Monday, October 29, 2007

"NASCAR Now" Staggers Toward Season's End

This past weekend was big for all three of NASCAR's national touring series. It was also a big weekend for ESPN, who split their crews and produced two races. Several ESPN on-air talent flew from Atlanta to Memphis, and worked both the Busch and Cup Series events.

With a high-speed Truck Series race from Atlanta on Saturday as well, this gave NASCAR Now on Monday plenty of rich racing content to relate to viewers in this one hour show.

The Saturday Busch Series race was huge in so many ways. Finally, this series was able to run a stand-alone event that was free of the domination of the NEXTEL Cup drivers who cross-over and run Busch races. In addition, the Memphis track is perfect for these cars and their rough-and-tumble short track racing styles.

The field included Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti and NASCAR veteran Sterling Marlin. Youngsters like Brad Coleman and Brad Keselowski were racing alongside of stars like Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray. Also in the field was a disappointed David Reutimann, who had failed to make the Cup race in Atlanta.

It was clear there would be plenty of stories for ESPN's Marty Reid, Rusty Wallace, and Randy LaJoie to follow during their live telecast. Allen Bestwick would patrol pit road.

On Monday evening NASCAR Now came out of a commercial break with heavy metal rock music blaring. Suddenly, there were video highlights of a race with cars crashing and spinning. One car ran through the mud. There was a picture of Jack Roush just standing there.

Then, there was a picture of David Reutimann very happy and climbing on his car. Program host Erik Kuselias said nothing. In-studio analyst Boris Said was silent. The screaming rock video was thirty seconds long. Thirty seconds long.

This was all that was to be seen of the Busch Series race from Memphis. ESPN's telecast crew had not submitted a "wrap-up" of the race. There was no mention that it was Michael Waltrip Racing's first win for Toyota in NASCAR. There was no mention of the fact that it was David Reutimann's first Busch Series victory in sixty-three starts. But, there is so much more to this story than just that.

As the race was telecast live on Saturday, ESPN2 chose to leave after the race and go directly to a live college football game which was not yet in-progress. The first win for MWR, the first for an MWR Toyota, and the first for Reutimann did not matter. Nothing was followed-up on ESPN News or SportsCenter. The distraction of a Busch race was finally over, and the network returned to stick-and-ball sports.

Now, it was Monday and the one hour ESPN "NASCAR only" show had chosen to bypass the single NASCAR series that ESPN carries from start to finish. No one from the ESPN crew at the track had interviewed the winner, no one had taken five minutes to send a "wrap-up" back to Bristol. No one had found Carl Edwards and interviewed the series points leader who had crashed in the event. No one followed-up on the rough driving penalties, the short tempers, or the fate of Dario Franchitti.

There are three races left in this season for the Busch Series, and NASCAR Now showed only thirty seconds of unexplained highlights with rock music replacing the announcer. Unless you had already seen the race, it made absolutely no sense at all. Then, as this program has done so many times this season, NASCAR Now added insult to injury.

After this Busch Series music video, viewers then watched a full one minute and ten seconds of a random NEXTEL Cup music video. It was complete with cars turning left, fans pointing at the cars turning left, and even Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon ducking in and out of the Port-O-Lets right before the race. Airplanes flew, pit crews huddled, and cute girls in the stands jumped up and down. One minute and ten seconds. On national TV, that is an eternity.

Had this time been given to ESPN's own Busch Series coverage, NASCAR Now could have saved a shred of dignity. Interviews could have been done, a "wrap-up" could have been shown, and with only a couple of races left, ESPN could have promoted the very series that they promised NASCAR they would build-up with the power of their ESPN brand. The power of the ESPN brand and NASCAR.

Saturday at Atlanta, the Craftsman Truck Series took to the track. With only a handful of races remaining, this series is a battle between veterans Ron Hornaday and Mike Skinner for the championship. This has been one of NASCAR's most watchable series, and the racing at Atlanta featured an incredible feat by Kyle Busch.

As a "truck-whacker" with no points on the line, Busch held it wide open until he had a big problem. His window net was falling down, and he knew NASCAR would black flag him and bring him into the pits for repair. So, he did what any driver would do at one hundred and ninety miles an hour on a steeply banked track. He held it up with one hand and drove with the other until he got a caution flag.

"That was awesome" said fellow driver Hornaday. "He had that thing sideways driving with one was impossible...and he did it." With the net fixed, Busch pulled away from Hornaday on the final restart and won the race. The SPEED TV compound is right alongside the ESPN compound at Atlanta. The race was live on SPEED nationwide.

NASCAR Now decided that the best approach to this race and the exciting finish would be to pretend it did not happen. That's right, there was not one mention of the Truck race on the one hour weekend wrap-up show. A national points race coming down to the wire. Great action in front of an enthusiastic crowd. One of the NEXTEL Cup "Chasers" driving around Atlanta with one hand and then winning the race. They pretended it did not happen.

Last week The Daly Planet ran a column entitled "Ryan Burr Steps-Up To The Big Time." Burr hosted this very program the previous week and showed extensive highlights of the Truck Series race on SPEED. NASCAR Now even used the audio from the SPEED announcers in the highlights, and other show elements. The Trucks were presented as "news."

The program continued to sizzle with Toyota Shoot-Out highlights of NASCAR's Grand National Series finale which aired on SPEED. Burr interviewed young phenom and Shoot-Out winner Joey Lagano and led him through a fun conversation that promoted regional racing and let viewers in on this young man's plans for the future.

On this Monday, however, Erik Kuselias returned NASCAR Now to the disaster it has been for most of the season. Chad Knaus called-in by phone just like he did on Sirius Radio earlier in the day. Tired Boris Said talked in circles about racing that he has yet to conquer, and the "Insiders" once again responded to every scripted question with "I just talked to blah-blah today and..." Even for an entry level fan, this was tough to take.

Many Daly Planet readers had hoped that Ryan Burr would return for the rest of the season as the regular host of this series. At the least, he would return to bring credibility to the Monday one hour wrap-up show. It did not happen. News and information had left the building, hype and blaring music videos had returned.

Two of the three NASCAR series that tour the nation had been avoided, one of them completely. Every story from Toyota to MWR to Kyle Busch and the window net was untold, and unseen. David Reutimann did not even have his fifteen seconds to tell us about winning his first Busch race.

It seems ironic that when Reuitmann hit the wall earlier this year in California, NASCAR Now repeated that footage over twenty times in this very one hour show. Now he finally wins, and is ignored.

The season will soon be over, and memories of Doug Banks, the Eliminator, Driver Pick 'Ems, and Fantasy Editors will begin to fade. What this series accomplished for ESPN and NASCAR will remain a good topic of debate over Christmas. In January, we should know who will be hosting NASCAR Now for next season.

That announcement will finally tell NASCAR fans if ESPN is open to change, or if NASCAR will continue to be simply a source of amusement and curiosity for the Bristol, Connecticut network that holds the TV contract for seven more years.

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.


stricklinfan82 said...


Thanks for toughing out watching this joke of a daily NASCAR news show.

I do have one question though. Do the hosts of a show like this actually have any influence on the show's content? Your article makes it sound like the news vs. hype, and truck series coverage vs. no truck series coverage contrasts from one week to the next was a direct reflection of the leadership of Ryan Burr vs. Erik Kuselias.

I was under the impression that this show's host was basically a "talking head" that just reads a script prepared by the producers of the show. I honestly don't expect that Burr or Kuselius has any clue about NASCAR and as such would be completely incapable of making decisions about what NASCAR stories the show should cover each day. If Allen Bestwick was hosting for instance I could picture him participating in production meetings related to the show's content, but I can't see either of these other two guys doing that.

Am I completely wrong about this? Are decisions like showing Truck Series highlights actually influenced by Burr and Kuselias, with Burr suggesting that the show talk about the Trucks and All-Star Showdown in Irwindale while Kuselias consciously decided that the show should ignore the trucks and focus on music videos instead?

I know that you have been very complimentary of Ryan Burr's work this year, but for me I won't consider watching this show again until it's hosted by an actual NASCAR person like Allen Bestwick or Mike Massaro.

bbt said...
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Matt said...

Beacuse of the complete 180 degree difference in the "Erik Kuselias NASCAR Now" and the "Ryan Burr NASCAR Now", I have to think that if the hosts don't influence, than there must be different producers for each show. There is no way last week's show could be produced by the same people who put on tonight's debacle.

Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stricklinfan82 said...


Michael himself has won several times driving for Michael Waltrip Racing in the past so it wasn't the company's first win either, but I do totally agree that Reutimann winning his first Busch race was a big story and had no business being completely ignored by a NASCAR NEWS SHOW, which Nascar Now is supposed to be. Great article as always.

drh277 said...

I knew as soon as I saw that Erik K was hosting Nascar Now tonight, that I would be reading how bad it was on your blog tonight. It seems whenever Erik is hosting that you believe that the show was terrible and whenever Ryan Burr hosts it is the best show of the season.
There is no way that Erik has any say on what content is shown. He would have to know the difference in each series before he could say which one to talk about. And I think we all know that Erik is just a "talking head".

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

If you have an issue with a fact, or think that something is incorrect, please just drop me an email. Commenting in this section just gets things pointed in the wrong direction.

The issue at hand is NASCAR Now, and this might well be the final post on this topic for the season.

Get you thoughts on the site now, and get them read by the ESPN and NASCAR brass. Last week in Atlanta, we were on the laptops at the race track in the TV compound.

So, make your point to the people who produce these shows and do not get caught-up in other people's comments. Go for it.


Anonymous said...

I agree with JD when he says a "Wrap up" would have been good for this show. I also think, one thing that would solve a lot of problems here would be to have a joint meeting with the EP's and producers involved with the different NASCAR programs on ESPN. Whether it be by phone or in person, that could help the communication differences that seem to occur with the coverage.

Anonymous said...

I want to the production teams differ that much between the two hosts?

SophiaZ123 said...


What can one add to your astute take on this disaster show. I DID tune in to hear about JR and saw him looking unhappy as he talked about testing today.

ONLY THEN was I told by Spake he was very sore after yesterdays crash. No surprise. Also his initial interview after the wreck had jr in good spirits as usual..then i turned off the show to finish my dinner.

JD did you catch INC tonight? It was live and Michael mentioned something poignant about Reutimanns car but the details escape me. Something about his car was designed by a young kid, or was it a sick kid? it was even sadder ESPN did NOT see fit to give DAVID ANYTIME on a NASCAR SHOW.

JD, if I had not seen this show and knew it's history, sometimes one would think you are writing a bad piece of fiction on NASCAR. To me that's what NASCAR NOW can be.

Thanks again for giving all the details.

Vince said...
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Vince said...

JD, you've got more patience with NascarNotNow than I have. I quit watching this show and don't bother wasting DVR space on it any more either. Until they get a quality Nascar insider as a host, I'm not going to waste my time watching it. Like I've said before on here, they need to start over from scratch with this show. New host, new production crew. The powers that be at ESPN need to go back and watch some of John Kernan's work on RPM2Nite. Then maybe they'll get the idea of what we expect from a daily Nascar show.

mant2003 said...

This week I got to watch the Cup and truck races live at the track from the best seats in Atlanta. Because of commitments I missed the Bush race and I hear it was a wild one, so I figured I’d just turn on ESPNews and the highlights would just be there but I got a bunch of football. So this afternoon I watched NASCAR Now for interviews and highlights. Instead of highlights I got some low rate college kid production of a half minute montage of the Bush race. Interviews? I don’t even think the host knew who won the Bush race. David R. interview? Did Carl E. speak after the race? Was he mad? Did he try to hit somebody else? What about Chase A.? The rest of the rookies?

As a fan I would like to be entertained by ESPN at some point during the season. Please ESPN give me something to hope for during the second have of the NASCAR season next year, hire a team of people who know NASCAR. Going out and getting AB and MS to go along with MM and oh what’s her name just isn’t enough, ESPN productions need more substance. By substance I mean actual INFORMATION.

Rusty Wallace said...

"On this Monday, however, Erik Kuselias returned NASCAR Now to the disaster it has been for most of the season."

So you blame him for reading from a script in previous columns, now you say he is returning the show to a disaster??? There is no way you can think EK has any say in what is shown during the show!!
Why do you refuse to say that producer " xyz" was the one that was at fault for the show content?

The host's and broadcaster's seem to take the brunt of your and the reader's wrath, which is being caused in most cases by un-named producers and directors...WHY???

Bill H said...

Things must be getting bad. The lead story on is now talking about how bad the ESPN coverage is:


Anonymous said...

Does Erik have to shout everything or does he think the microphone's not working properly?

Ritchie said...


There are several things about this show that annoys me, but the constant use of "cute" racing metaphors really bothers me. For example, they are constantly saying things like "We are dropping the green flag on another show", or "get your engines revved up". I really don't need that. I get what they are trying to do, which is create excitement. However, that is not the way to do it. Demonstrating that you know more about the sport than your viewers generates excitement for me.

Anonymous said...

There is no way you can think EK has any say in what is shown during the show!!

Then Erik must have his own producer, because the show is radically different when Ryan (or Bestwick) hosts it. Not just in tone, but in content.

And it's better then, too.

Anonymous said...

ESPNews and the highlights would just be there but I got a bunch of football.

No surprise there. I had never seen the channel before this year, but while travelling, I tried to get some NASCAR news from it, only to discover they run virtually none at all.

They do, however, repeat the same stick-and-ball stories over and over and over.

Daly Planet Editor said...

hey um...Rusty,

What makes you think that a "uber-producer" is somehow to blame for this show's problems, but the on-air announcer who sits in the production meeting is not?

The one thing that has been consistent all season is that when Allen Bestwick, Mike Massaro, or Ryan Burr host this is completely different.

When Mr. Kuselias hosts the show, it is suddenly full of loud voices, hype, music videos, and absolutely very little NASCAR information. Unless Mr. Kuselias has his own personal producer who travels with him throughout ESPN, there has to be a big share of this problem squarely on his shoulders.

For those of us in the real world, when something is wrong at work, we change it or move on. He has done neither one. The ratings are zero, the Internet is eating their lunch, and the interviews with the drivers are embarrassing.

How is this the same ESPN that puts on an entire News Network, hosts multi-hour SportsCenters, and has several award winning in-depth preview shows for other sports?

One look at NHRA Today will solve all the issues that are troubling you.


Anonymous said...


I agree wholeheartedly with your observations. The best stories out there were left out there this weekend. And when is the network going to wake up and see the really cool stories are the incredible youngsters coming up unlike the sport has never seen. As you mentioned, Brad Coleman, Brad Kaselowski,and Joey Lagano are MUCH more exciting to follow than a lot of these tired old drivers.

You were dead on and we agree that Boris Said is VERY TIRED. He is a has-been road racer with a 70's disco haircut that makes him notable. When will ESPN understand his opinions turn people off because he has so little credibility. Nice guy I'm sure, but we are tired of his whining and he is certainly not worthy of being on the network.

Keep up the great work!

Tim Brewer said...

SOOOOOO.....Does the same producer work on each night of the show???
Do you think it is EK who chooses not to show Busch highlights or West info?
Who is to blame for not doing wrapups from the Busch or Truck races. If they had video packages from the tracks, you think EK could say "thanks for the time and effort, but I don't want these run during the show??!!
If they had the video, ESPN would run them, no matter who is hosting.
Again, who is to blame for not having this???

Anonymous said...

Does the same producer work on each night of the show???

I don't know, "Tim."

Do you?

Mmaybe we ought to find out who produces when Erik is on and tell him to go back to Baseball Tonight.

Then find the one who, coincidentally, only works when Burr, Bestwick or Massaro are on, and put him on the show full time.

Chad Little said...

That's the point, we don't know because all JD wants us to know and trash are the hosts and announcers!!!
Content of the show rests with the producers not the host's we know Burr and EK are not at any of the events, they rely on the video that is availble and guests that are picked by the producers.

Anonymous said...

You miss the sarcasm in my post.

By your surmise, the producer who works with Erik is different than the one who works with everyone else.

That's not how it works. Therefore, your presumption is incorrect.

Anonymous said...

...and the producer doesn't, I hope, tell Erik to act as if he knows nothing about NASCAR and shut the whole show.

Anonymous said...

"Shout" the whole show, that is.

Rick said...

Started to watch, saw Erik was on...CLICK, changed channel to something else because I knew it would be a less than informative show filled with the shouting Erik K.

mant2003 said...

“There is no way you can think EK has any say in what is shown during the show!!”

Yea he does have a say, the words are coming out of his mouth not the producers. I hate when “personalities” blame the producer. Anchors/hosts get the script or they should, they know what it says. Nobody’s blind here, I don’t know how ESPN does it but Erik K. should have at least 30 min to say yea on the good and nay on the crap. The words are coming out of his mouth, if he doesn’t want to say them then he shouldn’t say them. As for the stupid 30 sec “THING” that I saw Monday afternoon that is the producer’s screw-up and he should be released to go back to Barnum & Bailey.

Anonymous said...

John, got here by way of Jayski's news links page. See? HE likes you!

Anonymous said...

Seems as if ESPN cant wait for the Nascar season to end. I can't help but think that they're just putting out crap as far as Nascar Now and the poor producing on purpose just to deliberatly piss us all off at this point. I watch the local news at 6 pm. Gave up on NN months ago. It's obvious Boris Saids hands are tied with just how far he can tolerate Eric the Silliest. I'm sure Boris and Stacy Compton would love to beat the crap outta EK after some, if not all shows. Very dissapointing. We'll subscribe to Speed channel next season.

Anonymous said...

Seems as if ESPN cant wait for the Nascar season to end.

That's exactly how NBC seemed in as its final season wore on.

Just sayin'.

SickofEspn said...

Actually John, I found this column linked on my Jayski home page. That's how I arrived here. Perhaps he made a "judgement " call? Also, is it possible that because of your linked past with ESPN, they might read these and change their programming based on "sticking it" to you? It seems that whenever you post a good comment about the network, they change it up the next week. I don't know, couyld be far fetched, but you worked in the industry, maybe you know if they can be that vindictive? Whenever we, the fans, call for Alan Bestwick to host,ESPN buries him deeper underground. At the beginning of the year when we knew ESPN would be telecasting NASCAR, everyone wanted John Kernan to host NASCAR Now. Instead, he is so far removed from the sport, I can't remember where he is. We don't like Suzy Kolber,and she is front and center. I sense a trend. Whatever we don't like, ESPN makes more of it. And it doesn't taste good....

Superman said...

I think ESPN has "thrown in the towel" for this season. Its a lost cause right now. Hopefully, in the short off-season, they can get it together.

By the way, JD, I read this by way of the link off Jayski, FYI. Maybe the fact that he now works for ESPN has something to do with your disagreements. Glad he posted it, though!

darbar said...

What is it with program producers/directors who feel it necessary to blare silly music with all their programs? What does Steven Tyler have to do with Nascar? For that matter, what does any musician have to do with sporting events? I've noticed that ESPN has a penchant for including very loud music with so much of their programming, to the detriment of that program. When I want to hear Dale Jr being interviewed, I want to only hear him and not some way-too-loud rock music in the background. At times, the music is so loud, you cannot hear what the accompaning reporter is saying. I've noticed this more and more even with shows such as First Take. They will have their "experts" talking about some sporting event, and while showing highlights, they blast music, drowning out the reporter. I don't know how to break this to ESPN, but adding hip music isn't going to attract a younger audience, and is ticking off their hardcore sportsfan viewer.

I have no idea who controls content of NN, but I suspect that if they had someone well-versed in Nascar, things would be different. EK cannot divert from his script for one second and because of that, even reporters like Marty Smith and Angelique come off as stilted and cardboard. This all has to do with the tempo of the show's host. ESPN is not making any friends with the driver's as evidenced by their lack of enthusiasm when approached by any ESPN pit reporter. And this is further evidenced by NN's apparent inability to bring anyone with real Nascar credentials into their programming. While Boris does have his fan club, I'd hardly call him an insider. I feel the real insiders of Nascar, crew chiefs, drivers and all that, refuse to have anything to do with any ESPN produced programming. You sure don't see that with Speed shows, where drivers and others in the know seem not to have any problem appearing on that network.

. DOSVader said...

June 26, 2007:
Julie Sobieski, ESPN's senior director of programming, expects those numbers to increase when ABC/ESPN picks up its portion of the Nextel Cup schedule beginning July 29 at Indianapolis, which will offer the network more cross-promotional opportunities.

"When we get Cup and we have everything in place, from all the studio programming, practices, qualifying, we expect to be heading into a really good period," Sobieski said.

Trager admitted surprise that ESPN2's Busch broadcasts haven't performed better. FX's broadcasts benefited last year from having the cross-promotion capability with Fox's Cup broadcasts.

"The ESPN universe is a pretty strong machine," Trager said. "Are people following it? Do they know where to find it? Any time you switch networks, things can change. Nielsen samples can change. FX is a full-fledged network, and Fox gave FX a lot of promotion. But I guess this is still surprising."

And despite ESPN's many platforms, one media buyer pointed out that not all of their platforms are the same.

"People want to think that ESPN2 is ESPN, and it's just not," said Tom McGovern, director of sports media at OMD's Optimum Sports.

Despite the overall declines, Fox and ESPN have reported increases in some key demographics. The male 18-34 demo had experienced three straight years of declines on Fox before this year's 7 percent increase.

The male 18-49 demo on Fox had dipped steadily since 2001, and it enjoyed a 2 percent gain in 2007 (4.7 vs. 4.6).

Anonymous said...

I'll bet Julie's surprised at how things have turned out.

Someone should point her to this for some ways it could be changed...

SickofESPN said...

I guess good things happen in a slow way, but.....
On NASCAR.COM yesterday, even Duane Cross who is one of the main journalists, clearly bashed ESPN's coverage of the Busch race:Here is what he said:
"Meanwhile, ESPN on ABC cannot manage to get out of its way to show the race. Even worse, the coverage has spawned another take on the enormously popular "Brent Mushbooger Drinking Game" (Google it):

• Each time Dr. Jerry mentions safety, bottoms up.
• When Rusty ends a sentence with "Andy," chug-a-lug.
• After Petree repeats what Wallace said, pop a top.

And you only thought Suzy Kolber was the worst thing in motor racing -- until Brad Daugherty spoke up.

But then came Sunday at AMS and ESPN broadcast a piece on Alan Kulwicki and his 1992 championship, which was clinched during the season finale at Atlanta.

Hang on, could this be -- a change (for the better) from the Worldwide Leader? Might the racing take top billing? Could the on-track action be the focus? Will the fans get what they want?

Stay tuned -- after this SportsCenter Minute, of course.

Ethel, we're gonna need more beverages." This
is coming from the "Official" site from NASCAR. Someone high up is bound to read that!

Anonymous said...

I do not think ESPN is evil. Nor do I think that ESPN executives deliberately decided to present the incredibly poor coverage of NASCAR that we have seen up to now. From ESPN's perspective, they probably think they are doing well. NASCAR Now with Eric K as the host is symptomatic of ESPN's problem. They simply do not really comprehend the sport that they are covering.

Avid baseball fans are stat freaks who ponder the possibilities with "what if" match ups and strategies. To me, that is like watching paint dry, but my own brother is immersed in his favorite sport. On the other hand, he can't understand why I care if a certain "go or go home" team qualifies for a race. He loves the various ESPN baseball shows. They serve him well.

As in baseball, NASCAR presents its own unique stats and strategies. Casual fans may watch for the action and crashes, but they may not grasp how a pit stop can influence the finish of the race. ESPN obviously understands baseball very well, but continues to widely miss that point about NASCAR.

ESPN is loaded with talented people, including many knowlegable NASCAR reporters. It seems apparent, however, that there is a disconnect between the TV production people and their own NASCAR staff. As I've mentioned here previously, I firmly believe it is a cultural difference. It may also be a matter of trust among the ESPN insiders. In my opinion, ESPN has the talent and resources to get it's ship on course, but large egos may prevent that.

I can understand ESPN missing some specific situations during a hectic live broadcast, but NASCAR Now is supposed to be their venue for catching up on the relavent NASCAR news. The contrasting styles of Burr vs Eric K is an effective illustration of the internal divide in Bristol CT. Somebody in the executive suite has a lot of thinking to do during the winter.

William said...

I only caught Erik getting excited about an Aerosmith video montage that has been shown over and over and over and over and over and over.....
Drivin in a NASCAR. yeah, that's a racing song, my rear.
Just how diseased is the Disney organization that they paid good money for NASCAR (including the Busch series) and they are doing such a half-assed job at it? It was sad that Reutimann didn't get interviewed after the race, it was just criminal that he didn't get interviewed Monday night.

RH said...

I have heard Mike Greenberg (or maybe it was D. Patrick) say sometning to the effect that Sportscenter is difficult because you are writing your own highlights. I would think EK does the same for NN.

Anonymous said...

is coming from the "Official" site from NASCAR. Someone high up is bound to read that!

Sort of official.

It isn't owned by NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

For everyone that says the "Host" has no say in the content of this show I will say that you are wrong. The host is always invoved in the pre-production meetings and has a say in what goes into the show. If eveything else is the same, the producers, the directors, the lighting and camera guys and the hosts had no say then the show would be the same wheather Klueless or Burr were hosting, it just makes sense. The producers don't just say "Ryan is hosting tonite so lets make the show better", they give them the contents and discuss how the show should go. Seeing as how Klueless has no NASCAR knowledge he prefers to have the music overlays and as many distractions as possible so he doesn't have to discuss too much. Ryan wants topics to discuss.

Could it be possible that ESPN is purposly not giving NASCAR the coverage it deserves so that in a couple of years they can go back and say they want to renegotiate the contract because ratings are down?? Nah... they wouldn't do that.

I beleive the consensus is that there is not one part of the ESPN coverage of NASCAR that is better than Speed or Fox. So if ESPN or NASCAR is reading this they need to take action NOW, before they lose the fans they have. For some it is too late, but i think if people see something is changing they will give ESPN another chance. If there is now change rating will fall even more next year.

Anonymous said...

I have already seen some comments the ESPN will probably use to excuse the loss of viewership. They are saying that the lack of competition in the "Chase" is doing it.

I get so fed up with that comment. Sure, there are some that only want to see their driver win, and when he is out of the competition, he makes comments.

But look at other sports. NASCAR is more of an individual sport, not a team sport. So let's look at golf and tennis. When Tiger is leading, even if by 15-20 strokes, people go wild. They love to see him win, and a huge margin. This is so much so that he often gets and appearance fee, to boost ratings. My family is a Mickelson fan, so it's heart breaking, but we still watch.

The same is tennis. When the William sisters where winning every thing is site, the ratings went crazy. The loss of viewership in women's tennis is linked to the fact they are no longer at the top of their game.

I live in a tennis-tournament town. The most important thing each year, is to make sure Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal play. Since they don't have to play each tournament (like golf), the only way the tourney get good tv ratings and ticket sales, is if the top 2 compete face to face.
If the race was between Moya and Blake no one would care. The ratings would go in the tank.

The ratings will continue to go down for the many reasons that have been outlined- coverage by the network, the reporters, lack of knowledge by mc, bouncing between networks, not highlighting those outside of the top 12, repeating the same points ad naseaum (the draft, the breaks, the adjustments).

Maybe if the ESPN runs the NASCAR coverage into the ground, they will have a fire sale for the remaining 6 or so years. I just don't believe the coverage will get any better.

Rich said...

I only have one thing to say about NASCAR NOW. It's like the old Senfield show. THE SHOW ABOUT NOTHING!

SophiaZ123 said...

I went HUNTING for the ESPN doing poor coverage on article.

Could somebody PLEASE provide a direct link...I did not see it ....

(throw breadcrumbs!)

The Comment NASCAR NOW is like SEINFELD about NOTHING!! So true. I did sit thru a few minutes yesterday since NOBODY had anything on Dale Jr...but after that, I turned it off. I could see Erik was in SCREAMING MODE. Major turn off..I like Said but...

It would have been nice to hear the Reutimann car story continued on ESPN that Waltrip brought up on INC...but it's a sweet story and not hype so NOBODY cares I guess. :(

glad I missed yet another playing of Arrowsmith. Yuk.

JD, I would need an oxygen machine to sit thru NN...thanks for having the nerve. Ha

sickofESPN said...

Comment to Sophiz123: Go to NASCAR.COM, and click on the news section. Then just to the right of the stories is Cross Words/Atlanta by Duane Cross. That's where you will see his take on the ESPN coverage. Thanks.

Dot said...

NASCAR has many different racing series. ESPN only thinks of Cup. Why don't they change the name of the show to Sprint Cup Now for next year? That way, there will be no disappointments for the CTS and Nationwide Series fans.
p.s. John Daly, i love your site.

SophiaZ123 said...

Thank you so much for the directions to the article on ESPN!


Anonymous said...

There is a point that I haven't seen anyone make yet. Wasn't ESPN's coverage of NASCAR adequate before? I remember a lot of people on the blogs who couldn't wait to hear Dr. Punch in the booth; now everyone is slamming him.

Methinks maybe some blame should be laid at the feet of ABC, the company that took them over.

sickofESPN said...

To anonymous 5:24: Yes , ESPN's coverage was adequate, but remember- This was when the idea was To broadcast the race. No fancy gimmicks,music videos, guests in the booth,etc. And Jerry Punch was outstanding in the pits. But it is becoming increasingly more evident that somehow the Paris Hilton stories of the world, and the over the top argumentative approach to journalism where it's not newsworthy unless someone is ready to fight on air, has taken over the broadcasts. Just look at Monday Night Football- They put a no-talent bum like Tony Kornholer in the booth, who brings nothing to the table, and add in a mixed grill of celebrities hyping their next show/movie, and what do you get? ESPN 21st Century. This is what happens when 26 year old dumba***s are put in charge of a conglomerate. Too much MTV o the brain and everyone suffers.

Anonymous said...

I live near Detroit, I was listening to 1130 WDFN on my way to work this morning and was surprised to hear a lot of complaints about the way ESPN is covering Monday Night Football. The callers had the same complaints that we have, ESPN builds their show on hype, they don't talk or show enough of the developing stories or action on the field. Tony Kornheiser is our Suzy Kolber, Football fans (myself included) feel insulted that we have to listen to someone talk about hypothetical situations in order to create some kind of drama that they feel the raw sport doesn't provide. It is not the announcers job to create excitement or drama, it is their job to react to and explain the action that the sport naturally provides. That may be the biggest difference between watching a truck race and watching a Nextel Cup race, the announcers are genuinely excited and knowledgable in the truck series. The Truck Series announcers understand that the race creates it's own excitement and then they react. ESPN is so errogant that they feel like their journalistic expertise far surpasses the impact and excitement the actual sport provides. They produce a show that forces the viewer to be at the mercy of the producers and announcers, because to them, only they can create a truly exciting and entertaining environment.

The fundamental difference between Speeds coverage and ESPN's coverage of the same sport is their love of racing. Those involved with the production of SPEED's shows actually love motor sports, they understand the sport from a fan's point of view. ESPN has completely removed itself from the fans and is now creating a product that we are forced to watch ESPN's way, instead of providing an outlet for us to watch an exsisting product (such as NASCAR or NFL).

Actually, I'm glad the ratings are dropping and I'm glad the stands aren't full, it's the only way that we'll see a difference in the way our sport is delivered to us.

Anonymous said...
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Newracefan said...

Sophia- MW comment on INC was that a child at St Judes Hospital designed the car and he/she was thrilled that the car won. There was one mention during the race that several cars were designed by the kids. No accurate list, no effort made to show the cars, David was never mentioned because it wasn't until INC that I found out why the car was different. It might have been during the prerace show but then most of us never saw that either. This would have been a great follow up when NN interviewed David on Monday at the Atlanta test; no wait that never happened. I agree that the entire feel of the show is different when Erik is on, some of it is a product of "it's not what you say but how you say it" but that can not be the only thing he must have some input into what is presented. Marty Reid was on the show tues ( Program Note David is suppose to be on wed or thurs to "preview Texas") and I will be interested to read JD's opinion of the show. There was no yelling which means I listened to what Marty said which makes it better than Erik. He appeared to get along with the other reporters which is also a plus. JD usually catches the things I notice but can't put my finger on so I'm waiting for his thoughts. I have yet to figure out why we never know who will host from day to day, does this happen on all ESPN shows? I can understand once in a while or the same 2 days per week (everyone deserves a day off) but there is no pattern. I feel as if I'm suppose to be kept in the dark so I'll watch in case it is someone better prepared (Ryan and AB). This show is a prime example of ESPN's treatment of Nascar and Nascar fans. They must be aware of the fans opinion of the show so instead of trying to fix the issues (if you need to keep Erik then work on making him better) instead they keep forcing him down our throats along with Aerosmith. Perhaps they want the show to tank so they can tell Nascar they tried but since the rating are so bad they must cancel a daily Nascar show

Vince said...

Don't forget, DISNEY owns ABC/ESPN. And what is DISNEY all about? Entertainment! Sh_t trickles down hill........

Jay said...
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Anonymous said...

I'll take Ryan over Kuselias any day of the week and whoever does kuselias's makeup needs to tone down the lipstick. He looks like a drag queen. ESPN is getting just as bad as TNT. At least they havent hired Weber yet....

Richard in N.C. said...

NASCAR NOW was highly anticipated, but has proved to be a major disappointment, much of which is the fault of Erik K. However, all one should fault Erik K. for is his apparent failure to improve his knowledge of NASCAR, since he appears no more knowledgeable now than in February. Past that, the fault for the failings of NASCAR NOW belong to ESPN management who are willing to accept and broadcast substandard fare. While it should, most nights NASCAR NOW is not of the quality of NFL LIVE, BASEBALL TONIGHT, or the nightly in-season college basketball show - all of which I watched frequently in the past, but not as much now after the disappointment and insult of NASCAR NOW. Also, NASCAR must bear part of the blame for the failings of NASCAR NOW since it appears to be unconcerned. Anyone who watched RPM 2NIGHT can attest to the diminished quality of NASCAR NOW.

SophiaZ123 said...


Thanks for the info on the St. Jude pt. I thought there was a St. Jude connection but had a brain hiccup and could NOT remember.

I also wondered if Mikey saw the race live as opposed to tv...he did not comment how David got NO post TV time.

Damn shame considering the circumstance. Fox or SPEED would've interviewed about such a story but it does not fit into ESPN's agenda.

Thank you for clarifying things for me.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I have a simple solution to the problem of Nascar Now, just don't watch it, I watched once and never returned. David Reutimann isn't "Hollywood" enough for that show so there was no way they would bother to interview him. Oh by the way Congrats David great job.

Barbara in Texas said...

I'm another Nascar fan that won't be watching Nascar Now anymore!! I watched the Busch race on Saturday and was totally thrilled that David Reutimann won!! He's one of my favorite drivers, but I was totally OUTRAGED that ESPN cut out as soon as David did a burnout! I could NOT believe that there would be no post race interview with this first time winner that deserves it so much! As someone said before me, he's not HOLLYWOOD enough to rate that kind of coverage from ESPN. Thank you very much, but I'll stick with John, Jimmy and Kenny on Raceday and Nascar Live! THEY know how to treat our drivers fairly!!

Ken said...

Unfortunately ESPN cannot get a broadcast correct. They made a good move by bringing on Dave Burns and Allen Bestwick. Some of the most enjoyable races on ESPN were the Busch races hosted on split weekends by Allen Bestwick. Jamie Little and Andy Petree are also good on the broadcasts. The Craftsman Truck Series seems to have vanished from the NASCAR landscape. This never occurred during the Fox/TNT/NBC contract.

Rusty Wallace is a sentimental favorite, but he doesn't bring the chemistry (or knowledge in my opinion) to pair with Andy Petree that his Fox counterparts have.

Given the VERY successful, knowledgeable, and charismatic commentary from Dale Jarrett earlier in the year, I recommend he replace Rusty.

As for Jerry Punch, I don't have an answer. He is good during slow moments, but cannot keep up when the action is high. Perhaps moving him to the host role is more appropriate.

NASCAR Now seems to skip around so often and cover topics so poorly I wish the days of Krista Voda's daily NASCAR show from SpeedTV returned. For whatever reason Speed seems to have abandoned a large part of it's NASCAR programming.

Don't even get me started on the generated storyline each week forced by ESPN. Did they really hope that Ryan Newman or Kurt Busch would fail so Dale Earnhardt Jr could make the race?

Stop the Dale Jr watching. The guy didn't make the chase, he knows that and we know that. When there are chasers running for points/position, can we please focus on them and not Jr's failing car or 20th place running car when there is racing happening?

The broadcasts have been so bad that the last two Cup races have been enjoyed entirely on Sirius courtesy of PRN and MRN. They really focus on the race...the entire race.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for always saying what is true and what everyone is ignoring. I love listening to you on Sirius Speedway. You always have so many good points. As far as ESPN is with all their coverage, it totally sucks! I have not liked it since day one. It's definitely not like is used to be back in the 80s & 90s. I was really put off when they neglected to show David Reutimann's post race interview after winning! Who cares if there's a college football game. I think they could've waited 5 more minutes! And the Nascar Now show is a total joke. I don't even watch anymore because Erik K sickens me with his "I don't really know anything about Nascar, but think I do" monalogue. I sure hope that ESPN gets things straighten out for next year. I can't imagine watching what we have been for another 6 more years with the crap that they have now. If not, then I'll be doing what a lot of fans are, listening to it on Sirius. Now that's a broadcast to listen to!
Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I was traveling and missed watching the end of the race... I called my husband and when he said Reut was in the lead, I told him to hit the tivo... I couldn't wait to see the victory lane coverage... I knew it was going to be great. He called me back after the race and told me I'd be really disappointed as they just left the coverage... I tried watching sportscenter, and other espn shows to catch the post race celebration later that night... NOTHING... I did get to see a video clip on that was the only coverage.... SAD! SAD!