Wednesday, October 1, 2008
NBC's "Today Show" A Curious Choice For Gordon
A while back, NASCAR packed-up all twelve of The Chase drivers and shipped them off to New York City. This "media tour" was aimed at putting these personalities in front of a national television audience.
The guys did the mandatory "Top Ten" list on David Letterman. The next day, they headed to The Early Show on CBS and Good Morning America over on ABC. One place they did not visit was The Today Show on NBC. There was no interest in NASCAR at 30 Rock.
NBC left NASCAR under difficult circumstances. Fans do have great memories of Allen Bestwick and the late Benny Parsons covering the sport's top series. They also have the words of Brian France ringing in their ears. In NBC's final season, France blamed lower TV ratings on the fact NBC was busy promoting its NFL agenda.
Clearly the strangest thing that happened during 2006 was the attempt by Dateline NBC to stage an elaborate sting operation during the Sprint Cup Series race in Martinsville, VA. Click here for the story from NASCAR.com editor Duane Cross about the set-up. Click here for the reaction from the law enforcement community.
This little stunt of having "rent-a-Muslims" spread prayer rugs and kneel to pray next to the Martinsville Speedway ticket office not only got no reaction from the fans but also offended Muslims nationwide.
Many NASCAR fans wrote to NBC and suggested if they wanted to start fights they could save money and simply put a Dateline reporter in a Jeff Gordon T-shirt.
It certainly seems more than a bit ironic that Gordon is being promoted for an appearance on NBC's Today Show on Thursday morning. While this same program was apparently not interested in visiting with Chase drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart, they are rolling-out the red carpet for Gordon and his Sprint Cup Series car. Want to know the reason why?
In the middle of The Chase, in the middle of a global economic crisis and smack-dab in the middle of a crippling fuel shortage in the Southeastern US, Jeff Gordon is changing the paint scheme on his Hendrick Chevrolet. Well, at least that is what the Hendrick gang is selling to The Today Show.
NASCAR fans have seen Gordon on TV run all kinds of paint schemes and wear all kinds of firesuits. Nicorette and Pepsi come to mind as two that are probably the most familiar. So, what Gordon is really changing is his DuPont paint scheme. Same sponsor, just different colors. That gets live coverage on The Today Show.
Over the years, Gordon has got to tool his Chevrolet through Times Square during the annual NASCAR parade before the Sprint Cup Series banquet. This one little publicity stunt tied-up traffic and was such a logistical mess that this season NASCAR has quietly cancelled it.
So, look for a COT with a tarp on it outside of Rockefeller Center on Thursday morning surrounded by some of New York's finest. Perhaps, as Gordon removes the cover and lets America see his new 2009 paint scheme he might mention a couple of topics other than DuPont and Hendrick Motorsports.
Suggestions might include Talladega on Sunday and The Chase for the Championship. That is, once all the important business is out of the way.
Update: Gordon will also appear on ESPN2's First Take after 10AM on Thursday to promote his new paint scheme.
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