Saturday, January 5, 2008

NASCAR TV Coverage Starts On Monday, Are You Ready?

Ready or not, here they come! The NASCAR TV partners are slowly working their way back into your living room with pre-Daytona programming that starts on Monday, January 7th.

The appetizer for this thirty-nine course NASCAR meal is SPEED's almost daily 7PM Eastern Time coverage of testing and the Charlotte Media Tour. The network also throws additional Sunday NASCAR coverage into the always interesting SPEED Report. Drew and Nicole have become cult figures to many race fans. Here is a hint, it's not about Drew.

ESPN has stepped-up and thrown their surprise dish into the mix with the sudden addition of six classic Daytona 500 highlight shows airing on Mondays at 2PM Eastern Time. Clearly intended to be recorded, ESPN is continuing their "across all platforms" approach to NASCAR by asking viewers to rate their favorite race on's NASCAR page.

After the February live Nationwide Race from Daytona airs on ESPN2, the ESPN Classic guys will then play back all six Daytona 500 programs in the order chosen by the fans. It might seem to be a little too late to some, but it's a start. ESPN Classic could be a valuable tool for the company as the NASCAR season progresses.

Instead of lonely Bob Dillner wandering around Daytona with a camera crew and a microphone, SPEED has taken their testing coverage to a new level this season. The network will bring in their most popular show host John Roberts, and then add Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond into the mix along with Dillner.

While that group will cover Sprint Cup testing, Roberts will be joined by Phil Parsons and Ray Dunlap as the network extends testing coverage to both the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series. Roberts will also host coverage of the interesting Charlotte Media Tour, which is a junket for NASCAR reporters that visits the various race shops.

The Daly Planet is aware that NASCAR Now will be returning to ESPN2 at 6PM Eastern on Monday, February 4th. What the network has not announced is who will be the two co-hosts for the series in 2008. Luckily, there are several in-house "talent" at ESPN who enjoy NASCAR and could do a very good job.

So, here we go again. The SPEED coverage is called NASCAR Pre-Season Thunder, and ties-in with the fact that NASCAR opens the tracks for fans to watch testing. The Fan Zone at Daytona is truly a unique experience for that purpose.

Hopefully, we will see some testing info creep onto the ESPN News Network between all the playoff and Super Bowl hype. Since many viewers have seen Mike Massaro covering the NFL Playoffs for ESPN's SportsCenter and other programs, we know that Mike is alive and well and not being forced to badger Eli Manning like Dale Junior.

Are you ready for on-track action, and will you be watching SPEED's testing coverage? This is an all-COT season, with Gibbs Racing's cars on the track with Toyota under the hood. The real faces of NASCAR and the real stories of the off-season should be just a part of next week's kick-off of the 2008 season.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below, or email if you wish not to be published. Thanks for hanging with us during the past eleven months.


TexasRaceLady said...

You bet I'm ready. I'll be front and center for the testing reports because it sounds as if SPEED will have the front line crew ready to go. Testing is about as exciting as watching paint dry, but it will be CARS ON THE TRACK!

As far as the 500 re-airs, I have the most interesting already on file --- the 76, 79, and 98. I may tune in for the first NASCAR NOW, but if the host is Klueless, I'll be gone.

Anonymous said...

JD, when will we know the host of NASCAR Now?

Anonymous said...

I will probably watch, as this might be the only coverage all year that is free of 'draft trackers' and the other various errata that clutter the screen while cars are on the track. It's also the first chance to see drivers with their new teams, etc. Since I am sure that coverage will go downhill from there, this might be the highlight of the season.

Anonymous said...

I am ready.

Thank you, SPEED. Thank you, Fox.

TNT and ABC/ESPN: Watch and learn how it is done. Please.

Newracefan said...

I'm more than ready the Speed Report (yes JD it's all about Nicole ;) was something but definitely not enough. I starting watching other shows on Speed just to hear Mike Joy's (Barrett Jackson)and Krista Voda's (motocross) voice, maybe that's what ESPN was trying to do with Brent and Suzy although that obviously backfired because Mike and Krista actually knew what they were talking about. Also no DVR required since Speed gets it and waits till 7p to air Preseason Thunder. On the East coast many people are home by then and possibly even finished dinner and unlike Nascar Now which always required DVR if I could find it at all, besides I wouldn't be fast forwarding Speed anyway. I'll never know if ESPN throws in anything about Nascar in its news reports as I won't be watching so those who do will have to post and let me know.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I will watch SPEED’s coverage of testing and the media tour.
I don’t have ESPN News or Classic. I don’t watch any of the talk shows on ESPN/ESPN2.
I don’t watch SPEED Report. I can read the news elsewhere instead of those two reading it to me. The SPEED forum has a huge discussion of Nicole. I’ve read some of it. Amusing, it’s bashing her appearance and guys on cleavage watch. :)

Daly Planet Editor said...


I think it says something about the SPEEDtv message boards when the "what is Nicole wearing" thread is the longest running and most popular.

It is too bad that the forum part of that site went downhill once Jim L. left the network. In the old days, Jim (the network prez) would be on the boards all the time actually answering and debating with users the various topics. I certainly miss that.

If SPEED took the time to create a site specifically in support of their NASCAR efforts, including posting video and Insider columns, I think it would be a hit.

The Racer Magazine influence on had been nothing short of a disaster.

Anonymous said...

I won't be watching anything on the ESPN Classic channel. That channel is not provided by my cable company, under the popular extended package. Many channels such as ESPN, ESPN2, SPEED, TNT, FOX, ABC, NBC are, but not ESPN Classic. I can't justify paying extra just to be able to view ESPN Classic.

I am so glad that SPEED will be providing coverage of testing at Daytona. I really enjoy their coverage and dedication to NASCAR fans.

GinaV24 said...

I'll definitely be watching speed for the coverage of testing. Yeah, it's not the most exciting stuff, but I know speed will do a good job of covering NASCAR, so that's great. NASCAR Now, well, they have only one chance to get it right, if Klueless is on there when I tune in, I will be done watching it for the season. I'm not willing to subject myself to that waste of time again this season. I like the idea of classic race re-airs, but what channel? If it's espn classic, well, I don't get that on my cable package and although I have requested it from Comcast, they are like Nascar, being a monopoly so they do what they want, not what is best for their customers (sorry I digress).

Anonymous said...

Beware of the editing of these Classic Daytona 500 races from ESPN. The editing could be as bad as the live broadcasting. Broadway/Hollywood King Brian may be trying to thumb his nose at us again.

I also think that the hiring of Glover in 2003 was the beginning of a long range plan to get back to ESPN coverage and big money for all the POWERS THAT ARE. Since Glover was vp of broadcasting and new media, how much did he have to do with this debacle?

The life blood is being sucked out of this sport in the name of fat corporate pockets.

We need to remember that the races are very exciting. We are just not seeing it anymore because of scripted coverage. Just call the race from all of the track not just the front runners. No more sneak attacks from the media. This sport has no timeout, tv or otherwise,unless the track is damaged or blocked. This means the comentators must be on alert all the time which is not what other sports require. Please, no tv timeouts with red flags, I can only hope that is not what will come next.

Hanging on by a thread,

Grandma J

Anonymous said...

I agree that the SPEED forums were fun and interesting while Jim was there.

He hung in there against the "you suck" posters and had some amazing discussions during his times on the forum.

As always, thanks for all the work you do for your readers and for our sport. :)

Anonymous said...

Newracefan said...
"Also no DVR required since Speed gets it and waits till 7p to air Preseason Thunder. On the East coast many people are home by then and possibly even finished dinner and unlike Nascar Now which always required DVR if I could find it at all,"

NASCAR Now began last season airing at 6:30 p.m. on the East Coast. Around the beginning of August, ESPN2 moved it back to 6 p.m. (5:30 on Mondays). Which was disappointing because it was a better chance we'd get to see at least part of it at 6:30 instead of 6, without recording it on a VCR (some of us still have VCR/DVD combo players for each TV and have no interest in getting DVR yet).

I always thought the ratings for NASCAR Now must not be all that impressive since they moved the show from 6:30 to 6 in July or August. It was replaced with a college football daily program.

But I looked at the first two weeks of ESPN's schedule in February. Appears as if ESPN2 is airing a half hour version of NASCAR Now, it's going to begin at 6:30 p.m. while the hour long version begins at 6. Makes me think that NN may be back at 6:30 most days - until college football begins again.

I also notice on Feb. 8 and Feb. 15, a mysteriously titled "NASCAR Project" is scheduled at 7pm after NN, for one hour. I wonder what it is. Hopefully it's the first two episodes of a NASCAR behind-the-scenes TV series.

Probably not, but I keep hoping I'll see a decent one (or two) of those this season.

Anonymous said...

I'll be watching and can't wait for something NASCAR!!! Pretty simple.

If E. K. is hosting Nascar Now, I won't be tuning in period. I'm hoping they have seen the light and heard all our complaints and a new host will be starting ~ that would be a dream come true. Just don't make it Rusty.....oh please!

Vince said...

I'll be watching Speed's preseason coverage. It's always interesting to see the drivers that switched teams and how they do. And we have Gibb's with Toyota which will be fun to watch too. Tony S. should be good for a few quotes. Speed could do their coverage with just John Roberts and Larry Mac. Hammond is not a favorite of mine and I haven't been a fan of Bob Dill Pickel since he accused RCR of using doctored wheels/tires a few years ago.

As for ESPN, I don't have Classic so I won't be watching their Daytona 500 playbacks. And I'm with Ginav24 regarding NascarNow. I'll watch, but if Erik the Klueless is the host, I won't be watching that show again. I still believe ESPN just does not "get it" as far as Nascar and what we want to see and I have serious doubts that they ever will get it.

But despite ESPN and their problems, I AM looking forward to the preseason and all the new cars, teams, etc.

Note to FOX. You guys are not without blame here either. You started a lot of the crap that ESPN is now trying to copy. I'm hoping Daytona will not have Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond starting the show in the Hollywood Hotel. Myers knows as much about Nascar as Erik the Klueless does. Maybe those two could join forces and do a show on the Home Shopping Network or something! I say that, because then I'd never have to see the two of them again.

JD have you made a decision yet on what you're going to do with this blog for the coming year? We all are hoping you'll keep it going. I think it has made a difference in the tv coverage and may be more of an influence in the coming year.

Daly Planet Editor said...


We are coming down the home stretch where that is concerned. I will be making an announcement prior to Feb 1st. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

JD have you made a decision yet on what you're going to do with this blog for the coming year?

Of course he is! He'd have quit during the off-season if he planned to stop--why wait until things crank up and then quit?

JD is an old TV guy. What he's doing here is knon as a "tease" to keep you watching.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 5:08PM,

I respect your right to comment, but nothing could be further from the truth.

This past season was interesting, but the prospect of full-time hours and a significant amount of lost revenue for me personally makes this one a tough choice.

This project has grown from one hour a day to over fifty hours a week in email, research and writing. Since I already work in another industry, it made for a tough stretch during the last several months of the season.

As I said, I am getting some good advice, and I will be having a meeting about 2008 next week.

You may have noticed there are no ads on my site, all costs involved in this project since January of 2008 have come out of my pocket.

We will let you know what is up shortly.

Anonymous said...

JD- First let me say THANK YOU most, most sincerely for all your efforts and wise commentary. The Daly Planet made the TNT & ESPN disasters of 2007 somewhat bearable.

My hope really would be that NASCAR would hire you as its media advisor - and allow you time to keep The Daly Planet going.

As to the SPEED shows, yes I will watch & plan to tape most shows to make sure I get to see them.

Anonymous said...

Of course I'll be watching. I can still think for myself and make my own conclusions on what I see. And what I see is one of the greatest sports on the planet getting cranked up for another great season.

It's alsmot time for some Boogity, boogity, boogity!


Anonymous said... is starting to provide some coverage too. Audio right now, maybe video added later?
NASCAR.COM will have streaming audio of the news conferences for Cup Series testing at Daytona:

Monday, Jan. 7
• Noon-12:20 p.m. -- Jimmie Johnson
• 12:30-12:50 p.m. -- Jeff Gordon
• 12:50-1 p.m. -- Greg Biffle

Tuesday, Jan. 8
• Noon-12:20 p.m. -- Matt Kenseth
• 12:30-12:50 p.m. -- Juan Montoya

Wednesday, Jan. 9
• Noon-12:20 p.m. -- Kyle Busch
• 12:30-12:50 p.m. -- Casey Mears and crew chief Alan Gustafson

Anonymous said...

"This project has grown from one hour a day to over fifty hours a week in email, research and writing. Since I already work in another industry, it made for a tough stretch during the last several months of the season.

As I said, I am getting some good advice, and I will be having a meeting about 2008 next week."

Would love to see you back this season. What about you combining with some other good NASCAR folks for a "superblog"? Maybe each of you would write three days a week instead of the six or seven days you seem to write a week, or you yourself could concentrate mostly on reviewing the Friday -Sunday broadcasts every week.

For instance, I read here and then other blogs that Ed Hinton isn't writing for his newspaper anymore. Dave Moody has a blog but he rarely writes on it. Combine all of you together - and maybe someone else that I'm missing, and I'm sure you could get ad revenue for it. Maybe be the Deadspin of NASCAR (certainly not that snarky, but you know what I mean. Deadspin has a blog entry with comments added below, just like here. I think that's a good way to keep it.)

Good luck.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:32AM,

It was nice of you to mention Deadspin, Will Leitch is the reason I started this blog. I was doing his NASCAR stories, but this sport just did not fit on a stick and ball site like his, so I started a blogspot project.

He has helped me along the way, and continues to be the leader of the indy writers who stand outside of the mainstream and speak openly and honestly about sports.

I have rejected all the offers to write for other mainstream publications and sites for that very reason. If I continue, I want to succeed or fail with just myself and our readers.

I have some radio things coming up this week, and I will update everyone on those shortly.

Thanks, JD

Anonymous said...

I won't be watching, just like last year. ESPN could not have screwed up this show more than it did and it has lost me as a viewer. It's clear they have no clue what's going on nor can they admit Eric Kusselias (sp?) is perhaps the WORST host they can have for the show.

You wonder if Marty Smith is ready to slit his wrists for joining that train wreck of a show.

Anonymous said...

In addition to the NASCAR TV partners and getting their coverage going today, I'd like to see the drivers on some mainstream TV shows before the Daytona 500, to publicize the upcoming season. Every bit of NASCAR programming can't be about preaching to the choir: meaning the already existing fans. And some of us existing fans like to see the guys in different settings.

I see that Jeff Gordon is co-hosting "Regis and Kelly" in a couple of weeks. That's great, I always record that - he hosts it at least twice a year, once before the 500 and once around Chase time. But where are the other guys? When was the last time Mr. "4-time Most Popular Driver", Dale Earnhardt Jr., appeared on a talk show, or a guest shot on a TV series? Reportedly he doesn't like doing them, but it's kind of part of his job to do them, I think.

Where's Kenseth? Where's the always hilarious Tony Stewart and Juan Pablo Montoya?

Jimmie Johnson didn't get his championship Letterman appearance because of the writer's strike. but the late night shows are back, so perhaps he can do Letterman AND Leno before the season begins. NASCAR should make sure he gets the Letterman appearance for sure. Helio Castroneves was already on one of the latenight shows when they came back last week. Helio is going to steal the NASCAR drivers' thunder (and recognition factor)among non-racing fans if they don't watch out!

Fox has the Daytona 500 and the first set of races, so get some of the drivers who like American Idol seats to the show when they start live tapings and let us see them or have Ryan talk to them. Or Fox has celebrity editions of their game shows, like the Jeff Foxworthy one "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader". Put a driver on there. Have a driver judge Miss America or one of those pageants, I think the only driver who has is....Jeff Gordon.

The PR people need to start working the phones and get the drivers some face time that doesn't involve Fox Sports, SPEED or ESPN.

Anonymous said...

Protestations to the contrary, I predict a 100% chance JD will continue this blog.

If JD felt this project was too expensive or too time consuming, he would not have wasted the time and money updating it almost daily during the off-season when (essentially) nothing was happening, especially if he was thinking he wouldn't keep running the blog.

The blog may well include advertising, and my guess is, JD's "might-not-continue" statements are designed to blunt reader criticism of the commercial aspect when it begins. (This scenario has played out on several other blogs in the last several years.)

I'd tell you the service is appreciated, John, but you've seen the hit totals and know that for yourself.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:43AM,

That might be the most hilarious post of the past entire eleven months.

btw..if you have the Florida Lotto numbers for Saturday, could you drop me a line?


Anonymous said...

"I have rejected all the offers to write for other mainstream publications and sites for that very reason. If I continue, I want to succeed or fail with just myself and our readers."

Thank you for your kind reply and the information about your other offers (I wrote the comment at 9:32.) I admire your wish to not be beholden to the control NASCAR can exert on the media sometimes.

Anonymous comment@11:02, I agree drivers could be more visible. I've recently taken to reading some of the athlete blogs on The athletes really write them on their computers - some are not the greatest spellers in the world, but they try.

Some just write a boring couple of sentences about the game once a week (I skip them) but there are four or five who really try to write a little about their lives or how they're feeling - a few paragraphs, a normal blog entry.

Even with typos, a couple of them come across as so nice and sincere (actually reply to a few fan comments, I assume when time permits) it makes you interested in following them in their sport a little bit.

The ones I like so far are MLB pitcher Dontrelle Willis and NBA #1 draft pick Greg Oden. Oden looks big and intimidating in pictures, but he's just a regular teenager who likes teenager things and wonders why his new puppy keeps eating the grass. I'd probably think differently of him without the blog. He puts camcorder video of himself in some of them, which is a nice touch (his pre-draft camcorder tour of his "crib" -his mom's tiny apartment - shows how regular he is.)

Wish a few NASCAR drivers would sign up over there, I think they'd get some new fans if they put some effort into blogging. Some of the more famous Cup drivers were supposed to blog on, but hardly any of them do. You go to their pages and find they don't even log in to the site for weeks/months at a time.

Anonymous said...

With their schedule (and very long season) NASCAR's Cup drivers have to keep, I am not surprised that they consider blogging a very low priority.

Anonymous said...

Some real nice live blogs from the track out there to read today. Call me crazy, but I really like the " Test Primer " look of the cars out there. Again some good photos from today!

Anonymous said...

"With their schedule (and very long season) NASCAR's Cup drivers have to keep, I am not surprised that they consider blogging a very low priority."

But the NBA and MLB seasons are very long with many games and travel. All the athletes have laptops these days.

The driver who blogs on his site regularly, who is (Dale) Junior, says he always has his laptop with him on the plane and at the track, that's when he blogs. He's got to be pretty busy, but he blogs. Others likely could - if they wanted to.

Anonymous said...

FYI, SPEED is repeating the NASCAR testing shows later in the evening tonight and the other nights. Good job, SPEED. ;)

Jeff Gordon blogs AND records video messages at his website. Unfortunately you have to be a paying member to view anything past the starts of the blogs and videos and I'm not a member. Steve Letarte blogs also. I visit Jeff's website to see the cute baby pictures he keeps posting, those are free. :-) Therefore, the most known drivers, Gordon and Earnhardt Jr., look like they have the most savvy, or have hired the most savvy, to keep up with the times.

Infield Parking blogs except for Earnhardt Jr. is useless IMO. If drivers blog on IP -not many and not much - it sounds fake, like somebody else wrote it and they're there to promote something they endorse. The blogs inevitiably mention an event or link to website such as the internet poker game website several drivers endorse.

Anonymous said...

I will definitely be watching Speed's coverage. ESPN-probably not. I'm going to wait and see what people on here have to say about it before I check it out.

As for Infield Parking and the complaint that drivers rarely long in....Bobby Labonte logs in two to three times a week on average. He's even visited my IP Page as well as some other fans of his during this off-season. He's pretty good about blogging, too.

Anonymous said...

John, I read the comments and your responses on the "future of this blog."

I found it ironic that you've posted entries about ESPN being "mum" on plans and not telling us what they'll do--all the while, doing exactly the same thing yourself!

"John Daly Mum on Plans for 2008," could be one headline.

Anonymous said...

Please leave JD alone, good grief. I would miss this site if it was gone and you would too or you wouldn't be here.

Re: Infield Parking:

Drivers who blog about once a month: Bobby Labonte, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Drivers who signed up, wrote one blog entry and disappeared though they said they were excited about blogging or whatever: Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Boris Said, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya

Driver who started out writing decent blogs, but tapered off after a few entries (over several months): Dale Jarrett

Drivers whose blogs are somewhat frequent (monthly) but seem like they're written by PR people: Tony Stewart, Elliott Sadler, Kevin Harvick