Thursday, August 14, 2008

Seven Hours Of Byrnes, Hammond And McReynolds

Things always get interesting in "NASCAR TV land" this time of year. On Friday, SPEED returns to coverage of practice and qualifying for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series for the next three consecutive weeks.

There will be seven hours of Friday coverage and three voices that will be doing it all. Unlike the Fox or TNT philosophies, ESPN does not allow any of the network's on-air announcers to appear on SPEED. Fans who just got used to seeing Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree on Fridays will find those two only on the race coverage.

So, SPEED is going to saddle-up three of the hardest working guys in NASCAR TV and ride them all day long. Steve Byrnes, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds will start at Noon Eastern Time with Sprint Cup practice and will do six consecutive hours of live TV. You can view the complete schedule at the top of the main page. After a break to eat dinner, all three will be joined by Elliott Sadler and do another hour of the popular Trackside program.

Days like this point-out just how ridiculous this ESPN policy really is. NASCAR TV networks have traditionally shared announcers on Fridays. Mike Joy, Lindsay Czarniak, Matt Yocum, Bill Weber and Wally Dallenbach are just some of the announcers who have been on SPEED this season helping with practice and qualifying.

Unfortunately, despite urging to the contrary by TDP, Thursday's NASCAR Now on ESPN2 purposefully eliminated any mention of the live practice and qualifying coverage on Friday and Saturday. The show chose to promote only the ESPN races and pretended that these sessions were not on-the-air.

This season started off well between the NASCAR TV partners with all parties cooperating and promoting all of the NASCAR TV coverage for the good of the sport. In making this decision on Thursday, NASCAR Now returned to the poor judgement of 2007 and the philosophy that if something was not on the ESPN networks, it just did not exist.

There are many more years left in the ESPN TV contract with NASCAR and plenty of room for change. Just a couple of weeks ago, SPEED picked-up all the non-televised Sprint Cup Series practice sessions for the remainder of the season. This coverage is going to give ESPN's NASCAR efforts a big boost and a great lead-in.

What SPEED got in return was NASCAR Now also choosing not to promote this live coverage, even though it was practice for the ESPN races. Things suddenly seem to be going downhill again at a time when ESPN really needs solid on-air promotion of The Chase races by all the NASCAR media partners.

ESPN2 completely steps aside on Friday, with one episode of NASCAR Now airing at Midnight ET. Coverage returns on Saturday at 3PM and Sunday at 1PM for the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series events. At least the popular Ricky Craven finally returns to the Monday edition of NASCAR Now.

This post is going to serve to host your comments about the Friday TV coverage and the issues discussed above. To add your TV-related opinion, just 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 for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

I don't know the length of the contract between Nascar and ABC/ESPN, but I hope it never gets renewed. I can't wait for football season to start, have games run over, and play "Find-The-Channel" as ESPN starts jumping around. Of course, the crawl will tell you that you won't miss the Green Flag.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad for NASCAR. Speed has been nothing but supportive of ESPN - promoting their telecasts during SPEED's own broadcasts but what does the world-wide-leader do to ESPN, NASCAR and to all of the fans? pretend that SPEED does not even exist once again.

When NBC/TNT had full second half and as mentioned by JD- Weber/Dallenbach/Parsons would do happy hour as a TNT telecast on SPEED and it was all interesting that the two networks worked together so nicely.

Even in last the two years the TNT Pit Reporters have worked with SPEED announcers.

NASCAR tell us again how ESPN has made NASCAR telecasts better?

Guess NASCAR counts the millions of dollars as proof of this.

How sad.

Anonymous said...

ESPN TV contract - 2007 thru 2014

from (edited)

From Press Release
December 7, 2005

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR on Wednesday announced the completion of comprehensive broadcast agreements that will benefit the industry and its fans for years to come.

Under the new eight year agreements NASCAR races will be broadcast on a combination of networks that includes FOX, SPEED, Turner's TNT and ABC/ESPN beginning in 2007

majorshouse said...

I am already sick of the crap we are seeing with ESPN. They used to have quality productions, but now it is quite evident that they are only interested in the money that NASCAR is giving them. It is sad that they will not share their people with the other networks. I have said before that it is a shame that all of the races are not on Speed and that something like the truck crew or even the crew that is doing the practice and qualifying today is not doing the telecasts. I evjoy the line up that they are having today and wish that we could see them on Sunda. It would be better than hearing Jerry Punch.

Anonymous said...

As long as I don't have to listen to Rusty, Michael or Darrel it will be good day

Anonymous said...

I thought your headline might be a recently discovered torture/interrogation tactic from Gitmo . Nothing could crack someone easier than 7 hours of Hammond and McReynolds .
It's a shame that the new stars of NASCAR reporting , Jarrett and Petree won't be used . The overall broadcasting mess that is Cup racing really needs cooperation between networks .

Lisa Hogan said...

I should be home in time for most of qualifying. Then I will be able to spend the rest of the day in my comfort zone. :)

Thanks again, SPEED!

PammH said...

Anyone else having problems w/Speed?? It's blinking in & out.

Anonymous said...

PammH - Mine too. Lots of glitches. Not sure if it is a satellite issue since I have Dish Network.

Anonymous said...

PammH said...
Anyone else having problems w/Speed?? It's blinking in & out.

August 15, 2008 2:08 PM

DTV is clear in the northeast. Were abouts are you located and is there weather in your area?

Anonymous said...

Well I'm in MI - nice sunny day here.

Sean said...

Thank You Speed. Thanks for showing the cars on the track and getting great reports from pit road. No video packages at all , just cars on the track. Gotta love it.

PammH said...

I have Dish also & I'm about 1/2 hrs from MIS!! It's lovely here..

Anonymous said...

Well whatever the cause of the glitching (I think it must have been a Dish Network issue), SPEED seems to be fine now.

Daly Planet Editor said...

The SPEED guys say no probs today, so give your dish or cable provider a call.


PammH said...

has also seemed fine here for awhile, so they must have gotten it fixed. thx all!
and my goodness, look at the cars (just the cars) on the screen while qualifying. What a concept!!

Karen said...

I think most of us are in our comfort zone as Lisa said with these guys. What a difference vs. ESPN. Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

What a nice change...can we figure out how to get SPEED to take over for the rest of the season? I'm going to cherish these 3 weeks!

Love it, properly placed interviews and backstories and *if* it's needed or needs to continue during the action, they put the interview in the smaller PIP box.

No garbage about people's life histories taking up half the screen...just a nice banner at the bottom telling us what we need to know. No interviewing half the world in 90% of the screen while the 5% left is showing the poor guy is trying to qualify. The speed tracker is easy to understand and also doesn't take up half the screen like ESPNs.

stricklinfan82 said...

Speed's practice coverage was tremendous. AMAZING how a TV network was actually able to keep the focus on the race track and not waste the viewer's time showing full-screen video packages of Kyle Busch's win and the big crash last week at Watkins Glen, videos of Kurt Busch's win at Michigan last year, or videos of every driver's "heroes" or favorite hobbies. ESPN, stay the hell away and never come back with your practice/qualifying JUNK.

Qualifying on Speed was much more pleasing to the eye than ESPN that's for sure. Scoring crawl, lap tracker, and the qualifying race car on the screen. Nothing else. No ridiculous line graphs, stat packages, driver pictures, or crew chiefs / mothers in a box on the screen. And no full-screen video packages or studio guests to divert the attention away from qualifying.

I was disappointed to see Speed skip so many cars to get the broadcast done by 5:00 though. I would have preferred to see Speed just Tivo qualifying and eat into the downtime between Cup qualifying and Nationwide practice, or just push the schedule back and eat into the Confidential show about a race that happened over 3 months ago. It's definitely rough to be staring at an empty race track on TV at 5:13, knowing that 13 minutes could have been used to show all the laps we missed.

I also continue to dumbfounded how a TV network can still skip go-or-go-homers during a limited Tivo-style format broadcast. If it is absolutely mandatory to skip a go-or-go-homer, please skip Terry Labonte who was already locked in on the champion's provisional and didn't figure into the go-or-go-home drama.

Sophia said...

just want to second ALL the positive comments about the coverage today..and stricklanfans comments about what we missed. :)

kang said...

Speed insists on running lap speed instead of lap time under the crawl.However the drivers and L.M.,J.H. talk in terms of lap time.I have found from watching over many years,that drivers and c.c. overwhelmingly talk in terms of lap time.Why does Speed think race fans prefer lap speed?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Speed for a full day of race cars on the track - no crawling tickers, no windows , no techno crap, just info about the cars on the track, interesting interviews, and no techno stuff ;)

I had no problems with reception problems, which was nice.

Anonymous said...

Will somebody, anybody, tell Speed that either they need to give their guys on Trackside better microphones or else dump the mics in the crowd??? You cannot hear at least 40% of what's said by any of the guys because of all the silly background noise from the crowd. This is not something limited to Michigan International Speedway, but it appears to be a problem at a lot of the tracks. I listened to maybe 20 minutes of the show before deleting it because it was too difficult to hear what anyone was saying.

Mary said...

The problem with Trackside is that the crowd can't really hear what is going on and get very restless especially as the guys have their backs to them. I have attended Trackside with both setups and despite being on the front row found it difficult to hear what was going on with the current set up.