Thursday, November 29, 2007

This Banquet Will Be An ESPN "Instant Classic"


Last year, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Banquet aired live on TNT and had an edited replay on the NBC Broadcast Network. That was then...this is now.

The 2007 Banquet will be aired live as well, on what has become a network all too familiar to NASCAR fans...ESPN Classic.

The live Banquet program will be aired Friday from 9PM Eastern Time to Midnight on ESPN Classic, and then re-aired immediately on ESPN2. That would be 9PM Pacific Time.

The Banquet and the supposed "media hub-bub" around it in NYC were the subject of an earlier Daly Planet column which can be read by clicking here.

Prior to the Banquet telecast, ESPN Classic will air at 8:30PM highlights of the Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon. Held the day before the Banquet, this function presents the Rookie of the Year and many other NASCAR and sponsor awards.

Dr. Jerry Punch, a man with a very long personal history with NASCAR, will be the Master of Ceremonies for the Cup Banquet. Along with ESPN, this is Punch's first year back on the NASCAR scene after a long absence working on other assignments for ESPN and ABC. He has always been a good friend of the sport.

Singer Kelly Clarkson will be the musical performer. She was featured in a concert before the Daytona 500 this season, and also cut a promo seen frequently during the race telecasts.

One interesting note is that actor and comic David Spade will be performing as well. Spade is currently featured on a primetime CBS TV series. CBS does not air any NASCAR-related programming, but Spade is very open about the fact that he is a hardcore NASCAR fan and an avid viewer of the races. Over the past several seasons, this "comic" assignment at the Cup Banquet has been a tricky one.

The Banquet itself has been a hot topic, and for good reason. Bruton Smith is suggesting Las Vegas as a fun alternative to the "alien" environment of NYC for most folks. The NYC expenses are very high for both the teams and the media. Other than the locals, it is almost prohibitive for the fans. In the age of the Internet and other means of instant global media exposure, Las Vegas definitely has a good case to plead.

But, NASCAR remembers why it came to NYC in the first place, and seemingly wants to wait until the NASCAR Hall of Fame complex is built in Charlotte to "maybe" consider moving the Banquet. With lots of financial commitments on the line by several parties, having all three national series banquets in Charlotte would put a lot of money in the Greater Charlotte area's pockets.

On the TV side, earlier this season The Daly Planet wrote about ESPN Classic. The reason was simple. In January of this year, ESPN stopped creating original programming for this network. Essentially, ESPN Classic was banished to re-airing things ESPN already owned and nothing more.

The website Wikipedia documents June of 2007 as the final ending of all original shows on ESPN Classic. It calls the fate of the network itself...uncertain.

When we wrote about it a while back, there was little doubt in our minds that one big "NASCAR on ESPN" problem already existed. The scheduling commitments of both ESPN and ESPN2 were already huge, and we felt that live NASCAR programming was simply not going to fit on-the-air when it was supposed to be shown.

We suggested being proactive, changing the name of ESPN Classic to ESPN3 and making a commitment to NASCAR programming whenever it needed to be shown live. This would include pre-race shows and races scheduled to air when ESPN2 had live events running long.

It would also include post-race broadcasts that would allow live coverage and interviews when ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC had other programming commitments. In other words, when the "big boys" had to leave by contractual obligation, the NASCAR fans would still have a place to go for the stories of the race to be told. Well, it was an interesting idea.

After the laughter faded, ESPN had few problems early-on because they only carried the Busch Series races live. Then, all of a sudden, the final seventeen races of the NEXTEL Cup Series landed on ESPN and ABC at the same time the college football season began. Needless to say, all hell broke loose.

The chaos is documented in a Daly Planet column of October 28th entitled "ESPN Pushes NASCAR To The Back Burner." You can click on that title for a direct link to the column. Please make sure and view some of the reader comments for the true flavor of that special moment in time.

ESPN mutilated the final three months of both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series like no TV network had ever done before. Practices for both series were routinely not televised. This included sessions of Cup practice for the "Chase" races. NEXTEL Cup "Happy Hour" was joined in progress for "Chase" races because of football.

The NASCAR Countdown show for the Busch Series races was usually either switched to ESPN Classic or lost entirely to college football. On ESPN2, Countdown was routinely scheduled three hours after a noon football game began. As we all know, a live game takes three and one half hours or more. It was often more.

ESPN will never live down the Memphis fiasco, where they actually pulled live NASCAR off the air during the Invocation before the race. While the people at the track might have been praying for a safe race, viewers nationwide were praying for someone in Bristol, Connecticut to get a clue.

The NASCAR fans prayers were actually answered, as one good tackle allowed the football game to suddenly end and the race to magically appear again just before the first lap. The Iowa Hawkeyes now have a special place in NASCAR folklore.

On the ABC side of things, fans flooded The Daly Planet with reports of ABC stations covering the pre-race show of "Chase" races with local news. Other stations simply left races that ran past 6PM and began their local news broadcast as if nothing had happened. It was, quite simply, a mess.

It was quickly apparent that the supposed "synergy" between ESPN and their over-the-air broadcast cousins at ABC was not exactly what it was cracked-up to be. Some local stations were even running news updates during caution flag periods.

The final straw for many was ABC being forced to leave the air at 6PM without any post-race interviews of the "Chase" drivers or the other drivers involved in the story of the race. Several times, Jerry Punch assured viewers that tuning to ESPN would get them the additional interviews he knew they wanted.

Instead, what fans got was more of an overwhelming feeling from the on-air announcers on ESPN shows from SportsCenter to PTI that NASCAR was "beneath" them. ESPN News did the absolute worst job of integrating regular NASCAR coverage into its news line-up.

That network was simply dominated by college and pro football during the critical Saturdays and Sundays of the "Chase." To ESPN News, NASCAR did not exist as a priority, even as the races played-out on ABC and the company spent tens of millions of dollars to produce the events.

Now, after all of the chaos of this first ESPN season, we have the NEXTEL Cup Banquet. Airing Friday on ESPN at 9PM we find live NBA Basketball. Over on ESPN2, believe it or not, we find live college football on a Friday night.

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Banquet is getting bumped to ESPN Classic because Fresno State is playing New Mexico State starting at 5PM Pacific Time on a Friday. Let's just repeat that one more time...5PM on a Friday night out West.

Of all the strange scenarios we could have scripted in this wild year of NASCAR TV, is there any one stranger than this?

The Banquet is bumped to a network that ESPN said would not be involved in any NASCAR telecasts because of a sport that ESPN said would not be a problem to any live NASCAR programming.

What a way to close-out the first season of a billion dollar TV contract.

Note: There will be a live page for in-progress comments during the NEXTEL Cup Banquet. The page is now open for your comments.

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. Please read the rules on the right side of the main page prior to posting, and thanks again for taking the time to stop by and leave your opinion.

56 comments:

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Isn't the Banquet actually being taped live, but broadcast on a delayed basis? Doesn't the Banquet actually begin at 7:00 or 8:00? Last year I know I listened to the Banquet live, live on MRN, and later watched parts of it. Jerry Punch HAS to be a big improvement over Bill Weber. Thanks

SophiaZ123 said...

Well, at least Bill Weber is not hosting and I hope Jerry Punch drinks some coffee before hand.

Thanks to the idiots of our local cable system, CLASSIC was robbed from the basic cable and put on digital a couple of months back. (and the blank station where CLASSIC once sat is nothing but bars for folks to adjust their colors)

We are fortunate enough to have Classic.

WHAT about people who do not have it OR cable companies who do not even OFFER it?

This is why I am mad that ESPN might continue to shove races to Classic. The channel roulette game of "where the hello is my race?" will continue in 2008.

While this banquet will no doubt be boring if all the corporate big whigs show up for EACH OTHER as opposed to the drivers for what they did during the year, it stinks ESPN has run out of room again at the inn.

JD, please tell me why ANY of us should believe things WILL CHANGE next season? The Chase is a flop but ESPN treated it shabbily and now they treat the awards show like a b*stard at a family reunion. ;-)

Next year ESPN will still have a VERY BUSY SEASON with football wall to wall...or heaven forbid, scrabble tournaments or little league world series (though, hey, MY HOMETOWN made LLWS and I watched! :-))

NASACAR can have all the meetings they want with ESPeeU, but the SCHEDULING conflicts will not be fixed, correct? ESPN is always about football.

Won't some sponsors be upset their AWARDS show will be seen by fewer people as well?

I guess the bigger question is still WHY did NASCAR allow ESPN the rights when ALL of you sports guys KNEW this was going to be a problem from the get go?

That's what leaves me scratching my head.

And I had no idea WHY the banquet was pushed to CLASSIC until you explained.

This is why listening on radio has become the BEST OPTION.

It's very sad to admit that JD. I hate multi tasking to get the details of the race because the tv broadcast does not deliver.

Thanks for the banquet details.

*sigh*

stricklinfan82 said...

It's certainly a shame that the new NASCAR TV partner couldn't treat NASCAR as an important enough sport to provide live coverage of the banquet on a network seen in most households. The banquet is still held on the same night of the week at the same point in the year as it was when it was first televised in 1990. It always aired live on ESPN from 1990-2000, despte the other sports that have always been going on at this point on the calendar.

Now, in 2007, with NASCAR's popularity being far larger than it was from 1990-2000, and with ESPN spending a ridiculously larger sum of money to televise the sport than it did from 1990-2000, the best they could do for live coverage of the NASCAR Banquet in 2007 was to demote it to a channel the majority of TV viewers don't receive??? Another "great job" by ESPN.

ESPN just needs to go away. NASCAR florished more than ever when ESPN left from 2001-2006, and ESPN's return to covering the sport is quickly eroding NASCAR's popularity. Terrible race coverage, qualifying coverage that constantly skips multiple drivers' runs to show video packages and full-screen shots of studio guests, Happy Hour coverage that skips almost all on-track action for multiple video packages and taped interviews, and a "TV blackout" of sorts of Friday and Saturday morning practice sessions during the ESPN portion of the Cup schedule have turned off several long-time fans of this sport that would have never considered watching "something else" instead of live NASCAR racing before this year.

And now this latest incident. Longtime NASCAR fans that have spent the last Friday of November / first Friday of December watching the NASCAR banquet on basic cable for the last 17 years now have to wait until at least midnight to see some TV coverage of the banquet.

It's completely ridiculous that ESPN is constantly making NASCAR harder and harder to find on TV, and in some cases impossible to find on TV.

Shouldn't access to NASCAR on TV be INCREASING as the decades pass, instead of DECREASING?

Anonymous said...

Classic does not broadcast in Hi Def, at least on my cable network, but the Deuce does.

I wonder if they will tape the banquet in HD so that it will air in that form on the Deuce rerun.

I have become such an HD snob that I would wait for or tape the Deuce rerun if it will be in HD.

Big Henry said...

The banquet has been a bore for the last five plus years. It is lame, unfunny and reeks of ametuerism. They'd be better off cancelling it or not broadcasting it. Despite the sports popularity it really shows how backward they are compared to other top-tier sports.

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

The final slap in the face from ESPN to NASCAR fans - broadcast the banquet on a third rate channel that isn't available to many - I think in the movie Dodgeball they called it "The Ocho" (short for ESPN 8).
Well at least we NASCAR fans know where we stand.

Really though, this will force me not to watch somehting that I usually find a waste of time anyways (I just had to put that s there).

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Said-
"We suggested being proactive, changing the name of ESPN Classic to ESPN3 and making a commitment to NASCAR programming whenever it needed to be shown live. This would include pre-race shows and races scheduled to air when ESPN2 had live events running long. "

I thought this would not work since it is on a pay teir that many people do not get
Now ESPN is putting programing on it and everyone is unhappy. How in the world does ESPN win with the type of thinking from the cult here.
Both ESPN & ESPN2 have live college football & live NBA so banquet is on Classic, a step closer to your NASCAR channel.
Call me EK if you wish, but whatever grudge you have against your ex-employer really shows through in your blogs.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 7:36AM,

Um...what? I had a very nice party when I left ESPN, but that was back in 1989.

What we are talking about is the overflow of programming being routed to ESPN Classic, and the irony that the banquet is now live on that very channel.

ESPN could easily have put this football game on ESPN Classic, and put NASCAR on ESPN2, where it has been all season long since February.

The fact that ESPN Classic is on a pay tier did not bother the company when they switched live NASCAR programming to it.

All we suggested is that this unique type of programming be given a home that echoes the financial commitment of the network, and the popularity of the sport. Do you think that is ESPN Classic?

Anonymous said...

Yes, NASCAR is popular but a Friday night banquet vs live NBA & College football!!!! I think the right show is on classic. Should be interesting to see W coast numbers of the 9pm showing on ESPN2.

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said...
The fact that ESPN Classic is on a pay tier did not bother the company when they switched live NASCAR programming to it.

Correct, the company has no problem and you seem to have no problem pushing it for your ESPN NASCAR channel. It will be those who must pay for the channel that will be bothered.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, can we pull out the spell check folks? It's really hard to take what, in some cases, are valid points seriously when people are making them in a manner that reinforces every "NASCAR fan" stereotype.

Anonymous said...

SophiaZ123 said:
Won't some sponsors be upset their AWARDS show will be seen by fewer people as well?

I think most will be happy that their plugs will be on ESPN2 starting at 9pm out west!

Ron P. said...

John,
It's Venting time!:

I am one of the fortunate few that do not have ESPN Classic, I am glad that I can not see the Banquet this year.
I have had enough of Jerry Punched in the head, and Who wants to watch David Spade??? I didn't even know he still had a career.
I guess he must be one of The Big "B's" Coca-Cola Drinking Buddies.
I will also not stay up to Midnight to watch the edited re-run on ESPN 2, I've got better things to do with my life.
I want to thank Brian France for pointing out the fact that We can live with out NASCAR and that life does go on Saturday and Sunday Afternoons.
And how lucky is Brian, the Strike is over on Broadway just in time for the banquet! How fortunate for him, he can now skip going to the banquet and go see Miss Saigon again.

As a special end of the NASCAR Season, I think all NASCAR Fans should send a big shout out to the Daytona Beach Traffic Accident Investigation Team. Keep up the good work Boys!
You know what they say," No spilled soda goes un-noticed."

Peace to you all, see ya on Fox for the Daytona 500.
Keep up the Great Work John, with out your site we NASCAR Fans would have no place to Voice our concerns at all.
RJP

Kevin in Indy said...

It could be worse. ESPN could have tapped Eri(k) Kluelessias as the host of the awards show where he could tell the audience that he's always been a "BIG" fan of "Dale Gordon Jr.".

Anonymous said...

For some reason, I don't believe David Spade is a NASCAR fan, I think NASCAR just put that in their announcement to justify their choice. I've never seen or heard of him being at or involved in a race unless he had a movie to promote or his movie was being promoted on a driver's car that week.

Gary said...
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Anonymous said...

Wow, I just went to youtube and watched a couple of the driver's speeches from last year!! No way anyone can believe that this is prime-time viewing...Robots reading...can't miss TV!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

The final slap in the face from ESPN to NASCAR fans - broadcast the banquet on a third rate channel that isn't available to many - I think in the movie Dodgeball they called it "The Ocho" (short for ESPN 8).
Well at least we NASCAR fans know where we stand.

They are not letting NASCAR or the fans know where they stand: They are letting everyone know where the banquet show stands! Google and read past reviews of the banquet from NASCAR fans and media, all hate the show no matter when and where shown. To bump live events to show this would just be dumb.

Anonymous said...

Singer Kelly Clarkson will be the musical performer. She was featured in a concert before the Daytona 500 this season, and also cut a promo seen frequently during the race telecasts.

I like Kelly, but the songs she's supposed to be singing tonight don't really relate to NASCAR. "Since You Been Gone" is about an ex-boyfriend and it's also an old song, almost three years old. The other song she's singing tonight also doesn't have anything to do with NASCAR though she sang it before the Daytona 500.

I guess I don't understand the purpose of the musical performers at the banquet. (I can't even tell you what Jewel sang last year, it was a truly awful performance.) Is it to have someone famous to entertain the drivers/sponsors, or to get fans of the singers to watch the awards when they normally wouldn't?

I could see having someone sing a "sports related" song, like a motivational song for the champion, but I don't understand singing a random song that doesn't relate to the sport. I saw Whitney Houston sing a sports song - I believe it was written for an Olympics - at a sports Hall of Fame show on TV a few years ago and it was beautiful, you could see the athletes were very moved by it.

But what do I know? I don't watch the ESPYs, so perhaps it has popular singers singing their latest hits (which have nothing to do with sports) on that program too.

slithybill said...

What happened to SPEED's NASCAR programs today? I checked my DVR to make sure the banquet will record tonight and I noticed SPEED's schedule has changed.

I double checked the
SPEEDTV schedule
and they still show Victory Lap at 4:00pm and 8:00pm ET, with a Survival of the Fastest marathon in between.

However, both my Dish program guide and
TVGuide
list the following schedule on SPEED beginning at 4:00pm ET: Truck U, Chop Cut Rebuild, Monster Jam, Unique Whips and Super Bikes. The only changes to the schedule are the NASCAR shows.

Will SPEED be showing their NASCAR Champions Week program today? If so, then anyone who had it set to record on their DVR probably won't get to see it. How did TVGuide and Dish pick up the wrong schedule?

And if SPEED really did change their schedule, then why do so at the last minute?

At least the Banquet is still set to record on my DVR.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Wow, I just went to youtube and watched a couple of the driver's speeches from last year!! No way anyone can believe that this is prime-time viewing...Robots reading...can't miss TV!!!

November 30, 2007 10:37 AM

They'll put anything on YouTube, so I should have realized they would have some speeches there. Thanks for mentioning it. I didn't look at the speeches for last year, but I watched Jeff Gordon's Rookie of the Year speech and his 1994 speech. I wasn't following NASCAR then.

Jeff sounded like he had a bit of Southern accent then - weird. I thought the speech was kind of nice. But back then they didn't prepare speeches in advance and read them off the prompter which makes them sound stiff. He misspoke a couple of times but it was still good.

Younger Bob Jenkins and Jerry Punch of ESPN on there as well.

The 1994 speech is ironic because Jeff keeps talking about how much money the check is, he sounds in awe. $117,000. A lot of money to me but pocket change to those guys nowadays.

Anonymous said...

slithybill, our digital cable schedule changed also. The Speed Channel NASCAR champions show and repeat is no longer on the schedule.

SPEEDtv.com has also changed its schedule. The champions program isn't there anymore but I saw it listed last night because I was checking to see if it would be repeated over the weekend.

Thanks for the headsup; I'd also like to know what changed. That means Speed Channel won't have any New York coverage from this week at all.

batchief said...

I would like to see Nascar just give the banquet to Speed every year. With the on air personalities they have (Steve B., Larry, Jeff, Bob D., Krista, Wendy, John R., etc.) they would do an excellent job.
I would also like to see you people that use anonymous to use a name so we know who is who. We can put a time with your first response, but from there on we don't know if you are posting multiple times or not. Pick a name, the same name for each one of Johns articles. If it changes from one article to the next so be it but at least we would be able to tell if you are responding multiple time in the same article.

Anonymous said...

What difference does it make the name of who says what??? Is someone keeping track? The comment is what matters.

I just go by what time whoever posts to differentiate. easy enough.

batchief said...

I would also like to know what happened to the two "Behind the scenes of the banquet" shows Speed was going to air today at 3 & 6? I know that Krista Voda has been in New York all week filming for these shows. Anybody for Speed out there reading The Daly Planet that can give us an answer?

batchief said...

anonymous 10:52, it makes a big difference if you are responding multiple times in the same article. Can't tell the players without a scorecard.

Busch said...

This whole banquet thing is much adieu about nothing! NASCAR Ratings have been in freefall for much of the season so it's not surprising ESPN put the banquet on their "Classic" network. Having been forced to watch the banquet in the past, I agree with the poster who described the drivers at the banquet as robots. One should get an award for managing to stay awake through the whole darn thing.

Ron said...
"Keep up the Great Work John, with out your site we NASCAR Fans would have no place to Voice our concerns at all."
I couldn't agree more! Keep it up!

Karen said...
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Thornton, Colorado said...

Anyone who has seen the banquet shows for the last 25 years, especially the last twelve can tell you: It's a third rate funeral morgue. I don't like the fact that it is on ESPN Classic either, but if you need a yawn....
Even when a driver tries to insert some fun and emotion (see Tony Stewart with his HANS device) the powers that be cringe. (See Mike Helton's face after Tony did that) They are so worried about what the sponsors think, that any effort to stray from the script could land you a gig with the "Talledega 18".
Bruton Smith has a great idea by incorporating the fans into the mix, to make it "must see". But anyhoo, ESPN's treatment of this show should be what everyone thinks it will be:Each of the last ten drivers speeches will include a quick camera cut to Jeff and Jimmie's reaction....Followed by a round of commercials.At least Bill Weber isn't there to remind us of the "plane crash" for the umpteenth time.
I wonder if they will have the infield studio with Brad and Suzy chiming in for the "pre-show", along with Brent Musberger saying, "You are looking live...." God, I wince at the thought.......

Anonymous said...

ESPN & NASCAR both SUCK!!! I don't have ESPN Classic, I'd have to buy another overpriced cable package to get it and I hate cable companies and will not do it! With a annual rate of minus -20% growth, NASCAR will soon be a "Classic" itself anyways, so it's fitting to put it's Awards Banquet on a "Classic" channel.

Thanks Brainless Brian!

Anonymous said...
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elena said...

I agree that the NASCAR Banquet is very boring, but so is every other awards program--Oscar, Emmys, etc. I would think that people who make a living entertaining people could figure out how to improve these shows.

One of the tabloids has reported that some of Marie Osmonds' antics on Dancing with the Stars, may have been planned. If she did have a writer give her her one-liners, good for her. Too bad the writers are on strike, because JJ could sure use one.

I have a feeling that Jeff might come up with something--like the glass of milk--or the white handkerchief-- Of course he might not want to upstage JJ on his night.

Carl may also spice up the night. I think he's still mad about the "incident."

I hope each one of the top ten drivers really enjoys their moment in the limelight. It's been a long year and they all deserve to be honored on a special night. They will be able to share their joy with family and friends for many years to come--and none knows if he'll ever return. So even if it does not translate well to tv viewers, and it's not that entertaining to watch, I will be happy for each guy.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- I REALLY do enjoy The Daly Planet and what you write, but I also really do enjoy HOW you write. This was a very well-crafted article. Thank you.

Regarding ESPN Classic, I am not aware that it is required to be on an upper, added-pay cable tier. I think that is the cable co.'s decision. I have Time Wormer cable and at some point this year ESPN Classic was shifted from the 2nd tier to the digital tier - where it is now on the same tier as SPEED.

I am a big NASCAR fan and will probably watch some of the Banquet, but it is too structured and usually boring - but I have no good idea how to change it.

I could understand the shift of the Banquet off of ESPN2 if it weren't for the fact that the prime-time football game is Fresno State versus who? I bet there are more executives from ESPN advertisers at the Banquet than watching Fresno State & who - and I do not mean to disrespect Fresno State's opponent.

GinaV24 said...

I'm sorry that ESPN has decided to put the banquet on the classic channel since I'm one of the people who doesn't have it. As a matter of fact, my cable provider (Comcast -- almost as bad as NASCAR as far as a monopoly goes) doesn't plan to even offer it in my area - ever, so if they move all the ESPN NASCAR programming over to it, well, that leaves me out completely. I like the option to watch NASCAR even if ESPN did do such a lousy job at it that it was unwatchable most times. The banquet is a bore -- has been for years, but still, it's the end of the year celebration for a sport I really like, even if the wrong guy won the championship this year. Johnson won the Chase, but Jeff Gordon is the 2007 champion no matter who they give the tropy to -- sorry, just my opinion. Others probably disagree. I'll probably tape the ESPN2 broadcast so I can watch the parts I want to watch and fast forward through the rest of it. The "entertainment" part of it is always so lame as to be unwatchable. The last time that I can say the entertainment was good was 2001, when Garth Brooks sang "The Dance" while they did the tribute to Earnhardt. I have it on tape and it still touches my heart. NASCAR needs to stand up and let ESPN AND TNT know they weren't happy with what was presented to the fans, otherwise, more and more of us will, indeed, as others have said, find there is life on Saturday's and Sunday's without NASCAR.
John, thanks very much for giving the fans a place to express themselves. Any of us who have written to NASCAR or ESPN have found it to be a very unsatisfactory experience and without your blog, honestly, I think I'd feel like a voice crying in the wilderness. At least this way, I know I'm not alone. Brian France must just hate it that the internet exists! He can pretend things are wonderful in NASCAR world, but we all know better.

Anonymous said...

I think it's terrible NASCAR is ignoring the 11th and 12th place drivers, Hamlin and Truex. They couldn't take part in any of the "Top 10" activities of the week. But they earned their spots in the Chase as fairly as the others did; there were 12 playoff spots and those should all be valued in the awards/publicity. Otherwise the Chase needs to be 10 drivers again.

I doubt seriously if anyone named Jimmie/Jeff/Jr is in the Chase next year but finishes 11th or 12th that they'll be banished and not acknowledged like a member of the top 10 or not allowed to give banquet speeches.

If Truex and Hamlin aren't acknowledged at the banquet tonight NASCAR should be ashamed of themselves. Hamlin said after Homestead he wasn't going because he didn't think he was invited but I read today he's in the city.

Anonymous said...

What do you want to bet that both owners of Truex & Hamlin flew both drivers & teams up for the banquet.

Anonymous said...

I'm very curious to know why SPEED didn't air the scheduled Behind the Scenes Championship Week program that was supposed to air today.

stricklinfan82 said...
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stricklinfan82 said...

I think it's terrible NASCAR is ignoring the 11th and 12th place drivers, Hamlin and Truex. They couldn't take part in any of the "Top 10" activities of the week. But they earned their spots in the Chase as fairly as the others did; there were 12 playoff spots and those should all be valued in the awards/publicity. Otherwise the Chase needs to be 10 drivers again.

I doubt seriously if anyone named Jimmie/Jeff/Jr is in the Chase next year but finishes 11th or 12th that they'll be banished and not acknowledged like a member of the top 10 or not allowed to give banquet speeches.

If Truex and Hamlin aren't acknowledged at the banquet tonight NASCAR should be ashamed of themselves. Hamlin said after Homestead he wasn't going because he didn't think he was invited but I read today he's in the city.


I personally don't mind the 11th and 12th place drivers getting left out of all the TV and other media appearances this week.

When Kurt Busch was suspended for the final two races of 2005 and still got to go to the banquet and be paraded around New York during Media Week, I think NASCAR realized that they never wanted to see a similar incident happen again.

Since there's already a media tour in September to celebrate every driver that simply makes the Chase, I don't see what's so bad about making those Chasers do something extra in the final 10 races to earn a spot to participate in the post-season media tour. In my opinion the banquet should celebrate the drivers that performed from February through November, not just those that performed from February through Septemeber.

I also agree with those of you that are disappointed in Speed Channel for their lack of NASCAR coverage after the checkered flag fell in Homestead. Their sudden lack of banquet coverage is very strange.

I think they need to abandon all the useless shows like Payback and Pinks and become a full-time auto racing network.

SophiaZ123 said...

I just also wanted to add to MY disappointment of SPEED for the 'no show' of the Behind the scenes today.

SPEED has taken a major shark junk in recent years and this year was the worst...T&A shows on and other CRAP in primetime.

Not a PEEP about NASCAR this week?

And yet more nonstop rubbish on SPEED until SPEEDWEEKS.

Disappointment.

Rich said...

Since I don't get ESPN Classic, I guess I won't be missing much. As for the entertainment, I guess Cletus Judd singing I LOVE NASCAR is out of the question now that nobody can seem to find the love right now because of the poor coverage. Rich

Anonymous said...

Regarding the entertainment, I don't know if it has changed, but in the past the Champion chose who sang at the banquet.

Years ago when Dale, Sr. won one of his championships, Brooks and Dunn performed. They sang a song they wrote about him too. Of course, this was back when the banquets were entertaining.

I doubt we'll ever see Ricky Rudd pulling a crying towel, Bill Elliott (I think) pulling out a gold comb when Alan Kulwicki won the championship, Tony and the Hans, and Kyle Petty's Woody Woodpecker shirt.

I'm not watching the banquet, I hardly watched the last 10 races. The banquets have been boring the past few years, why bother. Brian France doesn't care, it's obvious.

Newracefan said...

I too can not get Classic I emailed Comcast and this is the response I received "Comcast is dedicated to providing you with the best service possible. We are in receipt of your request for ESPN Classic. Your request has
been forwarded to our Marketing Department for further consideration.
You will be notified should we decide to add this channel to your area's
line up." Can you say snowball's chance in hell.
I agree the banquet is not much better than watching paint dry but I still watch, you never know what will happen- See Kyle Busch and his girfriend "Eva". Thankfully I can tape it on ESPN 2 for later viewing, although they are not showing the highlights from the luncheon again and I would have liked to see the posthumous award to Bill France Jr.
What happened with Speed today, that was really strange I've got several hours of stuff I don't watch on tape. They don't even list Survival of the fastest as a show anymore on the web site- this is all very strange

Vince said...

I've got Charter Cable and I don't have ESPN Classic. It's on their Digital tier and I give them enough money already for the the crap I have now. But I wouldn't watch the banquet even if it was on ESPN or ESPN2. The banquet used to be ok years ago when we had some drivers who actually were characters and spoke their mind in their speeches. Now all we have is homogenized Nascar bable speak. I am tired of hearing drivers like JJ who are so PC it makes me want to puke. So France, Helton and the drivers can pat themselves on the back and tell us all how good the racing was this year and how good our coverage was. I'm fed up with it. Maybe I'll have a better attitude towards Nascar when Feb gets here.

Signed,

One PO'd long time Nascar fan.

Anonymous said...

NBA basketball and college football are more important, you know, so the folks that don't get ESPN Classic will have to tape the later version while they sleep.

As for me, I've no interest in it. It's the same drivers who have been there the last two years in a row. (yawn) I'm going to work out and then watch two hours of The Johnny Cash Show archives on PBS.

The shows that I am REALLY interested in are the Truck and Busch series banquets. Those will be worth watching.

alex6 said...

Don't want to date myself, but I have been a NA$CAR fan for over 40 years. This year I can't get the Awards Banquet as my basic carrier doesn't provide ESPNc. Want to know something interesting? I am not overly concerned that I will not see the coverage. And this from someone who has not missed one in years. I think this says something for the whole NA$CAR deal - the excitement is gone for many of the long time fans. Many of the races are ho-hum, with the exception fo Tony S, the drivers have been casteraterated (I can't think of any other reason for their lack of emotion)and King Brian just doesn't get it.

Anonymous said...

I have a great idea - SPEED CHANNEL FOR EVERYTHING!!!! Great coverage, great commentators, people who really care about NASCAR - drop ESPN / ABC and whoever else is involved. Let's put all of the great FOX guys (and maybe Wally too!) on SPEED CHANNEL and be done with it once and for all!

Erik said...

Now, after all of the chaos of this first ESPN season, we have the NEXTEL Cup Banquet. Airing Friday on ESPN at 9PM we find live NBA Basketball. Over on ESPN2, believe it or not, we find live college football on a Friday night.

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Banquet is getting bumped to ESPN Classic because Fresno State is playing New Mexico State starting at 5PM Pacific Time on a Friday. Let's just repeat that one more time...5PM on a Friday night out West.



ESPN2 has had college football on a Friday night for the entire season. I don't see what you are trying to get at on the kickoff time. Its no different than when MNF was on at 9pm EST. Games on the west coast would have an early start.

Its laughable thinking that a banquet would take precedence over live football or basketball game. Get real. ESPN Classic is a great fit.

Sure, it may not be as widely distributed, or on more expensive channel package. But the same can be said for SPEED. Its not available on basic cable, and NASCAR felt fine putting an actual live Cup race on it. I must have missed your column complaining about that.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey Erik,

Its nice to see you once again.

My comment about the start time was a suggestion that if the game started at 8PM Pacific Time, that would have given ESPN2 the opportunity to air the Banquet in its entirety live from 8 to 11PM Eastern Time.

Then, it could have re-aired on Classic, which I join you in agreeing is a wonderful home for the NASCAR programming produced by ESPN.

Perhaps, next season they will listen to the suggestions of both of us. Great minds think alike.

JD

Anonymous said...

For those of us who do not get ESPN CLASSIC we got screwed again, The banquet was to be televised at midnight on ESPN2, guess what we got a half hour of some kind of sports channel then at 12:30 we got the banquet, but because of the half hour late start we didn't get the whole banquet program, my TIVO can't second guess the programing directors or who the hell ever makes those decisions to put on what they want when they want, therefor i missed the last of the show, thanks to the world of kiss my ass ESPN. You can delete this as you have so many of my posts because I don't think like you do.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 4;12PM,

The reason any post from anyone gets deleted is either it violates the rules for posting on the mainpage or it is a message that should have been sent as an email.

You were once again angry at someone, rather than making your case. Why use the profanity and then take a shot at me on the way out the door?

btw..I built this place from scratch by myself as a place for fans like you to come and express their frustrations on any topic. Seems strange now I am considering closing it because of the very same people.

Anonymous said...

Personally, we (my girlfriend and I) looked forward to then watched the banquet and thought it was a huge snorefest. Worse than last year. David Spade was lousy, and he knew it. Did the banquest end 15minutes early because they gave Spade the hook? NASCAR just keeps making themseves more and more un-interesting. The COT sucks. Cookie cutter tracks suck. Commentators suck. I'll stick to watching local dirt track racing on friday and saturday nights.

blohme said...

David Spade as host? What was up w/ the hair and homeless-like beardthing? I think he was the ONLY "celebrity" willing to be the host. Why didn't they just have some gangsta rappers host? It would have had the same effect (viewers turning the channel)
It was horrible, like every other year. I won't watch next year. Thanks for listening.

Andy Marquis said...

I live in an area where ESPN Classic is not avaliable at all, anywhere. ESPN2 did not air the banquet at 12, they aired it at 12:30 and I missed the final half hour (I PVR'd it) because ESPN decided to move stuff around, AGAIN! >:(

They just had to get that last shot in at us.

I haven't missed the banquet (as boring as it may be), EVER. Thanks ESPN. I'm now stuck wondering if I'll ever watch your channel again and NASCAR's Chase ever again.

NASCAR needs to cut this contract. Can someone at TNT pay NASCAR to get out of it's contract?