Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Charlotte Media Tour Makes For Interesting TV
Stepping into the daunting task of translating the print-oriented Charlotte Media Tour into a thirty minute TV program resulted in some very interesting moments for SPEED.
Steve Byrnes handled the host duties from the studio with Wendy Venturini and Randy Pemberton reporting from the field. Larry McReynolds and Bootie Barker appeared to discuss various racing topics raised during the Tour activities.
It was nice of SPEED to have Brian France, Mike Helton, Robin Pemberton and John Darby speaking to several hot topics in the first segment. France again appears to be sticking to his plan of focusing on keeping the veteran fans happy while phasing-in the COT.
Robin Pemberton's qualifying update and Darby's follow-up on the tire testing rules were a great example of hearing it directly from the men who will be dealing with those issues all season long.
It was interesting for fans to see how the reporters get their information, and the manner in which the top NASCAR executives "broke off" to provide one-on-one interviews after their presentations to the entire group.
Perhaps, there will be an opportunity to provide some on-camera shots of the reporters as well as the executives, drivers and owners in the future.
Venturini followed-up with some sound from the Richard Childress shops, and the 2007 Daytona 500 winner Kevin Harvick. Venturini seems refreshed, and ready for a long season of RaceDay and other duties this year.
SPEED continued on with their field reporters following the tour, and asking a lot of the same questions the drivers had been answering all day. Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler, Kurt Busch and good old Juan Pablo Montoya were all featured.
When McReynolds joined the show, he gave his opinions about the rules changes for qualifying and pit stops. Barker then appeared from a different location and gave almost exactly the same report, which seemed a big redundant. Barker is a character, and you have to wonder what his TV future might hold when his crew chief days are over.
The program closed with a report from a new wind tunnel, and a recap from Steve Byrnes. Strangely, SPEED did not take a moment to allow any of the veteran journalists on the tour to voice their opinions on the NASCAR changes. It might have been nice to get a couple of different viewpoints, especially on the new qualifying rules.
With the multiple opportunities for journalists and media members to participate in TV, radio and Internet programs during the off-season, some of them are almost as well known these days as the drivers. It would be interesting to see who is on the Media Tour that fans see and hear on a regular basis.
SPEED continues to deliver the type of new programming that NASCAR fans were asking for by the close of last season. This partnership between SPEED and NASCAR, which Brian France said he wanted to grow, has resulted in some interesting coverage of the pre-season.
This series continues tomorrow at 7PM Eastern Time with the final day of the NASCAR Media Tour.
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