Tuesday, September 30, 2008
TV Crews Driving Right Into Gas Shortage
The combination of back-to-back storms and the resulting panic of people buying gasoline more often than normal has resulted in a mess in the Southeast.
Click here for a story on the situation in Alabama and click here for a summary of the situation in the Charlotte area. Now, sports fans find themselves headed into what may be a very unique situation. A multi-state gas shortage.
This weekend in Alabama, NASCAR fans will be heading to Talladega by the tens of thousands. Another group, just as loyal and just as large, will be heading to Tuscaloosa where the Crimson Tide will host Kentucky in college football on Saturday.
Add into that mix the ARCA, Craftsman Truck and Sprint Cup Series teams also headed for Talladega. Finally, the NASCAR haulers and the TV Production trucks round-out the fleet. That puts the tractor-trailer count at well over 150 for the weekend.
That is a picture above of the NASCAR Media Group TV compound at a NASCAR race where ESPN is present. Click on the picture to see it full-size. That is Tim Brewer's Tech Center in the front being unloaded. You can also see the ESPN production support tent, three satellite uplink trucks toward the back and of course, the big white catering tent.
Put all these ingredients together and what you have at Talladega beginning on Friday is a not-so-little city. The grandstands hold over 140 thousand and the 212-acre infield is a party town loaded with RV's. That puts the total head count at over 200 thousand for the weekend.
Normally, we would say that is a lot of fun. On this approaching weekend we are simply going to say, that is a lot of gas. There is no magic pill that lets teams, TV crews or NASCAR officials go to the front of the gas lines. Everybody suffers.
Click here for the update put out by NASCAR.com about the situation. On the media side, many crew members and reporters are traveling from the Charlotte area by car to Talladega. This starts them in one of the hardest hit areas and then has them fueling-up near Atlanta, which is perhaps the city most affected by the fuel crisis.
Those media types arriving in Birmingham or Atlanta by air and traveling to Talladega in a rental car are going to be in for a bit of a surprise. Several news organizations are reporting that the fuel shortage will last well beyond the weekend.
There may be a good three-way fight for The Chase in-progress this week, but the challenge for many may simply be be finding the fuel to get to the race track. There might be some good stories to tell by the time next Monday rolls-around.
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