Friday, September 5, 2008

TV Networks Scramble To Make A Happy Ending For Fans

Once NASCAR made the announcement of the big Richmond schedule change there were certainly a lot of phone calls and emails flying in the sports TV world. Networks directly affected were ABC, ESPN, SPEED and ESPN2.

The biggest blow is that the Sprint Cup Series race steps-off the very big stage of the ABC television network in prime-time on Saturday night and moves to ESPN on Sunday at 1PM.

One interesting note is that ESPN has decided not to originate a NASCAR Countdown show before this race. Needless to say, this is a big event in the season-long Sprint Cup Series.

On ESPN the highly-rated NFL Countdown show is scheduled from 11AM to 1PM and over on ESPN2 there is a IRL support race. This is the live finale for the Indy Lights from 12:30 to 1:30PM.

The decision not to move the ESPN2 program and originate the full one hour NASCAR Countdown show for this crucial final race before The Chase is a big one. What a tough call.

It will actually be SPEED that takes advantage of this situation and schedules the NASCAR RaceDay program from 11AM to 1PM. This puts SPEED back in the position of covering the events at the track right up until the network TV coverage of the race begins.

Just a reminder, Sprint RaceView on is free for the Sunday afternoon Cup race by clicking here for the link page. This is a fun computer broadband application that shows multiple camera angles, driver audio and has lots of other gadgets.

Over on ESPN2, there will be a thirty minute edition of NASCAR Countdown at 6:30PM as the lead-in to the Nationwide Series race coverage at 7PM.

Despite the Nationwide race being live, SPEED is going to keep the normal Sunday night block of SPEED Report at 7PM, Victory Lane at 8PM and Wind Tunnel at 9PM.

Currently, we are still waiting to see if ESPN decides to add a Sunday night episode of NASCAR Now to wrap-up the long day of racing. Once we get that info, we will pass it along.

Now that Sunday is set, let's turn out attention to Saturday. There is still a lot of NASCAR TV to be seen and all of it is on SPEED. At 11AM, Rick Allen will host NCTS qualifying live from Gateway with Phil Parsons. Doug Richert will be stepping-in this week for Michael Waltrip who is in Richmond.

At 12:30PM, the always opinionated NASCAR AP reporter Jenna Fryer brings her views to Tradin' Paint. John Roberts hosts this program and Kyle Petty is the other panelist.

That will be followed at 1PM by Larry McReynolds and NASCAR Performance. Bootie Barker and Chad Knaus join McReynolds and these three talk NASCAR strategy and other interesting topics from a crew chief perspective.

At 1:30, NASCAR in a Hurry will try to find something to show fans for thirty minutes. This show recaps the happenings from the time the teams arrived at the track up to show time. TV veteran Randy Pemberton will have the challenge of making this show into something memorable.

Krista Voda appears at 2PM to host The Set-Up. This is the pre-race show for the NCTS and is always interesting. Allen and company begin the race coverage next at 2PM. Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander will be patrolling pit road for the Trucks.

There is no info on what programming the ABC stations will be using to fill Saturday night now that NASCAR is gone. SPEED is going to stick a re-air of Trackside into the Midnight timeslot that Victory Lane was going to use.

All-in-all, a scramble that resulted in some good decision-making from the TV networks to keep on-the-air most of the NASCAR TV that fans have come to know each weekend from the two remaining NASCAR TV partners, ESPN and SPEED.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply 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 for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

Actually JD the IRL support race on Sunday on ESPN2 is live because it is the finale, not pre-recorded.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Wish it had said that in the schedule! Thanks.

The Western New Yorker said...

JD, I thought the IRL support race was supposed to be live, as part of the contract this year? Anyhoo, in the case that the Sprint Cup race was rained out on Sunday, could it end up on ABC on Monday, if ran at 10 in the morning or so?

Anonymous said...

Here you go JD. Just ttrying to help.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hey. I see there is a NASCAR Countdown before the Nationwide race. Will this actually be a pre-race show or do you think they will wrap-up the cup race but still called it NASCAR Countdown? I hope they just mix the two. recap what happend in cup and then preview nationwide.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks a lot. Please don't post full scheds in the comments, just email me the link.

I wonder if it will be Bob Jenkins calling that race?

Still a tough call, move the IRL support race finale or go into the Richmond Sprint Cup event with no pre-race at all.

Got all the boys on-site to do it.

If it was not football season, maybe we would have seen NASCAR Countdown on ESPNEWS. That would have been interesting.

Thanks again for the info!


Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:30PM...great question.

Anonymous said...

Check out ESPN Classic's schedule. They were going to re-air the Cup race from the previous night. They could have put a pre-race there without problems.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:39PM,

I would say there might be a better case to move the Indy Lights over to Classic and host a Countdown show on ESPN2.

Either way, it was a tough day to be a TV programmer.


Anonymous said...

If I were an Indy Lights racing fan, who already had a fixed time slot on ESPN2, I'd be rather hacked that my race was moved to a much less distributed channel for a pre-race show. Regularly scheduled events should always air on time and on the same channel.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:50PM,

The money that ESPN paid to get the final seventeen NASCAR Sprint Cup races for a bunch of years was huge.

I am sure it was a tough call and probably had something to do with a signed Indy Lights contract.

Dropping the hour of NASCAR Countdown before the last Cup race before the Chase had to be painful.


Charlie said...

Is the ARCA/Re/Max race still going to be shown on Sunday at 4:00pm/et on Speed?

Mat said...

This scenario has to be right up there with the Homestead finale gettin rained out on NASCAR's "nightmare" list. It's ashame, but at least everyone is makin the best of a bad situation.

Anonymous said...

I think NASCAR made the right decesion on this one. Unofortuantly sunday us going to be a ratings nightmare. We have the IRL season finale, Football kickoff weekend, and baseball heating up.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Yes, the ARCA race will be on as scheduled on SPEED.


Dot said...

My money is on the NW prerace being all Cup post race info. NW? NW, what?

Here's another question, are the booth guys going to tired or what? They're all going to need to be tasered. Not to mention the double duty drivers.

I predict about a thousand comments on TDP between both races. Get here early posters.

SonicAD said...

anon 1:03:

Honestly, I think it's the IRL having the nightmare about this one. Now they've gotta go up against football AND NASCAR.

stricklinfan82 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stricklinfan82 said...

JD, I'm sorry for posting this here but you seem to have disabled users from posting on the Friday in-progress post.....

To the "anon" that told me I was wrong about the Chase in the Friday in-progress post, please note that there are two seperate Chases - the Driver's Chase and the Owner's Chase. The top 12 drivers have their points reset after Richmond and seeded based on wins. The top 12 car owners also have their points reset after Richmond and seeded based on wins. They don't necessarily have to mirror each other, though coincidentally they always have from '04-'07.

Say for instance the #8 car (with Martin/Almirola splitting driving duties) finished 10th in owner's points after Richmond. They would make the Owner's Chase and the team of the 12th place driver in the driver's standings, who would actually be 13th in owner's points, would miss the Owner's Chase.

If you remember, NASCAR and the media had this discussion last year when the Mark Martin / Regan Smith #01 Army car was on the verge of possibly ending up 12th or better in owner's points after Richmond (they ended up falling out and barely missing). In fact, Ken Schrader called John Darby during an Inside Nextel Cup episode to have Darby explain to the world what I just explained earlier. Top 12 drivers in a Driver's Chase, Top 12 Owners in an Owner's Chase.

It's an irrelevant point now, but in my Friday example if Tony Stewart won Richmond driving the #02 car (or any other car than the #20 for that matter), Stewart the driver would start the Driver's Chase with 5010 points for his one win, but the #20 car would only start with 5000 points in the Owner's Chase for its zero wins (assuming of course it stayed in the top 12 in owner's points after Richmond and qualified for the Owner's Chase). As another ridiculous example, if Kyle Busch was injured or sick and completely sat this Richmond race out (didn't even start the car) and someone else like Joey Logano won the race replacing him in the 18 car, Kyle would start the Driver's Chase with 5080 points, while the #18 car would start the Owner's Chase with 5090.

Check the final owner's points from 2004-2007 and you will see that the owner's points were reset after Richmond each year just like the driver's points were. You will see that the final driver's standings and owner's standings among Chasers always mirrored each other... with the lone exception of the #97 car having more points than Kurt Busch in '05 due to Busch being suspended for the final two races of that season.

Had they reset ONLY driver's points and not owner's points (as you claimed) the #24 team would have won the Cup owner's title last year instead of the #48 team, and that wasn't the case. Jimmie Johnson won the Driver's Title and the #48 team won the Owner's Title.

Hopefully that has cleared up any confusion you might have had.

SonicAD said...

stricklinfan: Thanks, that was what I was trying to get at with my previous reply there, but I'd completely fumbled it by confusing it with the current points standings.

Vicky D said...

Stricklinfan thanks for the explanation of the Sprint cup owners points/drivers points.

Anonymous said...

sonicad , i'm not sure the IRL has as much to worry about as you might think . Going against the NFL is always a problem for any sport , but against NASCAR with their rapidly declining fan base , the IRL will do just fine .

bevo said...

No pre-race would be a blessing as far as I'm concerned. In an ideal world I would have half an hour for it and an hour for post-race.

Any word on announcer changes for HotPass or are they still the same?

BTW be careful about that "happy ending" there :)

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for your comments about the Saturday programming on SPEED.

The complete revised TV schedule is also posted on the right side of the main page.


Anonymous said...

Any idea yet what ABC will use for substitute programming this evening?

I have the most ironic idea of all--

Bump up the ESPN Saturday Night College Football to ABC. Florida vs. Miami

I think that's a great idea because lost Nascar viewers who didn't get the delay memo would get to see our old friend Brent Musburger do what he's actually good at.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:56AM,

I am working on getting that info right now. Update this post once I get it.

As you may know, the problem is clearing all four time zones.


Erik said...

NASCAR Now will follow the Nationwide race. At least, that is what ESPN's ticker is advertising now during the college football games.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Was there a time listed?


Anonymous said...

I wonder what NASCAR is going to do about the post-Cup race photo shoots and such. Usually after the Chase drivers are determined, they stick around after the race for official group pictures and lots of interviews on Victory Lane and other shows, and stuff like that. They're usually on a big stage taking the pictures, and fans can stay and watch them be interviewed, and they throw merchandise out to the fans by the stage.

But now several of them will have to run the Nationwide race and I assume the Victory Lane area will have to come down quickly.

It's always enjoyable to watch after that race because those guys are very relaxed. In the past either Kurt Busch or Dale Jr, whichever one made the chase, always had a cooler of beer going around as the drivers did their interviews. It's kind of fun to see Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson standing around with their beer! But not tomorrow, I guess, since several of them will be getting back in cars.

Still, NASCAR made the right decision and I applaud them for it.

Anonymous said...

sonicad , i'm not sure the IRL has as much to worry about as you might think . Going against the NFL is always a problem for any sport , but against NASCAR with their rapidly declining fan base , the IRL will do just fine .

Sorry. But I got quite a chuckle out of this comment.

Erik said...

No time was listed, it just said Nationwide Series at Richmond - Sunday, 6:30 ET on ESPN2 (NASCAR Now follows the race)

I'm guessing they'll just start NASCAR Now whenever the race coverage ends as its all on ESPN2.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thank you, I am just going to list it as 9PM approx.

bevo said...

Noticed on the ticker they're running "Sprint Cup Series Chevy Rock and Roll 500" but just "Nationwide Series". Guess Emerson didn't buy any ads for the race. Remember when Fox first did that when they got into NASCAR and the uproar it caused?

Kenn Fong said...


Is the Indy support race a barter or straight buy or did ESPN pay for the rights? If it was a buy, wouldn't ESPN be subject to a big penalty for bumping it?

Left Coast Kenny
Alameda, California

Daly Planet Editor said...


It is usually a "buy-on" like Shifting Gears with Dale Jr.

Firestone brings the money because they are the sponsor and ESPN gets a fee for the program.

Normally, a live finale like the one on Sunday is locked-in.

The drawback is missing the entire pre-race show for perhaps the biggest race of the ESPN TV package with NASCAR.

Even though it might not seem that way for some fans, it is huge for ESPN.


glenc1 said...

If anyone cares (I think I'll opt for the FL/Miami game) ABC is listing 'Catch Me If You Can' at the 8pm slot. yawn...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the head's up on Jenna Fryer - she is one of my favorite NASCAR writers and she gives good opinion on TV.

Oh, and I have a tremendous crush on her and I want her to marry me. I should mention that bias up front. :)

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 7:06PM,

Jenna is the type of person that show needs on a regular basis to keep itself interesting.

We are fortunate enough at TDP to email with Ms. Fryer, I will mention your crush.


Anonymous said...

Don't mention the crush - mention my phone number! :)

Anonymous said...

No race tonite,just infomercials.