Thursday, February 14, 2008

In-Progress At Daytona: Nationwide Qualifying on ESPN2

Dale Jarrett debuts as the new NASCAR on ESPN Lead Analyst as ESPN2 covers the Nationwide Series qualifying from Daytona at 3PM Eastern Time.

Jerry Punch and Andy Petree will be alongside Jarrett. The new ESPN crew also features Allen Bestwick in the Infield Studio as host. Joining Allen will be Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty and Ray Evernham. Returning pit reporters are Jamie Little, Shannon Spake, Dave Burns and Mike Massaro.

Just how many of these folks will be used in this qualifying show is yet to be seen, but it should give us a good indication of the changes ESPN has made for this season.

This page will serve to host your comments about the ESPN2 program. To add your opinion of the TV coverage, simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. Thanks again for stopping by The Daly Planet.


Sean said...

JD, the only major thing DJ has to work on is his "UHHS". Gets a little annoying after a while

stricklinfan82 said...
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stricklinfan82 said...

This is will be the first real sign if anything has changed at ESPN. Here are the important things I am looking for from ESPN in today's qualifying coverage:

- Keep the cameras focused ON THE TRACK for the entire qualifying session. No more missing qualifying runs while the entire TV screen is filled with pre-taped video packages or the talking heads from the booth or pit studio.

- Keep the talk focused on what is happening ON THE TRACK. Please get rid of the special guests that distract the announcers from talking about what is going on ON THE TRACK.

- If the TiVo style format is not used, PLEASE front-load the commercials so we can see as many go-or-go homers as possible. I'm not just talking about the Cup drivers in the group - Earnhardt Jr., Truex, Bobby Labonte, Vickers, Kenseth, Nemechek, etc. or the popular series regulars like Jason Keller and Kenny Wallace. The drivers I want to see are the underdogs, the independent teams that are literally fighting for their survival in this sport. The Johnny Davis cars of Kertus Davis and Dwayne Leik, Morgan Shepherd, Brent Rowe, D.J. Kennington, Stanton Barrett, Mark Green, Steve Grissom, Kevin Lepage, Larry Gunselman, etc. The real drama of the session revolves around these teams, because if they miss a few races there may be no tomorrow for these teams because they are dependent on these race purses for their survival.

This new qualifying format should make it a lot easier for ESPN to follow the go-or-go home drama, since all of those cars qualify consecutively. I'm hoping they do a good job of capturing this drama and following the stories of ALL of these go-or-go home guys. If I can offer one more suggestion, why not have a seperate graphic on the screen somewhere for just the go-or-go home cars? And when a go-or-go homer is on the track just let the lap tracker gauge the current driver's lap against all the other go-or-go home cars, instead of against the entire field. That's the only thing all of those teams are looking for when they watch the scoring monitor - if their car is one of the 12 (or 13 if there's no champion's provisional) fastest go-or-go homers, so why not use a graphics package that lets the viewers at home follow the same battle to be one of the 12/13 fastest go-or-go homers?

I'm looking forward to seeing what the new ESPN has in store for us and I hope they don't let us down.

Anonymous said...

I'm hearing Dale Jr's. #5 Nationwide Car was inpounded by NASCAR. They took the rear deck lid and gave the car back. No fines yet. Look for this when ESPN goes to air.

Did not now if this was on SPEED.

boyd said...

Hopefully that music montage was only for Daytona.
Also Bestwick in the infield booth seems natural.

stricklinfan82 said...

One major plus already is that ESPN has gotten rid of the ridiculous practice of putting the qualifying car in a little box surrounded by all kinds of graphics, stats, factoids, pictures of their face, etc.

It's definitely a good start.

SophiaZ123 said...

Ok the faces are VERY BLURRY with the three in the booth....from a long shot of the three taking heads....with the two in the camera, still blurry.

Is it just my tv or the camera??

Thankfully the cars look ok but this fuzzy lens thing is not goo. Actually I am not sure how clear the cars are and the photo of Brad K on my screen is blurry as well???

p.s. other stations are fine but

SophiaZ123 said...

It is nice they are showing more of the track and less clutter...but it's early yet


boyd said...

My picture looks good all the way around.

stricklinfan82 said...

What happened to the lap tracker that shows where a driver is on pace to end up?

Hey ESPN, I'm sure a lot of people watching might be confused about how these brand new teams for Front Row Motorsports (Eric McClure) and Germain Racing (Mike Wallace)are locked in based on the top 30 in owner's points from last year. This would be a good time to explain to the fans how the BS practice of buying owner's points from teams that shut down works. Front Row bought the McGill Racing #36's owner's points and Germain bought Robert Yates's #90 owner's points. I think this would be a good discussion, especially considering that one of our own broadcasters in the pit studio, Mr. Wallace, was one of those owners that did the same thing to lock in his #64 car.

Anonymous said...

They should show commercials during the qualifying runs of cars they know will only run 5 laps and then shut down if they make the race.

pbump said...

So far, so good, I think. I'm pleasantly surprised. It's amazing what a difference a Jarrett in the booth and a Bestwick in the infield studio will do for a broadcast!!

Anonymous said...

So far not too bad, Jamie Little is still there ( boo), The booth is talking about the car on the track ( so far). The stupid scroll on the bottom is still there tho' and it stinks. Pit road reporting is crisper & more focusede - a plus . We just got the car in the box/ crew chief shot, I had hoped that was gone. The booth is waaay better Alan DJ & andy just sound like friends telling friends about the race.

Sean said...

I agree pbump. The coverage so far has been very good. DJ is so much better than Rusty in the booth, what a difference. I think Rusty will do a good job with Allen and Brad in the studio as well. The key will be Dr., if he can amp up the excitement level when the races are coming to a close

stricklinfan82 said...

I agree that the on-air chemistry is a lot better with this group. I still don't know why ESPN isn't using the lap tracker that would give us an idea if the current car is on a pole run or not. Also, I think if Larry Mac (the best analyst in the sport in my view) was in the booth he would have explained how all these brand new race teams are locked into the field. The ESPN guys just glossed over that when teams like McClure, Mike Wallace, and Richardson ran as if there was nothing strange at all about a brand-new team being considered a top 30 team in last year's point standings. As Larry Mac would put it, ESPN's announcers aren't "Explaining The Why".

SophiaZ123 said...

I would think NASCAR would ask PSPN to TURN OFF the least DURING THE RACE but I doubt it...promoting themselves and OTHER SPORTS is more important than a GOOD NASCAR PICTURE on our screen. :(

I agree, the small car box and interview of cc is NOT necessary...can we just have the car AND TRACK on our tv?

apparently not.


stricklinfan82 said...

Not again with Carl Edwards's mom and ESPN!!! I just knew that ESPN would find a way to get her on camera when I saw him roll onto the race track. Some things just won't change it seems.

Anonymous said...

We have now endured for more than 10 mins of Wallace family history & tradition, and Rusty & his crew.
That was after Carls Mommie on a split screen with the car. Crikey whats up with the focus on his Mom?

Anonymous said...

Rusty was just talking about buying owner points - unfortunately not how NASCAR allows it or why or how much a point or 100 costs ( even ballpark)
A bit more insider info would have been helpful!

stricklinfan82 said...

Good usage of the Dish Tech Center. They're only using it when it's appropriate to explain something relevant to the on-track happenings. It's also nice to hear them finally address one of the instances of buying owner's points.

Here comes the most important part of the qualifying session - the go-or-go home part. Let's see if ESPN can rise to the occasion and properly cover all the drama of the bumping in and out of the field of ALL of these go-or-go homers.

Anonymous said...

I avoid ESPN now because of Brad "JUNIOR!!" Daugherty. Why does this guy have his nose so far up Jr.'s rear end?

stricklinfan82 said...

And already once the go-or-go homers start qualifying ESPN turns the cameras away from the race track for the first time all day. Steve Wallace full-screen interview, practice crash footage, and keeping Rusty's car on the full-screen forever make us miss the entire run of Kertus Davis. Can't we at least get a split-screen?

Just like last year, ESPN doesn't understand the importance of the go-or-go home situation and only thinks the "big names" are worth showing on TV. ESPN falls flat on its face again. SHOW THE TRACK!

Joe Nemechek ends up 23rd... hey ESPN, tell us where that stacks up in the go-or-go home group! Overall means nothing, we need to know where he stacks up against the go-or-go homers!

Anonymous said...

SophiaZ123 said...
I would think NASCAR would ask PSPN to TURN OFF the least DURING THE RACE but I doubt it...promoting themselves and OTHER SPORTS is more important than a GOOD NASCAR PICTURE on our screen. :(
February 15, 2008 4:22 PM

Again with hating the ticker???

I have no problem with it. You can get more information in one screen.
But if you do have a problem with it, I suggest investing in a TV with a ZOOM feature. You can set the TV to put the ticker off the screen so you don't see it. You wont miss any picture, only the ticker.

Anonymous said...

I would be nice if they differentiated the top 30 teams and the go or go homers on the scroll, maybe a different color or something. I can't remember all of them who had to qualify on time. I'm sure a lot of people can't



Anonymous said...

I wish someone would teach Punch how to say 'Series'!
It's not two words!
He says "Seer-rees".
Like fingernails on the blackboard to me!!!

Steve L.

stricklinfan82 said...

Note to the ESPN guys: there exists a little rule called the past champion's provisional. If Brian Vickers makes the race on time Steve Grissom will get the past champion's provisional and make Dr. Punch's line of "Grissom is bumped out and he'll have to wait until another day to make his first start of the season" seem awfully silly.

SophiaZ123 said...


Yep..once again this station does not GET it...would rather hear themselves yap than show the FANS who's on the track.

Oh and there is one tv where you can make the ticker disappear..but it's a 20 inch set in the kitchen. I prefer watching the 25 or 31 inch screens.

More tv's should come with that feature to turn the ticker off but I am NOT the only one it bugs FWIW.

And I love DJ but he's going to have to lose the stammers and the um, um, stuff. He needs to listen to his reporting.

My room mate did a phone conference and it wasn't until he listened to the repeat that he was HORRIFIED to hear how much he paused to say 'um, uh' unless it's pointed do not always hear yourself saying such things. :-)

Newracefan said...

Just got home in time for the go or go homers but all I have gotten so far is commercials and Sports Center Update, has it been this bad all day?

Newracefan said...

Strick- they heard you, now if the commercials would just have been front loaded

stricklinfan82 said...

ESPN completely blew the qualifying coverage today. They still view the locked-in drivers making throw-away qualifying runs on race setups as being more important to show on TV than the go-or-go-homers that are fighting for their lives to earn one of the 12 available starting positions in this race.

Once the go-or-go homers started running we saw endless amounts of commercials, full-screen interviews, full-screen shots of Carl Edwards fishing, full-screen shots of cars in the garage, full-screen promos for the Dale Jr. ESPN2 show, and full-screen shots of anything other than the most important moments of this qualifying session - the go-or-go homers qualifying ON THE TRACK. Plus the guys in the booth only did an average job at best following the bumping in and out of the field. There were some instances where drivers getting bumped in and out were ignored, and the announcers didn't seem to even understand what a past champion's provisional was and how that could affect the qualifying session.

I suggested having a permament graphic on the screen showing the standings of all the go-or-go homers' speeds, maybe similar to the old 1996/1997 ESPN scoring tower that used to be docked along the left side of the screen. If you're not going to do that how about at least listening to the other poster and color-coding the scoring crawl like Speed did during the Gatorade Duels. One color for "in", one for "on the bubble", one for "out", and no color for the top 30 locked-in cars.

Terrible terrible terrible. Nothing has changed from a year ago.

stricklinfan82 said...

Oh yeah I almost forgot. What ever happened to the lap tracker that showed the projection of where the current qualifier would end up????? I can't believe we didn't see that used at all.

SophiaZ123 said...

I tuned out when I realized things at ESPN, indeed have NOT changed.

I am really wishing I could listen to the Sat race on radio but my MRN only carries the CUP series.

I had the tv on for background noise as I did a couple other things.

SF is right...terrible coverage.

I told you all, talk is CHEAP.

What we SEE on our tv's will tell the real story.

I bet the comments section tomorrow here, will tell the real story.

I better have some dark chocolate handy to help my mood during the races. :)

I gotta admit though even I was a bit surprised at HOW MUCH we missed today. This is gonna stink for the next 7 years...and not be good for ratings.

Too bad NASCAR Family does not watch this junk on TV.

I think they would re CONSIDER the contract.

If they gave a tinker's dam.

Anonymous said...

stricklinfan82 said...
Oh yeah I almost forgot. What ever happened to the lap tracker that showed the projection of where the current qualifier would end up????? I can't believe we didn't see that used at all.

February 15, 2008 6:08 PM

That wouldn't be the qualifying graphic that displayed a lot of information plus the projected position in one screen would it?

If recall to last year, all of you told ESPN to do away with that graphic. I guess they did. And since it takes a while to develop a new graphic, most of you will have to do without it until they create a new one or they will just do without it for the rest of the year.

JW Stringer said...
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Billy Delyon said...


From what I saw of Nationwide qualifying, I thought it was much improved over last season. AB did great work with Crusty and Brad in the ESPNwood hotel.

Adding DJ to the booth made LOADS of difference. He's been racin on these tracks for the past 20 years and knows what he's talking about and can say in a way that we all understand it. No ego, just telling us what’s happening to the car’s on the track.. Great stuff I though. I thought Dr Jerry kept the energy level high throughout.. And, I though as I always have that Andy does his job well, and did so today.

I was flipping channels I must admit, so I didn’t watch the whole thing, but I thought it was a ton better product than we received last season.

I get the impression some folks won’t ever be satisfied. JMO.

Any idea on when you’ll roll out the new site J.D.? I’m also wondering what you thought of the ESPN bunch this afternoon….

Billy Delyon said...

Forgot to mention, enjoyed Ray Evernham's addition. Look forward to hearing his thoughts through the season, being a championship crew chief (no shortness of them around ESPN) and a Owner, he can speak from those experience's through out the season.