Saturday, August 9, 2008
RaceBuddy Will Be Missed At The Glen
It has been two races since the change-over to ESPN from the TNT gang. Lots of good things are going on and the racing from Watkins Glen should be some of the best of the season. There is, however, one thing that could make it a little bit better. That is RaceBuddy.
This summer, along with the six Sprint Cup races on TNT, viewers were given a bonus. NASCAR.com made RaceBuddy available through that website for all six events. Free to NASCAR fans, RaceBuddy was an online companion to the TNT coverage.
Featuring four cameras, scanner audio and many interactive features, this broadband computer application proved to be tremendously popular. It gave fans who did not have DirecTV’s Hot Pass or NASCAR.com’s Sprint RaceView an opportunity to see several different camera angles during the live race.
RaceBuddy had one in-car camera view that changed several times during the event. The way it changed was by a popular vote of the users online. It also had a battle-cam that focused on the best racing on the track, regardless of position. The third feature was a speed-shot angle that was also changed during the telecast. It gave fans a nice view of the car roaring by on various parts of the track.
Finally, RaceBuddy had a free-roaming pit camera. Positioned at the end of pit road, this angle let viewers see the cars coming into the pits and getting service that did not make the TV broadcast. It also showed the crews cleaning-up and the always interesting moves of the NASCAR inspectors on pit road.
This week at Watkins Glen, RaceBuddy would be great. It is tough for one TV network to keep all the things going-on during a road course event updated on just one channel. ESPN has to focus on the leaders, the pit stops of the top cars and try to get commercial breaks in every couple of minutes.
RaceBuddy allowed the NASCAR fan a bigger video window into what was happening around the track and in the pits. Fans could see cars that perhaps would not be on the TV telecast once the green flag dropped. In today’s Sprint Cup TV coverage, it is all about the stars of the sport and the leaders of the race.
While this RaceBuddy application was created by the minds at Turner, it does not have a specific network attachment. RaceBuddy was free because the commercial sponsors of the sport stepped-up and put their money into this online extra for the fans
Perhaps, NASCAR fans may one day see RaceBuddy as an online companion to the Fox and ESPN race coverage. Until then, Watkins Glen and the remaining fourteen Sprint Cup races in this season will just go it alone.
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