Friday, August 15, 2008

SPEED Sets The ESPN Table On Saturday

After a very long Friday of NASCAR programming, it will be SPEED returning on Saturday to host all the on-track action right-up until the Nationwide Series race on ESPN2. NASCAR fans are already well-rehearsed at watching practice and qualifying on SPEED and then flipping the channel to catch the racing action on another TV network.

It will be the team of Steve Byrnes, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds handling the Nationwide Series qualifying at 10:30AM ET. When this trio steps into this series they convey excitement and begin to build-up the stories of the individual teams as 49 cars get ready to try to fill 43 slots.

Host John Roberts is up next at Noon with a thirty minute edition of NASCAR Live. Roberts will be joined by Randy Pemberton and Hermie Sadler as reporters from the garage.

Finally, Byrnes and company return with Wendy Venturini and Ray Dunlap along as the reporters for both sessions of Sprint Cup Practice at 12:30PM. This should be a good telecast for forecasting the Cup race on Sunday over on ESPN.

These Saturday telecasts wrap-up the two day effort of SPEED as the network returns to three weeks of handling the practice and qualifying sessions for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series. It was certainly easy for fans to see the different attitude and style that SPEED brings to this coverage.

Expanding her RaceDay role, Venturini has been very effective in covering the garage area and dealing with the stories of practice and qualifying as they unfold. Her easy-going manner and familiarity with the personalities involved in the sport have really paid-off for SPEED.

After some shaky personal and professional moments, Dunlap has been solid while filling-in for Bob Dillner who is off this weekend. Normally involved in the Craftsman Truck Series coverage, Dunlap has been welcomed into this role by the drivers and his popularity in the garage is obvious.

This Saturday coverage really sets the table for ESPN2's live telecast of the Nationwide Series race at 3PM. What better way to get the fans pumped-up for the race while at the same time not tiring-out the ESPN team that has been working on the road since February on this series.

This post will serve to host your comments about SPEED's Saturday coverage. To add your TV-related comment, 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.

Thank you very much for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Daly Planet Editor said...

Good Morning everyone. Looks like a nice day in Michigan.


Geez said...

A penthouse suite in one of the best hotels in Las Vegas and no Speed Channel. Go figure. The mere fact that I am concerned about that should tell you I am a little unbalanced.

We will get both races though. Think I'll go down and check the odds. :-)

Look forward to other's comments on the Speed coverage.

Daly Planet Editor said...


That has been one of the biggest battles for channels like SPEED and Versus. The Hotel deals are packages and breaking into them is tough.

SPEED HD is going to hopefully be the solution as we all go through the digital transition. Your frustration is one that I hear in email every single week from travelers.


Daly Planet Editor said...

That certainly was a laid-back Nationwide qualifying that told a lot of stories and kept track of the teams all the way through the field.


Newracefan said...

Excellent NW qualifying, saw cars on the track, heard interesting back stories about cars that get no notice by ESPN and interviews in the small box or audio only. Biggest plus is no stats box, double tickers and small car in a box.

Lou said...

Good Morning JD,

Currently watching Cup practice. What a pleasure it is to see the cars on the track in full SCREEN. And still have the commentary of the announce booth. I do not like the mix of stuff we get from ESPN, (all the graphics w/history of dvr or other stuff that takes up the screen.) I enjoy watching the action on the track.

R. Dunlap is just as good as Dilner. SPEED did not miss a beat on that.

Daly Planet Editor said...

This is the type of TV coverage that gets the points across without the intensity or clutter that we have seen elsewhere.

Nice to have happy and cooperative drivers.


Dot said...

It figures. The one time I didn't get up at 7:30 to watch NW qual and I miss a good one.

The other reason you don't get good channels at hotels in Vegas is because the resorts don't expect people to watch TV. They want you downstairs gambling. I hope you win. But if you don't, we need your money. Thanks.

kang said...

Well J.Roberts just put up the chart for the chase.Just as Speed can't get the top 35 chart right all year. They can't get this one right either.The baseline for anyone 12th or better is 13th not 12th.So J. Roberts says K. Harvick is "42 points to the good",he is not.He is 64 "to the good".I know this is only television,but some effort at doing things right would be a welcome change.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Between this and the crawl info you wonder what it takes to get graphic info right.

Come on SPEED, everything else is pretty darn good.


stricklinfan82 said...

This weekend's coverage on Speed is exactly what NASCAR fans deserve to have all year. Yes there were some hiccups in their qualifying coverage (as I documented on the Friday in-progress post) but this weekend's coverage far exceeded anything we've gotten from ESPN since Indy.

Just compare what we get from the two networks:

- Speed almost always provides live coverage of entire practice sessions, from the second the cars start rolling off pit road all the way through the display of the red and black flags. ESPN provides mostly tape-delayed coverage of practice sessions (especially during football season), usually comes on the air with the sessions already in progress, and usually leaves the air with cars still on the track practicing.

- Speed uses their airtime during practice to show the cars on the track and talk about the cars on the track. ESPN uses their airtime to ignore the on-track action and shove as many full-screen video packages and stat displays down our throats as they possibly can. Speed tells us how most of the cars are handling and how they should perform on Sunday. ESPN tells us who most drivers' heroes are and what their favorite foods are.

- Speed uses their airtime during qualifying to show the cars qualify and follow the go-or-go-home drama. ESPN uses their airtime during qualifying to ignore the on-track action and shove more full-screen video packages and stat displays down our throat. To make matters worse they also turn the broadcasts into their own version of "Trackside", bringing in multiple driver guests to talk about everything from their car to their personal lives. All the while the qualifying race cars are racing by the pit studio acting as nothing more than background noise. Speed shows us who has qualified first, second, third, etc. and who's on the bubble to make the race all day long. ESPN shows us that Jimmie Johnson likes to ski and Kasey Kahne once danced in an Allstate commercial.

- Speed's announcers can do 7 straight hours of on-air announcing without missing a beat. Some ESPN announcers seem to get "tired" by simply doing a practice broadcast and race broadcast on the same day, bringing up the suggestion that there should be two seperate ESPN on-air teams to split the workload.

NASCAR, it's time to step in and give the fans what they deserve - every practice and qualifying session on Speed Channel and Spped Channel only. Live and complete coverage that stays focused on the race track.

ESPN's awful, disgusting, and disrespectful "broadcasts of qualifying and practice" need to become extinct sooner rather than later.


You're exactly right. When the Chase or Top 35 bubble standings are shown the intervals need to be from the imaginary line between the last guy in and first guy out. Those 12th and higher in driver's points need to be displayed as X points ahead of 13th, and those 35th or higher in owner's points need to be displayed as X points ahead of 36th. Using 12th and 35th driver/team as the ---- line doesn't make any sense at all.

Newracefan said...

SLF Amen and Ditto

Anonymous said...

I caught the last 1/2 of Quals for NW and now the practices for Cup cars. What a difference the network makes! I completely agree w/ stricklin, ESPN needs to have quals & practice taken away, they do a lousy job.

Newracefan said...

Watched all of Speed including DVR from yesterday and then did chores. Will catch ESPN at some point. The pretty much sums up my thoughts on ESPN (Not to slam DJ, AP and AB it's the package presentation)

Sophia said...


Love your memory for detail.

Also on SPEED when they do a split when a car is qualifying, the still leave a PERSPECTIVE of the car on track by pulling back on the car. If the car is in an 8x10 box and that's all we see, can't tell if it's bristol or dega?

I must say Trackside annoyed me with all the fans and signs and the Canadian flag waving truly made me dizzy and I had to just "listen" which was a damn shame. I like Dinger and Skinner :(

They TRULY need to RAISE THE STAGE so we can focus on the guys on the show and not the "I wanna see my face on tv" folks....


signed curmudgeon of the group.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if its just me, but the directing from Michigan seemed significantly better than the recent past.
Could it be that they are finally listening to us, or is there a new sheriff in town???

Bray Kroter

Anonymous said...

@strfan82--preach it brother! The differences are so glaring! SPEED gives us what we need to know and nothing more. They use "downtime" for full screen interviews/video packages to tell back stories when necessary. They don't clutter the screen with a billion graphics and make us need magnifying glasses so we can see the car that's qualifying.

@spohia--the last few weeks I've pictured you screaming at your TV over the various things on Trackside! They need to flip it back around how it use to be so the guys are facing the crowd and not with their backs to it. It can be so distracting and they've had a few signs that were "adult" in nature. I know people don't want to feel like they should have to shield a childs' eyes or "preview" a show interviewing drivers before allowing their child to see their favorite driver.

Anonymous said...

Gymmie said...
@spohia-- They need to flip it back around how it use to be so the guys are facing the crowd and not with their backs to it. It can be so distracting and they've had a few signs that were "adult" in nature. I know people don't want to feel like they should have to shield a childs' eyes or "preview" a show interviewing drivers before allowing their child to see their favorite driver.

August 16, 2008 9:12 PM
Thank you I thought it was just me being a prude!

Anonymous said...

@jo--not at all....I'm definitely not and don't have children. I know it's been posted on the SPEED boards by parents about some of the language that's heard and signs out there. Of course they get shot down by the idiots but many agree with them.