Friday, October 31, 2008

Scary Truck Race From Texas On SPEED


It's primetime and it's Halloween, what is a TV network to do? If you are the Craftsman Trucks Series TV team from SPEED, the answer is absolutely have a blast.

The Texas Motor Speedway has been a great track for the trucks and Friday night on SPEED began with Krista Voda and The Set-Up pre-race show. Confirming that they are very good at keeping a secret, Voda was picture perfect in her costume as the Wicked Witch of the West.

This was the perfect tension reliever for NASCAR fans at this time of the season. Voda really puts things in perspective and she set a tone for the pre-race show that put fun before racing for just a little while.

Nothing, however, could prepare viewers for what was to follow. Topping all NASCAR TV moments for 2008 was the appearance of Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander, the SPEED pit reporters.

To say that Dunlap made a great Dorothy was a bit of a stretch. The ruby slippers were in place and the dress was great, but Dorothy's moustache was a bit of a gender-bender and Toto appeared to be...well...stuffed.

Adam Alexander is the newest member of the SPEED team and he may have cemented his place in TV history with his appearance as Glinda the Good Witch. It was not so much the beautiful dress or the outstanding hairstyle. No, it was Glinda smooching with Truck Series driver Todd Bodine that put this right over the top on the hilarious scale.

The one trademark of the Craftsman Truck Series drivers is that they have been good sports and always cooperative with SPEED. Dorothy and Glinda interviewing tough guys like Ron Hornaday Jr. and Max Papis made the entire segment one that might live for a very long time in the SPEED archives. You can bet it will be on NASCAR in a Hurry on Sunday morning at 9:30AM.

Now, it was time to get back to real racing talk and The Wicked Witch ended the fun and sent it up to Rick Allen in the broadcast booth to get things back on track. Along with Allen were TV and NASCAR veteran Phil Parsons and current Sprint Series Cup owner/driver Michael Waltrip. Did I say end the fun?

Playing it to the hilt, this trio instead continued the pre-race theme with Allen as the Tin Man, Parsons as the Scarecrow and Waltrip as the Cowardly Lion. As the emails and comments began flying around the Internet and the phone began to ring off the hook, it was clear NASCAR fans were enjoying every minute of the fun.

Kudos to SPEED for pulling this off with no advance warning and nothing leaking out to the media. It was a perfect time for a little fun and when it was done the racing coverage was again first rate. The truck package has been tested this season and has proven to be solid from top to bottom.

SPEED focused on the racing, kept the championship battle in perspective, and followed the stories as they unfolded. Allen calls a good race and with Parsons and Waltrip finally settling into a complementary relationship, the results have been super.

It is clear that both Dunlap and Alexander have a great working relationship with the teams and drivers in the series. Both during and after the race, these two reporters cover more than thirty teams and stories in a multi-hour live TV telecast. Perhaps, SPEED will pitch-in some additional funding and let Voda become the third pit reporter for next season now that Camping World is on-board.

A good post-race show wrapped-up the telecast and once again reminded viewers that NASCAR personalities like Ron Hornaday Jr. and Johnny Benson are a couple of the reasons fans have been boosting the ratings of this series in 2008.

There are only two more Truck Series races this season and with the SPEED Cantina opening up at Phoenix International Raceway next week, it might be a good idea to tune-in and see what the TV team has up their sleeve for the next broadcast. Now, excuse me while I try to chase Dorothy and Glinda out of my mind.

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30 comments:

speedangel said...

I still have tears of laughter in my eyes at the thought of that surprise. That Setup show is going to live on my DVR for awhile. Thanks to the SPEED crew for making that happen...

Oh yeah, and the race was pretty good too.

3bud said...

What else can you say. SPEED takes their work seriously. Well usually. This whole night on SPEED was great. From the Land Of Oz to the post race interviews they can't be beat. JD I really hope they can get Krista to work in the pits. From THE SET-UP to the camera work, to production and into the booth the SPEED crew is just great. Again thanks SPEED for a fantastically fun Halloween Race Night.Oh yeah the truck racing ain't to shabby either.

alex said...

Great pre-race, good race as well. Nice to get rid of that tension as JD said, and just a fun race on a Friday night. The time passed very quickly, which is a compliment on Nascar TV coverage. Very good job, and extra points for the finish line coverage. As usual, good job by SPEED. Setting the precedent for the weekend.

Gymmie said...

I'm glad that they had fun! It's definitely great to see them have that freedom from SPEED...I doubt we'd ever seen that on ESPN :(

I wish the Trackside guys had dressed up. Mikey makes a better cowardly lion then he does a female cop from Trackside a few years back :p

Anonymous said...

Without a doubt, the whole broadcast was priceless! With so much laughter at the beginning, how could one not thank SPEED for their creativity, the "cast" for their awesome participation, and the drivers for joining in!

Then came the race and guess what? The enjoyment continued! Great job in the booth, as well as from the entire TV crew. And of course, outstanding driving by the guys!

Why can't a certain network learn from SPEED? If all the races were televised the way SPEED does it, I'd definitely get my enthusiasm back in gear. SPEED makes the Cup races seem even more boring than before - if that's possible....

Anyone at ESPN taking notes?

kang said...

Since I avoid all tv prerace shows,
I will comment on the race.Speed did a great job.They went where the racing was.They did all the things that ESPN will not do.However they did import one thing that ESPN just will not stop doing.Yes the stupid "if the race ended now" trash.Time and again the time interval was obscured by this garbage.Just in case someone from Speed reads this let me say this.The only way a fan can "see" the entire track is with the time interval.Why cover it up with nonsense?

Karen said...

kang,

Setup reairs at 2:00 a.m. ET. If you can tape it, it's really worth it.

kbaskins said...

This setup show will live on my DVR forever. That was one of the funniest things I've ever seen on TV! My sides are still aching.

Kudos to SPEED for having so much fun and sharing it with us.

--KarenB

Lou said...

Thank you SPEED for a great broadcast from the Setup to post race. Was going to take a nap before the night shift, but this show was just to good to pass up. Great ending for a Halloween night.

Dot said...

The entire event was great. I didn't even mind "if the race ended now" points because every other lap they were single digits.

I noticed that with SPEEDs coverage that LESS is MORE. No videos, no bumper cams, no Tech Time, no opinions from wherever AB & Co sit, no Draft Track, etc. Just 3 in the booth and 2 pit reporters. The best part? Seeing the drivers cross the finish line other than Ron & Johnny. Go SPEED.

Anonymous said...

It took a whole lot of cajones for the crew--especially the guys on pit road--to do the show in costume, but it was hilarious and I"m glad they did.

The race was also very good, as usual.

ri88girl said...

What a great night. The Set Up was wonderful, and I have grown a new admiration for Adam Alaxander.

I enjoyed the race so much that I stopped posting and was to tired after 12 hrs of NASCAR TV to do anything more than go to bed with a smile on my face. What a great race by the whole crew last night.

I am constently amazed at how much first rate info and color Ray gets each race. He does alone what all four of ESPN's reporters can't. To me, Ray is underutilized by SPEED. I gather he can be something of a loose cannon, but what he brings should out weigh that.

I am not a TV person so a lot of the technical stuff I don't even realize is good or bad, but that said, I really don't see any difference in the pictures and sound on SPEED from those of ESPN. What I do see is the differnce in how they are used. SPEED's directors and producers utilize these things in an effective and informative way. ESPN seems intent on giving me a one car commercial or a graphic to cover it up.

The whole day yesterday was fun from start to finnish. I enjoy the comraderie and humor of Larry Mac and Co. (could we get a pic of the diamond ring Mrs Mac got?) and the fun the practice and quals provide along with their own sense of drama (why was Harv pickin' on Dillner?) a script was not necessary. But I seem to have gotten one when ESPN took over Cup quals. I guess I'll have to waite for practice on Speed to find out what I need to know about the Cup cars.

I had such a great time watching trucks that I am almost concidering watching Torn Curtin on TCM Sunday afternoon instead of the race; for the simple reason that I don't feel like being stressed and frustrated over a race. Cup is boring with the JJ show, and ESPN makes that situation unwatchable. I would rather watch two great truck races and have a positive feeling at the end of the season than a headache and a hangover. How many days to DAYTONA? Its 120 to the first Vages race re Larry Mac.

Anonymous said...

Great pre race show
and a great RACE

Krista makes a cool witch too.
She was awesome

terri said...

Oh, that heavy makeup had to be awful, but Krista made the show. I take that back, MIKEY made the show as the cowardly lion.

What fun they must have had!

Thanks, Speed!

Newracefan said...

I was having a really awful week and putting the M in miserable. When I saw Krista I was impressed with her witch laugh and the makeup but then Dorothy took the stage I was gone, it took me an hour to stop laughing. The race was fantastic, we got to see racing where ever it happened for what ever position and were still updated on the JB/RH battle wothout being slammed with it. This is why I love Nascar and I wish ESPN would understand that I am that new fan they are supposedly trying to get and I like it this wa not their way.

majorshouse said...

I loved it. It is really obvious to me that these guys and gals love racing first and foremost and then have a good time showing racing to us unlike that other network that NASCAR has a multi-year contract with. I definitely would love to see more fun like this with both the cup and Nationwide series.

Rosemary said...

Absolutely hilarious and a little bit scary pre-race followed by great racing...who could ask for more on a Halloween night! Thanks, SPEED!

majorshouse said...

If you can't tape the race set up on Saturday morning, I know that it will be re-broadcasted on Monday starting at noon.

bevo said...

I was at the race but forgot to set my Tivo - Dang It! I saw them roaming around the pits in the costumes, wish I could have seen the show. Sounds like a good time was had by all.

The race itself wasn't the best the trucks have had here but it was still fun.

Have fun with the NW race today, I'm heading to Lubbock for a little football game tonight. Be sure to watch and I'll wave... I'll be the guy with the Horns hat on :)

jojaye said...

Thank heavens we DVR the pre race! We were at friends home & they had it on tv. When the show started the card game ended early because after pre race no one could remember who was playing on what! We were laughing too hard. Rays ruby red slippers were too funny - as was the shot of Glinda going over the pit wall.
Those were our 2 fav moments.

And then we watched a good solid telecast of the race ma'm just the race.

No multi tasking was needed.
Hugs & Thank You Speed folks for a great end to Halloween.

Steve L said...

This is why the Truck Series ratings are up, they do such a great job AND have fun doing it.

Best part was Kyle Busch didn't stink it up with a win!

Great job Speed!

3bud said...

@ri88girl,another TCM fan,I have it on now, just got done watching Nancy Drew Reporter, love the old B/W stuff. I agree Ray is real good, maybe a bit unpredictable at times but you can't hold that against him, especially with what he brings to the table,he knows his stuff and gets it too .I'm with you on the sight and sound stuff too , it's how they use it, all over the track,you get to see the race not a one or two or three car show .They all have Good HD and surround sound but the SPEED crew puts it all to good use week after week. After a rough week or so The Set-Up and entire SPEED crew and race sure put a smile on a tired face.

TexasRaceLady said...

An absolutely delightful night from start to finish.

Words fail me, so I won't even try to describe my reaction to the pre-race. Let's just say my ribs hurt most of the night.

The race was a first-class telecast from start to finish. SPEED showed me exactly what I wanted to see --- THE RACE !!! All the was from the leader to the tail, I got to see racing.

Kudos to the gang at SPEED for a fun night of racing.

Penny said...

Great Set up show!SPEED really knows how to do it.Great racing, and great post race. Sure do enjoy Rick and Phil. It was just a great night of pure racing and none of the junk that clutters up the other channel. Of all the NASCAR broadcast series, the Trucks are the best. Sure wish we could have SPEED for all the racing series.
Thank you . Great job SPEED.

Lisa Hogan said...

Truck or Treat
Pure joy!
That other network makes me leave the table still hungry.
SPEED makes me leave the table full and feeling as if I had double desserts!

Thanks SPEED crew!

Gary said...

I am still laughing! What a blast. And the race was great along with stellar coverage. I do have to mention that early in the day when ESPiN was covering practice for the Cup guys, they did a 5 minute piece on the dreaded "draft tracker". They actually think that people care about it! You know what this means? During the race tomorrow, they will insert this piece of trash in the middle of "coverage" of the race. I'll bet a million dollars on it.
If I won the Powerball Lottery, I would donate my entire earnings to Speed, so they could cover every single NASCAR race.

Gymmie said...

I'm still *giggling*! I wish they could have kept the get ups but it could have been a pit road hazard with the dresses if a fire or something occurred. But everyone were great sports about it all!

I love how SPEED allows the gang to joke around and have fun. That's what makes it fun for us! It's not a "stiff" environment where someone fears being called
into the bosses office for cracking a smile.

Anonymous said...

HI!
Loved the pre-race show! I laughed and laughed! They all truly got into their roles, they pushed it to the edge but did not go over. :) Good family TV.
Does Krista want to works pit lane? or would she like to do something else? A few years back she and Ralph Sheheen co-hosted an evening show and they were very good. Krista is good enough that she would do well anywhere!
I am guessing it will be on highlights for Speed Report and Dave Despain besides Nascar in Hurry.
Marybeth

batchief said...

This was absolutely a priceless evening of fun. Having met Krista, Ray and Adam I can say that what we all saw was not that much out of character for them. They are just fun people and it is great that so many on here appreciate them.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

Set Up was fantastic. Replayed it for my husband who also thought it was great. Racing isn't brain surgery...it should be fun and they started the night off perfectly. Regarding the race, dittos to all the positive comments. When the lap counter showed half over I was in shock...it flew by. So much fun to watch the trucks...the racing and the broadcast. (Also, a nice break from all the political crap!!