Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The NASCAR On Fox Gang Walks Away Quietly


It certainly was not the type of day that Mike Joy and the rest of the NASCAR on Fox TV crew had hoped for as their final Sprint Cup race. One big wreck had taken-out a lot of the contenders and the reality of the COT at Dover had taken-out the racing.

Once again, it came down to the Kyle Busch show and the ability of Joy and the pit reporters to chase down every single "other" story of the race. Ultimately, Busch ended the season for Fox by pulling away from the second place car. The COT added a special touch by crushing any hope for final lap battles in the top ten.

From the beginning of the telecast, it was Darrell Waltrip who was almost overcome by emotion several times. TV viewers saw this with Waltrip on the Trackside program on SPEED earlier in the weekend.

For some reason, the end of Waltrip's year on TV has hit him very hard. Along with his Fox job ending, Waltrip also turns-over his spot on Trackside to Elliott Sadler for the next five months.

Several times in the Hollywood Hotel pre-race show, Waltrip veered off the topic and talked about the end of his TV time. Chris Myers tried to keep things on track, but it was Jeff Hammond who talked Waltrip off-the-TV-ledge several times. Maybe Waltrip will write in his Foxsports.com column about his feelings during this clearly emotional weekend.

Larry McReynolds was all business in Dover with good reason. He really is the Energizer Bunny of NASCAR TV as he will continue his multiple TV roles on SPEED next week and also add a new assignment as a commentator for all six TNT races. Last season, McReynolds was the star of the "summer six pack" even while located in the infield. This season should be no different.

Other NASCAR on Fox personalities will also continue their pursuits in the sport. Krista Voda heads back to the Truck Series, Matt Yocum will report from the pits for TNT and Steve Byrnes will continue his multiple SPEED roles.

This season, one of the biggest strengths for Fox has been the veteran pit road reporters. Sometimes criticized for not asking the tough questions, this group has to walk a fine line in a sport where they deal with the same personalities for ten months. They seem to always get the right information, and they do it more successfully than the other two NASCAR TV partners in the Sprint Cup Series.

Mike Joy is about to give way to Bill Weber in the play-by-play position. Much like Dr. Jerry Punch, Weber is a reporter who has been moved over time into the play-by-play role. Weber is a skilled writer and great at interviews, but perhaps a bit short on some aspects of a true play-by-play announcer.

Joy has more patience in the broadcast booth than any other on-air NASCAR talent. Last season, Weber was hard-pressed to match Joy's level of professionalism and good humor. Since Weber has recently begun to appear on NBC doing off-road races with Wally Dallenbach, it may be that he comes into this short NASCAR stint with a much better attitude than 2007. Marty Snider is also a part of that CORR TV package.

This year on Fox, we met Digger. As if the 43 NASCAR teams and the high speeds and racing were not enough, Fox decided to create a name for a piece of equipment used by the TV crew. Then, the network launched a line of merchandise around that "concept" and collectively beat it into the psyche of the NASCAR TV viewers.

This camera angle was not new, did not serve a purpose and was over-used in several races to the point of fan anger. Here is a column about the original track-level camera used on ESPN over fifteen years ago that won a Sports Emmy Award.

Fox also could not solve the Achilles Heel of its coverage, which was the final lap. Columns like this and even this documented the amazing production decisions to eliminate all the racing other than the leader on the final lap.

Overall, the body of work that the NASCAR on Fox crew created for 2008 is going to be negatively affected by the COT and positively affected by the emergence of Kyle Busch. One young man with something to prove driving a Toyota for an old football coach has dominated even the Earnhardt Jr. saga this season.

As TNT unveils their new and innovative RaceBuddy approach to NASCAR, it will signal yet another fundamental shift in the level of integration and technology surrounding Sprint Cup Series racing.

By the time Fox comes back around in February, there will no doubt be a new level of viewer interactivity that will make 2008 appear archaic. Imagine asking Jeff Gordon a question live under caution from your Sprint phone on the Fox broadcast.

How about being on the Hollywood Hotel live from your computer camera? NASCAR TV technology is going to make the future TV broadcasts very different. For this season, farewell to the entire NASCAR on Fox gang.

This is a good time for Daly Planet readers to think about what impressed you as a viewer this season and what things you did not particularly like during this stretch of coverage. You can post your thoughts right here, keeping in mind the rules listed on the right side of the main page.

To add your opinion to The Daly Planet, simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. We do not want your email address and there is nothing to join. We just want to know your opinion about the NASCAR on Fox coverage of the sport in 2008. Thanks for stopping by.

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

I said it in the other thread, so I'll say it here: I like and will miss the NASCAR on FOX broadcast and broadcasters (minus digger and the way they shoot the finish). They make every race seem like a big event and really provide an entertaining show - even when the racing is subpar.

I don't get excited over this RaceBuddy stuff. Your video on TNT? Eh, they'll show only a couple of thousands if not tens of thousands of entries. Text message Jeff Gordon under caution? Yeah, right. He'll get 50,000 text messages, and the producers will pick the question they probably could have asked on their own. But by putting "Jeff from South Carolina asks" on the screen suddenely it's "interactive". To me, this isn't innovation - this is marketing.

Not sure why DW was emotional, but I will miss him and the others. Feb is a long way away and my guess is that even the Fox-haters will be yearning for their return a bit after ABC has their way with the Chase.

Karen said...

Anonymous said ...

Feb is a long way away and my guess is that even the Fox-haters will be yearning for their return a bit after ABC has their way with the Chase.


Ditto that. I liked Fox's coverage last year more than anyone else's and expect we'll all be more than ready for Feb. 2009.

Anonymous said...

Has enyone watched a race from the mid 70's? long sweeping shots instead of 6 second flashes of racing, commentators that seemed to know what was actually going on with the racing instead of "lets go to the cutaway car" to see what happens when a tire blows and some real personalities on the track instead of "Hi I'm (insert name) and the(insert sponsor name) was the car to beat today and we are not happy with finishing 43rd because it takes us out of the top 35 in points but we'll be ready for'em at (insert 1.5 mile cookie cutter track name)next week.and then he takes a big gulp of (insert sponsor drink name) gets in his 20 million dollar private jet and jets away to his 20 million dollar house. its all about mony and if we don't like it thats ok because they will come up with another gimmick cam or graphic to grab 70,000 other new fans next week

LuckyForward said...

Once again, Fox did not deliver this season. "Digger Cam" was stupidly cute, but added nothing to the coverage. I did miss the end of a race or two, but unless I am wrong, we never saw the entire race field shown at the end of a race. DW's loss of objectivity as he continually over-identified with Kyle Busch was an unprofessional distraction. I tired of the Fox filmed pieces before commercials that showed Kyle Busch as a "bad boy" with his sneering, pompous attitude, and throwing popcorn at the camera. This is an adult sport; promote it as such. Fox works hard to create its own story line for each race; sometimes the race conforms to the story line - most times it did not. Finally, Fox covers the same people with the same intensity each week. There are many drivers who, while lucky to get into the race, have no chance of winning. As a viewer, I would still like to hear a bit about them, their team, and their stories. It would round out the entire coverage. But no, we never hear about how Bill Elliott feels about continuing to drive at this stage of his career.


How much I miss the "old ESPN days" and Bob Jenkins . . .

Luckyforward

Anonymous said...

I read another post from Sunday and saw the frustration that seems universal with how poorly FOX shows the finish of the races. The fact that the director chooses to have the finish line camera go from the winning car to a zoom to the flagman shows a total disregard for service to the viewer. And isn't that the true raison d'etre of sports television production? Serve the fan!
This telecast from Dover served as a concentrated summary of the sad state and challenges facing NASCAR.

1)They have a television "partner" that cares more about promoting itself than the sport which has resulted in a contingent of drivers and teams about whom no one cares.

2)They have so amalgamated the images of their drivers after years of censorship and behavior modification, that they find themselves with a 'silver platter' opportunity that they cannot exploit. (Kyle Busch bad boy/super talent)and no one to be the 'good-guy'

3)A homologated, genericized race car that can't race.

4)After years of attempting to manipulate its image into a 'Hollywood Hip' rock & roll "we're as big as the NFL" entity, the sport has, at best, a confused psyche. (Nextel Cup/Sprint Nextel Cup/Sprint Cup series?) They can't flip a switch and go back to the old, successful days of the 1980's and 1990's by saying 'oops'.

5) An economy that will force fans to seek other forms of entertainment for their dwindling dollars, and perhaps help them realize that there are options that, unlike NASCAR, don't require them to pay extra for every little vestage of the "experience"

6) A new, strong competitor in IndyCar that has technology that younger drivers can relate to and drivers who can display driving talent, are camera friendly and are free to speak and act with emotion.

Then sun may not be setting on Daytona Beach, but it is definitely getting cloudy.

Bray Kroter

Anonymous said...

I suspect many of the posters here don't actually go to many NASCAR races. They don't see the overwhelming, insane marketing (Jr's 7 haulers of merchandise come to mind), they don't see the scores of kids, they don't see the cheesy bands playing on the track before the race like yesterday. They don't see that many fans on site can't actually see the race (think Talladega infield).

Instead they post here and complain about a wide finish shot where you couldn't possibly identify individual cars (yes there should be a drop down graphic but there is the top graphic which shows the unofficial results almost immediately.) They complain about a camera which has actually became a bit of a commodity and was overused during the season at times (but nothing else on site at a race is over used, overhyped, or over priced of course).

They complain about a car which might at certain tracks be less competitive but certainly is safer (think the Texas crash). They also forget the drafting at Talladega.

I think many of them should stop wining a bit, get off their butt and head to a NASCAR race. That will help fill the empty seats, and maybe even put them back in touch about what the NASCAR experience is all about.

Anonymous said...

I'll miss Mike Joy, Larry Mac, Jeff Hammond, Dr. Dick and Steve Byrns.
DW is a dork pimping anything and everything because he lost most of his money running his own team. I also will not miss the constant showing of the 55 car and DW pimping the three cars. It's almost like, to paraphrase Keith Olbermann, "fixed sports."
I also agree with the sweeping shots of the field but the problem for money hogs like fox is some car may be shown that has not spent extra to have their car shown.
I could go on about how TV handles this but I'm glad no more boogity and no more dufus on the TV.

Thornton, Colorado said...

I'm not sure I understand DW's emotion. He even said that he wishes he could be around when Tony Stewart makes his announcement about driving for another team in August. What gives? Over the last several years all of the announcers have said something similar. Are their "hard cards" revoked, and they aren't allowed in the pits anymore? I thought racing was their lives. Even Cale Yarborough goes to the track every so often. I wonder if it's the other networks, who create a clause in the contracts, so the other media do not pose a distraction?
If it were me, I would still go to the races, either in the stands, or in the motor coach lot.
As far as the rest of their "season", I would give them a C- what with all the digger cam, self promotion (ala Jeff Hammond),etc.
It just occurred to me: Perhaps DW's emotion is producer- induced, and it's their way of saying ,"Folks, this is the last race of the season. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO WATCH ANYMORE RACING! IT IS OVER. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TNT, ESPN/ABC."

Anonymous said...

The majority of the Fox team will be missed, lots of talent but also lots of missed opprunity. This digger gig DW was promoting was shameless......is this guy on contract to sell t-shirts now? I wont miss DW at all his orgamism like love affair with Bush is pathetic. Its as though Kyle is second comming of the Messiah!! Give me a break, Kyle is good but make no mistake he will come and go as all great drivers do.

It still angers me to watch the end of any race by this network. What is this show no other cars in the race? As Kyle Bush says...DUH!!

Hopefully TNT will listen and learn from all the crap Fox put the fans thru. And lets pray that stupid DIGGER is buried forever!!

GinaV24 said...

OK - Anon 8:25 -- here you go. I was at Daytona, Martinsville, Darlington, Charlotte, AND Dover. I enjoy being at the races because I can SEE the entire race and watch what I want to see, including the entire field cross the finish line, instead of being forced to view it through some producer's idea of what he/she thinks the fan at home wants to see. Daytona is a huge track and you cannot see the entire thing clearly even when your seats are up pretty high (as ours fortunately were). I wind up watching the jumbotrons at tracks like that so you can follow the action. Martinsville is a great track since you're right there on top of the action, Darlington, Charlotte and Dover are all a good size and as long as you have seats that are high enough up to see over the stuff in the middle of the track, you can see all the action at those tracks. I "whine" as you put it, about the TV coverage BECAUSE I've been fortunate enough to get to a lot of the tracks and I've seen the "big" picture of the entire race without having to put up with a scripted version of it for TV. Honestly, the Dover race was incredibly boring to watch -- even in person. I felt bad for the teams that were wrecked early on in the race since that took a bunch of potentially good cars out of the race. After that, it was essentially follow the leader -- whoever it was, the only passing was of the lapped cars. There was no "exciting" finish and very little racing for position. This is why I can't stand all of the TV hype. It is so fake, it's just awful. Unfortunately, I don't have the time or the money to attend all the races, so I'm stuck, like a lot of people with having to follow the sport on TV. I too miss the old days when the producer used wide angle shots and you got to see the entire field during a race. This is what we have and NASCAR/FOX/TNT/ESPN, what have you, don't seem inclined to change it or to improve the racing. I don't plan to waste time tuning in to TNT's coverage. I'll follow along on the radio, they are professionals. Personally, I'm quite glad I missed DW's overemotional posturing -- his overidentification with Busch is unprofessional and makes me cringe.

Anonymous said...

Ginav24,

I am glad you were there. I think it is much easier sitting in the stands watching the finish to follow your favorite team as opposed to on TV. In fact I am watching at home on a 52" HD set and have trouble picking individual teams as they cross with a locked off wide finish shot. What I notice at the track is I tend to watch the cars come around the track as opposed to staring at the finish line at the checkered like a camera would. I also find that if I am too close to the track it is tough sometimes to pick cars out.

For anyone who has been to a NASCAR race any not come away feeling that the marketing at the track dwarfs what is on TV on any network would puzzle me. BUT it is important to remember that all the marketing both on site and on TV is the financial support for all of this. I saw KB by the way still in victory lane last night long after most fans had left methodically putting sponsor hat after hat on for photo ops.

I do believe that a number of the suggestions which have been made in this blog have influenced what appeared on air later in the season. I for one am glad that there is an avenue for feedback to the TV folks. JD deserves credit for that.

NASCAR is a marketing machine. Get used to it. Otherwise we could look like IRL and their races that no one watches. (the Charlotte race did get better ratings than the Indy 500 as it has every year except once since 2002 and the rest of IRL races get embarrassing ratings).

Anonymous said...

JD,

With the unfortunate finish of this race (the field being so spread out), I think FOX did a good job with this race. I like the way they had the time to show the in-car camera view of each of the lead lap cars crossing the finish line. Under normal situations with a tighter finish, there is no way they could do this. So, with the poor racing, I liked the way they were able to do that.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:13AM,

I agree. The way the field was spread out, Kempner had time to go and take he individual top five cars across the line while still including his favorite zoom into the flagman shot.

That might be a very definitive statement about COT racing.

JD

Tracy said...

Gina, I'm with you. Attending a race in person can't compare to TV coverage in any way whatsoever. In fact, it was attending a Richmond race that hooked me in the first place. Nothing can compare with sitting in those seats and feeling them shake.

I will say that the chemistry between the Fox gang works well. They don't need fancy suits (tho they clean up well when they wear them) or impeccable grammar, because we know they're racers and race fans from the word 'go.' They love this sport and what they do, and it shows. The best way I can describe is that their 'voice' fits their genre, and I appreciate that distinction.

Anonymous said...

Ginav24,

I am glad you were there. I think it is much easier sitting in the stands watching the finish to follow your favorite team as opposed to on TV. In fact I am watching at home on a 52" HD set and have trouble picking individual teams as they cross with a locked off wide finish shot. What I notice at the track is I tend to watch the cars come around the track as opposed to staring at the finish line at the checkered like a camera would. I also find that if I am too close to the track it is tough sometimes to pick cars out.

For anyone who has been to a NASCAR race any not come away feeling that the marketing at the track dwarfs what is on TV on any network would puzzle me. BUT it is important to remember that all the marketing both on site and on TV is the financial support for all of this. I saw KB by the way still in victory lane last night long after most fans had left methodically putting sponsor hat after hat on for photo ops.

I do believe that a number of the suggestions which have been made in this blog have influenced what appeared on air later in the season. I for one am glad that there is an avenue for feedback to the TV folks. JD deserves credit for that.

NASCAR is a marketing machine. Get used to it. Otherwise we could look like IRL and their races that no one watches. (the Charlotte race did get better ratings than the Indy 500 as it has every year except once since 2002 and the rest of IRL races get embarrassing ratings).

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

To Anon at 8:25

I fail to see how attending a race in person somehow legitimizes the shabby presentaion that Fox presents or, reduces the degree of trouble that NASCAR is facing.
I'm happy that the COT is a safe car. But drafting at Talladega has always been excting, and wrecks in the pre COT cars could be spectacular and safe too. Ricky Craven at Talladega? Richard Petty or Bobby Allison into catch fences followed by barrel rolls? The fact that COT may be safer is irrelevant to the fact that they don't race well.
As for attending races, in the last 2 decades I've been to hundreds of Stock, open wheel and sportscar races in person. The tracks, the commercialism and the hype are, for the most part, unrelated to the tv presentation.

I don''t get your point at all.

Bray Kroter

OSBORNK said...

I thought this year's coverage was better than last year. One thing that bothers me is where the commentators are describing action between a couple of drivers but the camera is showing action of other drivers. It's almost like watching the race on TV and listening to the radio. I could also do with less of the DW and Digger show.

I hope TNT and ESPN/ABC have been paying attention to this blog and makes alterations to their broadcast to address the concerns of the viewers.

Anonymous said...

The Fox team couldn't go away fast enough . Mike Joy with his bad wannabe imitation of Bob Varsha , the constant droning of Waltrip , the english language murdering of McReynolds,the constant self promotion of Hammond , and the almost pathalogical need to over-explain everything by everyone in the booth and the pits . The lead photo for this blog is interesting for the fact that every person in it would not be missed if they decided to do something other than NASCAR broadcasts .

Vince said...

I'll miss Mike Joy. The only true professional of Fox's coverage. I could go on about the rest and how unprofessional they are, but why bother. Fox obviously thinks they are good. Just like Fox thinks I want to buy a Digger t-shirt. Like they think I only want to see the leader cross the finish line and watch his crew and wife/girlfriend/mother crying. How long has Fox had their Nascar tv contract now? Long enough to know better. If they don't know how to broadcast a race by now, they never will.

I've been going to and watching Nascar races since the 60s and my level of frustration with both Nascar and the tv networks has reached an all time high. I'm tired of spoiled whinny young punk drivers. I'm tired of the COT. It's IROC all over again, minus the great drivers. I'm tired of Brian France's vision of our sport. It's not MY vision. I can no longer spend 3-4 hours of my Sunday afternoon's watching Fox/ESPN/TNT's glorified infomercials for their upcoming tv shows. If I want to see real racing, I'll go to my local track on Saturday nights. MRN/PRN is my new best friend on Sunday afternoons.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:25. I agree with your statements.

Anonymous said...

To anon 11:00

WOW I couldn't have said it better myself! I can't make up my mind as which is worst..FOX snooze or FOX sports, O'Rielly and Mike Joy are twins. Hello TNT and ABC!

red said...

anon 11:00 -- i would miss mike joy very, very much. consummate professional: 'nuff said. (and many thanks, mr joy, for being a wonderful voice of clarity so far this season.)

anon 8:25 -- i have planted my "butt" in many a track seat, thank you very much, and my criticism of the coverage comes from that reality! having done so, i can see the huge difference between being there and watching it on tv (as is true with ANY sporting event.) that being said: at the track, the swag wagons and constant marketing outside the track are something easily ignored. not so on fox. i understand paying the bills and such but, for me, it has gone above any acceptable threshold.

my second complaint also ties back to having attended races. when i pay to sit on that aluminum bench, i can immediately discern the driver loyalties which surround me and the banter among us is part of the race experience. however, when i'm watching a race at home, i do not WANT that from the booth at any time! as many others have pointed out, this season's constant commentary on kyle busch has surpassed even that of last year's over jimmie johnson. again, i accept that a certain level is part of the price of my tv ticket, just as sitting next to the drunk guy with no shirt is part of my race ticket sometimes. but the constant hammering of it is what i find worthy of criticism. both drivers were and are worthy of attention but BALANCE is required as well. and THAT, anon 8:25, is what was missing again this year. doesn't matter to me which driver has been anointed for the treatment, i still find it unprofessional and unacceptable.

in fact, that would be my complaint of fox's coverage in a lugnut: too far above the acceptable level of tolerance, whether it was digger or the cutaway car or focus on a very small group of drivers all the time or any other number of complaints. for me, the problem isn't (necessarily) the "thing" itself; it's the overuse of it.

as jeff hammond might say: "time to whoa up" on all that stuff! let's try for broadcasting the races in the most objective and professional way possible (given the constraints of the COT) and reduce all the background noise. in my opinion, that has been fox's single, most significant failure.

haus20 said...

To Anon @825 This is a blog site about our opinions of the current NASCAR topic. Sometimes we are complimentary of what is going on, but sometimes we are critical of the situation. If you have been on this site for any length of time, you would know that several of the Nascar networks use this site as a type of focus group.

This site is monitored by the production trucks during the races. This is a legitimate site with real live race fans giving their opinions about the production quality of races on TV. While it is true that not everyone on this site has ever been to a track your assertion that a majority have not been to the track is simply inaccurate.

The marketing at the track is expected, but you also can avoid it. It doesn't get in the way of your racing experience like the TV marketing does.

Like Gina, I have also been to races as have many other on this site. Depending on where the seats at the track are, there is a part of me that would rather save those dollars spent at the race and enjoy the race from the comforts of my la-z-boy.

By the way, I can see the cars come across the finish line just fine on my tv.

Anonymous said...

I will miss Mike Joy and Dick Bergerren (sp?). I love both of them, and can't stand Bill Weber. Oh well, I'll have to suffer with TNT and ESPN till Feb.

chase said...

Well, another FOX 'season' is over and once again we all have comments to make - and most of them are absolutely right on the money. I too remember watching races years ago on TV - the visual coverage was much better than what we get now! I saw no reason to 'name' the 'digger' camera since it was nothing new and the lousy coverage of the last lap was never rectified. In my opinion, Mike Joy and Larry 'Mac' carry the coverage and I think DW is going to have to let his 'obsessions' with Kyle Busch 'go' - we want impartiality and that way perhaps the broadcasters can cover more drivers than just the 'chosen few' or, in DW's case, 'the chosen one'. It is also evident that NASCAR needs to make serious and big changes in the COT cars before the 2009 season commences - the racing is not good. One thing remains true: the best way to watch a race in its entirety is in 'real' time at a track - TV - no matter which station is broadcasting the race - cannot cover it even close. It will be interesting to see what happens with ESPN's coverage for their part of the season. Thanks as always JD for your great blogs today!

Anonymous said...

Ginav24,

I am glad you were there. I think it is much easier sitting in the stands watching the finish to follow your favorite team as opposed to on TV. In fact I am watching at home on a 52" HD set and have trouble picking individual teams as they cross with a locked off wide finish shot. What I notice at the track is I tend to watch the cars come around the track as opposed to staring at the finish line at the checkered like a camera would. I also find that if I am too close to the track it is tough sometimes to pick cars out.

For anyone who has been to a NASCAR race any not come away feeling that the marketing at the track dwarfs what is on TV on any network would puzzle me. BUT it is important to remember that all the marketing both on site and on TV is the financial support for all of this. I saw KB by the way still in victory lane last night long after most fans had left methodically putting sponsor hat after hat on for photo ops.

I do believe that a number of the suggestions which have been made in this blog have influenced what appeared on air later in the season. I for one am glad that there is an avenue for feedback to the TV folks. JD deserves credit for that.

NASCAR is a marketing machine. Get used to it. Otherwise we could look like IRL and their races that no one watches. (the Charlotte race did get better ratings than the Indy 500 as it has every year except once since 2002 and the rest of IRL races get embarrassing ratings).

Newracefan said...

I too was at Dover and agree it was not the best racing after the last round of green flag pit stops. I was actually wishing for one of those phantom debris cautions. I have no problem with all the trailers, bands, etc outside of the track it's part of the entire experience. Besides you need to get there really early to avoid traffic and it gave me something to do/see.

I will miss Fox, I love Mike Joy and the crew even DW. They love this sport and I apprectiate that. The Digger thing started out annoying but they cut back so I stopped having a problem with it and sometimes the camera angle gave a really cool perspective (not always). I am even ok with the T-shirt etc thing but for some reason it bugged me when they were plugged with DWStore.com.
Digger sighting at Dover 1 and it was on a hanger at someones trailer, don't remember who but it wasn't MWR.
The other camera angle that I felt was over used was the shots from the cars especially at Talledega, it throws off your perspective on how the pass is going several times it appeared that one car had passed another and surprise back to a wider shot, no pass.
Showing the cars crossing the line at the checkers is Fox's biggest error in judgement. What I can say after being at the track is that I did not miss seeing the crews/family celebrating and I did watch all the cars cross the line. Fox needs to rethink this over the summer and come back stronger. Someone mentioned that DW could still come to the track I think the reason he doesn't is because of a promise to his wife/family to only do a half of a season.
I will miss the FOx gang. Thank goodness I'll get to see alot of Larry Mac which will help.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Great comments so far, and your opinions are also getting a strong reaction from the TV folks.

Please, keep them coming.

JD

Anonymous said...

Haus20,

You actually are talking to someone who works in those trucks. I had told JD earlier this season that I would monitor the forum but I did not want to ID myself because of the firestorm it might prompt if I did. (Trust me there has been nothing criticized more here than what I do and I'm not talking about directing, is that a clue?)

I think that the majority of the criticisms are valid in this forum. For example I do not understand the flagger shot at the end. That shot can be shot from further down the track looking up at all the cars coming to the line. No need to shoot perpendicular to the track and give up the cars. That camera is good however for a really tight finish since it does shoot across the line, of course that has not happened much this year with the COT. Plus it placates all of those who want to see their favorite driver cross the line in one shot. In my mind the flagger at the finish is about as important as the dealer in a poker game, not important. A drop down graphic would be cool to like on pit out.

I do not understand the overuse of digger or of any camera (bumper cams etc) save for the "game camera". It is a race after all. I do think there is a better on board angle that we are missing and I am working on that (and I think it is a good "racing" angle).

I do not understand the overuse of the Digger graphic. I'll bet there would be half the criticism if they hadn't used that. Trust me, there are groans in the truck every time it comes up, especially from me. But the decision to use it comes from way higher than the director.

But there is something really interesting which has happened this year. The vast majority of the fans at the track are actually really into that camera. Over 10,000 have bought t-shirts (I get none of that by the way). Anything which gets people excited about watching a NASCAR race is a good thing and I would be willing to bet that more people have tuned into NASCAR and enjoyed the coverage this year than have turned it off because of Digger.

I am one who believes the economy of going to a race has a lot to do with the increase in ratings more than anything else like a camera. And while I'm sure some of you guys would be throwing beer cans at us doing our cameras they way they do for KB, the vast majority of fans seem to really think it's cool.

So Haus20 and others, keep criticizing, it has possibly resulted in an improved broadcast this year. But to the others, at least watch what you are criticizing and try to be constructive. I think yesterday's post from someone who had turned to watch IRL at the checkers and didn't even see the finish -- yet found the need to criticize it, was both humorous and sad at the same time.

Okay proceed with your bashing.

batchief said...

Thanks for a great season Fox, you will be missed by this poster and chances are other outspoken poster on here may soon feel the same way. We will see!

Anonymous said...

Wow, someone from FOX posting? Way cool! Many of us love you guys and will really miss you between now and Feb. No broadcast is perfect, or at least perfect for every viewer, but if I was forced to pick only one of the current broadcast teams to do the entire season, I would pick FOX over TNT and ABC/ESPN - and it isn't even close.

Anonymous said...

I think you said it all with this remark about Digger: "collectively beat it into the psyche of the NASCAR TV viewers." I'm so glad that is over with. And I really used to like DW but he went WAY overboard with his Kyle fanclub. I don't dislike Kyle but the overhyping of him got way out of hand. The coverage of Joey Logano is going in the same direction.

As for attending races in person, my husband and I used to attend 6 - 10 races a year. We do not go anymore because of several reasons including the traffic, high prices, and mostly because every race I've ever been to, I've witnessed at least one (and usually several) drunken brawl between fans. Night races are especially bad.

GinaV24 said...

Hey, "Fox Guy", thanks for your input, it is appreciated that we can get your perspective of things as well. I'll try and keep the "bashing" to a minimum in my post. I understand the marketing and the circus atmosphere at the track, heck, that's part of the experience of attending a race and I know that the bills have to be paid for a network to put the races on TV. I love Mike Joy, Hammond and Larry Mac. DW takes the cheerleading on TV to a new level of low that has resulted in my hitting the mute button on the TV whenever he speaks any more. I listen to MRN (when I'm at the track and now at home). The boring racing with the COT is not helping matters either. If the race itself is exciting (not manufactured by hype or tv personalities), then I am much more willing to put up with the BS that is a necessary evil to any TV production. But, missing the start of a race (any race), missing restarts, too many "graphics" that are strictly useless - like the gopher, leave me looking for options of another way to follow the race. I'd love the see the wider angle shots and it's nice to hear from someone in the know who says there could be a better way to do it for the final lap. I'd like to see that. For all that I gripe about Fox's coverage, you guys are certainly better than the other 2 options. TNT was a total waste last year and I have no expectations they will be better this summer, so it's MRN for me. ESPN/ABC, well, they made some significant changes from last year in the "run up" for their coverage, so they will get the benefit of the doubt for now. I appreciate that JD gives us a place to talk about what we fans want from the coverage and it's nice to know that someone is actually out there reading it, instead of thinking that we're just talking to ourselves.

red said...

ok, i tried to get a comment thru but the server froze for almost 30 minutes: jd, just an fyi -- that's the second time today. so, my brilliant comment lives in the internet ether. probably just as well.

some observations and feedback in addition to my earlier post:
1. i don't watch pre-race shows anymore for a variety of reasons. the biggest one is that it is just too long! i really do not need 90 minutes -- or more -- to set up today's race. what i want is a recap of the issues from the week and an overview of today's race. all the rest is fluff and, given that my family is VERY tolerant of my watching races for 36 weeks each year, i won't spend that time with fluff. i need to pick and choose my battles.
2. i intensely dislike in-car "reporter" type deals. these guys are WORKING and should be left alone. if i am curious as to what they are saying, i'll get a scanner. but i want my driver and crew chief to focus on the car, the track the strategy -- anything but me, as a fan! i may be in the minority but there you have it.
3. digger: i hear ya', fox guy: the rodent sells. but as a vp i once worked for in the book business said: "our brand is so strong, we could put gold-plated plungers on the counter and sell them. it doesn't mean we should." as i posted earlier: too much, too over the top. and, like newracefan, i saw one digger t-shirt at dover on friday. i wanted to dope-slap the guy wearing it!
4. what i really miss the most? two thoughts: objective reporting in the booth and wide camera angles on the field. when i watch races from "back in the day," that's what stands out. the camera shots were wonderful -- i could see the entire field come down the front - or backstretch. it really put the race into perspective and more closely mirrored what the fan at the track was seeing. not all the time, just enough to set the stage.
and objective reporting. yes, nascar is about marketing the personalities now in a very big way. but, ya' know what? 43 guys strap in every week and we only get to follow maybe 10. those other guys have stories as well, stories as captivating as pondering (yet again) when earnhardt will break his winless streak or what stewart will do in '09 or how "awesome" busch is. please tell me the other stories as well. i don't need to see a leader with a 4 or 5 second lead when there's racing going on behind him. one guy, running away with it, is not necessarily the best use of the camera. guys going two and three wide, racing hard, most certainly are. every single time. hands down.

if we want to build our sport, we have top reach out beyond the easy story, beyond the "usual suspects" and start highlighting the entire field. build "brand loyalty" by giving fans more information, better quality shots, and a wider view of the sport.

oh! and fox guy? please extend my thanks to your colleagues. your job is not easy and, if it weren't for your work and the work of the 100+ others, the only race i'd ever see would be the one i can afford to get to each year. so -- thanks!

Anonymous said...

You know, everyone is on DW for hyping Kyle Busch, but is it not worthy?

I don't remember anyone EVER saying Dick Berggren was biased, but on Sunday he said that Kyle Busch's recent string of victories and top showings "will be remembered for decades to come."

From someone like Berggren to say this means that the hype is real and it has a lot of people who have been around racing a long time very excited. In that context, I think DW was on the mark.

Anonymous said...

Here is a few more notes for you guys,

1. Many of the resources at these races are shared. For the Speed and ESPN races, many of the FOX crew is hard at work shooting, shading (coloring the cameras), and so on even though it airs on ESPN. The vast majority of the crews are freelance. It is not at all unusual for someone to shoot across networks. The ESPN crew is the Fox crew is the Speed crew.

2. The crew actually numbers more in the range of 400. I believe there were about 600 at Daytona. They all know each other, eat together and work together.

3. You can all breathe a sign of relief, Digger is summering at MLB. His cousin is already in the field at Dodger's stadium. He should not reappear at NASCAR until Daytona 2009.

4. Many of the key FOX personnel are heading today to Eldora, Tony Stewart's track. HBO will air a PPV dirt race live Wednesday night which will benefit the Victory Junction gang.

5. JD the trucks used by FOX are supplied by Game Creek not NEP. The trucks which did the FOX season are driving today to LA to do the NBA finals, then to NYC and the MLB All star game.

Fox Guy

Desmond said...

Bray, thank you for your comments about not only the TV coverage but also the state of the sport. I can only hope that someone pays attention.

Red, I'm with you on how the TV coverage was years ago and how much it has changed. If someone has never watched a NASCAR race before, they will not get a good idea of what it is really like based on how the TV networks, and in particular FOX, choose to cover it.

In fact, FOX is the worst place to learn what NASCAR is like by that definition. Newbies would think that NASCAR consists of only a few star drivers and the rest of the field that runs around the track to earn a paycheck. Meanwhile, the race turns into an infomercial in which reporting is replaced by self-promotion.

red said...

so, fox guy, what you're telling me is that our 16 year old daughter should consider continuing on with the camera and tv work she's done for 3 years? that it's actually a growth industry for someone who loves the profession -- but only from BEHIND the camera (she thinks on-air are prima donas)?
hmmmm. maybe we'll have a "talk" when she gets home tonight after filming . . .

red said...

hey jd. a thought: since many of our comments over this season have dealt not only with tv coverage but also with "the state of the sport": do you know if helton et. al. have an eye on the daly planet? it would certainly provide them with a window into what the fan is thinking and saying on a weekly basis. just wonderin' . .

glenc1 said...

I agree mostly with red. (I had server trouble too, btw). I have attended 2 or 3 races a season for the most part (though lately less because of the cost) for the last 10 years. Stuff at the track is just that, and has nothing to do with the race itself. It's occasionally annoying or congested, but the type is part of the traveling circus. Frankly, I often enjoy the freebies...promotion or not.

On my TV, however, I still expect good *objective* coverage. I don't think TV has every had it for racing. You watch football, for example, and it's not unusual to hear analysts berate the officiating, or question the NFL's decisions. That's rare in NASCAR coverage, and it's usually gentle when it's there. As boorish as I sometimes find Tony Stewart (he doesn't know when to quit) I do think he is about the only one with the kahunas to gripe. I am not a basher of the COT, but they need to do something to make it easier to turn--whether it's tires, or some other kind of adjustability--it needs to be addressed, and I do think the analysts did talk about that.

But I was ready to throw things at the TV when Darrell (and later, more surprisingly, Dick B) going on about Kyle. It's not because I loathe the punk, lol, I swear...it's because they sound as if it's all about the driver, like he doesn't have a team behind him, as if the Toyota engines and Mark Cronquist have *nothing* to do with their domination.

Professionals shouldn't be gushing like that; they ought to know better. Plenty of Superbowls have been won with quarterbacks who won't even end up in the Hall of Fame, that's all I'm saying. And I'm surprised they haven't figured out that by throwing him (or any other driver) in our face every five seconds, it makes us dislike him more (kind of like a song you get sick of on the radio because it's overplayed.) I think the media hype over Jeff Gordon back in the day was probably similar, but there is just more media coverage now. And yesterday, he might as well have not existed (and I'm not a fan of his, particularly, or a Jr fan either, for that matter.) But there were other stories going on that barely got a mention. Mostly I'm a race fan, and I believe it doesn't take a ton of work to find more interesting stories (such as Wendy's piece on the Evernham dude).

As for the personalities--I rarely have any issue with Mike Joy--professional, though he, better than most, knows not to step over that boundary of criticism. I appreciate DW's 'enthusiasm', but it's starting to grate on my nerves when he goes on about the gopher or other promotions or personal stuff. I wonder if it's not getting to the point where he's too far removed, like Spencer, from what's currently going on to be that effective. Larry Mac has very poor grammar, but I think what he has to say is valuable enough that I can get over it (it does make me cringe, though).

I don't understand the obsession with technology--at the track or home, I do not exclusively want to listen to one driver. I would never bother with Trackpass or Racebuddy any other of these PC services. I'm not that obsessed, and to be honest, I don't usually sit with my eyes glued to the screen for 4 hours. I think a select few are using those types of things, compared to the number of fans in general (like I mentioned about only 20% of people having DVRS). My biggest gripe is not showing the top cars crossing the finish line. If you must show somebody yelping or a spouse crying, at least do a split screen. FOX can't fix the COT issues, but at least they can make an effort to give us better all around coverage. They do some things well, but it still needs work.

Anonymous said...

As far as Elliott Sadler being on trackside, I guess I'll never watch it, that guy must be on drugs, last sundays race he said "I was trying to pass the 77 car" he don't even know what car he was passing, it was the 40. he has no personality to do a tv show. get someone people would like to listen to.

SophiaZ123 said...

Ditto to red and other comments about the last lap problem.

And several mention MORE WIDE ANGLE shots. That really is the bottom line. They can yammer away in the booth but more wide shots and giving us the final lap wide shot (NOT in car cam) every race, well..that' would be a huge start. We can mute the excessive talking but can't mute the excess graphics.

I have always, ALWAYS appreciated the behind the scenes folks and the ones who post here.

I still remember that very late rain delay when a couple of very nice folks on the board posted who were 'in the know at the track.'

When I switched on tv for the final update, some camera man did a little dance and spun around! LOL...I later saw that used in some Eye Candy on Wind Tunnel.

so thanks to all who work hard and long days in hot weather...and the rain.

It's sad that the gripes filter down to the bad decision of one person running the show as far as what WE SEE at home from living rooms.

Many can't go to races for a host of reasons especially medical ones or ambulatory issues or travel challenges.

Still no excuse to insult the fans.

Just remember, this blog is about TPTB who "control what we see."

It's never about those many individuals that work hard to bring us the races. They all do their jobs as told and without you, we'd see a blank tv.

So for those we see, and those we don't see I thank you.

My other feelings are posted elsewhere or stated above from some of the best posters around at the most honest blog around.

Thanks to JD and to everybody.

Anonymous said...

hey anon 8:42am...wrong about the fox producer not caring about encouraging viewership of the sport forward, he also will be producing the next 6 races on TNT...get over it and enjoy the cars going around, and around, and around,and...

haus20 said...

Anon @ 8:25 - if you do work for one of the other networks (TNT / ESPN) we appreciate all your hard work. I am a little confused by your posts. At first, you seem to be critical of those who criticize the broadcast, then in a subsequent post you seem to be doing the same thing. Is it the tone that is frustrating or something else?

I do agree that this site could be even better if we were more constructive. I think that you give more creedence to your comment if it comes across as intelligent.

There are many bloggers on here that do a good job, but then there are those that seem to have revisionists history about the last 13 races or last years races for that matter.

Let's put this year into perspective.

Last year was far from perfect which was well documented on this site, but so far this year, ESPN has made great strides in improving their production quality so far in the Nationwide series. ESPNNews now provides Cup press conference coverage.

TNT was awful last year, but it looks as if they are at least attempting to make improvements this year and even take race coverage to another level. That, of course, remains to be seen.

As far as FOX '08 goes, the only major issue for me was the flag shot at the end ofthe race.

The digger cam could certainly have been used better, but it didn't make or break broadcast.
Maybe the booth could temper their Kyle love, but I think there was a lot of Jimmie love last year.

To say that the Fox broadcast season was horrible or that Artie is a terrible director is over the top and it ruins the credibility of this site.

I just wanted to put some perspective on this suprisingly hot topic.

Daly Planet Editor said...

As I mentioned in a recent column, the NASCAR on Fox Producer will continue and freelance on the TNT package. What will change, however, is the Director.

The TNT Director is the veteran who first began the ESPN coverage of NASCAR back in the 1980's.

Fans should watch for a different approach to the sport from a video perspective, although many of the same elements will be included.

TNT is promising some very new twists, and I will be reporting on those later this week.

JD

Anonymous said...

Now we get to the time of year when people forget they whined about Fox, and after watching TNT and ESPN make a mess of the races, start saying, "Fox can't come back soon enough."

Just like last year.

Daly Planet Editor said...

haus,

I would disagree with your final comment. The only thing saying something like that does is not agree with you.

People have strong feelings about NASCAR TV and they are wide ranging. As you can see from these comments, one broadcast can result in a whole lot of very different perspectives.

Best to just let people talk and then others react without trying to establish whose opinion is credible and whose is not.

In the end, it all contributes to the conversation about the sport.

JD

Anonymous said...

I also will not miss the constant showing of the 55 car

I don't know what race you're watching, but I had to get Trackpass to find out what the 55 is doing, because they don't show him unless he wrecks or gets lapped.

Anonymous said...

I will miss Fox and would hope that TNT & ESPN learned from last year.

The bottom line is that the racing on the track as also changed. The new cars are in need of major improvements. If you look at the races over the past few years you can see that there is little or no green flag passing. (Dega & Daytona as side) The Bristol was a joke and look at Dover yesterday. Five cars on the lead lap at the end of the race? NASCAR is looking more like Forumla 1 on the track. First one to the green flag wins.
Once the racing action gets better then the TV coverage will follow.

Dave said...

glenc1, I agree with you about the crying spouse shot. In fact, I think that any camera person who even approaches Kim Burton should have their knuckles smacked.
One other thing that bugs me is that even on the HD broadcast many of the graphics and screen formats seem to be set up for a standard def TV size. Sometimes what's being shown only takes the center box of the screen and just has filler design lines on the left and right side of the screen. Keep the focus of what you are doing in the center, but I'm sure you can think of something to fill that space with that's useful.
I don't recall if it was on Fox or another network, but seeing the running order scrolling across just the SD portion of the top of the screen at times leaves me wondering. Since its always looping, why not run it the whole way across the top? The standard def tvs won't be seeing anything less than they already do.

Anonymous said...

I'm a still photographer and shoot several NA$CAR, ARCA, and IRL races per year. One of my main complaints with all the networks this season has been staying on the leaders with tight shots during the race when more exciting racing is going on back in the pack.

I shoot the action on the track and in the pits. If I were to send my days worth of shooting to my editor with just the cars in front of the pack, I'd be out of a job. It wouldn't tell the story of the race or show the action back in the pack.

Too many times this year there were drivers who were not even seen during the race and we had to go online to find out where they ended up or why they dropped out. Drivers who wrecked were never interviewed from the infield care center when released. Too many unanswered questions after the dust settled.

Too many wrecks were missed even while the announcers were saying on air "Big wreck in turn two!" Or the camera would change to another shot just as a car got out of shape which left you yelling at the TV, "Go Back!, Go Back!!".

I yelled at my TV a lot early in the season but not as much the last few races. Fox has got better and I honestly think it was directly the result of this site. Thanks J.D. for giving us fans a place to throw around ideas and criticism. Just think how good it would have been if they had listened to this site at the beginning of the year!

I do enjoy the Fox family of announcers and pit reporters and will miss them until their return next year.

Steve L.
East TN.

Tracy said...

I'd like to add, I thought Fox did a bang-up job at Daytona this year.

Had to laugh at the comment about anyone aiming a camera at Kim Burton. I can see why it's done, however. She's very pretty, very emotional, and it adds a human element that reminds us that drivers have families who care deeply about their success.

glenng said...

Does anyone need any sonoco race fuel? What about four fresh
goodyear racing eagles? Bla Bla Bla Bla Bla Bla Bla! If not lets go to the Ford fusion cut away car to see what a drive shaft looks like. Don't forget about the yankee game next sunday. Bla Bla Bla Bla! Well, now that we are under caution lets not only go anoy the guy in the car, lets get his crew chief as well. Maybe we can trick him into saying sonoco, or goodyear, or coke on air. Hell, we'll make millions.

Daly Planet Editor said...

glen,

When you get a moment, will you translate that for us please?

I take it you are not a fan of either Fox or NASCAR or racing.

JD

glenng said...

Daily planet editor,


I am one of the millions of fans that helped the world of nascar grow. I started watching in the late 1980's. In the 1990's, If a race was being broadcast,I was watching. Be it a truck race, Busch cars, or the good ol "WINSTON CUP" on an early sunday afternoon. I never missed a race for 10 years.

I am one of the millions of race fans that spent A few thousand dollars on driver related merchandise. That also helped build the sport.

Back in nascars infantacy, he was a beautiful baby. Now its some punk kid with his underware hanging out at the mall.

Am I angry? You bet I am. Do we really need 90 minutes of pagentry and glam at 1:30 in the afternoon?

I sure do miss the early start times, noon eastern. I understand the concept of why races are being started later in the day. Nascar wanted to incorporate the viewers on the left coast. Honestly I don't think they care. When was the last time california raceway had a sellout? The speedway gives unsold tickets away just to show fans in the seats.

I really enjoy Larry mac, untill he starts in with the "sonoco race fuel" or the "four fresh goodyear racing eagles". Everyone knows what fuel the cars use. Everyone knows what kind of tires they run on. Smart loyal racefans such as myself know these things. Is it in the fox broadcasters contract that they get a bonus for every time a corporate entity is mentioned on air?
There was a time the DW was entertaining. That seems so long ago. Now ol DW is into promoting his own agenda. What ever the flovor of the week that may be. Kyle Bush, that @#$ &*%@ digger, toyota? That bogittt, sorry I can't even bring myself to type it. It is time for Dw to exit stage left.

Fox does have some quality people such as Wendy V, Dr.Dick and a few others. If I have to loose the quality people to loose the annoying people, so be it.

Thanks for the platform for people like me to voice an opinion.

Someone needs to BRING BACK BUDDY BAKER!!

Anonymous said...

Gleng
I feel your pain and frustration.

red said...

glenng: not only buddy baker but gentleman jed and bud lindeman and the rest. that's when the racers really respected the sport and the fans. and that's the past i mourn: the respect.
drivers, broadcasters, journalists, fans -- many seem to have sunk to the lowest common denominator. sigh.

Daly Planet Editor said...

glenn,

See, I knew you had it in ya!

JD

Vince said...

Glenng,

I also feel your pain. When I visualize what the snake oil salesmen from the old wild west days must have been like, I visualize the Waltrips. Scary and sad at the same time......

Anonymous said...

I KNOW THAT DW and Jeff are just like when they were the best in racing,they are the BEST.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm a California race fan and there are a lot of us out here. A lot.

Matt said...

Fox's problem is that sometimes (OK, most of the time) THEY are the star(s) of the show, not the race. The race is supposed to be the focus-not the announcers,the cameras, the websites, the network itself. Usually there was way too much focus on outside items. I realize during the boring parts, it could be a good idea. But most of the time, especially restarts, the race has to be the focus. That's FOX's biggest flaw. So much action was missed this year because of Fox's obssession with Digger and their speedshots. If Fox refocuses on showing the racing itself, their coverage will be pretty darn good.

Ken-Michigan said...

JD -

Being a first time visitor to this site in 2008, I have really enjoyed being able to add my 2 cents.... so THANKS JD !!

I've complimented and I've been critical at times, but I think that I might have watched this first half of the season on FOX and ESPN alot more closely, knowing that we discuss it on here.

Anything that I have posted on here is the same exact thing that I say here on the couch while watching with other friends and TV / Boradcasting people.

Here's a few things that caught my attention..... on FOX.

1) Mike Joy is still one of the very best, I really respect his work and his way to talk to the audience thru complicated issues.

2) I still don't know why or how FOX let DW on the air at Bristol when he could barely talk. We came to understand it was DW's "decision" to work that broadcast, when in my mind....it shouldn't have been left up to DW.

3) Larry Mac must have dreams about being a play by play guy. He needs to button it up and be the analyst. Please, let Mike Joy do the play by play.

4) Larry Mac, Hammond and DW for that matter, got a new lease on life when FOX started covering the races. All of their careers were done, and now they are all under the impression that we are watching because THEY are on TV. Guys, check your egos at the gate each week and we find you all more enjoyable.

5) Gopher cam.... the shot is useable... just delete the gopher animation.

6) Lazy Producing.... so many stories went uncovered. Cars on the track for a race and we never see them ALL DAY. Drivers who SHOULD have been interviewed after the race, are not heard from. You're there to cover an event.....cover it.

7) Split screens should be utilized alot more often.

8) I don't like making the driver wait in the winner's circle for TV to get back from a 3 or 4 minute commercial break. Takes away from the raw emotion of winning a 3 or 4 hour event.

9) Add me to the list of people who no longer watch ANY pre-race stuff. I guess it might make sense to the fan who ONLY tunes in on Sunday, but personally, I dont need all the pre-race.

9) Finally,....I'm really going to go out on a limb on this comment, but lets see if it flies....might sound crazy....but, i wanna know what others think....

As much as I love my country, for TV's sake, should the TV networks cover the national anthem and the invocation ?? Other TV sports do it on "certain" occasions, but not each and every telecast.

Overall, in my mind FOX has gotten into a rut of settling for mediocrity. We, as fans, have no other choice. They pay the TV rights and I gather that NASCAR allows them to cover the event how ever they want. That is a shame.

glenc1 said...

"Fox's problem is that sometimes (OK, most of the time) THEY are the star(s) of the show, not the race. The race is supposed to be the focus-not the announcers,the cameras, the websites, the network itself. Usually there was way too much focus on outside items."

Matt, I couldn't have said it better. That's the main difference I see watching early coverage vs. later coverage. The fact that where they sell stuff is called 'DWStore.com' ought to be our first clue. I have nothing against people making a buck, but they need to stop shoving down our throats.

You know, I know what glenng is saying about the Sunoco thing, but honestly, I think I don't even 'hear' it anymore; I just tune it out.

Lastly...I agree with Ken-Michigan about the anthem (I think you meant it to be #10), but I think we are in the vast minority. Most of the time I'm doing other stuff when it's on, but I think of it as there for the fans AT the race, not the TV viewers. When I'm there in person, then I enjoy it, though I'd admit there have been some this year I thought were quite good. You just get tired of 'insert name here' Nashville recording artist or 'local singing sensation' & I could usually do without. It has nothing to do with patriotism, which is what's inside you, it's about an overly long TV program. I'm out there with you Ken, but I don't think it's gonna fly, lol.

Bucky B said...

I have to admit I'm very happy to read so many comments that echo the sentiment that I've had for a long time about this sport and the way it is being presented. I've never been one to believe that a fan needs to establish their bona fide's before giving an opinion but just for perspective purposes I will say that I was born and raised in South Florida and have attended every Daytona 500 since 1976. I remember as a youngster in the mid '70's reading my dad's National Speed Sport News to get all of our racing news and being excited on those rare occasions when a race would be broadcast, sometimes a week delayed, on ABC's Wide World of Sports or CBS Sports Spectacular. Sometimes wedged in between weight lifting and gymnastics. If you are too young to remember those shows I won't go into the formats, I'll let JD weigh in if he chooses. We didn't get "live, flag to flag coverage". I got print media and not the local paper by the way and radio. I still listen to MRN and am still amazed that after all these years the same format still works so well.

Which brings me to my point. Call me old school or old fart, whatever but I believe that less is more. ESPN brought motorsports into my living room in the early '80's and sometimes TBS every Sunday. No more waiting a week and seeing it all chopped up during a three hour broadcast window. Bob Jenkins and the late Larry Nuber called the action. No hype, no fluff, just two broadcasters calling the race with some "expert" commentary from pit lane. It was great and remained so for a very long time. Others were added to the booth, namely Ned Jarrett and later Benny Parsons. But the premise remained. The went live at noon or 12:30 recapped the weekend, gave you the starting line up and away we went. I started seeing the faces of some of those MRN voices that I grew up with, Jerry Punch, Jack Arute, Gary Gerould. Over at CBS which started doing about six or eight live races a year I got to see Dave Despain and Mike Joy along with legendary Chris Economaki, Ken Squire and Brock Yates. TNN later got into the mix with the ever steady Eli Gold. Along with Buddy Baker and Neil Bonnett formed the best booth yet but that's my opinion.

Now we have endless hours of programming. From practice to qualifying to to about 4 hours of pre-race hype on two networks. We have almost a dozen voices trying to present the same race. The same races where only about four people presented. JD you had a column last year where you talked about the Milwaukee Nationwide race. Allen Bestwick and Randy LaJoie presenting the pre-race from the roof of the press box and then calling the race. Just like Bob Jenkins and Larry Nuber used to do. No hype, no fluff, no self promotion or over the top, in your face production.

I'm not a very big fan of DW. I didn't like him when he drove and I certainly don't care for his style of "broadcasting". I don't care for the Jerry Glanville/Terry Bradshaw type presentation. It sets southerners back 100 years. Between the three networks there's some good ones and there's some bad ones. No use getting into it, we all have our opinions, likes and dislikes. The graphics, the camera shots and you could fill volumes with the lack of information that is not presented during the broadcast. It goes on and on.

Someone needs to take these crews and lock them in a room and show them how races were once presented. I still find it done somewhat the old fashioned way on the Indy Car telecasts. Not to mention the broadcast of F1 on Speed. Somehow without the benefit of all those bells and whistles, three men sitting in a booth watching television of a broadcast from over seas put on one hell of a show. That show is motorspots. It is just racing. It's really not complicated.

Sometimes, less truly is more.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm a California race fan and there are a lot of us out here. A lot.

Then go to the races they took from other cities and gave to California. Right now, we see lots--thousands--of empty seats when we watch the races there.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised there's so much complaining about the length of the pre-race show.

If you don't like it, don't watch it. No one makes you it through it.

Just watch the race.

batchief said...

Anon 10:47, my sentiments exactly. If the race comes on at 1:00 don't tune in until 1:30 or 1:45. If you don't like who is speaking, mute it. I'm sure these shows bring in big money and put drivers in front of the cameras. Some talk about the good old days, well those good old days didn't bring in the big advertising dollars like today nor did the drivers make a fraction of what todays drivers make. Also instead of a car owner employing 300 to 400+ people they were lucky to have a very small % of those numbers and the number of jobs it takes to bring us the race each week is huge. It's those advertising dollars that bring the race and the events surrounding it into your homes each week. Folks, it is what it is. Your choice is to watch or not watch, it's that simple.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Guys,

I think what people are discussing is the content and the lack of coordination between pre-race shows.

Certainly, every TV network has the right to originate the programming they desire. What we have been discussing is "how much is too much?"

For Pocono: One hour of NASCAR Now in the morning on ESPN2, two hours of RaceDay on SPEED and then one and a half hours of TNT pre-race shows. Four and a half hours of live programming before the race starts. That is a point of discussion.

We all understand the easy way out is to say just don't watch it, but we have tried to offer opinions on the content and style of these shows since Feb of 2007.

This coming week should be the best example ever of possible NASCAR pre-race overload, especially after another Friday and Saturday of live coverage on SPEED of practices and qualifying.

JD

the15car said...

No more BOOGITY, BOOGITY, BOOGITY. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Im confused here. We want more NASCAR oriented programs and networks to devote more time to NASCAR, but we don't want more pre-race shows?

JD you keep pointing out the 4+ hours of pre-race. It is spread out through three different networks. In my opinion a pre-race show is only the one shown on the network before the race.

Maybe I misread your comments. But when you say 4+ hours of pre-race you make it sound like we ARE FORCED to watch the shows on ESPN, SPEED, and TNT.

The networks have every right to produce their own morning NASCAR program. I think its great because we can choose which show we want to watch. But people are making it seem like we HAVE to watch all the shows.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:59P,

Good point. Let me talk about it.

There are several types of shows that originate on Sunday from the different NASCAR TV partners.

Unfortunately, all of them are aimed at exactly the same target and for one good reason. There is no one coordinating the activity between the TV networks where pre-race programming is involved.

Last year, we had Wendy Venturini on here talking about standing next to Jamie Little and taking turns interviewing the same driver about the same things for two different live networks. What is the point?

Think about it. There is no long-form review program on Sunday mornings. No "Beyond the Wheel" or any other finished show. There is nothing interactive with the viewers other than some random email.

Essentially, ESPN2 and SPEED and TNT will all be presenting the same content filtered through their own annoucers and then their own TV network pathways to your home. What a waste.

As many veteran fans have said in this forum, there are so many stories that go uncovered with this uncoordinated approach to the sport.

If NASCAR "helped" the TV partners to coordinate their activities, fans would see a new reality that would allow the sport to stop focusing on the same five stories or so for all of the pre-race shows.

TNT's first race this weekend is going to be the first time the marathon unfolds. Unfortunately, there is no way that this appoach is going to help the networks involved.

JD

Lisa Hogan said...

Just my opinion:
I enjoy the Fox booth more than the other networks covering Cup during the season. Larry Mac, Jeff and DW are all past champions and that carries weight with me.

My aggravations are about some of the camera decisions. There are too many “special” cameras used during the race. A few of these would be fine. Too many, however, add nothing to the understanding or enjoyment of what is happening on the track. Like others have posted, I would also like to see the cars cross the finish line.

Each season, DW seems to have one thing that he just goes on and on about. I can usually shrug this off as just being DW. This season having two things, digger and Kyle, it was just too much.

As I’ve posted before, I’m sure that Chris Myers is a nice guy, works hard, and doesn’t kick his dog. I just do not like his act. We have all noticed that DW and Mikey have to touch whoever is next to them while talking. Chris Myers carries this a whole lot farther. He cannot seem to keep his hands off of Jeff Hammond.

I would suggest, that during their off time, the person in the truck who has a crush on Carl’s Mom and Chris Myers get some therapy for their problems. :)

Bucky b said...

You know JD the comment about not watching the pre-shows instead of complaining has a ring of sense to it. I dont' have to watch. I could just tune in at race time, whenver that is and watch the race. I guess my issue is more about information over load. I hate to keep living in the past but I do remember great shows like Motorweek Illustrated and the original This Week in Winston Cup on TNN. For a long time that was all we had, now you get all the info you could possibly need but it's all a rehash of the same thing. Honestly the best thing I saw on Sunday was the interview on Speed on Raceday with David Coulthard. It had nothing to do with NASCAR per se but it was just different and the intercation with Kenny and Jimmy.

The NFL has endless hours of pre-game shows on Sundays during their season so I guess it's no different.

My biggest issue is still the race presentation. There is so much more going on in stead of the race and way too many voices and personalities vying for air time and not enough useful race informaton being disseminated.

Daly Planet Editor said...

buckyb,

That is exactly the point. You should want to watch the pre-race shows and there should be a reason why. Compelling programming and interactive features should allow anyone who wanted more info to get it during this time.

The bottom line is, the Internet is kicking butt on the current NASCAR TV pre-race programming. The unstructured TV mess has each individual network's agenda put first and the sport put second.

A little group organization by the powers that be would go a long way toward making watching the pre-race programming a pleasure and not a chore.

JD

glenng said...

lisa hogan, the chris myers comment was funny and made for a good laugh. Thanks!

When myers slams Dr. Dick, which is every week, I'd like to reach into my set and smack him in in the back of the head. Dick takes it well so maybe that is why myers does it so often.

Bucky b, maybe you can tell us where we can find the exact start of these races. All it says on my guide is for example 1:30 to 6:00 pm. Therefore I tune in at 1:30. If you have a source that tells you the race really doesn't start till 2:52 pm, I think people would give you a big pat on the back for the info.

Untill then, we as loyal fans are subjected to What? You guessed it 1 and 1/2 hours of pre race.

The other shows on sunday morning don't matter much. I eat second breakfest and take a nap while they are on.

haus20 said...

glenng I agree with you regardng the exact time of the green flag...the two places I look when I want to find that time is on the indvidual track websites as well as on Jayski.com....many times the individual track sites have the schedule of events for the weekend listed somewhere on the site and jayski has a next race info page that usually gives a pretty accurate start time.

Karen said...

glenng,

Jayski always has the start times on the race info page. I usually DVR that separately so don't tie myself to the tube, FF through it. DVR Raceday on Speed, also, and FF through that, frankly, after reading the review on this blog for the highlights.

Kenn Fong said...

Fox Guy,

Thanks for what you do and in particular, writing when you can.

Unlike many others, I don't have major beefs with your racecast. There are some things I would do differently, but since I didn't make full use of my BA in Radio-TV, I'm on the other side of the screen.

There are a few things on my mind, though. I'm wondering if there is some conclusive audience research that shows most of the viewers are only casual fans with no strong affiliation to any one driver? I have to think the checkered flag/winner crosses the Start/Finish line/winning driver's wife crying or pit crew or crew chief exulting sequence didn't just spring up out of nowhere like mushrooms the day after a rain. Even if the audience research doesn't exist, the sequence does serve to tell the story. Ten years ago when I wasn't even interested enough to be classified as a "casual fan," I didn't care who the other cars were. I just cared to see who won..

I could do without so many product placements ("get your own 'Digger' at DWStore.com"), but I realize without them and the many commercials, I would be looking at 30 year-old "M*A*S*H" reruns on my local Fox affiliate on Sunday afternoons when football is not in season. (I also might be one of the few here who understands that I'm not the center of the universe, so not everything should please me.)

Even though I find DW's shtick tiresome, I also think the folksiness in him is a tie to the grassroots of NASCAR. When he's not slobbering over Kyle Busch like a smitten teenager, he does manage to give some good information in a terse sentence or two.

I too would like to see more emphasis on the rest of the field, but since I'm a Junior fan, I get what I want from your racecast and my DirecTV Hot Pass.

If I were to give one suggestion that would be taken seriously, I echo others: please more wide shots and more coverage of position battles back in the field. Not only does it show more cars (satisfying fans of the other cars), but it also shows more cars. By this I mean that it gives more of a sensation that we are watching a competition. Isos of a leading car or a popular driver back in the pack do not engender a feeling that this is actually a race.

Thanks for listening. Even if nothing changes, I'm still grateful. By putting together and telecasting the races, you save me the aggravation of the cost, traffic, cacophony, heat, second-hand smoke, drunks, and general discomfort I feel when I'm forced to spend hours in close quarters with people not of my choice. A big thank you to you, your peers, and the powers that be.

Kenny
Alameda, California

(A California fan who does support NASCAR. I subscibe to DirecTV Hot Pass, NASCAR Scene, and NASCAR Illustrated. That's two Benjies right there.)

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks to everyone for the great comments over the last several days. They have been read by the folks in the business who control and affect the NASCAR TV coverage.

Being able to let them read the well written and thoughtful comments that you offered was the goal of this project from the beginning.

Thanks again for taking the time to leave us your opinion.

JD