Saturday, July 5, 2008

"RaceDay" On SPEED Puts On A Brave Face


Instead of being on-the-air at 6PM and featuring the bustling activity in the garage as the start time of the race approaches, RaceDay on SPEED will be on-the-air at 4:30PM and feature a very different style of TV program.

This season, RaceDay has moved earlier to avoid a scheduling conflict with the pre-race programming of the other NASCAR TV partners. This has changed the entire tone of the show and left it searching for a personality.

Instead of reporter Wendy Venturini talking to the drivers as they mill around before driver introductions, she is standing on the grid with the fans as the cars are covered and the drivers are nowhere to be found. Pit tours walk by in the background.

When SPEED took the step of moving RaceDay into head-to-head competition with the TNT and ESPN pre-race shows, host John Roberts and company really came alive. They were now the final destination for NASCAR fans before everyone changed the channel and the race began. RaceDay was big time. That time is apparently now over.

Saturday night in Daytona, there will be two entire pre-race shows that will take to-the-air after RaceDay is done. Viewers will get to watch Larry McReynolds, Kyle Petty and the TNT gang offer an hour-and-a-half of pre-race content and then transition into the race coverage.

RaceDay was on-the-air long before the new TV contract with TNT and ESPN was a gleam in the NASCAR eye. We have often referred to this program as "the franchise." Watching Venturini and Hermie Sadler navigate their way through the pre-race activity in the infield was a treat for viewers that the other NASCAR TV partners have never provided.

This Saturday, RaceDay will feature live interviews with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch and Michael Waltrip. These may well take place from the "bus lot" as these drivers have not yet even changed into their firesuits.

Venturini's Real Deal will focus on the recent meeting between the Sprint Cup crews and NASCAR where the concept of open testing was discussed. This is a big issue in the sport and Venturini will sample opinions from top NASCAR personalities as to how testing with the COT is changing the dynamics of the sport.

Features within the program will include one on Tony Stewart and his frustrations this season with winning in the Sprint Cup Series. Also, the devastating wildfires of 1998 that affected the summer race in Daytona will be re-visited.

Roberts hosts this series with Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace alongside. Rutledge Wood continues to contribute with off-beat features while the rest of the crew focuses their energy on the racing business at hand.

As the TNT races wind-down, the TV schedules for RaceDay during the ESPN/ABC portion of the Sprint Cup package have now been released. This season, RaceDay will end before NASCAR Countdown begins.

It will be ESPN/ABC that has the drivers and crews on-the-air just before race time. It will be Jamie Little doing the grid walk that Venturini made popular with viewers.

Saturday's show should be fun with the SPEED Stage located outside the speedway and a good crowd of fans on hand. Roberts keeps the show moving and the production staff assembles a big group of interesting elements for the TV viewers. As you watch the Daytona program, perhaps you can keep in mind the issues mentioned above and offer your reactions.

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 again for taking the time to stop by.

28 comments:

Bill H said...

I can't help but think that this schedule change had to have come from higher up, ie Nascar told them to not conflict with the networks carrying the Cup races.

Kyle said...

It is a shame. At least with the ESPN/ABC side its only a 30 minute pre race show, so Wendy and crew might get to work the grid a bit, instead of the motor home lot.

Whatever Speed got out of this deal, its not worth it. It seems to suck the energy out of the show knowing its another 90 mins till the start of the race.

SophiaZ123 said...

Kyle

Ditto to your comments. I also wonder why the change NOW.

haus20 said...

For us as fans, the best way to see something changed is to use the feedback link on the Speed website and kindly tell them how we feel. I did. I would encourage other to do the same.

Sometimes it just takes a few to get the empty suits attention.

With that being said, I do agree that it is definitely not the same. I can't believe the ratings would be as good either since they are now starting 4 hours before racetime compared to 2.

The Nascar.com space that Speed has is certainly not worth the compromise on the time slot. Maybe their research and numbers say something different, but I am not seeing it.

Jo said...

If this came from the NNiC Brian - Speed should have ignored it or moved Raceday to the Truck Series.
I watch & will continue to watch Raceday - I will NOT watch anything prerace w/Jamie Little.
Bad enough shes on during the race. I will watch the race and then post race - if espn cares enough to have one -and then watch Victory Lane.

Thanks Haus for the suggestion, I'm going there too. Maybe we can get the suits to make it right.

Kyle said...

Haus20,
They actually are getting something out of the deal, nascar.com content (if you can find it) Or they are being forced to by NASCAR, and demanded something out of it. o doubt any amount of customer feedback will change it. However I also sent them an e-mail.

I wont watch much of ESPN or TNT pre shows anyhow. So even if speed ran against them, it wouldn't matter for me. I watch Raceday, then go water the flowers and take the dog for a swim. No point in watching 4.5 hours of pre race. 2 is some times too much :)

frankp316 said...

John, just to let you know that in Canada, TSN doesn't carry the TNT pre-race show. That means we have a half hour gap from the end of Raceday to TNT's Countdown To Green. TSN did carry TNT's preshow last year. You can be sure that the change in Raceday is NASCAR motivated.

red said...

(apropos of very little: watching nascar performance right now and who knew speed had red, white AND blue shirts!? and then they put red on larry mac, blue on chad and white on doug. some wardrobe person is very pleased w/him or herself right now.)

back to intelligent discussion . . .

Jo said...

red said...
(apropos of very little: watching nascar performance right now and who knew speed had red, white AND blue shirts!? and then they put red on larry mac, blue on chad and white on doug. some wardrobe person is very pleased w/him or herself right now.)

back to intelligent discussion . . .

July 5, 2008 3:36 PM


I was actually expecting black wool - since its warm & humid.

red said...

and i am just so graetful for the intelligent discussions that always take place on nascar performance! just watching chad and doug stack the gaskets and restrictor plate and spacer from the manifold up to the carb was outstanding!
one of the reasons i like chad as a commentator is he has a terrific voice on mic. larry mac has that nasal "thing" going that grates sometimes. and chad also is excellent at looking straight into the camera as he explains something. good tv presence!

SophiaZ123 said...

Red

But why is Larry Mac STILL in a long sleeved shirt? :-)
I love this show and the showing of the restrictor plate size difference even though minute, make such a difference..

Also showing Allison crash and WHY we have RP. I am enjoying Richert on this show but hope Bootie gets his job back.

This show and some others, truly deserve permanent time slots.

red said...

sophiaz123 said...
Red

But why is Larry Mac STILL in a long sleeved shirt?

ah, hell, sophiaz, who the hell knows with him? maybe he's got himself some nasty old tattoo he doesn't want to show! makes me hot to just watch him for sure!

SophiaZ123 said...

red,

Off topic real quick: Golfer Lee Trevino used to wear a band aid on tv for YEARS. I found out later it was the tattooed name of his ex-wife. Later he had it removed with tattoo removal got easier. But he never wanted the name to show up on tv during tournaments.

So maybe you are onto something with LM.

Newracefan said...

If anything Larry Mac could have scars (burns/cuts/whatever) from working on those cars but more likely they didn't have a short sleeved red shirt. Red I also just watch NP and Chad talking directly to me is partly the reason I started to watch (I have enough trouble adding washer fluid and now I watch a gearhead show?) I totally wiffed on the RWB shirt thing, wow I'm usually more observant.

I agree with the posters about RaceDay one of my favorite parts is gone and the show isn't as much fun at all. It use to fly by and now I'm doing is it over yet. Perhaps it will be better when they are on an hour closer to race time.

I will probable do something else during TNT's show and DVR it and watch the video clips and Driver interviews later.

Bill H said...

This is the 1st time I have watched raceday in a few months and unless I caught the bad episode, this is crawling along.

On a different Topic, JD was wondering if you had any numbers / opinions on how HotPass (or even Race Buddy) have cut into TV ratings / numbers?

BillWebz

red said...

bill h said...
"This is the 1st time I have watched raceday in a few months and unless I caught the bad episode, this is crawling along."
agreed. i rarely watch pre-race programming and, for some reason that i can't pinpoint, today just seems off.

"On a different Topic, JD was wondering if you had any numbers / opinions on how HotPass (or even Race Buddy) have cut into TV ratings / numbers?"
interesting question, bill. i use racebuddy in conjunction WITH the tv. i can't imagine using it or any other online tool IN PLACE OF the tv broadcast.

Dot said...

Why do we need all the pre race coverage? I am watching Race Day only today. I have errands to run before the race.

I saw that the race is on until 8:15pm (PDT). I'm thinking of a very short post race. Why rehash 5 hours of pre race when something really good could happen during/after the race to talk about? Busch/Juablo for instance? Who knows who it could be this week. Especially at Daytona.

Gymmie said...

Kyle Petty's a hot mess!

SophiaZ123 said...

Not good to show the crazy fireworks stuff today...some in this area blew off fingers and legs last night and that made the news today.

I know they put warnings but...and I am not blaming this on Rutledge..looked like a painful thumb burn though.

Sophia oldfuddyduddy :-)

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

It is a shame Race Day has come to a new low. R. Wood w/ the fireworks just has nothing to do w/raceday tv coverage. It was not even funny. I watch to get raceday coverage on the race and things involved in the race. The title of this column does reflect todays show.

Bill H said...

Lou,Kingston,NY said...
"involved in the race. The title of this column does reflect todays show."

Maybe that is why "RaceDay" is in quotes today? :)

BillWebz

bevo said...

Think I've about given up on pre-race shows. I'd much rather watch a one hour post-race show instead. Not going to do the NASCAR/Jack Daniel's show either.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for the TNT pre-race and also the "wide open" coverage of the race itself.

JD

red said...

bevo, i agree. i don't usually watch any pre-race but decided to do race day today, based on jd's column. but i'm done with any and all pre-race until the last homestead in november. i turned race day off about 1/2 hour ago and won't be watching anymore until 8 EST.
sorry, tv types, it's just not compelling enough for me and, like bevo, i'd rather watch a longer post-race show.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Sophia,

Check your email please....thanks.

JD

Kevin in SoCal said...

Did anyone else notice during the Nationwide series pre-race and on Raceday how slow and methodical Dale Jr sounded during both interviews? Either he was picking and choosing his words very carefully, or he's on something. Earlier this year I thought it was just the tiresome questions from the fans and media about when he will win again. But now that he has won, he still talks in that slow, stupid monotone. What gives?

SophiaZ123 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SophiaZ123 said...

OOps. I realize this comment is from YESTERDAY..JD.
Duh. Sorry.

I just can't believe RACE DAY is continuing to run TWO hours when they can no longer run up until the races. Half the fun was what went on in a driver's meeting or Wendy strolling along the driver's. Oh, well. And for some West Coasters they will have to get up with the chickens to watch this show.

Shame they changed the rules midstream.

I also vote for more post-race on tv and not online.