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.

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. Thanks again for taking the time to drop by.


Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder if NASCAR finally stepped-in (behind the scenes) and essentially said to ESPN, If you're not going to air our content, then we want SPEED to do it.

Either way, great to see the pracices are going to be on SPEED!

Daly Planet Editor said...

I would have liked to be on that phone call. Not quite a Code Red, but close.


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

Edited because my brain has fried from the heat here in Texas. Let's try again. LOL

Daly Planet Editor said...
I would have liked to be on that phone call. Not quite a Code Red, but close.


Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in either office. The 800lb gorilla finally threw a little weight around.

I LOVE IT ! Practice is way too important to not be televised.

Newracefan said...

I remember thinking yesterday when I saw the first thing ESPN was going to televise was qualifying. OH NO here we go but WOW 2 great things in 2 days. TWIN isn't backwards anymore and Speed will do practice

JD, Do you know if it will be voice over like last time or in the booth like they would usually do and who will be there? Who's employees are doing the camera work? Inquiring minds; you know us we want all the details

Daly Planet Editor said...


They are still working out the details, but SPEED already has Steve Byrnes, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds on-site for Trackside. I think those will probably be the announcers along with 2 SPEED pit reporters.

We'll keep you posted.


SophiaZ123 said...

Thanks, JD!

This will help out a little. I will mark the calendars for these SPEED coverages.

ESPN just gets me honked off to even try to see thru the clutter, the interviews, the canned video..>ZZZZzzzzz

Now if SPEED would only help out the IRL in a couple of years. I would be doing a Snoopy happy dance.

Thanks again for showing us SPEED gets it for quals and practice.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Many thanks for the info. I obviously don't understand all the competing personalities and agendas, but do you think there could be any chance ESPN might want or let DJ and Andy P. appear on some of the sessions? I really would be intrigued by the interaction among DJ, Andy P, and Larry Mc - each of whom I think are top flight in their own way. I really did enjoy what I was able to see of Dr. P, DJ, and Andy P handling practice at Indy. I was especially impressed by how ready DJ and Andy were to say that what they said was going to happen about the tires was not happening.

P.S. Mike Helton really is a BIG guy, but I don't think he weighs over 600 pounds.

stricklinfan82 said...

Absolutely fantastic news. Major thank you to NASCAR, Speed Channel, ESPN, and whoever else had anything to do with this change. Just like I said about ESPN's on-air talent woes and race production woes in 2007 and will reiterate with the 2007 Cup practice TV blackouts now, it's a joke that we ever had to deal with last year's debacle in that area in the first place, but it's certainly better late than never now that those issues have been fixed.

Now if we can just get ESPN to actually provide uninterrupted TV coverage of the practice and qualifying sessions they are contracted to cover instead of covering up the on-track action with unrelated garbage, and actually get those Happy Hour practice sessions that ESPN will inevitably tape-delay until late into the night during college football back onto live TV (preferably on Speed Channel) we'll really be back in business.

Thanks a lot JD. Without this forum for the fans to express their views I have serious doubts that anything would have changed from 2007.

Anonymous said...

This is definitely good news! I hope they continue to play together nicely :).

Yes thank you for whoever managed to put this together for us fans! Of course watching practice & HH doesn't help my Fantasy Picks 'cept for my "pick 3" game and Kylie wins :p, but I still like to know how my boyz are doing and what's going on with their car and all that good stuff. Of course I'd love SPEED ala what NBC/TNT eventually did and put it all on SPEED.

Which my favorite was the October Charlotte race 2K3 and BP was playing pit road reporter since the Pit Boyz had the night off. They stopped by and brought BP out a feast. BP had been interviewing Mikey (and sang Happy Birthday to Jr.) and of course Mikey helped himself ;).

Anonymous said...


Is there money changing hands on this deal???

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:56AM,

I wish I could help you on that one. Here are some things to consider:

The 2008 production budget for SPEED was allocated last year. SPEED would have to "find money" if it was paying to produce these programs.

These shows are not of value to SPEED because they (or Fox or TNT) do not have the Cup races. Don't think rights fees are in order, especially since NASCAR Media Group owns the footage once it is aired.

ESPN is not in the mix, they chose not to show these practice sessions way back when in the original TV contract.

Hopefully, it was NASCAR that stepped-up and realized the value of cars at speed on the track when there are only 38 races in 365 days of the year.

SPEED can bring value to this programming and they have the folks who have already been doing these sessions since Feb. on staff.

If I get more info, I will pass it along.


Anonymous said...

I am loving that most practices are televised. They are also on the computer at Nascar.com. We fantasy players need to know what happens at all the practices and qualifying. Kudos to Speed for picking up the balance of untelevised practices. What I would love to see now is all the Nationwide practices. Also, ditto on Nascar.com. They used to have the practices on nascar.com but this year they have discontinued them. I think Speed should have all practices and qualifying and leave the racing to the top bidders. We wouldn't have to search all over to find who is carrying them.

Anonymous said...

Thank God... Last year was horrible when ESPN took over.

Football games would run late and we would only see 15 minutes of happy hour and ESPN would not rerun entire happy hour during middle night so we could DVR it.

Let's hope NASCAR.com bring back the old trackpass leaderboard that was sortable for practice (for last lap & average lap). AND it had separate leaderboard for EACH practice in case you missed it.

Good job JD!

Dot said...

I think SPEED is trying to get in our good graces. I would also like to think we posters (and JD) at TDP have something to do with it.

I read other sites and JDs is the only one that really touches on the TV issues with FOX, TNT, ESPN & SPEED. Plus, he has alluded that the PTB read his site too.

Thanks to whoever put this deal together.

PS, I love the Snoopy dance comments. That's us for sure.