Thursday, July 3, 2008
SPEED's "Victory Lane" On Sunday Only
Before the email starts to flow after the big Daytona race on Saturday night, let's once again discuss the topic of SPEED's popular Victory Lane show being held until Sunday night to air.
To start, fans are all fired-up after the race and want to see the winning driver, crew chief and owner interviewed. Victory Lane is also a good show because reporter Bob Dillner is great at catching drivers who are a story in the race and getting their candid reactions for SPEED.
Remember, only the top three drivers eventually head over to the Infield Media Center and take questions from the reporters. This informal press conference is carried live or on a short delay by the ESPNEWS Network.
NASCAR fans have become accustomed to turning-over to SPEED once the Sunday races are done to watch The SPEED Report and then Victory Lane. Both programs carry updates from the track in a timely manner and provide solid NASCAR content immediately after the race.
West Coast fans point-out that although it may be close to Midnight on the East Coast when Victory Lane is being recorded this Saturday, it is only 9PM out West. They feel it is unfair of SPEED to hold this program until Sunday night just to serve the Eastern Time Zone viewers.
Hardcore fans have been screaming about this for a while now. They want to see what happens after the race and will stay up a little bit late on a Saturday night to do just that. SPEED has been accused of all kinds of things and the conspiracy theories have been growing.
In reality, SPEED is in a no-win situation. I sat through a rain delay at the summer Daytona race that forced the race to end after 2AM. Planning to air Victory Lane at midnight for the Saturday night races would be a tough call, simply because they often end much later than scheduled.
Logistically, it is a lot easier to record the show and feed it for a Sunday airing at a set time rather than try and get it on the air "sometime" after a Saturday night race.
Perhaps the real issue that SPEED is wrestling with is success. Fans like this innovative show that has been growing in popularity since it started. Having Jimmy Spencer, Kenny Wallace and John Roberts sitting right in Victory Lane has been a bold idea that has worked for SPEED.
Who would have ever thought that NASCAR, the drivers and the other TV networks would allow this type of intrusion on a space that is designed to do everything but host a TV show? It was Tony Stewart with his champagne dousing and Kyle Busch with his boundless energy that made this program a "can't miss" NASCAR show.
So, after the big Coke Zero 400 from Daytona is over, fans will have to wait until Sunday night at 8PM to see the resulting celebration and hear the spontaneous comments of the winning driver, crew chief and owner.
Perhaps, in the future SPEED might consider adding a Saturday night airing of Victory Lane like the one they did for the All-Star race. Coincidentally, that is the only Sprint Cup race on SPEED. With the success of this program and the continuing calls from the fans, maybe 2009 will bring Victory Lane immediately after every single race regardless of the day it is run.
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