Monday, January 28, 2008
Las Vegas Testing Windy For SPEED
It certainly is rare these days to break new ground in TV, but SPEED sent their crew to Las Vegas to continue the expanded coverage they are calling Pre-Season Thunder.
During the Daytona testing, several drivers told the network that this Las Vegas test will be critical to many teams. The reality of the COT is finally being revealed to the fans on national TV.
John Roberts and Larry McReynolds anchored this show from the Infield Media Center, and immediately jumped into the morning highlights. McReynolds was all over the information and updates on the first test session.
Driver soundbites told the tale very clearly that Goodyear brought the right tire and the apprehension about the COT was gone. In the afternoon, high winds and increased speed brought about several accidents.
While SPEED had that footage, the amount of on-track footage was a little light in comparison to the announcers time on-camera and the other talking heads. Not even one complete lap of one car was shown amid all the other features and interviews.
Roberts pointed to the high winds that affected the afternoon session, and perhaps that caused the less-than-stellar amount of on-track footage. As SPEED has continued to grow this pre-season franchise, they are faced with deciding if the shows should more resemble the network's qualifying or SPEED Stage type programming.
Bob Dillner provided reporting from the garage, and then took McReynolds place in the infield studio. Dillner expanded on the topics raised by McReynolds, and gave a good overview on the feelings of different drivers to the weather conditions.
It certainly is interesting that SPEED continues their lower third "ticker" during national commercial breaks. This feature adds almost nothing to the program, as it repeats the same information contained in the program that the viewers are currently watching.
McReynolds continues to add great technical features on these programs. This week, McReynolds pointed out the changes that the team were allow on the COT at Las Vegas. These are really the first substantive changes the teams could make since testing began. Great points that were easy for all the fans to understand.
Again, as McReynolds and Roberts were talking in the studio, cars were circulating on the track over their shoulders. Fans want to see cars on the track, and perhaps that could be an increased agenda as these testing shows go forward.
Dillner did an interesting interview with Matt Kenseth, who reinforced the words of McReynolds about the importance of this Vegas test. Kenseth provided good information in his own unique manner. It certainly would be nice to see Kenseth smile on TV just once this year. It did not happen Monday on SPEED.
SPEED did a solid job under tough circumstances to put together a thirty minute show with good content. For those of us who miss the on-track action, it sure would be nice just to see some packs of cars running at full speed while the announcers offered their information.
With good weather expected in Vegas on Tuesday, it will be nice for the network to have the opportunity to show fans the Speedway's fantastic infield fan area. The next two days should be interesting, before the coverage moves to Fontana.
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