Sunday, November 2, 2008

Are Fans Burned-Out On NASCAR TV?


There has been a theme emerging during The Chase this season that we really did not see last year. Remember, 2007 was the first year of the current NASCAR TV contract and lots of the Sprint Cup Series television coverage was brand new.

Now, as this season draws to a close, the ESPN and ABC portion of the Cup coverage has basically been a ratings disaster. Instead of building on the first year, fans have been heading other places and the ratings have been flat or declining.

This kind of flies in the face of what is happening in the sport. Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle are three very popular drivers. The stories of Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. continue to be interesting almost every racing weekend.

Despite the issue of fans not attending the races, the ABC coverage is specifically on free over-the-air TV for the entire Chase. The ABC announcers are all experienced and well-known NASCAR personalities. The HD pictures are great and the sound is fantastic. So, why are TV viewers staying away?

In this discussion, forget the normal NASCAR complaints. Let's put the COT, Brian France, and Goodyear on the shelf. Forget the vanilla drivers, the super-teams and the endless mergers. Our topic today is just one little fan-related question.

Are you burnt-out on NASCAR TV?

The Budweiser Shootout kicked-off the season way back on February 9th. If you have been watching only the Sprint Cup Series coverage, you have seen over 100 hours of live racing on TV already this season.

Fans who watch all three national touring series and the other NASCAR TV programming like NASCAR Now and the weekend SPEED coverage might need to sit down before reading further. If you have been hanging tough with the sport since February, you have watched over 400 hours of NASCAR TV in 2009.

In a world where we often ask just how much is too much, this might be a very good topic for discussion. Could it be that fans are just burned-out on NASCAR TV and have opted for NFL football and other TV sports?

NASCAR finally has a daily show on ESPN2, a duo of one hour review shows on Monday and a slew of programming from the SPEED Stage each racing weekend. The races are in HD right down to the in-car cameras. All three Sprint Cup Series TV networks are experienced with sports and have been involved in NASCAR prior to this season. What could be wrong?

This weekend the action shifts to the Texas Motor Speedway. Another high-speed 1.5 mile oval with a dogleg on the frontstretch. A track with a mixed history and a whole lot of hype.

The 334 laps will take several hours and the event will not even take the green flag until 3:47PM Eastern Time. By that time, viewers will have seen four hours of pre-race shows from ESPN2, SPEED and ABC.

Once again, NASCAR will be running a race that will probably stretch well beyond dinner time on the East Coast. With a rain delay or red flag, it could go well beyond 8PM.

When the race is over, there will be three hours of NASCAR-related programming on SPEED and a one hour wrap-up show on ESPN2. Sunday alone will have 12 hours of NASCAR TV headed in your direction.

When you take a step back and look at this year of watching NASCAR on TV, are you happy that the season is almost over or have your viewing habits already changed? Even for the biggest fan, is it possible to actually be burnt-out on NASCAR TV?

To add your answer and opinion to this column, 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 taking the time to stop by and share your views on this topic with The Daly Planet readers.

124 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Kyle said...

Here is what I think are the main problems:

1) Coverage by ESPN/ABC
2) The races start in the afternoon, there are a lot of Football games on right now. You can't compete with football. It is probably the second most fan loyal sport.
3) NASCAR.com's RaceView.
4) DirecTv's Hotpass was only $40 at the beginning of the season for new subscribers. And since a lot of people are dropping cable and heading to DirecTv, subscriptions are probably up.
5) PRN/MRN seem to create more excitment and cover racing action better. So people can watch football on the TV, and have the radio on.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:28PM,

Could you drop me an email at editor@thedalyplanet.tv when you get a chance? Thanks.

JD

Agricola said...

1. The races start too late.
2. The announcing crew for ESPN-ABC are boring....but I like Jerry.
3. ESPN story line for each race sucks.
4. I HATE 1.5 mile tracks....they are all alike.
5. Not enough rubbing.
6. The pursuit of perfection means NASCAR will soon look-feel like F1.

Anonymous said...

I am, a little.

I think back to 2004, back when NBC's "good" coverage was in its heyday. At the end of the Homestead race, Bestwick said, "It's been a great season, and we've had a lot fun. Have a great winter," or something like that.

I'd enjoyed the season's coverage so much--remember, this was back in the days of the "24/7" show and all the rest--I damn near teared up.

But now, with the poor coverage ESPN offers, and the lack of good weekday shows, the season just grinds along as it finally wraps up.

Sure, by December I'll be looking forward to Daytona (I do like Fox's coverage), but right now, I have some of the same feelings the teams outside the chase do--let's get this over with.

Rockin Rich said...

I am not burned out, yet. But then, I generally only watch:
• Cup races — Race only; Sometimes not finishing a late night race.
• Cup qualifying — Generally watch all of them unless the coverage, (ESPN), gets so bad I get disgusted and quit.
• Cup practice(s) — Occasionally, again with the proviso of decent coverage by the broadcast team.
• Nationwide races — Some, maybe half, and usually not to the end. I do watch all of them that are run on weekends that there is no Cup race.
• Trucks — Sames as above, but less often.
• Pre-race shows — Seldom.
• Programming during the week — Almost never. When I have a couple of times, I have ended up turning it off, usually shortly after the start.
• Cup Banquet — I used to like it, but have skipped it since they went to the taped, and edited presentations.
• Anytime Brian France is on — I immediately turn it off. I will refrain from labeling him what I think he really is, as that would most likely bring down JD's infamous Comment Deleted hammer.
• ARCA races — Try to catch these.
• Use race information sources other than TV during the race — Never.

I wish there was more coverage like TNT provided this year. The difference between 2007, and 2008 was unbelievable, and very positive. I would probably watch more programming outside of the actual race coverage if it was a similar quality to that of TNT's presentations. They weren't perfect, and had some gimmicky quirks, (e.g. the superimposed drag racing starting light tree on restarts), but overall, I felt they did the best job.

I will miss having the races to watch on Sundays. I am not ready for it to end.

Newracefan said...

I've found I am reading less on the net than I use too but I still watch everything I can on TV. The prerace on ESPN/ABC is not watched closely (I like it better when it's 30 minutes). I am very frustrated with ESPN's coverage and am thrilled when Speed takes over so I see cars on the track and hear about what is going on in the garage. Nascar is my escape from reality so I'm still watching.

Tracy said...

Like Rockin Rich, I'm not ready for it to end. However, I miss the 24/7 and Behind the Wheel types of programs. Real stories about real people on a weekly basis, same time, same channel.

I've given up on pre-race stuff. Boring. Nascar Peformance, that's my only must-TIVO pre-race. Qualifying, if Speed covers it, is great. Trucks, we never miss.

We've started listening to Cup races on MRN/PRN simply because it's more exciting and fun. Seems like a step back in time, but hey, a girl's gotta do. . . .as long as ESPN is the only TV source for racin'. Fox and TNT, I'm waitin' for ya.

We're not huge TV fans of other sports - in fact, baseball is our only competition with NASCAR.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Once again, NASCAR will be running a race that will probably stretch well beyond dinner time on the East Coast. With a rain delay or red flag, it could go well beyond 8PM

ABC Primetime is all new on Sunday ... this could get messy.

alex said...

I'm about 50% burned out, and 50% don't have as much time as before. Last year I was still a student, but now I'm graduated and working, which leaves a lot less time to watch racing.

I still watch the trucks religiously, even if I have to tape the 12pm Monday replay. ESPN's coverage and the lack of a tight championship race has lead me to watch less Sprint Cup. This combined with Football season, and the fact that I have season tickets to a college team means I rarely watch the Nationwide races as they air live. I do watch them, but sometime during the week.

During the FOX portion of this year I watched more programming, even qualifying most of the time. Now I rarely watch qualifying, and all I watch before the race is a random episode of Trackside or Nascar Performance, and Nascar Now once or twice a week.

I actually keep up with Jayski and this blog MORE than I used to. I'm not burned out on Nascar, just the Nascar TV that is being presented to me most of the time.

I'm sick of the "All Chase, All the time" philosohpy, and the truck races are the only place where I don't have to hear about it.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:37PM,

No COT, Brian France or Goodyear in this discussion. I know that limits things! Please return and re-post.

JD

Anonymous said...

JD, I don't understand. You used to talk of more programing during the season. Now you want less? Sure the season is a little long and races are too, but that has never been a problem. Is this your way of trying to get NASCAR to shorten the season or the number of laps in each race? Races already start way too early for west coast fans, so I can't imagine you would want races to start even earlier. That would selfish to other viewers across the country. What say you?

alex said...

Anon 10:49,

I don't think that's the motive of this article. It would be nice to have support shows for the NNS and Truck Series. But the ratings are down for the Sprint Cup, and we are trying to theorize or discuss why that might be.

With the current coverage and other sports alternatives on TV, I fall into that category.

Richard in N.C. said...

I am anxious for the end of the seasons (NASCAR & F1) so I will know who the winners are, but I'm not burnt out.

I am very disappointed with ESPN's overall flight from quality and (if it occurs again) SPEED's abandonment of racing in December and January.

ESPN has bigger problems than just its NASCAR coverage. It appears its new motto is "We don't need no stinking quality, we're the worldwide leader in something." Its Sunday NFL coverage has far less quality than FOX, CBS, or ESPN's NASCAR race broadcasts and it continues to have more and more commentators of questionable credibility - it is no longer a coincidence that almost every issue has a commentator on each side. In fact, I believe almost all of ESPN's NASCAR commentators give their honest opinions, while only a minority of ESPN's NFL commentators can be counted on to give their own, honest opinion.

ESPN today reminds me of CNN 10 years ago or Lehman Bros. a year ago. Large, arrogant, self-satisfied, and more or less successful. I have become convinced that ESPN will continue to decline in quality across the board until it has a credible, national competitor.

majorshouse said...

I think that the reason that many people are burned out are simply the terrible broadcast coverage by ABC/ESPN and too many races that frankly start too late. There are plenty of times that I have gone to sleep in a late race and many times I will watch the Monday showing of the truck races and that is by far my favorite series.

Anonymous said...

JD, I don't understand. You used to talk of more programing during the season. Now you want less?

I don't think he's saying he wants less, I think he's saying he wants BETTER.

That's how I feel, too.

bevo said...

Great idea for a discussion. I rarely watch any pre-race coverage anymore, usually catch NASCAR Now on radio (Sirius ESPN 121 reruns it at 11:00 p.m.)but that's it for other programming. Never miss a Truck race even if I have to Tivo it.

I think the main problem with burn-out is due to the ESPN coverage. It gets exhausting being so aggravated while watching the race. I've found that if I just watch the HotPass broadcast and not switch over to ESPN I enjoy the race and I'm in a great mood.

Anonymous said...

Races already start way too early for west coast fans, so I can't imagine you would want races to start even earlier.


I think it is time to move the races back to their original start times. Based on what I hear from the drivers during the races, I believe they'd agree.

If people on the West Coast are fans, they'll watch, and if they don't, then they weren't really fans in the first place.

glenc1 said...

By late Oct/Nov, I am kind of burnt out. I don't watch football pregame for that reason, you can only watch so much...

My only issue with early/late start depends on *when* my (NFL) team plays...if it's early, I'm glad the race is late, if it's late, I'm glad the race is early, so no one can control that; I understand that.

I don't think the COT or ESPN or any other thing is to blame, it just happens every year. Overload. Come February I'll be ready to go again, at least for a while. Then FOX will irritate me enough to start complaining again, lol.

But, as always, the radio makes things much more exciting.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I personally look forward to Nascar every weekend. Read articles linked by Jayski all week, check here 4-5 times per day to read the posts and entries, occasionally watch YouTube videos of older races, and then get geared up for qualifying and whatever races lead up to the Cup race. I'd go if I could every weekend, but have only been able to get to two Sprint Cup races each year since I live in the Midwest.

Then Sunday comes...I catch some of Speed's prerace, skip ESPN's prerace, and listen to MRN/PRN until the race starts.

After all of that enthusiasm all week, it takes about 20-30 minutes of ESPN's scripted coverage and commercials after 10 laps to cause me to lose interest in watching the race on TV.

I keep the race on for reference, but get more out of listening to the radio, watching splits on FoxTrax, reading and posting on The Daly Planet, and refreshing Yahoo's analysts during the race.

If that doesn't say enough about ESPN's lack of coverage, I don't know what does.

And by the way, this doesn't happen during the first part of the year.

diane said...

I am burned out and have reached the point of recording the races and fast forwarding through them looking for action.

To be fair, I'm a big tennis fan and at this point in the season I also fast forward through a lot of the matches.

Nascar and tennis have two of the longest seasons in sport and I think they both need to cut their seasons.

Anonymous said...

I think one of the biggest problems for NASCAR TV is the lack of programmming which shows the personalities of the drivers. There were several articles over the past couple of days about how Michael Waltrip has hung in there for 1,000 races yet has only won four. How did he manage to hang around? By building a fanbase through his personality. And to be honest, by featuring his family life so openly; if he was as tight-lipped about his family life back then as he is now (understandably), he wouldn't be nearly as popular, IMO.

Not saying I want 43 guys who never win anything to stay in NASCAR for years, but I don't think it's a coincidence that newer guys who don't get featured (Regan Smith, Almirola, Sorenson, Gilliland, Kvapil etc) can't get traction with sponsors. Nobody knows anything about them.

How many fans can say this year they know more (or *feel* they know more, which is the most important thing) about the driver they're supporting than they did last year? Perhaps only Earnhardt Jr fans can say that, courtesy of his "Shifting Gears" series. Jimmie Johnson is about to become the three time champion- shouldn't he have had an limited TV series like "Shifting Gears" or, at minimum, an hour-long special about his life or following him around by now?

There's no "NASCAR Drivers 360", no "NBS 24/7", no "NASCAR Nation", no "7 Days" or "Beyond the Wheel". Nothing. There is absolutely nothing personal about the drivers that people can tune in to watch on a weekly basis, which may not be TV's fault entirely. Unfortunately, many of the drivers go to great lengths to conceal their personal lives nowadays, more than the days when Kevin and Delana Harvick, and lots of other drivers would let cameras into their homes. (Casey Mears would be an example; he didn't talk about expecting a child until the weekend of the child's birth).

I, for one still try to keep up with the people I saw on NBS 24/7 (even the crew guys some of whom have moved up) to see how their careers are going. There is nothing like that for fans to latch onto now.

Quite frankly, with a fanbase that is more than 40 percent female, I think this change is hurting the sport quite a bit. You can go to the fan boards for drivers and see a rather drastic drop in overall interest, especially this year. Yes, they're interesting in their actual racing skill, but they're also interested in them as people.

The past two years, we're not seeing any of the entertaining candid or personal profiles on NASCAR TV. NASCAR Now and the prerace shows waste so much time "analyzing" random news (nothing substantial) with their endless sets of "analysts" that I gave up on everything but the races months ago. And I don't even watch the races live.

There was an excellent New York Times Real Estate section feature this week with a photo slide show of Brian Vickers' NYC apartment and the story about what made him buy it. It's the type of NASCAR personality profile that should be on NASCAR Now/NASCAR TV several times a week. But it's not.

Until they put the driver's off -track personalities back into NASCAR TV, it's doomed because of a lack of connection between the fan and the drivers.

stricklinfan82 said...

I'm not burned out by NASCAR at all. I'm still as enthusiastic for the fall Texas race as I am for the summer New Hampshire race, as I am for the spring Martinsville race, and as I am when Speedweeks is just starting. Cup, Nationwide, Trucks, you name it. I can't get enough.

What I am burned out on is ESPN and their ridiculous scripted ignore-the-track style of covering the Sprint Cup Series.

Every Monday the first thing I do is check the weekend TV schedule on NASCAR.com, hoping and praying that maybe just maybe I won't see the dreaded red ESPN2 logo alongside of any Cup practice or qualifying session. A Speed Channel logo is a welcomed sight. That means Cup cars will be on the track and I will see them live on my TV screen. When the dreaded red ESPN2 logo shows up I hang my hand and become depressed. The ESPN logo means Cup cars will be on the track and I won't see them, either because ESPN is providing tape-delayed coverage several hours after the fact, or because ESPN is live but unfortunately has decided that a countless number of taped video pieces of old race highlights and drivers' favorite fruits need to cover up the live action for 60-90 minutes straight.

Despite what people may think about the CoT, Fox, Speed, and TNT had almost universal ratings increases during their CoT broadcasts in the months before ESPN took over the same on-track product. Since ESPN took over, ratings have been in the toilet every week, and in my opinion the scripted ignore-the-track approach is completely to blame.

Speaking from personal experience I have had enough of ESPN's junk. I don't watch ESPN Cup practice/qualifying shows any more because it's just not worth it. They don't cover the on-track session, so what's the point? It's just as if the sessions aren't even on TV, because... well, actually, they aren't! Occasionally I cave in and tune to ESPN2 on a Friday or Saturday desperately hoping that ESPN has changed their philosophy and I might see the Cup cars I love so much on the track. But every time I try to be optimistic and have faith in ESPN's Cup production team, they crush my hopes.

When the Cup races start I no longer have any choice but to watch Hotpass, because ESPN doesn't cover the unscripted happenings of these live sporting events. They instead frame the coverage around a pre-determined script and try to make the race fit. As seen last week with ESPN's debacle of a "Jimmie Johnson Will Finish Bad Today and Lose His Big Points Lead" script, this approach to covering an unscripted sporting event is completely nonsensical.

I am clearly not alone. Countless numbers of NASCAR fans on all sorts of message boards and blogs have spoken out about ESPN's unfortunate ignore-the-track approach to covering the Cup Series and how they were driven to Hotpass, MRN, and the Internet for actual race coverage. And the group of people ESPN builds this scripted ignore-the-track style around - "the casual fans" - clearly aren't interested either. Amazingly enough, whoever the genius was that thought full-screen taped interviews and shots of Tim Brewer illustrating what a “tachometer” is would be a better attention-grabber for stick-and-ball fans than cars passing, bumping, and crashing was completely wrong. Ratings don’t lie. Casual fans apparently enjoyed races on Fox, Speed, and TNT but don’t enjoy the same on-track product on ESPN or ABC, thanks to the scripted ignore-the-track approach.

It seems to me that all types of fans – diehard and casual alike - have spoken in one voice. This terrible approach to covering the Cup Series needs to change, and needs to change sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

Nah, in most cases I don't want to know too much about the individuals outside of racing. I'm a 48 fan, and just this week I found out that Chad Knaus is from Rockford, IL (I grew up about 30 minutes from there) but that's the extent of what I want to know.

When I watch football, I watch to see my team or the team I want to win play, execute, etc. I don't care to hear about Tony Romo dating Jessica Simpson or whatever Terrell Owens is whining about at the current time. And hearing when guys get arrested usually makes things worse. I just want them to work hard all week and do well during the game.

Anonymous said...

Ya'll, I live in the Midwest and I am trying to crunch numbers to see if we can fly to Texas and see the race this weekend. I'm still that enthusiastic about Nascar. And I went to races at Chicago and Indianapolis this year (not the most exciting) and still can't get enough.

ESPN's coverage, on the other hand...

Phathead said...

For me it is mainly the coverage of the races. A few years ago I would watch every lap of the race, every rpm2night show, the old pre-race show with Dave Despain (who's name escapes me at the moment) and I would read article after article. Personally, much like NFL and MLB fans, I cannot get enough of the sport. My home page is Jayski's. The first five websites I visit every day are NASCAR related. I am very very far away from being oversaturated from the sport.

I just flat out cannot stand the coverage. I do not like all the overhyping they do, making drama from nothing. I do not like being forced to endure the frivolous aspects of the race. I do not like having to listening to a play by play announcer who sounds bored. I do not like feeling like I am ignorant, which ESPN has a knack of doing to me.

If anything, this is the time of year I normally absorb more of the sport. I am content watching racing 52 weeks a year. I prefer earlier start times, but I can rearrange my schedule if needed.

I have my own qualms about the racing and management of the sport in general, but that has not affected my viewership of Cup racing (although I do not watch Nationwide races anymore due to 'Buschwhackers'). I choose not to watch because ESPN effectively talks down to me. I am the fan who grew up loving Bob, Benny and Ned (easily the best trio in all of sports). I am the fan who supported them when they were shut out of the tracks. I am the fan who cheered when they came back. And now I am the fan that is leaving because of them.

Funny how quickly things change is it not?

Anonymous said...

I'm not burned out, but then I don't watch all NASCAR all the time.

I watch all the races on the weekends. If I have time, I watch quals and practice. As far as the pre-race shows, I only watch if there is something new like a driver lost his ride, or a merger, or a fine, or I have time, etc.

My favorite pre-game show is NFL on Fox. Its fun, informative and hilarious. Even people in my family that are not that avid NFL fans love the show. If there is a conflict with NASCAR's pre-game, I watch NFL's.

Newspapers have been on the decline for a long time. There are cut backs from NY to LA. Why pay for news when you can get it free and more up to date online?

There are fluctuations on the ratings on other sports. I know that when a small market team plays, the ratings are terrible. In the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs have the worst ratings. They have been champions, every regular on the team is a nice guy (no convicts or prima donnas), but the country does not care.

It's the same in MLB and the NFL. So in NASCAR, it depends on who is leading the chase. Jimmie is a nice guy and so is Biffle and Edwards, but they don't have "it."

We occasionally went to a sport's bar to watch the race and NFL games. The place was huge and they had sport's stuff all over the place. Well as far as NASCAR stuff, they had tons of 24, 20, and 8 (for Jr not Kasey). There was no 99 or 16 stuff anywhere to be seen. No Petty either.

So, I think that since none of the most popular drivers are at the top competing, many casual viewers have lost interest. I'm a JR and Mark Martin fan, but right now I'm rooting for JJ and glad he's finally getting a little respect. (I mean the guy has a 3.7 average finish in the Chase).

NASCAR can continue to market its product, but even in a perfect world, NFL will always be #1.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a simple one sentence question, with a yes, or no answer. I could write pages,and pages, but will leave a short answer.
Watch all the races:cup,nationwide,
trucks,arca,and love the racing. TV coverage not so much.
bryanh

NorCalFan said...

Thanks to ESPN's Cup coverage, I'm physically and mentally burned-out on NASCAR TV because of the amount of multi-tasking involved to understand what's happening on the track. I was fortunate to attend 5 races this year so there was some rest for the weary.

I do watch Cup qualifying and practices but have cut way down on watching the pre-race shows due to the time committment. Speed's Trackside and NASCAR Performance are recorded for watching sometime before the CUP race. Victory Lane and TWIN are also recorded for viewing during the week when there's nothing else on I want to watch. I used to watch NASCAR Now on Mondays, but as much as I like Allen Bestwick, the show seems to drag on and on so now I don't even record it. I watch most of the truck races, NW races and occasional ARCA race. Living on the west coast I would really like the races to start earlier so I can have Sundays to do other activities besides watch TV. Better yet, I'd really like more Saturday night races. I read Nascar Illustrated to get a glimpse of the personal lives of the drivers. I enjoy Jayski's site for the articles and use it as a reference for anything NASCAR. I rarely read NASCAR.com because since Marty Smith left the website is nothing short of an unorganized mess and I get frustrated trying to locate the simplest information, like qualifying order (thanks again to Jayski). I do use Nascar.com for Trackpass Pit Command.

I'm ready for the CUP banquet so I can start counting the days until Fox takes over.

Anonymous said...

There is wwwwaaayyy too much coverage of nascar on tv . If there was a balanced coverage of other forms of auto racing on the networks , then fans could choose what racing shows to watch . But 95% of all racing related recap and preview shows are nascar .And most of them are simply repetitive drivel .Nascar is not interesting enough to warrant cramming all of these shows onto the networks . And Windtunnel is by far the best of the bunch because you get to hear about something other than nascar .
The fans have heard all of the " inside nascar " and " behind the scenes " nonsence they care to . The ratings will continue to drop if the saturation continues .

Anonymous said...

Actually there is tooo much coverage of NASCAR programming. I do like Fox broadcasts but the mess they present as programming on ESPN and ABC is a total disaster. Dale Jarett may have been a good driver but he sure isn't a good, or even acceptable announcer. All the telecasts has too much prerace shows. They all also should have more coverage of all the cars, not just the top 3 or 4. Also way too much interuption of commercials, it has ruined the racing viewing for me.

Vroom said...

I am burned out! Too much coverage and too few winners. however, I do remain a loyal fan!

Rockin Rich said...

Coming back to add a couple of comments:
• Recently I have been trying to watch NASCAR performance with Bootie & Chad. I do find that interesting, and informative. It increases my knowledge and enjoyment when watching the race itself.
• I think the one word I would use to categorize ESPN's poor performance is hubris. As I have stated in posts earlier this year, it just boggles my mind that they are wasting their investment dollars, and destroying their previously earned goodwill by continuing with their wrongheaded broadcasting philosophy.

SallyB said...

I'm not burned out on racing, but I'm burned out on the 'all chase all the time' format that ESPN/ABC have used. Putting all the emphasis on the final 10 races and those 12 drivers has sucked the life out of most of the races for me. I used to watch every pre race show, but have gotten tired of all the pre taped and recap segments they use to pad the programming. The Busch series has gotten less appealing as the Cup drivers take over the series to pad their stats. Trucks are about the only 'must see' racing for me these days. I'ts gotten to be standard for me to turn the sound down on the TV (no matter WHO is airing the race) and listen to the radio. It's the only way I can keep up with more than 5 or 6 drivers on the track. By putting so much emphasis on the final 10 races, it just doesn't float my boat. But, I still keep the races on and occasionally stop to watch a few minutes of racing between ads. I keep shoveling through that pile of manure, knowing their HAS to be a pony under there somewhere.

Rockin Rich said...

Wellllll, "just one more":

I forgot, (twice), to mention that I would really like to have more races start earlier on Sundays. I understand the need for west coast races to start at appropriate times for that audience, and they absolutely should. I just think that starting the east coast races at 3:00 & 4:00 PM in order to have their on air time bleed over into prime evening viewing time is causing me, and many long time fans to start not watching the entire race.

Apparently, NASCAR is hearing that message, as they made it a point to announce that more races in 2008 would start at 2:00 or earlier than was the case in 2007.

Adam T. Martin said...

I'm almost burnt out from all three networks and here are my gripes.

1. Fox and there gimmicks (Digger camera, Digger shirts, Visa RaceBreak)

2. In-car cameras aimed at teh drivers (We're supposed to see what they see, not see them turn the wheel and work the pedals)

3. Coverage by TNT. Too cheesy and campy for my tastes. (Sorry, I won't like Bill Weber)

4. Dr. Punch being thrown into PXP when it should be Allen Bestwick. I'm talking to you ESPN/ABC. Time for a role switch.

5. The races start too late.

6. Too many commercials and pop up ads. (all networks)

7. Pre-race shows don't deserve an hour long. Only thirty minutes at most except Daytona.

8. Brian France

Anonymous said...

There is nothing new/dynamic going on in the world of NASCAR. The coverage is bland. Dr. Punchs' mannerisms do not lend to the real excitement of racing. One more week of telling the same stories, same cars. One more week of announcers toeing the NASCAR company line. This is a problem all year long, not just in the chase. No original programming. Ho hum.

Anonymous said...

I'm not burned out on NASCAR, I'm burned out on NASCAR not listening to their core fans. When BF made all those wholesale changes to something that wasn't broken fans warned him that they would leave. All you are seeing happen now is that threat becoming reality.

earl06 said...

I can say I'm burned out on the chase. Granted, determining the champion is an important part of the season, but as more emphasis is put on the championship, there has been less emphasis on the races themselves. If the points are the only thing that matter, why sit through the race?

The chase is perfect for the casual fan. Check the standings on Monday morning and you're up to date. Don't even have to watch the races themselves.

The chase is perfect for the media. Cover two or three teams, ignore the rest and you're done.

The chase sucks for anyone who enjoys spending a Sunday afternoon watching an auto race and following the stories as they develop. One reason FOX's coverage seems to be more popular is that since they do the early part of the season, they cover more of the field instead of sitting there saying "chase, chase, chase" all day. If FOX and ABC swapped their schedules, I bet the complaints about the coverage would end up being specific to the time of year, rather than the network.

Anonymous said...

Yes,I'm burned out on superficial,repetitive,boring TV coverage conducted by TV people who couldn't tell a Cot from a Nationwide car.I'll also include blowhard/goofy driver/announcers that still don't know that Rick Hendrick's last name doesn't have an 's' at the end. But I'm really burned out on the totally crappy racing product that is a direct result of the foul-handling COT and tires that are a carry over from the 1970's. Bill Elliot was asked this weekend what his first impression was of the Cot after he first drove it. He smiled and said, "Heck, I first drove it 20 years ago!"Today,pit strategy with tires and fuel is what juggles track position. Hard,side by side racing and passing is extremely rare. I've lost all respect for Nascar. Their attitude regarding the Cot and tires is, "We make the rules. You guys figure out how to make it work."To them.it's entertainmen,not racing. If the Car Owners,Drivers and Crew Chiefs were asked how to economically improve the on-track racing,they would raise the splitter, add a lip to the wing,permit lowering the weight in the car (COG),and go to a wider,larger wheel/tire combination. Now you'd have a car that handled,was conducive to passing and eliminate the mindless tire failures. Let me know if want me to tell you how I really feel!

JD said...

ESPN's telecasts are over-produced. Things happen on the track and don't get covered because ESPN's running another informational item on a driver, car or team.

ESPN should realize that most NASCAR fans already know this stuff and don't want to be bombarded for the nth time with same video clip while there's action on the track!!!

Seems the primary announcer's function is just to queue the intro to commercials or other video clips. How droll.

I suggest a more informal coverage of the race where we actually have some talk between the guys in the booth and the pit road guys.

Tooooooooooooooooooo many 'close-ups' of single cars running around the track. This aspect is even more obvious when I use the fast forward on the TiVo to get a flavor of race flow. One car on closeup FOREVER; it's interminable. It's good to show some people once in a while.

Racing excitement occurs when cars change their relative position to one another, not when they are cruising around the track alone in a close shot.

NASCAR Now also has entirely too many video clips (many repeated interminably). It would be nice to see Alan Bestwick when he talks occasionally. It's a panel show, let us see the people when they talk.

This all seems to be more prevalent with ESPN produced NASCAR coverage. I don't watch other sports on ESPN, but evidently ESPN's culture is to 'wow em with pictures'!

Pictures are great, but damn guys, pictures aren't the only aspect of the coverage. There were many, many things at Atlanta that would be more interesting than the leader cruising.

In car cameras are used entirely too much. I agree with an earlier poster who mentioned not wasting time looking at Carl or Dale sitting in a car. Hell, we all sit in a car when we drive to teh store. Not that much going on there. Now showing shifting and footwork on a split screen shot at a road course can be interesting at times.

Pre-race shows wear me out. I record all races and begin watching at the green flag. All the discussion during the races catches me up on the weekly gossip that I haven't previously seen on websites.

Sunday races should start at 1 PM eastern time. Night races should start soon after dinner, maybe 7:30 PM. Family dinner together is still an important aspect of life for many families.

I will take Fox's hokey NASCAR coverage over TNT and ESPN any day of the week. My kinda guys. They don't all wear coats and ties! That garb doesn't fit in at a race track, even for announcers that work for ESPN.

I think that TV producers should spend some time in the racing world to get a perspective for their product. Seems to me they are driven more by their TV company culture than by 'racing' fans' interests. If you aren't familiar with the product, how can you put on an interesting show???

On-track ads after a commercial break bug me. You think you're coming back to racing and you're bombarded by another 30 seconds with a screen overlay blocking the track action while the announcer drones on about XYZ product or show, which I probably have no interest in.

But, NASCAR TV coverage is basically free and is beamed out to anyone that wants to watch. You can't please all the folks all the time, but you can sure as hell try!

Another JD

Anonymous said...

Burned out on some of the hype, not the race itself. Not a football fan, so that's not the issue. If a baseball game is on, I might flip back and forth during commercials. What I don't like is how the race is called on TV. During a Cup race I usually hit the mute button and listen to MRN/PRN radio and also follow it online.

I do like SPEEDTV's programming - Trackside, Tradin' Paint, NASCAR Performance, the three Sunday evening shows (SR,VL,WT), and TWIN.

Cup qualifying and practice sessions - glad they are on.

Nationwide, Truck and ARCA races - I like to watch them.

NASCAR Now on ESPN2 - A good show, although there is still room for improvement.

RaceDay on SPEED is the best pre-race show, but I'm usually not home when it's on. Sometimes there are just other things going on in our lives besides racing.

Rosemary

Anonymous said...

Nascar is not interesting enough to warrant cramming all of these shows onto the networks .

Says YOU.

I think it is.

Anonymous said...

There's no "NASCAR Drivers 360", no "NBS 24/7", no "NASCAR Nation", no "7 Days" or "Beyond the Wheel". Nothing.

Those shows were a great way to gt to know "your" driver. I miss them.

Tom said...

I am burned out. I have been trying to figure out what it is that turns meoff-I am not completely sure, but aside from France etc.(which DO play a large role) there are a few other things that make me not tune in as much as I did in Feb.:
1) Too many programs that have the same news overe and over.
2) lack of true commentary and critical analysis. I don't expect this durning the race per se, but aside from print and WT, rarely do we hear anyone say anything meaningful about anything. Prime example: Tires have been sucking up recently again, but I have heard little or nothing about it. As far as Pre and post shows on speed, I cannot listen to Jimmy Spencer. Being from NY/PA originally, I was a huge fan of his. While I don't think he drinks the Koolaide everyday, he is so backwards, misogynist, and downright wrong that I wont watch him anymore.
3) The interviews with racers are of no help. With few exceptions it is all sponsors and being asked how they "feel".
In General, I still watch the races every week, although delayed, as the racing hasn't been that good. Aside from that I watch SR, WT, and NN sometimes. Thats it. Why should I watch all those shows when I know they have little of interest to say? If they want to start developing shows with hosts who aren't afraid to ask questions, then perhaps I'll pay attention.

Tom
Inverness, FL

TooMuchJJ said...

Doesn't seem like the time the race is run is really a factor - rating are down for Sat. nites and late Sunday afternoons, too. Honestly, the races are just plain boring...we used to have surprise winners from small teams win occasionally, but not anymore. So if you're not a fan of any of the big 4 teams, there's pretty much a 0% chance to see your driver win. I'd rather read about my underfunded driver finishing 18th instead of sitting through a race listening to praise about how well so-and-so is doing on a billion dollar budget team...point is - what parity there ever was in the sport is long gone with the influx of the rich multi car teams...

JT said...

gardisit72506969I remember when I had to scour the newspaper hoping that the local paper listed the results of a Nascar race because they weren't on TV. Now we have hours of pre-race, Victory Lane, This Week, NN. I watch less because every news story is beaten to death, the reporters ask stupid questions of drivers (" Dale Jr., how do you feel after blowing a tire and finishing 43?") and everything is way too politically correct. Yes there is overkill. Nascar has become a vicitim of its own popularity. As far as the races. I watch fewer of them because I think the racing is terrible.

GinaV24 said...

I would say that I am burned out. I never watch any of the pre-race any more because I've gotten bored with it. I like Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree a lot, but I can't stand Rusty, Spencer or Kenny Wallace so tuning in for several hours BEFORE the race finally starts has lost its charm. The races starting so late in the day just screws up my timeline for things to do, so now, I may watch the first 10 laps live and record the rest, come back for the last 30 laps when something interesting MIGHT happen. I use the radio broadcast and trackpass to follow my driver more than the actual TV broadcast simply because the radio broadcast covers the entire field and is better than the TV stuff. Funny, when the TV contract began in 2001, it was must see TV for me -- I never missed a moment, now with more programming on than ever, I watch less because it's not good programming as far as I'm concerned. Every week, it's the same old, same old.

midasmicah said...

Some of the problems regarding the television coverage are as follows; 1. the pre-race shows are way too long. 2. The races at times start way too late. 3. ESPN's coverage is so bad it defies description. 4. Certain drivers are shoved down your throat to the point where it's less about racing and much more about the made for television pretty boy drivers. 5. If you have a particular driver you follow that's not one of their "chosen ones", you're not going to seem much of him even if he is in the chase. 6. Drivers out of the chase have very little chance of being seen or heard from. Sponsors must love this. 7. The first 26 races mean nothing. One big test session. Some will drive their hearts out to win. Others just use it to test. There's more, but this pretty much sums it up. Thanks for listening.

Anonymous said...

Adam T. is reading my mind. I got burnt out half way through the season because of Fox and their gimmicks, TOO MANY camera views during the race (but still not showing the racing), TNT too cheesy and campy, no pxp from espn.

Because of the commercials and self promotions, I find I leave the TV to do other things. Still can't believe the suits do not see the value of side-by-side(?) racing with commercials.

I stop watching all the pre-race fluff a long time ago.

Nascar TV coverage has become boring - cars are the same, few story lines, races too long, only a couple of drivers are covered (continuously).

Brian said...

I find myself agreeing with many of the other posters. I DO NOT like the ESPN broadcast team or artificial "story" they focus on. I DO like FOX but I guess that their coverage may have the benefit of being on at the beginning of the year (something new is always exciting).

Am I burned out? Yea a bit. Jr. has had a terrible Chase and can't seem to finish a race. I'm not a 48 or 99 fan. I like Biffle but he's out of contention. I have found myself watching much more football as the temperature falls.

As far as how I watch the race on TV I believe that this has changed. At the beginning of the season I would watch all of each Cup practice, qualifying, and race. I would watch all Nationwide race and truck race.

Now. I fast forward through most of the truck races until I get to the last 25 laps or so. I fast forward through most of the Nationwide races as well. I also fast forward through most Cup practice sessions and qualifying. (Qualifying ff may be becasue ESPN's qualifying coverage is horrible).

Heck I even find myself fast forwarding through some of the follow the leader with the camera ESPN Cup coverage.

Now that I think about it maybe I am burned out a bit.

Anonymous said...

Its not like the ratings for the Fox races shot through the roof. They went up a whopping 0.1 on average across all of the races. That is virtually unchanged.

And if you exclude the races that were rained out in 2007 from the tally, Fox ratings DROPPED year over year.

So in reality, ESPN is just falling inline with the rest of the season.

The Chase has turned out to be a bust with a huge points lead. The CoT tends to produce boring races. And NASCAR's strict rules have taken the teams ability to make the racing better.

chase said...

John - the picture is fabulous! I can relate to that very well - at times I find myself asleep 'at the wheel' so to speak with the ESPN coverage! However, I digress...I watch the Truck races (absolutely some of the best racing and announcing and coverage on TV), very few, if any, Nationwide racing, and Cup only because its a many year habit but since ESPN took over, with the sound muted for reasons I've stated in other postings. I don't 'do' any other sports so the start/finish time is of little consequence to me. Thank God for MRN! Thanks John!!

Gary said...

Reasons that I stop watching NASCAR:
Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson
ESPiN
Jerry Punch
Lack of professionalism from Producers
Brian France
The Chase for the (insert sponsor here)Cup
Dumbing the audience down, as if we had never seen a race car before
Toyota continuing to do to America what they did 60 years ago, only this time with money.
I watch the truck races every chance I get, and the excitement level is far better than The Cup series. (Thank you Brian)

ri88girl said...

Burned out on:

Racing, Nascar NO

The Chase as a concept NO

Chase coverage YES

ESPN coverage YES

Any SPEED coverage NO

Support programs NO

I want the season to be over. For the fist time in my life. It is directly due to the SH*T coverage by ESPN including booth, director, pit repoters and producer.

I want Jayski to start the Daytona countdown clock now so I now how long till DW, Mike and Larry Mac.

Robert said...

Burned out? Yep - on the Cup front. While the HD pictures are great the forced story line drives me crazy. Plus, the Chase format and since we've known the winner for weeks now has pushed me to hit the "off" button. I've completely skipped the TV coverage of the last 2 races in favor of just letting the radio play in the background while working on projects in the basement. I have no intention of watching the remainder of the Cup races.

I can't stand all the scripted Chase coverage any longer. I'm done with Cup for 2008 and will try it again in February.

As far as NW and Trucks, I'm still there 100%.

Lisa Hogan said...

Burned out on NASCAR TV? No
Burned out on ESPN TV? Yes

I watch all of the NASCAR coverage on SPEED. I watch the races of all three series and ARCA when it is on TV.

ESPN has managed to run me away from most of the practice and qualifying they cover. They don't show the cars on the track, which is what I tune in for.

ESPN has managed to run me toward radio coverage of the Cup races because they don't cover the race. ESPN is the first network to do this, which says a lot!

Thanks again for this site, JD. :)

Geeze said...

This might not be to popular, but maybe we have too much NASCAR on TV. I come from an era where you got a highlight version of th Daytona 500 and brief interview with the winner on Wide World of sports and that was it.

There was no mention of NASCAR anywhere where during the rest of the week. As more race's started to be shown flag to flag and the 80's, when ESPN started showing every race, I was in heaven.

Today we almost non-stop NASCAR starting on Friday all through the weekend. We have practices, qualifying and numerous shows talking about the practice and qualifying. We also have a NASCAR show every weeknight which by mid week seems to be struggling to find something to talk about at times.

Don't get me wrong, I'll watch it all when I can, but maybe folk's are just NASCAR'd out by Sunday.

Terri said...

I can't say it any better than Rockin' Rich has said. I love Nascar, but BF has changed the sport too much and the TV coverage overall sucks.

I will never give up my racing, no matter how bad it gets. I'm a fan for the long haul (28 years so far).

Terri said...

I can't say it any better than what Rockin' Rich has said in his comments.

yankeegranny said...

I am not burned out. Annoyed, disgusted, but not burned out. I am to the place where I skip the pre-race garbage and mute the ESPN sound, turn on my race view( wouldn't be without it) and listen to the coverage on MRN. I head to Pit Command and the live leaderboard for qualifying, unless Speed is covering qualifying. I think that races should START at 1:00 whereever they are, unless they are a night race and I would start them at 7:00. If you have a problem with the time, tape it and think how many commercials you can skip.I am looking foreward to FOX. DW. TNT and the whole 2009 season. As for ESPN and its' coverage, I would compare it to the parking at Martinsville; they both are about as bad as it gets, Fortunately, with the wonders of programs like Race View, and MRN next year I can skip both of them.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:56 , the whole world seems to disagree with you . At least the vast majority on this blog . For people like you who are the most casual of casual fans , each over done story might be an eye opener . But for anyone who knows even a little about stock car racing , the shows are very tedious .A handfull of stories repeated over and over by different talking heads on different shows every day . Again , the sport just isn't interesting enough to support non stop tv shows telling the fans what they already know .

Anonymous said...

After 48 years of following stock car racing, I'm burned out. There is no excitement anymore. We know who the Cup champ will be (if we believe the TV commentators), the race viewing is limited to the same drivers week after week, the extra programming is devoted to one of those same drivers, the drivers themselves are playing it safe because of the Chase, and then there's all the stuff that JD doesn't want me to talk about in this particular column (LOL).

I watch TWIN because they make me laugh or grimace, but skip all the pre-race & post-race stuff as it's the same week after week after week. Being on the West Coast, I wouldn't mind a bit if the races started earlier - am up at 5 a.m. anyway. Always feel sorry for the East Coast people who have to stay up until after midnight to catch the last lap on a night race. Hey, maybe that's part of the problem with sleeping through the races - they're past most people's bedtimes and they're boring to boot!

What will make racing popular again? Doing away with all the things that JD won't let me talk about this morning! LOL

Anonymous said...

Too much pre-race coverage. I want to look in the tv guide, find out what time the race coverage starts, tune my tv to the race coverage show at the top of the hour and have the race starting by 10 minutes past the hour. I'm frustrated by the seemingly 6 hours of pre-race coverage, first on SpeedTV, and then on the network shows. When the tv guide says a race starts at 2:00, I tune in at 2:00 and the race doesn't start until 2:45.

Also, get back to the races starting earlier in the day by 1:00 at the latest.

Dmo said...

This is the first year where I have tuned-out NASCAR racing in favor of Football and Hockey. For many years, I would watch racing and spin over to the other games during commercial breaks; this year, I'm checking-in on the race during breaks in the game. My interest in NASCAR hasn't waned: I still make it a point to watch qualifying and any NASCAR-based show I can. But, I have checked-out on the races this year. I attribute my apathy to the lack of good/interesting racing (for all the reasons we're not supposed to reference) and the incredibly-dull ESPN coverage. If I had access to the MRN/PRN coverage, and could sync it up with the ESPN video, I might feel differently; but that wouldn't change the quality of the core product. If anyone of importance at ESPN or NASCAR is reading this, please note that I'm male, 40, have a family, a good job, and have followed NASCAR since Daytona in 1979.
-D

Skip said...

For me, it's the lousy ESPN/ABC coverage. I'm a Tony Stewart fan, and while he gets his share of coverage, at times things just get frustrating. For example, at Atlanta, at one point he went into the pits somewhere around 9th-10th, and came out last car on the lead lap, from which he never recovered. And ESPN never mentioned it, so I have no idea what happened. they do this all the time. The come into the race with a preset notion of what stories they are going to cover, and don't let the actual race get in the way of them much.

I hope that, going into homestead, it's down to 2 people mathematically possible to get the cup, and they wreck each other on lap one. If that happened, ESPN would literally have nothing to talk about and we'd probably have dead air for 4 hours for the rest of the race.

Anonymous said...

AMEN, Skip!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

But for anyone who knows even a little about stock car racing , the shows are very tedious .

Then don't watch them.

What is the problem here?

If I enjoy the coverage, why should I not be able to watch it, just because YOU don't like it?

There are 499 other channels out there. Pick a new one.

By the way, I know a great deal about stock car racing and don't fin the shows tedious.

Anonymous said...

For people like you who are the most casual of casual fans , each over done story might be an eye opener .

Don't assume you know everyone and everything.

I race on Saturday nights. Calling me a "casual fan" proves you're wrong about who likes these shows, becaue I do.

Anonymous said...

Burned out? Yes.

For the core fan all the increased programming of NASCAR in general is great. You either tune in or you don't. Speed and Fox does a good job of their Cup coverage. ESPN has it's trangressions.

But to me several things are leading to declining ratings:

1. Start times...All over the map. Rethink these times TV executives! Just like Texas 3:47pm EST green flag. Come on. They have already lost some of the audience to football. When the checkered flag falls folks are doing Sunday dinner, church, watching highly rated shows like 60 Minutes, Deparate Housewives...whatever the show is, the viewer is gone by then. And hey factor in a heavy dose of cautions and green, white checker and this deal just looses people now (check out A&B.

A. I am maybe off of the poplular view but I don't like green white checker. Prolongs this thing which is my point above.

B. "Debris cautions"...Well that's a subject now isn't it? The end of the race breeds way too many cautions -- artifical or not. And then the tracks now seem to take way longer to clean up. Watch it closely. A no-wreck semi-spin in Atlanta last weekend resulted in several laps of caution. That thing should have been ready to go in 2 laps. It surely seems to me they drag this out to sell more commercials. And by the way in the old days NASCAR would have told Michael Waltrip to park that exploding race car. Bu just maybe now in the new Millennium they needed a few more cautions to make Atlanta exciting...?

2. A drastic rethink and retooling is needed on the length of the races. We need a paradigm shift fellas. Lookit, to me Formula One is a joke: two-hour time limits, what a crock! But on the other end now we find Cup races 3:45 mins - 4hrs...Way way too long for today's market and viewer. Let's put it like this: Charlotte there should always be a "World 600"...That is a test of man and machine that is as pertinent to Cup as the Daytona 500. But let's do a 400 miler at Charlotte in the fall. Have one 500-miler at Texas and a 400 miler. Pocono? Way too long. martinsville 400 laps. Bristol? Well I thought I would never say this but maybe you need a 400 lapper at the spring race there. My point, by the time you advertise a "1pm" thing and do 90-mins of lead in of asking the same old questions over and over and then adding extended races and extended cautions and GWC, man you get a long day. can't hold on to the audience that long. And some people frankly just wash their car on a beautiful summer's day and listen on the radio.

3. The Chase to me is fine technically. I don't have aproblem with it at all. Kinda mixes things up and puts 12 guys in it where only 2-3 were by September under the old rules. But the therory for the Chase was to create excitement to lure away from football. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't. But I think it's just much simpler than that. By early fall in the country people just tune in figureatively and literally to college and pro football. Ain't gonna change that. No college degree needed for that one. The core and rabid race fans will follow their sport. Beyond that core audience it's done...ain't gonna happen. Time has shown that. I actually think, despite what Brian Z said back in 2004 that NBC was doing a helluva job promoting NASCAR. The ratings show it. There haven't been that good of ratings anywhere since for the second half of the season.

4. And maybe the core fan has just gotten too cynical. Too much change in the basic product and they have lost interest. Jerry Punch, as nice as he is, can't help us there. He can't say 90,000 fans where there are 40,000. He can't make up for the lack of good racing the CoT has presented us with. You just can't stay away from that subject. The CoT has thrown a monkey wrench into this thing. It is a ways off in a big way from being perfected and the fans see it and tune out. What's the use watching 250 laps of a 4-8 second leader lead and then waiting all that time for NASCAR to throw "competition cautions" or debris cautions or whatever you call them? The basic product now is bad; defective. It hasn't nearly been that way in most years of Cup. To me it's a sytemic problem that people may not want to see.

Anonymous said...

skip at 11:27 wrote:
"I hope that, going into homestead, it's down to 2 people mathematically possible to get the cup, and they wreck each other on lap one."

*********************

I wonder how many drivers want someone like this for a fan.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

Count me in as "Yes".

I was thinking along the same lines on Sunday. We TIVO, then watch in the evening. Used to be couldn't wait and would sometimes start early. Now I find myself ambivalent about it. I know why.

It is the coverage on ABC/ESPN.

I do not feel this way about F1 or Trucks. Not even NW as much, even though it is still ESPN, as they are much better with the NW broadcast.

When you listen to highlights and they have MRN/PRN calls it just seems like a totally different race. I just don't understand why ESPN does not see the need to have excitement in the booth. I know we have folks that can not stand DW and/or Larry Mac for whatever reasons. But, they are always excited, enthused and engaged in the race. Same with Wally and Kyle on TNT. You would like them in your living room watching with you, which is how they come across.

As far as other shows, the malaise has crept over. TIVO everything, but end up not watching or FF'ing prac/qual if ESPN, but not SPEED. Same with NN, but watch all of TWIN (now that they fixed it).

I would watch shows like 24/7 or 360 where you get to know the teams/drivers. Have actually changed opinions on drivers from neg to pos after seeing a little more up close and personal.

Anyway...bottom line... ESPN has worn me out. When you can't sit back, put your feet up and just have a good time watch, what is the point!!

Bill said...

I am also partially burnt out with the Racing. The races start so late in the day along with cookie cutter tracks and 6 to 10 competitive cars that have even a chance to win. It seems like there is no personality left in NASCAR, all of the drivers are alike along with the cars. I miss the racing as it was 20 years ago, with the different cars,etc. It seemed that more drivers had a chance to win. Now NASCAR has watered everything down so much, I've lost interest.

Julie said...

I LOVE NASCAR! But for the first time in literally years I have found myself wandering away during the races, and I can envision a time when (gasp!) I might even skip a race - especially a non-Chase race.

For me it's as simple as this: The races are too long, the season is too long, and the COT does not produce good racing.

Anonymous said...

Instead of all these stupid shows telling us what we were watching all week-end and dumb questions asked of all drivers why don't someone do a program or two on what the drivers and their girl friends and wives do on off time? That would be more interesting than the junk they put on now.

Anonymous said...

I think that you cannot please all the people all the time and some people cannot be pleased any of the time.

I'm from the west and I can remember when NASCAR races were not only not on tv, but they were not even on the radio. Our local paper never even reported the results of the race on Monday's paper. We had no Internet.

It was so exciting when we finally got a race televised. Oh, it would have been so glorious if VCRs of some kind had been invented at that time. We did not care about the production quality, or what anyone was wearing, or the long laundry list of current complaints.

I think that some of the fault lies on the drivers. Most of them make no connections with fans. Just because you sign autographs for a few minutes at the track, does not spell into 5 million people turning in to see you week in and week out.

While driving, DJ was constatnly in UPS commercials, and he really hooked up universally. Look at M Waltrip--only 4 wins. Who would have guessed? He comes off very lovable in all his commercials. Even when he got into trouble, all his sponsors stuck with him because they knew he had such a strong base.

I want lots of NASCAR tv choices, not less. I hope they improve, but if not, I can vote with the off button.

Anonymous said...

I am also partially burnt out with the Racing. The races start so late in the day along with cookie cutter tracks and 6 to 10 competitive cars that have even a chance to win. It seems like there is no personality left in NASCAR, all of the drivers are alike along with the cars. I miss the racing as it was 20 years ago, with the different cars,etc. It seemed that more drivers had a chance to win. Now NASCAR has watered everything down so much, I've lost interest.

Amen, Brother!

Anonymous said...

Instead of all these stupid shows telling us what we were watching all week-end and dumb questions asked of all drivers why don't someone do a program or two on what the drivers and their girl friends and wives do on off time? That would be more interesting than the junk they put on now.

There were a bunch of these a couple if years ago, but "someone" decided to stop producing them.

It's too bad, they showed fans what their drivers were all about.

Steve L said...

Burned out on NA$CAR TV? No, just ESPN TV coverage.

I'm lucky enough to go to about 10-15 races per year as a still photographer. I shoot for a Racing website and my photos are used on that site in their articles.

I am and have been a huge racing fan since the sixties.

I always DVR the races I attend while away from home so I can watch when I return. Being all over the place while shooting and having very limited sight at some infields, you just miss some of the action.

I'm always surprised at the 'view' I get live at the track than the 'view' I get watching the recorded race. The ESPN version of the race is so low keyed as to what I just saw live! I just don't get how they can take an exciting race and make it so boring!

In-car camera shots to me are just aggravating, at any time! I'd much rather see the cars passing each other from anywhere other than an in-car camera.

Whether I'm at home or at the track, I watch every race. Cup, Nationwide, and Trucks. Nationwide racing was good until they stunk it up with the 'tapered spacers'. They had to slow them down as to not 'out show' the bombing COTs. The Trucks are the best racing out there and the ratings are showing that. The racings great, coverage is so much better than the others (ESPN) and folks are seeing that.

I'd watch NA$CAR TV year round if it was worth watching......

PammH said...

Yes, I'm burned out having to WORK to follow a race. I only feel this way about Cup, not Cup Lite or trucks. But I'm no longer watching NN, not enough new that I can't get off the web & Boris Said HAS GOT TO GO! btw, I'm w/JD, someone really doesn't like Craven??

Anonymous said...

After 45 years of following NA$CAR, I don't care a great deal about who wins. For years, I rooted for whoever drove a Ford but now the brand is simply a decal so it makes no difference. I no longer set aside the time to watch the race live. I have my DVR set to record every Cup race in case I have something to do or fall asleep. I frequently erase the race without watching it or zipping through the boring parts and watching a 500 mile race in 45 minutes and not miss a thing. I start watching the race when the green flag drops and stop when the checkered flag drops. I found the garbage before and after adds no value to my viewing experience.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Whether it's burn-out or not, starting last night, all 4 major sports are now going on-

Anonymous said...

Howdy JD,

I would say that the issue is the number of races and not all because of the lack in ESPN coverage. The year is way too long, and because many of us watch Fall-sports, racing at times gets in the way.

No why would I say such a thing you ask?? I mean really... who wouldn't watch racing 100% of the year?? I would love to watch it 100% of the year.. so what's the real issue here?

IMHO, the problem is that the NASCAR season falls flat during the Fall months, hence the reason why we all think the season is way too long. So how can this be fixed?

Here's my plan. I wish NASCAR would do an experiment.. flip the broadcast coverage..

- ESPN covers the first set of races. We're so excited the season has started that we never notice that the coverage is tanking so badly

- TNT the comes in and covers their normal slot. They get people re-energized and ready for what's to come next

- FOX closes things out. They cover the rest of the season with their normal exciting and excellent coverage. With the help from SPEED, the end of year will be what NASCAR has been wanting all along..

What do you think??

l8r

Anonymous said...

There is no way that Fox would ever give up NFL, etc. to run NASCAR. Think about it, they have the number 1 sport in the nation and the highest rated pre-game show. I think they like the schedule just fine.

Anonymous said...

I would agree about the races being too long. If drivers and announcers talk during and after the race about how the first 400 laps/miles are "just staying out of trouble" and the last 100 are "where the real racing is" then why should I watch the first 400? To see who blows a tire?

I DVR NASCAR Performance, but watch no other pre or post show.

Ken said...

Many people complain that the races are to long. They may be but it won't change. The races are long so they can sell more commercials. How many of the debris cautions are called so they can sell more ads? A 3 lap caution becomes a 6 lap caution so they can sell ads. I know many debris cautions are purely to close up the field or let a chosen one catch up but they are longer than they need to be so they can sell ads.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Each slice of the Sprint Cup Series pie has a "hook" for the TV network involved.

Fox gets the Daytona 500 and gets to make a lot of noise at a relatively slow time of the year for them.

TNT gets the summer race at Daytona and serves as a bridge between the important pieces of the pie.

ESPN gets the entire 10 race Chase which works well on ABC because that network does not have Sunday NFL.

Fox will not change because their NFL efforts are very successful and they love that sport.

ESPN is chocked-full of college hoop until March Madness, so they like having the Chase for ABC in the fall.

Great comments so far and read by many folks!

JD

KoHoSo said...

I'll put mine very simply this time.

I am not burned out on NASCAR per se. However, I am burned out on what NASCAR has become. I found myself more excited this past weekend to watch the non-points-paying IndyCar race in Australia than I was to see the Cup race at Atlanta.

If I may be allowed to go off-topic for just a moment, what I worry about more is the crews getting burned out during 38 races in a 52-week year. I think that's a potentially huge untold story as far as TV reporting goes.

David said...

I am burnt out.

I dont care for NASCAR Now. The show, the very little I've seen of it, doesn't capture me. I'd much rather see an RPM2Night revival then this garbage.

Honestly most programming outside of the race, with the exception for RaceDay and Trackside (both of which I've also seen very little of this year) is repetitive.

Everyone says the same things, the same stories are told week in and week out.

Johnson has such a commanding lead at this point in the standings that people are getting burnt out of that too. I have a ton of respect for their accomplishments, but it doesn't excite me when I am a Tony Stewart fan and can barely stand JJ.

We need an exciting race and solid broadcast at Texas otherwise its going to be a rough final 2 weeks of the season.

I have no plans to watch the banquet this year either for the same reasons as above.

Anonymous said...

I'm sad to say, but yes I am burned out. I think it's a case of over-indulging on all the other motorsports out there.

My interest in Cup racing led to NHRA and the Truck and Nationwide Series. Because NHRA, Nationwide and Trucks actually come to Memphis where I live, I actually take more of an interest in their races because they feature drivers I have some chance of seeing in person. By the time I watch all the other programming for my 'other' sports, I'm not as interested in "The Chase" and their 'exciting' 183 point lead...which is nothing compared to a real points race that didn't have to be manipulated in the Truck Series (where there is real excitement with just a 31 point lead).

The Cup series is all too engineered for me -- the cars, the chase format, the fluctuating rules, the edgeless drivers ...and with multiple TV teams covering, you have different types of coverage, so you finally find someone you like, and poof, gone, and likely replaced by someone doing the exact same thing in a way that drives you crazy. I'm with the guy who said PRN/MRN does a better job generating excitement, if I could get the option to get their audio over video, you could forget paying anyone to even show up at the track and be a talking shirt and tie on camera for me.

yankeegranny said...

thank god for Tony jr and Dale jr. Listening to those two on the scanner is without a doube the best part of most races. Other than Chad and JJ in the last few laps of this week, they were far and away the most interesting....finally Tony jr ranted at Jr...priceless

Kenn Fong said...

J.D.,

You have struck a nerve with me. I just allowed my NASCAR Scene and NASCAR Illustrated subscriptions to lapse and may consider droppng Hot Pass. If I do, that will mean I won't be committed to NASCAR at all. Buying Hot Pass committed me to watching every race because otherwise I was throwing money away.

TNT and Fox coverage was good enough, but I depended on Hot Pass since I liked the feeling of being "inside" my driver's team. Rick Allen and Phil Parsons both did terrific jobs, and both seem ready for the big time. They have voices and speaking cadences which are smooth and easy to take for 3 hours or more at a time, and they have a good sense of when to focus on minutiae and when to back out and look at the bigger picture. During the racecast, they keep me informed about the race as a whole, not just what's happening with the 88 team.

Having Hot Pass opened up a whole new window into NASCAR for me. It's one thing to hear the scanner, it's another thing to have Rick and Phil explain the jargon and team-insider slang to me. I also got to see each member of the pit crew, and learn what each member does, even when they're not over the wall.

In general I think all the network directors and producers use tight shots way too often. In-car cameras only add to the story when handling is a problem or there is some other specific story to be told. Otherwise, why bother? You can't see the driver's face because of the shield. (Yes, I know, it's the placements, which paid for the in-car coverage.) I would also use the in-camera shot more often as an inset, while keeping the main focus on the race itself.

I curse Roone Arledge and his invention of "Up Close and Personal." This production approach works best when dealing with the Olympics or a fringe sport where we might be interested in learning about an athlete we don't know, but to use it in NASCAR where the same dozen or so drivers dominate the rest of the field is ridiculous, but also squanders valuable real estate: coverage of the race itself.

No pre-produced flashy Chyron features during the race except during delays! EVER! Just because time and money was spent producing those walking through the tunnel effects doesn't mean you have to use them! Sometimes I get the feeling I'm watching a video game. I think all NASCAR racecast producers (not you, J.D., you're retired) are like trophy large-mouth bass: If it's shiny and it moves, I WANT IT!

I'd also cut the bumpers in and out of breaks to 5 seconds or less. In fact, I wouldn't use a bumper at all: I'd use a Chyron with a race status update under a wide shot of the field. I understand bumpers are there to cushion those who are channel-hopping and to assist local affiliates who might return a second or two late, but c'mon! Do we really need all that slasher music?

Most of all, I think the whole season is way too long. It starts two months before baseball and ends a month after baseball. I think this might be the biggest barrier to converting the casual fans or those who sample a race or three into committed fans. If the fan base doesn't grow, sooner or later NASCAR will wither through attrition. It won't go away completely, but the funding will dry up for the field-fillers, and I believe we're not far away from short fields.

The other barrier to expanding the fan base is most races run too long. Not only are they too long in terms of clock time, but they feel too long.

You asked about the clutter of NASCAR television shows. I don't watch any of the pre-race shows. I have my DVR set for NASCAR Now, This Week In NASCAR, NASCAR Performance, and a couple others, but those three are the only ones I watch without fail. I never miss the Monday shows, and the consistently excellent NASCAR Performance is the one show I enjoy and learn from the most. (The last show had a great feature on camber, using extreme close-ups from the surface camera to show just how little of the tire surface was in contact with the track going down the straight-aways. Chad and Bootie used this illustration to show how pressure and heat concentrates on the right-front, and how that heat leads to bead failures.)

There are a couple of other minor things which I'd suggest to help the sport. Free advice is often worth what you pay for it...

Let's have more night races. The cars look great under the lights, and a Saturday night race frees up a Sunday afternoon. Since Saturday night is considered to be a ratings anchor for the over-the-air networks, this might be a good fit, particularly in late summer, when the networks are promoting their new fall season. More free Sundays might make the season feel less like an endurance test.

Humpy Wheeler said that he'd have all the teams choose an overall color scheme and stay with it all season. It would make it easier to pick your driver out of the pack each time you watch a race. I understand that there are sponsor considerations, and special event paint schemes, but I think he's right.

The #12 car looks odd in Kodak orange. (I understand that won't be a problem after this season.) Ditto the 24 in Nicorette green or black. And the 88? It has been through more colors than a peacock, although the overall dark hood and roof and white body theme has mostly been maintained.

Thanks for letting me vent, J.D. And by the way, if you don't see me return next year, it's nothing personal. You are first site I turn to each day for NASCAR news in general, not just television-related matters. At the risk of sounding cumulatively fulsome, you're the best.

Patriotic Kenny
Who has already voted in California

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I like the ESPN coverage and hate FOX/SPEED. I hope nobody pays much attention to the one sided views on this blog.
I hope they do pay attention.

Because this is FAR from the only place I see complaints about ESPN's "coverage" of NASCAR.

Anonymous said...
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David said...

Anon, they ARENT targets because they are women.

Krista Voda does an AMAZING job with SPEED and with FOX, Wendy Venturi had to learn her craft and has done an amazing job as well.

But when your lead pit reporters best question is "how does it feel?" then you have an issue.

FOX gets their share of heat as well. Tune in for a full season before you say this is a biased blog dude.

I hate FOX's use of Digger and how its turned into a 5 year old controlling the broadcast, however they are genuinely excited about the race and have a solid booth. ESPN lacks those in my opinion.

Instead of telling us that you hate FOX/SPEED tell us WHY.

WHY DO YOU LIKE ESPN? Give some reasons instead of a statement.

Thats probably why your stuff gets deleted, you just say things about how you hate such and such instead of addressing the topic.

If you have an opinion, great. I want to hear it as much as JD does, but give some support for that opinion perhaps giving me and others a different perspective.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Many thanks for TDP and all you do. I am continually amazed at all the effort you take to make TDP a worthwhile place to visit - and your ability to always phrase just the right issue. Would you be available for Geo. Bodenheimer's job? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm a long time fan of Nascar, and I'm not burned out this year. I don't like ESPN's coverage of Nascar. I love ESPN's coverage of Baseball, Football, and Basketball, but their Nascar coverage leaves a lot to be desired. The races aren't anywhere near as exciting as they used to be, and because I'm a fan of just about all sports, if I don't like what's going on in the race, I can turn on something else. I'll pass on watching qualifying if it's on ESPN, but I'll watch a practice session the same day if it's on Speed. It's kinda disappointing, because I've been a Nascar fan since the age of 4, and this is the first time I've struggled to get into it, and it's mostly because of the atrocious TV coverage on ESPN's part.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Sorry for the trolls guys, but let's not feed them please.

Great discussion going with a slew of good points.

JD

Richard in N.C. said...

In all fairness, NASCAR on TV this year is like not being allowed to have 2nd's (or 3rd's) on Thanksgiving. Pretty dern good, but it's so close and could be so much better.

tom in dayton said...

Mr. D:
I'm kind of half way burned out, but in a larger way I'm disappointed.

Each TV provider has its pluses and negatives, some more glaring than others. DW and Digger this year seemed to be the negatives to an otherwise excellent FOX segment.
The TNT slice was unbelievable in 2008 compared to last year, especially with RACEBUDDY! Then came ESPN... The misassignment of Jerry Punch, so well documented here and elsewhere, has highly diminished what should have been a good second year season for these TV partners.
I do need to give some background for an observation I have. I grew up in SCCA racing but always had the opportunity to follow dirt track racing within 100 miles of Dayton. Living in DC kept me away from going to the races as often as in my youth (although I was largely responsible for the President's visit to Daytona in '84 - what a way to go!), so the occasional broadcast on TV or radio was my lifeline to the sport either in open or closed wheel racing. Returning to Dayton in '93 after becoming burnt out in a political life, I returned to more attendance at races and got to know several of the current Cup drivers and in fact co-sponsor one of them in the sprints. I continued to follow the TV/radio broadcasts as well appreciating the fact that the broadcasts were more readily available and numerous on cable. Now, I still do dirt racing, as well as some SCCA and IRL on road courses and usually get to a dozen Cup races each year.
My observation is this: in the past seven years, with the blossoming of the Internet, following races has become so much more that just watching a TV broadcast and, I feel, the TV broadcasts have suffered because of the Internet and the ability to reach multiple sources simultaneously during a broadcast. When a TV broadcast keeps me focused on it to the exclusion of all other inputs available, I marvel because it's like old time racing (the truck broadcasts and the occasional Nationwide race are examples). It's too bad that the Cup broadcasts can't reach this level more often!
So, no, I'm not burnt out. That will happen when I'm looking up at the roots of plants and grass six feet under. It just could be a lot better to enjoy a race without multi-tasking like I don't have to do with other sports broadcasts.
Just a thought...

slamminsam said...

Burned out!!! I think all the networks had to stretch
to pay the bill for the broadcast rights to Nascar races, therefore they are constantly having to find ways to broadcast more and more to cover the cost.Thus we have hours of pre race shows which forces a later start time for the actual race!By the time you see the green flag you know what the chosen "cash cow" drivers of the super teams have eaten all weekend how, what color their underwear is ,what mood they might be in and so on and so on !!!
since they only speak about the top 12 or 14 drivers you can pretty much say you are just watching repetetive bunk!while this is successfully done on the NFL pre- game you can note one big difference there are 32 teams competing and there are always highlights and news regarding each!
Now to the race coverage,In my opinion since you are only going to hear about the super team driver and see their cars go around the track,{and a big part of that is the sponsor on the car and how much they are tied in to Nascar},it is as though the chase starts in Daytona in Feb.I think this is an injustice to the teams and their sponsors that show up every week and help provide a field for the show, but are not equipped to run up front or win on a regular basis. On that note we move on to the"Chase"at this point the only coverage is on those teams and the rest of the field might as well be parked because they don't exist as far as the networks and Nascar are concerned!Again,how does this serve a top 25 team that may be trying to sell a sponsor for the upcoming season? As we all know that is not going so well right now ! Hell, they might as well paint the rest of the field orange and just pay them a straight fee to show up and be traffic for the Childress,Gibbs Hendrick,Roush,Sprint Cup Race!!
I have been watching Nascar races on television and in person since the the mid to late 60,s And what I see now just pisses me off!!!!and wears me out!!!and I watch less and less all the time!

Anonymous said...

At the beginning of the season, there is no runaway points leader, or multi-race winners, and fans of all drivers feel involved. Late in the season, all drivers fates are sealed and the running of the races seem academic. With so many entertainment options, why watch the richest teams get richer? I enjoy the TNT races the most and the ABC/ESPN coverage. I am not a fan of Fox with the exception of Mike Joy and Jeff Hammond.

David said...

Annon @9:47

I hear what you are saying, but that same thing about no run away leaders and such can be applied to the start of the Chase.

Even when the Chase started, ESPN appeared deadset to focus on a handful of drivers. Johnson, Edwards and Busch. Stewart and Gordon were outside stories due to their winless streaks.

It took Jeff Burton pulling off a win for him to get any attention, Biffle won 2 straight and still gets under-discussed in my opinion. Meanwhile Kenseth, Hamlin, Harvick, Bowyer have been non-stories despite making the Chase in most cases.

Yes, most teams fates are sealed at this juncture in the season, but you have drivers doing well like AJ Allmendinger that don't have a ride for next season, Scott Riggs is looking, and others. Why ignore those stories? They can be just as captivating because Dave Blaney has an incredibly loyal following and his future is in question.

TNT has done a massive turnaround in 3 years. If they could curb using the races as a platform to pitch their shows and just cover the race much like their NBA coverage covers basketball then they would be even better.

I have no doubt ESPN has the pieces to be the best NASCAR TV partner out there, the potential is seen week in and week out. But the unnecessary close angles and in-car cams as well as monotone play by play isn't going to cut it.

AMS fan said...

Burned out? Not yet
I still adjust my schedule so I can watch the trucks, Nascar Performance, Raceday, VL, and TWIN.
If I can, I watch Nationwide. The Memphis race was great.
I'm tired of the coverage of Nationwide and Sprint cup so I don't give it the extra effort.
Commercials- I don't like them either. I hear some "NASCAR Veterans" complain about the amount of commercials.
I looked at the commercial stats and by the numbers there have been fewer commercials this year compared to last year. It's only 2% to 5% less, but it's LESS.
JD, please correct me if I'm wrong.
At one time, 2006, I thought I found some stats that the average was 33% commercials, 67% race.
In 2008 it has been as low as 23% commercials, 77% racing. That's a pretty good ratio.
Not burned out on NASCAR-TV, just burned out on ESPN-TV.

jojaye said...

I am burned out now, yes. Not by NASCAR coverage,but, BAD Coverage is exhausting to watch.
When TNT took over (seems like years not months ago) the great coverage, short tho' it was, like a shot of excitement. Racing was fun to watch. I had the TV on, Racebuddy & this blog. That was it. And then came espn & bad coverage, I hoped in the beginning they would turn it around like TNT did. I have been sorely disappointed. So instead of relaxing & just watching a race I Have to MultiTask just to get complete info. Its exhausting & I'm tired of it. Do we need fewer races - yes. Daytona could be later forget the Fontana race
& Pocono early & MI early too.
I'm as burned out from bad tv coverage as anyone could be!

Now I'll go read the others comments. Thanks for all your hard work on this blog ;)

haus20 said...

Burnt out on NASCAR? NO
Burnt out on NASCAR on ESPN? YES


I'll take the trucks on SPEED.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to NASCAR, ESPN just doesn't "get it". We are race fans, we want to watch a race, not an entertainment show.

I am so tired of the Chase! If your favorite driver isn't in the Chase, you stand a good chance of not seeing his car all weekend, unless he's next to a Chaser on the track.

I love the Fox/Speed coverage. It's like having a group of friends over watching the race with you, but they know more about it than you do.

I'm kind of burned out now, but will watch Cup qualifying and the races until the end -- even tho my driver is having a horrible year. By mid-January, I am so ready for the new season, I drive everyone crazy.

Anonymous said...

For years I listened to races on radio, before they were on TV in the Northeast. Then I started watching races on TV. But lately, I do not care as much; sad but true. I would rather go to my local 1/4 mile Thunder Road than sit through commercial after commercial. I never watch any of the pre-race shoes, they are really a waste of time 95% of the time. I have also stopped watching the Nationwide series, as who cares which Buschwacker steps down in class and wins. Can Carl Edwards really be thrilled to win the Sam's Town race?

Anonymous said...

I"m not burned but that does not mean I watch every single NASCAR program. It's like the nightly news, I watch it, but if I miss it I can log on to the Ineternet.

I watch all the races and some of the practices. For me, it's a combination of the network, and the team that makes a difference if I really enjoy the whole race.

I really like the Fox crew. Even though I was not crazy about digger, it did not stop Fox from having another banner year. For the 8th year, NASCAR on Fox is still the most watched sport on tv from Feb-June.

I think that probably one of the elements that's missing in other networks is the chemistry between the tv crew members themselves as well as their chemistry with the viewing audience.

Anonymous said...

I have been following NASCAR since the 1960's, not easy for someone living in the rural north at the time. The vast majority of the time, I had to find a Detroit newspaper just to check for the finishing order in the scores section. No story or description, just the finishing order. I continued following the sport through the years as it gradually gained a presence on television. When I could finally see all the races broadcast on cable TV in the 1980's, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

I have no problem with the COT, the length of the races, or the length of the season. The races have already gone through one period where many of them were shortened, and I would not like to see them shortened further. The present length provides more changing track conditions, more opportunity for teams to adjust, and generally adds more strategy.

This is not a COT column, but I cannot resist one observation. For the drivers and fans who like to blame it for everything, I suggest we go back to the 1960's. Everyone ran STOCK cars. Stock bodies, stock frames, etc. They looked exactly like showroom cars because they were. They had high centers of gravity and handled badly. They got aero loose and aero tight. A lot of the races were no more exciting than today's COT races. People have an unfortunate tendency to look at the past through rose-colored glasses. NASCAR's cup series (Grand National in the old days) has run a variety of car configurations through the years, and I see no great difference with the COT.

I am a "big picture" fan. I like to look at the race as a whole rather than follow an individual driver. Watching the ebb and flow of a long race can be fascinating. I like to follow the best racing whether it is at the front, in the middle of the pack, or at the back. I also like to keep track of the entire field including accidents, mechanical problems, etc. that affect the individual teams.

The most intense competition usually occurs mid-pack, not in the top 10. Traditional front runners like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart have often said they hate getting stuck back in the pack because it's crazy back there. Near the front, drivers often don't contest a pass until near the end of the race. There is a mutual courtesy that drivers extend to each other. That gentlemen's agreement is absent in mid-pack, and that's where you see the most intense racing.

I also follow the actions of the sanctioning body closely in the same "big picture" way. It happens in slow motion normally, and it is too technical for most fans; but I enjoy it greatly. If you know NASCAR's history, its organization, and its goals and motives, things become much clearer.

I have never been very interested in the personalities of the sport. I get enough from the occasional interviews during races and am not interested in support shows that focus on individuals. I often find I wish I didn't know quite so much. Too often, people held up as idols turn out to have feet of clay. For fans who enjoy that type of support programming, I have no criticism; but I have never watched it.

I seldom watch qualifying, and the pre-race shows are not worth my time. Too many of the shows seem to focus on the flamboyant personalities of the on-air personnel. I will not endure two or three hours of pre-race hype and fluff to get five minutes of useful information.

I long for the good old days of Benny Parsons, Ned Jarrett, etc. when the race was the show. Now it seems too many of the broadcasters are there to provide color by virtue of their own colorful personalities. DW comes to mind as an example. I think he is the best at providing insight into car handling and noticing problems before anyone else is aware of it. But his personal biases, including shilling for NASCAR, make him nearly intolerable to me.

I agree with a previous commenter who suggested that producers are too in love with the latest technical gadgets and gimmicks. I remember when the in-car camera came into use. I sometimes wish it had never been developed. The same goes for all the gadgets and gimmicks that do more to clutter a broadcast rather than enhance a race. Producers seem to think that if somebody can dream something up, it must be an improvement. It isn't.

I don't understand ESPN. Along with gimmicks, gadgets, and pre-produced features that take precedence over actual racing, they seem to believe that more is better in terms of on-air staff. While they seem to be continually adding to their on-air personalities, it does nothing to improve the quality of broadcasts. When something isn't working, adding more people rarely fixes the problems. In the 1980's, they produced far better race broadcasts with far fewer people. That should tell ESPN something.

At an absolute minimum, I expect a major network like ABC/ESPN to demonstrate competency. Dr. Jerry Punch has used up his good will built up with me during the old days. There is no excuse for ESPN to continue with him in the play by play role. They should fire or reassign some of their pit reporters as well. It is painful to watch people who know nothing of the sport embarrass themselves on national TV. I expect far better from the self-described world-wide leader in sports.

For all of my frustration with on-air people, it is the unseen decision makers who are driving me away. One or more people are deciding on story lines prior to a race, and it is being forced on viewers regardless of actual events. ESPN focuses on a relatively few drivers, and the rest are ignored. The cameras and announcers focus on the favored few at the front of the pack and ignore everyone else. For a "big picture" fan like me, this is a slap in the face. It's no wonder that TV fans think COT racing is boring. ESPN ignores more than three quarters of the field including the best side by side racing going on back in the pack.

I expect few fans would describe themselves as "big picture" fans, but most do have interest in drivers other than the favored few chosen by ESPN. Commenters consistently say they want coverage throughout the field including followup interviews when a team has a problem. And ESPN consistently ignores them.

I have reluctantly reached the conclusion that the decision makers at ESPN do not like or understand the sport from a fan perspective. It was merely a business decision to televise the sport, and they think methods and practices in other sports also work for NASCAR race coverage. I also am forced to conclude that ESPN has little or no respect for knowledgeable fans of racing. In pursuit of the casual fan, they are ignoring the consistent views of many loyal fans. Racing is not for everyone, no matter how you package it or how many gimmicks you use. Judging by the ratings, ESPN's approach is failing with casual fans and alienating the loyal fan base.

I watch races for enjoyment, a diversion from life's serious issues. When watching a race becomes aggravation rather than enjoyment, it is time to do something else. After finding myself screaming at the TV because of broadcaster incompetence and force-fed story lines, I decided there were better ways to spend my time.

I continue to follow NASCAR through Jayski and the Daly Planet. I now tune in to TV for the start of a race and the first few laps. Then I head off to do something else. ESPN coverage is an insult to me, and I won't sit through it. I tune in again once or twice briefly during a race to get an update, and I leave again. I catch the last part to get the finish. It reminds me of the old days when I had to get a Detroit paper to get the finishing order.

Burned out by NASCAR racing? NO
Bummed out by ESPN? YES

Rockin Rich said...

To the Anon of 11/2 @ 3:46 AM:

That is the best analysis of the entire NASCAR TV environment I have seen yet! Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts down.

JD: Does it make sense to move this article back to the top of the site page, and invite further comments? I think we may be just getting warmed up!

Anonymous said...

To rockin rich -

I am the author of the anonymous post at 3:46 a.m. on 11/2/08. Although that one was unsigned, I am the person who has previously posted under the name "Michigan fan". I have not posted for a month or two because I have been occupied with other matters. When I saw this topic and read the other comments, I felt the need to add my own.

I am grateful to John Daly for providing this opportunity for NASCAR fans to express their views. Watching TV coverage, I sometimes feel like Alice in Wonderland. Everything has been turned on its head, and nothing makes any sense. Knowing that other fans have the same reaction to the coverage reassures me that I have not lost my mind.

I enjoy your own regular comments along with those of many others. Keep up the good work.

Michigan fan

Rockin Rich said...

Here is an interesting quote from an article by Rick Herrin of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, (article posted on Jayski). Please note that the italicized emphasis is mine, not the author's.

Fighting the ‘lull’ While Goldberg would never admit to a boring race, his crew does have to make something interesting when there is an admitted “lull.” Sometimes Goldberg will cut to Tech Center. Other times he might go to his on-camera talent in the pits. Storytelling is Goldberg’s No. 1 priority and getting his talent to tell what might happen is always a focus. ESPN can also go to one of its eight cars equipped three on-board cameras to break up a boring race.

I think that tells you all you need to know!

BTW, speaking of Jayski, I am surprised that the Sat. evening article postings on TDP were not linked on his Sun. Stories page. I don't know that it matters. I think this site is so well known now that there are probably not many new people finding it anyway.

I expect that Jay just hasn't gotten to it yet. He already had made a second articles posting by 8:45 this AM. I can't imagine where that guy finds the time to do all he does anyway.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Rich,

I chose not to send this article to Jayski for his list.

He is getting enough ESPN grief and does not need any more from me.

Jay has been a great partner for me since I began in 2007 and stood fast when ESPN wanted him to drop my columns. He deserves a lot of credit for what he does.

Have you noticed? Another year of NASCAR Now, Nationwide races and 17 Sprint Cup events without one mention of ESPN-owned Jayski.com.

JD

drpep said...

I'm not burned out on NASCAR TV, I'm burned out on ESPN's coverage of 3-4 drivers in a 43 car field.

Rockin Rich said...

Re: JD — 11/2 @ 11:30 AM;

Interesting, I didn't realize that you, (or others), were sending Jayski articles. I assumed he had methods of monitoring article postings, and including posting links as he chose.

I hadn't noticed that he wasn't being mentioned by ESPN, but then I wasn't listening for that kind of thing. As I have said before, I pretty much focus on the race stuff, and let the peripheral things slide by.

I certainly wasn't criticizing Jayski. As I said, I don't see how he finds the time to do all he does. I do know that he can be very choosy about what he publishes, as certainly is his right on his own page.

I have wondered on more than one occasion how he continued to publish your highly ESPN critical articles when he no longer owns his site. In fact, I was really concerned when he announced he was selling it to ESPN. Apparently he got a pretty solid editorial independence clause written into the sales contract. Good for him!

Thanks for keeping this article open for comments while some of the newer ones have been closed.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Rich,

You always think things are more complicated than they are. If you know Jay, he has strong beliefs about what he started and the role it plays in the sport.

He took a stand and won. I am sure that is not the only time he had done the same thing.

JD

Anonymous said...

For me it as simple as the races start too late they should start no later than 1:00pm on sunday races like back when NASCAR was growing instead of shrinking these late starts just make people lose interest. ABC (stands for... All Bull Crap) coverage speaks for itself.