Saturday, April 19, 2008

In-Progress In Mexico City: Nationwide Series Qualifying


Saturday at 11:30AM on ESPN2 the qualifying session for the Nationwide Series comes along from Mexico City.

This program will be anchored by Jerry Punch, with Rusty Wallace and Ray Evernham alongside in the announce booth for analysis. Reporting from pit road will be Vince Welch, Dave Burns and Mike Massaro.

This tight road course in Mexico City has been around for a while now, and played host to all kinds of racing. For the big Nationwide Series cars, it is going to be important to try and qualify at the front of the field.

Juan Pablo Montoya is not in this race, so it has become an interesting mix of road course "ringers," Nationwide regulars and Hispanic drivers added to the field for regional flavor.

The actual race will be on Sunday at 1:30PM Eastern Time on ESPN. That presentation will feature Allen Bestwick and the NASCAR Countdown gang joining Punch and company.

This post will serve to host your comments about the Nationwide Series qualifying on ESPN2. To add your comment, simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page, and thanks for taking the time to stop by.

28 comments:

stricklinfan82 said...

Well yesterday I questioned ESPN's qualifying format explanation because it did not include the go-or-go-homers being grouped together.

After reading the qualiyfing order online I guess they were right afterall, and it was NASCAR that completely dropped the ball today.

I loved the idea to group the go-or-go-homers together in the interest of fairness. Now all of a sudden we get a very important Mexico race with 47 cars and a LONG expensive trip home for those that miss the show and the most opportune chance ever to have equal qualifying conditions (with 5 or 6 cars on the track at the EXACT SAME time).... and NASCAR dumps the rule????

What the hell is that all about? That is very unfair and I'll be very sorry for the go-or-go-homers that miss the field by qualifying in potentially very different conditions.

I'd like to see ESPN bring this up at some point. Unfortunately Rusty and Ray's cars are already locked in or else I'm sure they would have already had some very interesting comments on this subject.

Anonymous said...

Actually. The Road-Course Format they use is more fair. Because the slower cars go first and the fastest go last, when it is hotter.

alex said...

I'm pretty sure the GOGH group qualifying is only used in the Cup series.

I agree that it would make sense to do group sessions for Top-30 and for GOGH, but since it's not the cup series they probably don't have enough pressure from the teams to change the format.

Anonymous said...

stricklinfan82, I think your anger is out of place. I agree with anon @ 1:04 PM. I think the system they are using today is more fair!! the slower cars will go first when it is cooler, hence, a much more fair rule. NASCAR did not drop the ball on anything.

stricklinfan82 said...

alex,

They use the same qualifying rules in the Nationwide Series and Truck Series. All 3 series group the go-or-go-homers together at the end of the session.

anon,

I'm going to have to disagree with you on the fairness of the situation. The go-or-go-home battle is very important and is often decided by a small margin, so with weather and track condition changes they made it much more fair and grouped them together in qualifying. To arbitrarily dump that rule for this one race and allow one go-or-go-homer to qualify as much as 90 minutes after another is far from fair.

The go-or-go-home qualifying order rule should not be any different at Mexico than it is at Daytona, Bristol, or Texas.

Once the decision was made that it was important in the interest of fairness to group the go-or-go-home cars together every week starting in 2008, it makes no sense to arbitrarily decide to remove that element of fairness for this single race. I'm sure the guys that were affected would completely agree.

jfs-va said...

Well...let's see. A debate about qualifying rules/order but zero comments about the broadcast. Then again, I only caught a few minutes of it because it's spring and the lawn was calling me.

Lisa Hogan said...

I was able to watch the last portion of practice yesterday and most of the qualifying today.

I still feel that ESPN sees these sessions as an opportunity to give their "talent" air time. I'd rather see and hear the cars.

Road course races are my least favorite. I have no interest in the non-NASCAR drivers who only enter these events.

Whatever Strick and Sophia post is fine by me.

I'm watching the ARCA race on SPEED. :)

stricklinfan82 said...

Okay, if my memory serves me right this is only the second time ESPN has covered a qualifying coverage this year. The race coverage has improved this year but based on this broadcast their qualify session has not made the same strides. Here were the two issues I had last year that still haven't been fixed this year based on today's broadcast:

1.) The car on the track is in way too small of a box on the screen

There is still way too much clutter on the ESPN screen during qualifying. The scoring ticker on the top is great. The lap tracker that shows the driver's position and margin from the pole "as of now" is great. All the other clutter needs to go. All the track map and associated data on the bottom of the screen can go. And all those useless stats and driver pictures on the right side of the screen can go.

It is an eye sore for me to see the car on the track in such a tiny box and clutter everywhere around it.

2.) ESPN still basically ignores the go-or-go-home drama

Besides a couple instances of Ray Evernham stating something like "this guy needs to have a good lap to make this race", ESPN put zero effort into following the go-or-go-home battle. Nothing on the crawl showed us who the go-or-go-homers were. They rarely even said "this guy is a go-or-go-homer" when they appeared on camera".

This became especially evident when Erik Darnell spun on his first lap. Ray Evernham immediately alerted everyone he is a go-or-go-homer and desperately needs to pull it together and have a great lap to make the show. ESPN followed up on this by never telling us who was currently on the bubble or what position he needed to reach to make the field, by never showing Darnell again on camera, and never even verbally mentioning his name again to follow-up on the story.

And of course they left the air without ever mentioning a word about who missed the field or even showing a complete starting lineup. I guess I'll have to search on the Internet to find out who missed the field in the qualifying session I just watched on TV. You'd think that vital information would have been documented on the TV broadcast but obviously ESPN still hasn't grasped the importance of "go or go home". Sigh.

Anonymous said...

stricklinfan82, you seem to be under the impression that all go or go homers are slow and need help. Not all of them do...The ones that were slow, got to go first. that is Fair. more fair than the rule you want IMO.

Anonymous said...

Well Evernham proved himself to be either an idiot, or very limited in his knowledge of other than oval racing. He actually said that it didn't matter that much if you qualified up front in a road course race. That all a fast qualifying time told you was that you had a fast car.

It doesn't matter if you qualify upfront in a 500 mile oval race, but it sure matters in a road course.

stricklinfan82 said...

Anonymous said...
stricklinfan82, you seem to be under the impression that all go or go homers are slow and need help. Not all of them do...The ones that were slow, got to go first. that is Fair. more fair than the rule you want IMO.

April 19, 2008 2:07 PM


NASCAR has implemented in a rule in 2008 for all 3 major series that in the interest of fairness the go-or-go-homers would all qualify together at the end of these qualifying sessions to minimize the advantage/disadvatange of the qualifying draw and allow every go-or-go-homer to qualify in as equal conditions as possible.

Many drivers and team owners (most notably Michael Waltrip) cried out for this change last year and NASCAR responded by changing the rule this year to lump the go-or-go-homers together in qualifying.

I agreed with Michael and the many others that cried out for this change last year and I was thrilled to see them put the go-or-go-homers on a level playing field.

To see NASCAR do a complete 180 and arbitrarily throw away this rule this weekend just made no sense to me, so that's why I displayed disbelief in ESPN telling me about this change yesterday and that's why I expressed a desire to see the announcers share their thoughts on that topic today.

You can argue all you want about the 2008 go-or-go-home qualifying order rule. If you hate the new 2008 qualifying order rule and wish things were back to the old way that's a completely different discussion.

The bottom line is NASCAR thought this would be a great rule in the interest of fairness and implemented it. They determined that the go-or-go-homers need to qualify together in the interest of fairness and equality.

My disgust over the situation is that NASCAR all of a sudden screwed the go-or-go-homers and rescinded the rule for this week and this week alone. They decided this week it would once again be fair to have one go-or-go-homer qualify as much as 90 minutes after another, in potentially vastly different conditions.

You could have still grouped the cars based on speeds, but the 17 go-or-go-homers should have been grouped together at the end of the session instead of being mixed in with the locked in cars.... like they have been ALL YEAR LONG under the new rule.

That's my opinion on the subject. If NASCAR determined that it's imperative for the go-or-go-homers to qualify together in every series in 2008 in the interest of fairness, that rule should apply for every race, not every race but the Daytona 500 and the Mexico Nationwide race.

Anonymous said...

Ok Enough talk about the racing. How about the broadcast.

I think that the boxes and stuff that ESPN uses for its qualifying coverage actuall works on a road-course, because there are five cars on the track at the same time.

But when they return to oval qualifying I would like to see full screen version of the car and a simple ticker at the top.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see that the IndyCar race has been moved to ESPN Classic?

I know this is NASCAR Discussion. But this is a race on ESPN networks. I bet those IRL fans are upset.

Vicky said...

I think JP already sounds tired and it's not even half-way through the year, also we don't need Rusty being in the broadcast booth although he did make a comment about one car making a fast lap and hoping that this car's team heard him on the tv to come in after that lap. I believe ESPN should have a different crew doing the NW series broadcasts that way they could have their own identity like the truck/ARCA series does.

PammH said...

Off topic-I just checked ESPN Classic-no race!

RaceFan said...

Did anyone see that the IndyCar race has been moved to ESPN Classic?

I know this is NASCAR Discussion. But this is a race on ESPN networks. I bet those IRL fans are upset.

April 19, 2008 2:54 PM
PammH said...
Off topic-I just checked ESPN Classic-no race!

April 19, 2008 3:22 PM

Come on people!!!
The race was rained out in Japan and was to be shown tape delayed today. Because of the rain out we now get the race LIVE on Classic tonight!!

Lisa Hogan said...

Great job by the SPEED crew on the ARCA race coverage.

The SPEED crew cover the Truck and ARCA races for the race fan. They do a much better job than the big networks!

Anonymous said...

PammH said...
Off topic-I just checked ESPN Classic-no race!

April 19, 2008 3:22 PM


Well yeah!!! because the race hasn't started yet!!! the race will be on at 10pm EDT. it was rained out. what do you expect. its the same thing the would have happened if a truck race was rained out. The trucks are the only thing comparable to indycar. Nationwide and sprint series have a much bigger audience.

stricklinfan82 said...

Lisa,

I agree about the ARCA race. I have to give a major thank you to the people at Speed Channel for spending the time and money to send a crew to the stand-alone Iowa race and provide love coverage of a very good race.

Speed, I'm still pushing you to return to televising the ENTIRE series, dirt tracks and all! :)

Obviously some of the production elements weren't up to par with the NASCAR races because of having fewer cameras, pit reporters, etc. but it was still a very enjoyable broadcast nonetheless.

And whoever made the call on the last lap camera work did a FANTASTIC job cutting away from the leader for a few seconds on the last lap to show a pass for 3rd place and for having a nice and long camera shot of the finish line to catch most, if not all, of the cars finishing.

Thank you very much whoever you are. It's a shame that this fundamental last lap camera work is excellent in the Nationwide broadcasts, the ARCA broadcasts, and the Truck broadcasts, yet is noticably lacking in the broadcasts of the biggest series of them all - the Cup Series.

You would think it would be the other way around wouldn't you? You'd think the entire field would be treated as more of a priority in Cup than it is in the other lower-tiered series.

I hope the Fox decision maker(s) on last lap camera work, whoever they may be, were watching today and took notes :)

PammH said...

Well yeah!!! because the race hasn't started yet!!! the race will be on at 10pm EDT. it was rained out. what do you expect. its the same thing the would have happened if a truck race was rained out. The trucks are the only thing comparable to indycar. Nationwide and sprint series have a much bigger audience.

April 19, 2008 4:47 PM

I didn't realize that. Sorry I honked you off..

Anonymous said...

Talent??.....Lisa surely you didn't mean Jerry,Ray and Stevens dad. Move the truck announce team up to do Nationwide races.

Anonymous said...

This is loosely related since NASCAR fans will have to deal with this same problem this fall (or sooner), but...

I think it's kind of funny (and sad) I got to watch an ARCA race in HD today and will have to watch an IRL race in standard def because of a stupid high school basketball game.

Anonymous said...

ESPN should revvamp their classic channel to make it "ESPN Motor".

Not only is NASCAR programming being pushed there, but IRL now too.

ESPN has the rights too IRL, Indy Lights, Nationwide Series, Sprint Cup, Champ Car Atlantic (Still exists), NHRA Powerade, NHRA Lucas Oil, Rally Car, and the list goes on and on of ESPN's other motorsports programs. They deffenitly have enough program to make a channel devoted to motorsports.

IF they can make a channel called ESPNU, they can ESPN Motor

Anonymous said...

Amazing! Marty Reid and Scott Goodyear are in Longbeach calling the Japan race. Jack Arute in the ONLY pit reporter and ONLY ESPN Crew Member actually in Japan.

SophiaZ123 said...

***CONTAINS SPOILER OR IRL if you DVR/taped it***


Why NO SIDE BY SIDE in IRL for race in Japan???

Because it was on CLASSIC?

As soon as that is answered, what is more exciting is

(WARNING SPOILER OR WINNER OF RACE)

<


<

<

I am not kidding. Here is the winner.


<

<

<

<

<

Danica Patrick FINALLY WON! Woo hoo. Saw history in the making. Only led the last lap or so but that's all you need to win.

KUDOS and I hope she is on Wind Tunnel!!

Sorry to get off topic JD but this IS worth a mention imo.

Anonymous said...

The reason there is no side-by-side coverage at Japan is because there never is. The race is shown twice. It is shown once LIVE and once TAPED. Side-By-Side does not work with a taped version of a broadcast.

Also it could have something to do with ESPN Was not the official broadcaster of the Japan race. They had a host broadcaster from Japan, similar how SPEED Channel covers F1

Anonymous said...

Regarding Arca race...at the beginning Rick and Phil commented that due to a low hanging overcast the helicopter that provides other camera views could not go up.

Regarding IRL...not sure if the boys were always in Long Beach or if because of the rain postponement they flew back to US to cover LB.

Striklinfan82...you have many good ideas, but you need to relax...it's racing not curing cancer or fighting a war.

SophiaZ123 said...

Anon

Thank YOU for explaining the lack of side by side for the Japan Race.

It was missed!