Thursday, October 9, 2008

Edwards vs. Harvick Might Give TV Ratings A Shove


There are 53 Nationwide Series cars waiting to qualify for 43 starting slots on Friday afternoon at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Whether qualifying is rained-out or not, we can expect two cars in the field to be piloted by Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick.

Sprint Cup Series qualifying has already been rained-out and the starting field has been set by points. Edwards and Harvick will both be there as well.

Even as you read this, the news story of Edwards confronting Harvick, putting hands on him and then ending up in a RV driver headlock is continuing to make its way around the world. As it turns out, the only Thursday action between Chase contenders was off the track.

Friday night ESPN2 gets this unlikely duo in the Nationwide Series race and on Saturday night they are back at it during the Sprint Cup event. Where TV ratings are concerned, ESPN could not be happier.

Regan Smith and his yellow line controversy is just not going to bring more TV viewers to NASCAR. However, reading stories online and in the local papers that two well-known Chase drivers were exchanging profanities and bodyslams might just do the trick.

Harvick's Nationwide and Shell ads run all over the TV and Carl Edwards has been seen on everything from Alias to The Chase is On over on SPEED.

Dr. Jerry Punch and his on-air crew of Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree played it cool on Thursday evening when discussing this incident. Edwards was apparently more dismayed at Harvick's choice of words on TV then he was by his own choice of actions at Talladega. Jarrett and Petree said these things will happen and drivers tend to sort things out on their own.

Of course, ESPN would like to have these two wait to sort things out until sometime after 8PM on Friday night. That would be during the live Nationwide Series race. It should also be very interesting to see how the NASCAR on ESPN crew approaches both drivers during the 3PM Friday coverage of Nationwide qualifying. Which pit reporter draws which driver should make for some memorable TV moments.

While the Craftsman Trucks have seen a ratings increase in terms of households, the total numbers of viewers for that series on SPEED is dwarfed by the Sprint Cup TV exposure. ESPN has seen on both the ESPN networks and ABC that ratings are basically flat this season for their two series. Even a wild Sprint Cup Series race from Talladega got the exact same ratings numbers as last year.

Friday night the Nationwide Series on ESPN2 is going up against the Red Sox playing the Tampa Bay Rays in the MLB playoffs on TBS. Meanwhile, Louisville is playing Memphis in college football over on ESPN. Finally, NBC rolls-out a new Deal or No Deal at 9PM.

On Saturday, the Sprint Cup Series moves over to ABC for the 7:30PM race telecast. Right next door on CBS is Florida playing LSU in a very big college football game. It might not surprise anyone to know that ESPN and ESPN2 are both going to be in live college football as well.

This is the tough TV environment into which Punch, Jarrett and Petree must wander on two consecutive nights and find a way to make viewers tune-in and more importantly, stay tuned-in. When they talk about big time TV pressure, this is it. The only remaining night race, a Chase event and in the middle of an on-going economic mess.

TV crews are like NASCAR teams, they either band together and put it all on the line for each other or slowly dissolve into small groups of special interests. ESPN will have eleven voices on-the-air, top flight facilities and a good track for racing.

How the NASCAR on ESPN team emerges from this weekend will probably set the tone for the rest of the season. Just like some drivers who are racing for a ride, there may also be some folks who are going to be working hard to keep their TV slot intact for 2009. It might not only be the racing that gets intense.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thanks for taking the time to drop by.

57 comments:

Vince said...

Oh boy who'll be the first one to ask Kevin or Carl "how they're feeling?" tomorrow night. Jamie or Shannon? The clueless twins.

I'm sure ESPN will hype this one all weekend.

darbar said...

JD, why do you think the two organizations who apparently have photos of the altercation have said they will not publish those photos? Perhaps they're waiting for the highest bidders or did Nascar put out the word that they don't want anyone to see the photos. One would think that ESPN would be drooling to have those pictures. It would make for great TV and probably good ratings.

Dot said...

@ Vince, good one.

Never mind the lack of TV coverage so far, what's NASCAR going to do about this? Weren't they the ones who said they were going to let drivers get away with more stuff this season? This will be interesting.

I first read about this today on MSN.com. I cheated at work, shhhh. I couldn't wait to get home to read more details. I hope this feud lasts awhile. We need the excitement. I just want to know what possessed Carl to go to Kevin's garage stall in the first place. Ooh, to be a fly on that wall.

Karen said...

Isn't Carl on probation for a run-in with Kyle Busch? Does that probation extend to any other driver if he were to have an on-track incident?

I wanna see the pictures.

Alina said...

Karen -

Carl was off probation last week.

Gymmie said...

Karen--double secret probation :)

Sophia said...

Vince

I LOVED the CLUELESS TWINS comment, too. I grew up in the age of the blond Doublemint Twins. But honestly, this girls may be nice but when I see them with a mic talking to a driver after a race, I just CRINGE!! Please girls, erase "Feelings" from your vocabulary. Enough said.

Regarding the fight. Was there really one or is this a 'Phantom debris' story to raise interest? :)

Show me the evidence.

Catty Sophia ;-0

Meow

Anonymous said...

Where's the Zapruder film ???

Until I see unedited raw video, I'm not gonna buy it as anything more than a hyped up PR stunt ... a vain attempt to garner ratings & interest for the rest of the Chase ...


I wonder how Eddie Gossage is going to try to play this up next month for Texas ... LOL



In the Seattle tv market, NASCAR will have King Kong between it and the Florida/LSU game .. King Kong being KING-5 and KONG-6/16 ... LOL

Anonymous said...

The picture attached to Jim Utter's story makes me even more skeptical ...

http://www.thatsracin.com/topstories/story/19692.html

Dot said...

@ Gymmie, I was going to type the same thing. Great minds....

@ Anon 2:13, Good point. I thought the Kevin/Carl incident had a flavor of a PR stunt also. That's why I'm wondering what the suits are going to do.

I guess Gossage will have the honor of the "gimmick" between K/C because Humpy's out of the house. I'm thinking boxing ring, a la Celebrity Deathmatch. Or, Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robots dressed up like Kevin & Carl.

Regarding the photos of the incident, wouldn't you think someone nearby would have them on their cell phone? Anybody check Youtube yet?

Daly Planet Editor said...

The question is, does this rank up there with the Tony Stewart's silent and non-bruising "punch" of Mr. Busch?

Anonymous said...

Until I see unedited raw video, I'm not gonna buy it as anything more than a hyped up PR stunt

If it were a "stunt," there would BE video and the photos would have been released.

The fact that there isn't, is a good sign that the confrontation was real, not staged.

Anonymous said...

The picture attached to Jim Utter's story makes me even more skeptical ...



Why? Edwards smiled just before he went after Kenseth. A smile doesn't mean everything's just fine.

Tom said...

"Why? Edwards smiled just before he went after Kenseth. A smile doesn't mean everything's just fine"


Thats Carl. probably the most false person in the garage. And from what I understand, one of the least liked in the drivers meeting.

I think Marty tried to get a comment, not sure if the question involved the word "feel". I can guarantee the Bobsey twins will use the term either tonight or tomorrow. I've got tonight anyone want to take that bet?!

Tom
Inverness, FL

Anonymous said...

Is there any reporter in NASCAR thats more full of himself than Marty ? In appropriate somber tones with a Walter Cronkite like expression Marty says " and i saw the dent in the 33 car " . Oh brother !
This is , once again , a non issue . Just like all of the many hyped up non issues used to fill air time . Two drivers shoved each other . Is that worthy of more than one mention ? No . Will SPEED and ESPN camp out on this story for the next three days ? OH yea !

majorshouse said...

it will be interesting to see what kind of ratings come out of the races this weekend considering that they are going up agaisnt some major sporting events and if Jerry Punch doesn't keep his act together, this may be the weekend where we see him depart the play by play booth and that would not disappoint me one bit because his ply by play coverage has been utterly horrendous when that network used to pioneer the coverage.

majorshouse said...

I think that Karl showed us his true colors not only on the track last weekend when he wrecked Biffel and the rest of the crowd, but int he garage with Harvick yesterday and that was one skunk he should not have been messing with and frankly it would have been kind of nice to have seen Kevnin beat the crap out of him to teach him a lesson. I think that by Harvick walking away showed his maturity and then when he was grabbed by the shoulders, he just pushed back and who can blame him?

Anonymous said...

I"m of fan of Carl Edwards, but I don't believe he 'showed' anything except sloppiness last week.

He didn't wreck anyone on purpose--unlike Tony, who two weeks ago tried to do just that and paid the price when he wrecked hismelf.

Carl is guilty of making a bad racing decision. No more, no less.

Anonymous said...

Oops, that was "no fan." Danged spell-check!

Anonymous said...

Regardless of who people think would win in a fight between Carl and any other driver in NASCAR the fact is there are some drivers who are simply not going to take any BS from him. I have seen Carl grab the front of Junior's fire suit and threaten to punch Matt Kenseth and neither man retaliated.

Like him or not, Kevin is not going to let Carl/Haskell/Mr. Ed/Busey get away without retaliating. Good for him.

Anonymous said...

"Busey"

Priceless!

Ray said...

This makes me miss Humpy already. He would of brought out his boxing gloves and stirred the pot a little bit more.

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

I'll be curious to see how the Charlotte race does on ABC tomorrow night. ABC has been showing college football Saturday nights for the past several weeks, so we'll be able to compare the ratings pretty easily.

The recent football ratings are:
-8.4: Ohio State/USC (Sat., 9/13, 8 PM ABC)
-4.8: Ohio St./Wisconsin or USC/Oregon (Sat., 10/5, 8 PM ABC)
-4.0: Alabama/Clemson (Sat., 8/30, 8 PM ABC)
-3.6: Va. Tech/Nebraska or Illinois/Penn St. (Sat., 9/27, 8 PM ABC)
-3.1: Georgia/Arizona State (Sat., 9/20, 8 PM ABC)

And that's just the audience for one game/two teams, not the audience for the entire Sprint Cup field on the air.

Talledega got very good ratings (the highest this year, after two weeks of fairly low ratings) but Talledega is one of those races people tune in for no matter what. I'm not sure about Charlotte.

red said...

so cousin carl and happy will be the story/non-story of the weekend, eh? don't know that's there's much more to say that this point, as both drivers aren't talking.

except . . .

IF (and it's a gigantic "IF", folks!) the rumor is accurate and someone had/has photos that have been somehow manipulated out of the media, then we might (again, it's a gigantic "might"!) have a story. i mean, the rumors accuse roush of purchasing the photos directly from the photogs involved right thru nascar "threatening" both the photogs and their parent organizations with loss of credentials if the alleged photos see the light of day.

the thing about rumors is there is often at least a small aspect that is true at some level. so perhaps photos were taken and do/did exist. beyond that? in my opinion, we're into some serious conspiracy theory, unless and until some photog says "yes, i took photos and here's what's happened to them . . ."

a few other points:
* i applaud nascar for doing nothing to penalize the drivers.
* edwards was on probation until 'dega for behavior on the track. even if he were still on probation AND nascar decided to penalize the drivers, this incident would not relate to the on-track probation. regardless, his probation was completed.
* oddly enough, i don't read this a PR stunt: these 2 drivers have no respect for each other and i just can't see someone setting this one up. it reads as if edwards' anger over harvick's comments last sunday weren't cleared up during the week and so spilled into the garage area at edwards' instigation. ( i mean, really now: edwards did not have to confront harvick in the garage with cameras about, did he? isn't there any place else at that entire track where he could have "discussed" his displeasure with harvick, if that's what he wanted to do? really minor league behavior by someone who should know better!) perhaps, had it been someone other than harvick, there wouldn't have been a story -- or a dent!

bottom line for me: the actual incident shouldn't be a story this weekend but likely will be. the only aspect that i might want to see cleared up is the status of photos and/or film. but even that's not so important!

have a great weekend, all! i'll catch up with all the comments late sunday night! someone promise to hoist a few in my honor please? thanks!

Anonymous said...

No , Roush didn't buy the alledged photos . All photogs , in fact all media types , sign away their right to any and all photos or interviews at any NASCAR event . The photos and interviews become the property of NASCAR .

red said...

anon 11:31: interesting. i wasn't aware that photogs and filmers signed away their intellectual property rights at the track. may we assume you're one of those folks who have to do so in order to have the ability to shoot/film at the tracks?
if not, can you cite your source for this info?

i'm not doubting you, per se: i'm just looking for clarification. by extension, that means, for example, harold hinson doesn't actually own the photos on his site? the photos that he watermarks and fans can purchase from him?

jd? can you weigh in on this? anon is providing information that i've never heard before.

Anonymous said...

Your assumption is correct . I was " one of those " .

red said...

anon 12:39: thanks for the clarification: that answers that part of my question. again, i hope i didn't come across as snarky: i'm just trying to understand and didn't want to assume anything.

if you can continue to clarify for me? when a photog takes shots at a track then makes those shots available for sale, does part of the sale profit funnel back to nascar? who actually OWNS the shots: the photog or nascar? if nascar owns them, then is there some sort of standard arrangement between nascar and the photog for splitting the profit?

on another aspect of this: does it follow that if all images from the track are the property of nascar, then nascar can (and does?) in fact control distribution to the extent that some never see the light of day? does that mean that the images we as fans see are only those which have been "cleared" by nascar? or is it less stringent than that: nascar only pays attention to any images which may reflect badly on the sport?

and if THAT'S the case, then i have to wonder why the footage of the edwards/kenseth interaction was allowed to be broadcast repeatedly.

sorry if this has moved us off-target, jd, and feel free to delete but i'm curious about this aspect of the media/nascar partnership and how it may impact what we see as fans.

and thanks again, anon, for your clarification!

Anonymous said...

i wasn't aware that photogs and filmers signed away their intellectual property rights at the track.

They don't. I shoot for a TV station, and the video I shoot at the track is the property of the station, not NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

in my opinion, we're into some serious conspiracy theory, unless and until some photog says "yes, i took photos and here's what's happened to them . . ."


Did you not sse this?

"Although photographers from CIA Stock Photography and Lowe's Motor Speedway caught the moment, both refused to show the photos to The Associated Press and said they had no plans to publish the pictures."

Anonymous said...

on another aspect of this: does it follow that if all images from the track are the property of nascar, then nascar can (and does?) in fact control distribution to the extent that some never see the light of day? does that mean that the images we as fans see are only those which have been "cleared" by nascar? or is it less stringent than that: nascar only pays attention to any images which may reflect badly on the sport?

And, by the way, NO, NASCAR has zero control over what video my employer choses to air once I've shot it.

Anonymous said...

I seem to recall that a sentence on the back of the tickets for NASCAR races ( at least the one in Atlanta ) made reference to all photos being the property of NASCAR . NASCAR Media i suspect owns the rights to photos . I have heard that after their first showing , taped interviews and videos become the property of NASCAR and must from then on be " rented " from NASCAR Media . As much as NASCAR tries to get their share of every dollar , do you believe they would allow people to profit from photos and video without grabbing a percentage ?

Gymmie said...

@anon 2:13--it'll be interesting if he has some boxing gloves ready for them.

LOL Dot! :) GMTA indeed :)

I wish SPEED were over there being nosey this time..them sticking around well after midnight while everyone else was packing up is how we got Ricky Rudd's suckerpunch a few years back. There's always a zillion photogs around...why this one time there allegedly are only *two* who have pictures?

red said...

anon @12:39 and anon @11:31: am i correct that this is the same poster and that this anon is different from anon@1:11 and @1:18, who is a film media person? or is this all the same person? i think i'm needing a flow chart!

and anon@1:15: i think i did, in fact, miss that info you quoted: thanks. any idea from that source as to why they "(had) no plans to publish the picture"?

so, what i think i know is that:
* media folks sign over the rights to their film and/or images at nascar tracks
* but tv stations own the rights to their film product and nascar has zero control over it
* there were photos of the moment but AP has been refused the images by the photogs, who have no plans to publish the images.

anyone else?

Anonymous said...

I seem to recall that a sentence on the back of the tickets for NASCAR races ( at least the one in Atlanta ) made reference to all photos being the property of NASCAR . NASCAR Media i suspect owns the rights to photos . I have heard that after their first showing , taped interviews and videos become the property of NASCAR and must from then on be " rented " from NASCAR Media .

That's the ticket's provisions for non-professionals.

I assure you, professional photographers like myself, employed by professional media outlets, own all the rights to the video we shoot, as the the still guys do with their photos.

NASCAR does not own the rights to our video, nor do we pay for the right to use it in our newscasts.

May I politely suggest that if you don't know the rules for certain (and "I have heard" falls into that category), you not post about how they work?

Anonymous said...

* media folks sign over the rights to their film and/or images at nascar tracks
No.

If this were the case, we wouldn't bother to cover NASCAR.

red said...

anon @1:58 said:
"anonymous said...
* media folks sign over the rights to their film and/or images at nascar tracks
No.

If this were the case, we wouldn't bother to cover NASCAR."

yep, that's what didn't make sense to me so thanks for clearing it up -- and with just the appropriate level of cynicism, no less!


ok, with thanks to anon @1:54 and 1:58, i think i get it now! basically, it's what i had thought i knew all along: the media outlet owns the film and photographs shot by their employees, not nascar. and said media outlet can broadcast/print as desired without having to pass some sort of nascar approval moment.

so basically, someone does have photos and/or film, has the rights to said photos/film, and has chosen to not show it, right? and so now i wonder why that is.

Vicky D said...

That picture looks like Carl & Kevin are great buddies and there's David Ragan joining in on the conversation. I wonder what he saw and if he would like to comment? I think this is just to help get ratings.

red said...

vicky d said...
"That picture looks like Carl & Kevin are great buddies and there's David Ragan joining in on the conversation. I wonder what he saw and if he would like to comment? I think this is just to help get ratings."

hey vicky! this is from lee spencer's column this morning in re: ragan's take on it:

"According to witnesses, Harvick was having a discussion with David Ragan when Edwards approached him. Ragan said, "I thought I better get out of there before things got ugly."

take it for what you will.

Lesley said...

Doesnt the WWF also have midget wresling??? With all this deciding who wins races (matches) and body slams in the garage (Ring)Nascar should be carfull not to get sued by The World wresling Federation!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymus 1:54 , now i am confused . What possible interest or authority would NASCAR have in non-pro photos vs pro photos . Spectators photos and videos come under NASCAR scutiny , but the media can do as they please . Doesn't make any sense . I think i detect a smoke screen here .

Anonymous said...

so basically, someone does have photos and/or film, has the rights to said photos/film, and has chosen to not show it, right? and so now i wonder why that is.

There were two still photogs. One is employed by LMS, who I am certain told him what he could do (or not do) with his pix.

The CIA guy, I don't know. If he was working under contract for someone, they may also have told him what they want done with his photos.

Anonymous said...

What possible interest or authority would NASCAR have in non-pro photos vs pro photos .

To some degree, they are protecting the pros by not allowing you to just buy a ticket, shoot with a Godawful long lens, and then go sell your photos someplace.

This is typical among race tracks, and even sports venues in general.

Anonymous said...

Interesting answer , but NASCAR would obviously have almost zero control over what a fan shoots , and even less control over what a fan does with his photos . On the other hand , they would have tremendous control over what " pro " do with their photos . As eas mentioned earlier , Nascar wants control over anything that might turn a buck . If they hold a " pros " credentials until he signs a waiver , i bet he signs . No credible " pro " is going to miss covering the Daytona 500 , and lose his job , because he wouldn't sign over his rights . And don't come back with the " we would never sacrifice our integrity by signing away our rights " . We all know that wouldn't last long when money and a job are in the balance .

Anonymous said...

If they hold a " pros " credentials until he signs a waiver , i bet he signs .

My employer will not allow me to sign a document which gives control of the video I shoot to a third party.

Sophia said...

I bet the word feelings will be used tonight, Tom. Especially by one of the chickadees! (with apologies to the birds at my feeders! ! )

If not, I will send brownies to the other bettor.

:)

Karen said...

On NN, Happy is scrappy. He, unlike Carl, willing to talk about scuffle.
Good for him. Happy said -- and these are my words -- be careful who you pick a fight with. No matter how tough you think you are, it may come back to bite you. LOL.

stricklinfan82 said...

Nationwide qualifying on ESPN was actually watchable, since the focus was kept on the race track. Let's hope this carries over to Cup Happy Hour (though I'm not holding my breath).

I still find it completely inexcusable that someone at ESPN decided to pre-empt the entire first Cup practice session and the first part of Happy Hour with two NASCAR shows - NASCAR Now and Motorsports Explained. It's one thing to stick it to the NASCAR fans and bump live NASCAR practice to provide programming designed for fans of some stick-and-ball sport. It's completely another to stick it to the NASCAR fans and pre-empt live Cup practice for two shows designed for a NASCAR AUDIENCE! What the hell are these people thinking? Completely unforgivable, inexcusable, and totally laughable, in my opinion.

NASCAR, are you watching? And if so, are you proud of what your TV contract is doing to your fans at this hour?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, my ABC affiliate (KXLY-TV) will preempt NASCAR Countdown in favor of the local news, which means I'll probably miss both the invocation and the national anthem. Any others who might be affected by this?

Sophia said...

WTH was NN doing on when practice was schedule...I heard them mention rain and was on the phone with 88 year old mom for awhile...I saw a Dale jr interview and tried to read the cc.

Was Jr saying Tony forced Regan smith down last week? that is what "I THOUGHT" I caught but i can't read and listen to conversation.

if SOMEBODy can fill me in or direct me HOW to find this clip with Jr on ESPN thanks. I avoid their site like the plaque but would like to hear Jr's words.

Sophia said...

never mind...found Jr's comment in an article on That's Racin'.

GOOD FOR Jr for questioning a judgement after HE WON a race in same circumstances a few years ago.

I am still miffed at that call. Like Jr. said finishing second, one could live with but to then PUNISH Smith and make him EIGHTEENTH?????

Ouch NASCAR.

If you think a fake/exaggerated fight in the garage is gonna make better viewings after last week think again.

One article said Carl grabbed Happy and spun him around...the other said Carl put his hand on Happy and Happy turned himself around ???

Which was it folks?

B O L O G N A.

I remember the Oscar Meyer commercial where the kid spelled out Bologna. Well, NASCAR is full of it now.


and Mikey said it was NOT a controversial call....

I know, I should be past this issue by now but I am what a yam.

:-0

Back to being miffed Sophia.

Vicky D said...

Maybe the scuffle will show up on youtube shortly then we'll all see what actually happened. That was funny was David Ragan said when Carl walked up.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for the Nationwide Series race on ESPN2.

JD

Anonymous said...

One article said Carl grabbed Happy and spun him around...the other said Carl put his hand on Happy and Happy turned himself around ???

This depends on what each viewer thought they saw happen. I can easily see two people describing this in two diffferent ways.

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