Thursday, July 31, 2008

TV Networks Ready For Some Racing

The two remaining NASCAR TV partners are on-the-air again this weekend from Pocono and Montreal.

The good news is that SPEED has picked-up the Sprint Cup practice sessions that were not originally going to be aired. The bad news is that SPEED will not televise the Saturday ARCA race from Pocono in which Chrissie Wallace will be driving.

Friday's TV coverage kicks-off with SPEED at Noon Eastern Time. This will be the recently-added coverage of the Sprint Cup Series practice at Pocono. Steve Byrnes will host the telecast with Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond alongside. Wendy Venturini and Bob Dillner will report from the garage area.

After practice, SPEED continues with a thirty minute version of NASCAR Live at 1:30PM. Byrnes will host and Venturini and Dillner will continue to report on the stories after practice. It makes a lot of sense to let these reporters follow-up on the issues they detailed during the practice session.

Things switch gears at 2PM as NASCAR TV moves over to ESPN2 for Nationwide Series final practice from Montreal. It will be Marty Reid on-scene with Randy LaJoie alongside. Reporting from the garage will be Vince Welch and Jack Arute.

Now that everyone in Pocono has finished lunch, the Sprint Cup Series qualifies on ESPN2 at 3:30PM. This will be the "A team" of Dr. Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. The reporting crew consists of Jamie Little, Shannon Spake, Dave Burns and Mike Massaro.

At 6PM, things get interesting. SPEED will present a special last-minute version of the popular NASCAR Confidential program. This show will look at the Indy situation from the viewpoints of the teams and officials right in the middle of the experience. This show was added to the SPEED line-up out-of-the-blue and should be interesting to watch in terms of content and agenda. This program will also re-air at 11PM Saturday night on SPEED.

Over on ESPN2, it will be the thirty minute version of NASCAR Now at 6PM. This show will be hosted by either Ryan Burr or Nicole Manske and will review the day's activities and preview the remainder of the weekend. Please note there is no West Coast re-air of this program.

At 7PM, Byrnes returns on SPEED with Trackside. He is joined by Hammond, McReynolds and Elliott Sadler. This is a one hour talk show that has two guests who remain throughout the show and interact with the entire panel on a wide variety of subjects. Kevin Harvick and Scott Speed are the guests.

This ends the NASCAR portion of the night, but for those wanting to see the Montreal road course, the Rolex Sports Car Series race from Montreal is on SPEED at 8PM.

Having the early Sprint Cup practice televised is going to make a big difference for the fans and for ESPN as the stories from this session begin to tell the tale of the race itself. Kudos to NASCAR for making this available and to SPEED for covering the action.

This post will serve to host your comments about the Friday NASCAR TV on these two networks. There will be a fresh column up shortly after 7PM reviewing NASCAR Confidential and asking for your comments.

To add your opinion to this post, just click on the COMMENTS button below. The rules are on the right side of the main page and thanks so much for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

JD, since the network contracts require that 43 cars start a race, what would happen if/when the day comes when Nascar can no longer field the required number? With sponsorship becoming more and more difficult, with teams merging and the economic woes facing every aspect of our society, there could very well come a time when there are not 43 cars to be had. I believe the Nationwide series has had a few races when they didn't field the full compliment of cars.

Lou, from NY said...

I do not know who is responsibile for this, but I am glad for the added coverage of Sprint Cup practice.

Daly Planet Editor said...

anon 10:02,

This will be the last post on this topic. Nationwide and Truck Series races have been run with less than a full field. That has never been a TV issue and was not mentioned by me at anytime.

The full field TV issue for Cup has been around for a very long time. Unfortunately, this season has changed the dynamic with both the COT and the slumping economy.

We are all going to experience this issue together if two or three teams that do not make The Chase decide to park for the last ten races of the season.

I will address it again should it become a topic. If you would like any additional info, just drop me an email.

Let's keep this post on the topic of the Friday TV. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Does SPEED having the Grand AM race from Montreal,impact the ARCA no-show?

Daly Planet Editor said...

No, the ARCA contract with SPEED does not have anything to do it.

SPEED simply said they did not include the Pocono race in that TV deal.


Anonymous said...

Thanks again to the SPEED for negotiating for this practice. Seems silly (refer to ESPN here) to only televise qualifying and not the practice that precedes it. They should be packaged together. Just not important to ESPN. I haven't looked - what is being televised that is so important? Guess putting it all into NASCAR only goes so far.

Anonymous said...

ESPN2-Olympic Tennis til 2PM ET
ESPN - Gold beginning at 1PM ET

Again NASCAR takes back seat at ESPN.

Thanks again SPEED

Anonymous said...

correction - Golf - not Gold

Anonymous said...

The 3 talking heads on Speed's practice show were more embarassing than Jimmy and Kenny were on VL with their excuse making for NASCAR's putrid show at Indy. I really expected better from Larry Mac in particular.

Lisa Hogan said...

Thank you, SPEED!
I enjoyed the practice coverage. Good job as always.

Now it is over to ESPN with their open wheel crew. I like Randy and Rusty, the NASCAR guys.

I cannot enjoy Reid. He sounds like he is anywhere but a racetrack. I keep expecting him to say, "and the pitch is high and outside".

Lisa Hogan said...

ESPN is bringing us qualifying from Pocono.

With their almost full screen graphics, double tickers, video pieces, and inane reports from pit road, ESPN would be very happy if only they didn't have to show a shot of those pesky cars on the track every once in a while.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update!!! I wish I had seen this last night!! My schedule is usually set by going to and from Nascar Scene. It didn't have this mornings practice, so now I missed over an hour of it! Darn it!! Guess I'll have to try and come home early on Fridays! Thanks for the info JD!! Speed is the best!!! Wish they carried all of Nascars shows.

Anonymous said...

I hope this is the right place to post this. ESPN is yet again not showing qualifying, its given us Kasey & JJ and alot of anything -except quals. The graphics cover most of the screen, when they bother to show a car on track making a run.They have - instead of showing qual runs - shown us every one in interviews, with assorted team members ( this incl. my driver and a dirt racing crew member or some such) I do not care who watches the olympics or why. I tune in to Q-U-A-L-I-F-Y-I-N-G, not this extra gunk.

Karen said...

Too many interviews in studio during qualifying, except for Jimmie Johnson which was funny when he thought JJ Yeley was 4 tenths faster than he was on the pole, only to find out it was being compared to go or go-homer.

SophiaZ123 said...

Lisa Hogan

Dittos to both your comments!!!!!!!!!

Jo yours, too.


Too much crap on screen. Might as well have the car driving in place on a treadmill. Can see the track.

Anonymous said...

Jo--Tony was with Jason Shapiro. Jason is a hot mess! I was all into them chatting and wanted them to continue :p.

But yes I do hear you on the graphics and other nonsense. Yes I like hearing from the guys and such, but not the same canned pieces I've seen a million times and can recite with them word for word. And I don't want to see everyone short of the cleaning crew being interviewed OVER quals and practice.

Anonymous said...

ESPN's qualifying show is basically unwatchable to me. It's unacceptable that I can barely see the car with all the graphics on the scene and that it is then split because they are interviewing everyone and their brother during people's runs. I shut it off today and kept track on FoxTrax instead.

SophiaZ123 said...

Anon I basically shut the tv on and off to see what was going on.

ESPN is a TOTAL DRAG for quals. :(

THEY truly know how to RUIN a show with TOO many bells and whistles.

Stinks they will be covering Dega..or Speed is not listed to cover that drace.:(

speedangel said...

On qualifying, interviews and pre-recorded pieces shouldn't take precedence over the cars on the track at all. The interviews are fine, but I could do without the pre-recorded pieces completely. The way it is now it's like the time trials are an afterthought, and it shouldn't be the way.

Anonymous said...

that's exactly how it seems speedangel. It's like they see the "show" being the interviews and pre-paackaged pieces and qualifying/practice an "oh by the way there happens to be some cars here and if we feel like it we'll show them to you...but first watch this piece on Driver Whoever that we know you just saw last week but here it is again."

I also don't mind the interviews, but when they have interviews or the Infield Center on full screen and there are cars going around behind them...THAT'S what I want to see. No I don't need to see the warm up lap but when they take the green I want to see that on the full screen. I don't need the other mess on there. Yes I understand at any time new race fans may be tuning in, but SPEED manages to keep everyone informed without having tons on unnecessary graphics clogging the screen.

And when practice is on I want to see that not the guys in the Infield interviewing half the world and talking about everything EXCEPT whats going on while I can see and hear cars going around behind them.

Matt said...

Qualifying on ESPN is nothing but a glorified NASCAR Now special.

SophiaZ123 said...


BINGO on the cars being treated as an AFTERTHOUGHT during qualifying.

IIRC, we had the same beef last year.

Anonymous said...

Yes we did and I wish they'd learn :(.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up about NASCAR Confidential for your comments. Thanks.


stricklinfan82 said...

Another pathetic job of covering Cup qualifying by ESPN. Once again they slapped every NASCAR fan in the face by screaming loudly on the air that "qualifying doesn't matter" and isn't worthy of being the focus of ESPN's precious on-air time.

For a second week in a row qualifying ended with 18 minutes left in their programming block. That time could have been used to Tivo the qualifying laps that were missed during commercial breaks and would have allowed every driver's full lap to be shown on TV, but for a second week in a row ESPN simply didn't care to plan that far ahead, because after all they were only on the air to do a "Trackside"-like episode and not to cover the actual qualifying session that was going on behind them.

While the top 35 cars were on the track running for the pole, ESPN skipped no less than half of each and every one of the top 4 qualifier's qualifying lap (Johnson, Martin, Gilliand, and Gordon) for some combination of commercials, video packages, and full-screen interviews (and amazingly ESPN has a box on its on-screen clutter collection during qualifying for just such interviews, by the way).

And then when the go-or-go-home drama started the broadcast became "The Jimmie Johnson Show". 3 of the 8 non-guaranteed go-or-go-homers had at least half of their lap skipped to show either a Jimmie Johnson video package or Jimmie Johnson's live face in the pit studio. And the other go-or-go-homers that didn't have their lap skipped visually had their lap ignored verbally because in ESPN's mind talking to Jimmie Johnson about everything from the Brickyard to his wife to snowboarding was more important than the go-or-go-home drama that was unfolding on the track.

What a joke. NASCAR, I hope you were watching and will do something about ESPN's practice and qualifying debacles quickly, because the continued lack of TV exposure ESPN is giving you is slowly going to kill your sport.

Daly Planet Editor said...


There will be a column during the week on this topic. No clue about what ESPN is thinking this gets them in terms of fans.

They sure are missing the boat about what is actually going-on out there on the track.