Thursday, October 4, 2007

In-Progress At Talladega: Trackside On SPEED (7 PM)

Fans have been asking if they can comment on some of the happenings on the Trackside program on SPEED. This show has become a hit because of the interaction of host Steve Byrnes and his crew of Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond, and Elliott Sadler.

If you have not seen this fun show, take a peek at this edition of the Talladega program. At this time, Travis Kvapil is confirmed as one guest, but due to the happenings on the track on Friday, other guests will be appearing.

Daly Planet readers can post their comments before, during, or after the show has aired. Please keep your comments TV-related, and read the rules on the right hand side of the main page before posting.

To add your comment, simply click on the COMMENTS button below, and follow the simple instructions. We do not want your email address, and there is nothing to join. Just tell us what you think of Trackside on SPEED. Thanks again.

In-Progress At Talladega: ARCA Race on SPEED

At 5PM on Friday, SPEED will present the ARCA race from Talladega. This should be one very interesting event with the incredible mix of drivers.

The ARCA "regulars" like Frank Kimmel, Norm Benning, and Billy Venturini will be joined by Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti and former Red Bull Formula-1 driver Scott Speed. Add-in Erin Crocker, Kerry Earnhardt, and several young guns like Colin Braun and Dexter Bean and it should be exciting.

SPEED has not stated who will call the action, but with Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds, and Jeff Hammond already in place, they may simply be supplimented by some of the regulars like Don Radebaugh and Dan Pardus. We shall see.

This page will host the TV-related comments for the race. Fans may post in-advance, during, or after the event. Please read the rules for posting on the right hand side of the main page and then let us know your opinion of the TV coverage. We made this exception for the ARCA event because of the amazing NASCAR connections in this one race.

To post, simply click on the COMMENTS button below, and follow the simple instructions. There is nothing to join, and we do not want your email address.

In-Progress At Talladega: SPEED's Cup Practice and Truck Qualifying

On Friday SPEED will kick-off a big day of live action with NEXTEL Cup practice at noon for one hour. Then, the Craftsman Truck Series takes to the track for qualifying.

When qualifying ends, a flexible NASCAR Live program will transition viewers into the afternoon Cup practice, scheduled for 3:30PM Eastern Time. To end the on-track NASCAR portion of the day, a final episode of NASCAR Live will bring viewers up to the ARCA race, scheduled for 5PM.

Steve Byrnes will call the action on the track for SPEED, with John Roberts hosting NASCAR Live from the SPEED stage. Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond will join Byrnes in the booth as analysts, and Bob Dillner and Wendy Venturini will handle the pit road duties for this five hour block. We should see Randy Pemberton interviewing in the garage area during NASCAR Live, and possibly even a Hermie Sadler sighting.

This page will host the comments on this five hour live telecast up to the ARCA event. Fans may post in advance, during, or after this NASCAR Friday telecast.

To add your comments, simply click on the COMMENTS button below, and follow the simple instructions. There is nothing to join, and we do not need your email address. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thanks again for taking the time to stop-by and leave your TV opinion.

Real Talladega Danger Makes TV Networks Nervous

There are few tracks left on the NASCAR circuit that force the TV networks to review their policies about the replay of accidents during an event. Over the years, Talladega has been one of the biggest headaches for Producers in terms of keeping the broadcast, and the announcers, inside the "network policy" box.

This weekend, SPEED will host two races at the track, and ABC will televise just one. While the danger level during an open practice at Talladega is significant, the danger level during an actual race is absolutely on the top end of the scale.

The ARCA race on Friday will hold a special challenge, because instead of a field where maybe ten cars dominate the race, this time it will be different. There are several NASCAR teams that will be bringing their own drivers to the ARCA race for a wide variety of reasons. Mixed with the ARCA "regulars," these young R&D drivers and their celebrity open-wheel counterparts are about to meet the reality of Talladega.

How SPEED responds to accidents on the track Friday will be interesting to watch, and will probably set the tone for the weekend as a whole. This network has been very good at treating the ARCA competitors with respect, and keeping things in perspective. These are the same drivers that regularly run small pavement ovals and even some annual dirt track events. This race normally has viewers on the edge of their seats.

Fans want to be assured that drivers are OK before they take a "TV peek" in their cars. The David Reutimann incident earlier this year left fans with a creepy feeling. The network showed Reutimann in-car before establishing his injuries. Its the responsibility of the network to treat potential injuries to drivers with the same respect and dignity they would give to an injured New York Yankee or a Pittsburgh Steeler player.

The ARCA race is renowned for big and hard crashes that have resulted in injuries in the past. The NASCAR Truck Series is renowned for big crashes that have resulted in tempers boiling over and lots of action behind the pit wall. This anger management issue will be a big challenge for SPEED on Saturday when the trucks take to the Track.

Better equipped for safety than the ARCA cars, the big trucks put on quite a show, but have certainly have had moments where things after an accident took a while to sort out. With Ray Dunlap on the sidelines this weekend, Bob Dillner and Adam Alexander may well find themselves in the middle of some hot tempers as a result of the action on the track. This is the time of the year where things said and done in anger can result in an off-season of bad memories and hard feelings.

SPEED can either play the antagonist or simply the observer on Saturday, as the championship chase for the Trucks comes down to the time of the year where no quarter is given on the track, and very little patience exists off it.

ABC has perhaps the biggest challenge when it comes to the unknown with the NEXTEL Cup event. What happens when a COT car gets backwards at speed could be disastrous. Wind tunnels aside, until it happens on the track itself, there is no assurance that this first COT event might be more memorable for the incidents, and not the racing.

This past week, NHRA champion John Force blew a tire on his Top Fuel Funny Car during a run. His car broke in half, and his legs and arms flopped around as the remains of his roll cage tumbled down the track at three hundred miles per hour. He lived, and is still incredulous that he survived. NASCAR fans need to remember this moment. It can happen just that quickly at Talladega, and with very different results.

Sometimes, the fun of watching the sport we love is ruined by the reality of conflict, be it mechanical or man-made. At Martinsville, we shake our heads at the fender-benders. At Kansas, we look carefully at how just one bump with the wall can result in that much damage. This weekend at Talladega, we may be covering our eyes as the reality of what is unfolding on the track is beamed into our home.

What we all are counting on is that the networks providing the broadcasts are also fans of the sport. It is only under adverse circumstances that this is put to the test. Let us hope that everyone who walked into Talladega to race this weekend walks away to race again. We can also hope that the TV announcers and Producers have already planned their actions if this scenario does not happen. As those of us who have been around for a while know, excitement can turn to tragedy in the blink of an eye.

SPEED Confirms Ray Dunlap Suspended Again

A SPEED Channel spokesperson has confirmed to The Daly Planet that veteran SPEED personality and current pit reporter for the Craftsman Truck Series Ray Dunlap has been suspended from his network duties.

Earlier in his career, Dunlap was suspended for one week and apologized for his remarks during a live SPEED Channel program. This time, Dunlap has been suspended for three races and will not return to the SPEED team until the Truck Series moves to the Texas Motor Speedway on November 2nd. This means he will work the final two Truck Series races of the 2007 season. The last Truck Series race Dunlap worked was in Las Vegas on September 22nd.

SPEED will not comment on the reason for the suspension, and indicated that they do not comment on what is termed "personnel matters." The network has not indicated who will replace Dunlap for those three events on pit road.

UPDATE: Bob Dillner has just been named by SPEED as the pit road and pre-race reporter for the next three Craftsman Truck Series races replacing Dunlap.