Wednesday, June 25, 2008

NASCAR Lawsuit In The Media - Continuing Post


Here we go. This will be the expanding post that will watch the development of the TV and Internet treatment of the Grant lawsuit. This has nothing to do with the merit or lack of merit of the allegations. We watch the media and this is going to be a critical time for the sport.

In her own words: Before you begin reading, hear Ms. Grant's comments on a phone call at Foxsports.com. Here is the link, the video is on the right side of the page. Click on "Grant talks lawsuit" under the video links. She speaks about the situation in the Nationwide Series as a whole.

Comment from her lawyer: This is the link to the SI.com story that interviews Grant's lawyer who offers his view of Grant's experiences in the sport. Here is a short excerpt:

"This (NASCAR) isn't a sophisticated operation; this is a bunch of nudniks hanging around together who just happen to be onto something because they were enterprising what is now a billion-dollar business. And they haven't caught up with the fact that America actually has laws protecting women, people of color, people over 40 years old, etcetera."

From an HR professional: This is the link to an HR professional's view of the issue at hand. It contains another non-racing opinion that may help to put things in a new light.

Read the lawsuit: Yahoo! Sports has the lawsuit available in a pdf file format to view or download. Just click on this link. There is no better way to understand the situation than to read the actual documents filed in this civil matter.

Now the first print interview: Grant wound-up at SI.com and that might be with good reason. There is no overt connection with the SI.com folks and NASCAR other than reporting the news. Click here to read the interview she gave to Tom Bowles.

Friday:

8PM EDT - NASCAR has suspended and sent home from Kentucky two Nationwide Series officials (both named in the lawsuit) for violating unspecified company policy. Here are the SI and ESPN.com story links.

8:25PM - Here is Marty Smith on ESPNEWS Hot List talking about the issue.

8:30PM - Extended story of the suspensions from the Associated Press. Mentions investigators interviewing Nationwide Series officials in Kentucky. Speaks to no incidents reported by Grant.

9PM - No mention of the entire Grant lawsuit issue on Trackside on SPEED. Focus on Cup Series, driver interviews and Father's Day.

10PM - Very nice job by NASCAR Now of stepping into the issue in an informed manner and presenting a lot of different views and personalities. The only real problem was Brad Daugherty. According to NASCAR.com it was Daugherty and Brian France who co-founded NASCAR's Diversity Council several years ago.

So, the person speaking with host Ryan Burr about this situation was the original head of NASCAR's diversity efforts. Daugherty never disclosed this, never talked about his personal views on the lawsuit, and never offered any real content.

What he did do was follow the corporate line of NASCAR, with whom he is no longer employed or associated in an official capacity. Daugherty is now an ESPN NASCAR commentator, and has struggled to define his role.

Like it or not, this one issue may dominate Daugherty's on-air life as the story grows out of the niche shows like NASCAR Now and migrates over to SportsCenter and Outside The Lines.

11PM - Tradin' Paint on SPEED chose to begin the show with the Petty Merger and ignore the lawsuit topic completely. The media guest with Kyle Petty was Joe Menzer from the NASCAR.com website. The Grant issue was not even acknowledged on-the-air.

Saturday:

Here is the Yahoo link folks have been emailing and asking about. Here is the link to the actual lawsuit itself.

8PM - Topic handled nicely by Allen Bestwick and Brad Daugherty in the final minutes of NASCAR Countdown before the Nationwide Series race on ESPN2. Also now in rotation on ESPNEWS is the specifics of the suspensions of the two officials.

Sunday:

10AM - NASCAR Now did a very good job with this topic. Nicole Manske presented the known facts and let Marty Smith introduce comments from Brian France played earlier on ESPN. Manske stressed that neither Grant or her attorney would speak to ESPN on this issue.

10:30AM - Wendy Venturini handled the lawsuit issue right at the top of RaceDay and summed up the known facts and then played the same Brian France soundbites. She did it live with no script and then advised viewers SPEED would keep them posted.

12:30PM - Marc Fein at first called the Petty merger the biggest story of the week on NASCAR on TNT Live! At 1PM, TNT used Fein to update the facts of the story and followed the pattern of not involving any commentary from former drivers or crew chiefs. The facts were correct, and TNT moved-on.

1:30PM - New story published on Foxsports.com from a non-NASCAR writer takes Mr. France's comments to task. Interesting perspective on the issue overall from a person not involved in sports TV or the media regularly.

Monday/Tuesday: No stories on TV. NASCAR Now and TWIN avoided the topic totally.

This thread will continue as the location to comment on the TV and Internet coverage of this single issue. Please do not post a comment on the lawsuit itself, as it will be deleted. What we are comparing is the various TV shows and websites as they struggle with a topic very unfamiliar to most of these writers and reporters. You are certainly welcome to comment on that topic.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. We are watching the media coverage on TV and the Internet of the Grant lawsuit. Do not post your comments about the lawsuit, only the media issues surrounding it. Click on the COMMENTS button below to post. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page.

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

JD, this is a good idea for a post. Thank you. In addition to the latest lawsuit news you provided -which defintely affects the Nationwide coverage on ESPN - I also think we should watch how the NASCAR TV media treats the news coming from the the driver's meeting held today. Also may want to watch to see how the TNT and SPEED on-air teams handle the COT now - both pre-race on SPEED and the race on TNT- since it appears the drivers' meeting was not to talk about the lawsuit, but to instruct the drivers to stop complaining about the COT.

Since the media partners were supposedly also "met with" by NASCAR today (and I'm going to guess they were told to stop complaining as well), will there be a change in how they approach issues like this lawsuit or the COT? Did SPEED cover the aftermath of the driver's meeting since they were on the air this morning (I wasn't home, I don't know, but I read elsewhere they didn't talk about it. If someone saw a discussion or interviews with drivers about the meeting on SPEED today, your post would allow them to mention it here.)

Plus there are already conflicting reports about the drivers' meeting. Jim Hunter said it was to emphasize the importance of the fans and their economic hardships to the drivers, yet drivers like Denny Hamlin said they never heard fans mentioned in the meeting. Hmmmmm....

Anonymous said...

NASCAR Now was scheduled to be on tonight at 6:30 Eastern. Did it not come on for some reason? There wasn't a live event listed before it. I was planning on watching the 1 AM version and didn't even try to watch the 6:30 PM. Both NASCAR Nows are still listed on today's Espn.com TV listings.

darbar said...

When the drivers and owners were summoned to a meeting today at MIS, they all thought they were going to be lectured on not talking about the lawsuit. Even Richard Petty said he thought that the meeting was going to be on that issue. But here's the interesting part: the Nascar bigwigs said they talked about how the driver's need to reconnect with the fans while the drivers said that neither the fans nor the lawsuit were mentioned, but they were lectured not to slam the COT anymore in public. So, how's that for honesty?

If Helton and company can't tell the truth as to the real topic of a meeting, how can we expect any kind of truth from them with this lawsuit? Heck, did they really think that every driver and owner would sit there and not tell the media what really went on during the meeting? How stupid are these guys who run Nascar?

Vince said...

NascarNow was on tonight at 6:30pm. I recorded it on my DVR and just watched it. Three minutes into the show they spent five minutes, exactly, talking about the Grant lawsuit. We heard from Marty Smith at the track and Brad D. at some other location. Jeff Burton also commented from the track and Jimmy Johnson and Greg Biffle were quoted on the subject. Nascar's Jim Hunter was also interviewed briefly at the track. I think ESPN did a good job covering this topic. Unlike SPEED who totally ignored it today. Come on SPEED, get with the program. Be objective and report on the issue.

Richard in N.C. said...

One would hope that the media learned something from Michael Nifong and will not jump to conclusions based on one side of the issue just to make headlines.

Anonymous said...

JD,

I am all for being fair, but nobody on TV has discussed the woman filing the lawsuit - where she came from, her record with NASCAR, etc. Why hasn't that happened?

Also, why hasn't anybody on TV (and most any newspaper or websites) gone the extra mile to offer analysis of the lawsuit or the players?

Your thoughts?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Just got done with NASCAR Now, a very positive job by all concerned. Those guys have certainly been the hit of this season where NASCAR TV is concerned.

No mention of anything on Trackside, which is a choice to keep the focus on Sprint Cup, but that might be tough to do as things play-out.

Am presently awaiting Tradin' Paint, which should be interesting.

JD

SophiaZ123 said...

Ok...been out of the loop all night...i am VERY UPSET about the meeting to tell drivers and media to quit GRIPING about the COT?

What are we stupid? This car NEEDS MAJOR WORK, is wearing out the drivers and given them major fume to breathe in issues, doesn't pass, hotter than hades...and EVERYBODY is supposed to believe "ALL IS WELL AND GOOD WITH NASCAR"??

Kenny Wallace even said that sarcastically last week on VL after giving his two cents the COT NEEDS WORK.

Boy, whoever said TPTB at NASCAR are becoming like THE Emperor is wearing no clothes is correct.

We are not drinking the kool aid but I am getting MORE disechanted with the sport. I have no idea what to make of the lawsuit as I don't know the agenda of any party involved.

But I am very depressed to hear ONCE AGAIN the drivers are being stifled in their opinion...and are told to just buck up and drive. And now TNT who was so good at giving their opinion on the safety crew last week (before NASCAR explained their BALONEY excuse) was probably called into the meeting as well.

Wow...I don't know what to think of all of this but it's a sad state of the sport . :(

Pathetic

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:28PM,

The very reason this is so powerful is the Internet stories of exactly who she is and how she got here.

Do yourself a favor and search for her on google and read a bit. Lee Spencer from Foxsports.com also wrote a very powerful column about this young lady because she knows her first-hand.

That is the reason we are all watching this issue, it is about to explode in a very big way. If not this weekend at Michigan, then during the week in Charlotte.

JD

red said...

"anonymous said...
JD,

I am all for being fair, but nobody on TV has discussed the woman filing the lawsuit - where she came from, her record with NASCAR, etc. Why hasn't that happened?"

lee spencer has an article that might be of interest at foxsports. also, you can read the actual filing with the details of the case online. a simple google search will call up that document and, although this site is not intended to discuss the case itself and will focus on how the media handles reporting it, i strongly urge folks to read through the document as part of trying to discern what may have happened. i suspect that the seriousness of the allegations and the cumulative effect of the the alleged incidents may have led to the suspensions in kentucky today.

seems to me that nascar has "a lotta 'splainin' to do" of late, starting with the drug testing policy and running thru the grant case and the meetings today. i'm not certain that circling the wagons is the best approach, especially since 2 officials have now been suspended and the drivers are answering the direct questions about the meeting. the conflicting messages are beginning to stack up.

that being said: nascar holds the cards -- literally -- when it comes to the media and it is certainly within nascar's reach to bar a reporter or newspaper or station from full access at a track if nascar decides to do so. pulling the hard card would seriously effect the ability to do the job and is a very real, if implied, threat.

it is unfathomable to me why nascar is bungling the job of managing the media so badly of late. in addition to the examples above, you have france, seemingly disengaged at the recent petty news conference and then, when asked a question, giving an answer so far removed from the current reality as to be embarassing. is there no one in the organization who has the professional chops to handle these moments?

Daly Planet Editor said...

richard in nc,

Get ready buddy. You are about to see exactly the same parade of the same faces on the cable news networks once this story "breaks" from the sports pages.

That is why we are following it. The sport is about to be shaken and there is nothing they can do to step away from it. Not trying to say there is fault, just saying allegations these days drive the media sometimes more than the reality.

JD

red said...

i have a question: vince stated in a post above that biffle, johnson and burton were interviewed about the grant lawsuit. i don't understand why drivers -- cup drivers, at that -- are being interviewed about a lawsuit that doesn't pertain to them in any way. the allegations are all focused on the n'wide series and the technical staff, not drivers or teams. were i a driver, i'd be saying "i know as much as the average fan about this and i don't have anything to add to what's already out there. next question?"

this is a case where i would REALLY like the press to lay off the drivers and put the focus for answers/quotes where it belongs: on nascar officials. by asking drivers about it and trying to get soundbites, the press are allowing the men who should be answering these questions off the hook and diverting attention from these very serious allegations.

Daly Planet Editor said...

red,

They are all big boys and can simply decline to comment. The media will always "troll" for a comment. The interesting thing is that almost everyone had a PR person right there alongside of them.

JD

SophiaZ123 said...

Aack.

Site froze up on me and lost my post.

Basically I was appalled at Kyle Petty saying it's like comparing COT issues to different basketballs and hoops in their game. HELLO drivers are a LITTLE more involved with the car like CONSTANTLY. J.R. disappointed me too towing the line.

It's embarrassing how NASCAR says the meeting was about one thing and the drivers said something else. NASCAR can't even keep their lies of smoke and mirrors straight to the fans?

Wow..wonder if Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace will be muzzled on RD or VL...KW really went off on how NASCAR needs to listen to drivers about the COT..then ended his little ran by saying "Ratings are up, everybody is happy and life is good" or some such comment. Bet he got hello for that comment...

Darby or Helton need to be in a COT on a 95 degree day with dewpoints in the 70's for about 4 hrs and see their opinion then.

Because NASCAR drivers make A LOT OF MONEY it's ok to make them ill or worse with a terribly designed car...getting sick from dehydration or fumes CAN BE as bad as being under the influence of drugs in case TPTB at NASCAR know so little about the human body.

red said...

"daly planet editor said...
red,

They are all big boys and can simply decline to comment. The media will always "troll" for a comment. The interesting thing is that almost everyone had a PR person right there alongside of them."

ok, so you're shifting the burden from the person who is asking the question to the person who is choosing to answer it. i understand that ultmately, it's the driver's choice to answer or decline. but tell me: what could a pr person have done to intercept the questioning once it had begun anyway? step in front of his/her driver and wave it off? seems to be that the pr person is along for the ride at that point unless you're going to tell me tha the reporter said "hey jeff, i want to ask you about the grant case. are you willing to talk on camera?" is that what happens?

but my question to the media is: why ask the driver in the first place? he has nothing, nada, zero, zip to do with this particular situation. i understand that the drivers are the face of the sport and that it likely seemed, at first blush, to be a logical move to make. but, upon reflection, it isn't. these guys are not involved in this case. and what answer did that microphone holder expect to get? and what could it add to the conversation?

this isn't like the drug issue, where questioning a driver about something that impacts what he does each week and that has a professional connection makes sense.

there's a reason it's called "trolling": you throw out the net and see what gets tangled in the catch. sometimes, it's something you can use, sometimes it's something that has to be thrown back b/c it's too small and sometimes, when you troll, you get garbage. in my opinion, this troll produced just that. this is a very serious set of allegations, getting more compicated by the moment and calls for more intelligent rteporting than the usual "can you tell us what happened out there during that wreck?" sort of question.

it's time for the big boys to step up and start earning those salaries and perks that come with being nascar media.

SophiaZ123 said...

A good friend of mine who was in HR management for years says he expects this lawsuit to disappear with a settlement where there is a gag order and nobody admits to doing anything wrong or right...or however he worded it...brain is tired and hot and can't think.

He hopes this will make it to a court, if it has merit, but since NASCAR is wanting to "pretend this all is not happening" he bets it won't.

Brian said...

I was disappointed to see Tradin' Paint completely ignore this problem. I imagine that ESPN will follow suit tomorrow night but I think that TNT with its history of confronting controversial issues will talk about it during Sunday's pre race.

I will never forget when Jeremy Mayfield sued Evernham and mentioned Erin Crocker in the suit, Bill Weber did a whole story on it during the prerace when everyone else had pretty much ignored it.

Daly Planet Editor said...

red,

The PR folks wave off questions all the time. The media bears no burden because all they ultimately do is record the response. That is why it was a bit weird some folks chose to comment. None of the NASCAR types had a clue, and it made them look bad.

In TV-land, you are never going to get the media not to ask a high-profile person for a comment. If that happened, there would be a new TV reporter there the next weekeend because the old one would get fired.

The print and radio dynamic is very different, and that is why this blog post is going to be so interesting.

Even seeing ESPN address the issue in detail on NASCAR Now and then see SPEED totally ignore it on their issue-oriented Tradin' Paint.

JD

Anonymous said...

"No mention of anything on Trackside, which is a choice to keep the focus on Sprint Cup"
____________
Trackside OFTEN features Busch/nationwide drivers. It's not just a Sprint Cup show. Remember Joey Logano on there a couple weeks back? I've seen a number of Nationwide regulars and Truck regulars on Trackside over the past few years.

I think it's more of a philosophical thing. Trackside is supposed to be a shiny happy show, not a news show. They used to do news, but now that I think about it, the Jeremy Mayfield interview concerning the Evernham matter was the last time I remember news on there - and that involved Mayfield trying to backtrack over his comments about Evernham's absences from the races (this was before the Crocker revalations) and Steve Byrnes not letting him do it. They gloss over any bad news now - they glossed over Carl Edwards' confrontation with Kenseth, barely mentioning it when they had him on the show that very same week.

I don't think Sprint vs Nationwide has anything to do with it.

red said...

"The media bears no burden because all they ultimately do is record the response."

jd, i think we'll agree to disagree here. from my perspective, absolving the media of responsibility by saying that they just ask the question and record the response doesn't work. the media frames the question, the media chooses who to ask and when, the media picks the wording and the topic. only after that's all been done does the question actually get asked and recorded.

when you say that the print and radio dynamic are different than tv, are you saying that one group gets a pass and can ask one level of questions b/c of the immediacy of the moment while the other two groups have more time to frame the conversation? seems to me that good reporting shouldn't necessarily be dependent on which form of media one works for or am i harboring a naive delusion? does marty smith ask a different quality of question for his espn mag articles or columns than when he's holding a microphone at a track?

i agree it will be interesting to see how this is covered going forward but, based on the drug policy fiasco and the hot mess helton et al made of talking about the drivers/owners meeting friday morning at michigan, my only hope is that it gets taken over by non-nascar media. they'll likely sensationalize and screw some stuff up but at least they'll be on the story and won't let it fade away. cynical, yes and i certainly hope i'll be proven wrong over the next two weeks. but i ain't holdin' my breath . . .

Anonymous said...

Also, why hasn't anybody on TV (and most any newspaper or websites) gone the extra mile to offer analysis of the lawsuit or the players?

Yahoo.com's NASCAR page has a legal analysis of the suit from the Yahoo Sports legal analyst. It also has a link to the full lawsuit. I would expect something similar on ESPN or espn.com soon.

SophiaZ123 said...

Anon

WOW..thanks for the tip on the yahoo link. They will settle and soon.

No dirty laundry that way. But I did not realize until reading that article the potential impact on sponsors for the sport if this gets lots of attention. And they are struggling for sponsors on some teams how it is.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on Tradin' Paint. I recorded it last night and was going to watch it this morning but now I know it would just be a waste of my time.

This week has been enough of a Petty lovefest already, and isn't the lawsuit the reason a show like Tradin' Paint exists in the first place?

I won't be a bit surprised if SPEED ignores the whole thing across the board this weekend since they have degenerated into nothing but NASCAR shills lately.

I hope the rain stays away in Michigan and Kentucky today!

red said...

was trading paint pre-recorded?

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

Good Morning JD,
Watched the 1:00am reair of NN. I thought Marty and Brad did OK w/what info they could give us on the record. And it was more than what SPEED dealt to us. I did read the article on FOXsports by Lee Spencer. It was interesting how she documented her education in motorsports that led her to NASCAR.

Daly Planet Editor said...

red,

Tradin' Paint was recorded on Friday at the track.

It will be fun to watch you go through the learning curve of how and why TV is so very different from print and Internet reporting.

As you asked in your comment, the answer is yes. Everything is framed and asked and created differently for TV.

That is why folks like Wendy V. who can mix the two are usually appreciated. She reports and interviews.

Not only should the SPEED coverage today be interesting, but tonight should be fascinating on ESPN2 at 8PM from Kentucky.

JD

Vince said...

A little bit off topic, I live about 2 hours northwest of MIS and the weather here in Michigan to day is fantastic so far! Should be a great day of racing here. Weather dweeb on the local station says no chance of showers here today. But tomorrow is another story.....

red said...

thanks, jd, for the trading paint clarification.

as for my tv learning curve: i agree it will be "interesting." my personal focus has always been the written word and that is where my opinion came from last night. so i willingly concede that i'm carrying a big old yellow stripe here when it comes to analyzing tv reporting.

so, let me start by asking this: across the current tv networks covering nascar right now, today, saturday: what programs/reporters do folks believe should be the ones to go after this story and what programs/reporters should be leaving it alone? someone mentioned that trackside is the "feel good" program while trading paint is the "hard news" forum. accurate? if so, then it sounds like trading paint fell down on the job and they won't be putting a new program out there for a week so they've already lost points with me.

what about pre-race shows/reporters? is there a go-to reporter for nascar hard news? who would that be? why? is it a matter of fan preference or is there some unspoken/unwritten consensus about who delivers in this sort of situation?

i'd really like to hear what folks on this site think, not solely jd, so please jump in here folks!

see, the schooling is about to begin!

Vince said...

JD, your comments about Brad D. in your article are right on. I've got one other comment about him. Isn't he going to be a truck series owner or part-owner next year? Maybe he's dancing around this whole issue because he doesn't want his truck suddenly failing inspection at Daytona next Feb. Stranger things have happened.

Lou,Kingston,NY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa Hogan said...

This is one of those weekends where I will have to record most of the NASCAR coverage to view later.

I do not want to listen to every NASCAR show discuss the lawsuit. The lawsuit will play out however it is going to play out. I will take full advantage of the FF button on my remote for any discussion of the lawsuit. :)

Anonymous said...

Lou,
If the alligations are true, which by NASCAR already suspending officials leeds me to believe the suit has merit, NASCAR deserves what it gets. This day an age, a person has every right to persue the career of their choice, and succeed or fail based upon their talent alone. This was not the case for this young woman. She never gave up. She never quit. The racist underbelly of NASCAR had her fired.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Lou,

Did you really say someone will get rich for less than two years of work?

Perhaps it might be a good time to reflect on that comment for a while.

JD

red said...

one point that i found interesting but can't recall where i read it so i can't cite the source of the thought. france never said the allegations aren't true. what he staked as his psoition is that the plantiff didn't use appropriate reporting channels.

in addition, the response of suspending 2 of the 27 n'wide nascar employees interviewed at kentucky needs to be part of the story. was it a delayed response to a problem they had been told much earlier existed, a response to bad press? or was it an immediate response, made as soon as the allegations were brought to the attention of nascar via the filing of the lawsuit on 10 june?

in my opinion, the questions begin to become more complex than just the she said/he said nature of the original stories.

Anonymous said...

Lisa Hogan, aren't you at least interested in how upper management at NASCAR handles damage control? I think many fans will be following their response to the allegations.

red said...

according to a source, speaking on anonimity b/c of the ongoing investigation: the two individuals suspended yesterday have been identified.
i'm not going to take it on myself to post names. jd, if you feel it is appropriate to do so, the story comes from the AP.

Anonymous said...

Lou,Kingston,NY said...
Unfortunately it will be another black eye, and someone will get rich for less than 2yrs of work.

June 14, 2008 10:27 AM

This sums up the problem NASCAR has with diversity...It not an image problem, many of it's fans actually think this way..Why people can't see that people who are non-white or female have problems in this sport from day 1 is really sad.

"someone will get rich for less than 2yrs of work."

This comment makes me feel bad to be a regular here!

Anonymous said...

The more that comes out the easier it will be for ESPN2

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Two suspended officials are the same two accused of exposing themselves to a former co-worker who has filed a $225 million lawsuit against NASCAR alleging racial discrimination and sexual harassment, the Associated Press has learned.
Tim Knox and Bud Moore have been placed on indefinite administrative paid

darbar said...

Does anyone know how many other women are currently employed in the same position as the plaintiff? I sure would love to hear someone, on any network, talk to them, even anonymously, and get their perspective on how they've been treated. I would love to hear if they've been subjected to similar harrassment from their co-workers. And, more importantly, I would love to hear the plaintiff herself, rather than a talking mouthpiece of a lawyer. While I know lawyers protect their clients, it sure would be nice to hear her side of the issue, on TV, being asked the tough questions.

As to the drivers, does anyone know how much day-to-day contact drivers have with officials? I'm assuming that the plaintiff in this case was one of those officials we see in the white fire suits, who are in the pits during races. Am I wrong on that assumption? If that's the case, I would doubt drivers have very little contact with these officals, and asking them about this case is like asking me my opinion on nuclear physics.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:56AM,

As I said before, nothing in the interviews NASCAR conducted in KY resulted in any memory or statement that Grant every passed along to a supervisor a complaint.

These two suspensions are now old news and a different issue. Trust me, this story is going to continue to break today and Sunday.

JD

red said...

darbar said: "I'm assuming that the plaintiff in this case was one of those officials we see in the white fire suits, who are in the pits during races. Am I wrong on that assumption?"

no, you are correct. the individuals involved are part of the nascar official crew, not team members for race teams.

Anonymous said...

To Red - You asked for other opinions, so here's mine. I am an old guy, and I have been following this sport for 45 years. I usually agree with JD's views expressed here, but I'm with your original views which you attribute to having a rookie stripe. I am sorry to hear you are ready to be reeducated.

My feelings on the television coverage of the sport borders on contempt. I watch it only for the actual racing. Except for some print media, the off-track stories are mostly fluff and hype. It would be funny if it wasn't providing misinformation to so many fans.

Take the brothers Waltrip for instance. Both are shills for NASCAR. I understand they are protecting the sport that has made them millionaires. Where else would these two guys have been able to achieve such inflated egos and financial success? I understand that, but it doesn't mean I have to listen to their opinions or respect them as reporters.

Here's an example, frequently repeated by TV media. "NASCAR is all about safety." "Safety is NASCAR's number one priority." That is historical nonsense that is still nonsense today. NASCAR deserves credit for three safety innovations. They led the development of inner liners on tires, and that has prevented many serious accidents on high speed tracks. That goes back to the 1960's. NASCAR was also a leader in the development of a gas tank liner/bladder that greatly reduced the risk of fire in crashes. The third and last thing where NASCAR deserves safety credit is the COT which everyone but me seems to hate. Regardless of its appearance or competitive characteristics, it must be considered an important advance in safety.

On the negative side, NASCAR had a driver walkout that included most of the major drivers when Talladega first opened. Drivers were worried about safety because of the high speeds and unproven tires. NASCAR responded by bringing in largely unknown drivers and having the race anyway. Today's two most mentioned safety devices are the HANS device and softer walls. Both were developed by other racing organizations and only adopted by NASCAR when the public contrast made it necessary. Are today's fans so new or their memories so short that they don't remember when NASCAR "Allowed" drivers to wear a HANS device but would not require it? NASCAR said they didn't want to restrict a driver's movement within the car. Softer walls were developed primarily by the IRL. NASCAR suffered in comparison when they raced on tracks which also featured IRL races, and they were forced to require softer walls at NASCAR-only tracks.

Looking for current examples of safety issues? Consider the topic of drug testing. For anyone familiar with the regulations for the commercial airline, trucking, and marine industries, NASCAR's drug testing program is a joke. The minimum federal requirements for commercial drivers are far more stringent than the requirements for NASCAR drivers. Many private companies go far beyond the federal requirements. Also consider dedicated professional safety teams that travel with a series to deal with accidents and medical emergencies. NASCAR is the only major racing series that I am aware of that does not have such a team.

NASCAR is not about racing, it is not about safety, it is not about the fans. NASCAR is a privately held company that is about making money. NASCAR is to racing the same way Sam Walton is to tube socks from China. It is a product they sell, and a good part of that is public relations and public perception. The France family has at least one billionaire and numerous multi-millionaires. They didn't get that way because they just happened to be racing fans themselves.

NASCAR operates by the golden rule----The guy with the gold makes the rules. Besides money, NASCAR is about power and control. They are amazingly heavy-handed at times, but it gets the job done. The most powerful owners and most outspoken drivers know who they depend on for their place in the sport. NASCAR can ban them or make their life very difficult, and that keeps them in check.

The same is true of the media, especially TV. They operate under the principle "Don't bite the hand that feeds you." That's why you get fluff, hype, and mistruths. They are in the business of entertainment that produces higher ratings and revenue. ESPN has shown moments of worthwhile journalism this year, but Speed and Fox are a sad joke. If you like clowns and buffoons, they are your destination of choice.

If I sound like a cynic, I am. I have followed NASCAR for many years because I love the RACING. I am grateful that TV coverage now allows me to watch every race. But that doesn't mean I take TV coverage seriously except for the race itself.

I almost always agree with JD, but I am forced to part company with him on this issue. Keep your standards high. Expect truth, honesty, and integrity in TV journalism. Expect reporters to ask questions to people who have knowledge of the facts and/or informed opinions. The alternative is to drink some of JD's kool-aid. Lower your standards. Accept the personality-driven coverage where reporters are celebrities as well as the sports participants. Accept the views of the Waltrip brothers and others whose job it is to promote NASCAR.

Maintaining an independent view as an informed fan of the sport requires more effort. Drinking the Kool-Aid is the easy way out.

Old time fan

red said...

darbar: i would refer you to the lawsuit that's been filed, particularly sections 101 and 105 in partial answer to your question about other female officials.

it is always dangerous, however, to "pick and choose" pieces of a filing as it is the PATTERN of behaviors that make the basis of an harassment lawsuit, not (generally) a one-time event.

jd: can you elaborate on your opinion that the "suspensions are old news and a different issue?" to me, they are part of the unfolding story and certainly worthy of discussion by the reporters and commentators.

Lisa Hogan said...

To anon with a question for me:
I have read all news associated with this matter. I will keep up with any new issues.

I do not want the same "news" repeated on every NASCAR show this weekend.

This comment section seems to have become a debate on the merits of the lawsuit.

red said...

old time fan: thank you. you have clarified what my confusion has muddled when you wrote "Keep your standards high. Expect truth, honesty, and integrity in TV journalism. Expect reporters to ask questions to people who have knowledge of the facts and/or informed opinions." That is EXACTLY my concern: I don't understand why there should be differing levels of journalistic integrity? i'm not looking for microphone holders who are known for silliness to be a serious part of this story. but i do expect that the reporters among the nascar media to do some heavy lifting and get some solid information presented.
i do not have the years you do as a nascar fan but since becoming addicted to this sport, i have done a whole mountain of reading, of learning the history, of going beyond the personalities into the fuller story. and that story is one of VERY heavy-handed control by big bill from the very beginning. the banishment of curtis turner, the tire wars, the manufacturers boycott -- all these are part and parcel of this sport. today's fans generally are unaware of them and so make judgements in an historical void.

i will continue to study tv reporting as suggested by jd because my interest is now piqued as to the differences. but, like you, i am at a loss as to why i should accept a lesser level of professionalism. perhaps you and i are in a very small minority but i would really like to have someone ask the tough questions and hound-dog a story until the answers are uncovered. sadly, i don't believe it happened in the drug policy story nor do i believe it will happen in this story.

Anonymous said...

Old Time Fan, Except for your disagreement with JD, which, I confess, I don't understand, you have eloquently described what long-time fans feel is wrong with the "sport" we love. I agree with JD that how these allegations are handled by NA$CAR is very important.

Erik said...

JD,
Keep up the good work. Some folks in the media are very uncomfortable with the subject matter, and would rather be talking about COT issues, though how NASCAR steers its way through this mess will be a defining moment on the national stage.

Newracefan said...

I have been somewhat out of the loop until today with some family issues but am trying to catch up. While I do not want Speed to totally ignore the lawsuit (it's like the elephant in the room right now)I do not want it to be the focus of of the race coverage either. I agree it belongs on NN, I look at this as more of a news show and Speed's show are more entertainment. As I think about the shows on Speed I am not sure who I feel is the most appropriate to adress the issue. Perhaps Wendy Venturini on Race Day but then she does not work in the NW garage and it needs to be surrounded correctly or it will look like a joke. Maybe Pemberton with his brothers connections that might work. I find that I am less trustful of TV because of the "sound bite" out of context issue (I know that can happen in print too but for some reason I am less skeptical of the print stories but it may be because I search for the stories that have the full quote. I honestly believe there is merit to this suit but I really do wonder what would have happened if she had felt comfortable telling HR. I am a female in a famale dominated profession that functions in a male dominated world (nursing/healthcare) and have felt uncomfortable at times but never as an ongoing pattern by more than one person.

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

Yes, JD, I did reflect on the comment and it was a bad knee jerk reaction. She did work hard to get where she was. It was poorly worded.

Anonymous said...

The leap from the middle of the sports pages to the mainstream news cycle is about to happen. Everyone in Nascar need take not - I work in then "mainstream media." The Website the Drudge Report, iconic in the world of news and bookmarked on every news agency computer in New York, Atlanta and Washington has a link to the Associated Press story about the indecent exposure allegations.

If ESPN wants to handle this correctly, I would suggest they take the unusual step of bringing in someone like Bob Ley or Jeremy Schaap, who do this sort of story for them in all forms of sport.

red said...

hey lou @ 3:28: you are a gentleman and that was a very classy response to jd's post at 11:43. thanks.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- As I see it there are 2 stories relative to Ms Grant's lawsuit - (1) the lawsuit/allegations themselves and what part, if any, is true and (2) the effect on NASCAR and the sport of the lawsuit's having been filed.

I suspect you are likely to see the "regular" NASCAR media handle the first ( the lawsuit itself) very, very carefully - so they do not get sucked into the lawsuit and called to testify.

Likewise, I suspect ESPN is going to be very, very careful how they handle reporting of the lawsuit itself in light of their past, internal experiences in the area.

I suspect the northeastern, non-sports, and talk radio segments of the media are likely to take a different tack. Hopefully responsibly, but I have my doubts.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Good comments. Diverse perspective on the same subject.

I went through this at ESPN with many breaking sports stories and then at Prime Network when NASCAR had several tough news stories.

My decision back then was when to break into ESPN programming with live news. That was always fun.

Despite the theory of journalism, the Internet changed that permanently and made speed more important than truth. Right now, the Internet wags the tail of the cable TV news networks.

One big key will be what TV network will get an exclusive interview with Ms. Grant. Will it be a news magazine style show or will it be an Outside the Lines sports related program?

Today, Brian France began to appear at the Infield Media Center and talked to the issues. This was after suspending two NNS inspectors for violation of policy. That story and France's soundbite are now in rotation on ESPNEWS. That is how it begins.

France said the in-house investigation is still on-going. The inference is that when it is over he can make an informed decision.

The clock is ticking on just how long before this story goes viral on every single media Website just like the teachers that sleep with students and crooked crane inspectors in NYC.

With newspapers effectively wiped off the planet earth, the information we get comes from Internet, TV and radio. We are slaved to our devices for news.

As many posters have said, we need to see some regular news reporters involved in this story who do not have the kind of direct ties to NASCAR that most TV reporters and commentators have. It is just the nature of the beast in the sport.

Words about this issue from Bob Ley will mean a lot more than Jerry Punch to folks. That is why I wrote the column about Bestwick.

Last week NASCAR Now viewers saw him defend the NASCAR safety workers and the safety policies in the sport. He has been associated with NASCAR for decades. How is it fair to put him in the middle of the lawsuit story?

If Bestwick and company tonight avoid the topic they are making a statement that it is a topic for NASCAR Now and other studio news shows. That may be a good move.

On the other hand, how will fans react if after all the years of diversity talk the TV guys dodge the issue? Those are just tough decisions to make.

We will see what ESPN chooses tonight.

JD

Erik said...

I just don't know why I think if an issue happens in the NFL, I'd trust the Fox, CBS, NBC, and ESPN to do their jobs and report fairly, and completely on the issues at hand, but with the NASCAR media, everything would get brushed to the side. Its an entirely different culture and media relationship, I guess.

Anonymous said...

I just don't know why I think if an issue happens in the NFL, I'd trust the Fox, CBS, NBC, and ESPN to do their jobs and report fairly

I wouldn't.

Sports "reporters" are no more than fans with access and an outlet to express themselves. They absolutely hate to do anything that makes their beloved sport look bad.

Anonymous said...

JD-

Totally agree with you, I'm the mainstream media anon from earlier.

While I know the ESPN/Fox/TNT broadcasters are employees of networks and not of NASCAR, the relationship often seems more like the local baseball broadcasters and their teams -- like YES and the Yankees, NESN and the Red Sox with completely entwined ownership.

There is one person who I'll be curious to watch, despite this being a Nationwide and not a Sprint Cup story.

Lindsey Czarniak -- whose "real job" is not in Nascar but rather in the local news business at WRC-TV.

Thoughts and prayers to everyone at her home base while I'm at it.

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

I thought AB and Brad did very well in their comments in a professional manner.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the latest is on the drug use/testing story...you remember...the one that was huge a month ago just like this one.

PammH said...

Lots of deflection off that situation lately, isn't there? I'm just sayin'...

Erik said...

http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/columns/story?columnist=newton_david&id=3443415

ESPN's David Newton just had an article posted with quotes from Kyle Petty and others on the issue.

That some drivers in the garage say they are shocked by Grant's allegations is like a crew chief saying he is shocked when NASCAR catches him for a rules infraction.



"How can they be shocked?" Petty said. "What world do they live in? What world did you live in to be shocked, where it wasn't that long ago we didn't even allow women in the garage area?


I really wish they'd discuss this on Tradin Paint.

Richard in N.C. said...

I believe this really is a unique situation because of the nature of the issue and the way in which NASCAR and the "regular" NASCAR media operates. The 'regular" NASCAR media is around the teams, the tracks, and the NASCAR race staff all the time.

1 I'm not sure how many members of the NASCAR (or other) sports media really are qualified to address the legal issues involved.

2nd, allegedly some of the actions would or could have occurred right under the noses of the NASCAR media. Did they see or hear of such and ignor them? If a regular beat NASCAR reporter reports too authoratatively (one way or the other) about what took place, the reporter risks being called to testify. This is like a beat reporter for NFL team X being asked to report on whether there was racial or sexual discrimination around that team and its lockerroom.

I'm not a lawyer, but I see all sorts of conflicts and complications.

Richard in N.C. said...

ERIK- Newton's article exemplifies some of the conflicts I see. For full disclosure I think he should have noted that ESPN has been the subject of allegations of sexual harassment.

Daly Planet Editor said...

That is the reason that ESPN has to walk on thin ice. The exact same issues at ESPN caused an uproar and were even featured in a best-selling book.

If David Newton is going to be the guy that might be a good choice. He is not an ESPN "lifer" and does a lot of hard-news stories for NASCAR Now.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Just to know that we are about 12 hours away from Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace dealing with this issue makes me a bit crazy.

Richard in N.C. said...

Jimmy Spencer and a tightrope is something I'm not sure I can comprehend.

SophiaZ123 said...

That's a painfull headline on the Drudge Report link...Ugh. I saw a sound bit of Brian France tonight on the matter and I am sorry, that guy does not seem all there and appears slow on the uptake on his response to some questions.

He should be better versed at his position whether there is validity to this lawsuit or not. He is embarrassing to the sport.

Course, last season at the NASCAR AWARDS shows he appeared awkward on stage and rushed off ASAP.

The truth may not even come out from this lawsuit if there is a settlement but of all things to be accused of and then the suspension and timing...well, it is curious.

Anonymous said...

I think that NASCAR and the networks that cover them should show their commitment to diversity by doing things like play more hip hop videos, hard core rock and that sort of thing. It will show an understanding of all people and what they like and expose the rest of us to it so that we are less likely to discriminate against anyone or fear them.

Oh wait, they tried that last year. Oh and wait, people on here including the blog meister complained about how NASCAR was leaving its roots and core fans.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:13AM,

I will let that comment stand just so people can read it and shake their heads.

The reason ESPN changed the production philosophy is because it was invasive and contained content that did not make sense with the sport. I give them credit for recognizing that.

Granting opportunity and rewarding hard work have nothing to do with music and everything to do with management. This is a classic issue of who is telling the truth?

If you think "Shut-up and drive" from last season and interviews of non-NASCAR folks during the races somehow relates, that is certainly your right.

JD

PammH said...

NN just talked about the lawsuit, showed King Brian fumbling his way thru the press conference & also said Grant & her attorney declined to be interviewed on air.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the "analysts" in the studio for today's NASCAR Now, Rusty and Mike Wallace - the latter a driver in the NW series - didn't say a word during the lawsuit segment and news update.

I see what people mean when they say Marty Smith is sounding like a "mouth piece" for NASCAR. Even when he was talking about the driver's meeting, he didn't seem to give the drivers' side, just like he didn't seem to give the lady official's side. I can't describe the way he presented it because I'm not a media person, but it just didn't sound like both sides were presented from Marty, just NASCAR's view. I remember him being the same way when AT&T was suing NASCAR - presenting it from NASCAR's point of view without any information from AT&T. It makes me less likely to listen to what he has to say on "controversial" issues.

I read on Jayski that Mike, Rusty and Kenny Walllace will be on NASCAR Now roubtable Monday. Whose bright idea was that? Too many Wallaces for me!

Daly Planet Editor said...

My feeling is that the Wallace deal is related to Father's Day. It was done before all of the lawsuit stuff hit the media.

Rusty and Mike will both be on ESPNEWS (I am told) after the race. Last week, ESPNEWS really fell off the planet with little coverage after Pocono.

Since TNT has the new NASCAR.com post-race coverage, ESPNEWS suddenly needs to step-it-up a notch.

Manske did a good job of reading a well-written script and Smith presented the NASCAR side of the story. It will be fascinating to watch this playout.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Nice job by Wendy Venturini and RaceDay handling this issue right off the top of the show.

Same comments from Brian France and you could hear the fans booing behind the SPEED Stage.

Venturini summed it up by saying SPEED would keep viewers posted and moved along. Nice job.

SophiaZ123 said...

This is the last time I am going to bring this up but BF comments are embarrassing...his demeanor and slouched over posture....very UNprofessional...if your body language screams You don't want to be there, don't go on tv.

PammH said...

JD, that last update at 1:30 by that non-Nascar writer-wow was that guy dead on!! And that's why this lawsuit may change the Nascar landscape. The folks that don't have the threat of having their hard card pulled (and I'm sure the Nascar brass has NO idea that the regular fan even knows about this) will pull NO punches & that should worry the hell out of Nascar!

Adam T. Martin said...

I just enjoy Nicole Manske on race day for NASCAR Now especially when she is paired up with other personalities (today, Mike and Rusty Wallace joined her in the studio).

No hype, no fluff. Just opinions, comments, racing news, and humor for NASCAR Now. I enjoy it.

darbar said...

Why is it that now, a lot of the media outlets are focusing solely on the "exposing themselves to the plaintiff" issue? In our local newspaper, the only thing they discussed was this part of the lawsuit, and just now on Wind Tunnel, Despain did a short blurb again only mentioning the "exposure" issue. Is this all that this lawsuit is going to be about? I guess since sex sells everything.

Richard in N.C. said...

It sounds to me like NASCAR needs some good crisis control advisors. Sounds like at this point the lawyers are calling most of the shots - and they normally want litigants to say as little as possible, which often is not good PR.

One thing is certain - a lot of lawyers are going to make a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Hench's article lost any & all credibility in my eyes ... based solely on his association with Adam Carolla (formerly of "The Man Show") as I know Adam and his friends ...


To me, the press coverage so far is too much ... It's a lawsuit that was filed in the # 1 tv market in the country ... The overexposure of the suit in the media is already tainting the possible jury pool ... Tainting it against BOTH sides ...

Throw in the Lee Spencer article on the plaintiff ... Brian France's rushed press conference ... Unprofessional comments from the plaintiff's lawyer (who also sued a high profile current employee of News Corp) ... A video interview with the plaintiff ... The suspension of two people named in the lawsuit ... This is not sitting well in the court of public opinion ...



I've seen some of the coverage about the lawsuit on the various shows ... But, I don't know IF anyone pointed out the NASCAR-specific factual errors in the suit (that aren't part of her specific complaints) ... Through a fast skimming of the complaint, I found at least 3 errors (which should've been caught by the plaintiff before it was allowed to be filed with the court) ...

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:15AM,

So, what you are saying is that this is a mess anyway you look at it? I could not agree more.

As one of our veteran readers suggested, NASCAR needs a top crisis management team assembled right now to deal with the public relations nightmare currently in progress.

Whoever allowed France to appear at MIS should be terminated immediately. No questions asked. The words he spoke will be used many times as this legal matter moves forward. It almost appeared that he was in shock.

Thanks for the great comment.

JD

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- I know I don't do so often enough. Thank you for all you do.

Karen said...

The SI article is on CNN's main page as "Plaintiff Alleges Ignorant Nascar Culture."

Wow.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Karen,

I have some friends who are public relations professionals. They say that when something like this happens that can threaten the very core of the business, most companies assemble a team and designate a public media contact.

As you can see from Brian France's misguided statements in Michigan, NASCAR has done nothing of the sort.

The way the media is today, they run in packs and devour the weak or injured. They gang-up on a story without mercy and beat it to death slowly. It is brutal.

If the mainstream media gets its teeth into this as a real racial and sexist issue, all hell is going to break loose.

The most important part is going to be that media members outside the "chosen few" who ride the NASCAR trail are going to be asking for credentials and not playing nice.

Lost in this entire shuffle is the fact that this is a Nationwide Series issue alone and has nothing to do with the Cup or Truck Series. France never said that.

He never reassured fans that the company has no such culture or that he personally is leading the team to find-out the truth.

Instead, he was mad she never "told him personally" and said she made it "about money." Why not just let him shoot himself in the foot instead?

Me email box if full of people who are now asking about the Cup garage and the Truck Series and if NASCAR really is a bunch of racists.

That needs to get nipped in the bud and I do not see anyone right now doing any nipping.

The next week to ten days is going to be critical to see if this story picks-up steam in the media.

JD

Erik said...

I'd love to see Bill O'Reilly or another one of those cable TV news hosts take on Brian France. That would make some good TV if you like those wildlife programs where the Cheetah hunts down it prey. I'll leave it up to you to guess who would play the role of the bunny rabbit.

SophiaZ123 said...

Ouch. I never watch those violent food chain in action animal shows, Eric. I grew up in the day of Walt Disney nature shows or Wild Kingdom which showed the lion eating the gazelle with the gore obscured by a bush or a tree!! but I digress.

Brian France would be insane to go on Bill O'Reilly! Bill would chew him up and spit him out. Would be more interesting to see Grant go on Larry King with her case and THEN see somebody from NASCAR make the rounds on shows. But I am sure they would NEVER comment while there is a lawsuit ongoing. And if they settle out of court (which is the most like ending to this) we will NEVER know 'the rest of the story'.

will heads roll at NASCAR headquarters? Or will they just have another round of diversity/sensitivity/sexual harrassment seminars?

Ugh. This whole things make me sick if it's all settled behind closed doors. If the disgusting allegations actually happened, I hope other women will come forward to verify some of Grants commments (that it happened to others but they did not want to be dragged into this)

It's sad but it happens in many corporations but to the degree and the repetitiveness of what "allegedly" happened in the NW serie is mind boggling and about as redneck and 'old boys club' as you can get.

Sad.

P.S. I left out that BF would be the LAST person to "speak for the sport" since he seems so far removed and awkward on camera. The boy needs some coaching in learning some PR skills and being media savvy.

Too late now in my opinion. As JD stated he shot himself in the foot last week...or at least in my opinion, shot off his toes one at a time between his comments, demeanor and slouched body language.

Karen said...

JD said ...

Lost in this entire shuffle is the fact that this is a Nationwide Series issue alone and has nothing to do with the Cup or Truck Series. France never said that.

JD,

I'm a huge NASCAR fan and to me, it's the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I'm not sure you can differentiate between the three. If the allegations are true, it's going on in all the series IMO.

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

karen,

Why do you feel that way? Is it because of the media coverage of the story as just being "NASCAR?"

Robin Meade's contest is a TNT deal because the summer races are on that network. TNT and CNN are both Turner Broadcasting networks originating from Atlanta. They try to do as much cross-promotion as possible. This post is going to continue to be themed around the lawsuit, that is why your posts were removed. Thanks.

JD

Karen said...

Daly Planet Editor said...

karen,

Why do you feel that way? Is it because of the media coverage of the story as just being "NASCAR?"

Yes; and I'm not just a casual fan. It's all under the same corporate umbrella; same owners, same bosses. How do you think the casual fan is looking at this? They only know the Juniors and Jeffs and Jimmie Johnsons of the sport.

No problem re: deleting my posts.

Anonymous said...

Karen, I agree. The general public does not know / understand / care about the differences between the different series. It all falls under the same umbrella of NASCAR. The task of differentiating the three would be impossible, especially for somebody as media savey as Brian France.

In all honesty, if this behavior is pervasive as claimed, I don't see how the other series would be completely immune, anyway.

Dan said...

JD,

As pointed out in the comments for another post, drivers, crew members, crew chiefs and owners all jump between the three different series over the course of their careers. In suggesting that this is only an issue in the Nationwide garage, and not for Nascar as a whole, you seem to be implying that the officials for each series are truly separate from each other. That there are completely different cultures in the three garages and those cultures don't intermix when the officials change series. You are one of the handful of people here that have first hand experience with Nascar. Are the three divisions truly separate entities, insulated from each other, or are they just different portions of the same pool? The extent of the similarities (or differences) between the groups will likely determine whether this is seen as a (potential) problem within Nascar as a whole or just within the Nationwide series.

Daly Planet Editor said...

dan,

I understand that thought about the series. What I was trying to suggest was that NASCAR needs to step-up and make sure that the American public does not tie this to the Cup Series.

That is why I was floored when Brian France appeared at the Cup track in MIS.

While the series officials can apply for jobs in other series, there is nothing to suggest that either the Truck or Cup Series officials are involved in this type of behavior.

JD

Dan said...

OK, I see your point about trying to protect the crown jewel. From a PR point-of-view, that makes sense. It might work for a while, especially on those who do not follow Nascar, but as you're seeing from comments here, a lot of fans are not buying the "rogue division" argument. If this goes on much longer, I don't think any amount of spin is going to prevent it from becoming a discussion about Nascar's global corporate culture.

(And yes, I realize that I'm making your point for you - the folks in Daytona really need an outside crisis consultant)

Anonymous said...

Ms. Grant is wearing a Nextel Cup official's shirt herself in the picture on this particular blog entry, even though I've always heard her referred to as a Nationwide / Busch series official. Any idea why?

Anonymous said...

Are the three divisions truly separate entities, insulated from each other, or are they just different portions of the same pool?
------------------------------

The divisions aren't really separate. Most folks - truck, Busch, Cup, knows each other, at least by face and often by name. There's a lot of turnover in NASCAR but people end up working in NASCAR somewhere else if they lose a job. That goes for officials too. Some officials used to work for teams, actually, which helps when teams are trying to pull something in inspection.

Where I live in North Carolina, in about a 15 minute interstate drive I can be in a very popular shopping/eating destination with drivers, wives, and teams (I just saw Shana Mayfield shopping in this area very recently.) I won't name particular places, but everyone around here knows that Mondays through Wednesdays you will see the "NASCAR folks" out and about around that area, in Concord, and in Charlotte - malls, restaurants, everywhere (they mostly go unnoticed; they blend in with everyone when they're in street clothes, especially in uptown Charlotte where people only recognize Gordon, Johnson, and Earnhardt Jr). We as regular folks not connected with NASCAR through our jobs may not recognize the crews and officials, but rest assured they know one another even if they don't work together directly. There's a reason it's called NASCARolina if you're into NASCAR around here!

Anonymous said...

Erik - Funny thing that you mention Bill O'Reilly and Brian France in the same breath ... Brian might actually wnat to talk to O'Reilly off-the-air as well as "off-the-record" as O'Reilly had to go up against Benedict Morelli within the past couple of years ...



JD said -

Anon 10:15AM,

So, what you are saying is that this is a mess anyway you look at it? I could not agree more ...

Thanks for the great comment.




I actually was a bit shocked to see my post was still up ... LOL

In a roundabout way ... YES, the whole thing is a mess on all sides ... Based on the media coverage, it's getting worse every day ...

As a former member of the media, I'm ashamed of actions of some of my former colleagues ... Many who are regular members of the NASCAR press corps ... Many of who are trying to taint the public opinion of NASCAR to where the media is biting the hand that feeds it ...

Some members of the media seem quite intent on biting at all of the bait that Morelli throws at them with the lawsuit ... To which they might just find themselves on the outside looking in at NASCAR ... The more Morelli & Grant speak, the more they sway the court of public opinion & possible jury pool (and NOT always in their favor) ...

I'm not sure that whoever let Brian France do that press conference should be fired ... But, someone should've better prepared him and told him what to & what not to say ...

The two suspensions as well as the one (former) official who's talked publicly about it are attempting to throw the allegations back on the plaintiff ... and could be a red herring ...


The more this whole debacle carries on in the headlines, the more people will turn away from NASCAR shows / sponsors / races / etc ... Which could very well backfire for the plaintiff & her legal counsel ...

I'm actually surprised that people like Gloria Allred, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have not weighed in on the subject matter yet ...



I do believe that NASCAR is wishing that 08-08-08 would hurry up and get here ... so that the media would switch its focus to Beijing and the Olympics ...

Anonymous said...

Many of who are trying to taint the public opinion of NASCAR to where the media is biting the hand that feeds it

Its not the media's job to boost or protect NASCAR's image. They should not be in bed with NASCAR. There is a story out there, and its the media's job to cover it regardless if it is good or bad for NASCAR. Image protection is Brian France's job, and he has failed it.