Saturday, August 30, 2008

Nationwide Series Returns To The Back Burner


With several hurricanes churning out in the open sea at this time of year, it was actually ESPN2 that had the perfect storm this Saturday night.

It was 10:23PM when Dr. Jerry Punch welcomed NASCAR fans to ESPN2 and the Nationwide Series race. The telecast had actually been on-the-air since 9:45PM and the race itself was in-progress. Veteran NASCAR fans knew it was college football season once again. The Nationwide Series telecast had started on the ESPN Classic Network.

After a very nice seven months of live coverage on ESPN2, college football pushes the Nationwide Series to the back burner on Saturdays as soon as the season starts. Joining the Fontana telecast 38 minutes into the coverage is going to open a running debate about why this is happening again this season.

In reality, that debate makes no sense at all. ESPN has been doing college football since the 1980's and knows exactly how long it takes to play a game live on TV.

Since 2007, the first season of the new NASCAR contract, ESPN has consistently scheduled Nationwide Series races in timeslots that make no sense during football season.

On this night, NASCAR fans without ESPN Classic had to turn to NASCAR.com for the online stream of the race telecast. It appeared without audio and was not fixed until slightly after 11PM. The commercial elements that ran from NASCAR.com's Atlanta, GA location worked fine all night. It was the ESPN feed that had the problem.

Basically, NASCAR fans without the ESPN Classic network or a broadband computer connection were out of luck. That is exactly what NASCAR did not want to see in prime-time on a Saturday night. It does not bode well for the remaining races.

Allen Bestwick ran his crew through a quick 15 minute pre-race show and then handed-off to Dr. Jerry Punch and the regular NASCAR on ESPN gang. The high point of the telecast came when the public address announcer forgot the name of actor Ron Perlman's new TV show as he introduced him for the starting command. At least Perlman knew it, delivered a good line and rolled the field off to the flag.

Once the race began, ESPN did a great job of focusing on the Nationwide Series and leaving the overlap of last year behind. The Sprint Cup was promoted, but not dragged over to Saturday's race. Unfortunately, the Nationwide gang produced a rather bland event.

Draft Track was out early, Bestwick was promoting shows from the infield and Tim Brewer was showing everything he could think of from the Tech Center. The pit reporters worked hard to contribute any kind of content on the relevant topics and the Director searched for racing. The problem was, there wasn't any.

Several nicely timed cautions bunched the field, but when the green flag waved it only took a couple of laps until the field was strung-out and on a test drive to the next pit stop. Kyle Busch was "stinking up the show" once again.

This (click here) commentary from Lee Montgomery finally spoke to the issue TV viewers ask about constantly where the Nationwide Series is concerned. With a short field of real teams, NASCAR allows "start and park" teams to enter and qualify for the races.

These teams often do not have pit crews and are only going to run up until the first gas stop. They get to collect the money that is awarded for just starting the race and then go on their way. Montgomery's point is that NASCAR would be better off running with a short field of real teams like the Truck Series does each race.

Fans are often confused when the ticker at the top of the screen shows as many as 10 cars out of the race when no caution flag has flown. This Saturday in Fontana, 8 cars took the easy way out and headed for the trailer before pit stops began.

Brad Keselowski left the race with engine trouble and headed to the garage. ESPN never sent a pit reporter over to find out what was going on. That is the type of fundamental TV issue that this team has struggled with on the Nationwide Series.

By lap 110 of the 150 in the race, ESPN has once again returned to coverage of the top five cars and nothing more. It was the perfect time for a full field recap, but it did not happen. It was the perfect time for some laps from an in-car camera perspective, but it did not happen.

Instead, Tim Brewer was addressing the possible problems with Keselowski even though no pit reporter was sent to find out the reality. Keselowski's car was seen surrounded by crew members and specialists, but not one ESPN reporter. Without some information from the garage, Brewer was simply speculating.

Over twenty laps later, when Keselowski re-joined the race, there was a brief and rather confused report from Dave Burns about a mysterious rotor problem. Burns asked Brewer to explain it, but once again the coordination with the Tech Center resulted in Brewer talking and showing things long before the viewers saw the Tech Center on the screen.

Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree did everything they could to address the issues in the race, but essentially there were few. Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty were almost silent after halfway because there just was very little to talk about.

A restart with 15 laps to go made it a bit interesting, but Punch just simply cannot boost the excitement level when that skill is needed from the play-by-play announcer. Punch watched the action with the viewers and said absolutely nothing.

Exciting moments seem to work best when they are replayed and Jarrett and Petree handle the commentary. Punch simply does not seem to be able to speak while something exciting or even dangerous is in-progress. Jarrett and Petree have become experts at stepping-in and filling-in the gaps for the TV viewers.

As usual, the race closed with Kyle Busch leading the way and not one drop of excitement anywhere to be seen or heard. This was a tough start to the Nationwide Series races for the remainder of the season now that college football has started.

ESPN made good pictures and sound, but lacked speed shots, in-car angles and use of the blimp which was on-scene. Even the Director had a tough time finding excitement on this warm night on the West Coast. He was not alone.

Next week it will be the Sprint Cup Series that faces-off with the college crowd as the Saturday night race from Richmond, VA is scheduled for the ABC television network at 7PM. The preceding football game kicks-off at 3:30PM, so this broadcast window is finally one that should fit.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy directions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thanks for taking the time to drop by.

50 comments:

alex said...

Well, at least the blog was fun tonight.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks Alex,

I don't have a very big pit crew but I try to put on a good show.

JD

Sophia said...

JD

I missed most ALL the race by choice as I was reading articles elsewhere and hardly had the race on my tv.

I thought we usually had a problem with TOO MANY IN car cams and bumper cams. The short few laps i watched, towards the end off and on, I saw plenty of bumper cams. Am I missing something with this comment of yours? Or did we, pray tell, have too much wide open camera angles? Hard to believe. Then again, most of us do not think this track worthy of TWO races!

Thanks to your column and blog, I feel I missed NOTHING by skipping the race.

Sad isn't it?

Oh, and NASCAR should TRULY be concerned over the new College football 'clock' issue. Sigh...

Sophia said...

p.s. THANKS for the Sunday tv guide. I will probably opt for pre race show on Race Day, SPEED REPORT and Wind Tunnel over the race.

Jo said...

The blog was great. I agree with RCinNc & Lees article - start & park has got to go. Why allow it? 43 teams & surely if we know who the s&p are NA$CAR knows ( in theory) so cut the field down & have a race.

I'm hoping we have a real race tomorrow not a Sunday drive a thon in line points race.

Dot said...

The blog was fun. More fun than the race. KyB did stink up the show. We don't need to watch tomorrow as it will be the same cast of characters. Add that to the boring race and it makes it unwatchable. That's why I was trying out my material for the comedy tour.

JD, do you know why drag racing went to 10:45pm PDT? It was listed as an hour. Shouldn't we have had 15 mins of post race coverage? ESPN strikes again?

Regarding the S&Ps. Are they being subsidized? I can't see if they are crying poor how they can afford to travel, pay for equipment, etc. Does NASCAR really think 43 cars need to race? I'd be just as happy with less. We never hear about them anyway. Hell, we didn't even hear about the regular NW drivers who race week in and week out. JD, pass that on to the suits for me. Thanks.

SonicAD said...

ROFL at the choice of image. I've seen it before, and always get really angry and frustrated by it, but you using it here is perfect!

Village Idiot Intern said...

This word: stupidity. Does it mean anything to anyone in Connecticut?
No. I went to the local short track tonight. I took my handheld Mobile Internet Device with me tonight, watched both the live action at the local short track and the ESPN simulcast of their show during the California race. Would anyone like to guess what the more entertaining event was? We watched a 600 Legends car race that was 20 laps in duration on our 3/8 concrete high-banked short track that fielded 16 cars taking the green flag. Following this race was a 25 lap IMCA Sportsmod race, the most exciting race of the evening. I think this race fielded 14 entrants. These races stood head and shoulders above the ESPN broadcast of the evening. Next up was the IMCA Modified 25 lap feature fielding 15 entrants that also was much more entertaining than ESPN'S broadcast of the Nationwide Series race. How much more graphic in our descriptions of the ESPN broadcasts do we have to be to get our message across to those people in Bristol, CT? Are they running some kind of Sheltered Workshop up there or what? Only when I geared up and did a direct real-time comparison, observation and analysis did the situation become clear to me. ESPN is clearly assing up their NASCAR coverage for reasons unbeknownst to me, and perhaps many others; but I feel it should stop. And I mean now. I would like to paraphrase Junior Johnson now and say this about both ESPN and NASCAR: It's their show and they can ruin it in any way they want to. As for me, I plan to spend my weekends at my local short tracks, on the river in my boats, in the forests of my home area on my fourwheeler. In short, anywhere other than watching my Widescreen 52" LCD HDTV sucking up whatever ESPN feels like dishing out for me to lap up. Adios, amigos.

Anonymous said...

ESPN,1,2,Classic,etc... Suck!!! Nascar..Quit being so Greedy,and stick with Networks with people who have a clue.Listen! America has built you up! But they will take you down with a smile on there face..

red said...

as alex says: "well, at least the blog was fun . . . "

as for the broadcast: pretty much a mess. i'm sure the hendrick fans from last year now understand what the rest of the nascar fans were feeling during hendrick's amazing run (although i believe the hendrick drivers to be far more mature than young mr busch. and far more gracious in winning.) the problem is that espn just can't figure out how to broadcast a race when one driver runs away with it from the start. it's as if they feel they HAVE to stay with the lead car, even when it's over 10 seconds ahead. what i'd like to see instead is moving from that car into the rest of the pack, finding the racing and passing where it's happening and show us that. face it, espn: you're just going to have dig deeper and not hope for the low hanging fruit from here on out.

again: lose the bumper cams, turn off the draft tracker (no matter how much you paid for it! maybe the nfl can use it somehow!), keep the pre-packaged stuff to a minimum and for God's sake, turn off the ticker! if anyone watching the race wants to know the scores, they have ways to do it. we know it's "what you do" but it's in the way.

and jd, all i can say is we ain't no start and park team here on TDP! we're here, race in and race out, equally annoying to fox, speed, espn and anyone else who chooses to stop by!

(and i just can't see myself ever using that "milking" term in general conversation!)

Ken said...

I think the starting time shows what NA$CAR thinks of the Nationwide series. The majority of the fan base is on the east coast. When they start the race near bedtime (for the traditional long time fan), it shows that NA$CAR has little interest in supporting the series. If TV dictated the start time, it is even worse. If NA$CAR truly had the interest of the Nationwide at heart, they would insist that the race be run earlier or they should use another outlet to show the race.

Matt said...

I fell asleep about 10:45 eastern so I can't really say much about the coverage.. the starting time was ridiculous.

But I agree with the shorter fields. It's sad to think that only 6 or 7 years ago, competition existed, especially from guys you don't hear much of today, but it's not like that anymore.

And Auto Club Speedway is not exactly the most exciting track. If they wanted to cater to the West Coast fans, they should have built a more exciting track. Obviously it's too late for that, so I think they should get rid of the Feb race and see if that will fill up the stands better.

Newracefan said...

The blog is the only reason I stayed awake, I would be interested to hear from someone one who was there if the race was as boring in person as on TV but I'm not sure anyone one was there :(
Someone here said low hanging fruit, I agree. Cars were passing each other, heck Bowyer passed Reutimann in the last few laps, show that, show a lead lap car who can't get past a lap car, show a driver who is fighting a bad handling car, show something and do more thru the field, if the is a caution start over or pick up where you left off. We got the Kyle, Carl, Brad and Jimmie show. The problem with that is Brad left for repairs (perhaps a talk with him while he was waiting might have be called for but no..... or tell me he's staying in the car with the window net up, I get that) and Jimmie was laped early, now you got nothing. There must have been some racing the cars did not finish where they started except for Kyle but then that's an entirely different issue altogether and yes this Hendrick fan get's it but they didn't dominate all 3 series, Nascar doesn't need to level the playing field for the cars they need to put some lead in Kyle's driver suit and slow that boy down ;)

Anonymous said...

The production of this race was not bad, but Jerry Punch has got to go. If you made one of those drinking games about his performance, you could say:

Whenever he says, "...sails into the corner," take a drink.

Whenever he says, "...for you folks just joining us," take a drink.

Whenever he says, "...for you fans of ___," and then gives driver info, take a drink.

...and so on. Professionals are paid to be better than this.

And, once again, this broadcast crew demonstrated that it does not look out the window at all. They may as well be in a studio in Connecticut. When a shot of a car that has already wrecked pops up and suddenly, one of them says, "Oh! Trouble!" that's just silly. I can see that for myself.

Contrast this with the SPEED coverage of practice and qualifying earlier in the day, when the boys in the booth called things before they showed up on camera.

Always good, too, when Brewer shows us what caused a problem (like the kill switch on the 88) and then the crew in the booth immediately contradicts him. That's very useful.

We deserve better than this.

Dmo said...

JD, thanks for the blogs. They are consistently more interesting - and less frustrating - than watching the NASCAR product on ESPN.
-D

majorshouse said...

I say it is time for NASCAR to void the ESPN contract and see if they can put it on the Speed Channel. It is obvious where NASCAR is in the pecking order and they ahve known for years where football stands with them too.
I am not surprised that they did not talk about the entired field and their coverage is stinking up the joint like it did last year. That is why I enjoy watching the truck series so much. P personally think that it is time for NASCAR to get rid of the start and park drivers and run the shorter field like the truck series does and I also think it is high time that these Cup drivers either run a limited schedule or run their own cars like they had to do in the 1980's and leave their high dollar Cup affiliations aside.

majorshouse said...

I agree that the blog is a blast. Rock on JD

Vicky D said...

And 35,000 fans is probably stretching the attendance. It was a complete mess and JD you failed to mention that they didn't show the cars at the checkered flag because Josh Wise hit the wall. They need to just skip this track. I believe ESPN needs to have a dedicated crew for the Nationwide series telecasts to ramp up the races. Pretty soon no one will be watching.

Sharon said...

Well, perhaps if they let Joey Logano run the broadcast it may have been better. Cause Lord knows he is the messiah sent to save racing.......Im glad I didnt watch the race.

dannyboy said...

Agree with virtually everything said by both JD and commenters. Watched race off-and-on with family while entertaining guest. Couldn't understand why when I first turned it on (I'd surfed by ESPN2 previously and saw no race) the race was many laps deep already.

This track does not lend itself to exciting action. I have raced it on computer simulator and it has the weird combination of being both challenging to drive well and almost boring because it's so wide.

Nevertheless I'm excited to report that my wife won us tickets and am about to leave for the Cup race. Thank goodness it's cooler today ;-)

Will report back to you all in the comments section of JD's blog on the race itself, probably tomorrow.

Dan

Anonymous said...

As to the hendrick comment, someone was right in saying they didn't dominate all three series like Toyota (KyBusch) is doing and also, it's a bit more feasible to see top drivers like Gordon and Johnson winning each weekend because, all things being equal, those two SHOULD have a chance to win every race.

fearless freep said...

Up here in the Great White North, TSN actually came on with the pre race show at 9:45 and we saw the race from start to finish.

To update your August 9 post(NASCAR TV hits a brick wall in Canada)- TSN2 is now up and running and my cable provider is airing it on the old Alternate Feed channel-at least for now. So far, the TSN website only shows the Dover races (Nationwide and Sprint Cup) airing on TSN2. At least by then the races will be shown on ABC and I won't have to watch the Sprint Cup races on TSN!!

As far as the coverage of last nights race goes, I'll tell you what-a silent Rusty is a good Rusty-thats for sure.

ri88girl said...

More than not being able to 'find' racing on track, at least twice last night they actually LEFT racing to show a single car. I'm sure they do this all the time, but it was just really noticable last night since there was such a lack of racing up front.

I agree, NASCAR needs to buy out the rest of ESPN's contract and let SPEED do all the coverage, a dedicated NASCAR channel. I can think of no other group of fans that would be asked to skip around the dial to find their sport. NO other group of fans would be treated in such a backhanded fashion, why do we put up with it? Write to Daytona and tell them no mas, cuz CT clearly is not listening.

red said...

dannyboy: hope i'm not too late -- enjoy the race! at least you'll be able to watch racing happening! make certain to report in when you get home-- we'll likely be starved for information.

Anonymous said...

After listening to the Speed crew all day for practice and qualifying, it was such a let-down when the ESPN crew finally came on for the NW race.

They are soooo bad after listening to Byrnes, Larry Mac and Hammond all afternoon. They are like having 3 buddies in my LR discussing racing. I wish they could cover everything!

Ann_Ominous said...

I was so bored.... I called a friend and yakked through the race - and not about the race!

stricklinfan82 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stricklinfan82 said...

As a NASCAR fan I am tired of being disrespected and patronized by the ESPN network.

Yet again ESPN only scheduled a 3-hour block for a college football game before the race. Inevitably, since we all know very well that college football games average around 3:30, the relatively low-scoring game that ended in regulation lasted 3:38 and we missed the entire pre-race and the first 8 laps. Had a ranked team or two been participating in that game and they had a high-scoring shootout, blowout, or God forbid overtime, we would have seen far less of the race. Mercifully ESPN Classic was there for a small percentage of you watching live, but DVR viewers like me were out of luck this week and everyone will be out of luck in future weeks when ESPN Classic carries live college football as well (remember Memphis last year?)

Hockey and basketball games are given 2 1/2 hour windows, baseball games are given 3 hour windows, and NFL games on doubleheader networks are given 3 hours and 15 minutes. All appropriate and "normal" windows. College football games last around 3:30 or more on average and ESPN still tries to squeeze them in 3 hour blocks. I think 'incompetent' would be a fine characterization of the ESPN TV schedule-makers.

Once the race started the ESPN truck continued their two years of patronizing NASCAR fans. As usual it was taken for granted that NASCAR fans are "stupid" and don't understand the simple concept of "the draft". The truck had to interrupt live racing to show us a graphical explanation of what drafting is and then throw in more invented terms like "target" and "sweet spot". Then when another hot dog wrapper blowing off the grille incident occurred, ESPN pulled out the Draft Tracks again, even though it did nothing to illustrate the concept of low pressure on the nose blowing the paper off. The most hilarious moment was when Dr. Punch asked Andy "so those white lines on the screen are what blew the paper off then right?" and Andy had to respond "well no it was actually something else."

In ESPN's mind football, basketball, baseball, and hockey fans are smart enough to understand the basic aspects of those games without having them explained to them on the air - from first downs to 'the spike', from the 24 second clock to 'fouls to give', from '3 strikes is an out' to 'tagging up', from offsides to icing. ESPN doesn't treat fans of those sports like morons or newbies, but every single time a NASCAR race is on ESPN even the most simple and basic terms like "drafting" have to be illustrated on the full-screen to the "clueless" people at home as an interruption to the event that is already in-progress.

When you add in how ESPN openly mocks practice and qualifying sessions on the air by ignoring the "boring" on-track action to show full-screen videos, stat displays, and studio guests I think it is very obvious that it's time for NASCAR to get off of this network.

NASCAR, I hope you've been watching how everyone at ESPN has been making a mockery of your sport and will do something about it. You deserve better, your drivers and sponsors deserve better (Michael Waltrip and NAPA ring a bell?), and the fans deserve better. Enough is enough. And if everything that's happened in the last two years hasn't been enough to prove it to you, just glance at the TV lineup for Saturday at New Hampshire. Happy Hour for the first race in the Chase in 2008 will be... you guessed it... TAPE-DELAYED by the four-letter network.

Anonymous said...

Yes,Tim Brewer was just speculating about the problems with the #88. He started by showing the kill-switch bypass jumper before moving on to the distributer rotor. If you listened to, I believe it was Dave Burns, there was a 'hole' in the rotor. Tim started talking about the tip of the rotor. There have been some wear issues with the carbon button at the center of the rotor (not the tip) that can result in a hole and dead ignition. Being ever the optimist, at least I didn't have to listen to Punch,Rusty and Brad in the pre-race.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

One of these races I may just watch live so I can read and post on this blog in real time. You guys are the best.

Definitely more entertaining that ESPN race coverage...if you can call it that.

As soon as the 88 went to the garage I FF'd until I saw an "issue" (as JP would say, ad nauseum) or coverage of someone other than the CUP guys we see over and over.

A comment about the "start and parks'. Why is it such a big deal? Tonight there were only 12 or 13 cars on the lead lap. Many cars were 2 and 3 laps down.

My husband vintage races on road courses (Sears Pt, Laguna Seca). In some of the races there are 30 to 40 cars. The races are only 25 minutes long (old cars and old guys...LOL). Husband is usually in the top 3 and he laps other cars 2 to 3 times. Sometimes they are out in the first 5 minutes. As long as they keep their line while racing so as not to cause a problem they are all welcomed (some cars worth $15k, some worth $10M!). Know, not quite in Nascar league, but all forms of racing have this "issue", pro and amateur. So I say more power to the S&P's, if it supports other forms of racing...like at short tracks that are disappearing.

Vince said...

Sarcasm alert *****

There was a race last night? Damn, I lead a normal life and went to bed.

*****

Seriously, with the late start of this race, all the Nationwide "start and park" cars and ESPN's lousy coverage; why should I bother to stay up late and watch this race? I've got better things to do. Like sleep, so I don't fall asleep during the snoozer of a race I'm sure I'll be exposed to today.

This track will eventually end up like the old Ontario track down the road from it. Bulldozed. And good riddance. It's a boring track. Has anyone ever seen an exciting race there? COT or no COT, it's not a good track.

Erik said...

I'm not really sure what ESPN could have done differenty with scheduling. They could have requested an even later start for the race to protect against an overrun, but enough people are complaining about a 10 EDT start anyway. There would have been even more howling on a 11 EDT start.

With ESPN picking up even more football with the SEC contract, the situation is not going to get any better.

ESPN needs more outlets for live events. Rupert Murdoch's Sky Sports in the UK has Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, Sky Sports 3, Sky Sports Xtra (which is now essentially Sky Sports 4), Sky Sports News. I was lucky enough to catch some of the sprint cup races on Sky Sports 3. They have plenty of room for even non-mainstream sports for the UK audience.

If the UK can support that many channels, certainly the US is a large enough market for at least two more ESPN channels on top of what is already present (or another nationwide general sports network altogether).

kbaskins said...

Dang, I've just had an epiphany. I know how ESPN can make their N'Wide races appear to be much better. I gotta admit, this is genius.

ESPN needs to buy the rights to the Craftsman Truck race series from SPEED. Then ESPN has to broadcast the truck races with the same mind-numbing mediocrity they bring to the N'Wide series. This means we will have no outstanding broadcasts to compare ESPN's coverage with, and we'll just accept that whatever pap ESPN hands to us is pretty much as good as it can get. Instead of trying to improve the N'Wide broadcasts, they can lower the standard on the truck races.

That would certainly pull the teeth of our criticism. If we can't advance comparisons between the excellent SPEED broadcasts to the crap ESPN hands us in the lower series, life for ESPN become much easier. We will become complacent, accepting sheep, No longer will we be able to comment, "Well, if SPEED can do it in the truck races...".

I know, I know, I'm freakin' brilliant. *bows*

--KarenB

Jo said...

JD,Dot, Alex
Meet Karen, she'll be on tour with us- hopefully tonight.

Nan S said...

I didn't watch the race, I was watching the US Open tennis while I had the timing and scoring up on the computer. Fontana is not an interesting track and having all the Cup guys in the race stinking up the show has killed my interest.

Daly Planet Editor said...

jo,

I know Karen all too well! :)

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

erik,

If you think the NASCAR folks were upset, you should see the email from the NHRA folks.

For many of them, the US Nationals in Indy is the biggest race of the season.

On tape after football and NASCAR was not what they had in mind.

ESPNOcho cannot be far behind.

JD

kbaskins said...

But you gotta admit it's a great idea!

I should probably delete my comment. It's not very constructive criticism. Then again, sometimes it's good to poke fun at the circumstances rather than rehash the same old complaints we bring up week after week. It's one of those "if I don't laugh, I'm gonna cry" situations.

--KarenB

Dot said...

Jo,
You're still killing me. Working on new material for tonight's race. Stay tuned.

Jo said...

Dot
And now we got help - even if the race is boring ( please NO) the blog will be lively LOL

Steve L. said...

And then they wonder why the ratings are down? DUH! A 10pm east coast starting time? Are you (they) kidding?

We've ben watching this group at ESPN show the Nationwide races so long that it's getting stale. We just about know what's going to be the story line before the actual race starts. And no matter what happens, that's all they're going to talk about the entire race.

ESPN's Race Coverage:

They stand, Pray, sing, commercial. Come back, start engines and go to another commercial. Back from break and ask 'in-car reporter' dumb question and then ask an even dumber question from a 'fan'.

Let pit reporters say a few words each and wave green flag. Follow just the first 2 or 3 cars for the rest of the race. Full throttle, Draft Tracker used at the most inopportune times. In car camera shots shows more exciting racing up ahead of what we're looking at but the director decides to keep this shot for a whole lap or two. Make sure one third of the race is commercials.

Show only winner crossing the finish line, in car camera shot of winner until he pumps fist and right to the crew jumping up and down. The winner does a few burnouts and (usually bows) off to commercial.

Back from commercial and talk to Cup Series drivers (even though they finished 34th and 43rd respectively) totally ignoring the 2nd thru 8th place Nationwide regulars. Winner climbs out, soda pop flying in the air with a quick interview and off the air ASAP even though there's 25 minutes left in the telecast but the 'world series of marble throwing' that was taped last month is more important than interviewing the five or six drivers limping out of the in-field care center that crashed in the last lap that we didn't get to see because we were watching the winner until he finally pumped his fist so we could show the crew jumping up and down!!!!!!!

Yes, it's time for ESPN to bow out before the rest of the fans do....

Anonymous said...

If NASCAR is concerned about its image and growing the fan base while keeping current fans happy, it must consider rescinding the TV contract with ESPN.

ESPN is not doing this sport any favors. By the time the contract runs, out NASCAR is going to have a very deep hole from which to dig itself.

Anonymous said...

Show only winner crossing the finish line, in car camera shot of winner until he pumps fist and right to the crew jumping up and down. The winner does a few burnouts and (usually bows) off to commercial.

That is the way Fox had shown the ending of the Sprint Cup races when they had them all this season.

Lisa Hogan said...

I watched the race this morning. Must admit that I overheated my FF button on the remote. :)

This track isn’t known for exciting races and gets a lot of complaints that the track has two during the season. ESPN could do a better job of covering the cars in the race. I’ve lost all hope that this will ever happen.

The pit reporters are just about useless during a race. Very seldom is there a comment that is relevant to what is happening at the moment. Most reports start with, “when I talked with X two days, two weeks, two months ago”.

I always read the comments made during the race and enjoy them. Thanks, gang! :)

kbaskins said...

alex said:

Well, at least the blog was fun tonight.

*****

JD said:

Thanks Alex,

I don't have a very big pit crew but I try to put on a good show.

*****

JD, just say NO to start-and-park blogs.

(I'm not going to be much help tonight with Comic Relief: Fontana 2. It took hours for that joke to occur to me.)

--KarenB

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Thank you for TDP. However, like racing, it can be addictive- but you and the posters are a super counterbalance to boring races.

Early this season I noticed what seemed to be increased start & parkers and found it irritating. But, I'd followed Morgan Shepherd some in his prime and have become a bigger fan of his now than when he was a force. He has done a lot of good for those in need in the mountains. Despite not finishing the races, I do believe some of the start & parkers are giving their best. So I'm not really in favor of keeping them out, as long as they are not a distraction - and I'm not sure what the difference is between a 36 car field and a 43 car field with only 36 cars running after the 1st pit stop.

Anonymous said...

wah wah wah they didn't do this wah wah wah they didn't do that
wah wah wah someone split in my tv dinner
wah wah wah

JD said...

A NASCAR race beginning at 10 PM on the east coast is ridiculous. Myself and all the other 'old farts' I know were ready for bed. Racing at Fontana is BORING to begin with and droopy eyes make it worse.

No, even the TiVo didn't save the day Sunday morning when I cruised thru it.

Beginning a race at that time is just plain asinine. Then wiping out the beginning of the race due to football overlap is just plain asinine. Oh, did I already mention that ESPN can be asinine, not to mention pompous; it's part of their culture. They'll never change it just to engage NASCAR fans.

Another JD

Anonymous said...

What a stinker of a "race". I watched until the first pit stops then decided to hit the sack. Did a FF through the action (or lack thereof) during breakfast the next morning. It took everything I had not to fall back asleep in my cereal bowl. Between lackluster coverage by ESPN and boring tracks, I'm sure I'll be catching up on my sleep the next few weeks.

Mary

Desmond said...

I love the artwork. Whoever did it should be commended!

I would also like to thank ESPN for doing the best it could under the circumstances.