Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Sprint Cup Practice Sessions Finally Get On TV
Every new large TV package goes through some growing pains and that has certainly been the case with the new NASCAR TV contract that began in 2007. Among the issues that NASCAR wrestled with was televising Sprint Cup practice sessions during the seventeen race ESPN/ABC portion of the schedule.
Last weekend we saw SPEED step-in and carry a Cup practice session from The Brickyard at the very last minute. Steve Byrnes, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds actually voiced-over the live track activity from the SPEED Stage outside of the speedway.
Today, SPEED has announced that they are stepping-in on a fulltime basis and carrying eight additional practice sessions to help fill-in the holes in the TV schedule. Here are the dates and times:
Pocono (Aug. 1, Noon ET)
Watkins Glen (Aug. 9, Noon ET)
Dover (Sept. 19, 11 a.m. ET)
Kansas (Sept. 27, 12:30 p.m. ET)
Martinsville (Oct. 18, 11:30 a.m. ET)
Atlanta (Oct. 24, 3 p.m. ET)
Atlanta (Oct. 25, 10:30 a.m. ET)
Homestead (Nov. 15, 1:30 p.m. ET)
During the Fox and TNT portions of the Sprint Cup schedule, it was SPEED that made the commitment to treating every practice and qualifying session with the same level of coverage that SPEED brings to the Craftsman Truck Series. The qualifying sessions on SPEED were simply outstanding and told the real stories of the upcoming race.
Kudos to NASCAR and SPEED for coming together to get this live content televised. Perhaps, the added value that this coverage will bring is exactly what the sport needs as it continues to recover from the Indy problems.
As fans who watched ESPN2 last season remember, that network is dominated by other stick-and-ball sports after August and NASCAR really took a backseat. Earlier this season, SPEED actually allowed ESPN to televise an entire race on the SPEED network due to a schedule conflict. That was amazing.
We will have more information on these new programs once they are added to the existing SPEED schedule and we will also update the announcers. For now, the good news is that cars at speed on the track will be televised as NASCAR's top series runs down the stretch to Homestead.
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