complaining.

Yet here I am.

This is ALL COMMON SENSE AIN'T it? Our griping, I mean??

Oh, and I have heard TOO MANY gripes about to give them one penny.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:02 - That is because it is agreed upon in advance that these events will go to their conclusion and there will be a "close" of a designated length when the game itself is over. The NFL rules are different, and almost each sport has its own contingency plans.

Anon 11:12 - I think Bestwick is just still strongly identified with the NBC TV package, which is almost exactly the same races now carried on ESPN and ABC. After his strong performance this season, and his continued hosting of NASCAR Countdown for the Busch Series, look for him to play a bigger role in 2008.

Anon 11:42 - I am told that and their parent company Turner Interactive has the Internet rights to all NASCAR live video. That is also the reason you do not see anything live on SPEED

Sophia - Jayski has been critical to the success of this site. His view that my criticism of NASCAR Now is excessive is his right. All I can do is continue to stay on the course I have charted for myself and this media project.

Anon 1:38 - That is not correct. Jay does not like my views on NASCAR Now, we have discussed this issue, and he reads and then decides if he thinks my column is over the line. He is the editor and gets to choose. I have often had three or four stories linked, and usually have two on the weekends.

shload - Let me see. Starting a website from scratch by yourself from home and still working fulltime at a career. So, the only thing I have left to do is sell to ESPN? Now I understand.

darbar - I only give Suzy credit for surviving using her TV anchor skills. Her NASCAR assignment is like me being put on baseball, I have no clue. At least she stood-up and said she was new and was going to do her best. Her biggest problem is seated to her left...not a lot of help from "the voice of the fans." Two people in the Infield asking questions of the booth all day just does not make it.

Richard in N.C. said...

JOHN- Thank you. I frequently watch college basketball on ESPN and very often right after the end of a game I can catch the interviews with coaches and players on ESPNEWS. Why doesn't ESPN carry at least some of the post-race "media" interviews on ESPNEWS? Is it because ESPN views college basketball as more important than NASCAR - or could ESPN still be learning about NASCAR?? Thanks for your diligence.

Bill H said...

In other sports (NFL, MLB etc) who controls the broadcast, what is show, etc. The broadcaster or the sport?

Bill H (aka Billwebz)

Daly Planet Editor said...

bill h - that is a great question, and the answer is the broadcaster...up to a point. Professional sports leagues have liasons that deal directly with the TV networks and the idea is to keep the league's finger in the TV pie. It works well, because in most sports a lot of the coverage is mechanical. The ball goes down the field, you follow it.

The only real sport that you can compare NASCAR to from a content perspective is golf. When all the golfers are on the course, the TV network can decide to show the leader, the final foursome, the highest profile player, or even someone who is just tanking.

The golf tours have TV reps who help plan the TV coverage by reminding the network of the current storylines and what players will be appearing.

Good question!

Bobb said...

It will be interesting and might happen yet in last six races if there is a delay that forces delay past the drop dead time AND ESPN and the Deuce are not available. Will coverage stay on ABC or move to ESPN NEWS or ESPN Classic?

btw great reference to the disney kool-aid drinking. Guess France family must have gotten some of it. Stuff is pretty powerful.

shload said...

shload - Let me see. Starting a website from scratch by yourself from home and still working fulltime at a career. So, the only thing I have left to do is sell to ESPN? Now I understand.

My point was to the poster who said Jay had "Sold Out" in selling his site. Hey, if this can become the "The Daly Planet by Sony" all the better, you don't want the money, there are many great charities you can give it to.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:38 - That is not correct. Jay does not like my views on NASCAR Now, we have discussed this issue, and he reads and then decides if he thinks my column is over the line. He is the editor and gets to choose. I have often had three or four stories linked, and usually have two on the weekends.

The current link on Jayski takes you to the Sunday page of your site which has the two columns. It just does not link both by them selves. Dutton, Smith and other national Nascar writers do not have every story they pen linked!

Anonymous said...

Did ESPN want to put the chase on ABC or is that what NASCAR wanted?
Could this be an evil plan of bad broadcasts in a pissing contest?

Vince said...

Ok, I've taken the last hour or so to read through John's article and all your comments and I couldn't agree more. Good job John, as usual. You nailed it on the coverage or lack of it on ABC/ESPN yesterday.

I, like a lot of people on here was overjoyed to hear ESPN would be doing Nascar again when it was announced last year. I thought we'd finally get the professional coverage that we deserved. Not all the fluff and three stooges act that we get from FOX and not the angry Bill Webber we get from TNT. Boy have I been let down! The ESPN coverage of Nascar this year has been a major disappointment. I don't know what has happened to Dr. Punch, but he's lost his touch. Rusty was arrogant as a driver and his arrogance still shows through in the booth. He needs to quit and go run his Busch team and teach his son how do drive before he bankrupts him wrecking cars. I think Andy would be fine with the right people in the booth with him. I think he's intimidated by Rusty. Andy would work great with DJ.

As for AB, I think he must have peed in somebody's punch at the company Christmas party a few years ago, else we'd see more of him in as the lead guy in the booth.

I agree with a previous poster, I think ABC/ESPN just needs to start over next year from the technicians to the guys in the truck and the booth. Oh and the pit reporters. The whole crew is a mess right now. The coverage is getting worse, not better.

One comment on Jayski. His site used to be my first choice to find out anything Nascar, but not any more. I've seen a noticeable drop in his "scoops" this year. I get my Nascar news else where now.

If ESPN keeps broadcasting the second half of the Nascar season through the life of their contract, I predict that Nascar will no longer be the #2 sport in America. It won't even be in the top 10. And this is coming from a 40+ year Nascar fan who can remember when there was only radio coverage of our sport.

By the number of comments to your blog today, I'd say people are getting pretty darn fed up with what they've been getting from ESPN/ABC so far.

Anyway good job John. Keep the networks feet to the fire!

rpl said...

John - What have the comparative ratings been like for the two pre-race shows (RaceDay and Countdown) this week and in weeks past?

Anonymous said...

I remember last year, ESPN'S SportsCenter Carried media center interviews of the winner and others LIVE.

JD, if they did this before the contract why don't they do it now?

Anonymous said...

Amen for Directv HotPass. Yes they take commercial breaks when the network does but they actually blow off some of those breaks as well if something big is happening. Also even when they do take it, you can at least tell if something happens on the track.
Not sure if anyone watched the 24 channel. Randy Pemberton's call over the last 9 laps was SO EXCITING! He was amazing. What a finish and call by Randy. I tivo'd the end of the ABC broadcast to listen to their's and Randy would have won an EMMY for his. HotPass for $99 for the season was well worth the money spent. I can't do without it now. ABC/ESPN is embarrassing and showing they don't care about the fans with their deporable coverage.

Anonymous said...

rpl said...
John - What have the comparative ratings been like for the two pre-race shows (RaceDay and Countdown) this week and in weeks past?

October 8, 2007 7:56 PM

I think they would be hard to compare. Since ABC has more availability than SPEED.

Anonymous said...
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Erik said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 7:32PM - The link takes readers to my single story about Talladega, not to my main page.

I have discussed this with Jay, we have absolutely no problems. I am just answering the email about my links.


Anonymous said...







Bobby B. said...

As numerous others have said, I think Doc and Andy are competent (I won't say the same for Rusty), but the chemistry is not there. Dale Jarrett appears to be running his six races next year all in the first half of the season (in fact, they might be the first six races of the season). After DJ's races are up, put him in the booth. Also, switch Jerry Punch and Allen Bestwick. Allen is better suited as a commentator and Jerry is better suited as a pit reporter. It's clear that Doc hasn't lost his reporting abilities, because I've seen clips of him as the sideline reporter at college football games as recently as last year. He's still got it. I do, however, think he has lost the play-by-play abilities he had when he did Busch races back in the day with Ned and Benny. Also, let Dr. Punch host the pre-race show as well. Get rid of the host. Weber used to do that at NBC, and it worked just fine for them. So the booth would be Allen, Andy, and DJ. Andy and DJ have been friends since high school (or maybe even before), and they've shown that they mesh great in the broadcast booth. Add in Allen and I think you've got a winning combo.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 8:34pm - Had to remove that comment. Please repost without the other JZ story. It was not what you thought it was. I told you the TV folks read this word for word!

mant2003 said...

Did anyone catch brad Daugherty saying that he watches nascar for the wrecks? I think Daugherty is the best espn commentator but come on. How can you possibly say as an analyst that you watch nascar to see the wrecks. He sounds like a three year old fan.

Erik said...

It seems like some people don't quite understand that the US has multiple time zones. ABC/ESPN wants to broadcast races so people outside of the southern US can watch the races at a decent hour. Starting the races at 1pm eastern would mean a 10am start on the west coast. That is just way to early to get any west coast viewers.

SophiaZ123 said...

(Sophia coming out of the closet monday night)

Ok, I came back to lie down and turn on the tv in my room at 5.40 and came across NASCAR NOT. It was about JR so I watched to see if they could put him down some more, or maybe Tony Jr. Frankly, I think Jr should just go fishing the rest of the year so the media will leave him alone.

Saw Blaney interviewed on NN. Shock, but only caught part of the interview due to cats wanted dinner.

Then I heard something else then turned off the show. Is THAT where Brad made the racing comment? Kind of wished I would've heard that in it's context. I must say that is disappointing if that's truly what he meant.

Oh, well.

oh, and as far as Rusty "I WANNA HEAR MY VOICE" Wallace goes...I get the feeling he is passive aggressive and loves to bully Andy. I am sorry, folks, but I think Rusty enjoys being a punk. Doc has lost it. Oh, I know, I heard on NN before turning off about DJ going part time next year and they mentioned something about the booth for ESPN/ABC? Now just boot Rusty out there and put him back in a car or somethin'.

I DID notice Eric is not yelling as much but I think I noticed that a few weeks ago at the Jr new cars show.

mant2003 said...

Brad Daugherty made the comment on the NNC pre race show. You know when they were hyping the big one to keep vewiers from watching raceday on speed.

DJ is going to make an announcement on thursday along with the rest of MWR. I hope they carry it on speed channel.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I remember last year, ESPN'S SportsCenter Carried media center interviews of the winner and others LIVE.

JD, if they did this before the contract why don't they do it now?

--I remember this as well. Mike Massaro and Rusty Wallace would be on a set reporting from the race and the winner would be with them in one segment. There was much more extensive coverage on the Chase races back then on Sportscenter than there is now. What gives?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Earlier this year, I pointed out that the different departments at ESPN were a lot like fraternities.

They might be going to the same school, but they all have their own little slice of the pie.

The event production group has their team, the NASCAR Now group has their team, and the ESPN News/SportsCenter group has their little team.

After watching was has happened this season, does anyone believe they even talk to each other?

It would be so easy to use ESPN Classic as a live post-race extended show and really put the whammy on SPEED's Victory Lane. ESPN already has all the personnel and equipment right there...but no.

When the Talladega race ended, ABC left after the winners interview, and nowhere on an ESPN Network did the NASCAR post-race coverage continue, that was the nail in the coffin. Someone should have been fired.

Every single NASCAR fan was directed to SPEED Channel personally by the ESPN on ABC gang. Talk about a fundamental failure to communicate.

The ESPN News anchor should have paused, and done a "scene set." This is common in the business and simply consists of saying "we would like to welcome those of you joining us who just watched the NASCAR race, we are going to have live interviews coming up in just a minute." Instead...nothing but NFL football.

Its going to be a long off-season for the network to get a handle on this failure to talk and plan.

Anonymous said...

"If ESPN keeps broadcasting the second half of the Nascar season through the life of their contract, I predict that Nascar will no longer be the #2 sport in America."

NASCAR has never been the #2 sport in America - that's just (incredibly effective) NASCAR PR spin, just like the claim that NASCAR has 75 million fans. (Oh, yeah? Then why do less than half that amount watch the Daytona 500?)

NASCAR claims it is the #2 sport on TV because all of its viewers have only one place and one network to tune in 38 weekends a year. The total weekly viewership of the myriad number of MLB and NBA games (national, local, and regional broadcasts) dwarfs NASCAR weekly numbers when they are tallied. But when those numbers are divided up, NASCAR can come in and claim "We're # 2!"

There was a wonderful article explaining all of this a few years ago, and it pretty much blew the roof off NASCAR's claims - while sincerely admiring its brashness in making such claims.

I agree that ESPN is going to lose viewers for NASCAR at this rate, but they won't drop NASCAR from a position that it was never in.

Anonymous said...

I can guarantee that if there is any "opt out" language in the NASCAR/ESPN contract, it is ALL in favor of NASCAR. There is NO WAY NASCAR does a deal that allows a network to back out of the contract. In fact, NASCAR probably has language that allows them to renogotiate rights fees (as in raise them) after 3 or 4 years.

Erik said...

ESPN/ABC have done an outstanding job broadcasting NASCAR events, and promoting the sport though their daily NASCAR Now show.

Because of that, more people than ever before can get NASCAR coverage. As the Worldwide Leader in Sports, ESPN's distribution network is unmatched. NASCAR fans should be thanking their lucky stars that ESPN steped up to the plate.

NASCAR fans seem to have bought into the hype that they host a Super Bowl every weekend. This is just laughable.

ESPN doesn't air a live post race for IRL, why should NASCAR receive special treatment? They don't even do this for college football, whose ratings crush NASCAR. This expectation just shows how out of touch with reality some of these fans are. The world doesn't revolve around your sport.