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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Vicky D said...

And JD, your forgot to point out in the photograph the CAT standby generator to provide power at the track. But my son in Atlanta has said that they don't expect a letup in the gas lines/shortages for a couple of weeks and it's as bad in Alabama, Tenn & the Carolinas. Houston is back to normal as far as that is concerned but don't wish those gas lines on my worst enemy.

alex said...

Many of the news stations in Atlanta are saying to not expect things to get to 100% for another 2-3 weeks, right before the cup race at AMS.

Does anyone know when things may return to normal in Charlotte? There are races there the following weekend.

Anonymous said...

Carl Edwards should just ride his bike to the track this weekend along with the ESPN Crew so they can flim it for NASCAR Countdown and save gas! Killing two birds with one stone!

Anonymous said...
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Adam T. Martin said...
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Anonymous said...

My friend just got tickets for Charlotte. When she called, the ticket person said things should be back to "normal" by race weekend.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I think your friend should make sure to fuel up outside the Charlotte area.

Anonymous said...

My friend just got tickets for Charlotte. When she called, the ticket person said things should be back to "normal" by race weekend.


ACEfromTN said...

I wouldn't worry as much about the haulers, the CAT power truck or other tractor trailers since they are diesel powered.

Here in the greater Nashville area there has been much less of a problem getting diesel fuel than gasoline and we're on the same pipeline as Birmingham, Atlanta, and Charlotte.

Drivers and the top NASCAR officials and other VIPs won't have much of a problem either as they can fly into the airport that is adjacent to the track. I've been to many races there and I've often watched the planes leave at the end of a race.

It's us average fans and the legions of journeyman staff of all sorts that may have a problem.

Anonymous said...

This fuel shortage in the Deep South is strange.

Here in Florida, we seem to have plenty of fuel and I think we rely on the same Gulf Coast refineries that the rest of the South does.

Newracefan said...

I was in the Outer Banks of NC when all this gas shortage started and they had no problems, you would think an outlying island would have had a problem if there was an actual shortage as oppose to a delay in receiving product. I kind of look at it like the french toast people here in the northeast US. Every time there is a threat of snow/ice people rush to the store to buy milk bread and eggs and by the end of the day there's nothing on the shelves. It's hysterical but can be a real pain if your actually out of milk. Hopefully the fans can still make it to the track or at least the infield.