Monday, August 18, 2008

Wednesday Truck Race Huge For SPEED


It sometimes seems that no matter how fast and how good the racing in the Craftsman Truck Series really is, it continues to get overshadowed by the on-going drama in the Sprint Cup side of the NASCAR world.

While hyperactive Kyle Busch and extremely fit Carl Edwards battle for supremacy, the current leader of the Truck Series points could easily be mistaken for an accountant. Sunday at MIS, the Sprint Cup race featured names like Brad Coleman, Tony Raines and Patrick Carpentier.

The last Truck Series race featured Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague. This trio and many of the other Truck Series racers are throwbacks to the one day shows and the exciting racing that was NASCAR in the 1980's. The series goes to tracks where the "Cup guys" will never run. They race whenever the schedule tells them to, and this week that means Wednesday night in Bristol, TN.

Over at NASCAR.com, the Truck Series rarely makes the front page. The TV listings are never posted and the race results are quickly removed. Programs like NASCAR Now and This Week in NASCAR spent the vast majority of time fawning over the Sprint Cup Series. But, there has been one strong group of individuals who are only focused on the Trucks.

The SPEED TV presentation of the Craftsman Truck Series has been the most consistent TV package in the sport for the last several years. Viewers have come to know the drivers and teams through the efforts of the SPEED team led by Krista Voda and Rick Allen. The key is that this one team is there all-season long.

Lead Analyst Phil Parsons has come to embody the Truck Series with his in-depth knowledge of the teams and personalities involved in the 25 race season. Each year Parsons returns with a consistent on-air style that adds the information viewers need without any over-the-top antics and high volume. That is left to someone else.

Since Michael Waltrip was added to the Truck Series TV package, viewers have been drawn to the telecasts either to enjoy his off-beat brand of humor and enthusiasm or to cringe at his sponsor-driven agenda and NASCAR flag-waving. Love him or hate him, Waltrip always makes things interesting.

Bristol this Wednesday will be different not only for the day of the week, but also for the lack of practice and qualifying coverage on SPEED. The only things being televised will be the pre-race show and the race itself. Perhaps, that may change for next season.

Krista Voda will lead The Set-Up at 7:30PM for thirty minutes. This pre-race show is hosted from the starting grid and Voda has made it a simple and effective program. The information about the series is delivered by pit road reporters Adam Alexander and Ray Dunlap. The overall perspective is added by Parsons and Allen.

Voda is a NASCAR TV veteran who is familiar to TV viewers for her friendly style and laid-back manner on-the-air. She also hosts The SPEED Report on selected Sundays for SPEED and is a pit road reporter for the NASCAR on Fox Sprint Cup telecasts.

One story we are bound to see is Jimmie Johnson stepping into the Craftsman Truck owned by NFL player Randy Moss. Regardless of the reason, having Johnson in the race is going to be a big draw for fans on a Wednesday night. It should be interesting to see how SPEED treats this story and how Johnson does in the 8PM race.

There will be other interesting names like Kenny Schrader, David Stremme and even Mr. Carpentier joining the series regulars as 37 trucks are on the preliminary entry list. The telecast is scheduled to end at 10:30PM, but SPEED has no live programming after this event in case it runs long.

There will be a post up on Wednesday afternoon to begin a comments thread for this mid-week event. To add your pre-race opinion to this post, 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 dropping by.

13 comments:

ri88girl said...

Finally, a race I can enjoy watching.

Gymmie said...

I can't wait! I always look forward to the August race :)

It's sad how the Pick 'em Ups have been treated :(. If TWIN mentions it it's a "30 second" recap. And even when ESPN had the Pick 'em Ups there was no consideration. Always on tape delay...so you had to either stay away from EVERYTHING until you were able to watch or stay up until all hours of the night avoiding the ticker in fear of spoilers.

I'm sure the cheers of Pick 'em Ups fans across the land were heard in unison when it was announced that not only SPEED would carry it but all the races would be LIVE! (sans Dover--we need to chip in and buy Miles some lights or figure out how to get it carried Live. I listen to MRN but not everyone is fortunate).

Newracefan said...

The best called race of the week will happen on wed. I can't wait.

Jo said...

I love the short pre-race by Krista,
and the race broadcast is wonderful ( is another network listening?)I'm so very glad we have these folks to listen to. They talk about the race mostly (its a Mikey thing), this will be the best called race of the week Newracefan is right about that!

Anonymous said...

Hey if you can, you need to be at Bristol on Wednesday nite. Not only is there a Truck Series race, but the touring Hooter's Pro Cup cars will also be running. An exciting nite of short track raciing. What a bargain!

Anonymous said...

Sounds great except for the Michael Waltrip part . The constant self promotion ( NAPA promotion is fine ), very lame attempts at dry humour , and the blind obedience to everything Brian France says and does , all combine to drag down every broadcast he is on .
Phil Parsons is a tried and true performer on any race broadcast he's on . Low key , respectfull of others turn to talk , well prepared , and a race driving resume to back up his observations . Benny had the very same qualitys .

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 7:03AM,

I was bummed that SPEED would not show that race because they were already on site and had nothing but repeated programming.

Anonymous said...

Too bad they can't show the Hooters Pro Cup race. Probably preempt another thrilling episode of Pinks.

Anonymous said...

Ah Pinks ! The true story of a human who tries every show to fly by flapping his arms wildly . He has a perfectly usable christmas tree starting system right next to him , why the Dodo bird imitation ?
But shows like that bring in money for SPEED , so race broadcasts always get put aside .

Anonymous said...

JD,
If ESPN would have simply shown a race, without practice or qualifying, you would have already been on your third or forth article harshly critizing their decision, and lambasting their executives for being incompetent and not caring about NASCAR.

I recall the race in Phoenix where ESPN didn't even have the rights to Nationwide practices, but that didn't stop you from blaming them anyway.

However, with SPEED, you give them a free pass, with just a slight mention. Your bias clearly shows.

Daly Planet Editor said...

When I was first starting this blog, I got a note from the guy in the VW who was in the final episode of Pinks original season.

After taping the show (for free) and Rich promising to show a website address for a charity, Rich decided the show was not exciting enough and told him in order to get the charity promoted he would have to come back (for free) and do it all again.

He came all the way back, did the show (where no one loses their car, by the way) and then when the show aired the charity address was not included.

When he contacted Rich, he was told that SPEED rules prohibited a charity website from being displayed. The guy never got any charity money, ate the expenses for both trips and told me if he sees Rich again it is going to be interesting.

When entertainment people cross-over into sports, what you get is fiction and not sports. If you knew how much of Pinks was fake you would never think of SPEED the same way again.

If I ever expand this blog to other TV "racing" program, it is going to be quite an eye-opener for both fans and TV viewers.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:20AM,

Sorry, I am missing your point. ESPN did not pick up the rights to the practice and qualifying because the network is chock full of programming on both primary channels. They would have to move an existing daily show in order to do that on Friday.

NASCAR finally got our point and gave all those sessions to SPEED. No one will comment on whether any rights fees were involved.

The Bristol Truck race is Wednesday, and I have been working on the issue of why no qualifying and possibly support race coverage since the schedule was released.

No response from SPEED other than the fact that only race coverage of this event is going to be offered. As you know, SPEED has the rights to all the practice and qualifying for the NCTS.

When I can pry from SPEED why they cannot show the early on-track activity I will pass it along.

JD

Lisa Hogan said...

I've been looking forward to this race. I just hope that "Fay" will let me keep my cable long enough to watch. :)