Tuesday, February 26, 2008

When "Breaking News" Means Breaking The Rules (2nd Update 12PM Eastern)

There is an interesting dynamic at work in ESPN2's daily NASCAR Now TV series. After a difficult 2007 season, things have changed.

This year, NASCAR Now has been nothing short of fantastic. Well, that would be fantastic right up to 6PM Eastern Time on Tuesday night. Then, things changed again. This time, it was not for the better.

Sports fans know the names Chris Mortensen and Kirk Herbstreit. Both of these veteran ESPN on-air reporters have suffered big dents in their credibility for one reason. That would be a little phrase that is currently all the rage at the ESPN network headquarters. They call it "breaking news."

Both of these men went on-the-air with exclusive national "breaking news" stories. They were both totally wrong. They had not suggested something would happen, and they did not discuss the possible scenarios. They put rumor and innuendo inside the "news umbrella" and got burned.

Last season, the pressure to create "breaking news" on NASCAR Now put several of the show's "Insiders" in some bad situations. Fans may remember the columns by David Poole and other veteran NASCAR media members ridiculing ESPN for trying to pretend that somehow "breaking news" had suddenly just happened right before showtime at 6PM.

Tuesday night, veteran reporter Terry Blount took a very deep breath and tried to float as "breaking news" one of the most ridiculous items ever. Certainly, Blount's facts were easy to remember. Nothing was incorrect or misleading. Perhaps, the one fact that may be the most important to remember is that absolutely nothing in his entire report was news.

For those of you that missed it, here it is in a nutshell. Over the weekend, Michael Waltrip suggested to Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker that restrictor plate racing and higher banking might sell more tickets. That is Zucker, pictured above with some less than happy fans. Zucker then tells ESPN reporters Terry Blount and Angelique Chengelis, on the day after Zucker's weekend disaster, that she "might" consider it.

Bear in mind, Zucker has not spoken to her superiors at ISC about this issue. She has not spoken to NASCAR about this issue. She did not appear on NASCAR Now live or even in a pre-recorded interview on Tuesday to address this issue.

What Blount tried to peddle as news was nothing more than a marketing ploy by a desperate executive who is facing an increasingly hostile NASCAR fan base and a failing track.

Unfortunately, the NASCAR Now Tuesday crew chose to break-out all the bells and whistles with the big "breaking news" graphic proudly displayed in front of Blount, and then poor Andy Petree being brought-in for what should have been casual conversation about an on-going racetrack issue.

Blount added a nice touch by posting his story about this topic after 5PM Tuesday on ESPN.com, so he could point at the website as the location of his "breaking news." As the topper, host Ryan Burr asked NASCAR fans to vote on the idea of somehow changing the track into something that would require a restrictor plate. Of course, in order to do that you must go to ESPN.com first.

The credibility that Allen Bestwick, Nicole Manske and the entire cast of NASCAR on ESPN announcers have worked hard to build-up could easily be brought down by this type of ridiculous hype. The memories of Doug Banks and Erik Kuselias are not that far gone for many NASCAR fans. What ESPN tried to "sell" last season as NASCAR TV was often nothing more than sensationalism and innuendo.

It was the reporters, like Blount, who kept this show from sinking slowly in the West, no pun intended. To see this type of bad decision-making on a day when there was so much real NASCAR news to relay was tough to take.

The knife that twists slowly in the back of the fans is that Blount tried to sell the fact that Zucker wanted to know "what the fans thought" before she would move on the idea. Anyone with even a hint of NASCAR media experience knows the issues associated with this speedway have almost all been fan-related.

Reporter Paul Oberjuerge of the San Bernadino Sun says "the track's disingenuous marketing probably is far more effective at alienating traditional NASCAR fans than in attracting racing newbies hoping to spot Uma Thurman and George Clooney in the stands." In his opinion, the time and effort spent on trying to convince fans that the track is near Hollywood and that celebrities abound is the cause that has sunk this ship.

"Television images of sailboats, beaches and the Hollywood Walk of Fame may fool TV viewers on the other side of the country," continued Oberjeurge. "But those are people who can't begin to grasp the cultural, economic and lifestyle chasm that separates the (San Bernadino) area...from Hollywood and West L.A."

"Eventually, Zucker & Co. will realize the Hollywood campaign is a dry hole," writes Oberjeurge. "And perhaps they will take this track back toward people who made NASCAR such a success. Wage-earning, blue-collar, middle-class and not members of the Screen Actors Guild. You know, like the people who fill the stands at Phoenix twice a year."

Contrasting the reality of this article and the many like it written over the past few days with Blount's "breaking news" really shows how easy it is for NASCAR Now to get off-track. If the aim was to capture casual viewers with the flashy "breaking news" graphics and then get them to sign-up for ESPN.com and vote, they probably succeeded.

If the aim was to continue to grow this TV series toward additional credibility with the NASCAR fans, the entire story never should have made it to air. Assigning a reporter to speak with Zucker, lining up a reaction from her superior Lesa Kennedy at ISC and then speaking with Waltrip about his idea should have been done first.

Nothing about this story required immediate action. The conversation in question took place days ago. The only thing "breaking" on ESPN2 was the credibility of a TV series that started off the year on a very good note.

Update 1: Here are the two columns readers have been asking about, one is from Jeff Hammond and the other from Larry McReynolds. Click on this link to go there directly.

Update 2: Click here for the link to Bob Margolis blog on Yahoo! Sports.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.


Matt said...

I think you are being a bit too hard on ESPN here, John. While this may not be "earth-shattering breaking news," the fact that a track executive is even considering changing a track in such a radicle way is important. Now perhaps it wasn't presented in the proper way with a "breaking news" banner, and maybe it was a bit over-hyped, but I think you may be overhyping the impact this one story will have on ESPN's 2008 coverage. It certainly does not diminish, in my eyes, the great work ESPN has done this year. And if Auto Club Speedway decides to make this change, ESPN was ahead of the story, at least nationally.

elena said...

JD, I also think you are being a little harsh. What Terry Blunt reported was news. The fact that the track president wants to turn it into a restrictor track is something I had never heard.(You stated nothing was new.) I think Zucker was interviewed. The details were attributed to her. The fact that it would cost some $10M and they would remove some of the wall (safe barrier) made me think it was just not a rumor.

I don't see the comparison to Kirk Herbstreit match. On his story, his source was unnamed. Even when confronted, he would not reveal the name. It was just a highly placed person.

On the Chris Mortensen story, he was played for a dupe. Many, many people even outside of ESPN thought he was given the information so he would reveal it and make more money for Parcells. Parcells was the one that ended up looking bad.

I actually think will something might be in the works. It makes sense. I will certainly continue to watch NN. I think they have done a good job.

Illpolo said...

I have to agree with JD on this issue. We sat at a Hooter's and watched as this 'breaking news' story was front and center on Nascar Now but we could not hear any volume. This led to a discussion about how poor this decision was and the effect it would have on racing in general if another track went to restrictor plates.

When you get home to find out that their 'breaking news' story was nothing more than a rumor and wasn't actually NEWSWORTHY, it makes me pause to give second thought to watching this show or ESPN's coverage that is not directly showing racing itself.

I haven't come back to Nascar Now yet this season, so this would make me leery of even bothering to watch the show at all. I know that may also sound harsh, but if you want to build a fanbase after last year's debacle, you shouldn't do what they did today.

That's not to say that this type of reporting will be the norm. They may very well do a good job from here on out. But my example is one of what could be many that show that I may never know because the one time I tried to watch this show, they were misleading with their coverage.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what was misleading in their coverage. They had a decent story and they presented in a way you didn't like John. However give them credit for having the story that no one else had. California has lots of issues and if the president of the speedway wants to make changes, the mere fact that is the case, that is news. Whether you think that is "breaking news" that is a matter of opinion. But NASCAR Now was informative and you missed that part of their message!

Tom said...

Maybe the whole "Breaking News" thing seems a little hyped, but the simple fact is that based on everything that occured this weekend, as well as the day of the week, this kinda qualifies as
"Breaking News". Regardless of what happens in the long term, you had a track President making statements about the future of an oft criticized venue. This was not a case of "unnamed sources" or rumors. Minutes ago I heard Bobby Hamilton Jr. say on Sirius that he heard they were going to lose a date at California. I find this far less likely than the scenario presented by Blount, given who owns the track. Whether this was promotional hype, complete lies, or just some wishful thinking, the fact that this story came from the track President makes this a legit story that was "breaking news" from where I was sitting. I see no "rules" broken here.

Inverness, FL

Ritchie said...

I totally agree Mr. Daly. Breaking news should be reserved for extremely rare occurrences. It is misleading to act as if the discussion of a restrictor plate at California speedway is suddenly breaking news and such actions could create disinterest in the future if there really is breaking news. What if there is suddenly actual breaking news? Just think, as much as these drivers fly their own planes, its not out of the question that something could happen to them one day. If we have been fed a continuous diet of trivial "breaking news", then will we be shocked into attention if "breaking news" truly occurs?

Deborah said...

I agree that it wasn't exactly breaking news since it's far from a done deal, and in fact may never happen. But it's certainly more than a rumor when the track president herself is talking about the possibility about making changes to the track. It's not like they pulled this out of thin air and made stuff up. Seems to me they would have been doing a bigger disservice to their audience if they failed to report the story.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you JD - BREAKING NEWS - that should be reserved for news. Not conversations about what might happen. If I want rumors, theres always National Enquirer.

NEWS is based in facts about what HAS happened, not what might happen,maybe...

The longer I listened to the story the more apparent it was that this was not news -it was gossip, rumor & the usual espn junkinfo.

It amazes me how NASCARNOW (not yet) has managed to shoot itself in the foot.

It has to go back to square 1 and try to be a news show or add more glitz and a section each show about fashion & WAGS.

NEWS or Glitz &Rumors?
ESPN needs to decide and let the fans know - before we figure it out again this year and turn it off. Again.

tom1194 said...

I think you are dead on as far as you went. The reporters blew up a comment from a NASCAR yes-man to a high placed track official trying to be diplomatic to a driver/owner/yes-man. She probably should have said, go back to the garage and tend to your business (the nice version). But then that would have been breaking news, high placed NASCAR official is mean to Mickey.
She could not have won no matter what she said.
Why restrictor plates with the COT? They got wings and splitters, leave the horsepower and dirty them up. They have to fix the track anyway go to a multi-groove track and change the date of this race or the Daytona race so they don't travel three times cross country in the first three races. If Daytona is the super bowl of racing move it to the end. while they are at it, if they are going to continue with the theory the whole continent is one big race place, move all shops and headquarters to Iowa or somewhere mid-country, if they would have them. Personally I think no Cup races should be run west of the Mississippi, but that's just me:)

Anonymous said...

I think Mr. Daly is looking at this as a journalistic perspective...and in the category of "breaking news", it didn't fit. Whether sports related or other any other subject.

This has been an ongoing saga with California and they are going to do anything to hype the promotional machine. This was an idea that was brought up to Zucker by Mike Waltrip and she originally laughed it off -- then thought, "that might work".

There's no real idea in motion. She hasn't approached ISC, so as ESPN reported it as "news" it was not backed up by a clear change or approval from NASCAR or ISC. It was simply a "breaking idea we're throwing about". The story has no legs until and if ISC/NASCAR comes out with firm approval.

What made me raise my own eyebrows is that Zucker chose to discuss this with media before taking it to ISC/NASCAR for some 'real' discussion. Can you imagine their laughter when they heard it on ESPN as a "breaking news story"?

Thornton,Colorado said...

I still haven't figured out why we are racing one time, let alone two times at this track.
I have told my wife all weekend long that Zucker is grasping at straws to keep NASCAR racing there. She knows, as well as I do, that come September 2009, we will be in Darlington for the Southern 500.
JD, don't you think that this seems like Zucker and Waltrip in a casual conversation, and a little light goes off in Zucker's head, and she finds the first ESPN reporter available, and the rest as they say, is history?
If Auto Club Speedway wants to make a change, and make it news, then bulldoze the whole darn track,and give it back to Rockingham and Darlington.
The way it should be.

Anonymous said...

I agree with JD that ESPN/Blount went waaaay beyond the norm to class their report as "Breaking News" and also agree with Jeff Hammond and Larry Mac that the whole thing is foolish.

See their response to the whole thing at:


(Hope you can at least cut/paste that link)

Tom in Bristol

Anonymous said...

Whoooops...guess not - it was truncated.

Try this:


Tom in Bristol

Anonymous said...

ESPN using "breaking news" graphics doesn't really bother me anymore. I tend to ignore it since I know it isn't true. Unfortunately that's just the way it is at ESPN now. All news is "breaking".

CNN does the same thing. They seem to have a "breaking news" or "just in" graphic up half of the time. Plus the CNN weather updates are always about "extreme weather".

ESPN is the worst though. If you watch the ticker updates it's always "ESPN reporter so and so reports...". Check out espn.com. All of the writers are "senior writers" or "insiders".

I guess the networks are trying to stand out, but unfortunately it has just desensitized me.

Anonymous said...


chase said...

I think you were right on the money John - 'breaking news' means just that and not 'breaking rumour' or a 'breaking scenario on what I would do if I were king'. Zucker's attempted grasping of a rope in a sinking ship should have been presented for what it was. I am hopeful this was just a 'gloop' in ESPN's coverage and that the same mistake will not be made again. To keep us interested and viewing ESPN has got to keep on track and focused.

Anonymous said...

JD, I also think you are too harsh with this story. The fact that a change could come to Auto Club Speedway is big news.

Sometimes I think that some NASCAR fans just want this speedway to fail so they can get their Southern 500 back. If California changes for the better, that would not happen. That is why I think some did not want this news reported at all. They don't want it too happen.

Anonymous said...

I just have to add, the fact that you posted a less that faltering picture of the speedway president with "less that happy" fans, shows your contempt for this track. While I agree that this track has had some problems, all I here from east coast fans is that this track should be destroyed and does not deserve a date at all.
That makes this news or even a whiff or rumor of this, even more important. It has implications on this tracks future.

Anonymous said...

JD, You say ESPN wanted to "get them to sign-up for ESPN.com to vote". That is not true. You do not have to sign up for anything to vote on ESPN.com or any ESPN.com page including the NASCAR section. I don't see why you made a big point out of that when no one has to sign up for anything to vote.

Thornton,Colordo said...

I am from Denver, Colorado not the East Coast, and I'll be honest:
I do want this track to fail.
They have had 11 years to make this work, and it has failed miserably EVERY time.
Attendance, poor racing,etc. is the same thing that led to Rockinghams demise. And no one from California shed a tear, so why should the rest of us cry, when they stand to lose one of their dates?
Anyone ever heard of a trial ballon?
This is a classic example.
It wouldn't surprise me if NASCAR is behind this one.

Ken said...

For something to be "Breaking News", it first has to be news. An attempt to divert attention from a lousy race and poor decision making on the part of NASCAR is not news. Why would more people attend a restrictor plate race when the plate restricts racing. I don't like "racing" that depends on buddies and luck to determine the winner.

Why would anyone spend $10,000,000 to change a track where the people don't support it? I suspect future race attendance will be half of the half full (before the rainout) attendance of this year due to NASCAR's total disregard of the fans.

Daly Planet Editor said...

First of all, I have never been to the Speedway, never met Ms. Zucker, and have no opinion on the issue of changing the track.

What we are talking about is news vs. non-news. Announcing a date to begin construction of a new surface is news. Telling a reporter that you might consider an idea that was told to you over the weekend by a driver but you have not checked with anyone in your management loop, the sanctioning body or done anything about it is not news.

Choosing to have Mr. Blount report this as part of his weekend notes from the speedway would be fine. Choosing on national television to make this breaking news infers that it is a fact. News revolves around fact.

Where Mortensen, Herbstreit and now Blount have been burned is because they "manufactured" news to fit a network agenda. This issue is whether NASCAR Now is going to return to where Bestwick has firmly parked it, which is back in the NASCAR reality, or slip back into the ESPN hype machine.

This is a good debate, and your views and comments are intelligent and well-presented on both sides of the issue.


Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:42AM,

Thank you for bringing up that issue. The two points were connected in the sentence only. To leave comments, including from member sites like Jayski, a sign-up is required. To simply respond to a poll question on any of the ESPN sports issues, the vote button is on the front page of the respective sport. Thanks for reminding us of that difference.


Anonymous said...

JD - Just curious...you said "What we are talking about is news vs. non-news. Announcing a date to begin construction of a new surface is news. Telling a reporter that you might consider an idea that was told to you over the weekend by a driver but you have not checked with anyone in your management loop, the sanctioning body or done anything about it is not news." .. My question for you is this "JD's opinion" or do have some specific journalistic education or history by which you declare this as the boundries for news vs. not news? Clearly this blog is one which opinions are welcome and debated as opinions should be. However your opinion was presented a direct judgment "it is not news".

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:26AM,

The picture of Ms. Zucker is from NASCAR.com, the official website of the sport. I appreciate the opportunity to use it in this blog.


JHD said...

Just checked nascar.com - not a mention of this news. Can't really be all that "breaking" if it's not to be found anywhere except on ESPN.

That said, the idea (and it is an idea, not a story or news) does have merit and should be explored by ISC.

Anonymous said...

If it makes Jayski, its news.

Newracefan said...

JD You hit it on the head, when I first heard the "breaking news" I was like WOW your kidding right, the drivers are going to hate this and then I listened to the rest. I can only equate it to; I determine that I could possibly justify hiring additional staff and tell my current staff I'm hiring before I check with the VP and financial people to see if it's even plausible. That's just stupid. If Marty Smith had presented this as almost a joke, or here's the rumor with the slant that it's Mikey being Mikey it would have been OK but not BREAKING NEWS. I read the Jeff and Larry Mac stories and while I agree with them I wish they wouldn't throw Mikey under the bus. Perhaps he was just being his silly self, cause lets face it he can be, and she and the BREAKING NEWS people took it to a whole different level.

stricklinfan82 said...

I don't mind them discussing this on the show but they should have never framed this discussion as "Breaking News". That's a complete joke.

Very interesting to see Jeff Hammond slam Michael Waltrip though. We know Michael isn't shy about speaking up on TV against people that criticize him (i.e. Wally Dallenbach) so it should be interesting to see if he has a response on This Week in NASCAR next week.

As for the idea of changing the track, I think more banking (especially progressive banking) makes for better racing at any track so I like that part of the idea. I hate the restrictor plate idea though. We saw how it failed mightily at New Hampshire in 2000 the last time they were used somewhere other than Daytona or Talladega (the last time a Cup race had zero lead changes, Jeff Burton led all 300 laps). Unless the track is going to be completely reconfigured to mirror Daytona or Talladega I don't see how a restrictor plate would create Daytona and Talladega-like racing.

I could be completely wrong because we've never seen it happen in the modern era but I don't think you could put the restrictor plate on the cars anywhere else - Atlanta, Charlotte, Texas, Michigan, Las Vegas, Pocono - and get the same kind of pack racing and 2-3 wide racing you get at Daytona and Talladega.

Mike said...

First of all, that picture is hilarious.

I watched this episode last night and had a feeling it would be featured here today in JDs blog. I have to say, while I was interested in the discussion, I never considered it "news" (definitely not breaking news). I agree that the delivery seemed a bit forced.

Deborah said...

I'm wondering what Hammond, McReynolds or Margolis's opinions on the idea of making the track into a restrictor plate track have to do with the way ESPN covered this story? Is the implication that the only stories that are "news" that should be covered are determined by whether people agree with the ideas expressed?

elena said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:46PM,

Readers have been asking me in email to provide links to other views on the Waltrip opinion and the Terry Blount story. Don't shoot the messenger, I have no opinion on this track, the restrictor plate issue, or Ms. Zucker.

Our TV issue is that breaking news is normally used for things like Junior leaving DEI or NASCAR going to the COT full-time in 2008. This use of ringing the national breaking news bell on the official daily NASCAR TV program series was interesting.

Please feel free to give your opinion.

Elena, please email me at editor@thedalyplanet.tv when you get a moment. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

The Chris Berman style of reporting used by the the majority of the ESPN on camera
people keeps me from watching any of their shows. Racing or otherwise.

elena said...

JD, I get it. The post was to give you my opinion and I gave it. I don't feel I have to have the last word.

Geez said...

When I read this story prior to seeing NN, I just shook my head in wonder. Then I thought, Someone at ISC will smack Gillian around a bit (not physically), and that will be the end of it.

Then I turned on NN and couldn't believe what I was seeing. I would expecting to maybe have it come up, bit breaking news at the top of the show.

I wonder if Mikey is now having a laughing fit. :)

Daly Planet Editor said...


If you do not want me to view your email address, take five minutes and get a hotmail or gmail one for free. That will give us the opportunity to deal with any issues that we need to iron out without affecting all the other folks who have come to comment.

I do this all the time, and have dealt with every issue for the past several months in this manner.



Anonymous said...

That is Zucker, pictured above with some less than happy fans.

That picture, as you noted, is from NASCAR.com and is from ***last year****. How do you know if the fans were happy or unhappy?

The article it originally accompanied talked about Zucker's attempts to approve attendance. The photo wasn't meant to signify unhappy fans, it was a photo at the track of the main subject.

Talk about misleading. The framing of that picture as being with "unhappy fans" is totally misleading. Whether NASCAR Now was in the wrong or not, you shouldn't be misleading as well.

(and before you ask, I'm not anon 10:26).

pat1938 said...

The sad thing about the 'Breaking News' is that the winner of the Cup race, Carl Edwards, was hardly mentioned in the whole show - many others got a lot more time. Maybe they killed his story of dominance at the track to do the breaking news.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 3:19,

They look happy to you?


Anonymous said...

It's a feature story photo, John. For another story.

You're totally missing the point.You misled the viewers in your writing, giving the impression as if this picture was taken over the weekend with less than happy fans.

And your favoring of Marty Smith is getting to be way too blatant. No one, not Blount, not Newton, not Chengelis - can do well since LEAD REPORTER Marty's on the show, huh? I'm not a fan of Newton, but Blount and Chengelis have a strong TV presence and are known to be good solid reporters. You never praise them the way you praise Marty and it is very noticeable.

So I take your criticism of Blount with a heaping grain of salt.

Marc said...

"And perhaps they will take this track back toward people who made NASCAR such a success. Wage-earning, blue-collar, middle-class and not members of the Screen Actors Guild. You know, like the people who fill the stands at Phoenix twice a year."

The writer obviously mean these people who should be central to any marketing strategy in Fontana.

RICHnCA said...

JD I agree ,that was not a news story. The good news is ,that after eleven years of getting hit in the head with a big ol' hammer, someone at the Cal speedway finally got smart enough to put on a hard hat. Maybe we will see some changes. Anything would be better than nothing

Anonymous said...

Froms Sophiaz

I felt the whole BREAKING NEWS was fake because what happened in private conversation and an afterthought, was put to the media (ESPN) and the fans for a poll (??) BEFORE ISC or NASCAR was involved in her wanting to change the track to RP racing???

That was the most bizarre thing to me. Mikey can be so funny and tongue in cheek and is getting thrown under the bus when we do not know the CIRCUMSTANCE of the conversation that allegedly took place. Mercy..it was a weekend of rain delays and plenty of time to yak and extrapolate the track issues.

Methinks Ms Zucker is lookin bad for TAKING this conversation/and her ?plan? public when one does NOTHING without TPTB input. Plain and simple.

Wished AB would've been there to ask about that latter.

Sophia at old computer that doesn't want me to log in *sigh*

Anonymous said...

The sensationalism and 'breaking news' which the various t.v. personalities have attempted in the past are exactly what makes me NOT watch their shows.

As for California becoming a restrictor plate track, I think that is one of the worst ideas ever. Daytona and Talladega are enough. Most of the drivers hate the plate races and as a fan, even though restrictor plate races are incredibly exciting to watch, I don't care to see 'the big one' which trashes the cars and puts the drivers at risk. The safety of the drivers is more important to me. I don't care that the bigger teams are lucky enough to get millions from their sponsors, those cars are still expensive to make. They run around $250,000 each, right? Give or take a few grand? So, if we already have two superspeedway tracks, and, say that the average number of cars that get trashed is eight per race and each track has two races, that's $8 mil. Add two races based on California hypothetically becoming a plate track with two races and that's another $4 mil. Total dollar amount (roughly) of cars that get trashed would be $12 mil. Sometimes the number of cars that get severely damaged is higher, though. It could be more like fifteen to twenty cars per race per track that can't be repaired or salvaged at all. IF California became a plate track and the average number of damaged cars was fifteen per race at all three tracks, that's $22.5 mil. That's A LOT of dough and not every team has this kind of money to spend each year.

I agree that California needs to be fixed but I'm not sure that making it a restrictor plate race is the way to go. Just get the weeper problem fixed and maybe the banking could use some improving.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Yes, the story does not seem to be news to me - but I feel certain that Terry Blount should bear part of the criticism.

Last summer or fall Blount reported on ESPN on Monday or Tuesday exactly the opposite about Dario F. of what Dario F. had told Dave Despain live on Wind Tunnel the immediately preceding Sunday about his reasons for considering going to NASCAR. (I believe Blount was on N-Now when he reported about DF's alleged reasons for considering NASCAR, but it could have been on ESPNNews.) In my eyes Blount lost a great, great deal of credibility with his so-called reporting then - so I'm sure he should bear a good deal of the blame for this N-Now breaking news mess.

Richard in N.C. said...

Oh yes, I have always assumed that ISC was probably just "parking" one of the dates at Fontana until it had another far west track available - but Seattle fell through and apparently little or no progress has been made on a track in Denver.

I do find it fascinating when the media criticizes the attendance at races at Fontana that they never mention the uniqueness of the LA market - that it is the only major market in the country that cannot support NFL football. Also I do not recall any significant criticism of Fontana in any way until after Roger Penske merged his tracks with ISC.

Dot said...

Aren't Jillian Zucker, Lesa France Kennedy and ISC interchangeable? Maybe they do want Fontana to be a restrictor plate track. They plotted to make it look like it was Jillian's idea. She's had egg on her face in the past. This way Lesa and ISC don't look as bad.

Another thought, how often did we hear that the real racing starts after Daytona? As we know, racing there is a crap shoot. I like the idea that the real racing would start in Las Vegas, however.

I did not think this news was breaking. More of a "what if" discussion.

Anonymous said...

Mr Daley, I may agree that the story may not be huge breaking news, but you are still missing the real problems in NASCAR TV broadcasting. I read your column about this weekends trackside show and you were satisfied ' it flowed ,etc. I say it was unwatchable. The guest were fine, but DW, Larry, and Jeff Hammond are not suited for TV. They will never be any good. Their skills, or lack of, are impossible to watch. As the excellent, respected, writer for the Caledonian Record MR. Bigelow has written, as far as these FOX/Speed shows,you could duct tape him to a chair, pay him a thousand dollars, but he would still close his eyes and not watch, and I agree 100%. That lame game show with Chris Meyers, DW, Hammond on Sunday was pathetic, as stupid as it gets. There are other examples but you get the idea. This is what you should concentrate on, getting quality people like the exceptional Mike Joy , I know they are out there. Say what you want but Wally Dallenbach was way better than these clowns.This is the REAL issue, better people for a great sport.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 6:43PM,

I respect your right to have that opinion, but Larry McReynolds is the hardest working and best informed NASCAR TV personality in the business.

Not only does he work on the weekly SPEED shows, but he works as an analyst on the practice and qualifying shows. Then, he starts the year with Fox Sports on every Cup Series race. When that package is over, he transitions right into the TNT package. For the last seventeen races, he works on several SPEED shows and guests on many interview programs. His own pet project, entitled NASCAR Performance, runs all season long with Chad Knaus and Bootie Barker.

Wally D. has no interest in NASCAR, does not attend races other than the TNT package, does not participate in any NASCAR media activities, and is never heard from again by NASCAR fans the day after the TNT package is over.

Everyone has their own taste, and certainly Mr. Myers is not my favorite, but I find the currentl line-up on Fox, SPEED and ESPN to be the most credible and competent NASCAR announcers in many years.


Anonymous said...

Well the SPEED website has an article up with the ISC's senior director denying that they plan to make such a drastic change to the track. He said plans for a restrictor plate race aren't even at a discussion stage.

I'm sick of ESPN's sensationalistic use of their "Breaking News" and reporting rumors as such. It reminds me of a tabloid site like TMZ.

Deborah said...

Gillian Zucker was on XM this evening answering fan questions and getting feedback about what fans thought about the idea to change the track. She indicated that they were going to explore whether it was something that was possible then it might move up the food chain higher if it was realistic. This topic was discussed extensively on "Dialed In" and has been quite a topic for debate on various fan forums. Hard to see how it's "non-news" that ESPN shouldn't have been covering like they did if Gillian is continuing to discuss it, other motorsports media are giving it attention and fans are talking about it.

Anonymous said...

I think some points may be missed in my remarks bout the people on FOX. Barney Fife was was the hardest working student in his Karate class. How did that work out for him. I see no attempt for them to try and improve. Larry,( whose voice sometimes is worse than fingernails on a chalkboard)DW( who is wrong more than he is right)and Hammond( who is just plain bad) are too arrogant to try and improve. All I'm saying as well as others, such as MR. Bigelow, is that treat us viewer with some respect, either improve or replace these people with people with better skills, like Mike Joy, he is terrific! Time for them to start watching what ESPN is doing now.

Billy Delyon said...

Hyped story for sure. Yikes. Breaking news...


If they want to change the Fontana track, make it into a Rockingham, a 3/4 mile short track that sits 80,000. Heck, make it a west coast bristol. Build a west cost bristol, the fans would come IMO.

Parcells burned Mort with that story no doubt. Made Bill look pretty bad and underhanded, not the way to treat guys you worked with IMO.. Thats his M.O. though apparently. The fox.com story about it all makes a pretty strong case against parcells and the way he handled his latest contract escapade's.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Absolutely did not say it was non-news. The issue is did it rate national "breaking news" and the lead story on NN?

Non-news is reserved for comments and gossip and tidbits that TV news shows want to pass along, but they are not hard facts. That would be news.

If I was Ms. Zucker, I would continue to try and get the message of change out to the public. It makes sense.


Deborah said...

JD, at 10:55 this morning you said here in the comments section:

"What we are talking about is news vs. non-news. Announcing a date to begin construction of a new surface is news. Telling a reporter that you might consider an idea that was told to you over the weekend by a driver but you have not checked with anyone in your management loop, the sanctioning body or done anything about it is not news."

Maybe you meant something different than how it reads to me but my interpretation was that comments from Gillian Zucker considering an idea to change her track was "not news."

I agree completely that since this may never happen it's not worthy of a huge breaking news banner but it seems to me just days after a huge debacle at this track which created a huge uproar, a story about potential changes shouldn't be buried either. This isn't gossip or rumor, these are comments directly from the track president. It's fact at least according to what she said this evening that she's looking at making changes to the track and that she wants to explore the idea of making the track into a restrictor plate track further to see if it has merit.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- I am surprised how strident the comments were from Larry Mc and Jeff H - both re Michael W and Ms. Zucker. Sounds like both were still worn out from Fontana.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting us share on you blog page, JD. It sure looks like the current blog kept you busier than normal. I'm really glad that you do maintain your page so well and keep it clean and intelligent. Today I more or less left another racing related message board because it had just gotten completely out of hand and become more like Romper Room.

It's nice to know that I can always count on your blogs for intelligent, thought provoking topics. It's even nicer that pretty much all the responses to your topics of discussion are intelligent, too.

Keep up the great work!
Christine in Austin, TX.