Sunday, March 9, 2008
ESPNEWS Suddenly A Player In NASCAR On TV
After the Atlanta NASCAR Sprint Cup race was over, TV viewers had a place to go when the live Fox coverage was done.
It was not SPEED Channel. It was not NASCAR Now on ESPN2. It was not the local news. The new player in post-race live NASCAR programming is the ESPNEWS Network.
Since the first race weekend at Daytona it was clear that things had changed with a lot of elements in the ESPN portion of the NASCAR TV package. One change that flew under-the-radar was ESPN's own sports news network returning to an on-air practice they once did regularly several years ago.
After the races, the key players stop by the Infield Media Center and talk with the assembled media. The entire thing is uplinked by the NASCAR Media Group, and is available to stations and networks to record.
This live TV is golden for ESPNEWS, and that was never more apparent than immediately after the Sprint Cup race in Atlanta. From the moment that Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Junior sat down as the second and third place finishing drivers, things got interesting.
Not only were Stewart and Earnhardt's comments live, the best part is the ability of the TV viewers to hear national NASCAR reporters and writers in the Media Center ask the questions. This give-and-take with a group of people who see each other for forty weeks a year is fascinating.
The ESPNEWS anchors were amazed by the frank comments and the anger toward Goodyear exhibited by Stewart and Earnhardt. Each in their own way put Goodyear through the ringer because of the hard tires and bad racing.
ESPNEWS stayed with these comments until the end, and then added additional recorded footage of race winner Kyle Busch moments after it happened. Even Joe Gibbs and his son JD were on-the-air, talking candidly about their racing business.
This was a side of NASCAR that fans wanted to see, and was missed when ESPNEWS stopped this practice last season. To have the network make a new commitment to this coverage, and then come through with flying colors so far this season is wonderful.
If you watched this coverage, please feel free to share your opinion. If you did not, the same thing will be done for each Sprint Cup race throughout the season. To add a comment, just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the directions.
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