Wednesday, September 24, 2008

NASCAR's DVR Theater In Full Swing


As part of the on-going fan discussion here at TDP, we have been asked to talk about the programs that sometimes slip below the radar where NASCAR TV is concerned. Unfortunately, this season the pickins' are slim.

These non-primetime shows and off-network offerings are often put in timeslots where they need to be recorded to be seen by most folks. Hence the term, DVR theater.

ESPN Classic is re-airing the weekend's Sprint Cup races on Mondays at Noon. Formatted for three hours, this is basically an "classic instant replay" while ESPN still has the rights to show the race. It is a straightforward re-air with no frills that is cut down if needed to fit the time period.

As the Chase races wind-down, look for ESPN to throw some additional NASCAR programming on Classic. This week's historic race is a beauty. On Thursday at 1PM ET the 1976 Daytona 500 lives again complete with the original announcers. This is a good one to record as Richard Petty and David Pearson have a difference of opinion on the final corner of the final turn. The rest is history.

SPEED used to replay the Cup races in primetime during the week, but those days are long gone. Instead, the network offers a replay at Noon on Thursdays. This version has been run through the NASCAR Media Group folks who get it all cleaned-up and pretty, but it is essentially the same as the ESPN Classic Monday offering.

Unfortunately, even after cancelling The Chase Is On this year, SPEED has not added any additional NASCAR programming during the week. That leaves This Week In NASCAR on Monday and the Thursday Cup replay as the program offerings until the live shows from the racetracks begin on Friday.

The gaping hole in the SPEED schedule is the lack of a weekly TV program in support of the Craftsman Truck Series. This is the only major NASCAR series that SPEED carries. It tries to survive outside of the racing with only a thirty minute pre-race show and some weekend highlights.

With no sponsor for next season, Dodge factory support gone and only 31 trucks in the last race, SPEED's reluctance to expose the series beyond the track may have actively helped it come to a grinding end.

It seems that this season NASCAR is destined to run all the way to Homestead with little long-form TV programming exposure during the weekdays. Yet, somehow Sirius manages to keep a full-time NASCAR channel on-the-air twenty-four hours a day and the search activity on YouTube.com for "NASCAR" is one of their busiest categories.

What all of that means is lots of folks are out there looking for more audio and video information about the sport. It seems ironic that normally when audio and video are combined, the result is TV programming. This season, that certainly is not the case for NASCAR.

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31 comments:

majorshouse said...

I am looking forward to the re-play of the 1976 Daytona 500. I remember watching that race as a teenager and think that this one of the best finishes in Daytona history or in NASCAR period.

Dot said...

I just set the reminder timer for tomorrow's race. It's only on for an hour? Better than nothing, I guess.

If they show any pit stops, pay attention to how long they take. And the speeding down pit road? Those were the good ol' days. It's just amazing. Those are the things I like to watch. It's a wonder these guys survived.

Speedcouch said...

You do know HDnet replays each week's race Friday evening (around 5:30), pretty much commercial-free?

Speedcouch said...

Sorry make that Thursdays at 5:30.

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that the best racing in NASCAR these days--the trucks--gets the least TV support.

I suppose the series is on the way out, which is a real shame.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that King Brian and
the marketing people in Daytona can't realize that the truck series is the best racing they offer and market it more. It's the
closest thing to the Nascar I grew up with.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thank you for the HDNet info, but I am still having a hard time finding out where it is available.

JD

red said...

well, i sure would love to watch the '76 daytona 500 but no espn classic here and none projected into the future.

what i can't quite understand is why speed doesn't have more nascar content during the week. espn covers pretty much anything and everything sports, however poorly it handles nascar, but isn't speed tv supposed to be covering "all things fast"? in an ideal world, speed would dig out all those great races from "back in the day", broadcast them on a weekly basis and push nascar media group to get them on to dvd for fans. our sport has a rich and exciting history but fewer fans know that each year.

and i agree with dot: how much more would the nascar viewer appreciate those 13-14 second pitstops after watching those earlier races? and watching those guys speed down pitroad just takes your breath away now: watching some of that happen might help folks understand why there's a speed limit on pitroad and why it's a non-negotiable for nascar! not only that, but seeing the changes in our sport might bring some names "out of the dust" for newer fans and help explain why some of us can't stand that, for example, the wood brothers are no longer a factor in nascar and petty enterprises is struggling.

as for the trucks? i agree with our anon posters on this: best racing each and every week and yet you rarely hear about it on NN or TWIN or any of the other support programs. i actually passed on getting tickets for cup at dover in the spring and opted for truck tickets instead. what needs to happen is that the trucks need to be given the same attention as n'wide at the very least. everyone who is so frustrated with cup racing needs to watch a truck race or two in order to remember what great racing is really about!

in general, nascar is horrible at promoting its own history to fans and more's the tragedy. the footage exists "out there" and getting it on tv more often and giving it a broader reach could only help create some renewed interest in our sport. but nascar's media partners just don't seem to agree and appear to be content to push the past into the back reaches of the media closet and only hype the current racing. a sport that actively ignores its history cannot claim to be surprised when fans turn away from it.

Jo said...

JD here in Tampa Brighthouse replays old races kind of at random on 2 of the "local" sports channels. So not only do we DVR those ( & burn to disc) we also get races from "local"
tracks . Now if Brighthouse could get Hotpass I'd be in heaven. Wait hold that thought I'm old retired & in Florida.
So now we got the 76 Daytona 500 race too. Thanks JD!

Anonymous said...

With no sponsor for next season, Dodge factory support gone and only 31 trucks in the last race, SPEED's reluctance to expose the series beyond the track may have actively helped it come to a grinding end.

So you are placing some of the blame on SPEED Channel for supposedly "ruining" the truck series? Is there word from NASCAR that I have not recieved about truck racing not returning next year?

Big deal. 31 trucks at a race out west. Thats not a surprise and nothing new. As for the sponsorship search, thats what it is a SEARCH. Craftsman reportedly may be returning but there are also a couple of other front-runners.

Is the Truck Series in its prime? No absolutely not. But is in a a dier situation and a risk of not returning? Absoluetly not. Once again it seems to be a slow "news" week. But then again, this site supposedly isnt a news site.

Rick said...

LOL - In the opening of the 1976 500 they mentioned a couple of "Young Chargers" in the race, Dave Marcis and Darrell Waltrip. ;)

I guess I was 30 years younger then too. :(

Dot said...

@ Rick, I chuckled at that too.

Dot said...

Seven jack pumps for the 15. Were the window nets back then made out of volleyball nets? They're so thin.

Dot said...

Not much has changed regarding race coverage for ABC. They don't show drivers in the back who may be racing each other. Just the leader all by himself. I'm kind of disappointed.

Dot said...

@ Red,
You didn't miss a thing. I don't know if it was bad editing or just not a good race. Even for Daytona.

@ the others who recorded it, FF to the end.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:49PM,

It's so nice to hear from you again. Listen to me very carefully.

I am placing the blame for the problems with the Craftsman Truck Series direcly with SPEED.

That clear enough for you to understand?

Imagine having only one major racing series completely on the network and as a bonus it is one of only three national touring NASCAR series.

Now, imagine deciding not to give that series any support programming on your network that is a key TV partner for NASCAR.

As we have said many times, SPEED is in the middle of a major identity crisis where NASCAR is concerned and you need not look further than the cancellation of "The Chase is On" this year.

In the same way that ESPN helped to vault NASCAR to the place it is today through the wonderful coverage of the 1980's and 90's, the lack of support for the Trucks by SPEED is going to be a key in whether or not that series can return and be viable.

That "slow" enough for you?

JD

Vicky D said...

My husband is watching this HDNet broadcast of the race and it's on channel 79 on DirectTV here in Houston.

Richard in N.C. said...

If there is any logic to SPEED's programming decisions it is so intricate that no mere mortal can figure it out - unless it is just leave weekday programming up to the interns. I am constantly mystified - especially since I understand SPEED's ratings for the Truck races are up significantly this year. SPEED must be where all the crack NBC programmers went - after running NBC into the ground.

Vicky D said...

Rick - or more!!!! That was so funny about "young chargers"!

Daly Planet Editor said...

richard,

I constantly get updates from SPEED about the upswing in Truck ratings only to have the network again turn-down any additional programming.

It makes no sense to rely on a brief mention on NASCAR Now or TWIN to support an entire series.

With the best racing, the most colorful characters and a potential for growth, it is amazing why SPEED shunned this series again this season.

JD

Gymmie said...

@dot--yes they use to show it in 3 hours all the time, it kept me sane many a "off" season...but now most are an hour :(

@anon 8:49 & 8:54--I agree :(. When ESPN had them I don't know if they were promoted much...would only tune in an an ungoldy hour to see it on tape delay. How many races have we had where it was 3 and 4 wide for the checkered...folks beating and banging and one losing flying across the track under the checkered :(.

@red--I know...it's a shame how they've gone downhill on programming :(. Back in 2K3, you could leave your TV on SPEED all week and find something fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

As far as racing goes, the trucks are by far the best racing out there. Those guys are hungry and for as little purse money paid to them, they're after every position they can get. That's why they say the "Trucks Series don't play nice!".

I live in Tennessee between Knoxville and Nashville. My local Knoxville TV stations NEVER advertise anything about the races at Nashville where the Nationwide and Truck Series run. Not one word about an upcoming race at Nashville on the local TV sports or in the newspapers. Most locals don't even know when races are held there.

JD, do other tracks advertise locally and beyond or do they leave it up to the loyal fans to do their advertising (by word of mouth) to pull in new fans? I've seen commercials for Pocono, Bristol, and a couple others but never for Nashville SuperSpeedway on our Knoxville stations.

Do you think a commercial campaign by NA$CAR could help the sport and maybe save the Truck Series?

Steve L.

Erik said...

I am just waiting for SPEED to drop Tradin Paint for a new Texas Hold 'Em poker show with an automobile theme. We could always use another poker show on TV. That'll fit right in with other programing decisions SPEED has made.

speedangel said...

I just saw a report that Camping World is close to becoming the Truck Series sponsor for multiple seasons. So there's a positive sign, but they still need to do a better job of promotion and support for the series.

speedangel said...

Oops...I forgot to say in my previous post that it was a positive sign for the series, but it might be a function of robbing Peter to pay Paul by taking some funding away from teams, and other areas, to keep the overall series funded.

Anonymous said...

I am placing the blame for the problems with the Craftsman Truck Series direcly with SPEED

Well sometimes less is more, and that is SPEEDS approach. If they gave more programming to trucks it may give people a reason not to watch the truck race because they can just see a recap/replay of the race on a wrap-up show.

More people are likely to turn into the race if they know its one of the only times they will see this type of programming.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Support programming is a category that goes along with sports event programming.

Most people see it when teams are surrounded by weekly highlight and coaches shows.

Series like the PGA Tour are supported by review, preview and interview shows sometimes called video magazines.

The original intent of Fox when buying SpeedVision was to make it an all-NASCAR channel.

To now be battling for just one TV support series to help out the only NASCAR series that SPEED telecasts is a tad ironic.

JD

Speedcouch said...

John,

HDnet has been available on DirecTV since Dec 2001. It was exclusively on there for a couple of years, I believe. But I'm pretty sure several cable systems have picked it up in the last couple of years, though possibly not Comcast. I also am pretty sure FIOS carries the network.

Anonymous said...

If they gave more programming to trucks it may give people a reason not to watch the truck race because they can just see a recap/replay of the race on a wrap-up show.
Is that what YOU do? Do you just watch the recap/replay shows that cover Cup now?

Personally, I watch both.

Anonymous said...

More people are likely to turn into the race if they know its one of the only times they will see this type of programming.
Yeah, that's why SportCenter doesn't show game highlights, because then people won't watch the games, right?

Speedcouch said...

John,

I know this is an old thread, but just FYI, here's an article about Comcast finally agreeing to carry HDNet after years or refusing to for some obscure reason. This is one reason I got rid of cable 13 years ago. Haha!

http://www.tvpredictions.com/comcast090508.htm