Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tough Times For ESPN At Talladega

Last season was the first year of ESPN's return to NASCAR. Click here for the TDP column that described the network's effort at televising the 2007 Talladega race.

The headline was "ABC Struggles With Multiple Storylines at Talladega." On Sunday, Dr. Jerry Punch did his best to make sure that ESPN repeated this script. As Yogi Berra once said, "this is like deja vu all over again."

Allen Bestwick had Ray Evernham added to his regular Infield Studio panel of Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. The direction of the network coverage continues to be singularly focused on accidents at Talladega. Bestwick introduced this concept after an opening sequence that featured very old ESPN footage of...more accidents.

While Brad Daugherty did his best to get the viewers pumped-up, having Evernham on the panel threw things off-balance. Wallace and Daugherty have their act down pat and each has fun with the other. While Evernham might be good on Monday's NASCAR Now, the infield setting does not need his serious technical knowledge.

Over the past several weeks, Bestwick and his two panelists have been welcoming various drivers to the studio and letting Daugherty and Wallace talk with them directly. That has been working well, so the decision to end that practice and add Evernham to the panel was strange at this critical time of the season.

Back in September, TDP offered a column about Dr. Jerry Punch. Click here to read it. Basically, ESPN took a college football sideline reporter and put him in the lead NASCAR play-by-play position. The results have been disastrous.

If this was a stick-and-ball sport on ESPN, Punch would have changed assignments a long time ago. But, the fact that Punch worked on ESPN's NASCAR coverage over a decade ago has kept him hanging-on this season.

After the huge build-up of the pre-race, Punch again slipped almost immediately into his reporter role. He asked questions of his analysts and offered observations instead of focusing on calling the action and providing the excitement of high-speed racing at Talladega.

The result is kind of a random play-by-play commentary that is mostly offered by Jarrett and Petree. Punch quickly settled into calling-out the car numbers and driver names over-and-over again. ESPN went to the first commercial break before lap ten.

The ESPN on ABC gang settled into a rhythm of zooming-in on the leaders of the race. As almost all fans know, that is meaningless at Talladega. Then, the camera would select a driver and one of the ESPN pit reporters would offer a nugget of information on that team. At Talladega, this was also meaningless.

This pattern sucked the life out of a race that used to be one of the most exciting of the season. Frequent commercials were inserted without any effort from Punch to add a shred of excitement to this two and three wide racing action.

Prior to the first pit stop, viewers could only look at the ticker on the top of the screen to know who was where. The ESPN on ABC broadcast was totally off-balance and loaded with scripted material and camera angles that did not tell the story.

Jimmie Johnson losing the draft early-on did not fit into the ESPN script and threw the crew for a loop. When they finally decided to cover this story, the lead changes and racing was ignored for a problem that had been in-progress for many laps. Both the radio broadcast and the DirecTV Hot Pass coverage had been with this situation from the start.

When first "big one" happened ABC was in commercial break. TV viewers returned to single shots of crashed cars and the announcers talking about what happened as if the viewers had seen it. The coverage made absolutely no sense as continued camera shots of individual cars were shown.

Punch led to the replays and turned the telecast over to Jarrett and Petree as he does so often. He never explained to the fans why ABC did not return live as the incident happened. Jarrett and Petree filled-in the blanks for the viewers, but were mostly limited to the in-car and tight angles that ESPN had chosen for the race coverage.

As soon as possible, the Producer turned the coverage over to Allen Bestwick. The red flag was out, and Punch is not the man to handle this delay from the booth. Bestwick led a discussion of the event and a recap of the race. The ESPN pit reporters followed-up on the drivers out of the race, but once again the choice of questions was curious.

When the action returned, ESPN dug out Draft Track and explained to NASCAR fans who have been watching the sport since February the fundamentals of drafting. Dale Jarrett did a good job, kept it short and put this gizmo back on the shelf.

At the halfway point, Bestwick returned to try and inject some excitement into the telecast. Daugherty and Wallace had been strangely silent during the action and even Evernham jumped-in with some opinions. Bestwick tried his best to offer a full field rundown with good humor and the help of the pit reporters.

The tire problems that became apparent as the race progressed were not followed-up by the pit reporters. They were also not put in any kind of perspective by Punch. It was only Bestwick during an infield segment who said repeatedly that Goodyear reps had refused to come on camera and talk about the situation.

The hard crash of the race was Denny Hamlin. While the telecast had the replays, ESPN chose to leave and cover the caution flag pit stops. While Jim Hunter from NASCAR updated the Hamlin situation on the radio broadcast, ESPN simply passed along that Hamlin was alert and talking. As the network went to commercial while Hamlin was loaded in the ambulance, rock music blared as the network followed the script once again. One fan simply emailed us the word...tasteless.

It was with 55 laps to go when a Goodyear spokesman finally addressed the single biggest issue of the race. Dave Burns asked good questions, but was unable to get anything of substance from the rep. The tire questions went unanswered.

The challenge of Talladega is to show the full field or the bunched pack lap-after-lap. ESPN consistently focused on one car and would zoom-in to that car or cut to the in-car camera. The problem with that is the race perspective is lost. Many times, by the time the network returned to the race, the lead would have changed hands and the reason why was never explained.

Petree and Jarrett have worked well with each other to address the issues that the Producer points in their direction. Both have also taken it upon themselves to interject on a continual basis the real action on the racetrack. They truly do provide the play-by-play for these races.

The final runs began with 19 laps left and Punch failed to raise his voice or set the table for the fans. Punch was talking about Casey Mears' girlfriend having a baby and Paul Menard leaving DEI. Jarrett stepped-in and talked about the top cars being seen on the TV screen.

The second "big one" took the air out of the any remaining possibility of excitement where the race telecast was concerned. After the replays of Edwards turning Biffle, it fell to Shannon Spake to speak with Jack Roush. Her single question was "what did you see happen?" Roush was diplomatic in his response, but the mystery of what happened was not the issue.

The restart and final runs put the telecast well beyond the scheduled off-time. Petree and Jarrett worked well to layout the options for the remaining drivers. The pit reporters spoke with several crew chiefs to try and set the field.

Two short runs finished the day, but even with a smaller number of cars the ESPN on ABC Director showed mostly the leaders and used in-car cameras frequently. The fan frustration had to be at a climax with the lack of full field coverage and field rundown. Who was actually racing in the lead pack was rarely made clear.

What was even less clear was the finish. Punch did not know the rules and confusion was everywhere. Jarrett and Petree offered opinions, but the rules were explained in the driver's meeting and ESPN should have been able to quickly settle the matter.

Punch was once again absent at a critical time and another call of the final lap was blown. How much more of this ESPN and NASCAR can take is anyone's guess. The 2008 October race at Tallageda will certainly be known for a lot of incidents. Not all of them were on the track.

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


Anonymous said...

I' tired of listening to the ESPN crew speculate about things they're supposed to know.

For example: Questioning on the air whether there was some special rule that might allow Regan Smith to pass below the yellow line on the last lap.

Now, you know, I know, and Tony Stewart knows there's no such rule.

So, theoretically, should the broadcast crew calling the race.

Anonymous said...

Where was a NASCAR official to explain the rule? Stick & Ball uses officials to run the game...NASCAR hides from this practice...

Matt said...

Anon @ 6:39

If you watched the truck race, I think it was Phil Parsons who said passing under the yellow line was legal on the last lap.

So to say that you know that such a rule does not exist doesn't really make it valid.

Daly Planet Editor said...

It sure was interesting. I am still getting email about the finish from fans who have no idea what went on.

Anonymous said...

ESPN still should have called the finish, after all, it's called PLAY-BY-PLAY for that reason.

It would have been "Stewart blocks Smith, Smith to the bottom, Stewart cuts him off and Smith goes below the yellow line, side-by-side to the checkered flag...and Smith edges Stewart at the finish! We'll check the call from Nascar to see if the finish stands or will Stewart be given the win???"

Instead we got mumbling, stumbling, umm, uhh, you can't do that, i don't think, uhhh.

Sean said...

stricklin was right, JR made a very similar move a couple of years ago and it was valid. Must be because it's JR and Stewart, two of the biggest stars in NASCAR

PocketTens said...

Worst broadcast of the year. Punch is horrible but the problem goes way further - to the producer level. This broadcast had ZERO sense of direction. Horrible.

PocketTens said...

Can we move debate to the below-the-line move to another thread and keep this about the broadcast.

Anonymous said...

So to say that you know that such a rule does not exist doesn't really make it valid.

True, but shouldn't the people calling the race know the rules?

glenc1 said...

thanks matt...I knew something about that comment was familiar...

I'm curious, who was Phil reporting for? I saw him with a mike somewheres near the end...?

As to your column, JD-- from what I saw, you were right on the money. The coverage on the first wreck was worse than bad....

I hope someone with a rulebook in hand will enlighten us...personally I think it's written in crayon on a napkin, but whatever....

Vicky D said...

This finish was like the finish at the IRL race (I think it was that one) that Marty Reid got the wrong information from Timing & Scoring. They had to scramble to find the real winner I believe it was Castroneves. Also, do the media folks attend the drivers meeting? Then they should know all the rules and state it to the viewers. Of course, maybe Nascar treats chasers differently than other drivers.

red said...

i can't blame espn for the confusion at the end of the race: that honor goes to nascar.

but the broadcast was a wreck -- again.

so, espn, i gave you that final chance i promised, at a track where i believed you'd have less trouble covering the race. but you changed NOTHING and so the end result was the same: a cluster f**k, plain and simple.

i'm done. i can't watch espn next year for racing or anything else. i will also continue my boycott of the magazine and the website as well and i'm signing up for hotpass for '09 season. i have no alternative to watching a race for the few races remaining this season but you can be certain i'm done with espn after homestead. i'm realistic enough to know it won't really matter to you guys one bit b/c i'm just one person.

but it matters to me, that i not continue to support in any way your substandard work. so, i'm done. no more feedback in an attempt to give you insight into what a fan thinks needs to be changed. i won't take the time any more. you have all the information you could ever need IF you wanted to make a change.

you've failed me as a fan and you've failed my sport. you should be ashamed . . . but i somehow doubt you are. sad.

Jessica said...

regarding the broadcast: it was weird when the mrn sound could be heard in the background. it was like they were calling a different, more exciting race. espn should ask themselves why most commercials and race-bumps, including their own, use the radio broadcast.

Bruce Simmons (BruSimm) said...

The one issue I found lacking (Of many) was that after each incident, there was no complete run down on exactly who was involved in the accident(s).

A complete, and consistent oversight on their part.

Matt said...

"True, but shouldn't the people calling the race know the rules?"

I agree that they should, but when even the drivers are confused, I don't think you can fault them that much. They even looked for a reaction from the scoring booth next to them.

I also agree that they should've at least called the PxP to the line. You can always clear up who won once the race is complete, but you can't redo the call to the line.

Dot said...

Had there not been a time constraint, a NASCAR suit could've explained this to us. Even the leaderboard on was confused.

I still think that Tony and Regan were both wrong and the win should've gone to Menard.

Jessica said...

btw anyone know about the points without checking the Internet? seems kind of crucial at this point...

Matt said...

Sorry I don't mean to not comment more on the broadcast, but they dropped Regan down to 18th, the last car on the lead lap.

Anonymous said...

ESPU News had a very short interview of Tony Stewart. They're all ferklempt with baseball and NFL.

Daly Planet Editor said...


When you watch the ESPN broadcast and listen to MRN it is often a completely different experience.

Any suggestion that MRN pads the excitement can be put to the test that way because you can see it.

It is a very interesting experience.


darbar said...

ESPN needs to work on what may go on with the end of the race. Regan Smith's team may file a complaint on the finish. This sounds like something for Marty Smith. DON'T let David Newton cover this---he'll speculate that Stewart cheated and will be moved to 43rd place.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Good comments, we really needed Mike Helton or John Darby to tell us why the Cup rules are different than the Truck Series rules.

Come on, they raced on the same track one day apart.

Anonymous said...

Here is an interesting tidbit. Chris Myers is now in the play-by-play role for the NFL on FOX. Could this be a sign for NASCAR on FOX if Mike Joy leaves the booth or maybe even a move by Myers to the NASCAR on ESPN booth given the recent issues mentioned in this very column???

alex said...

I expressed my views during the in-race comments, so I won't repeat myself. As much as we all complained about ESPN today, that was dwarfed by Nascar at the finish. If they want Tony to be the winner, they need to have Nascar rep on-air before they sign off to explain it.

I like Tony as much as the next guy, but he was given that win by Nascar.

The actual TV coverage was a mess. ESPN should know by now that you don't treat Talladega like all the other tracks. Blimp shots are the norm, not bumper shots. Ugh, I'm done.

Sophia said...

The camera director of this race was in need of a compass.

Mike Wells should be hired by NASCAR to COVER ALL RACES or TEACH LESSONS in how to give fans what they want, and the RACE NEEDS to survive on television.

Worst coverage of the season and the ending still has me confused. IF INDEED all bets are off on the last lap when you see the flagman, why was Tony the winner?

I think the term I once hear NASCAR rules are written on an "ETCH A SKETCH" is so true.

And you know what NASCAR? It's RUINING your sport.

AND you are ALLOWING ESPN to kill the sport while you all spend the money watching the race from your VIP boxes.

The guy who directed uses on the bumper camm to the point it choked ALL LIFE out of the SUPERSPEEDWAY broadcast should be FIRED.

But it won't happen because ESPN will flip us the bird and laugh as they continue to insult the true fans.

It's very sad.

TNT, I really miss you guys.

I skipped a few races in recent weeks but watched today ONLY BECAUSE it was DEGA.

Anonymous said...

I tried that Jerry Punch cliche-drinking game.

Was wasted by lap 75.

Jessica said...

jd- any news on where to catch press conferences?

Dot said...

@ Matt 7pm,
I saw that too on and on the SPEED report. Then is showing him in 2nd. WTH???

Anonymous said...

"But it won't happen because ESPN will flip us the bird and laugh as they continue to insult the true fans."

That is not true and you know it. Can't you be nicer?

Kenn Fong said...


Phil Parsons was the analyst on the DirecTV Hot Pass Dale JR channel, and after the 88 car was finished, Hot Pass switched to Tony Stewart for the last 15 laps.

After the race, the analyst interviews the crew chief and driver before signing off. If that driver wins the race, Hot Pass stays on even longer to talk to the owner and cover the trophy presentation.

Left Coast Kenny
Alameda, California

Anonymous said...

I kept shouting at the TV to stop the in car camera shots during the live action. Although maybe I'm a dumb fan. When they are racing in a pack I like to see the pack. But evidently I should be enjoying seeing the front or rear of just one car with no perspective of where it is on the track.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 7:03PM,

The two are not connected. Joy is back in the booth next season.

Myers is a journeyman who works for several different networks.

Nothing would make me happier than to see Fox's Krista Voda take over the Hollywood Hotel. Stop the clown act and talk some racing.


glenc1 said...

Kenn, thanks--I knew they used analysts but had no idea they did the interview thing afterwards.

JD, it's just surreal listening to the radio with the TV on mute. I've always said MRN makes the races sound better than they are, but I guess I'd rather have that than the monotones of Jerry Punch. And the other two could be a little more animated as well...

the camera stuff was unforgivable...

Anonymous said...

Well since the post asks about race coverage I will try to explain why the coverage was horrific.

ESPN has opted to pre-script the "coverage" it did not work last year. So instead of change and improve - they chose to continue what did not work. When the script is disrupted, on air personnel cling to it like a life raft. Not a good idea. And when most of the Chasers were taken out- they were lost period.

The music used to show Denny being loaded into an ambulance was to quote another (Brusimm?) tasteless.

No real race fan wants to see wrecks - that is the mark of a jerk. Or a drunk. Take your pick.

Laughing during a wreck is also tasteless. As is waiting for "the big one" like a kid waiting to see a parade. How morbid. We got to see on air "talent" do these things and more today.

"How do you feel about...?" is the dumbest question ever. The man just was wrecked, lost points whatever. And the best the dummy can come up with is Feelings?

Bumper cams, single car shots, full screen graphics under green & assorted crap of that nature.
We would like to see the whole field not a tight shot of blah blahs bumper, front or back.
Show the race.

Which brings me to PbP - Doc is the worst at this job. He is being wasted. Much has been said about the mess that is a lack of PbP.

Knowledgeable informed reporting, and commentary. cRusty, Brad,Tim, Shannon & Jamie do not come close to this. Egotistical,self absorbed & just plain awful covers it well.Awful,just awful!
Pathetic pointless useless are other words that come to mind.

Unfortunately I can not get a dish or Direct TV hook up where I live.
So I'm stuck having to multi-task
to get info.So I use 2 Computers,(one for Pit Command/Raceview)one for everything else ( FoxTrack, MRN, & this blog) plus the tv for hopefully pictures. This is a ton of work. It is needed to get a complete race.

Covering a race does not mean to cover it up. It means to tell us what is happening completely.

JD thank you for all your work on this blog for us.

Newracefan said...

I thought work was giving me a headache and then I watch today's race. There was absolutly no PXP, except a little by DJ and AP or when they tossed it to AB. I learned more from this blog and the 48 scanner. ESPN camera work usually doesn't make me scream but that was not the case today, the shots were either too tight, car cameras or google earth and I couldn't tell who was where. I had no idea which line was fast, who was with who, it was a disaster. The ending itself was a Nascar cluster f..K but I would have loved to hear MRN call it (we prob will on NN) because no one in the booth did. I have got to find a radio so I can listen to MRN and mute this hot mess I can't take it anymore.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for those of you who mentioned MRN. I noticed my cable company is delaying channels by at least 7 seconds.(dont ask how I got to that conclusion, but I have dont some research and testing.) Now since MRN is via radio, it will not be delayed as much as the cable channel and therefore the audio from MRN will not be synced up with the video off of ESPN. If your cable company is one of the ones that insert a delay to all its channels, how do you folks put up with it? I would like to hear anyone's experiences dealing with getting MRN synced up with ESPN(or any other network for that matter).

Jessica said...

@ anon 7:34. I can time-shift my tv via DVR to sync with trackpass scanner, I can also time shift Sirius stiletto to fit with the tv. Its a bit of work to get the full picture...

glenc1 said...

anon7:34--yeah, sometimes you hear something just before it happens on TV--happened a couple times today. But it doesn't bother me particularly, just alerts me to look for the incident.

Anonymous said...

I do not try to "sync" up. Its impossible since espn does not usually show the action on the track so its not a problem for me.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:34 -

I listen to MRN through the computer, which is often 7 seconds behind the broadcast. Because I have DVR, I'll just pause my tv for those 7 seconds then hit play - so there will be no delay. If MRN is ahead of the tv - you're just outta luck.

majorshouse said...

The coverage of that race was absolutely abomnable. When can we get a way to tell NASCAR and ESPN waht we as fans really feel. I am sick of the scripted story and the play by play should not be handled by Jerry Punch. He is a good pit reporter, but cannot do his job, please will someone put Allen Bestwick in the booth where he is so badly needed. It makes such a great race a bore to watch and I really wish that I had gone and listened to the radio.

Anonymous said...

JD, I agree with you on the Krista Voda move to the HH. How Chris Myers has lasted this long is a mystery to me.

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

Is there an actual written Rule Book for Nascar? If so, why don't the broadcasters read the rules and try and understand them? At the end of the race they were all so confused as to who won the race that it just made them sound totally out of their knowledge element. And then why, before signing off, do they not try and find a Nascar official and ask them the why's and wherefore's regarding the end of the race? But, as with all things ESPN/ABC, they have to duck out to their precious regular broadcast schedule and never take extra time to settle the outcome, or at least attempt to explain the outcome for those who might now follow the rules of Nascar to religiously.

darbar said...

Sorry for the double post---computer user blonde moment

majorshouse said...

I was really angered when they had the first big one and they did not evencut away from the stinking commercial like Fox and TNT will do, and then the explanation of the wreck was almost hopeless to figure otu.

PammH said...

yes, I agree. If I hadn't been listening to MRN, I would have never known what happened. It was just the most awful coverage-EVER!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
ESPU News had a very short interview of Tony Stewart. They're all ferklempt with baseball and NFL.

October 5, 2008 7:00 PM

Yep, they did like they did last week. Showed the last lap only (whatever happened to compiling race highlights, from, like, an entire race?), then repeated the Victory Lane interview from ABC.

ESPN News claimed that "coming up" they were going to show Sprint Cup News conferences, but that was an hour ago (7 PM). We've been flipping back frequently from baseball and SportsCenter, and they kept showing press conferences from football games that had ended instead.

No NASCAR news conferences and not even any highlights in past hour from what we saw - and I doubt any are coming up because the Rays-White Sox has ended and they've started showing press conferences from that game.

No mention of the race on SportsCenter (which started at 7 PM) at all, from what I've seen. Kind of amazing, since Talledega is such a big race.

Anonymous said...

I know this is a little off topic, but I think Kenny Wallace explained the situation fairly and had a respectalbe opinion. Jimmy Spencer is WAYYYYY too biased towards NASCAR. Every controversy, he always seems to praise NASCAR's decision. Yes Regan passed below the yellow line, we get it Jimmy, but he was forced down and NASCAR has approved Regan's move in the Truck series.

Sophia said...

Kenny Wallace said on VL Ragan won..but "nascar made the call" and said Tony was going to be on the show and they would talk to him as the winner.

GOOD FOR KENNY for telling it like it was..but then had to switch to tv host mode.

Daly Planet Editor said...

That should be interesting. Kenny was very clear on his reasons why RS won the race. He used his personal experience of being in exactly the same position to back up his belief.

We have not heard the end of this one.

Anonymous said...

daly planet editor said...
Myers is a journeyman who works for several different networks.

Nothing would make me happier than to see Fox's Krista Voda take over the Hollywood Hotel. Stop the clown act and talk some racing."
We know you don't like Chris Myers, JD. We know. But he's not a "journeyman" when he's been working on NASCAR on FOX for seven years, and also works on some of the biggest NFL and MLB broadcasts, too.

Some of the on-air talent you revere so much would love to get a few of Chris "journeyman" Myers' non-NASCAR gigs. (Like Steve Byrnes and Mike Joy, to name just a couple.)

JD said...

If I see one more 'trunk cam' grill shot of a bump draft while there is great action in the front of the pack...

Who'm I kidding, I can't do a damn thing about it...ESPN directors seem to have no concept of NASCAR fan interest, only what fits their scripted paradigm.

Restrictor plate racing is not real racing. It's a made for TV SHOW. How can a premier TV outfit like ESPN screw up a TV SHOW!!! They sure did it today...

Anonymous said...

Anon, do you know what a journeyman is? They do multiple things and in this case, for multiple networks.

Myers, along with doing Nascar on Fox, also does MLB and NFL games for the network. He also does preseason football for the Tampa Bay Bucs on a local network, has hosted shows and events on the Tennis Channel, Discovery Channel, and a few others.

He also has a radio show on Fox Sports Radio.

Without getting into his career history with ESPN, the Olympics, et al...this sounds to me like JD is right in calling Myers a 'journeyman'.

PammH said...

I HATE the very fact that Nascar is soooo inconsistent w/their decisions. KyBu does the same thing in the spring race & it's okay. Dale Jr. still has the stigma of going below the yellow line win years later. So I really can' blame the PU network for not knowing who won. MRN didn't either.
Another thing that ticks me up so bad is the "leading on" of the PU to say they will show Nascar coverage on the news show & SC. They were good until college football started & now we are 2nd class again. It sucks.

Daly Planet Editor said...

anon 8:23PM,

One: you seem to think that term is derogatory.

Two: I like Myers, especially on the Tennis Channel. I think his real strength is interviews.

As you know if you have been to this site before, Myers does an act for the NASCAR crew to dumb-down his personality.

While that is what the Fox guys might have wanted many years ago, now it needs to change IMHO.

Thanks for the comment.


Anonymous said...

anyone notice this? When Shannon Spake was interviewing Dale Jr., a bunch of reporters with tape recorders could be seen next to her. I saw Marty Smith in the back, Phil Parsons, and another guy. And another's guys hand with his tape recorder was on camera. While Jr. was talking about how JPM was such a good drafting partner and apologizing to Jimmie Johnson because he had to leave him in the draft, a woman appeared on camera behind him and looked to be trying to get the reporters who weren't Shannon to move away.

The guy with the hand moved, Marty moved, Phil stepped away, but one guy shook his head no, very vigourously, and didn't move. The lady looked mad and the camera went to another shot, of Jr's car in the garage. When the camera came back to Shannon and Jr, that guy was still there. So my question is can NASCAR make those guys wait to get an interview (Phil stepped back in view right after ESPN's interview was over, probably for HotPASS) when ESPN is showing an on-camera interview? And if they refuse, can NASCAR punish them? I thought the network showing the race got the exclusive interview.

Anonymous said...

@Vicky - media members do not, to my knowledge, go into driver meetings.
They aren't drivers or crew chiefs so why would they?
I don't get the comparison to IRL - different governing body. And they change the rules when they want also.

@darbar - Smith & Max already went to NA$CAR hauler, it was explained to them - Smith said so in his interview. So case closed. Yes NA$CAR should & probably will explain the ruling

@sophia - ;)you must be newer to NA$CAR LOL the rules ARE written on a etch a sketch. How else could they justify changing them mid season? Toyota in Nwide series & the pole/ shootout in the Cup series. Its their sandbox & they make the rules.

To those about to ask to see the rulebook - good luck.

Reporters don't get a copy, at least thats what a few reporters have claimed. So why or how could we?
Jim Hunter (NASCAR)said its because "he improved his position below the yellow line" that the rule & ruling - so its end of story.

Sophia said...

I am proud of Kenny Wallace still making this an issue, Hunter says instead of 2nd Regan finishes 18TH???

Dang that stinks. Spencer got pushed out of VL once, and he says NASCAR pushed the driver into a box.

But Kenny Wallace is still holding his ground...good for him. Herman gets a lot of grief for being goofy but I am glad he knows how to defend the drivers when they deserve it.

Regan Smith got screwed.

Thank you Kenny for telling it like it is.

oh, and I like tony, have his hat, t shirts and even a Jacket.

But I am MOST disappointed in NASCAR's call after all I am reading..and for Kenny W to say this, works for me. He even said NASCAR better come on tv with some NASCAR State of the Union speech and explain this to racefans.

What do we get? Hunter saying in "THEIR JUDGEMENT" what RS was worth a PASS THROUGH PENALTY?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

How many of us just want to stop watching NASCAR. PERIOD.

This is a sad state of racing politics, make it up as you go, whatever fits the mood du jour. :(

Vicky D said...

Jo, I was mentioning the IRL race because the broadcasters at that race were as confused as JP, AP & DJ in the booth at the end of this race. Although for the IRL race, they had the wrong driver celebrating in victory lane, when, in fact, he actually finished second. A lot of confusion at the end.

The Western New Yorker said...


I'm done with NASCAR also. I'll go watch some WWE, there is more reality there.

Anonymous said...

The article about the race that's on already has 230+ comments, yet ESPN can't bother to have any news about the race on its networks in the past couple of hours. IMO I really believe someone at ESPN made a decision: since 'NASCAR Now' also has a postrace program on Sunday nights now, the other ESPN networks/programs don't have to show any NASCAR postrace. They're figuring 'NASCAR Now' fulfills their NASCAR obligations.

Anonymous said...

@Vicky - oh ok I get it now- not a huge IRL fan -I'd heard bits about that but don't really follow it as religiously as Stock Car series.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 8:42PM,

When ABC is on the air, they get first call of any personality in the joint. Often, the media tags along just out of camera range.

It is not bad before or during the race, but after the race the pit reporters sometimes look like they have a small posse walking around with them.

There is no problem, all of the other media knows the drill.


The TV crew goes to the driver's meeting with one camera and records it. Also, the TV announcers often go to the meeting.


Sophia said...

the thing that made the IRL SUCH an embarrassment was it was the LAST RACE of the season. Butchered the ending as they went off the air quickly saying "Oops. Helio you won" He was surprised and smiled and off the show went..4 minutes BEFORE the top of the hour ??????????

and the last IRL for ESPN. Ugly.

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said...


The TV crew goes to the driver's meeting with one camera and records it. Also, the TV announcers often go to the meeting.


October 5, 2008 9:11 PM
OOPS my bad I'm sorry. Listening to a few & having seen them out & about at the tracks I thought they weren't allowed.

Why would they tape them? NA$CAR is so secretive I just wondered.

Dot said...

I don't understand why ABC didn't allow for extra time for this race. More often than not, there's almost always a red flag @ 'dega. Here in LV, they showed some political news show followed by an infomercial. Who plans these things?

As for the race coverage. It was bad. GET RID OF THE BUMPER CAMS. As I said during the race, use them with the split screen. As others have said, you have no reference points.

In defense of Andy & DJ, they sound "behind" because I thnk they're waiting for JP to do his job. By the time they realize he isn't, they have to step in.

I wish JP would miss his flight to the next race, or six and AB would have to move to the booth to cover for him. However, that old saying comes to mind, be careful what you wish luck, they'd put Rusty up there instead.

Anonymous said...

Y'all need to get over this "I'm not watching NASCAR anymore because I don't like the way they apply the rules."

Reda some history, for gosh sakes--it's been like this for 60 years. when you play the "I quit" card, you're admitting you don't know that.

Anonymous said...

@darbar--yes they do have a printed copy of the rule book, but you have to be "important" to get a copy of it. Fans can't get a copy of it. I wish I could remember which show it was, but on one of the IWC shows in 2K3, Allen mentioned wishing he had his rule book for whatever they were chatting about, but it was in his briefcase that was close by, but not close enough to grab. So I'm thinking TV may be able to get a copy, but I'm not 100% sure is on the allowed to have list.

But anywho, back in 2K3 during Speedweeks I remember seeing a copy in the back pocket of an official and was surprised with all the rules, it fit in his pocket and wasn't the size of a Family Bible.

Anonymous said...

Dot - so do we know of anyone who likes the bumper cams?
I like the idea of missed flights for Doc, but I'm afraid you're right - we'd get Rusty instead of AB.

Anonymous said...

Herman can complain all he wants, but Jeff Gordon said on Wind Tunnel that he understands that you just don't go below the yellow line.

He said, you have the wheel, you have the pedals, and you just don't do it.

My take: the rule was stated: "You may not go below the yellow line and improve your position."

It was not stated "...unless you are forced down there," or "...unless it is the last lap and you are desperate" or even "...unless you saw the truck race and think we'll let you slide like that."

The applied the rule as it was stated, and now you're angry?

Come on.

Anonymous said...

@gymmie - I figured the rule book would be the size of the Manhattan white and yellow pages combined by now! I guess the good old #12actions detrimental section covers a lot!

PammH said...

One more comment & I'm done. This race should have NEVER started this late!! A 2:20 start time in the fall, in the EDT time zone, at a racetrack that has NO lites....just a dumb decision, imo. It's DEGA, there is always a possibility of a red flag. I'm thrilled my local station stayed w/the coverage, but hate it for places it didn't, if there are any.

Dot said...

@ Gymmie,

I remember that back pocket shot too. It did look pretty small considering all that's in it. Maybe it was for show, since an etch a sketch won't fit in a pocket. Unless you're Fatback (no offense).

Anonymous said...

I was just driving around and had on Sirius and they had on the NASCAR rep for competition. He did a fantastic job of not only explaining why Tony should be the winner but how the move was different than, say, Johnny Benson's truck move. I think if NASCAR could have got this guy on the ABC there would be no controversy. He explained the rule, the application, how they came to a conclusion, and how they determined Smith would be 18th in a clear, concise, confident manner.

Dot said...

@ anon 9:30,

Didn't they also mention that if a driver forced you down there, that driver would/could be penalized? I thought I heard that during the truck race.

Since the violation was between a Chaser and an Odd Wad, guess who wins? I still say Menard should've gotten the win.

Dot said...

The least NASCAR could've done was let Smith keep 2nd place. He went below the line and then got back behind Tony not improving his position.

Ok, now I'm done with this mess.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:36PM,

That is exactly the point. Rather than leave it hanging, they should have closed the door on this issue before they left the air.

Not following up on ESPNEWS or SportsCenter makes it all the more embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

NN - Nicole Manske (sp?) just said Denny Hamlin is being kept overnight for observation. Sounds like a concussion like someone said earlier.

Anonymous said...

When ABC is on the air, they get first call of any personality in the joint. Often, the media tags along just out of camera range.

It is not bad before or during the race, but after the race the pit reporters sometimes look like they have a small posse walking around with them.

There is no problem, all of the other media knows the drill.

I saw this interview too, and the media surrounding Shannon must have disregarded the drill, because they were clearly in camera range for most of the interview and were sticking their tape recorders in Junior's face.

It was unlike the rest of the red flag interviews today when the ESPN pit reporters were alone with the driver or crew chief. I agree the female in the background acted as if she wanted the other media to leave, or move.

I paid attention only b/c it seemed like a somewhat contentious atmosphere. Normally I don't pay attention to tape recorders when I can see them on cameras. I guess the difference was this time you could see the other media also.

Dot said...

@ JD DPE @ 9:57,

Thank you. That was my exact point about scheduling this race. You never know what's going to happen and for them to leave us hanging....there's just no excuse. Darby or some other suit should've been available to explain this right after the race. Instead we get, Tony wins and we don't know why. He didn't even have time to climb the fence.


Anonymous said...


Like so many other readers, I really appreciate you and your blogs. It seems like too many times, though, you are writing about and we are reading about ESPN's poor coverage of the races.

I'm sorry we are all having to beat the proverbial 'dead horse'. On second thought, there's no horse left as it turned to dust and blew away with the wind a long, long time ago.

Hopefully the coverage will improve someday and you can write about how great the deserving network did covering the race.

Sophia said...

Well i am glad SOMEBODY got the logical explanation but like JD said, they should've done so to all of us.

I am fine when given details with exact specificities as to WHY a certain decision was made...even if it seems off to me.

Just don't treat me like a mushroom!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:35PM,

This is the very nature of television sports.

When ESPN started in Feb of 2007, they offered fans a sub-par product that was made worse by the network totally ignoring the sport in general.

Since that time, the network has made wholesale changes to the NASCAR Now program and made it into a very good TV series.

They changed the Lead Analyst in the booth after one season. That is almost unheard of. Rusty is thriving in his new infield role.

They dumped Suzy Kolber and gave the fulltime infield gig to Allen Bestwick who routinely saves these broadcasts.

Dale Jarrett came along and clicked with Andy Petree as the duo in the booth.

ESPN is struggling with the play-by-play role and also the strategic direction of the Cup telecasts.

They can actually produce a wonderful Nationwide Series race on a Saturday and then a total disaster of a Cup race on Sunday.

Sooner or later, new production blood will be given a chance to produce these races with a clear direction of catering to the race fan instead of the Sales Dept.

No one was a bigger fan of Jerry Punch back in the old days then me. The fact he got yanked off the college football sidelines and put in charge of the longest and most difficult sports coverage on the ESPN networks is amazing.

From the start, he has been put in the wrong position and everyone knows it.

We are fans and we deserve the same level of professionalism that ESPN brings to college football, tennis and golf.

Expect some more changes to happen in the off-season, but until then we will continue to speak the truth and ask for your comments about what NASCAR fans are being offered as the only network TV coverage of the Cup Series.


Sophia said...

JD and for the others,

I think you gave us a heads up that TNT was going to work harder to give the fans a heads up and make the booth more "fun" for the fans at home and THEY CAME THROUGH. I even got attached to the FREE Race Buddy.

I raved over the improvements and enjoyed the 6 weeks TNT was on the air. So, sometimes griping does pay off and now many of us are WISHING for TNT to have a LARGER CUT in the NASCAR package. Obviously ESPN is bigger and more powerful and can push their agenda down our throat though I have missed at least 3 cup races this summer I never watched on tape, and a couple NW races.

I tuned in tonight due to my love of the talladega track and it was ruined.

so while it may seem to some we gripe about the same old thing, at LEAST TNT improved GREATLY in many folks eyes.

Heck, even Bill Weber did not get on my last nerve!!!

while tnt fell guilty of NOT always following through on details I will pick a GOOD DIRECTOR, with a great picture telecast on my tv ANYDAY over the gizmo driven drivel shoved at us today.

if ONLY we had TNT/NBC group back. Shame.

Anonymous said...

if ONLY we had TNT/NBC group back. Shame.

The irony to that statement is that back when the 2001 TV contract started, and NBC/TNT took over their portion of the coverage everyone said "Bring back ESPN!". And now look. We brought back ESPN but now people want NBC.

Funny how things work like that :)

Skip said...

I think the reason Regan Smith was penalized was because, had Smoke not forced him down at all his wheels were still on the yellow line. So his pass wasn't going to be legal whatever Smoke did.

As for him getting put back in 18th position, that's the rule. When the very first person to be penalized for this (Smoke, at Daytona in the first race there after Earnhardt died) he was moved to the tail end of the lead lap.

I remember it pretty clearly, because I'd only been watching Nascar seriously for a couple of years, and didn't really have a favorite driver at the time. And it seemed to me that every single other driver was content to let Junior win the race and he was the only one who even tried to win. It's what started me being a Tony Stewart fan.

Anonymous said...

If the 01 hadn't passed the 20 after being forced below the yellow line do you think NASCAR would have taken the win away from Tony? I don't, I think the rules would have been interpreted in favor of the Chaser. This is entertainment but sadly not a sport anymore.

darbar said...

Jo, on they reported that Denny Hamlin has an ankle injury and will remain in the hospital overnight.

Anonymous said...

What if it was jr., instead of RS, is there any doubt who would have won.

Daly Planet Editor said...

OK folks, let's get back to the TV part please. Keep your comments geared toward the telecast on ABC or one of the SPEED shows that followed.

Certainly was enough to talk about there. Kenny Wallace saying RS should have won was interesting.


Sophia said...

was it some show on SPEED VL that mentioned maybe an MRI for Denny? I know JGordon discussed on Despain his theory on the yellow what do I know..just been watching since 2004.

as far as ESPN coverage folks wanted back, I ONLY knew the classics on ESPN..back when the races were not slicked up with graphics and special gimmick cams. THAT was a good ESPN were the men in the booth. Comparing that great old ESPN to what is on now is like the difference between horseshoes and hand grenades. :)

I hope Denny has a quick recovery and we hear more soon.

Which brings me back on topic, the bad camera direction gave us NO perspective. :)

I am still surprised at how Kenny W stood his ground on the ending. Nice to see he isn't a puppet.

Vince said...

Well after listening to the races for the last month or so on MRN, I decided to give ESPN another chance today. Boy was that a mistake. What a train wreck of a broadcast. That mess they gave us today was comparable to TNT's broadcast of Senoma last year.

I know there are hundreds of good people at ESPN putting these races on, but what I saw today, or didn't see in most cases, was pathetic. The Producer and Director constantly dropped the ball. Way too many tight shots which don't show you a thing at this track. Way too many in car camera shots. They need to just take the camera out of the car. With the wrap around seats the drivers use now and the full face helmets, you can't see a thing with the in car cams. Get rid of them! The bumper cams are also pretty useless at this track. The cars are all nose to tail. So what's the use of using a bumper cam? Come on guys! Get a clue on how to show us a race. I'd like to duct tape the Director and Producers eyes open and make them watch this broadcast in it's entirety. Commercials and all.

And please, please get rid of Jamie and Shannon. Those two do not know how to ask a good question to the drivers. And I personally think that a PIT reporter should have some basic mechanical knowledge of the cars. These two don't have a clue and it shows.

Jerry, Jerry, Jerry.... You are getting worse every week. Please turn over the PxP to somebody else. I've been a fan of yours since you started on ESPN years ago. Please give the PxP duties to somebody else while you still have some dignity left.

Oh and Nascar you dropped the ball on the finish. A blind man could have seen that Tony FORCED the 01 car below the yellow line. It was either move below the line or wreck Tony in front of the whole pack. You can't just jam on the brakes and stop when you are traveling that fast. Tony's lucky it wasn't Dale Sr. driving that car, because he would have gotten dumped. Regan won the race. Jim Hunter, Mike Helton and the rest of the bozo's up in the Nasar control tower need to get their eyes examined or their heads. Take your pick. And I am a Tony fan, but he didn't win the race and he knows it.

I think ESPN's effort today was about the worst I've seen from them so far this year. They should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

@jo--LOL! Yes it does seem to cover a lot...

@dot--yes I also believe it's on an etch-a-sketch at the beginning of each race as well!

@JD--I agree that they should have "closed" it because everyone is arguing what was right or wrong, who won and who didn't. Who should be penalized and who didn't. We only know what TV tells us...and even drivers are confused and they were IN the meeting. My friend Tannis said from listening to the drivers' radios they were under the impression that they yellow line rule was out the window on that last lap except in the Tri Oval. And others like Jimmie, thought the rule was out the window regardless on that last lap.

But even if with TV commitments they couldn't stay on ABC and the other channels being "full" they should have said when SportsCenter comes on at whatever time, we'll try to have Jim Hunter, John Darby, Robin Pemberton, Mike Helton or whoever on to help sort this day out.

I know on IWC, Allen would try to contact NA$CAR before the show (or sometimes they would get someone during commercial if it came up during discussion or in a viewer e-mail) on questions they knew fans wanted answered before the end of the hour. I hope he'll be able to get an email or fax tomorrow with a concrete explanation. And it would be nice if Steve could get the same for when they cover the race.

Because of other decisions in the past, fans are confused on what the true rule is.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, I appreciate it.

NorCalFan said...

Boy, am I glad I attended today's race after reading everyone's comments on ESPU's disastrous attempt at broadcasting a race at Talladega. From my seat I had a view of the entire track and listened to MRN calling the action precisely as it was happening on the track, plus, they kept me abreast with info on pit road, in the garage and from infield care center. They were the BOMB!

However, now I'm depressed just thinking about being subjected to another sub-par ESPU TV broadcasting experience next weekend.

Dot said...

@ Vince,

So it was you who poisoned the race coverage by watching, lol. You brought up good points about Jamie & Shannon. I agree, they need to be more technical. I think the women who post here know more about the cars than they do. I noticed that when Mike Massaro asked a question, he never mentioned feelings. I never think about sheet metal & hammers when he's reporting. You know that phrase is going to live on.

If ABC/ESPN shows another race like today, I will put a piece of sheet metal in front of my face and hit it with a hammer. Less painful, I believe.

Sure Norcalfan, rub it in. ;)

David said...

Skip, your right in what you said about NASCAR enforcing the rule before but the issue is that over the last 2 years NASCAR has set a precendence that on the last lap with the checkers in sight, anything goes. They've come out and said just as much.

Today they changed their mind.

Regan Smith won today, NASCAR just doesn't have the guts to stand up to a star and bat for the little guy. Hopefully they appeal the result and the penalty. I dont care if its 2 weeks from now but he should be declared the winner. Blaney got a Busch Series win after Skinner was DQed...why cant they do this now?

Anyways on the subject of the coverage? A joke at best. The commentary was scripted to say the least. Too many excuses because they were running with the wrong information. Punch was all over the place. Bestwick was on it, that was about it. Also, Hamlin staying overnight in the hospital...hopefully he's okay and can run next weekend.

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best....this was a -2 which is a shame because the race itself was excellent until a stupid judgement call clouded the finish.

Adam T. Martin said...

What a mess this broadcast was. We get good pictures and sound at times, but too many commercials. Thankfully, they were less frequent in the final segment.

Dr. Punch is still struggling in play by play and we're hoping he switches places with Allen Bestwick.

Shannon loves to ask the most obvious questions. It boggles my mind at times.

The pre-race show should not be more than 30 minutes long. I skip that part no matter what.

Adam T. Martin said...

Well, in ABC's defense, they weren't so embarrassing to watch as Fox's coverage at Talladega back in April.

That was even worse.

No ABC, you still need improvement. Quit following Fox's coverage and you should be alright.

tom in dayton said...

Sorry to be late, but arrived home at 1:00am from the 'Dega race.
Yes, there is a rule book for each series. The master rule book measures 4"wide by 9"long, although there are supplemental books that can fit in a three-ring binder(supplements mostly concerning car modifications or safety bulletins). If special rules are included in the entry blanks or specific bulletins concerning restrictor-plate events, then the NASCAR rules in section one apply. These special rules are also covered at the drivers meeting before the race.
(Sorry to get off subject, JD...)

Anne M said...

My favorite driver is one that usually gets a lot of coverage, but even I noticed that the broadcast did a terrible job of covering -- or mentioning -- anybody they didn't consider "important". When you see a wreck that clearly takes out 10 cars, but you don't know which ones because they only bother to mention two or three of them...that's just inexcusable. For example, I'm not a fan of the 21 but I saw them get wrecked and we didn't hear a single word about them until they came back on the track -- and that was the only mention. Other cars didn't get even that much attention.

Also, I've only been a fan for a couple of years, but even I know that it doesn't really matter who's leading when there are still 150 laps to go, especially at Talladega. The relentless focus on who was leading at any given moment was ridiculous, especially considering there were lead changes practically every lap, and the pack was shuffling people from first to tenth and back again every few minutes. Why not tell some of the other stories instead?

Anonymous said...

The Dega TVcoverage set a new low for ABC/ESPN. Unless I was dreaming,it took a full 15 minutes to post who was involved in the first red flag wreck. This was shocking as they showed their Infield booth next to the pit wall past the S/F line near turn 1. After 15 minutes of blather,they showed a couple of cars involved in the wreck,like Casey Kahne come to a stop right next to their booth. Yet,the booth guys (AB,Evernham) were shown with their backs to the track seemingly oblivious to what happened.When the first big wreck happened,they were in cfommercial. When they came back,it was obvious that Punch didn't know what to do. His voice lowered and he spoke slowly and softly. Absolutly pathetic. Jim Hunter didn't state the rule regarding being FORCED below the yellow line which was a cop out. I can't stand Spencer and Wallace but kudos to Kenny for speaking his mind. Blowhard Spencer has zero credibility and always covers for Nascar. He is always kissing up to his buddy Smoke. Other than Dave Burns,the pit reporters were just awful. Just an observation, but my sense is that Espn over produces these races. Eight "hosts" in two booths and 40+ cameras detracts from just using knowledgable people to just call the frikin race!

Bill H said...


You was in the business and I have always wondered, do they practice for these races? Do the announcers go in thebooth and are shown some tape and they work on the PbP? Do the producers sit in the truck with simulated raw feeds that they work with? Or is it all on the job training and/or whatever experince you have in the past?

Bill H

Anonymous said...

NASCAR just doesn't have the guts to stand up to a star and bat for the little guy.

You're kidding, right?

They won't "stand up" to Tony?

Like when they made him get out fo bed and come to a meeting so they could tell him to shut the you-know-what up on his radio show?

They're not afraid to stand up to Tony.

Anonymous said...

The irony to that statement is that back when the 2001 TV contract started, and NBC/TNT took over their portion of the coverage everyone said "Bring back ESPN!". And now look. We brought back ESPN but now people want NBC.

With the exception of their last year, when they'd essentially thrown in the towel and didn't put any effort into the broadcast at all, I always felt NBC did the best job of all the networks covering NASCAR races.

While I enjoy Fox now, I remember wishing NBC had the entire season's contract.

Anonymous said...

Tony, who was penalized in 2001 for making exactly the same move Regan Smith made (and thus Tony finished 26th in that race) said over the radio, "No f-in' way! He can't do that!" when he was passed.

Anonymous said...

Blowhard Spencer has zero credibility and always covers for Nascar.
Except all the weeks when he doesn't.

You have a short tmemory.

notaclue said...

Very important for all to note, that the business of Nascar trumps everything. In this instince, we are at a profile track, a driver in the Chase who has not won in a long time, 2 high profile sponsors, one of which (Subway), which Nascar would like to see expand their involvement. The race coverage had gone over it`s alloted time window, so now you have people looking to tune into the news, suddenly watching a stock car race at suppertime on a Sunday afternoon. This was the "perfect storm". A "judgement call" so to speak sneaks in to determine the end of this race. This was a no brainer for Nascar. Make a discision that will benefit all the above conditions, lobby the media outlets for the next few days to justify, and everything will be fine next week. The cars you see going around every Sunday is secondary, to the big picture, which is to sell product & sell exposure. That is the price to pay for corporate involvement, and to grow the monetary value of the sport. Capitalism... I urge all to enjoy the spectacle of cars going around in circles at 2000mph, but just remember that this is a business 7 days a week. If you can adjust your thinking to this mentality, you won`t ever be hurt by a Nascar decision. Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

As was aid above, yesterday's decision was consistent with 60 years' worth of NASCAR actions. Long before there was an internet, people were complaining that Bill France made rule interpretations intended to enhance the "show."

BTW, 2,000 MPH? I thought they had restrictor plates.

GinaV24 said...

Unbelievably bad race production, let alone the screwed up finish. Show me the pack at Talladega, not a bunch of in car or tight shots, that's not what matters. Jerry Punch has got to go, or I'm going. Right now, I watch ESPN, usually with the sound muted, listen to MRN for the play by play and follow where my driver is through trackpass. How idiotic is that? I turned the sound on after the big crash to listen to the final laps on ESPN and it was so amazingly confused it was incredible. No PXP, just stammerinig around and trying to figure out the rules. Just call the race and get NASCAR to sort it out. I do feel however that Smith was absolutely robbed by NASCAR -- Stewart obviously forced him down below the yellow line. But since Stewart, JGR and Home Depot are more important to NASCAR than Regan Smith, of course, they made their decision based on that. So bogus, it's hard to believe.

Anonymous said...

Another program of aesthetics
intstead of racing. When can
we get a director who is a race

Anonymous said...

When $%^& hires Mike Wells. Until then we are screwed.

Adam T. Martin said...

I'd rather watch ESPN than having to hear or see Bill Weber for half of a season. (good riddance)

It is enough that we have to put up with him and Marty Snider for six races.

Anyway, the only thing that annoyed me yesterday was the mis mash called coverage but apparently ESPN took up Fox's mistakes from April this year.

Anonymous said...

The 01 was pushed below the line. As I understand it, that is the only time you are allowed to pass under the line…wrong? Stewart did not win that race, Regan Smith did. That was such a BS judgement call by Nascar. This makes me not even want to watch these plate track races anyways. They should just do away will the whole “below the yellow line” rule anyways. It doesn’t prevent wrecks? Let them use the whole track just like every other race. Note to Regan, next time just keep your position and let Tony come across your nose and spin to the inflield. Go talk to Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon….*see Coke Zero 400.
One disgusted fan.

Tom said...

As horrible as evrything about this telecast was, I will not blame ESPN for the last lap shenanigans. This falls on NASCAR squarely. This rule has been open to creative interpretion for years. Let them say what they want about yesterday, but I have personally heard Ramsey Poston say that when the checker flag is in sight, anything goes. I think they it does matter who is involved, but I don't think they are scared of Tony. But I think if Junior had been in Regan Smiths shoes, the result might be quite different!

Agree with most criticisms of this telecast. I made it a point to watch this whole race with a very slight delay until the last hour or so, then went live. I was just glad that Jimmie Johnson didn't make a push for the win at the end, so we were spared, "The young man from California" schtick

Blowhard Spencer has zero credibility and always covers for Nascar

It seems he does a lot, but not always. I do agree that he IS a blowhard and his opinions, which he is allowed to have, have zero credibility. I just hope he is playing a role and is not as ingnorant as he sounds.

Inverness, FL

chase said...

John - great concise column!After the ESPN debacle of yesterday, I will go back to muting the sound. With the exception of Andy, DJ and AB, the coverage was horrendous - camera coverage was lousy, the bumper cams have got to go, and Punch was completely useless, as usual. I do not get ESPN's continuing to let Punch do the PxP.And to go to commercial break at the first 'big one' was inexcusable. Punch's coverage of Denny Hamlin after his wreck was loathesome and the viewers needed to be kept updated. I cannot for the life of me understand why ESPN allows this to continue - all they have to do is to remove Punch - I don't care where they put him but he's got to be out of the booth before the end of the season - rid themselves of Rusty and Brad - put AB in the booth to do the PxP, keep the great team of DJ and Andy and they are all set. What pathetic coverage. Does NASCAR have a clue as to how many fans watch races by alternative methods? Probably not. They are too busy counting their $. I am now detaching myself from ESPN until they rid themselves of the problem. Thanks, John!

Anonymous said...

Note to Regan, next time just keep your position and let Tony come across your nose and spin to the inflield.

...which is what Jeff Gordon said on Wind Tunnel.

glenc1 said...

I would assume any member of the media could have a rulebook--last time I looked it up, you (we) can get one simply (!) by becoming a NASCAR 'member' by paying for the right to do so--it used to be like $500 but it's probably more than that now if it's still the case. But one would *think* the media would be provided one since they would have to know the rules in order to interpret them, instead of just looking over at Mike Helton for the answers....

DON said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I just listened to the commentary of the finish again. Its pretty awful. They didnt CALL the action. they just said "He cant do that". It was such a close finish and Jerry acted like the cars finish like that everyday. I would love to hear the MRN finish c.ompared to the ESPN finish.

Anonymous said...

That's a big thing with the finish. If you actually go back and listen to the lack of a call at the end of the race, you can see why ESPN keeps using the MRN call of the finish in their highlight packages later in the week.

That should be the biggest red flag to the network if they ever needed one about Punch.

Anonymous said...

back when i was on the broadcasts in the old days either myself or jerry or both would attend the sunday morning drivers meetings. i don't know now if media people are allowed to attend the meetings.

i do believe that now media members are allowed to have a rule book, but if the rule books are written the same way they used to be, it's very difficult to determine exactly what a specific rule says unless you've got a law degree.

and finally jerry punch is not a stick-and-ball guy who happened to get the nascar pbp job. he grew up around racing and was one of the best pit reporters ever!

thanks for the time,
john kernan

Anonymous said...

@Anon 955 - thats the most upsetting part, Doc IS a great interviewer/reporter!! Why not use his strengths? #$%^ is driving us "old farts" nuts since we remember Doc from before, & its what drives me nuts about the 2 who can't/won't ask a good question!! Doc could run circles in his sleep around the 2 of them when it comes to pit road reporting!

Anonymous said...

and finally jerry punch is not a stick-and-ball guy who happened to get the nascar pbp job. he grew up around racing and was one of the best pit reporters ever!

The sad thing is, you'd never know he has NASCAR experience based on what we see on TV.

glenc1 said...

john...we really miss you on tv!

Maybe they should get Chad Little back--at least he had the law degree (j/k...I think he likes his job working for NASCAR better than broadcasting...) But I did know someone who had one who said it was so technical he couldn't understand much of it.

Anonymous said...

thanks. i had rule books last year for all three major series and read excerpts on the drivers seat on sirius several times and the rules were hard for this simple minded fool to underestand. the rules also used to be written very vaguely.

unfortunately i have not been able to watch very many of the broadcasts this year as i've been busy with the nhra and covering white sox and cubs games here in chicago.

Daly Planet Editor said...


When NASCAR left ESPN Jerry made a decision to stay with ESPN and build himself a career as a sideline reporter for college football.

The network also assigned him other tasks that did not include racing.

That gap was almost a decade. Did that slip your memory? By the time ESPN and Punch returned to the sport, most of the folks Jerry had relationships with were retired or getting ready to move on.

The issue is why ESPN did not put Punch in the infield and move a play-by-play person to the booth?

You never addressed this issue in your comment. This situation is now in year two and if this had been another sport at ESPN a change would have been made long ago.

Don't confuse being in the wrong job with being a bad person. What Punch has is college football on the mind right now with almost ten years of experience in that sport.

What is not working is NASCAR memories of the 1980's and a complete lack of preparation to be put in the PXP position. It was not fair for Punch and ESPN should have changed it in the off-season IMHO.


red said...

john kernan said (in part):
"and finally jerry punch is not a stick-and-ball guy who happened to get the nascar pbp job. he grew up around racing and was one of the best pit reporters ever!"

and john, that's exactly why i get so very frustrated with espn keeping him in the PxP position. it is NOT where he excels, it does not play to his strengths, it does not take advantage of his extensive knowledge of our sport. he is simply in the absolute worst spot for someone of his talent and background.

the reality is that espn dropped him into PxP for some reason. perhaps they thought to trade in on his good name and reputation in the sport, to try and build some instant credibility for themselves. but they have done punch a disservice and it is destroying his reputation. far too few fans know of punch's work in the pits and what an integral role he played in our sport.

i've said it before: when the nascar hall of fame is finished, dr jerry punch MUST be in the first "class" of broadcasters to be inducted. but i fear that espn's determination to keep him in the PxP position is undermining that.

among the many and varied moments that have me so furious at espn, their treatment of dr punch is the worst. you're no yellow stripe rookie when it comes to nascar and to espn, you've been there. so i can only imagine that your sadness is greater than those of us who post here on TDP.

selfishly, since you raised it, john: here's one fan who would enjoy having you join us on a race weekend and give us your perspective of the broadcast as it happens! some actually remember the good work you did "back in the day."

Anonymous said...

the rules also used to be written very vaguely.

This is consistent with the France family policy--dating back to Big Bill's day.

Daly Planet Editor said...

This should probably end the finish line issue. Thanks to Claire B. Lang and Dialed-In:

Talladega Drivers Meeting: THIS IS YOUR WARNING DRIVERS: Race Director -David Hoots told the drivers and crew chief’s today “This is your warning. If you race below the yellow line and in the judgement of NASCAR you advance your position, you will be black flagged. If, in NASAR’s judgement you force someone below the yellow line in an effort to stop him from passing you , you may be black flagged” Hoots added: “Aggressive driving zones..first off don’t place yourself in position of opening up in our judgement of what’s aggressive. It’s considered all the way around the race track with much emphasis and observation placed on the turns and in the tri-oval. If you think that you are getting ready to go over being aggressive back off and let’s get to the end of the race." Hoots also warned the group about speeding. “I would remind you all we had numerous speeding penalties yesterday at the entrance and exits and yellow line to yellow line,” he said. NO Questions: When asked by Hoots if there were any questions - the room of drivers and crew chiefs was silent.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Then it's lucky they're not contradicting each other, isn't it.

Eric M. from Clayton, NC said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tracy said...

All I can say is: I'm with the crowd abandoning ESPN from now on. Have used MRN to listen to the race with no TV until the last laps for several weeks now, and it's a totally different experience. Pull up the TV towards the end, and it never fails, the coverage is so awful, I want to scream.

It's so sad. I love Petree and Jarrett getting all excited and practically jumping to their feet, but it's not worth it to suffer through the gazillion commercials and dreadful camera decisions and Dr. Punch's deadpan.

Vince said...

Not to beat a dead horse to death (too late, huh?), Nascar makes their rule book vague on purpose. That allows them to make what ever decisions they want to on the fly. Just like they did with the finish yesterday. You can damn well be sure if Jr was driving the 01 car and not Regan the outcome of the race as translated by Nascar would have been completely different.

Good to see you posting on here JK. I always enjoyed your work on RPM2Nite. Just curious JK, what was your impressions of ESPN's broadcast yeaterday?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:21AM,

Why don't you drop me an email at when you have a chance? I would be happy to update you on the correct information in regard to that issue.


Daly Planet Editor said...

eric from NC,

You are going to have to delete a couple of those words and re-post please. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page.

You have some great points in your comment, I hope you take the time to return and re-post. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

In the July 2001 Daytona Cup race, Tony Stewart was blacked flag for going below the yellow line. Stewart unsuccessfully argued with NASCAR that he was forced below the yellow line.
(In fact, he got put on probation because the argument with NASCAR got a 'little heated')

The rule is simple: a driver cannot 'advance his position' by going below the yellow line. A driver will not be pentalized for going below the yellow line if he is force below the yellow line and he do not ADVANCE his position.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this was mentioned so far, but one thing that really got on my nerves was after the second "Big One" with all the Chasers in it. Instead of having a list of ALL drivers in the crash, perhaps having a yellow background for the Chasers involved (similar to the ticker on the top of the screen), they only show the Chasers that were involved. Also, I don't think Jon Wood's name was even mentioned as being involved in the Reutimann/J. Gordon accident early in the race.

I like in-car cameras, but ESPN abuses them more than any network ever. And I can't stand those stupid cameras that are looking at the driver. Whatever happened to the ones planted in the middle of the car facing the windshield, giving us a view of what the driver sees?

I always thought Dr. Punch was a great pit reporter and did his job well. Even as a college football PXP announcer he was good. But as a PXP announcer for NASCAR, it just isn't working out. I'm a fan of his, but I think it's becoming clearer and clearer each week that he doesn't belong in the booth, and hopefully soon ESPN will put Allen upstairs.

I could not believe the final lap call... mostly the run to the checkered. Instead of JP calling it as he sees it, which was RS edging TS to the line, all we hear is speculation from DJ and AP about the rule. I thought that was pathetic and changes need to be made.

As for the rule. It's a ball/strike call. I just think that in NASCAR a pass for the lead on the final lap is more crucial than a strike three called in the bottom of the fifth inning. No matter how much complaining we do, they're going to make the rules and judge those rules accordingly. I feel bad for Regan getting put back to 18th though, it seems like an even bigger slap in the face than not receiving the victory.

Anonymous said...

I had to take my daughter back to college Sunday afternoon, so I was stuck with the radio broadcast for the end of the race. Believe it or not...they went to commercial almost immediately after the race, with the outcome unknown! I could've pulled my radio out of the dash I was so mad with them.
Also, did Kenny Wallace ever explain why he was clocked doing 100 mph on pit road during the race?

ttc said...

JD: A slight correction (or addition) to your recent post:

Dr. Jerry Punch was the PxP guy for the Craftsmen Truck Series on ESPN//ESPN2 in 2001 and 2002 before Speed took over in 2003 so in truth he was only absent from racing for four seasons.

And I know your name is John Daly but judging by two recent comments I would think you are a really a member of the Wallace family! First off, Rusty Wallace has hardly found his groove on the set with Alan Bestwick and Brad Dougherty. IMO, Rusty is simply not an announcer in any role. Here is hoping that some rumors about Kyle Petty retiring from racing and perhaps joining ESPN/ABC prove true; Kyle has the potential to become a great announcer.

And in your set-up on Friday you said that Kenny Wallace is one of the most popular drivers in NASCAR. I have a sneakly suspicion that if there was a poll among fans, Kenny Wallace would likely have to qualify on the speed; he wouldn't make the Top 35!

Anonymous said...

BTW ESPN - Jon Wood was involved in the wreck with Golden Boy Gordon. That's the 21 car. You know, the one that was running pretty good, staying on the lead lap (unlike Gordon's twin brother). He was the one biding his time like the 99 and 16. You know which one I'm talking about right? The Motorcraft Ford fusion fielded by the famed Wood Brothers. Come on ESPN, you know which car I'm talking about don't you?

Daly Planet Editor said...


How does the Craftsman Truck Series have anything to do with Cup? By the way, did you have the opportunity to hear those broadcasts?

Secondly, I will say it again. Rusty Wallace has found his place on the infield studio set. Last season was a mess and ESPN was smart in moving him to a place where he can comment rather than analyze.

Kenny Wallace is a tremendously popular personality in the sport. As we have said in columns for a long time, fans either get his personality or it makes them nuts.

I appreciate your comments, but will you address how you feel the ESPN on ABC season is going?


stricklinfan82 said...

Covering a restrictor plate race should be relatively simple compared to the rest of the schedule. Every car in the field is isolated in one small pack on the track. Every car is basically equal and runs everywhere from 1st-43rd at some point in the day. Handling isn't really an issue at this track. Loose and tight, spring rubbers, wedge, tire pressure adjustments, etc. are basically non-factors in plate racing at Talladega.

From my outsider's perspective the formula should have been simple. Wide camera angles would keep almost every car on the screen the whole race. The wide shots would let us see every lead change and incident live. No need for a script and not much for the pit reporters to do unless a driver has a major problem. Easy relaxed day of producing, directing, pit reporting, and announcing... on paper. What we got instead was a complete disaster.

Instead of wide camera angles that showed the whole field, we got roof cam and bumper cam overkill, and constant zoomed-in isolations on Chasers. That caused us to miss a ridiculous amount of lead changes live... some of which were never acknowledged by ESPN. Mike Wallace blew a tire running in the top 5 and but for a great save could have taken out the whole field... we missed it live thanks to a bumper cam. The LEADER Denny Hamlin blew a tire and hit the wall hard. We missed it because they were zoomed in on a Chaser running a few car-lengths behind him. The second "Big One" started while we were watching Junior's roof cam. When the live angles weren't being screwed up we got full-screen replays that caused us to miss even more. The most painful example was Junior taking the lead. Two different times the truck decided to replay his pass for the lead from 3-4 different angles on the full-screen, then show a replay of his crew chief's reaction on the pit box. All the while, more live lead changes and passing went unseen to the viewers at home.

The truck also insisted on shoving scripted material and a ridiculous amount of pit reports down our throats. Other than the early issues with Jimmie Johnson, there was nothing of substance to report from the pits... as I explained earlier is the nature of the beast at Talladega. Instead the truck forced Jamie, Shannon, Mike, and Dave to ramble on about insignifact issues like David Ragan having a lot of family and friends in the stands, and Paul Menard wanting to "win one for DEI" before leaving at the end of the year. Add in the 'Up to Speed' on Chasers that caused us to miss Hamlin's crash and the pre-taped comments and it was a disastrous approach.

Finally, I feel for Dr. Punch for being forced to do the play-by-play role. He struggled exceptionally on Sunday. All day long he did nothing but ask questions and read stats. On the last lap his silence was resounding. He started the Tony Stewart "scripted call of the finish" then froze in his tracks when he was passed by Regan Smith and said absolutely nothing all the way to the line. Nothing. I understand it was a controversial moment, but in that spot the most fundamental thing to do is call the action (which at the end of the day is the play-by-play man's job, right?). A simple "Here comes Regan Smith on the inside, at the line... he wins it! But will it count? The pass was below the yellow line, NASCAR will have to look at it to know for sure... but wow what a finish!" would have sufficed. It's okay to be confused, we all were... but in that position you have to say something.

Dr. Punch would be fantastic in the pit studio, and his journalistic approach of asking questions and bringing out a discussion among others around him would be perfect for Rusty and Brad in the studio. He's a smart man, knows as much about this sport as anyone else, and is a future Hall-of-Famer in my mind. What he is not at this point in time is a play-by-play man, and there's no shame in that. ESPN needs to put him where he can thrive and promote Allen Bestwick to the booth, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

JD, no i did not forget. jerry also did college football thursday night's while we were still doing the nascar broadcasts together.

as i said earlier i haven't had a chance to watch a lot of the broadcasts this year, but knowing jerry for all these years i know he's working harder than anyone to do the job right.

as far as coming online to chat about the races as it happens, i'm awfully busy working on weekends these days, but thanks for the offer.


Anonymous said...

I have yet to understand what the rear-bumper camera shot adds to live race coverage.

It CAN be useful in case of a crash, but most often it just gives us a myopic view that doesn't help anyone understand who is where or what they are doing.

Phathead said...

Did ESPN happen to mention the Paul Newman tribute they did before the start of the race?

Anonymous said...

knowing jerry for all these years i know he's working harder than anyone to do the job right.

Effort alone doesn't cut it, unfortunately. He may be working hard, but he's just not the right man for the job.

Lots of us who love the guy are saying this.

alex said...

Just noticed we're approaching 1000 comments about this race. That should say something to ESPN.

Desmond said...

Four things that annoyed me about the coverage of yesterday's race:
*Little to no explanation of who is running in what line and which line has the advantage at the moment. This is one race where ESPN should have thrown the script away and just followed the action. There is simply too much going on. As an example: Good luck to Casey Mears and his girlfriend on the birth of their child, but there were better times to bring it up than near the end of the race, which still hung in the balance.
*Staying in commercial break at the time of the first "big one." Why? Were the sponsor obligations that iron-clad? Or maybe it was because none of the drivers involved are in the Chase? Remember, to TV, either you're in the Chase or you're nobody.
*No clarification of Smith's post-race comments. Granted, there was no time to do interviews on the main ABC telecast, but ESPN should have sent a reporter to ask that question for SportsCenter, NASCAR Now, and ESPNEWS. That interview would have addressed the apparent inconsistency of NASCAR's rulings on the matter. Oh, right, if you even imply that NASCAR is inconsistent, they may take the telecasts away from you. Forget it, then.:(
*Finally, ESPN is still calling Denny Hamlin's situation an "undisclosed injury," even after his release from the hospital this morning. Call it what it is - he had CAT scans and X-rays after complaining of headaches! This is also confusing, because of the federal HIPAA privacy laws in which people can have truly "undisclosed injuries."

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

One of the worst race telecasts ever and there have been many to choose from.

The camera work was terrible and something was wrong with sound. On the Trucks telecast you could hear the exciting sound of pack coming by at speed. Not so with ESPN coverage.

The call of the race was terrible. In the beginning when they came back from a commercial the entire field had changed...guys in front had moved back, new people were in front. And we heard nothing. It went down hill from there.

Regarding the end of the race. I can give them a pass with the controversy. Many sports have controversial plays that require reviews/rulings, etc. However, what I can't except is. 1) Not following up with an official before signing off. 2)Not calling the end of the race where they should have been out of their chairs doing real play by play and expressing the excitement the last lap usually brings (although except for Regan and Elliot S, the rest were chickens...LOL...all staying in line. I was yelling "somebody pull out". Menard and Smith should have tried to go to the outside. Bet they would have drawn a few others with them...but I digress).

Why is it when I watch the Trucks or Arca I always enjoy the experience? Do they make mistakes? Sure. But they are few and far between. Many times when they do make mistakes they correct themselves.

The bottom line is the camera work covers the racing...all of it. The announcers express exitement in what they are seeing and provide interesting insight and great stories. You feel a part of the race and that all involved actually understand and genuinely enjoy racing!

It is so depressing. It shouldn't be brain surgery to produce and exciting race.

Off soapbox!

GinaV24 said...

I wanted to comment about Chris Myers -- I've caught him on Fox for the football stuff and it was such a marked difference that I had to look twice and confirm that, yes, that really is Chris Myers. I thought -- why does he act so dumb on the NASCAR broadcasts? I know you've said it is an act and maybe it worked for Fox at the beginning when the 2001 season was starting, but it has become "old" and worn IMO, so I agree that I'd like to see someone else in the HH who knows racing --Krista would be good. I'm not impressed with a lot of the female pit reports, but Wendy and Krista know racing and it is such a relief. I know Jerry is a good guy, I like DJ and Andy and I can put up with Rusty even though he isn't my favorite because he allows his personal bias and agenda to show too often for my taste, but he's better now that they moved him.

Daly Planet Editor said...


It's an amazing difference, isn't it?

Myers had or has a show on the Tennis Channel where he interviewed the biggest names in the sport. Tennis folks are notoriously hard to deal with, but Myers handled all the different personalities with no problem.

The resulting interviews really are the centerpiece of what the Tennis Channel represents.

Switching the Hollywood Hotel around for next season as NASCAR continues to deal with the sharp decline in US auto sales and the continuing struggle for sponsors is going to be important.

Fans need and want information and entertainment, not an act. Now that you have seen Myers on other shows, the fact that the NASCAR deal is an act becomes very clear.


Anonymous said...

Oh, right, if you even imply that NASCAR is inconsistent, they may take the telecasts away from you.

Not that they've ever done that, despite ESPN's poor performance.

Anonymous said...

I was recording the race as I always do ...did abc or espn switch to a different channel after the last big one?...If so I am done with espn for good!!!

Anonymous said...

Another unfair knife in the back to ESPN, as your buddies at SPEED always gets a free pass.They know less about the rules than anyone but it never gets mentioned in this so called FAIR and BALANCED blog.

Anonymous said...

this so called FAIR and BALANCED blog.

That phrase is the trademark of Fox News Channel, not this blog.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 4:53PM,

Could you help us out a little bit? What knife? Who is buddies with whom? Are you talking about the rules for the finish?

Come back and clarify when you get a chance.



Anonymous said...

Another unfair knife in the back to ESPN,

Care to explain what's unfair?

Tracy said...

Anon at 4:53 - there's nothing unfair or backstabbing in the comments of the majority of the people who post here. Most are serious Nascar fans who love the sport and want to see the best races they can on TV. If ESPN isn't doing the job to their satisfaction, why shouldn't they express their opinions? We're not media people, the majority of us. We know what we want, however, when it comes to racing broadcasts. If that's unfair or backstabbing, then the definition has changed while I was cringing at yesterday's coverage from Talladega.

alex said...

Anon 4:51 - ABC Stayed on the air for 5 or 6 minutes after the end of the race for a couple interviews.

Anon 4:51 - Probably because SPEED's overall package is much better, and "not knowing the rules" may be one of their few faults. ESPN has so many problems that even if they're more knowledgeable about Nascar, it can't help the shoddy production of the races.

I don't see any bias for SPEED, they just happen to do it better with less resources.

Anonymous said...
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alex said...

Sorry, meant 4:53 on that second anon.

Tracy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Since that's the original press release from NASCAR, not someone else's quote, I felt it wouldn't hurt to see it.

Anonymous said...

...and in looking back, I see that it is NOT the same thing quoted by CBL. Which make sense, since it was just issued.

Anti -ESPN said...

I am still baffled that Ryan Newman was out and it was thirty-ish laps later that they decided to follow up and tell us he was out of the race. As for the Jimmie Johnson Show- ESPiN must think that he invented the cure for Cancer, because that's all I had seen for the majority of the race. I don't mean any offense, but tell me why there are Shannon and Jamie on pit road? To ask stupid questions and show us that they didn't pass third grade?
MIND NUMBING is the words I use to describe the pitiful, disgraceful, clown-fest coverage from ESPiN.
The World-Wide Leader in Stupidity.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 5PM,

That was posted at 10:51AM this morning as a comment but thanks anyway.


Daly Planet Editor said...

I am a member of the NASCAR media site and get all the releases. Just ask me first before you post please. No problem.

Anonymous said...

Okay, JD, but given that you posted CBL's stuff at 10:51 and NASCAR didn't post the release until about six hours later...her transcription, for exmaple does not include the quotes from this afternoon... it's a little strange that you claim it was posted earlier.

Daly Planet Editor said...

She was in the meeting and that is the transcript. Exact same thing NASCAR released. Again, just ask me first please.

ttc said...

JD: While I have previously expressed criticism of ABC/ESPN that other share on this blog, yesterday I thought they were basically OK at Talledega. The indecision and guesswork in the booth after the finish can be excused because NASCAR also hesitated in awarding the victory to the No. 20.

One thing that I thought stood-out was that the pit reporters were quickly on top of the driver interviews after the two red flags.

One negative was that the status of Kyle Busch was never mentioned after the second red flag. The No. 18 was identified as being involved in the crash but apparently Kyle returned to the race because he gained a few spots in the finishing order.

Anonymous said...

Q: If you're ESPN, how do you know your booth crew is doing a poor job?

A: The NMG-produced highlights for TWIN use MRN race calls, not yours.

Anonymous said...

I know one thing. The audio of the races on ESPN is certainly lacking. It's so poor compared to Speed TV and Foxes audio, I would be embarresed to be the audio guys at ESPN. And what happened to the Speed shot a Dega. Speed uses it, Fox uses it, but not ESPN. ESPN's coverage is like it's being directed from Bristol. Oh wait maybe it is. It's a poor job of directing and overall the lowest production value. of Nascar on TV.
The pit reporters seem bored half the time and they probably are. And Dale Jarrett think he has to talk all the time cause he's gettin paid. If you mute the audio and just watch the cameras you can tell the director has A.D.D. in the worst case.

Tracy said...

Anon at 8:22:
ROFLOL! I thought the same thing.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR'S DAVID HOOTS AT THE TALLADEGA DRIVERS MEETING SUNDAY MORNING: "This is your warning: race above the yellow line. If, in NASCAR'S judgment, you go below the yellow line to improve your position, you will be black-flagged. If in NASCAR's judgment you force someone below the yellow line (in an effort to stop him from passing you), you may be black-flagged."

okay, this quote was posted from a cbl thing, and it's also on .

but let's look at this and see how subjective it is.

the key is "if, in nascar's judgement." repeat: "if, in NASCAR'S JUDGEMENT."

that "phrase" is used twice. now you tell me if a tv commentator can honestly tell "if, in NASCAR'S JUDGEMENT." ;and make the right call when they're coming to the line for the checkered flag.

I almost forgot the most important wording of this rule: "You MAY be black flagged." That's MAY, WHICH MEANS THEY MAY OR MAY NOT take action. Typical NASCAR stance, which leaves the grey area wide open for interpetation.

Yeah, I'm sure that anyone of us sitting in the broadcast booth could make the definitive determination as several cars were approaching the checkered flag while we were being talked to by our producer and director. heck, even david hoots would have a hard time making that decision on the spur of the moment. on second thought, david would have said whatever mike helton or brian france told him to think.

Let's crucify Jerry Punch for not making the call, because he is a doctor afterall and has a lot more education than anyone in NASCAR's booth, so he, above all people should have been able to make the call.

NASCAR is both famous and infamous for leaving a lot of wiggle room in their rules and yesterday's finish is prime evidence of that fact!

I have watched every NSCS race this year and I honestly can't tell the difference between ESPN and ABC. They both pretty much suck! Give me Bob, Ned and "Benny" god rest his soul. That was a good set of announcers!

Village Idiot Intern said...

I did not see the race. I've read all 178 comments here as well as JD's analysis. Add to that the other blogs reader's comments that concern themselves with the TV broadcast that coincidentally occurs at the same time of the race and I can truthfully say my time was better spent motorboating on the local river. My fuel pump on my motorboat failed, leaving me adrift, waiting on a rescue from friends and family. Too bad you guys watching the ESPN on ABC broadcast could not count on the same heroics to rescue you. Ha! Seems as if my disaster was still better than your experience at the hands of the Disney crew. Did you guys have your Mickey Mouse ears on during the broadcast? How fitting. Would anyone care to rate my analogy here on a scale of one to ten? I'll wager Disney & Co. doesn't rate well here. Oh, by the way, my rescuers had plenty of ice cold adult beverages on hand to help me cope with MY misfortune. How did you guys do?

Anonymous said...

I agree with those that say Jerry Punch MUST be moved,however Bestwick is not the man for the job.As we all complain about JP droning on,Bestwick does the same thing,just a little more subdued.Bestwick has always been more concerned with the TV direction and going to commercial on time than the race its self.

Anonymous said...

Let's crucify Jerry Punch for not making the call, because he is a doctor afterall and has a lot more education than anyone in NASCAR's booth, so he, above all people should have been able to make the call.

Oddly, the non-doctor annoucners in the MRN booth had no trouble with the call.

Maybe that's why NMG chose to use their audio in the highlight reel instead of ESPN's.

Ken-Michigan said...

I've commented on several occasions here this year that the network and the sanctioning body could add more credibility to these broadcasts by having a NASCAR official either "in the booth" OR be "immediatley available" to discuss and / or explain a ruling.

This element was added a few years ago on the PGA telecasts to explain rulings and in my opinion really adds something for the viewer.

Network PRODUCER's should be demanding this from NASCAR officials for their viewers.

I've been in many press boxes on the circuit and in many cases the "officials booth" is only steps away from the TV booth.

red said...

ken-michigan said (in part):
"I've been in many press boxes on the circuit and in many cases the "officials booth" is only steps away from the TV booth."

ya' know, ken, that's the strange thing: several times after the checkers flew, the booth said that they were waiting to hear from the nascar officials in the NEXT BOOTH OVER! i know i heard dj say it at least twice and i was pondering why no one from nascar came over to at least say "the finish is under review" or somesuch.

and here's my supposition: b/c the "rulebook" is all shades of gray, nascar had to determine WHICH shade of gray applied in this case. in addition, there is the issue of precedent and inconsistency, both of which plague nascar weekly. so the nascar crew was all tied up with trying to figure out who they thought should be declared the winner, why, and what to do with the other driver involved: all gray areas at that moment.

as i've stated, the problem with the end of the race for me was NOT the confusion about the ruling. it was that the booth didn't call the end of the race at all! as many have pointed out, the PxP guy should have just called out what was happening as it occurred right thru the field crossing the line. at that point, the booth should have begun the discussion about what they thought the situation was and who they thought would be declared the winner.

i felt the entire broadcast was a mess and the ending reflected that as well. again, i don't hold espn accountable for the confusion as to who won the race but they are on the line for not CALLING the race ending as it happened and for presenting such an horrific broadcast, all race long.

Anonymous said...

JD or anyone who knows

I thought I saw on NA$CAR Confidential there "officials" booth is up near the media booth?

Or did it just look that way. Seemed like it was right next door?

So why the big delay? How many shades of gray are there? Or does the call on the race Have To Come From Helton?

Daly Planet Editor said...


Just like in any other sport, Jerry Punch should have known the rules as the race finished.

ESPN attended the driver's meeting where the rules were reviewed.

Even if there was going to be issues to be decided after the finish, the ESPN team should not have simply stumbled and bumbled their way through the final lap at Talladega.

The final lap at this race track is often the most exciting of the season. In this case, it was nothing more than the color analysts jumping in to save Punch as he once again did not know what to say.

All they had to do was call it like they saw it and then let NASCAR sort it out.