Thursday, October 30, 2008

Four Broadcast Teams Come Your Way On Friday


It has been quite a while since Bill Weber, John Kernan and Jerry Punch patrolled pit road. It seems even longer since Ned Jarrett, the late Benny Parsons and the original NASCAR on ESPN announcer Bob Jenkins brought stock car racing into living rooms across America.

This Friday, some twenty-five years after live coverage began, TV viewers not only get all three national touring series on the track in Texas but they also get to see four modern-day teams of NASCAR TV broadcasters in action.

SPEED is stepping-in to handle the Nationwide Series practice and qualifying. The familiar faces of Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond will be providing that coverage. Bob Dillner and Wendy Venturini will be the reporters. Practice is at 10AM and qualifying is at 6:30PM on SPEED.

Next-up will be the ESPN team of Dr. Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. These three have worked on NASCAR all season long like the SPEED team and on Friday they will be handling Sprint Cup Series practice and qualifying. Mike Massaro, Shannon Spake, Jamie Little and Dave Burns will cover the pit and garage areas. Practice starts at 1PM and qualifying will be at 4:30PM. Both telecasts will be on ESPN2.

The third TV team has worked all season to fill-in the TV gaps in the on-track action and has cemented a reputation for going and getting the interviews that fans want to see. NASCAR TV veteran Randy Pemberton and relative newcomer Hermie Sadler have teamed-up to provide host John Roberts a solid one-two punch in the garage area. Each of these three has a personality that works great in the TV format of NASCAR Live. Friday's show will be on the air at 8PM on SPEED.

The final TV team is one hard-working bunch. They may be a little under-manned, but the Craftsman Truck Series crew has been hitting it out of the ballpark all season long. Fan favorite Krista Voda should be right at home in the chaos of the starting grid at the Texas Motor Speedway when she hosts the pre-race show at 8:30PM.

Her "go to guys" are Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip. This is the type of racing that Allen loves to describe, a fast mile and a half track with the Truck Series doing what they do best. Parsons and Waltrip have learned to combine their voices on this type of high-intensity broadcast over the season.

This team is topped-off by Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander who patrol the pit road where over thirty teams are based. No matter how they do it, these two get the pit coverage done and are always on top of the stories of the race.

On this Friday from Texas, NASCAR fans can sit down at 10AM and stay there until 11:30PM with only a few breaks for snacks. The minimum manual labor required is the occassional changing of the channel. From practice and qualifying to the exciting Truck Series race, four TV teams will be working hard to bring the NASCAR action to the viewers. We want to know how you like the coverage.

This post will serve to host your TV-related comments about the programs from 10AM through 8:30PM on both ESPN2 and SPEED. There will be a new post up for live comments during the Truck Series race at 7:30PM. The entire weekend schedule is broken-down for fans on the right side of the TDP main page.

Thanks again for stopping by, please review our simple rules before posting. To add your comment, just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions.

64 comments:

Dot said...

JD,

That picture brought tears to my eyes. I miss those guys. I like that DJ, Phil and Mikey are carrying on the family tradition by being in their respective booths.

I am so excited to have the day off tomorrow so I can watch racing all day. And no rain for once.

Since I'm the first one here, I'm sure I'll be back.

Anonymous said...

That photo makes me nostalgic for the days when ESPN covered racing for real, and did it with quality and passion.

I think if they could bring back that group in the way it used to be...it would help. I listened to what this group said, and knew they had some knowledge.

It is a sad reminder of what we used to love about NASCAR racing.

It isn't what it used to be.

I grew up watching racing in Charlotte, and ESPN did it proper justice in the 80s into the 90s.

Maybe the loss of the #3 car still hurts the broadcasts, and thats part of the reason why they have lost fans and viewers.

I just don't care much anymore.

And the Hendrick domination (actually the #48) is boring. I went to several races in the past few years-Charlotte, Martinsville...but when the 48 won them, I said the heck with this. It seemed rigged to a point that was not like Junior Johnson's "techniques".

Anyway, I love the photo and saved it.

glenc1 said...

thanks for the photo, JD...that is awesome. Made me smile.

I think I can leave early tomorrow to catch more of the action.

David said...

Dang, that picture is a neat throwback to what ESPN used to have.

I miss that group a TON!

Should be an interesting day though, excited yet wary to see how this goes.

Anonymous said...

Speed's coverage will be an example this weekend of how all networks should cover auto racing and especially Nascar.

I only watch ESPN for game or race coverage when I have to (college football, MLB, NFL, Nascar) and feel that if they would just give the race coverage over to racing professionals (announcers, directors, etc) who are in the racing profession as a career, we would be 100% better off.

Ken-Michigan said...

The picture brings many happy thoughts as well as sad feelings.

Punch has been an awful choice in the booth.

Punch has had plenty of time (20 years) to perfect his craft ..... and he is awful !!

I, for one, WON'T watch ESPN for the remainder or 2008.

I'm tired of it !

KNB said...

What happenend to Bob Jenkins?

theangryengraver said...

WOW, that picture does bring back a lot of memories from when I first "discovered" Nascar on ESPN.

ri88girl said...

I appreciate SPEED stepping up and doing the Nationwide practice and quals, but I would rather see them do Cup. For the simple fact that without the set up that Larry Mac, Hammond and Byrnes' nuggets provide for the cup race; I will have NO idea what is really important to be looking for in each team(car) because ESPN will not tell me. Not during practice or even quals; not even in the countdown show or on NN. Without Larry Mac's ability to make his vast technical infrormation relevent, Hammonds' ability to give the 'feel' of the track and how drivers/crews react to it; and Byrnes' ability to gather news gems form all over; the cup races are boring and unfulfilling. One posative, like they do on HotPass, these three will expand their sphere and give us alot of information about cup while doing Nationwide; so I won't be totally unprepared on Sunday.

What I can't quite comprehend is why with as much resources as ESPN has, as many networks, analyists, announcers, reporters they can't give one tenth of the information and emotion that Larry and the crew do. Or Krista and her team, or Randy and Hermie who has metamorphised into a GREAT all around tv guy. It boggles the mind that ESPN is as awful as it is.

ri88girl said...

Oh...and I'm sure I'm alone in this...but I'd kill for Weber on my TV come Sunday.

Rockin Rich said...

R88Girl @10/31 — 9:34 AM:

You are not alone. I can't believe I have come to this state of affairs, but I have seen enough of a change in B. Weber, that I no longer feel I can't stand him. he has toned down the melodramatics, and started doing more of just "telling the story".

The entire TNT effort this year was great. In my opinion, theirs was overall the best coverage of the Cup broadcasters. Yes, there were a few pieces and personalities on other broadcast efforts that individually were better. But again, overall I thought they did the best job. And, I didn't use RaceBuddy. I just watched the TV.

I sure wish there was a way to get them more of the races. Maybe ESPN will get so tired of all our carping, (and NASCAR executives' hopefully), that they would consider "subcontracting" some races to TNT similarly to the way they "subcontract" some events to Speed. We can only hope!

ri88girl said...

Please someone help sponsor Bobby

David said...

Thats really cool that SPEED covered that Bobby Hamilton Jr story. Its amazing he is stepping up to do that so they can finish what they started in 2008 and give the team hope heading into 2009.

Drove by that Rensi shop alot when I was in NC...theres a vacant race shop across the street, I'd hate if they did the same.

Wonder if ESPN will touch that story?

ri88girl said...

JD I have a question. Do you see any possability that HotPass, or I guess Direct TV, would concider putting the audio from their broadcasts on the web and charge a fee for the access?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Ri88,

I think you might see some changes in Hot Pass next season to make it more available....how bout that for a hint?

JF

Dot said...

This isn't really on the topic but, if Bobby Hamilton Jr is using his money to keep racing, why can't he put his restaurant name on the hood?

Daly Planet Editor said...

A Robbie Gordon interview, how fantastic is that?

Daly Planet Editor said...

dot, He could put your name on the hood if you got some cash!

SonicAD said...

knb:

I think Bob Jenkins is one of the radio commentators for the IndyCar Series now. He also is the TV pbp man for ESPN2's coverage of Indy Lights, and he also did pbp for ESPN for the IndyCar Series races at Edmonton and Surfers' Paradise this year.

SonicAD said...

Also forgot to note that it seems the reason he did those 2 IndyCar broadcasts is that Marty Reid was off covering a Nationwide race somewhere and unavailable.

Robyn said...

I wonder what the dynamic will be like on Trackside tongiht with Hammond and David Starr and the runors surrounding Red Horse Racing. Guess it's my way of wondering if anything will be mentioned.

stricklinfan82 said...

Against my better judgement I caved in and turned on ESPN2 in hopes of seeing the Cup cars practicing.

They've only been on the air for 15 minutes and the on-track session has already been completely ignored by multiple full-screen video packages, full-screen stat displays, full-screen pit studio shots, full-screen shots of the 48 car sitting on pit road doing nothing, and full-screen Tech Center pieces. I've had enough and have turned off ESPN for the day.

Once again ESPN can't grasp the most fundamental part of broadcasting an event. They are on the air to televise live Sprint Cup practice from Texas and they are completely ignoring the very session they are there to televise.

It sure was nice a couple years ago (pre-ESPN) when all these Cup practice sessions were live on Speed. Now in 2008 during this most important part of the year Cup practice sessions are still being held with no TV coverage (and no I did not mis-speak, being on the air doing a NASCAR feature show while the Cup cars happen to be on the track in the background is NOT TV coverage of practice).

red said...

hey stricklinfan! thanks for confirming what is suspected: not much has changed.

i'm watching the world champion phillies parade on a multitude of channels here in the philly market! can't say i'm missing espn's coverage of practice one bit.

Daly Planet Editor said...

stricklinfan,

It's all about The Chasers!

JD

Dot said...

Why can't ESPN do a split screen when they talk to the drivers? I know someone has to be on the track.

Daly Planet Editor said...

It's a little better, but practice for them is still background noise.

Anonymous said...

Whoa. Drafttrack is back. TV instantly switched off.

Daly Planet Editor said...

At least they admit that they are just coloring stripes on a screen.

ri88girl said...

Ok...draft tracker 2.0 might repeat MIGHT be a little interesting for what we as fans are able to extrapolating about how a driver's car is handling or what line is working better for them. However, if they put it in the hands of rusty....I'm just saying.

stricklinfan82 said...

Daly Planet Editor said...
stricklinfan,

It's all about The Chasers!

JD

October 31, 2008 1:43 PM


Yeah, because Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch are really going to come back from 400+ points down with 3 races to go to win the title!

What, there was a Cup race at Atlanta last week? How would viewers of Sprint Cup practice at Texas ever have any idea what happened in last week's race without ESPN covering up the live on-track action to show us what we "missed" last Sunday? Of course! Viewers of practice never actually watch the races, right?

And now I hear that they brought back Draft Tracks.... at Texas? What a shame I turned off ESPN2 a long time ago, certainly since I'm watching PRACTICE I would have no idea what the term "drafting" means!

Practice coverage.... for the casual fan! Woohoo! Does ESPN not have some old Bozo the Clown re-airs from decades ago in their video library that they could cover up the track with as well? I'm sure the A.M. kindergarten students that comprise part of "casual fan nation" would be hooked on NASCAR practice coverage if they could see a clown throwing a rubber ball into a cup! That's how to increase ratings! More clown costumes, fewer race cars! Yes!

Has ESPN played the "Jimmie Johnson might get locked in the bathroom on Sunday morning, not start the car, and lose the points lead if Carl Edwards wins the race and leads the most laps" card yet? I'm sure that's somewhere in the script for the weekend!

ESPN's coverage of the Cup Series is an absolute disgrace. Asking for simple coverage focused on the sporting event we are tuning in to watch should not be too much to ask for. JD, you should get hazard pay for putting yourself through the pain and agony of watching this junk.

terri said...

I got back from a dr's appointment around 1:23. Turned on the TV and what do my eyes see but the cotdanged "draft-tracker" resurrected. I about puked. Why, oh why, DSPN? And to the little puke in the DSPN technical center who said that no one besides Dale Earnhardt could "see" the air? He couldn't "see" it - but he sure as heck could "hear" it....know your racing, bub, or you'll embarass yourself on nationwide TV. And I don't need to "see" it through your stupid "draft tracker" contraption, either.

Richard in N.C. said...

It seems to me that the Evil Empire ( aka ESPN )is becoming incresingly short-sighted with its tunnel-focus on just the Chasers. If it were to give more exposure to other teams, then maybe there would be more businesses interested in sponsoring cars if they felt they would get TV exposure, which would be good for the teams and the sport as a whole. It would also seem to be in ESPN's long-range benefit since added sponsors might improve the racing and, almost inevitably, the sponsors might want to buy ads on TV to further exploit their TV exposure. However, in the perfect world of ESPN long-range thinking is apparently unnecessary.

Sophia said...

thanks stricklanfan for reminding me why I NEVER tune in on ESPN fridays.:(

Dot said...

I'm watching NN. Marty Smith is breaking the rules. He's not wearing his suit jacket. Baby steps, I guess.

Gymmie said...

@JD--I *love* that hint about HotPass <3. I watched the InCar that Cable had for several years when it was free but was never interested in paying for it just because I didn't like the set up. But I'd so love to have HotPass!

@dot--yes I was so happy that they touched on Bobby's story. I hope they find some sponsorship. I loved it a few years ago (NA$CAR Nation?) did a story on his restaurant and they did a funny with Bobby Sr. :)

Has ESPN played the "Jimmie Johnson might get locked in the bathroom on Sunday morning, not start the car, and lose the points lead if Carl Edwards wins the race and leads the most laps" card yet? I'm sure that's somewhere in the script for the weekend!

*giggle* but don't give them looney ideas....it is Halloween...maybe ol' Sparky (the mascot) can go pay Jimmie a visit and help in that...hehehehehehe

I woke up late (I didn't go to bed until like 3 am)...was having some nice NA$CAR dreams including one where Mr. Morgan won :). Anywho, I finally got up and turned on the TV and saw the "end" of the Draft Tracker segment and decided to go ahead and do some errands real quick. Very disappointing..but wasn't expecting too much difference in a year.

David said...

Well

Neglected the truck broadcast tonight. Crying shame. I almost believe that because the truck series is so exciting, that it works against them because the Cup points race has been less than thrilling.

Pathetic garbage ESPN...promote NHRA but not the NCTS?

thankfully they arent using a third of the screen for those cluttering graphics.

David said...

Spoke too soon. darnit!

Anonymous said...

Woo Hoo!! Tivo-style qualifying.

David said...

This screen is seriously wayyyy too busy. I wish SPEED were covering qualifying.

Gymmie said...

Mom Cam :p

Sean said...

Punch sounds off more than usual today, if that's possible

Karen said...

Gymmie said...

Mom Cam

Who? I missed it.

Gymmie said...

Nancy Sterling--Cousin Carl's mom :)

Karen said...

Figured as much. She's got some competition now that he's getting married. Haven't seen her for a while.

Gymmie said...

Yes it's been a while since we've seen her :)

David said...

T means This ESPN coverage is paThetTic.

Adam T. Martin said...

That picture perked me up. Those men brought me the racing as I was growing up. Thanks for the news and posting.

alex said...

Something to ponder: What's more annoying, political tv commercials and sales calls, or all chase all the time on ESPN?

Close call over here.

Dot said...

@ Alex, at least the political ads will be over after Tuesday.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I just have a hard time with ESPN totally dropping the on-air promotion of any NASCAR TV on SPEED.

It is even more ironic when the programs are either Nationwide practice or qualifying which as that is the only series where ESPN has every race.

The fact they refused to promote the Truck race live tonight should have Robbie Weiss from NASCAR in the ESPN TV truck and some rear ends against the wall.

Not...gonna....happen...

JD

Karen said...

Who whizzed in Kevin Harvick's Cheerios this morning? How rude.

Sophia said...

karen

what did Kevin H say? making dinner and do not have the LR tv on...we have candy but do not want to answer the door unless we have too. :)

3bud said...

Great picture JD, brings back memories. I saved it, maybe a raceday screensaver.

Karen said...

Bob D. doing a pre-qual interview and asked him something not inappropriate, and KH said I'd be better if I didn't have to talk to you.

Maybe he was just trying to get focused. I don't know. But uncalled for.

David said...

cool to see something on the hood of Bobby Jr's car

Karen said...

we have candy but do not want to answer the door unless we have too. :)


Sophia, I have it, too, and if I don't answer the door, I'm about to be sick eating it myself.

Sophia said...

we have so few on our street, we got 20 pieces of candy so we can't make ourselves sick, Karen. :)

I finally had to turn on SPEED as I am in the kitchen...not much more season with our SPEED boys....happy to see Bobby Jr with something on the hood indeed.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Too funny kidding Larry Mac about his wife! Happy anniversary up at the lake big L!

Newracefan said...

No candy here just wine and I'm not sharing. I actually did not think I would get home from work early enough (first time all week) so never bought any, surprisingly I'm not feeling guilty at all, guess it's the wine.

Karen said...

Working the calories off running to the door. These kids are hilarious.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for the Truck Series tonight on SPEED.

JD

Newracefan said...

Larry thanks for the update on Danny O'Quinn, it's such a shame that the 2007 rookie of the year didn't get a ride for 2008. He always seemed like a nice guy. Speed has really been giving shout outs to the have nots today, nice to see. ESPN doesn't seem to get that we care about that stuff.

Gymmie said...

@nrf--yes it's truly a shame about Danny :(. I pulled for him during the Gong Show and it's a shame he hasn't had more opportunities. Some of us like "Bubba" types :)

Dwight said...

It's worth noting that Formula 1 will decide its championship this weekend, and that they are racing in the western hemisphere. This means that qualifying today and the race tomorrow are on Speed at a civilized hour.

One can tune in and see an excellent example of intelligent, competent, informative, entertaining race broadcasting. They manage, even while putting 3 of 4 in a room on another continent, to outshine all the teams working in NASCAR.