Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ESPN2 Returns The Sunday Night NASCAR Hour

Many times this season we have talked about the crowded landscape of preview and review shows that come along on a Sprint Cup Series Sunday.

ESPN recently announced that with the first race of its Cup schedule from The Brickyard, the network would once again be adding a full hour of NASCAR Now to ESPN2 on Sunday nights. These new shows will continue through the end of the season.

It will be Ryan Burr or Nicole Manske hosting the new Sunday night shows that will debut on July 27th at 10PM. Although the network offered a program like this last season, fans do not have to think hard to remember just how much has changed since 2007 where NASCAR Now is concerned.

Last month, we documented how the RaceDay program on SPEED had been pushed earlier in the day as to not interfere with the ninety minutes of Sprint Cup pre-race programming on TNT. Now, as ESPN takes that series, RaceDay will once again be scheduled ahead of the NASCAR Countdown show.

This really shuffles the deck in a hard way for SPEED. ESPN2 will have the first preview show with the morning edition of NASCAR Now at 10AM Eastern Time. Then, without RaceDay overlapping, NASCAR Countdown with Allen Bestwick will air with no competition. Finally, after Victory Lane has ended on SPEED with Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace, ESPN2 will off its own wrap-up show with NASCAR Now at 10PM.

Since ESPN is producing the races, the network has all of its resources available to contribute to the Sunday night show. Look for the continual presence of the lead announce team of Dr. Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree to provide wrap-up reports. On the ground, ESPN will have the four pit reporters and the regular NASCAR Now news team to provide additional interviews and chase down stories.

Ultimately, starting on July 27th there will be nine-and-a-half hours of TV programming containing NASCAR preview or review content on-the-air every Sprint Cup race day. We are excluding ESPNEWS and SportsCenter because they have no specific shows about NASCAR. The total is just from ESPN, SPEED, ABC and ESPN2.

It sure is tough to think about the Craftsman Truck Series that has no TV support programming of any kind. Other than the pre-race show, that series is just surviving on racing alone. The Nationwide Series is even in worse shape. Dominated by Cup drivers, ESPN2 does not even have a thirty minute weekly show to profile the competitors and follow the stories. Only the pre-race show tells the tale.

In a world where seemingly only the rich get richer, it would be a good time to clean out hard-drive on the DVR and empty the TiVo. With a four-hour live race thrown-in, there will be almost fourteen hours of NASCAR TV programming on every Sprint Cup Sunday for the rest of the season.

It just might be time to buy that new recliner.

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Anonymous said...

JD, one question for you. Now that ESPN has the Cup broadcasts, will it be the same as last season where Speed will not be showing any practice or qualifying sessions for the rest of the season? If that's the case, it's a shame because nobody does these support shows as good as Speed.

And, another question when watching the World of Outlaws race on Speed from Eldora, why does Speed put their little advertisement of future programs on the upper right of the screen? It's annoying as heck !! The one announcer who had the misfortune of sitting on the right of the screen had his face obscured by this silly thing telling us to watch their really stupid new show about guys who drive tow trucks. At least other networks put those insipid things at the bottom of the screen

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 8:49PM,

SPEED will continue to fill-in some Cup and Nationwide practices when the ESPN networks have conflicts. All of these schedules are decided before the start of the season. I will have the line-up for Indy online Thursday at 6PM with that information.

SPEED has conflicting agendas when it comes to TV programming. The big push is for this new type of lifestyle programming. It invades every corner of the network, including the programs currently on-the-air.

In the past, we have actually complained about oversized logos during live practice and qualifying coverage and they were changed on-the-fly.

The new Wrecked logo is hideous and in my mind causes nothing but a negative reaction. I think the endless on-air promos are bad enough, but this is the history of SPEED.

After many years of dismal programming failures, they finally hit on PINKS and now are trying to ride that wave into a new genre of programming. Just like A&E and truTV re-made themselves, SPEED is re-making itself while we watch.

The only problem for most of us is, none of these shows contain real sanctioned racing. That is a shame.


Richard in N.C. said...

JD- It appears to me that logic is an irrelevant concept at SPEED, but it still mystifies me that SPEED spends a sizeable amount of time and money Friday to Sunday catering to a notoriously loyal group (NASCAR fans) and then Monday thru Thursday virtually completely turns its back on the majority of the viewer group it hooked over the weekend. I guess it is easier to produce Spike-TV knockoffs than to design quality racing themed programming.

Also, I must have missed it because I still do not really understand SPEED's backing up RACEDAY - unless SPEED was threatened with loss of its access for Victory Lane.

Anonymous said...

With TNT over with, I look to lose more and more interest in racing PERIOD.

I hate to say this but the two hour RACE DAY was always a turn OFF to me, compared to the one hour version. If they STILL have to be off the air so many hours before the race starts, it has ruined the feel of the show.

Also I am not the least bit foolish enough to think ANYBODY LEARNED ANYTHING from the great camera work on TNT.

Thus rather than bitch and complain about stations that no longer care about the racing or racing show SEQUENCE (ESPN's own agenda and the annoying, ubiquitous bottom ticker, and the backwards TWIN) I have found myself FINALLY giving up.

I was so suprised at TNT and THRILLED with the on air dynamics and camera work..and the Race Buddy that had great video during the commercials, I admit, I GIVE UP.

NASCAR's latest rule change on the Toyota's is just another nail in this sports coffin.

I have not read as much NASCAR news this week and caught bits and pieces of NN.

I have finally had it with the bad coverage and being told to be's better than the days of 20 minutes of WW Sports. Maybe. But the VCR's are going to get set more often in this house. I can watch INDY RACES in 2 hrs or so.

This 4 to 5 hrs of sloppy camera work, focus on the POPULAR or leading drivers has ruined it. Least with RACE BUDDY we could see WIDE SHOTS of things going on in the back.

Now we are at the mercy of ESPN's over use of graphics, tired guys in the booth, etc.

I will tape and watch the last few laps unless I hear of better things happening in the race.

I can really catch the highlights on SPEED REPORT and on Wind Tunnel.

I just can't stomach the overdose of everything but the racing.

I LOVED Jr's comments on SHIFTING GEARS how he wished he would've raced years ago.

I wish i would've WATCHED years ago as I am finally realizing why some long time fans have given up watching races LIVE.

DVR is not an option with the new digital nightmare known as TW Navigator as opposed to PASSPORT (which worked FINE, wasn't broke but TW "Fixed it and downgraded us with an upgrade!". Satellites don't work in this tree covered neighborhood with bad weather. Three of whom returned to TW but just have basic and one long time WINSTON cup fan watches the DAYTONA and that's about it!! He can't stand the PC and constant stream of SPONSORS when drivers are interviewed and the "flies eyes" sunglasses to remind us they have sunglass sponsors and are TOO GOOD to give us eye contact.

Sorry for the grumpetta mood but I am just tired of it all.

And if ESPN uses the lame ending camera work of IRL forever, we may give up on Indy races, too. (The Fox car wins, flagman, pit crew getting happy)

Yes, they may be selling more tv time for the races while the NASCAR family shoots it's feet off toenail at a time.

But I have run out of patience.

Adam T. Martin said...

^^^I hear you, but I'm going to give ESPN/ABC another shot this season.

I'm optimistic. No Musburger or Kolber to talk down to us anymore.

Now, the camera work will be judged.

Anonymous said...

I agree Adam! I'm so glad we don't have to deal with Susi and Brent this time around! That was so embarrassing.

I watch the Pre-race stuff off the DVR 99% of the time so it's not as long and of course can FF if need be. And when I time it right, I get caught up the last 5ish minutes of the pre-race stuff into the invocation/anthem.

Anonymous said...

I hope Ryan Burr does better than he did last night discussing the new rules affecting Nationwide Toyotas. If I heard him correctly, he'd have you believe the Toyotas would now be getting a tapered spacer. Apparently he doesn't know all the Nationwide cars run a spacer and now Toyota's would be smaller than the competition. Brad stumbled too. I know what he was trying to say, but he mangled his comment about Chevy's SB2.Maybe these talking heads really know what they're talkinh about, but I'm skeptical.Last weekend, I heard Krista Voda comment that someone was "down seven cylinders". She didn't correct herself, soI have to question whether she knows anything about Cup motors.

Anonymous said...

I find myself watching less and less of the pre-race hype myself. I don't need to see Rutledge cooking brats before a race or what Rusty Wallace ever has to say before a race. I can read almost anything I need on the net 99% of the time. Fourteen hours of fluff is just a gigantic waste of my time.

eaglesoars said...

I agree, I used to stay tuned to SPEED 90% of the time, now it's for truck racing and qualifying as well as wind tunnel. I'm thrilled to have something replace SPEED Report and hope Nicole kiss their arse.
My only disappointment is that as ESPN covers so many different types of racing, why in the hell can't we get a decent racing news show similar to the old RPM2 Nite show covering ALL the racing action?
I quit watching SPEED's stupid BS prerace shows and dumb victory lane last year or the year before. The bits and pieces I've seen since tells me i made a good decision as it appears to have gotten dumber. Of course that should be expected with dumb and dumber on it and then they search the country and run contests to find even dumber to add on.
TWIN is completely off my radar any longer I used to look forward to the show and wouldn't miss it. The only other show I've caught bits and pieces of and thought interesting (but not enough to actually tune in) is the show "Bootie" and Chad are on.
I absolutely hate when they show us a prerecorded interview with anyone while the race is going on blocking the on track action out. WTH is all those hours of prerace BS for if not for that? looks like the know we DO NOT want to see it so don't tune in so thet shove it down our throats during the race.
I honestly didn't think it possible being a life long racing fan for the better part of 60 years, but I've had just about all I can stand, and this new rule this week sure hasn't helped that opinion.

eaglesoars said...

excuse me, I meant I hope Nicole KICKS, not kiss their arse. lol

Anonymous said...

VL was a half hour version once or twice this year or last. No need to keep it an hour.

Raceday could easily be an hour. I even like the guys on the show but a little goes a long way. I like a chocolate chip cookies but I don't want to ingest them for two hours.

The more I read about the pre-race stuff, the more disgusted I get. and no, I will not tape it all to sift through 15 minutes of good stuff in 12 hrs or so.

I also am enjoying Nicole on ESPN. To be honest, i enjoy her more than Ryan Burr and she has been seen less lately.

Anyway, I guess NASCAR just does not care about the ratings or the fans as long as the FRANCE family gets their paychecks.

But I read rumors online GM and Ford may be in bankruptcy soon (link on Drudge report a couple days ago) and NASCAR is truly going to be in trouble with their agenda against Toyota.

But we can't talk about the real problems in NASCAR. Like Kenny W said on RACEDAY, COT is great, ratings are up, attendance is up, everybody is happy and all is well. He was being sarcastic of course.

Maybe when manufacturers can no longer justify the costs and see the little teams going out of business, somebody will buy a clue there are huge issues in racin'.

They may try shortening the races also to use less fuel, fans don't have to sit in heat for so long, and folks at home can still have family time on sundays. And less wear on cars per engine so that would have to be a savings. At least NASCAR could PRETEND to notice the economy much like they did in the 70's when they shortened races.

But what do I know. I am just a fan.

Anonymous said...

You people always complain there is not enough coverage. And when TV gives you more coverage, you still complain. i don't know what to say anymore.

Now, Let me assist in getting this tread back on topic. i thought this column was about ESPN2's NASCAR Now on Sunday. NOT SPEED or NASCAR itself.

I have always been in support of a Sunday wrap-up show on ESPN. I cannot always catch the Monday show but i can see a Sunday night show. I appreciate the change

boyd said...

Too bad they don't spread this around through out the week.
After the race, it's family time. If I tried to watch it all 2 things would happen.
One a mutiny by family
Two Nascar overload.