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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Delenn said...

OK, so I'm probably not a regular Nascar consumer in that I rarely watch races live. That means I always get to watch the racecast, then Victory Lane straight after. It seems to me that Victory Lane is a little pointless watched 20+ hours later - surely it looses something?

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- How do you think sponsors would feel about broadcasting the first 1/2 hour of VL live after Saturday night races with the full 1 hour version broadcast at a fixed time on Sunday?

Also, would there be a different commercial carry charge for late night Saturday time versus prime-time Sunday time? In other words, can SPEED charge more for commercials in prime-time on Sunday than in late time on Saturday?

Newracefan said...

If it was on Sat night I would most likely DVR for viewing Sun AM East coaster that I am. I was thinking how about Sun AM but that doesn't help the West Coast folks so I guess I'm stumped with where it belongs.

JohnTaylor said...

Holy. Cow.

The farsightedness of the NASCAR networks make Mr. Magoo scoff in their general direction.

It's really not possible for SPEED to air a live version of VL immediately following the race for those so inclined to prop their eyelids open, then re-air the taped version on Sunday for those who couldn't/wouldn't stay up late? What, SPEED can't pre-empt repeats of "Unique Whips", "Livin' the Low Life" and "SuperCars Exposed" for a live version of one of their most successful and popular live shows?

Hmmm, I wonder what advertisers would be willing to pay for: a live version of network mainstay, or shows that can be seen 18 other times over the course of the following week.

It just boggles the mind. It really does.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

As someone on the west coast, I would really enjoy Victory Lane right after the race. Its not even late for folks here. Also, the show definitely loses the feel of being right after the race and it would be at least 20 hours old by the time Sunday night comes around. East coasters shouldn't be so selfish with this, using the "its to late excuse" because there is much more to the country than that. If you are too tired, just watch it Sunday night. Its that simple. There are many more people who have the time and want to see the show while it is still relevant.

There is no excuse for this. I think SPEED needs to consider airing Victory Lane Right after all races - no matter the day. This would also include a steady air time on Sunday night for people to record or watch at a that time if they missed it. That's the only way to solve this and satisfy all sides. It must be done for SPEED to succeed.

SophiaZ123 said...

I agree...why should everything run by NASCAR EST zone rules?? I am on East coast time but why should west folks always get gypped?

Besides, I am a late night owl and would watch the race Sat night...or if tired, START watching it and tape it to finish the next morning with breakfast.

It's truly anti-climatic and a bit of a buzzkill to push it off on a One Day Delay. They tape it right after the race in VL so why not show it??


Then again, this IS the same sport that refuses to do side by side for commercials.

But honestly, they can drop kick their crappy unique whips, Pinks and other junk for one late night DAYTONA race imo.

ALL fans deserve the option of VL right after the race.

bevo said...

I agree with johntaylor and sophia, why not just air it both times?

Imagine if ESPN had used that kind of logic with SportsCenter. It would never have been the successful franchise it turned into.

Gary said...

Maybe the Coke Zero 400 will be on Sunday, based on this forecast:

Then, VL will be at the right time!

Anonymous said...

"Then again, this IS the same sport that refuses to do side by side for commercials"

Sophia I think you are confusing the issue. It is not NASCAR that wont allow this, it is just a simple decision by SPEED. I don't think NASCAR had anything to do with this decision.

Dot said...


I've heard that EST rules the TV world because there are more people on that side of the country.
Just about every sports show advertised on the west coast side is always in EST. We have to always subtract 3 hrs. Even when the races are out west, the time is always EST. Go figure.

Regarding VL. Why can't it be rerun the day after? Unless there's a live something going on, I can't see the harm. They rerun everything else on SPEED. They might get more viewers if they missed it the first time. Good grief.

Karen said...

Gary said...

Maybe the Coke Zero 400 will be on Sunday, based on this forecast:

Then, VL will be at the right time!

Gary, they'd have to start awfully early to miss the storms these days. It's rained every day around 5:00 for the last two weeks. Forecast for Friday rain in the afternoon. Should be out of the area by 8:00. Will affect qualifying, I'm afraid. Have my fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

Dot - You're a bit confused with the West Coast start times ... NASCAR has decided that with the exception of a few races (& night races), that the start time will be 2pm LOCAL time ... And the start time is when the pre-race ceremonies start ...

SPEED aired NVL LIVE after the 2005 Pepsi 400 ... The race had a couple of rain delays and ended about 10:50pm pdt ... Sure it was 2am edt, but it was the BEST NVL ever ... Smoke climbed the fence for the first time ... The show was filled with a LOT of energy ... That energy has not been back since ... It was close with the 2006 post-Pepsi 400 NVL, but it wasn't the same ...

SPEED may claim it's just easier to tape the show & air it on Sunday, but there is a BIG loss in the excitement ... and I for one don't always watch it on Sunday, esp if the race winner is someone that I do NOT like ... Last year, I probably only watched 18 of the NVL shows ...

Whoever made the "executive decision" to only show it on Sunday must be the same braintrust that keeps giving us lame shows like Pinks / Unique Whips / Stunt Bikes ...

Showing NVL on Sunday after the Speed Report and every other show is just a complete buzzkill ... and it makes it NOT worth watching the show or the network ...