Sunday, November 4, 2007

ESPN Finds Their Rally Caps To Save Texas


Suddenly, there was silence. One day after The Daly Planet described the stark contrast between the pounding rock and hip-hip music of the ESPN on ABC NASCAR broadcasts and their middle-aged "on-air" line-up of announcers, it was gone.

For the first time since February, ESPN on ABC viewers were not "Back In The Saddle Again." The network has not only been endlessly playing this song, but actually bought the "master recording rights" to this tune. That, to say the least, is very expensive.

ESPN also shot their own custom music video in which the band slightly changed the lyrics for the network. But, on this Sunday and for whatever reason, Aerosmith had left the building.

Brent Musburger opened the show using SPEED Channel's idea of anchoring the pre-race show from the end of pit road. The ESPN on ABC executives enjoy the idea of having a "presence" like Musburger, but once he finished his "set-up," he could have boarded the plane back to his Montana ranch. He simply is not needed.

This week the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show was only thirty minutes, which left little time for Suzy Kolber to do anything but direct traffic. She had a lot to direct, with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty talking a lot in the Infield Studio. Wallace is still gun-shy of Daugherty, with whom Rusty has disagreed with a whole lot this season. Most of the time, Rusty is right.

As the program continued, the ESPN pit reporters worked all the normal pre-race stories of both "The Chase" and the race. But, somehow things just seemed to be off-kilter at the track, and that was indeed the case. NASCAR had decided at the last minute to move the start time of the race up by ten minutes. In TV land, that could be a disaster.

Credit goes to the ESPN on ABC gang who just went with the flow and covered this big change without letting-on that chaos was underway behind the scenes. This switch in plans really took both of the TV networks on-the-air by surprise. RaceDay on SPEED actually signed-off while the command to start engines was being given. That is cutting it close.

Once Dale Earnhardt Junior had been established as the "in-race reporter," it was time to go racing. ESPN barely got to show their in-car cameras and the track description before the green flag was in the air. Someone in NASCAR's executive ranks needed this race underway in a hurry. If the information comes along about why this situation occurred, we will update it here.

In a way, this quick start forced Dr. Jerry Punch, Rusty Wallace, and Andy Petree to get into the action immediately. Punch still has all the drivers "sailing" throughout the race, but he was on his game early. Unfortunately, as we have seen so often this season, things would change in the later stages of the race.

Rusty Wallace unveiled yet another toy with the Draft Tracker now using green electronic "smoke" to try and explain downforce, clean air, or something like that. While the concept may have been great, the visuals left a lot to be desired in terms of convincing viewers that this effect was "real" and not manufactured.

Wallace himself had a good race, interacting well with Andy Petree and avoiding the emotional outbursts and the slow destruction of the English language that had plagued earlier telecasts. Several times, he was able to laugh and poke fun at himself, which is exactly what he should have been doing from the start.

Rusty has a very distinct personality, which veteran fans know all too well. Love him or hate him as a driver, Wallace has put in some hard work this season and improved his on-air presentation. Perhaps, it did not hurt that Dale Jarrett just announced his retirement and was once again featured as an announcer on ESPN2's Busch race on Saturday.

The term "natural sound" in television means using the actual noise that a certain event makes for the background audio of a telecast. Sometimes, it might be as loud as the roar of a NHRA Top Fuel Dragster. Then again, sometimes all a telecast needs is the chirp of the birds at Augusta as Tiger Woods stands over a putt to win the Masters. Effectively using "nat sound" at a sports event is an art.

Finally, ten months into the NASCAR season, ESPN's award-winning audio group was allowed to create some art. The network did not return from commercials with blaring music, but with the very sounds that a fan at the track would hear. What a wonderful change of direction and a solid production decision.

TV viewers heard the cars slowly circling at low idle behind the Pace Car under caution. They heard the field shifting through the gears as the network caught a re-start in-progress. They even heard the yells of the crews on pit road as they sent their drivers out ahead of where they came in. This approach set a new tone for viewers. Suddenly, it was important to listen again.

Somehow, ESPN also managed to find their focus on pit road and keep it sharp for the entire telecast. The Pit Producer had the reporters hopping, and the pit stops themselves were documented in the type of detail that we have not seen from this TV crew all season long. Added to that was the effective use of big time "nat sound" that suddenly made even green flag pit stops exciting.

ESPN's "triple split" video effect during caution flag pit stops was used to perfection. Keeping an eye on The Chase contenders, the network used additional graphics to show the locations on pit road of the same cars stacked in the video boxes to the left. It was a good connection, and a great idea.

The Texas track is big, and several times ESPN launched their on-air talent into replays that did not agree with the commentary they had just provided. Basically, the announcers were wrong because they cannot see every incident.

This problem was especially harsh on Jerry Punch, who clearly went with the information told to him by the Producer, only to be contradicted by the video. As we learned with both Fox and SPEED on their NASCAR coverage, its OK not to "know" before the replay. Sometimes, the fans like to experience what happened along with the announcers.

As the race progressed, several cars went to the garage. Since these were not "Chasers," we did not see any follow-up of what transpired. In addition, the almost immediate struggle of Carl Edwards slipped right past the TV gang for way too long. By the time the network caught-up with his situation, it had already been in progress for most of the event. When a "Chaser" falls to 40th place, it should get the network's attention.

This same situation occurred with Bill Elliot and Kyle Petty later in the race, when there was no follow-up after a hard crash for both these veteran drivers. Instead, the network continued the "Chad Knaus telethon" at a time where other racing priorities should have been addressed. This lack of racing information was also true of the "lucky dog" drivers and the field resets prior to re-starts. Both were missing.

Things got a little rough when the network went to commercial with Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth running side-by-side for the lead. Hamlin was in the wall and Kenseth was limping in on a flat tire by the time the network returned from break. At this time of the season, waiting until one of them completed the pass would have been the call.

A positive element to the telecast was limiting Suzy Kolber to one celebrity interview and then field recaps coming out of commercial. Kolber is fine, but ESPN's earlier attempts to push her on-camera from the Infield Studio with her partner Brad Daugherty threw the entire announce team off-balance. Allowing Daugherty to ask questions while not on-camera has worked much better.

By this time of the season, ESPN has mastered the split-screen effect with two distinct video boxes, one larger than the other. The smaller box has proven effective for putting pit reporters, drivers, and crew chiefs on-camera while keeping viewers watching the action on the track. Its a nice touch.

When NEXTEL Cup races get into the final hundred laps, Jerry Punch begins to fade. It is not his attention, or his pronunciation. It is his excitement level. As The Daly Planet has detailed this season, Punch just runs out of gas. When exciting moments happen in the latter stages of the race, both Wallace and Petree have become adept at stepping-in and calling the action. This race was no exception.

With about sixty laps to go, ESPN began to slam commercial breaks every couple of minutes. It was tough to take. Finally, Greg Biffle hit the wall and caught his car on fire. Punch's only comment was "Greg Biffle, um...brings out caution."

It was Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree who jumped on the fact that Biffle's car was still pumping out fluid and feeding the fire. Both Wallace and Petree were concerned about Biffle when ESPN suddenly decided that it was time to show Chad Knaus once again sitting quietly on the pit box. By the time they returned to Biffle, he was struggling to exit his vehicle. The ESPN of old had returned.

Now, the critical pit stops took place. Returning from commercial, ESPN made their big mistake. Instead of re-setting the field with less than thirty laps to go, Rusty Wallace broke-out the dreaded Draft Tracker and tried to show more examples of downforce.

Needless to say, when the green "smoke" cleared, the race re-started with TV viewers having no idea of who stayed out, where The Chase contenders were lined-up, or any other information than the top five cars.

What followed was a furious charge by Jimmie Johnson toward the front of the field. The words from Rusty Wallace were profound. "He doesn't have time to waste right now," said Rusty. This was the moment of the race. The ESPN on ABC gang chose to celebrate that moment by...running another two minute commercial break.

As the network returned with eighteen laps left, the story had been told. Jimmie Johnson was now in second place, and right behind leader Matt Kenseth. Viewers had missed Johnson's run to the front, and who he had passed to get there.

As the two raced side-by-side in one of the final NEXTEL Cup races of the season, it should have been Jerry Punch adding the enthusiasm and the excitement to these laps. Unfortunately, there was none to be found. Punch talked about points, being careful, and even called the wrong replay when it suddenly appeared. This was the time to be building the excitement to a fever pitch, but it never happened. Once again, viewers got to see Chad Knaus. At least he was excited.

After the race, ABC made a very solid production decision to stay for an extra five minutes and make sure to interview the race winner. Earlier this season, that decision would have gone the other way. Now, along with interviewing the key drivers, Jimmie Johnson would have his day. This time, America's Funniest Home Videos could just wait.

The late start time, the NFL games, the long race and the event ending late all combined for an interesting afternoon...and evening on ABC. It was clear that the TV crew broke out their rally caps and tried to return some normality to the telecast. Great "nat sound," less production clutter, outstanding pit coverage and the lack of the pounding music made the broadcast more interesting.

It was just tough after a great start to have those problems inside the last fifty laps. Just like rookie drivers, the TV production crew seems to struggle with the actual length of the races. The attention drifts, the mind is tired, and sometimes bad decisions are made. One less Draft Tracker, one more field reset, and things might have been different.

Two races to go, and then two months to talk about it all over again. The NEXTEL Cup season ends on ABC in Homestead, FL on November 18th.

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

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

JD, great review. One more thing about Rusty. I wish he would use correct English grammar. I just cringe when he talks, and since I teach English, it's like nails on a blackboard.

He uses "good" when he should use "well." He'll say, "He's driving real good." It should be "He's driving really well."

Illpolo said...

JD, I teach TV and Film Production at the high school level, and I have been able to discuss the issues and topics that have been brought up on this site and throughout this season's Nascar coverage. We have recently moved on to a unit on audio and sound, and your description of today's use of "nat sound" will definitely be a subject of discussion tomorrow.

I think the analysis was fair and exact as to the positives and negatives of the coverage. There were some minor improvements that you mentioned with the production, which would normally make the coverage much better, but in ESPN's case they still mess up so many major things like the last 60 or so laps that their coverage is still quite poor.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for an excellent column. I'm impressed by your ability to remain objective and point out the good and bad points of the coverage.

You wrote: "Now, along with interviewing the key drivers, Jimmie Johnson would have his day. This time, America's Funniest Home Videos could just wait."

I'm the TV ratings follower who posted in the race thread. I think we lucked out tonight with the race only running five minutes over. For possible future postrace issues, I wonder if ABC would consider moving the postrace to ABC Family Channel. It's in the same amount of cable homes as ESPN2 and on basic service in many, just like ESPN2 and unlike ESPN Classic. They show old movies on Sundays. NBC used CNBC, why not ABC Family Channel?

For three weeks (Nov 4-18) of the season the last half hour of NASCAR racing on ABC is replacing the first half hour of Funniest Home Videos that's been airing.
So NASCAR on ESPN will likely be judged by its primetime rating results in that half hour during November sweeps, because it's now actually "bleeding" into Sunday primetime - not the lower rated Saturday primetime. (Similar to NFL overruns each sunday on CBS and Fox.)

Unfortunately, that may impact the amount of race coverage we get past 7:30 PM if the ratings are not good or much worse than AFHV.
Just a sample to give you an idea of what kind of numbers ABC will look for in the Sunday 7-8 PM hour, below is the average viewership of AFHV last month:

10/07/07: 8.48 million
10/14/07: 7.71 million
10/21/07: 8.36 million
10/29/07: 9.16 million

I know some people think ratings are hogwash and not worth talking about, but they really do matter. The lower the ratings, the lower the payments in NASCAR's TV rights deals. ISC is blaming broadcast rights (along with four other factors) for third quarter revenue decline. From the press release Oct. 4:

"Year-over-year comparability was impacted by:
-- Lower television broadcast rights fees from NASCAR's consolidated contracts that began in 2007."

stricklinfan82 said...

JD,

Excellent review. To follow up on a couple of your points, I totally agree that ESPN needs to do a better job of documenting the lucky dog recipients and cars that fall out of the race. On Sunday the Lucky Dog recipient was only mentioned by ESPN once - during the only caution that the lucky dog "happened to be" a Chase driver (Kurt Busch). It would appear to me that ESPN made a conscious decision that a Chaser getting the Lucky Dog was worth mentioning, while all the other Lucky Dog recipients were not worth mentioning because they were not Chasers. In my opinion every Lucky Dog recipient should be mentioned, whether it's Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson, or Kevin Lepage or Burney Lamar.

As for cars falling out, Robby Gordon and David Reutimann went to the garage for some unknown reason and were completely ignored by ESPN. This has consistently happened throughout the ESPN races and this problem has not gotten any better. I think the problem is that when pit reporters are assigned X number of pit road spaces, they simply don't have time to go to the garage and follow-up on drivers that make the "hard left turn" during the event. If, for example, Mike Massaro is assigned pit stalls 1-9 and one of his drivers is David Reutimann and another is Jeff Gordon, I seriously doubt the guys in the production truck are going to send him to the garage to follow-up on the 00's problems and leave the 24 pit unattended, risking missing any championship altering stories that may emerge at any time.

During the in-race comments I suggested that ESPN should add Shannon Spake to the Cup race broadcasts to be the roaming garage area reporter. She could be the reporter responsible for gathering information on why each driver is behind the wall and could be stationed at the Infield Care Center to interview drivers after they emerge from their check-ups. By adding a garage reporter, ESPN would free-up the normal pit reporters to remain in their assigned pit stalls to document what is going on on the track, and at the same time give the viewers better access to information about what is going on in the garage area.

If Spake had been assigned as the garage area reporter in Sunday's race, the viewers would most likely have been informed about the problems the 00 and 7 had and we almost certainly would have heard from Bill Elliott, Kyle Petty, and A.J. Allmendinger after their incidents.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Daly:
An excellent column!
Something I kept thinking during the race that with the recent awful coverage at Atlanta and the Busch race on Saturday and the huge difference in coverage & presentation for the Cup race on Sunday, as well as the post-race, was that someone had intervened prior to yesterday's broadcast.You'll remember in your "TV Q & A" column last week you suggested that the probable post-season meeting with ESPN and the fellow who um...helped you out on the "Eli Gold" show would be interesting to say the least! Might he have had a short and to-the-point meeting (read trip to the woodshed)with ESPN in advance of that post season meeting? I can't imagine a broadcast network, having had so many chanches to fix their act, turning around that fast without some massive outside intervention!
Just a thought...
Tom in Dayton.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your column, Mr. Daly. I hope you find out why the race was moved up 10 minutes with little warning. At first I assumed it was a move against the pats/colts game, but I couldnt figure out how 10 minutes could help there.

Now my new theory, based on the interesting ABC ratings information posted above, is that maybe someone at ABC - not NASCAR on ESPN/ABC, the actual ABC network - told someone big at NASCAR that the race (or probably postrace) would get cut off if they ran too far into American's Funniest Home Videos in scheduled primetime.

Without those 10 minutes, they would have been 15 minutes over, not 5. Since they gave us that false alarm of running those credits before Jimmie got to Victory Lane, I'm thinking someone was ready to cut the race broadcast as soon at it hit the Eastern time zone's 7:30 but managed to control themselves. But would they have let it go for 15 minutes?

Sandie said...

@JD--ahhhhhh..."Back In The Saddle Again" THAT'S what he's saying!

@anonymous 2:17--yes it definitely would be interesting to have seen what they would have done. The "false alarm" definitely had me wondering if after all the fawning they did during the day, if they'd manage to slight the winner.

Karen said...

Agree wholeheartedly with the first post in this thread. I hear hisself from much of the on-air talent and it makes my skin crawl. There's no such word as hisself. Rusty uses it constantly. Or theirself; same thing. They are doing a little better with the "between he and ..." and instead are now using "between him and ..." Overall, most need to go back to grade school for these little annoyances. There are many other instances, but since it's so late, my memory is gone.

Sal said...

Just a comment on the 'nat sound'. Yes, it's much nicer to get the actual race ambiance...but not when it is so loud it covers up what the announcers are saying, or most of the in car radio transmissions they play. It's difficult enough to understand the voices coming from the car or infield without having them drowned out by the 'nat sound'. Wouldn't that be the perfect time to turn it down so the viewers could actually understand what drivers/crew chiefs are saying?

Anonymous said...

I was always a fan of Rusty's when he raced, But I cringe every time I hear him in the announce booth....The coverage was better this week, But I fear the Nascar of old is long gone forever...

On another note, I really loved Kyle Petty on Trading Paint this week... Wish more drivers had that emotion....

Anonymous said...

JD, it's nice for you to try to be positive, but the fact is, more was wrong with this race coverage than was right.

Listening to PRN while watching gives a much better perspective on all the "racing" that's not being covered on ESPN.

There are 43 cars out there, and radio tell us about them all. ESPN tells us about 12, perhaps 13, and the ones that crash--if they don't cutaway to an unrelated shot while one man's car is on fire.

Two more races until Fox is back.

Thankfully.

Anonymous said...

...oh...and I am really tired of hearing about guys who are "racing their brains out."

I'd swear that must be exactly what happened to Rusty.

Anonymous said...

Just because ESPN has all the techie toys they're so proud of telling us about doesn't mean they're good at what they're doing, as they seem to believe.

A basic error like not following up on possibly injured drivers in a hard wreck like Petty and Elliott was inexcusable to me. However, I will give ESPN next season to regroup and improve. If they don't, then there are great alternatives for the race, and I'll use them.

Regarding a post-race show on or moved to ABC Family Channel, I would prefer that as we get that channel and don't get ESPN Classic.

jfs-va said...

One thing not mentioned that I find really annoying is the "as they run" points updates. It's so ridiculous to hear that JJ is 50 points ahead with 250 laps to go. It's meaningless.

As for Musberger, well, I've never seen the point of having him. I mean, first we go to him, then to Suzy, then to the announcers. It's silly.

This is my first year as a NASCAR fan so I've learned not only alot about the sport, but how it should/shouldn't be presented. I'll be paying much closer attention to the Fox broadcast next season now that ESPN has shown me how not to do it.

jfs-va said...

Forgot to mention the early start in my other post. I was suprised by the quicker start also. I knew I wouldn't be able to watch the race until about 4:30PM Eastern time, so I set my DVR to start recording at 3:30PM. I was suprised to turn it on and see them talking to the in race reporter already.

Anonymous said...

I had forgotten about the lack of Aerosmith until mentioned here. Didn't miss them. I liked the music they used in Aerosmith's place -"Ain't No Sunshine". The video/audio compilation of the former Cup champions who are in this year's Chase meshed well with that song, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

John-

Great reading and you are right on point with the coverage. My question would be this;
Do you think ESPN would have stayed for VL if someone like Scott Riggs or any other driver not in the chase won the race? Personally I would think we would have missed it again.

Rick said...

JD, I guess you and I have a different definition of what "outstanding pit coverage" is.

Yes, it was better than it has been, but outstanding? Not by a long shot.

I think you've lowered your expectations after all the horrible coverage ABC/ESPN has given us over the last few months.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:54 said:
"So NASCAR on ESPN will likely be judged by its primetime rating results in that half hour during November sweeps, because it's now actually "bleeding" into Sunday primetime - not the lower rated Saturday primetime."

Now that I've had time to look at the TV listings, I can't believe that NASCAR on ESPN/ABC scheduled yesterday's broadcast and the next two races to start at 3:30 (with green flag later than that) and end at 7:30. That timeframe is too short not to expect coverage to run long into the primetime schedule. Why put the pressure on the broadcast of running it in actual primetime (7-7:30) instead of right up to it (scheduled to end at 6:30 or 7?)

I remember NBC last year being in such a hurry to move post race off to CNBC after the Cup races started interfering with the start of primetime and Football Night in America at 7 PM Sundays. At least NBC came up with a contingency plan. It would be a VERY good idea for ESPN/ABC to get one in place - this week. I don't think they're going to get much latitude running "overtime" with the main network when it's sweeps month and every show rating counts.

TexasRaceLady said...

For the first time since February, ESPN on ABC viewers were not "Back In The Saddle Again."

I KNEW there was something missing! ROTFL

I was amazed at the decent coverage until the last 60 laps or so --- then things went back to normal.

The abysmal lack of information of Carl's problems was horrible. Not following up on the serious-looking accident between Kyle and Bill was even worse.

stricklinfan, I love your idea of adding a reporter strictly for the garage area and med center. That would help tremendously to keep us up to date.

Keep up the good work, JD. And if you do discover why the start was moved up, let us know. :)

Hunter said...

Agreement with jfs-va on the "as they run" points. Completely useless information with more than 25 laps to go. Likewise the Brent Musburger "celebrity announcer" introduction. He is pointless and uninformed. His rah rah bit wears thin in college football and is just plain ugly here.

Ron P. said...

JD,
One of the top 20 reviews of the season!
Maybe ESPN read some of the comments last week? They still have along long way to go. I enjoyed Speed's taking their prerace show right up to the command to start the engines, nice touch and a nice shot across the bow of the SS ESPN/ABC.
rjp

Anonymous said...

I started watching the Patriots/Colts game and went back and forth a few times. When I realized that Yimmie was going to win, I switched to the game. What a GREAT game!!!! What a pitiful race. That is why I am a FORMER NASCAR FAN!!!!! Thanks Brian??

Anonymous said...

JD, excellent review if too kind.

I honestly don't see the improvement you did yesterday. Basically, it was a 4-hour show about Jimmie vs. Jeff with a few other guys thrown in, not unlike the Carl Edwards & his Mommy show on Saturday.

I haven't watched a regular season football game in 10 years, but yesterday I chose to watch NE/IND live and tape the race. A couple of thoughts:

1) It was refreshing to have folks who knew what they were doing in the booth and in the production trailer. If ESPN wants to see how professionals do a broadcast, they ought to watch an F1 race on SPEED. Start with something clear and concise and gradually add to it. Starting with a ton of garbage, then paring it down is bush league.
2) I'm going to stop bitching about the amount of commercials on NASCAR telecasts. An NFL game seems to spend about half the time in break.

I felt somewhat guilty for watching a football game instead of the race, but ESPN sort of pushes you away rather than draws you in. I've never thought FOX does that great of a job, but they sure as hell never made me feel like watching something else.

Keep up the great work.

Kevin said...

There are a few things that constantly bug me about ESPN:

1. Too many commercials
2. Draft Track
3. Suzy Kolber and Brent Musburger - get these idiots out of there!!! I don't want to hear another word from them again, especially Brent!
4. None of the commentators ever have a clue what caused any of the accidents. It's obvious that they don't pay attention to what's going on out on the track, but rather they just watch the TV monitors. I don't think they had any clue of what happened in ANY of the cautions in Texas.

Anonymous said...

anon 12:54 wrote:
ISC is blaming broadcast rights (along with four other factors) for third quarter revenue decline. From the press release Oct. 4:

"Year-over-year comparability was impacted by:
-- Lower television broadcast rights fees from NASCAR's consolidated contracts that began in 2007."


I'm curious if this is part of the problem with ESPN. NASCAR, coming off a period of declining ratings in 2005-2006, negotiated a TV deal which was far less than Wall Street thought they would receive. I'm not sure what the ISC share price is (or was), but I recall the Wall Street analysts recommending ISC as "sell" after the rights deals were announced.

So if ISC/NASCAR is coming from a "weakened" position in 2007, maybe they're not in the position they would normally be in to demand substantial improvement from FOX/TNT/ESPN. Especially ESPN. Because there's nowhere else for them to go, really.

Anonymous said...

Anyone catch the truck race Friday night? Rick Allen almost fell out of his chair with excitement when the two leaders spun out! My wife and I were on the edge of our seats, as we were iterally "taken out to the track" by the announcing team. That's how you do it. As far as the Cup coverage, you stated in your column the other day, about how they would siganl the death knell if they were going to show the Jeff Gordon- Jimmie Johnson show. And they did. Every pit stop had them in the split screen. I don't know why the other 41 drivers even show up. It's pathetic.

Anonymous said...

from glenc1
yesterday's broadcast was soooo much better; John, you've really pointed out the reasons so I don't have much to add. But one thing I want to mention to the fans...Rusty is not the only broadcaster with poor grammar skills on air--Larry Mac is terrible (although I still enjoy his broadcasting), DW has the occasional moment so I wouldn't nitpick (I taught English as well, but there is a difference between formal and informal use of language--if we're comfortable with the broadcasters, the *occasional* informality can make the broadcast more intimate. I do agree that it shouldn't be constant...but the truth is, most of the former drivers never had a need for perfect grammar...and you get out of the habit.) Also, ESPN is not the only one guilty of not covering 'the rest of the field.' Fox has been doing that for years, and ESPN did it back in the 'old days', which were not always that great. It's not that different from football broadcasts featuring the marquis players--how often do you mention a defensive lineman? Should be more but it never is. And I agree with bringing in someone to cover those 'extra' stories, but would ESPN put the money there?

As far as the 10 minutes--I knew something was up when I turned over to ABC and they were doing the anthem with SPEED still on air. A few years back I read that the networks would love to see ALL the races start late so they could go into those primetime ratings hours. I thought NBC had asked for 2pm at the earliest, but I know that didn't happen this year. It would be very inconvenient for the fans attending the race, so I hope they don't go there.

Anonymous said...

Sundays race at Texas vs Colts and Pats - i switched back and forth a bit but mostly watched football game that was a better production and more exciting than NASCAR.

Question. How many times has ESPN interviewed a driver after getting releases from the care center? Fox and TNT guys do this as the norm but not ESPN. Strange indeed.

rich said...

Great review of the race, John. My gripe was at the green flag start of the race. Jerry Punch says "and Gordon brings them down to the flag". Wait a minute, I thought this was Truex's first pole but he gets cheated by ESPN. By the way, west coast got and extra 30 min of post race.

Anonymous said...

Rusty is terrible. I know at least to times he had know idea how many tires a team would take in a caution. Petree had to correct him all the time. If we just listened to Rusty he would say anything wanted and the veiwer would have know idea what was really happening.

Anonymous said...

Anyone catch the truck race Friday night?

Somone ought to sit the EP in charge of NASCAR coverage at ESPN down in front of a recording of this race and say, "Now, look--YOU might not find this exciting enough, because it has no music videos or fake graphics, but the audience you're trying to attract loved it."

"Do this for your Busch and Cup races, dummy."

Anonymous said...

I have been wondering about ESPN/ABC's 'sanitizing' the race by not following up with drivers after a really hard hit. The first time I really noticed this was when Rudd had a bad wreck and seperated his sholder which we didn't find out from ESPN. Next was Jr last week whith an ugly wreck and zero follow up form ESPN then Texas; when we all heard on their air Kyle Petty tell his crew that Elliot took a hard hit, but no follow up again. Biffle was clearly having trouble getting out of the car and had words with the safety crew but not a word from ESPN guess if I want to know if Biffle is ok I'll have to watch INC tonight. My point is that it has seemed all season that ESPN/ABC has an aversion to the idea that anyone could be hurt, as if that would bring down the ratings by remind newer fans that there is a real and painful consiquence to watching these talented men 'race their brains out' as they 'sail to the front'. Brian France and ESPN are killing NASCAR. Make Mike Helton the boss and give the coverage all to SPEED and to heck with the networks. Let Bruton buy all the little tracks and bring back old school racing even if that has to include Toyota.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding Pit Work? Barely Adequate is more accurate. Espn has lowered expectations and standards.

Those complaining about Rusty's grammar should go to AOL Nascar FanHouse to read the 229 comments regarding "Why are Nascar Ratings Down? You Decide"

Lots of good comments, but the constant running through all the comments is Nascar has left it's roots.

IMO when Nascar started catering to the new fans who basically don't know jack they lost their way.

Regarding the TV side of what's wrong w/Nascar... Racial and gender "Diversity", Cutaway Cars, Studio Hosts, some sissy from up north introducing the broadcast, announcers and reporters who don't know jack about engines, tires, setups, drivers, strategies, etc., are just a few of the things killing the sport.

You need to get a grip if you're hung up on "good" vs "well", I suggest ice skating/dancing or soccer or chess is a better fit for you.

Anonymous said...

You need to get a grip if you're hung up on "good" vs "well", I suggest ice skating/dancing or soccer or chess is a better fit for you.

We already fight the stereotype that NASCAR fans are ignorant hicks who can't speak their own native language. We don't need your help to prove the stereotypes right.

Anonymous said...

The pre race shows on ALL the major networks irritate me, from the condescending tones of Bill Weber to the snickering inanity of Chris Meyers. ESPN's Suzy and Brad show fits into that category. I do like SPEED's pre race show, but SPEED may win by default. The others are just irrelevant noise.

From my own perspective, I watch NASCAR on TV to see a race. A simple concept, I know. The announcing team is not there to entertain me. I just want to be accurately informed with correct information about the progress of the race. That includes the races within the race, such as teams who are fighting to stay in the top 35. It may be an old fashioned concept, but I expect the broadcast team to function as sports journalists, keeping viewers informed of significant developments throughout the field. The race should the story.

I thought ESPN started well. Skipping the music videos and superfluous graphics on the return from commercials was a plus. I think that the NASCAR decision to move up the starting time forced them to tidy up the program. And, ESPN finally ended well by going overtime with interviews. It was the middle potions of the race that troubled me.

The emphasis in the booth drifted away from the race on the track. Apparently, once Punch decides who is the subject of his Hallelujah Chorus, we are subjected to redundant comments ad nauseam. It was Edwards on Saturday and Knouse on Sunday. Oddly, it was the color commentators who pointed out developments on the track. Punch does not seem to understand his roll. Perhaps he is being victimized by the director's voice in his ear. But the unfortunate result is that the quality of reporting plummets. Without external sources such as the Fox tracker, we simply miss too much of the racing action.

I think ESPN is making an effort. They seem to have heard the widespread criticism. I am absolutely willing to give them a break as long as they are making an effort to get it right. In my opinion, they need to look at their personnel assignments.

Anonymous said...

I do agree that, for the most part, the broadcast of the Texas race was better than in past weeks. But I do have one big gripe. Rusty uses the word "dead" too much. Andy does it sometimes as well, but Rusty uses it in so many phrases it makes me uncomfortable.

Andy Petree said...

"We'd like to welcome you to the Chase To the Nextel Cup, brought to you by ESPN. There's the green flag! We'll be right back." "Folks, let's show you what you missed. Looks like Stremme,Newman,Kurt Busch,and The Captain-Roger Penske are making news today. Oh, I meant to say "Six degrees of Rusty Wallace".Anyway, we'd like to welcome you back for the Rick Hendrick Test Session. It's too bad 41 other cars failed to qualify for the Chase To The Nextel Cup.For more information on horrible coverage, log onto www.ESPN.com. Let's go down to our Dish Tech Center and Tim Brewer-"Thanks Jerry. I have no idea why I was hired, but here's some cool gadgets to keep the viewer occupied during green flag runs."Thanks Tim. For more information on pathetic broadcasting, log on to www. ESPN.com. We'll be right back. "Folks, let's show you what you missed. An entire change of the running order. We have absolutely no replays of the other cars involved, but we have Chad Knaus's reaction. In fact, here's what the radio chatter was between the only drivers to show up today for the race-"..... For more information on excessive commercials, log on to www.ESPN.com, Tim, what do you have for us? "I have no clue, Jerry, but I once was an outstanding crew chief, and some how got roped into this train wreck." Thanks, Tim. For more information on stupid people, log on to www. Jerrypunch.com. We'll be right back after the checkered flag with no post race follow up as to why a car flipped into the stands, because he was not a "chaser."

Anonymous said...

I was with a large group at a sports bar watching the cup race yesterday.....at one point, when breaking for a commercial, they said "you're watching ESPN on ABC", the crowd around me unanimously roared ...
"unfortunately".
It really was awful coverage.

Grani Girl

Vince said...

For the first time since the networks have been broadcasting the races live, I didn't watch the whole race. I switched back and forth between the NE/Indy football game and the race. The football game was much better than the race and I ended up watching most of that instead of the race. I did have PRN on in the background and they did a pretty good job, except for the Vince Vaughn interview right in the middle of the race.

I've given up on ESPN. I watched the truck race on Speed Friday night and it was great. I watched the RaceDay show on Speed and it was great also except for RR. I DVR'd VL and haven't played that back yet. I'll keep reading your posts JD and will keep posting my comments here, but I've lost all patience with ESPN.

SophiaZ123 said...

Truck Race: I loved the coverage Friday night. There was lots of excitement in the booth and when two out of the three broadcasters would go "Whoa" at the same time, it made me smile compared to the no emotion- sleeping -pill i-nducing guys in the ESPN booth.


Re: Rusty's grammar. Has that poster ever heard Larry McReynolds? YIKES!! he has not changed at all but he and his hisself and 'driving good' comments could make even anybody's hair stand up on their head!! His grammar is ATROCIOUS but I finally was able to 'let it go' and enjoy the vast wealth of information he taught me as a new fan to NASCAR three and a half seasons ago. NASCAR did not begin with polished speech makers so i prefer HORRIBLE grammar with GOOD COVERAGE of what's going on at the track any day over better grammar and zero, zip, nada followup on details.

JD, your column was....most gracious and imo too kind. I still hated the GLUT of commercials throughout the entire race and towards the end, it was nauseating. I am glad my local radio station worked the kinks out of their tech problems so I could turn on PRN and HEAR what happened during ALL the commercials.

ESPN might have used a 'little less tv clutter' but still left most of us in the dark about way too many racers.

I was watching RACEDAY and happened to click over to ABC about 13 minutes early and saw the beginning ceremonies were going. Was THAT so RACE DAY would look bad? I never went back to SPEED. Did Race Day leave the air early?

Frankly, ABC and NASCAR are crazy for not beginning the races at 1pm or no later than TWO for the green flag to drop. This annoyance of wondering if we will see any post race is a real buzzkill potential during the last few laps.

JEH said...

JD,Great review.I was wondering if anyone else noticed that during a "Sport Minute",they used a split screen.On the left screen it had the racing which read "Live NCC Racing Phoenix".I guess they didn't know they were at Texas,LOL

Anonymous said...

Response to JEH-Yeah, I noticed the split screen also, where they were in Phoenix. I guess it's not a stretch to say they don't know where they are on any given day of the week.

Anonymous said...

jfs-va is dead on. "Points as they run now" is only useful at two races: the second Richmond race to set the Chase field, and Miami-Homestead at the end. Otherwise the only points that count are the ones at the end of the race.

What's truly annoying is that a couple of times ESPN / ABC have displayed this meaningless stat throughout a race, then closed the broadcast without telling us the actual post-race point standings.

Anonymous said...

Sophiaz123,

RaceDay didn't go off the air early. They went off the air right after the command to start engines, which pretty much happened at 3:30.

This has been alluded to before, but ABC is going to have a serious dilemma in less than two weeks.

With a start time of 3:45 EST scheduled for Homestead, they'll be lucky if the race ends by 7:30 (the race lasted about 3 hrs, 15 min last year). But I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, it remains to be seen if they'll pre-empt America's Funniest Home Videos for the Championship celebration.

Anonymous said...

I also prefer not-so-great grammar if I get good coverage, which is why I'm OK with Larry McReynolds (and Andy Petree goes over the grammar line too, but not much and he's OK). I think if they concentrate too much on the grammar they'll forget their excitement as they broadcast. Not OK with Rusty because he doesn't have the knowledge *and* he he uses bad grammar.

As long as the play by play announcer uses correct grammar, I'm OK with the color commentators/analysts being colorful or having strong accents. Like basketball's Hubie Brown, who used to drive me crazy with that Noo Yawk accent but the man knows his basketball, or Charles Barkley or Dick Vitale - who is actually more of a caricature nowadays, so maybe I shouldn't include him.

Anonymous said...

At 12:54 a.m., I said:
Just a sample to give you an idea of what kind of numbers ABC will look for in the Sunday 7-8 PM hour, below is the average viewership of AFHV last month:

10/07/07: 8.48 million
10/14/07: 7.71 million
10/21/07: 8.36 million
10/29/07: 9.16 million
(10/29 should be 10/28, BTW)

-While I don't know how the overall race viewership average for Texas turned out (the last part of the race gets the most viewers), the good news is that the 7-7:30 hour of NASCAR last night performed about the same as America's Funniest Home Videos has been performing in viewers.

11/4/07: 8.90 million viewers , 2.6 rating/ 7 share among adults 18-49 .

Maybe we can actually expect ABC to consider running into America's Funniest Home Videos with postrace coverage the next two weeks after all - here's hoping. And hoping that Phoenix numbers are the same.

FYI, the 7-7:30 rating for the Indianpolis - New England game?

32.72 million viewers , 11.4 rating/29 share among adults 18-49.

MelissAnne said...

I can't remember what lap it was- but did you all see the one moment when they broke away from a commercial for a restart?! I almost fell out of my chair.
Of course, I agree with the overall assessment..two more until Fox. Who would have thought I would -ever- say that!

Anonymous said...

to sophiaz

You are so right about Larry Mc and his grammar! I really had to laugh when I think back at some of his duzzies (sp?). I guess my bias is showing because I overlook it (it's taken time), and just enjoy what he says.

It's interesting that Juan Pablo and Dario have better grammar than some of these guys.

Anyway I think this is one of the reasons that casual fans have stereotyped NASCAR and their fans. When you watch NFL athletes turned announcers, you don't see it as much. They do make some mistakes, but not like NASCAR. Look at Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Tiki Barber, Howie Long, Terry Branshaw, etc.

I have a thought that no one has ever told these guys (Rusty, Larry, etc) how to say something correctly. Maybe they just don't know.

Anyway it really is not the most important thing. I just threw it out there.

elena

Desmond said...

I taped the race and I also noticed that the engines were already fired, and the starting lineup already across the screen, when the tape started at 12:30 p.m. Pacific time.

Thanks for reporting that the start was moved up 10 minutes. I tend to believe that ABC asked for this change to start prime time as quickly as possible. Again, John, if you can get confirmation of this.

I never watch NASCAR Countdown, so I did not notice the lack of the Aerosmith song. Then again, it does sound like an improvement.

As for the race coverage, a little better than the average for the year, but not by much.

Anonymous said...

I almost felt as if Jimmie Johnson was taking the victory lap that would never end just to make sure some other guys actually got interviewed. I was beginning to think that maybe they'd leave without even talking to him. By that point, I had gotten bored with the whole thing and turned the channel. Maybe TPTB told him to stay in the car so they actually got some real emotion out of him when he exited the car.

Rusty's grammar doesn't bother me (though I do find the word Kenthses bothering me....I actually find Larry Mac's use of the English language rather amusing. Remember folks, these guys grew up as grease under the fingernails mechanics....and the ones of Rusty's and Larry's generation are most likely not college educated. They came up through the dirt tracks without an engineering degree. Cut 'em a break already...as much as I'm sure this annoys the France family I actually prefer the stereotyped NASCAR. After all, this is a Southern sport and I really hate to see it completely sanitized and stripped of its good ol' boy roots. (This coming from a Midwestern girl.)

Anonymous said...

"ABC's broadcast of Sunday's Dickies 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway earned a 3.6 overnight Nielsen Media Research rating, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports.

The figure is 10 percent lower than the 4.0 NBC earned overnight for the race in 2006."

-scenedaily.com
http://www.scenedaily.com/stories/2007/11/05/scene_daily284.html

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

Hey Folks,

Did anyone hear a reason why the start time was suddenly rushed up ten minutes earlier?

There is nothing out of NASCAR or ESPN.

Somebody out there knows.....

JD

Gregory said...

I'm a Yankee who married into a Southern family. I got more than I bargained for, too - great in-laws and a deep, sincere appreciation and love (they're two different things you know) for NASCAR.

I can understand folks maybe going soft on the sport when the Championship is winding down and your favorite driver(s) aren't in it to win it. But us NASCAR fans are a different breed...we don't abandon our sport wholesale like MLB fans do. We stick in, see how Junior is doing in his final races with Tony Jr., then his final races in the Bud car period. We stick around and keep our fingers crossed that Jeff Green won't wreck our favorite driver week-in/week-out; and we thrill when Tony Stewart plows through the field and wins three Chase races when he isn't even in the dang thing.

But the common denominator that helps us enjoy every second of the race when we can't be at the track ourselves? QUALITY BROADCASTING. Something ESPN has failed on EVERY LEVEL to achieve this season.

I can't add anything more about the poor coverage that Mr. Daly and his faithful readers haven't already submitted...but it must be said: we need to stand together and prevent this great sport of ours to be hijacked from us. Because it's happening...whether through subtle machinations of owners like Jack Rousch (who may or may not know, deep in his heart, what repercussions his business model has created in the sport that has treated him so well), whether through dollar-first decisions made by the France family (again, folks who surely love the sport and see a vision of it that we perhaps don't...but are also fallible, humble human beings like every one of us, and not indemnified against mistakes in judgment and values), or whether by virtue of the lousiest, most rotten TV deal made in the history of our sport...we're up against the wall, friends, and we need to take a stand.

When two brands as recognized and marketable as ESPN and NASCAR come together, a great deal of give-n-take needs to be executed in order to maintain the integrity and value of both brands in consumers' eyes. So the question is...when did NASCAR lay down play submissive to ESPN?

And how can we help? The deal is here, and here to stay. And I wish we could hold faith that ESPN associate producers are trolling these boards in an effort to improve their product.

How can we make a mass statement to intelligently and pro-actively let our content providers know that we are not happy with the product, and are more than willing to help fix things?

Who will lead us to the Promise Land of great NASCAR coverage?! ;)

Matt said...

I have a hard time blaming the lack of garage area updates on the Pit Reporters. I blame Jerry Punch. Pit road is right in front of him in the booth, he should be able to see cars on pit road or going to the garage. I know Allen Bestwick and Mike Joy are always saying when a driver goes to the garage, even if it's a start and park driver, or coems into pit road for a stop. You never hear that out of Dr. Punch. He's the one who can see the whole track and if he sees something, it can alert the producers, directors and reporters to that driver, if needed.

Bill H said...

Nascar Now

I was wondering if todays writers strike would effect (affect?) NN. It seems they are doign a better job today with Erik K. Maybe he is having to wing it?

BillWebz

Anonymous said...

No, NN is not written by members of the Writers Guild.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- SUPER analysis.

As a southerner I would like to point out that Rusty's grammar is from the midwest. He grew up in Missouri.

Lisa Hogan said...

As much as we have complained about the coverage from ESPN, I have some real concerns after some of the calls made this weekend.

Ending the Busch race with in-car camera shots of the winner and champion instead of letting us see the finish of the race.

Leaving a shot of a car on fire with the driver still inside to a shot of a crew chief on top of the box.

No word on drivers who were in crashes.

When a driver is interviewed after a crash, asking, “What happened?” instead of, “Are you o.k.?”

My concern is that these are common sense decisions. You don’t have to have knowledge of NASCAR to know that these were the wrong decisions.

JD:
Do you actually know that someone high up in ESPN cares about their terrible coverage? Do fans have any real hope that next season will be better?

Anonymous said...

rich said...
By the way, west coast got and extra 30 min of post race.

November 5, 2007 10:40 AM

I can't believe no one else has commented on this...I AM ON The WEST COAST AND I DID NOT GET EXTRA COVERAGE!!!! What did you get? Who is you ABC station? PLEASE EXPLAIN!!! WHY dint I get this coverage??!!! there were infomercials on my station after the race!

JD, can you investigate this?

Newracefan said...

Great review JD I agree with it all plus some of the additions from other poster. I do hear Rusty's bad grammer but have learned to to let it go (I give Larry Mac the same pass so I'm trying to be fair). I have learned to check Jayski or Racetrax to find out why cars are out or off the pace so it only slightly annoys me (of course I shouldn't have to do this, and it forces me to watch the race from home for internet access)One thing that no one mentioned but bugged me was when Rusty implied that Casey Mears might try to block Kenseth to help out Jimmie, I can only assume that Rusty did not realize Casey was over 30 laps down (this is unacceptable)or he has no respect for Casey and HMS, it's things like these that make me question his presence in the booth. DJ was asked during the Busch race about Penske switching Kurt's owners points to Hornish did he rant or say it wasn't fair, no he took the high road and said he planned to qualify on time anyway. He kept his biases out of the booth. I also get very annoyed with the chase points update instead of intervals along the top of the screen, again I have to use Racetrax to see how many laps down, what's the gap between cars, if ESPN/ABC is going to run the ticker across the top at least make it useful. This ticker is the only way some people can find out where their driver is running and the number means nothing without the intervals. Keep up the good work JD it looks like maybe we are being listened to at least a little bit

Karen said...

Anonymous said:

"Rusty's grammar doesn't bother me (though I do find the word Kenthses bothering me....I actually find Larry Mac's use of the English language rather amusing."

I just love Larry Mac and his accent and grammar usage. I give him a pass b/c I like him so much. But Rusty, look at the big bucks he's paid and he can't pronounce Gilliland right three times in a row? First two right, then Gillian or some such. Horrible.

Anonymous said...

JD:

You can praise ESPN for a shorter and better pre-race show, however the presentation of the race was mediocre, at best. I watched the Busch race and saw that ESPN knows how to return from commercial before the green flag, will interrupt a commercial break if there's a wreck occurring on track, tells the audience who is receiving the lucky dog pass (must help when Aaron's promotes this tidbit). The booth stayed more on-task, and it was interesting to hear both DJ and Rusty do color commentary, as well as several Bestwick inputs.

All of the missed events, missed crashes, wrong graphics, draft tracker annoyances have were well documented here, I'd just like to add that late in the race, on a return from commercial, Punch did his intro and it sounded like he was caught with food in his mouth.

rich said...

Sorry, I have to retract my earlier statement about extra coverage. I was misled. Sorry guys. However, I can't believe that nobody has picked up on my other tidbit. AT THE START OF THE RACE DR. JERRY PUNCH SAID "AND JEFF GORDON BRINGS EM DOWN TO THE FLAG"/ Wait a minute doesnt the polesitter bring them to the flag?? Wasnt Truex on the pole?? Wasn't this his first pole?? What a monumental dis by ESPN to a deserving driver.

Busch Series Fan! said...

JD - this was a wonderful column. All of your comments I agree with. Texas did seem like a better broadcast and poor Jerry Punch does run out of gas at the end. Thanks for the good work.

Anonymous said...

JD, I think yesterday was a better broadcast, but what do you think of some of the fans that are bashing the coverage anyway? do they have merit or are they just frustrated that it took this long for improvement, that now some will never be happy with ESPN?

Anonymous said...

JD, will today's writers strike effect anyone anywhere in NASCAR TV?

Anonymous said...

I think it's disgusting that ESPN gives no word on drivers involved in serious accidents (which has been going on every week).

Maybe this is another luxury that's only afforded to the 'Chasers'. The well-being of the other drivers? Who cares about that?

Anonymous said...

Well, thank GOSH that we have only two more weeks of Rusty. I reckon the PC liberals running ESPN have forbidden the use of the word "God" by their broadcasters.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Since he has been involved for so long, at the end of a race do you think it is possible that Jerry Punch is not running "out of gas," but the spotters feeding him information are and at the same time he is also being fed greatly increased information and alternatives for commercials that need to be inserted, post-race and sign-off alternatives, and the like. In other words could it be that his "support" staff is not up to the task, and if he had better support he could/would be better able to focus on the excitement of the end of the race?

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

Anonymous said...
to sophiaz

You are so right about Larry Mc and his grammar! I really had to laugh when I think back at some of his duzzies (sp?). I guess my bias is showing because I overlook it (it's taken time), and just enjoy what he says.

It's interesting that Juan Pablo and Dario have better grammar than some of these guys.

---------------------------------

Dario is Scottish - They use the proper "Queens English" that we North Americans have butchered over the years. I would say his english is better than 99% of the other guys. But this is Nascar and I want to hear "Car run good" and "One of them there racin' deals". I miss Sterling Marlin and all the "Good 'Ol Boys"....Please, someone give him a ride!!

Jimbo

Emerald Chickpea said...

I'm just about done. I'm going to break out a radio and listen to the final two races this year on it instead of watching it on TV and cringing every other minute.

Does anyone know of any MRN or PRN stations that broadcast over the net? I figured I'd ask in case such a thing existed.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks for all your comments. There are two new columns up for your thoughts, and I will be doing a "question and answer" forum on Wednesday from 10AM to 8PM Eastern Time.

JD

Anonymous said...

Friday night I listened to MRN call of truck race off NASCAR.com.

wickedj said...

anon@November 5, 2007 12:45 AM

you must love DW then..lol

Anonymous said...

"Thanks for all your comments. There are two new columns up for your thoughts, and I will be doing a "question and answer" forum on Wednesday from 10AM to 8PM Eastern Time.

JD"

---JD, thanks very much. I hope there's also a followup this week on NASCAR Images and their reuse of footage of Chasing Glory and Survival of the Fastest. You said last week you had been exchanging emails with the management Wednesday and Thursday in preparation for a column after the concerns registered here last week. Since NASCAR Images contibutes quite a bit to the TV landscape that we see, I think it's important that we hear from them what's going on, soon. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else caught Rusty saying "Matt Kensess"? This guy is terrible. I hope ABC will replace this guy. Dale Jarrett would be a great fit - permanently!

Photojosh said...

This TV broadcast was much better, for all of the reasons that JD talks about.

Sadly, the TV still pales in comparison to the radio crew. I could not watch the race live due to a family event. So I tivo'd it, but still listened to the first 30 laps of the MRN broadcast in the car while driving to the parent's house.

When I got back home and watched the TV of those 30 laps, I was disgusted as how much worse things were. Events that I knew had happened were not even mentioned. The radio guys are so much mroe on top of everything. Yes, doing only audio is easier than doing visual and audio. But come on....

Still, it was an improvement. And I was happy to see it.

Anonymous said...

The more I see of Chad Knaus the merrier! I'm not complaining about Chad coverage anytime soon!

SophiaZ123 said...

Photojosh

JUST to clarify...PRN did the race this past weekend and the week before..

NOT MRN.

There is a huge difference. MRN is much better and do not try to make 'themselves' comedians or stars of the show. PRN guys remind me of the complacent ESPN attitude.

That said, you usually learn more from PRN than ESPN.

The last two races will be MRN.

PERSONALLY, I wish MRN had ALL the races. Those guys are THE BEST.

:-)