Tuesday, August 12, 2008

SPEED Returns To Qualifying And Practice At MIS


Three races into the seventeen race TV package of the ESPN/ABC group, something comes along each year moves the coverage of practice and qualifying back over to SPEED.

It is something so powerful that nothing can stand in its way. That, my friends, is the Little League World Series.

Arranged well in advance, SPEED is going to once again be in-charge on Friday and Saturday as the network will air over thirteen hours of NASCAR programming. This returns NASCAR to a familiar scenario, as SPEED handles this assignment during both the Fox and TNT portions of the Sprint Cup Schedule.

Both Steve Byrnes and John Roberts may soon consider renegotiating their TV contracts to be paid by the hour. These two are the work-horses of SPEED at the NASCAR tracks and Michigan International Speedway will be no different.

Friday it will be all-Byrnes-all-the-time on SPEED as the network handles everything on the track. The day will begin at Noon Eastern Time with Sprint Cup practice. Byrnes will be joined by Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds, this time in the broadcast booth "upstairs" instead of the SPEED Stage.

Action continues with the first Nationwide practice at 1:30PM. That will lead-up to Sprint Cup qualifying at 3:30PM. With only 44 cars entered and one being the FUBAR Dodge driven by Johnny Sauter, perhaps qualifying will be a tad less exciting than normal. On-track action wraps at 5PM with the final Nationwide practice.

NASCAR fans are in luck, because during the one hour break at 6PM for Byrnes, Hammond and McReynolds to eat dinner, SPEED will re-air the NASCAR Confidential episode showing the workings of race control and following various officials and inspectors through their day.

Back to work for the crew at 7PM as Trackside is live at MIS and the crowd should be rocking. This show is always a fun way to cap-off the day and get a glimpse into what to expect from both of the weekend races. Larry McReynolds is especially good at keeping fans up-to-date on the stories from the garage.

Saturday, John Roberts hosts NASCAR Live with Randy Pemberton and Hermie Sadler as reporters to kick things off at Noon ET. Byrnes and company return with the first Sprint Cup practice at 12:30PM and then deliver Happy Hour coverage at 1:30PM.

Fans get a chance to compare TV network styles as SPEED offers this coverage for two consecutive weeks. Live tennis coverage and LPGA golf are on the ESPN2 schedule next week, so SPEED will handle all the practice and qualifying sessions from Bristol, TN.

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13 comments:

Lisa Hogan said...

I am soooooooooooooo happy!

Thank you, SPEED.

Thank you, JD for the bonus news that SPEED will cover at Bristol also.

I am soooooooooooooo happy!

stricklinfan82 said...

Thank goodness for the Little League World Series!!!!!

What a treat to have the Friday and Saturday coverage return back to normal. No tape-delays. No "joined-in-progress". No "lunch break" for the TV crew that creates a gap with no TV coverage of one of the practice sessions during the day. And most important of all.... we actually get to SEE qualifying and practice on our TV screens. The on-track action will not be covered up by full-screen video packages and stats, and there will be no studio guests to take the focus of the announcers and the director away from the race track.

THIS is how coverage of practice and qualifying should be every week. We get it from February through mid July as it is. It's time to go back to pre-2007 and keep that trend going all the way through November.

JD, I'm going to have to disagree about the lack of drama in Cup qualifying. As long as there are more than 43 cars there is still plenty of drama. Yes one of those teams is the #08 but just remember they only have to beat one go-or-go home car to make the race. We've seen underdog teams pull out a magical lap many many times in the past, and you never know when someone will have a flat tire, engine or transmission problem, or flat out slip or crash trying to qualify on the ragged edge.

I already see that ESPN2 has again only allowed a two-hour program block for a live tennis match on Saturday afternoon immediately before the Nationwide race. This will officially be our re-introduction to ESPN's philosophy of trying to fit 10 pounds of "stuff" into a 5 pound bag.

If anyone thinks I'm being overly pessimitstic about the mess we could be in for on Saturday just check the archives for what happened on this same Saturday last year under these exact same conditions. Sometimes people obviously don't learn from their mistakes....

IRL fans, I envy you now that your racing series will soon be on a network that won't put you through these scheduling headaches.

Gymmie said...

I was so happy when I was verifying my recordings and saw everything was on SPEED this weekend...now if Rick and Phil can figure out a way sneak the races on SPEED I would be in heaven!

I agree with you stfan! I'll definitely be in SHOCK the day they actually put NA$CAR above other action. Other people can move like we had to last year...and *still* were in the dark some weeks.

Some weeks the Countdown was only available to the 0.001 people who have access to 360 or we'd be shuffled over to E3 to find out that just as the invocation was getting underway we were "kicked out" without nary a word or screen crawler to tell us "in 5 minutes head over to the Deuce for the rest of the action". We hear the beginning and a milisecond later there are football poeple on our screens!

Then we had that one race where we went through every channel before we finally settled on one for the race. Where IIRC, we started out on the Deuce got "kicked over" to E3 where we watched the rest of the Countdown and beginning of the race and then we ended up over on ESPN for the rest of the day. And of course Reuti's win where they couldn't take a minute to do a VL interview. It wasn't like the game was starting that second, they had their "pregame" that could have waited a few minutes.

Newracefan said...

Thank goodness, I'll actually see cars on the track during practice and qualifying and no stupid 8X10 box. I'll watch what I DVR for a change.

Dot said...

Why didn't SPEED get the practice/qual rights in the first place? It's the perfect channel for them.

I agree w/Strick about qual and the "gomers". That's the most exciting part. BTW, thanks for the tennis heads up. I like the bag analogy.

My real burning question is, how did ESPN get racing back in the first place? Don't you have to have these things in a contract. Agree to show all aspects of NASCAR? How does this work?

Anonymous said...

Too sum it up briefly, ...

Yahoo!!!!!!!!

Bobby said...

One funny thing about the Little League World Series was six years ago, one Austin Dillion played in the LLWS.

Think about it.

Richard Childress even left MIS to watch Austin and his brother play at Williamsport.

glenc1 said...

shoot...now I gotta figure out how to leave work early...

Bobby, I remember that well, was just thinking about it last week while we were hearing about him racing--I think it's good that ESPN shows these kids; but thank goodness for Speed.

It's a stretch, but speaking of TNT--I did see Lindsay Czarniak on the Olys yesterday. She more or less had a 'hostess' job introducing segments, but she sounded knowledgeable (and she looked fabulous...it was Oxygen, after all!) The chick on MSNBC doing the same thing was worse than awful...

Desmond said...

The race Gymmie was referring to was the Carfax 250 exactly one year ago.

Similarly, I remember in April 2007 when the NASCAR Busch (now N'wide) Series Pepsi 300 began just at the green flag because of tennis. I recorded that race and almost missed the start. (In contrast to the April 2008 Subway Fresh 500, when all of us missed the start.)

Lisa Hogan said...

I'll have to try and catch Lindsay. I didn't realize that she was on the Oxygen coverage.

Good for her!

See, JD, you run a full-service blog. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank Goodness for SPEED. Welocome back. Sure wish that they would cover all the practices and qualifying all the time.
THANK YOU SPEED.

Gymmie said...

Ty Desmond! Sometimes I luck out and remember the race but most just remember the mess surrounding it all :(

drpep said...

Excellent. ALL qualifying should be on SPEED.