Sunday, June 8, 2008

TNT Turns A New Page In TV History

It was the first of six Sprint Cup Series broadcasts for the TNT gang. The memories of the invasive promos, the angry announcers and the disjointed TV production were still fresh in the minds of many NASCAR fans. Sunday at Pocono may have gone a long way to helping those very memories to fade away.

This season, TNT is offering fans a "combo platter" of viewing options for all six events. RaceBuddy is a TNT concept that puts four live camera angles online for broadband computer users to watch for free. This application also includes email, a chat room and offers viewers an opportunity to send video questions.

The entire idea is that many fans like to use their computers for additional information while the races are in-progress. Some like to chat and interact, others like more live information and still others want to get their questions answered. It is a good concept.

TNT is once again offering two pre-race TV shows that run for ninety minutes combined. Since SPEED has moved RaceDay to a timeslot before the TNT shows, the Turner guys were the only game in town.

As pre-race shows go, TNT mixes features and the analysis of Kyle Petty and Larry McReynolds to create the first hour. It is a mini-RaceDay, and covers a lot of the same territory as both SPEED and ESPN2's pre-race offerings.

The second show is led by Bill Weber and focuses on the race issues and news. Weber and Dallenbach sat in a cramped set up in the tower that did not lend itself to the program. As usual, the content that Weber offers is crisp and clear. He is an outstanding writer and reporter.

TNT unveiled RaceBuddy, and then started the race itself. As with anything, it takes a while for everyone to get on the same page. Just like last season, both drivers in the booth tend to address the same issues and often overlap.

TNT had an audio problem early in the race that resulted in a slice of Turner's other network audio on the air and then a quick commercial. Once back to Pocono, the announcers spent the better part of ten minutes talking over the back-up audio path which unfortunately sounds less than professional.

The crew carried on until the problem was fixed and then things settled down. This season, Marc Fein was not used while the race was in-progress. Larry McReynolds is clearly the fourth member of the broadcast team and takes the role of the race strategist.

Weber has a much better attitude this season. The inside jokes and the sniping are long gone. He does not get frustrated, and kept his on-air delivery in balance during the entire Pocono race. His attention to detail was outstanding.

Kyle Petty has really brought his personality to these broadcasts and it has been a big help. Petty and McReynolds are clearly the guys who were around during the first four months of the season and know the stories by heart. These two quickly started into a running conversation that had lots of information and opinion.

Meanwhile, over in RaceBuddy land the TNT and crews were having the highs and lows of any new concept. The four camera angles and the ability to push that video full-screen was simply outstanding. Changing the in-car camera according to fan votes did not really turn-out to be an exciting feature.

Given a choice of either hearing the natural sound from the track or the team radios, users who picked the radio option got a surprise. An automated voice told the team numbers before each radio transmission. Often, it seemed to cover the transmission itself. It was confusing and did not make any sense.

TNT took only one video question during the pre-race show and no email questions during the broadcast. They will have to work on this integration between the TV guys and the computer guys for the next event. The TNT chatroom was also useless. Overcrowded and chaotic were two words used in emails to The Daly Planet.

Once again this season the TNT pit reporters are going to be a strong asset to the telecasts. Lindsay Czarniak chased the stories and did not seem to miss a beat despite being gone from the sport since last season. Veterans Matt Yocum, Marty Snider and Ralph Shaheen rounded-out a solid day of coverage from a tough pit road.

The TNT graphics got good reviews, and were changed in a timely fashion to relate to the happenings in the race itself. The updated information worked very well, and this season the annoying promotions inserted onto the live race screen were gone. What a positive change.

Most noticeable for many fans was the actions of the Director. Broader camera angles and wide sweeping shots made for a perfect Pocono presentation. Nothing was missed, and it was a sharp contrast to the hyper-tight presentations of the Fox gang.

Especially effective was the consistent use of identifying one car and then zooming out to show the interval to the next. On a track like Pocono, there was no other way to gain perspective. On the effect that showed two video boxes on the screen, TNT has a very bad and distracting moving background. Look for that to change immediately.

The telecast had one bad commercial inserted with fifteen laps to go that was tough to take, but overall this first broadcast did not suffer from the commercial and promotional overload of TNT last season. Even a brief rain delay did not seem to lessen the commercial load late in the race.

A bright spot for fans was the last lap, which featured a wideshot and drop-down graphic as the cars finished the race. It was clear that a change in the Director had resulted in a very different philosophy of coverage on the final lap.

Once the TNT broadcast is done, the announcing crew continues their post-race coverage live on for yet another TV/Internet first. TNT has a lot to be proud of in this first effort, and only a few things to tweak.

As a TV viewer and fan, what did you think of the TV coverage, the announcers and the Internet RaceBuddy feature? If you multi-tasked, how did you enjoy the experience? If you did not, why did you choose not to participate?

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.


Rick said...

All I have to say is that if TNT continues with this level of quality broadcast, they are setting a very high bar for ABC/ESPN for the remainder of the season.

Excellent broadcast by TNT. Yeah, there were a few hiccups (audio problems early on, badly placed commercial breaks, etc.), but overall very good.

bevo said...

Can't believe I'm going to say this but Weber sounded like he actually enjoyed calling the race. All of the on air folks did a fine job and I give Kyle a big thumbs up on the Montoya situation.

Except for the occasional technical glitches the production crew did a great job especially the camera shots and as you said the director did a fantastic job. Thank you for the finish line camera with the drop down finishing order. They even ran down the top 35!

Can't comment on pre-race. I've given up on them. No news and it just makes the day longer.

RaceBuddy went off without the problems I thought they might have, good job by Turner. I used it for awhile but I basically get the same thing with HotPass. Great option by TNT though, thumbs up!

All in all a great start for TNT and a HUGE improvement from last year. Well done by the TNT folks.

Joan said...

A Really Good Job, JD you are spot on with the tweaks that need done.
A big hug to the director, and cameramen for wonderful shots. And A HUGE "ATTA BOY" for Race Buddy all in all a good solid race show.

Anonymous said...

Did I watch the same broadcast that others did? I thought it was awful. Yes, the integration of was good, but the overall TV product was awful, awful, awful.

Anonymous said...

For such a long and fairly unexciting race, I think the booth deserves some credit for making it as interesting as possible. So they'll get that from me. Good job guys.

I liked the end shots. They showed the Burton/Jr battle and also focused on the leader for the last lap, instead of a tight shot of leader only for the last laps. The checkered flag and afterward were a great improvement from FOX, where we would have seen the 9 crew and who knows who else instead of cars crossing the line.

Agreed with another poster that the winner shouldn't wear sunglasses in Victory Lane for the interview. It takes something away from us viewers when you can't see the eyes.

I used RaceBuddy for part of the race and enjoyed the camera shots but not the droning voice of the audio. I don't want to be looking at the computer for the entire race though (I work on a computer all week long) so I'm glad TNT gave me something to look at on TV.

I thought Wally D and Kyle were really blunt about the JPM safety crew incident and it was very refreshing. Even after the "explanation" (from Helton/Darby/whoever) Weber read after the commercial break which was obviously read to counter their comments, they still quietly stuck to their guns. Blunt and NASCAR TV don't usually go together. Hope we see more of that!

emeraldchickpea said...

I enjoyed this broadcast tremendously! Comparing this one to the Fox offerings this season, and to ALL of last season....well, there's just no comparison.

Today's broadcast was an "updated version" of what we USED to see before the year 2000.

I hope all the networks take note of this -- this was the best one I've seen in several years, even if the race itself was just average.

stricklinfan82 said...

Overall I thought TNT's performance was the exact opposite of Fox. Whereas Fox is generally very good all day long before badly screwing up the end, TNT was pretty bad all day long but finished strong with fantastic finish line camera work. Today completely dispelled the myth that it's "impossible" or "unrealistic" to hold a finish line camera shot for 20-30 seconds or more. While TNT did great with the last lap work, the rest of the day was a HUGE letdown compared to the fantastic coverage I expected after 10+ months to prepare for this broadcast:

- Awful scoring crawl

TNT used archaic scoring crawl technology that only appeared to update twice per lap - once at the start/finish line and once right before the tunnel turn. That was definitely extremely hard to swallow after being used to Fox and ESPN having scoring crawls with up-to-the-millisecond accuracy.

- Never mentioned the outcome of the top 35 in owner's points before signing off on TV

It is inexcusable to leave the air without paying off the story of who's in and out of the top 35 in owner's points, especially after following that story at various times throughout the races.

- Green flag commercial break with 14 laps to go

That is far too late in a race to be taking a green flag commercial break.

- Missing yellow flag pit stops

I've seen TV networks miss the entire field pitting under yellow because they were in commercial when the yellow came out and got back too late to catch the stops, but it's been a while since a caution has come out while a network was on the air, and the accompanying yellow flag stops were missed for a commercial break.

- Technical glitches

Just like practice coverage on Friday, TNT's truck lost the audio early in the race and had to resort to the radio-sounding audio that was far ahead of the video. Plus they lost Weber's mic during the pre-race show, and Marc Fein and Bill Weber seemed to stumble quite a bit during the pre-race, as if there were issues with their teleprompter.

- Carl Edwards went from 33rd to 9th after that final restart and was never mentioned or shown on TV once during that stretch

- Bad green flag pit stop coverage

Not only did TNT not adopt the Fox philosophy of keeping the on-track leader in one box all the time, they completely removed the scoring crawl altogether at times during pit stops and left us completely clueless as to the running order during the stops.

And JD, I couldn't disagree with you more on the integration between the fans and the announcers during the race broadcast. I was absolutely thrilled that TNT did not waste air-time during the race with questions from viewers at home. That works fine during the pre-race show, but there is too much going on during a race to turn the focus away from the race track. The cameras should stay focused on the cars, not showing a fan from home's video question. And the talk from the booth should be about the race that is going on, not about questions from home, in my opinion.

Kyle said...

TNT put on a beautiful show. The director/producer gave the viewer terrific shots of the race. The announcing team made a huge improvement over their attempt last year. Still not the FOX crew, but I didn't turn on the radio and mute the TV.

Race Buddy had some problems loading for me in the first segment of the race. However once loaded it was visually fantastic. being able to watch green fag pits stops while TV was at commercial, or watching the incar camera while Tony was bumping the pace car, also while TV was at commercial brought a new dimension to the viewing experience.

On the audio side Race Buddy was horrid. Live team chat was constantly being talked over by the robot voice telling us someone keyed their radios. If the robo voice was removed, and narrow down the number of drivers we listen to, it would improve that greatly.

The live track audio was not insync with the video being shown in any of the 4 available camera angels, unless they happened to be using that angle on the TV side. That is a minor complaint.

All in all TNT took a dismal 6 races last year and firmly put it behind them today. Race Buddy more then made up for the abundance of show promos and audio problems suffered during the broadcast. If they fix the team audio on RB I will be one happy viewer!!

SallyB said...

Of the 3 networks that televise races, I'd say TNT has done the best job of making adjustments the fans watching the races asked for. One thing I really appreciated was the lack of non stop babble during the race! There were several moments when the only sound I heard was that of the cars on the track. What a wonderful concept. I truly appreciate that the announcers didn't feel the need to clutter the air with nonsense and babble, just to hear themselves talk!

Except for a couple glitches that were quickly taken care of, I thought this was one of the best race broadcasts in many years. Congratulations, and a big thank you to TNT.

Charlie said...

I watched the race on TNT and watched Race Buddy on my computer. What a treat to be able to see 4 more camera angles during a race and for Free. I see a lot of potential for the computer doing extra camera views.
One thing I would like to see is a spot on Race Buddy that shows what lap the race is on.
Also, Nice camera work on the finish.

emeraldchickpea said...

I agree, SallyB! It's nice to just watch what's going on rather than having every second filled with babble, and much of it sponsor branding babble to boot!

A much more laid back approach and nothing felt forced or strained.

Jessica said...

I thought the RB was great. The audio issue with the "robo voice" has been a problem on the "scan all drivers" trackpass channel for the last two years. Since they are using the trackpass audio they might as well use the featured driver's would make more sense.

bevo said...


They did a top 35 rundown after they did the full field finishing order.

Jessica said...

baseball audio again on the JD post-race show. huh.

PammH said...

There were some tech problems, but overall, an pretty good racecast of a snoozer of a race. I had to bail for awhile for bad weather.
I cannot use internet "enhancements", because I'm on dial-up.

Matt said...

I thought this broadcast was great. I love love love RB and will definitely be using it for the next 5 races.

I also enjoyed Wally and Kyle being so blunt on the fire issue. Like someone else said, it's so refreshing to hear honest opinions without worrying about NASCAR's reaction.

And I'm glad that Larry has taken on the strategist role. Last season, it was Larry just jumping in to explain what was going on. Today, the booth actually threw it to him to explain the different strategies.

Overall, much better than I expected. The finish was excellent, the graphics are great, and RB was such a nice addition. Some minor hiccups, but I'd give them an A.

Kenn Fong said...

I was watching on HotPass and listened on an off to the TNT audio (HotPass subscribers see the network video in the upper right corner). It sounded as if the group had bonded going into the TNT portion of the season.

Did anyone hear the booth audio during a break after the race? I wonder if that was just on the HotPass network audio feed or if it was heard elsewhere. No vulgarities, but again it was evidence of how well everyone got along. There was some teasing and banter.

Alameda, California

Gymmie said...

I really liked RaceBuddy :). Now I just need to get a lap top to have RB up as I chat with my friends on the various sites. I definitely look forward to using it again in the coming weeks :).

I've always enjoyed Pit Stops so it was nice to see those up close. And of course the end with Kasey's burn outs and all, almost could smell it <3

I also like the option if you want to focus on one screen you have the option to "segregate" that window and then go back to the others when you're ready.

Like others said, short of a few hiccups with the sound and ill-timed commercials, not too bad of a broadcast.

I hope Weber calms down this season and doesn't do the "death connection" when certain people are heading to VL.

Tracy said...

RB was great. I just wish it had a space to show who is in what position. I'm watching the post-race TNT show right now on, an am very grateful to be able to see it.

Unlike JD, I thought there was commercial overload. That last one with 15 to go was worthy of throwing a shoe at the screen. RB made up for it somewhat.

No matter what the Nascar rules say about fire safety folks, thumbs up to Kyle Petty for calling it as he saw it.

Newracefan said...

Enjoyed the camera angles much better than Fox especially at the end. Still had the unless you are up front you don't exist problem, unless of course you are wrecking. Didn't use the ticker but loved seeing the who had the fastest lap drop down. Race Buddy was a plus once I figured out how to turn off the sound and still hear Pitcommand (thanks Jessica). Thought the conversation in the booth went off topic at times there must have been some racing on the track they could have been talking about, perhaps those guys outside the top ten. I saw passing on racetrax but it would have be more fun to see cars. The technical issues in the beginning were annoying and hopefully won't be repeated. Prerace shows too long in total. Forgetting to update the top 35 before going off air was the most glaring error, I should not have had to wait for Larry Mac to tell me on the Jack Daniels post race show.

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

Bevo, it was top 20 in points not top 35 in car owner points that was shown after the finishing order

Anonymous said...

JD, just an FYI: ESPNews did not, as far as I can tell, show any post race press conferences today. When I turned to that channel, live NCAA regional baseball was on, a different game than the one that was on ESPN. (Apparently the ESPN network family is getting so crowded that ESPNews is being used for live events, not just pre- and post- from live events, which is kind of scary. ESPN Classic has live soccer about to come on.)

If someone saw any postrace from the media center before 7 p.m., please post and let me know I missed it. I only saw live baseball until 7 p.m., which is when the anchor and Boris Said started the show, played the highlights, and replayed Kahne's TNT VL interview. Boris analyzed the race for a few minutes. Then they moved to the NBA Finals coverage.

There was no "coming up, live post race interviews", no taped interviews from Kahne from the media center, nothing. They didn't even show the graphic which they usually show saying "ESPNews, your home for NASCAR post race coverage all season long." Since they didn't advertise anything coming up, I changed the channel.

So I'm wondering what the deal is. Maybe the postrace (which I didn't watch) is going to be the only way to hear from drivers live. Or else ESPN is figuring this summer they will have too much on their TV plate to guarantee NASCAR post-race coverage on ESPNews.

I hope they make that clear if it's the case, because I'm only tuning in for press conferences, not Boris Said (or anybody else) analyzing the race.

Newracefan said...

KK on espnnews now

Anonymous said...

I didnt even watch this race but knew the directing would be better. Most of the camera guys are the same year round. The director is so important in this sport and TNT has the best one.

Mary said...

I didn't like the commercials which seemed very frequent or maybe it was just me - I'll be interested to read the breakdown on Jayski to see just how many there were.
I didn't do the Buddy thing because I PAY for Raceview (which eventually came in at 39 laps) - however the delays seemed longer than normal with the audio feed. Maybe next time I'll look at Buddy.....
Certainly Weber wasn't as obnoxious as usual and I didn't have to tell him to shut up every 2 minutes as I normally do. I enjoyed Kyle and Wally but oh dear I still miss BP......

tom in dayton said...

I'm disturbed. As the race progressed, I found myself watching Racebuddy more and the TNT telecast less.
Does this internet rollout by TNT
give us more than a taste of where (and how) we fans of the sport will get our raceday coverage in the not too distant future - TV vs internet? And if this type of internet platform is successful, would this mean a shrinkage of broadcast television in favor of a webcast that would be less expensive to produce and deliver?
(I realize that the Racebuddy platform will in most likelyhood be a purchase next year, like Hotpass and other platforms.)
Also, with the brevity of TNT's segment of the Sprint Cup season, given that last year NASCAR disapeared from the TNT site immediately after ESPN took over, will this Racebuddy platform continue on or will ESPN have to ramp up a similar feature for its website?

Bill H said...

When They started broadcasting Baseball over the race I decided I wasn't going to see if it got better or worse and went to and paid for HotPass.

It was worth it.

I could see my driver and I didn't have to wonder what would be messed up next. Randy Pemberton and Hermie Sadler, though not the best announcers, were entertaining, and since they only talked about my driver, I liked it. I got to hear all my drivers scanner live (was able to turn off the Pit command) and see every pit from 3 angles!

While I was watching the first 1/2 hour or so of TNT's coverage I had to have my TV turned up to 40 to hear them (normally at 25) and then I would get deafened by the commercials.

Good on them if they got better, but won't be back unless my driver isn't on Hotpass.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

Aint letting TNT do it to me again this year. They hyped the wide open coverage for the Pepsi 400 last year and used that as their crutch to jam closer, hinder and engvall down our throats. This year its race buddy, which has commercials you have to watch randomly when switching between camera views, the cameras seem to be hand held web cams the way they shake all the time and you can't mute the audio (which you can barely hear anyways). You have to give them a ton of marketing (ie spam) information to ask a question. A prediction, Race Buddy will have commercials next week to cover the cost of the service. Another one, TNT will implode before the July 4th race when they see all the potential ad revenue they are missing and start promoing during the race. Race Buddy animation is almost as bad as Digger. Can they get any more cliche? If Race Buddy spit a load of chew out on the track I wouldn't be surprised seeing what he looked like.

Rant over :)


(BTW why are they advertising for other networks and not their own? Subletting the commercials?)

Anonymous said...

Thanks new race fan for the Kahne update. ESPNews showed about five minutes, then cut Kasey off mid-sentence while he was answering a question to go to a NBA finals promo before the half-hour break. What a difference from very early this season on ESPNews, when they showed 10-15 minutes of the winner's press conference, sometimes breaking for commercial at an appropriate time (not in the middle of an answer) and returning to the conference.

I guess ESPNews is also only showing the winner's press conferences now instead of showing second and third place's joint press conference, which they were doing at the beginning of the season. That press conference was shown before the winner's while the winner did the VL duties.

That makes the viewer have to wait around 45 minutes to an hour after the race ends to hear from anyone in a NASCAR press conference. Great way to force more people to watch ESPNews, I guess - but I'll have to plan accordingly and just set the recorder manually for a hour to 90 minutes after a race and scan through later instead of watching live hoping to see the press conferences.

If I bother at all. If they're only going to show five minutes, what's the point? Im very disappointed in ESPNews.

Anonymous said...


I think you meant Marty Snider not Nascar Now's Marty Smith

SophiaZ123 said...


Folks can read my almost embarrassing gushing of TNT's race coverage on your blog. The only place I do NOT agree with your column is I don't care about emails or home made videos of folks writing/video-ing in questions DURING THE RACE. Cuts back on the clutter.

I appreciated the honesty in the booth over the JPM incident..and LOVED the CAMERA WORK..any other issues I missed while multi tasking (hard for me to keep up on the scoring crawl but LOVED THE EASY to read fonts!) sorry but improved camera work that looked like an old fashioned race was HUGE in my book.

Also the energy in the booth did not lag and I even enjoyed them ALL.

The ending was great and the drop down graphic of the TOP 20 helped us figure out who finished where and the wide shot held STILL for several seconds was fantastic.

RB video...great....Audio horrible and the 'automatic numbers voice' has to go...I would not pay to be forced to listen to that deal...but I just used RB for commercials....

It was a very hot muggy day here and tough to go outside...but honestly, even though the race WAS long...I felt like I got 'outdoors' due to the fantastic camera views on TNT and RB.

So I was most pleased.

P.S. I just used it some during some commercials but did NOT see one add on RB??? I bounced around between 3 and 4 screens...not sure what I missed but glad I did. :-)

Bill H said...

I posted my 2 cents above without reading any other comments cause I didn't want to have them altered by what was posted here. Now that I have read them I wonder, are you all drinking the Kool Aid?

*Commercials with 14 laps to go.

*No audio, wrong audio, out of sync audio.

*Going to commercial during critical pits?

*Playing follow the leader with the camera.

*Missing green flag pit stops

They have had 10 1/2 months to get it right. Their 1st broadcast and they mess up this bad?

If it was Fox or ESPN everyone would be loosing it. "How could they mess up?" But since it's TNT and they didn't hit everyone over the head with closer and hinder it is All Right.

Everyone step away from the kool aid for a moment.


Vince said...

Great job TNT! In my opinion the best race broadcast so far this year. Weber seems to be back on his game this season. Kyle and Wally did a good job and gave us an objective view of the action. Unlike certain Fox personalities who have their own agenda. I won't name any names, you know who you are.

TNT has the best pit reporters in the business. Hard working and do a good job on the pit stops of keeping us informed.

The change in what the TNT Director was doing was amazing vs what we got from Fox's Director. Great camera shots. Wide shots where we could actually see the action. And the drop down scoring at the finish was perfect. No gimmick camera shots. In car camera shots kept to a minimum. I don't know who the Director was, but he did a great job.

I only have two minor complaints. The commercial break with 15 laps to go was inexcusable. And the audio problem at the start of the race. Was something going on at the track this weekend? I was having audio problems on Speed all weekend when they were broadcasting from the track also.

I didn't watch the prerace on TNT. I watched Speeds RaceDay and that was too much information for me.

I liked RaceBuddy. It did crash my browser twice (Firefox) and would lock it up occasionally. The audio on it was pretty useless though. I'd like to be able to pick which car's audio I'm listening to and I don't know what they had the race track audio for. I didn't use the chat feature. I don't care to chat while watching a race. Another nice feature would be if we could pick from more than just the one in car shot that was voted on. But it's free, so I'm not complaining.

All in all from this viewer's point of view TNT's broadcast today was a 100% improvement from what they gave us last year. Keep up the good work.

kang said...

The time interval being put on the same line as the names and number was a good idea.However they should have the crawl move quicker.The interval went out with about 30 to go and did not show up again until 3 to go.TNT put a timer on the pit stops,and for the most part held the picture until the stop was over and the timer told the viewer how long the stop was.ESPN should take note.

Vince said...

Oh, yeah. This is the first race so far this year I didn't end up switching to MRN. And like SallyB said, it's nice to have some announcers that aren't afraid to NOT talk all the time. I was getting so tired of the endless blather from the Fox guys. Just talking to hear themselves talk.

Anonymous said...

"I guess ESPNews is also only showing the winner's press conferences now instead of showing second and third place's joint press conference, which they were doing at the beginning of the season. That press conference was shown before the winner's while the winner did the VL duties."

Anon, I noticed this issue around race 7 or 8, also noticing the winner's interviews were a lot shorter than before. I watched a couple more weeks then I stopped watching. I just wait for the clips to appear in full in the Videos section. Less time and frustration than waiting around on ESPN News to get around to it.

Too bad, because they had a good thing going. The Tony Stewart/Dale Jr postrace interview they gave together about the terrible Goodyear tires - way back when - was priceless live TV.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice that the timer on the pit stops rarely coincided with how long the car was actually stopped?

SophiaZ123 said...


THANKS for mentioning the Crashing...when I tried RB it froze but i went back and it loaded..but after the JD post race, race it crashed out my browser (Mozilla) I like to never got things going again so that was kind of scary...going to run some scans.

sorry some were upset with the show but being photo oriented, the camera work sold me! And the cutting back of excess yakking and good moods in the booth helped, too.

Off topic:On SPEED REPORT, Kenny Schrader has given TWO REPORTS!! LOVE IT!!

He deserves a gig...did the Prelude story.

glenc1 said...

ya know, people complain if they miss racing for commercials. Then they complain if they miss pit stops. Exactly *where* do you think they ought to show ads, since NASCAR won't allow split screen? While I'm interested if something goes *wrong* or if there's some remarkable speed, they can show a replay, I'd rather not miss racing action. I also didn't think the audio break was that big a deal--it happens on all *kinds* of sports broadcasts, including the NFL occasionally. Stuff happens. Anyways, I was pleasantly surprised with TNT. I'm not a big fan of Wally & the Weber, but it wasn't bad. They seemed to use Larry well with back up info. And Kyle contributed with some insider stuff on GEM that was informative....sometimes being an owner can be a positive thing for a broadcaster. My biggest gripe would be not explaining how certain drivers gained or lost a good deal of ground, or just not mentioned people they ought to have, but ALL the networks have been guilty of that forever. It could still be better. But overall, not bad.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 7:36PM,

Thanks for that correction info.


Daly Planet Editor said...


Take it easy there sport, you have a right to your opinion and so do the other posters.

The issues you feel strongly about others may see differently. That is what keeps us in to love racing on TV.


Vicky D said...

I thought RB was fun to watch on and the little I watched the race today I enjoyed it. I think Kyle Petty does a great job in the booth - it seems like he's not afraid to speak his mind.

Daly Planet Editor said...


TNT tried this approach for the NBA Playoffs and it met with rousing success. It seems that many NBA fans were also on the computer and looking to actively participate in the telecast.

The younger generation is now not very tolerant of a machine (TV) where all you can do is change the channel and turn up or down the volume.

They have lived lives that are intertwined with technology and demand that it be included in almost everything they do.

This RaceBuddy approach is being tested by TNT. If it is a hit, I believe that will try to interest the other NASCAR TV partners in participating.

Right now, two good targets are the Trucks and the Nationwide Series because both appear on only one family of networks.

It would be just as easy to go to and do the RaceBuddy thing with the Trucks on SPEED or the Nationwide Series on ESPN.

We should know in a couple of weeks how things are going, especially after TNT makes some tweaks. Thanks.


emeraldchickpea said...

The RB was free for today's it going to continue to be free?

And honestly, JD, do you think that it's ever going to happen that NASCAR will show something online without charging you for it? I don't have SPEED because it's only in the premium sports package which I'd not ever spend money on since it'd only be one channel that I'd watch.

So I'm shut out of anything to do with the Truck series now it's exclusive to SPEED. Ya really think they'll give us something to watch for free? I certainly doubt it.

Daly Planet Editor said...


RaceBuddy will be free for the next five races. This is advertiser supported and will not involve cost. It is a test.

SPEED is in over 70 million homes and is now a mainstream channel. It would be the perfect target for RaceBuddy since SPEED and already swap video content.

This came over from the NBA and was just re-named RaceBuddy for its NASCAR application. It may be extended to NFL football and other sports this season.

Welcome to the real New World Order!


Anonymous said...

Race Buddy was a dream come true, even with the quirks (I didn't like the audio). No sign up, no login, just click on the link and watch. I didn't even mind the commercials because of the ease of use.

Would I pay for it? Nope. Sorry, guys, I wouldn't. I'd have to be able to pick the in car audio - actually I'd have to control all audio - and the in car shot at all times for it to be worth my while.

Slightly off topic: Glad to see Jimmy and Kenny, who are often NASCAR cheerleaders, rip into NASCAR for the handling of the Juan Pablo Montoya fire on Victory Lane. Jimmy said NASCAR's reasons for the response, which he heard on TNT, was 'a bunch of malarkey' and a joke, and Kenny said we should be hearing much more about it this week. Which would be nice, but I know better than to get my hopes up. Still nice to see they were as angry about it as I was and Kyle and Wally were.

Also re: ESPNews post race coverage, it has totally gone downhill! I think they had a lot of time to fill in February and March with not much going on so they gave us lots of coverage, but now there's NBA playoffs, MLB, tennis, Olympics and college football about to get into training and pre-season. They don't need "us" (NASCAR) as much anymore and are only giving the barest postrace so they can claim to be giving coverage.

Alex said...

WHY does TNT continue to use those god-awful "restart" pillar graphics? They look cheesy and it's totally unnecessary.

Kyle said...

Totally agree with you on that. At least with ESPN's monster sized jumbo tron it at least looked good.

Someone (I couldn't find it again but know I read it) said that RB should have a lap counter. That would be a wonderful addition!

Adam T. Martin said...

I enjoyed the telecast except for a few misplaced commercials and Bill Weber's so-so announcing. (I watched with the volume down and turned up MRN via boom box.)

Overall, a solid effort and how about that finishing line shot with the drop down finishing order? Very nice!

Anonymous said...

I liked the race buddy feature. TNT did a fair job with the show. The race was so boring that it would be hard to keep it exciting!! I will have more of an opinion after next week.

Karen said...

I had to go to the website that jfs-va posted to get RB to load. No big deal. That incessant mono voice calling out those car numbers really annoyed me. How'd you like to have that job?

I can't believe I'm saying this. Bill Weber did not get on my last nerve. The only phrase he used that was remotely close to ones last year was "let's go through the field." Otherwise, I enjoyed the TV, website, this blog, of course. Would like to pick my own driver in-car, too.

Karen said...

adam t. martin said...

Overall, a solid effort and how about that finishing line shot with the drop down finishing order? Very nice!

Ditto that. Was holding my breath on that one.

SophiaZ123 said...

Regarding Race Buddy...where did you folks see adds?

I saw no video adds or clutter on my screen and am trying to figure out how I missed these adds? I just kept the box minimized and when I went back during some (NOT all) commercials, i just picked from 4 screens (one usually boring of Tony who I like...just boring since the audio was no good)

everybody is taking about the adds but I saw none.


Adam T. Martin said...

alex said...

"WHY does TNT continue to use those god-awful "restart" pillar graphics? They look cheesy and it's totally unnecessary."

I agree with you too.

Rick said...

There were a few ads in RB. I had the quad view up most of the race and the ads only appeared in one of the 4 views at a time. Mostly in the lower right box, but did see at least one in the upper left box.

I guess it's possible that if you had a single view up in RB, and it was not the view that had the ad, you wouldn't know they played one.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 6:54 said: "I don't want to be looking at the computer for the entire race though (I work on a computer all week long) so I'm glad TNT gave me something to look at on TV."

Last week my eye doctor warned me about eye strain solely from too much computer use from my job plus recreational use, so I also don't want to have to rely on PC-based tools on the weekends. I had been getting headaches and eye soreness from too much closeup PC work. So I'll be staying away from Race Buddy. I really shouldn't be reading this blog, ha.

I'm not much older than the young people who grew up with integrated technology (I'm 32) so I understand the push of "this is what young people understand." However, I'm also aware of growing instances my age and younger of carpal tunnel (from constant phone texting), permanent hearing problems (from constant high volume iPod use) and eyestrain like mine (from constant PC and video game use). The younger generation may find integrated technology has an ill effect on their health down the road and the push away from it may come sooner than we think.

So if you're not into technology enhanced racing, I wouldn't worry about it. It may be a phase that comes and goes.

darbar said...

Overall, the race coverage was fine. Bill Weber didn't seem as exasperated as in the past, and I think Kyle Petty has a future in broadcasting. The glitches were annoying, though. And what was with the leader scroll? That was very irritating. Heck, even my mom, who's recovering in the hospital from a stroke she suffered on Tuesday, remarked from her bed that the "stuff with the names of the guys running on top of the TV are messed up".

But after seeing how ESPN has improved in their Nationwide coverage, I'm looking forward to seeing how the handle the Sprint.

Anonymous said...

I was very impressed with TNT's coverage today. It was so refreshing after what we fans have endured over the past year and few months. No showing the 18 car for lap after lap after lap and gushing about how 'wonderful' he is, no constant Sunoco fuel mentions, no Digger Cams-I loved the broadcast.

I think that the guys in the booth did a fine job giving several drivers t.v. time and mentions-not just the top ten or twelve drivers. The camera coverage was really great as well.

They were certainly on top of things and very quick to switch to a wreck, report what happened and then show the post-wreck interviews.

About halfway into the race, I tried RaceBuddy and was blasted out of the room from the sounds. I'd been listening to TrackPass and had the volume up a bit high there. (oops!) Anyway, I couldn't find a volume control (for Race buddy) so I just closed it out. It would've been cool if I was able to watch the RaceBuddy camera shots while still listening to my favorite driver and his team with TrackPass. I may try it again at the start of this next race but if the sound continues to overlap the TP Scanner, I won't keep RaceBuddy open.

All in all, I thought it was a fine effort by TNT and all parties involved. I'm looking forward to their coverage this coming weekend.

Anonymous said...

Thank God for Tivo -- TNT commercial breaks were long and frequent.

This is the first time I've actually liked Kyle Petty as a broadcaster. Maybe he was so relieved not to be qualifying on time and that was why he sounded relaxed.

Whoever said it was a relief to not see the 18 car up all day has only Kyle Busch to thank for that, not TNT. You better believe that had he been running in the Top 5, they would have shown him and rattled on and on about his triple-race weekend.

Speaking of Kyle Busch, BOY did he look tired when interviewed. I think his little three-state stunt was a flop, and his Cup team suffered for it. Oops!

Anonymous said...

...the best part of the broadcast, no Chris Meyers!

RonP said...

Wally and Kyle make a great pair.
Well Done!
It was nice to be able to watch a Race instead of a 5 hour DW Commercial for Toyota.
ESPN does have a tough act to follow. But do you think anybody at Fox watched the race??? I hope so, maybe they can make some changes to their poor coverage for next year.

LuckyForward said...

I have read all the criticism of TNT, but I also realize this is their first race of the season (audio difficulties, missed pit stops, misplaced commercials, etc.)

At the same time, I was PLEASANTLY surprised at a very good broadcast. Bill Weber has worked on his attitude, and it is a noticably positive change. Kyle Petty just plain makes the race FUN and insightful. Larry Mac is always great. Wally . . . is still Wally . . .

As compared to last year's broadcast, this year's airing appeared to have fewer commercials. And best of all, a minimum of "plugging" TNT programs.

I LOVED the wide shots on track! The director did an excellent job! I enjoyed seeing the entire field at the end of the race.

The tone of the race, in my opinion, was more serious and (happily) lacked the "hyped up" attitudes so often present in the Fox announcing team.

As one who has been pessimistic about TNT's broadcast, I can honestly say that I think TNT has been listening to JD and this blog and has sought to make a difference.

Way to go, TNT! Please continue to improve!


Anonymous said...

If it wasn't for Kyle in the booth i would have reached for the mute button and listen to MRN.
Tks. JD Ron Il.

Anonymous said...

I for one don't care for the FOX team, especially DW, would be happy for just a change . This is by far the most I have enjoyed a race since the old ESPN/TNN days. Hope FOX execs were watching. Larry Mac, who drives me crazy in the booth, was, I must say, EXCELLENT in this role. Kyle, with his explanation of switching the ignition boxes was more than I have ever learned from DW. Wally, continues a trend of a mediocre athlete who excels on TV. Please, Please, FOX, you need a change. There are plenty of good people out there, Ricky Craven would be excellent in the booth.

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

Good Morning JD,
As a fan and viewer I was not expecting much improvement this season for the next six races. Wow, was I suprised. I thought TV coverage was good. Great last lap view w/the drop down finish. I did enjoy the top ten w/the fastest lap when it was shown. Yes, I do multi task. I watch the race on HotPass and have this blog, live pts standings and FOX Race Trax on my laptop. Did not try RaceBuddy,no reason, sounds like posters did like it overall. Might give it a try next race.

Bucky B said...

Count me in as another fan who can't believe what I'm about to say, but I enjoyed the TNT broadcast of the race yesterday. Normally not a fan of Bill Weber or Kyle Petty, but they were top notch. The back and forth between Kyle and Wally was entertaining and informative. Weber called the race as a race caller should and Larry Mac was used just enough. Pit reporters were excellent and very timely with their information. The commercial time didn't bother me as much as it usually does, because I know going in that TNT is going to load up on commercials and promo's. Also, Pocono with it's 55 second laps, you can run commercials and not lose very much. Only one negative was the untimely commercial break at the end of the race. Overall it was excellent! The ticker shows exactly what we need to see, position and time behind the leader. It's real time and shows whether or not they are gaining or losing. Camera shots were good and in car was kept to a minimum. Keep it up boys and girls, outstanding first broadcast of the year.

Anonymous said...

I thought TNT was just awful. The loss of audio was a blessing-I didn't have to listen to them. The only thing worse than a half hour of listening to Kyle on "Paint" was having to listen to him for six hours. Of course,we all learn a lot from world famous Cup champion Wally-what's his name? who gets his jollies scaring people in a race car.Twice they accidently cut to a commercial for a few seconds. Can't wait until TNT's series of six races is over.

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

BTW, I did enjoy Wally and Kyle. Yes Wally has not driven in Cup for awhile, but I do like his insight and calm in his voice. And enjoy Kyle as a current driver. And on this race I thought it was apparent.

Ann_Ominous said...

The audio problems were horrible. Who is Victoria and what was it that she touched?? !! It did get better though, but I'm still far from gushing.

However, Pocono is such a boring race. Pocono went downhill when they started the gear rule and took away shifting. The new car hasn't fixed anything. Maybe what the track needs is resurfacing, since every driver wanted to be on that new patch.

Anonymous said...

Count me as one of the unimpressed minority, for the reasons listed above (audio loss, missing yellow flag pit stops, commercial with 15 to go, no mention of Carl Edwards storming through the field, crawler lost for large chunks of time).

The ending deserves praise, though, as does Kyle Petty.

Speedcouch said...

I know some folks will focus on the technical glitches with TNT today, but I'd rather have a few gaffs from the production truck and actually have competent and unbiased announcers and pit reporters. I think Bill, Wally and Kyle did an excellent job in the booth as well as Matt, Lindsey, Marty and Ralph on pit road.

I even thought Mark Fine (sp?) was good this year. And without having the compete to be heard over DW and Jeff, Larry didn't get on my nerves quite as much as I feared he would.

I loved that TNT showed the starting grid and did "through the field" several times during the race. I also loved that they did not overdo it on the 88 car or the 18, though they were pretty hot for the 11 car there at the end. But I do think they were trying to create a little excitement when it was clear Kasey was checking out on the field.

Three-way split on pits is awesome! Good coverage and a lot of info from the booth and pit road on a lot of cars today.

Loved when Kyle criticized the firemen for not putting out the fire on Pablo's car. We happened to be on the scanners on Trackpass and Lou and I said the exact same things, then went back and replayed what Kyle and the guys said.

My only complaints were the obvious ones that there were a lot of TNT show promos and a few technical snafus from the truck (bad sound early in the race and someone having an itchy trigger finger on going to commercials a couple of times, but at least they got back to the race quickly). But I can live with all that if I don't have to hear BBB, "Digger" or DW's self-absorption all day long.

I absolutely loved the dropped down "plyon" near the end with the intervals in the top 10 and the speeds. That's something I'm always screaming for on other broadcasts and something the old ESPN used to do a lot!

Kyle talked an awful lot and didn't really let Wally get a lot in edgewise. That was a bit disaapointing as I really like Wally a lot, but most of what Kyle said was good, so hopefully, he'll learn to let others talk a bit. This seems to be a trend with new announcers lately - they feel they must talk ALL the time!

Overall, a very good broadcast and quite a relief from the Fox techno gizmos and me, me, me from DW. Just like BBB and the stupid fox song this year, I just muted it every time TNT played that awful remake of [i]Born to be Wild[/i] too.

Anonymous said...

Going to commercial with 15 to go at Pocono really isn't that big of a deal. At lap times of about 1 minute a lap, that would be 20+ minutes without a commercial going to the checkered, and also staying a few minutes longer for the burn-outs etc.

That is much different that 15 laps at Bristol, or even Lowes.

Anonymous said...

I don't see why people are complaining that TNT had way too many commercials. According to Cars 'n Jaws, the commercial load on TNT isn't much different than Fox.

This last race, TNT had 2.86 minutes of racing for every minute of commercials.

The last 4 races on Fox ranged from 2.67 up to 3.05. So what TNT did falls right inline with Fox.

LuckyForward said...

This is not a comment about broadcasting, but one that really does affect broadcasting.

The COT is not proving to be a "great" race car; little "real" racing with it, so far.

I can only imagine the pressure this must place on a broadcaster to make an uninteresting race interesting . . .

Anonymous said...

That actually turned out to be one of the more interesting Pocono races I've seen in awhile, I think TNT did a really good job with the camera work. However - and this is something they can probably improve on - they have to get better at relaying the various pit strategies that were going on, which had a major affect on the finishing results. Had no idea who was taking 2 tires, 4 tires, etc. - the crew needs to do a better job of explaining this. RaceBuddy was definately good, I like Wally and Kyle - just a bit more information and a better scoring tracker will help.

1954 said...

How refreshing not having to put up with all the shilling & cheerleading on FOX.

Anonymous said...

A dull, virtually unwatchable race not enhanced by weak, bored-sounding broadcasters. And this excitement over the way the finish was covered...WHO CARES! The wide-shot was poor and it did not clearly show individual cars. The drop-down graphic was no faster than the crawl used by Fox. Too many cars, too many laps, too long of race. Nascar has to steamline the sport or it will lose its fan base even faster than it currently doing.

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

OK, just a refreshing day from a different network. I did enjoy it. It may have not been the best. But as a NASCAR fan I did enjoy the day. Thank you TNT ,and FOX hope you watched and read this blog

efanof3 said...

The coverage of the race was just fine to me, except the audio was off? I had to turn my volume up to 35 just to hear what little commentary that I could? The volume of the race cars drowned out everything else?

Anonymous said...

One thing I noticed was that there seemed to be a small waiting period between a wreck and the post-wreck interview with the driver(s) involved. By the time the driver was ready to talk, he'd calmed down, probably gotten some water, maybe even had a snack and was ready to talk. The Kyle Busch and JPM interviews were some of the best post-wreck interviews I'd seen in a while.

Bill B said...

I thought the coverage overall was an improvement from last year and improvement over Fox.
It was nice to say goodbye to the bufoon mentality that all too often is the mode of operation for Fox. The commentary was calm and not overbearing. They didn't seem to single out certain drivers and harp on them incessantly (Darrel Waltrip is the worst).
The only negative I could comment on was that they did a poor job giving us information after the pit stop with regards to strategy - who took fuel only, two tires, four tires, etc..

Anonymous said...

A director who knows racing and knows what fans want to see!!!!

Outstanding Job TNT

Bray Kroter

Desmond said...

This broadcast, of course, was not perfect, but it was much better than anything Fox did this year. I especially loved Kyle Petty's criticism of the safety team for not putting out the fire in the #42 car quicker. Imagine what could have happened if Juan Pablo Montoya was still in the car.

I did not use RaceBuddy, so I cannot comment. Maybe at another time. I, however, have a question: are RaceBuddy and Digger part of some pilot for a new cartoon series I'm not aware of?[LOL]

Anonymous said...

TNT coverage was many yellow flag/green flag stops did they miss...the announcers did well..the network should get an "A" only for their commercial interuptions....i know they have to pay for the time...but come-on....everytime you got settled into the race, here comes a commercial..i want to watch a race...remember the good ol days of ESPN...1 commercial, no racing missed....those were the days..

Anonymous said...

One thing I liked was the booth talked, but they also would take some long pauses on restarts so we could hear the action. They didnt talk 24/7 like some of the other networks.

Anonymous said...

I just read Bill Engvail will be the grand Marshall at Michigan. I can see all the promos now. Why does Turner feel the need to through all these TV Show ads at us during not just NASCAR races, but all sporting events they have?

Anonymous said...

Overall, I enjoyed the race and was shocked that I did. Yes, there were issues; audio, in and out of race flickers, pit strategy not explained. But...the screen, except for ticker, was mostly free of any other clutter. Thought I had a bigger screen (have a 46")...LOL. Announcers did well. Again another shock. Especially since the race started out really boring. I prefer the honesty as opposed to people calling the race like you should be sitting on the edge of your seat, when in fact you are falling asleep!! We only watch races via DVR, so I can't speak to commercials, although as previously stated, Caws & Jaws shows it was pretty consistent with other races. The drop downs towards the end of the race were terrific. And the graphics summarizing race finish, points and, I thought I saw it, the GOGH'rs was great. Bottom line, the real test for me was I didn't yell at the TV like I have in the past with other networksa and TNT last year. Let's cross our fingers ESPN and especially FOX are watching (can't believe I'm saying that about FOX..used to be my favorite), but I agree with others...too much garbage, not enough racing. Don't know what they were thinking. Thank you JD for providing this forum. Now if we only could do something like this to affect gas prices..ha ha!


Anonymous said...

i took time from the TV to check out the'raceBuddy" which I thought was just great, except for one thing, I clicked on "in car canera" and choose tony stewart, well that was fine except I couldn't get rid of him and try another driver. all in all this is something I enjoyed. I was wondering what all the "Fox" lovers have to say now.

Anonymous said...

I think we need more promo's for The Closer and the Bill Engvall Show.

Anonymous said...

One thing I enjoyed was NOT hearing about the drivers getting fresh "Goodyear Race'n Eagles" or a load of "Sunoco" fuel. Seemed to be less advertising coming from the booth yesterday.

No, it was not a perfect broadcast, but I enjoyed it more than Dover. I agree with Rick in the very first post that if they continue it's going to put the pressure on ESPN.


glenc1 said...

about the promos--this was incessant for FOX, as it has been since they started doing races. I didn't find TNT's any better or worse. It's just the way it's done now, it's part of what pays for those bazillion dollar contracts. And I'm sure ESPN will be pushing their own broadcasts as well.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, I was watching a different race than most of the people who have commented. The coverage was a complete disaster. They cut to commercial for a split second a few times and the pit road reporters seemed to have no personality except for Czarniak who they never cut away to once during the actual race. Not to mention the lack of audio for several laps. The coverage was disjointed and a shell of what FOX put up on a weekly basis. I felt like I was watching the complete undoing of what was once my favorite thing to do on Sunday, which is watch a NASCAR race with somewhat intelligent reporting.

Anonymous said...

WOW, what different opinions. To me people who like FOX, like a sensationalized , WWE approach, with DW constantly talking, but with no real substance. I personally just want to see the race with commentary that is given when the time is right.I compared every part of this race and the people involved, and TNT has much more talent and expertise, except for Mike Joy. I hope FOX make changes , Larry was very good in this role. Ricky Craven to replace DW in the booth, who only yaps and pushes his brother , Toyota, Kyle B. ,DW and all of his other agendas.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SophiaZ123 said...

I forgot to add, what somebody else mentioned:

The TNT bunch is NOT afraid to be quiet for a few moments and LET US HEAR THE CAR SOUNDS !!! That was refreshing.

Anonymous said...

Still Way too many comercials towards the end of the race. The last one with 15 laps to go was uncalled for. Race fans deserve better than that!

Anonymous said...

....thought most of the coverage was pretty good. However, I thought their coverage of pit stops could be better. If I'm not mistaken, there were several that were not covered due to comercials.

RPM said...

I was dissapointed by TNT's broadcast. I liked the camera angles. I liked not having to listen to DW hick the joint up. Kyle and Wally calling NASCAR's safety crew out was a breath of fresh air. Larry Mac did an outstanding job when called upon. Other than that pretty much a bad broadcast mainly from a technical point.

The early part of the race looked like a weekend news broadcast from DelRio,Texas. Mics not on, dropped audio, random commercials out of nowhere. They also overhyped Bill Engvall worse than FOX does Digger.

I don't have broadband so I wasn't able to use RB. But, it sounds like it is a good thing for those that do.

On a scale of 1 to 10, this broadcast earned a solid 4.