Monday, May 19, 2008

Indy 500 TV Review And Open Forum Tuesday

We have been getting a lot of email asking for a one-time TV discussion of the Indy 500. Since there is no TV-related website that deals with open-wheel racing, readers would like a place to preview and then talk about the race telecast on ABC.

Please give us your feedback about whether or not you would be interested in reading a TV preview of the Indy race, participating in a live blog during the event, and then responding to a column about the TV coverage.

Also, there will once again be a live question and answer forum on Tuesday beginning at 9AM. Last week we had a great response, you can read that post by clicking here. Once again, we will be talking NASCAR TV and using some of our friends to help answer the questions you may have about any TV issues.

The post for the Q&A will be up at 9AM, so please do not post your questions here. Thanks for helping us with the Indy 500 feedback, we will update that issue on Tuesday.

To post your comment, just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy directions. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and help us with this issue.


SophiaZ123 said...

Yes, I am very interested in a column/blog about the Indy 500. It should be more interesting than the 600 race, with the COT car issues still needing tweaked!! Difficulty passing and fuel issues and all.

Indy should be a decent race.

Cypress said...

Yes, I am interested in Indy 500 coverage from you. I really don't like open-wheel racing... but with the reunification of CART and INDY, Danica in the news with a win, and the COT having problems, it seems like this is an excellent year to compare and contrast the product, especially with them head-to-head on Memorial Day. I am sure there are some things Indy does with their telecast that would be good for Nascar and it would be interesting to hear those observations from someone like you.

Bucky Butler said...

I've always been interested in what your commentary regarding open wheel racing coverage would be. Now that we have a unified series, we won't have concern ourselves with two different broadcasts. If the only commentary I can get is the Indy 500, so be it. As a long time motorsport and broadcasting enthusiast I would be intrigued about your opinion contrasting the two styles. Even the two styles within the "ABC Family". I share your opinon of Marty Reid. He's a professional broadcaster in the truest sense and Scott Goodyear is the best race analyst in the business. The addition of Eddie Cheever to the booth for the qualifying shows has been a welcome one. I'm looking forward to the race, the broadcast and your insightful opinion.

Anonymous said...

Diane said....

Absolutely! As I watched the qualifying (or rather non-qualifying this weekend) I found myself saying "Where is JD when you need him?". My next thought was did they move the production crew from last years NASCAR coverage to Indy. It was the worst. Not so much the announcers, but just the confusion in coverage of the event. The IRL could use your equivalent...know you are so busy with NASCAR:-)...the coverage of all the races is pretty poor.

Hope enough people want this as I think it's a great idea!


bevo said...

Yes sir!
The tension between Cheever and Goodyear has been amazing so far. I still miss Marty on the NHRA telecasts but he's been great so far this year on the IRL races.

Can't wait until Sunday, my favorite race day of the year. Breakfast in Monte Carlo, lunch in Indy and dinner in Charlotte.

Rick said...

I'm for it.

Daly Planet Editor said...


That is one of the most amazing aspects of the coverage so far. Cheever totally disregards almost everything Goodyear says and speaks over-top of him constantly.

That should be interesting during the actual race.


Anonymous said...

Didn't ABC change the production team on INDY 500 coverage recently?
The group this past weekend seemed lost alot of the time. I read another post that says they incorrectly identifies Dan Wheldon's car on the track while they were interviewing Dan Wheldon.
Bring back Bob Jenkins and Paul Page!!!!!

red said...

great idea, jd! my youngest daughter is a big fan and has been jonesing for three weeks, missing her drivers. as for me: i like watching those races but i admit to being more than a little startled when the cars just disintegrate upon crashing! yes, i understand all the force dynamics and transfer involved but it's still disconcerting to watch gigantic chunks of the car go flying. we'll be watching together so i'll keep the laptop running!

it will be an interesting column, to say the least! unification of the two open wheel series; second, third and fourth generation racers; new blood; old guard and a ton of history at a great track!

Tracy said...

I'd love it!

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

Hi JD,
don't know if I will post live while the race is on but will read all posts. Look forward to the review. As I posted on the other thread, maybe you can enlighten us a little more on the "Virtual Indy" that I had seen on Sunday. It was the first time I have seen it, and enjoyed it very much.

Anonymous said...


I seem to remember Cheever having past experience with ESPN as a fill-in during Formula One coverage many years ago - maybe paired with Bob Varsha?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 8:09PM,

I remember him on-the-air, but cannot put the series and the event in my mind. F-1 is absolutely a possibility.

I have some great F-1 stories from the years at ESPN, but I guess that is for another blog sometime.


Karen said...

Yes, I'd like a column/blog, too. Watched the bump day coverage in the p.m. and didn't know the drivers really but coverage was exciting as the time wound down.

Didn't really pay attention to Cheever and Goodyear, but you can bet I'll be watching for that on Sunday.

Karen said...


Will also be keeping an eye on Graham Rahal. He's a chip off the ol' block if there ever was one.

Brian said...

I would love to see a column about the 500 coverage... I'll be at the track but will love to read it when I get back

Dannyboy said...

Nooooo! PLEASE! No Bob Jenkins! (Just kidding))

In fact, it is ironic that the TV coverage of open wheel has followed open wheel itself down the tubes.

I can remember (yes, I'm THAT old) when fans complained about Jenkins as the "Ken Squier of Indycar racing." And Paul Page wasn't far behind.

Today, us old farts realize just how good we had it by comparison to the empty suits the networks often put up on the screen.

Scott Goodyear is but a pale shadow of how great Bobby Unser was as race analyst. And the team of Unser, Paul Page, Sam Posey and Jack Arute in the pits may be the best that ever worked the race.

I have always wondered who it was that Bobby ticked off so that he disappeared from the ABC telecast suddenly after years as the best color man on TV.

If I had my druthers as to a crew for this year's race it would be Paul Page as the anchor, Bob Varsha as the play-by-play announcer, with Scott Pruett and perhaps Alex Zanardi doing color. Put Jack Arute, and Derek Daly in the pits and I'm a happy camper!

glenc1 said...

ever hear Paul Page do figure skating? Now that was something to behold, lol. Classy guy; goes where the network sends him and makes the best of it.

I personally have been watching a lot of the open wheel stuff and would welcome commentary. Marty Reid is excellent. I know Eddie is arrogant, but I find myself really enjoying what he had to say. Anyone see the bit with the Michael Andretti stand up? That was a hoot. Ya think Eddie still has grudges, lol? But the comments about the drivers and drama about whether or not they would make qualifying runs, the personal stories of the teams (especially the underfunded small teams like Sarah Fisher's) I found to be very good.

Sam Walker said...

Great idea to have a forum Sunday for Indy.

BTW...Bob Jenkins has fallen all the way down the announcing totem pole to "Turn 2" announcer for the Indy Radio Network this year.

And here's something to ponder...what if the Hulman's insistence that the 500 be shown only on tape delay was still around? I kinda miss Jim McKay, Sam Posey and Jackie Stewart, but thats just me.

Ritchie said...

Mr. Daly,

Although I certainly wouldn't be against seeing a post about the Indy 500 coverage, I can't embrace all of this open wheel love that seems to be emanating from other NASCAR fans. Please let me explain.

I grew up a fan of NASCAR, when NASCAR was considered a backwoods racing series at best. At the time Indy Car insiders, and some fans looked upon NASCAR with contempt and treated its fans very disrespectfully. Even when open wheel racing was falling apart, many of the Indy insiders still treated NASCAR as if it wasn't worthy of its status as the #1 racing series in the US.

Now, with the reunification, I am finding that the Indy Car Series is trying to piggy-back itself off of many of the NASCAR websites and podcasts. I find this ironic, and a little irritating considering how Indy Car treated NASCAR in the '80s and early '90s.

Just wanted to vent. Thanks for letting me.

Sam Walker said...

Just found this...great list of history of announcers for the 500...

Daly Planet Editor said...


I get tons of email from NHRA fans who want me to talk about their sport. The biggest issue is Paul Page covering the NHRA.

Once the old guard like the late Steve Evans and Dave McClelland moved on, it was Marty Reid who fans got used to when he moved over from Indy Cars and off-road.

Needless to say, the over-the-top style of Page is not playing too well with some NHRA folks. It is amazing that the open-wheel world does not have a "Mike Joy" type to carry the sport.


glenc1 said...

Ritchie, I don't think you have to justify your feelings. I am not all that fond of the 'powers that be' in Indy racing and some of their decisions. I just enjoy the racing, the history, the stories, and quite honestly, the broadcasts in May come at a time without much else going on (I'm not a baseball fan). I also find it somewhat amusing that guys like Ganassi who've had so much success in open wheel have not been able to have that same kind of success in NASCAR (though he's won a few races, it's hardly consistent.) Penske's the only one who'd done it pretty well.

But NASCAR has worked in tandem *with* the IRL to fight other series imposing on their territory. I think them having the Brickyard race helped cement a relationship between the series--there are truck races run with Indy races, etc, but it works advantageously for both, so I think we can expect more. They're kind of 'using' each other for mutual benefit (ie, m-o-n-e-y.) So even if NASCAR execs felt that the open wheel series looked down on them once, they've gotten over it now.

It's kind of funny--people have that stereotype of the NASCAR infield, but I've heard tell the Indy500 crowd is the rowdiest of all.

Alex said...

"It is amazing that the open-wheel world does not have a "Mike Joy" type to carry the sport."

I think for so long, that voice was Paul Page. The irony is that he and Marty Reid have effectively swapped roles. I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there that wouldn't mind hearing Page and the theme from Delta Force to introduce the Indy 500 again.

Another big problem is not only a good lead announcer, but colorful analysts to back him up. Tom Sneva for years filled that role, and I've been loving the banter between the normally-upbeat Scott Goodyear and the realist Eddie Cheever.

It's been fun listening to them discuss controversial moments in the past such as Cheever's run-in with Marco Andretti at The Glen in 2006 and Goodyear's costly mistake at Indy in 1995. Having someone else for Goodyear to feed off of has relaxed him quite a bit and he doesn't seem to be talking at the viewer as much.

Dannyboy said...

Couple of things:

1) SAM WALKER: Thanks for the link to IMS TV announcers etc, but it was incomplete. I added another zero at the end and it worked. That's a great page with mucho info!

2) Ritchie you are entitled to feel that way since before the split, Indycar fans were as bad as Boston Red Sox fans for being arrogant. They were as bad as F1 snobs.

I have been following all motorsports since the 1960s, and have been a competitor as well. The Indy 500 was above and beyond any other racing event, to the point where people who never watched any other race watched it, like the World Series and the Super Bowl. My Mom was one of those; her familiarity with racing from the 500 was the factor that induced her to look at NASCAR (plus the fact that she's from the South ;-) She's now at 77 a committed Jeff Gordon fan and watches most of the races.

Re: Something from another post: Eddie Cheever a "realist"? More like a wet blanket! Eddie can't go on TV without trying to get even for some imagined slight at the hands of one of his competitors. Nevertheless, he's "fun" to watch ;-)

3) JD - I agree that Evans (god rest his soul) and McClelland have no peers, but Page is a welcome familiar voice for me, despite his generic announcer background. He's really good at that, and he doesn't deserve to do hot dog eating contests!

I think one reason there isn't a Mike Joy type for other series is that Mike is soooo incredibly knowledgeable about American cars, which gives him a leg up over someone like a Bill Webber (ugh) because Joy is first a car guy and second a broadcaster. Not to mention a very good one with that magic "voice". I didn't know any of this until I watched him on the Barrett-Jackson broadcasts and am stunned by his encyclopedic knowledge of Detroit iron.

Thanks so much for this forum :-)

bevo said...


For me and many others we just love auto racing in all of it's forms. F1 for the technical aspects, drag racing for the raw horsepower and instant win or go home, Le Mans for the endurance of man and machine, sprint cars on small dirt tracks for the pure love of racing and so on. Every form has it's advantages and can be appreciated on it's own terms.

I feel sorry for people who think that the only exciting racing is NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Ritchie said...

Hi bevo, I appreciate your sympathy for me. However, I think you misunderstood my intent.

I have no problem with people enjoying IRL, the Indy 500, or any other form of racing. However, for people who are like me and grew up around NASCAR before it was #1 in the US, seeing the IRL trying to use NASCAR themed media platforms to promote their series is somewhat hypocritical. For years Indy types looked down on NASCAR, and especially NASCAR fans, as inferior. Now, they suddenly want us to share our time and wealth with them.

I think it is hypocrical. Nothing more. I certainly don't want anyone thinking that I believe they shouldn't enjoy other forms of racing.

Anonymous said...

bevo 228 ... excellent post ,,,, my exact feelings .... KJAX

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thank you for all the feedback. There will be an Indy 500 preview story up this week, a live forum during the race and a column about the TV coverage after the event.


Adam T. Martin said...

Anon 3:09- "Bring back Bob Jenkins and Paul Page!!!!!"

I entirely agree with you.

Both Bob and Paul still work for ESPN. Paul Page is calling NHRA Drag Racing while Bob Jenkins is calling the Indy Pro Light series.

One of these days, I would hope ESPN/ABC would move them back to the sports that made them famous for their commentary.

Anonymous said...