Sunday, June 15, 2008
In-Progress At Michigan: Sprint Cup Series On TNT With RaceBuddy
The weather looks good for the start of the Sprint Cup race in Michigan at 2PM Eastern Time on TNT. Rain may threaten before the event is over.
It will be Bill Weber calling the play-by-play from MIS with Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach alongside in the broadcast booth. Larry McReynolds will be stationed down on the infield stage to offer commentary and use the cutaway car to help viewers with race-related topics.
TNT has a very good pit road staff. Veterans Matt Yocum, Ralph Shaheen and Marty Snider lead the way. Second-season reporter Lindsay Czarniak, a full-time local TV station anchor from Washington, DC rounds-out the bunch.
TNT will again offer RaceBuddy, which is the online broadband application free for fans on their computers. Located at NASCAR.com, this service offers four live camera angles, scanner audio and email for McReynolds.
A similar application was used by TNT on the NBA playoffs, and it was a big hit. This version offers fans the ability to "play" on the computer while the TNT program is in-progress. Fan reaction was positive, and perhaps some future tweaks may involve the scanner audio and the in-car camera choices.
TNT's first NASCAR effort at Pocono resulted in a telecast that was solid in the commentary, but had trouble with technical issues. TNT lost the primary audio for almost ten minutes, and had intermittent issues with video and graphics. The NASCAR TV compound is hosted by the NASCAR Media Group and used by all of the NASCAR TV partners.
At MIS, look for McReynolds to once again provide the strategy options and for Petty to continue his strong performance in the booth speaking from a driver perspective. Petty's experience in the COT makes all the difference, since Dallenbach was long gone before these cars came along. Last week, Marc Fein was not on-camera during the actual race, it will be interesting to see what his role becomes this week.
Yes, TNT always uses the NASCAR races to promote its own programming, and MIS is no exception. Bill Engvall will be the Grand Marshall, and will be promoting his Bill Engvall Show before he gives the command to start engines.
Finally, the TV and Internet synergy continues with TNT announcers appearing on the post-race show live on the NASCAR.com site. This post race coverage starts after TNT leaves the air, and is free for all broadband computer users.
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