Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sputtering To The Finish Line

Jimmie Johnson threw a wrench into the best-laid plans of the ESPN on ABC bunch. Once Johnson got down a lap and did not immediately race back into contention, the Texas Sprint Cup Series telecast began to sputter. It never recovered.

Drivers like David Reutimann and Juan Pablo Montoya suddenly began to get TV time simply because the scripted Johnson vs. Edwards scenario was not playing-out. In a matter of minutes, TV viewers saw drivers they had not seen since The Chase began.

The wheels were coming-off this telecast because the script could not be changed. ESPN still clung to every move Johnson made, despite the fact he was no longer a contender. TV viewers even got slo-motion replays of Johnson's crew chief and his "secret pit signs."

Several times during the event, infield host Allen Bestwick made rather pointed remarks to the team in the broadcast booth about what stories they should be following and why. It made no difference. In a matter of minutes, Dr. Jerry Punch had returned the telecast to the scattered and disjointed mess it had become.

The first race recap came with 88 laps run and did not last long. This race was essentially run under green with a few cautions. Long green flag runs did not work well for the ESPN team because Johnson was nowhere to be found. Instead, the car-hopping began and never ended. Random race cars came and went on the TV screen, some never to be seen again.

With over a hundred laps left to go, ESPN was missing all the drama of Edwards trying to lap as many cars as possible. This battle was lost as the network continually jumped from story to story and topic to topic. Punch was unable to put things in perspective for viewers and the big picture was left to Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. With no script to follow, things fell apart.

Several times during the race, the Infield Studio crew of Bestwick, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty stepped-up and injected some enthusiasm and fun into the telecast. With 99 laps to go, this trio tried to reset the race and help the fans understand both the race and The Chase on the track. It was to no avail.

Drivers would suddenly appear after a pit stop in the top ten and TV viewers would have no idea where they came from. While Jarrett and Petree tried to keep things updated, that is not their responsibility. It was up to Punch to sort-out the racing reality and tell fans what it meant in terms of both the race and The Chase.

A restart with 82 laps left began a period of frantic high-speed racing, but the tone of Punch's voice never changed. At one point the ESPN production team had side-by-side races in two video boxes on the screen as the battles raged. If NASCAR fans wanted to hear the excitement, they needed to turn on the radio.

43 cars were still on the racetrack and ESPN had never done a full field rundown once during the multi-hour event. Cars seemed to come out of nowhere and then, by the next TV segment, were gone without explanation.

Pit reporter Shannon Spake had what may be her best race of the season. A lot of big stories just happened to fall into her lap and she handled them all with a very new sense of calm. While the other pit reporters worked hard, Spake really stood out on this telecast from beginning to end. She let David Gilliland off-the-hook, but it was clear he was clinging to his ludicrous explanation.

With thirty laps to go in the event the Infield Studio crew again reviewed the race with Bestwick leading the discussion. He covered all the race possibilities using all five of the ESPN race analysts and set the table for Punch to bring the race home.

Late pit stops for fuel shuffled the field and it was a tough task to put things back in order as the cars cycled through. The Carl Edwards fuel issue was being described by pit reporter Dave Burns and became the key issue of the late race. Lost in the shuffle was Johnson, who had suddenly faded to a non-story and was not seen again.

Jarrett and Petree were not buying the Burns story of Edwards going all the way on fuel. As it turned out, it was Bestwick from the Infield Studio telling fans with only five laps to go the real reason that Edwards would take this risk. Punch was silent and Bestwick continued to lead the telecast until two laps were left.

On the final lap, Punch tried to get the excitement flowing as Edwards sputtered across the finish line. It had been a very long four hours since ABC took to the air and it was fitting that Shannon Spake had the final interview with Bob Osborne, Edward's crew chief.

Johnson was now an afterthought and ESPN had a new story to follow. Edwards was now going to make things interesting right down to the end of the season. The TV crew closed-out the race with a variety of interviews and tried to get the stories of the race out to the fans.

This was a tough broadcast to watch without the assistance of a computer for additional information or by listening to the radio call of the race. NASCAR fans should not have to multi-task to learn where their favorite driver was running and how he got there.

Two races are left in the ESPN on ABC coverage this season. How did you react to the television coverage of the race?

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


alex said...

I just don't understand as a whole how ESPN can be proud of their work.

Sophia said...


WHO DID THE PHOTOGRAPH!! a fellow amateur photographer, I wish you would list your photo sources. ANOTHER PRICELESS ONE on TDP!! :)

Once again your column sums it up..what else is there to say except by the time NASCAR got finished with DG, Dilner said on SR DG "admitted" to trying to get JPM LOOSE but not wreck 'em.

The old 'just wanted to rattle his cage' from a driver of less talent.

ESPN is a sham.

As long as Brian FRANCE makes his billions he does not care one WHIT. He is the most distant, clueless out of touch owner in sports...well, next to Mike Brown. :(

Sputter indeed to the finish line...shame

3bud said...

JD there's nothing more to say. A picture speaks a thousand words.

Anonymous said...

As usual, I had PRN to keep me abreast of all that was going on.

I didn't miss you-know-who identifying Kahne as Earnhardt Jr in the Bud car - but no one corrected him. Maybe they were in shock too?

Couldn't believe all the coverage of Johnson - even while PRN was describing the numerous battles around the track. Personally, I know Jimmie can drive, I know his crew chief is outstanding, but they are getting to be very boring. It's like this has become the "NASCAR Jimmie Johnson Race" every week.

JD, the picture at the top of your column is very telling. At least someone has the courage to call the coverage correctly! Thank you for bringing us the only laughter of the day!

Newracefan said...

I'm too tired to add anything but ditto JD. I've had enough. Now if Fios would just come to my area I can switch to Direct TV and listen to people who can call a race even when they are concentrating on just 1 driver

PammH said...

sophia-that pic has been around for yrs!! I've seen it w/numerous different messages on a board I visit. And JD, perfect sum up of the coverage, as usual. I cannot watch VL tonite-I'm just burned out. I will tape it tomorrow & watch it when I can handle it.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- SUPER picture, again. Did you put the sign up before, after, or during the service?

PRN is opining that the wreck was premeditated.

jojaye said...

Awesome Photo!! Kudos to you & whoever took it & the Pastor!

I could not agree with your column more, if I had to depend only on espn on abc - I would have been lost. I'm not going to repeat the same thing I have said every week about the lousy coverage from them. I'm tired of typing it. Doc & AB need to switch now. The rest is just ridiculous.

Yes Shannon had a good race today. Much improved. Hopefully she will continue to improve.

Now on to the truck & its production woes. The people in the truck making the call on Cup raceday - should be fired, now. The over production is atrocious - unwilling to learn, haters of the sport, disrespectful of fans. Junk.

BTW, the phrases "for those of you just tuning in..." & "young guns", & "phenoms" , & "young man" & calling car numbers like a bingo game should be retired, now please.

Instead, try full field reset, let us know who is out or lap down and why, all 43 cars and drivers, please. How about following the stories on the track? The ones happening during the race? And the passing? there was passing today - not that you bothered yourselves with it.

World wide leader in - what?

Vicky D said...

Thanks for the column, JD. ESPN's lovefest with JJ is making this chase so unwatchable.

Kyle said...

Another really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, bad race by ESPN/ABC. Its almost said how horrible they are. How can they drop a race this bad? I mean their coverage is getting worse, not better. The whole "secret pit signals" was another bad lead in to a segment that had absouletly nothing to do with anything and just took away from the racing on the track.

NOTE TO ESPN: show the dang race. Not pre-taped driver interviews, or "secret pit signals in the 48 pits".

I am just speechless with their coverage. Its time to find someone else. I can't take 6 more years of this 'poop'. Maybe there is a way for NASCAR to get out of it. If TNT would realize that no one really cares about the NBA, they could take the second half. Maybe CBS could come back. Its too bad they have football as well. NBC is about the only national network that doesn't have NFL besides ABC. Maybe SPEED could do it. They are getting into more and more households.

ESPN is a poor representation of NASCAR.

Grover said...

I hope that ESPN makes another swing at the announcing booth this off season. It got better this year.... But not good enough.

This should be the "exciting playoffs" but I haven't watched the last 3 races. I about fall asleep listening to Dr. Flashcube.

Richard said...
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Anonymous said...

I don't mind having to listen to the radio call of the race, but not PRN. I am so sick of Rice and Garrow trying to be funny. Stick to the race and quit telling us about how much you know about Star Trek. Barney Hall, I wish you had all the races on MRN.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention how ESPN was so focused on the 48 they apparently rushed to get a close-up of Chad Knaus during a pit stop and forgot to bleep out the S-bomb...

Once again, this should be an FCC issue since it was on network television and it can't be considered a "heat of the moment" cursing since it was replayed on tape...

Daly Planet Editor said...


The website address is on the picture. Some folks are just not familiar with it. No one tried to pass anything off as unique.

I have over 1300 posts and tens of thousands of comments on this site over the past two years. That's a lot of pictures of all kinds.

If you have an issue with this, please feel free to drop me an email at anytime. Thanks.


Dot said...

What can one say about the race coverage today. It was bad. I think there were 2 thru the fields that added up to about 19 cars. I keep's leaderboard up so I kind of know who is where. ESPN never tells us. At least DJ mentions the odd wads when he can.

I can't wait until next year when FOX takes over. They may have their own set of problems, but at least they are informative. I hope someone from there is reading the TDP to see what not to do.

Btw, after seeing the deal about Draft Tracker the other day, they didn't show it today. Do you think someone got the hint? Or did they have to make room for Jack in the box?

Avenger said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...


You are welcome to return and re-post keeping in mind the rules on the right side of the main page.


Daly Planet Editor said...
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SallyB said...

ESPN made a boring race totally unwatchable. at least, I think it was boring from what I saw on my television. It was totally impossible to keep track of anything or make sense of it. Do Nascar and ESPN really think that producing an unwatchable product is going to bring more fans in? Sine I really don't care WHO wins the champeenship, I have no reason to try and watch any more of the garbled trash tehy call a race telecast. disgraceful.

Matt said...

What is amazing to me is how late ESPN was on updating problems for some drivers. It took 8-10 laps for them to tell us about Vickers' green flag stop and about Biffle missing the pit entrance on a green flag stop. They were also behind on Gordon falling back early the race and Reuttiman moving up. It continues the theme of last year's telecasts.

Anonymous said...

I was sitting here in the ICU waiting room (mom fell and has a broken neck and hopefully is on the way to recovery), watching the race from my slingbox at home, and I could not believe how the race was handled. I didn't have the sound on, just the video, and I was totally dumbfounded on how terrible the coverage was. Since I couldn't read the crawl on the top of the screen easily, I could have sworn that J. Johnson was in the lead for most of the race. Finally I realized that he was way in back, at least one lap behind. Imagine my surprise when I saw that Edwards won the race. Could have sworn that we'd see Johnson doing burnouts, but it was Carl. It's almost as if the director of the telecast is a savant who can only focus on Johnson

AMS fan said...

I've got to make sure everyone hears this.
For those not watching NASCAR Now here it is.
Boris Said just said a mouthful.
Yea, Jeff Burton finished 13th but was mostly INVISIBLE on TV today.
Gotta love it. A paid ESPN talent throws his boss under the bus and backs over them.
There is no reason any chaser should be invisible.
Nor should any chaser be thrown down our throats, like last week.

ttc said...

First a side issue:

I watched the first 30 minutes of the F1 finale but had to leave the house.
At the time I left, Lewis Hamilton was in 6th place.

But during the NASCAR race the crawl on the bottom of the screen said that Lewis Hamilton WON the Brazilian GP and thus was the youngest champ in the history of F1. With so little passing in Formula One, I couldn't imagine how Hamilton could have gained five positions.

Later I watched the DVR of the race and saw that Hamilton actually finished 5th but still won the F1 championship. So next week at Phoenix I wonder if we can trust the ABC/ESPN crawl with NFL scores, NBA etc.

As for the race in Ft. Worth, I agree with SallyB, mostly boring (apparently the COT does not allow for much excitement on these 1.5 mile tracks) but a real botch job at the end by the announcers. I still wonder how Junior ran out of "Sunoco race fuel" while teammate Jeff Gordon, who was barely mentioned by Punch and the boys, managed six more laps and finished second.

Dot said...

To expand on what ams said, was Hamlin even mentioned today? He's a chaser too. I guess if your name isn't Johnson or Edwards you don't count.

Richard said...

F1 highlights on NASCAR Now?!? Have I died and gone to heaven?

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for Hot Pass. It is expensive, but at least the guys there can tell us what it going on. I was also wondering why all of the driver names in the top 12 weren't highlighted in yellow. Sometimes they were, most of the time they weren't.

I sure hope that next year coverage for ESPN will be better. This year has been hard to take. Sometimes I get tired of the Fox guys, but at least they keep up to date on what is happening and they actually watch the race!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dot said...

Anybody know what's racing @ the track right now? Couldn't the interviews be held somewhere else?

TexasRaceLady said...

If I hadn't been keeping up with online stats, I'd never have known who was where.

A disjointed telecast from start to finish.

Poor, poor job, ESPN.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Just like Lowe's there is a small oval track on the frontstretch. They race several series there like Legends. Probably trying to keep some folks in the stands for a while and ease the traffic congestion.


Sophia said...


are you talking about NOISE on was VERY irritating...same thing happened on Nas Performance and not a peep out of anybody...somebody on the shows MIGHT have told us what was going on...good grief...ESPN had that issue back when I watched NN with live remotes but I gave up on that show months speed had issues with NOISE two nights in a row.

THANK GOD for WTunnel....sane, quiet show and Miller was fun with Jr.

ESPN is NEVER fun...didn't we all learn that this year? :(

oh and on my small monitor I still can't see the website on the church sign thing but I will take everybody's word for it. STILL A HOOT. :) I clicked on the photo and still couldn't read it but am using a 14 inch laptop...I am sure those that sit up to use computers have 17 inch monitors or larger..and easier to read.

Lookin' forward to the SPEED halloween pics, JD... lol

kang said...

I for one liked todays coverage.A all day diet of "if the race ended now here are the points" instead of the time interval was just the thing.I do however have a idea for improvement.They should expand this "points now" stuff.Run the whole field by.Can you see it? The 48 top,the 99 -106,on down.The 88 -429, the 9 -2555, the 42-3266, and so on. Just think of the change on every lap!

Dot said...

Thanks, JD.

Anonymous said...
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Karen said...

WT was a hoot. I really enjoyed it and don't much make a point of watching it. Junior looked healthier than he has in a while.

Sophia said...


thanks JD I must have posted when you did...

Karen WT was great... :)

Karen said...


OT. Did you say that Mystro is your new navigation system? I hope you didn't b/c I got it last week and I don't like it one bit. Again, fixin' somethin' that ain't broke.

stricklinfan82 said...

At 3:14 PM Eastern on Sunday afternoon I wondered out loud on this blog what possible script the ESPN production truck could use this week. Since (for some reason known only to them) the Sports Broadcasting 101 Method of letting the unscripted live happenings dictate the broadcast’s content was never going to be considered, I figured they could only go one of two ways:

a.) repeat last week’s failed “Jimmie Johnson is Going to Finish Bad and Tighten This Points Race” script

b.) play the “Jimmie Johnson is Already the Champion, Let’s Spend 4 Hours Celebrating Him” card

Amazingly enough they managed to pull a third option out of their bag of tricks that I hadn’t even considered – “When in Doubt, Make Sh*t Up!”

The broadcast was a mess from the very start. Early on it looked like someone in the truck just pulled bingo balls, called out car numbers, found them on the track, and had a pit reporter file generic reports about them. No flow, no sense of direction, no logical order, and no relevance to the on-track happenings. Nothing. Then the broadcast took a turn to the completely ridiculous side. Someone in the truck (obviously taking a page from the ESPN book of “Draft Lock”, “Sweet Spot”, and “Target Zone”) decided to create a storyline that Chad Knaus has a very intricate hidden communication system filled with words with hidden meanings and very subtle visible signals from the top of the pit box.

Time was taken away from green flag racing to air a simple Chad Knaus radio transmission of “we found a problem and fixed it”. What happened next was simply amazing. A pit reporter came on the air and explained that what he just said was really just code for something completely mysterious. Okay then, if you say so….. Anyhow, a little while later they decided to cover up green flag racing to replay a Jimmie Johnson pit stop. Dr. Punch brought the hype by saying something like “Watch this pit stop replay and look at what Chad Knaus does on the box”. While cars were racing at 190 mph, the ABC audience was stuck watching on in disgust as Andy Petree described Chad having two eyes (not three, not one, exactly two) and how he was using those eyes to stare at the pit stop. Chad did nothing. He watched his team make a pit stop. We’ve seen that a million times over. Yet the hype machine was in full force and ESPN tried to make this boring, irrelevant, typical run-of-the-mill happening into a mega-event filled with top secret signals that only his driver and crew members could possibly have the brainpower to pick up on.

Regrettably they did the exact same thing again on his next pit stop. This time the usually dependable Andy Petree was in full control of driving the ESPN Hype Machine. Andy searched out loud up and down during the replay for the “hidden signals” on that stop, and finally concluded on the air that Chad hid them so well he couldn’t even find them. How he missed the completely obvious touching of his face with his left hand during that stop was beyond me. Again, only the 48 team members could possibly know what “top secret information” was being conveyed on that one. Heck, Rick Hendrick probably doesn’t even know. Those secrets Chad conveys to his team during these stops must be just as sacred as the hidden formula for Coca-Cola. One can only hope that Michael Waltrip watches the ABC broadcast on his DVR before taping TWIN tomorrow so he and Chad can combine to make a mockery of ESPN's "hidden signals storyline".

Finally, when there were no more Jimmie Johnson pit stops filled with millions of “secret signals” to try to decode on the air, ESPN just threw in the towel. Race leaders Jamie McMurray and Clint Bowyer pitted under green in the final laps and fell off the face of the earth to the eyes of the ABC TV viewers. Carl Edwards was suddenly trying to stretch his fuel to the end of the race. The second he took the lead from a pitting McMurray, he was the only one that mattered. The standings shuffle of the cars that pitted was irrelevant. Filling the viewers in on who beat who off pit road and who was in position to take the win if Carl ran out wasn’t considered. Carl was stretching his gas, if he ran out the race was apparently going to end in a “no contest”, or draw, in ESPN’s mind. Luckily for ESPN Carl didn’t run out and he held on to win. They held the finish line shot long enough to show that Jeff Gordon also stretched his gas and finished second. Then, to ESPN, the race was over. It was time to switch to men in fire suits hugging other men in fire suits, and Carl Edwards cruising around at 80 mph doing nothing. McMurray, Bowyer, and the rest of the field were afterthoughts. They didn’t exist in ESPN’s mind. Today, only two positions paid apparently.

I swear to you all that I truly believe ESPN is doing all this on purpose just daring NASCAR to “fire them” so they can turn around and have their lawyers sue the sanctioning body for everything they’re worth. It is incomprehensible in my mind that any presumably intelligent, well-educated, experienced, and knowledgeable behind-the-scenes worker could honestly think that the scripted pre-determined storyline approach to covering a live NASCAR race is sensible, or actually think that making up things like “Draft Lock” and the hidden signals storyline is an acceptable practice when covering an event. For the sake of respecting the credentials and qualifications of the offending parties, I have to believe that their hands are tied and the mess we have seen every time a Cup car has appeared on an ESPN TV network is a product of malicious neglect dictated by an edict from "up above" at ESPN, and not a product of an excessive amount of incompetence by one or more members of the truck.

Less verbose translation - you have to be trying really hard to screw up a race broadcast that bad…. in my opinion.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I fell asleep again during the race. FELL ASLEEP!

You have to understand how excited I am all week for the Cup race on the weekend to understand how ridiculous it is that I am falling asleep during these telecasts.

Todd Crane said...

JD to sum up JP as a play-by-play announcer....Jamie McMurray came into the pits, and did a two tire pit stop, and Punch described it as a 4 tire pit stop. He is clue-less!!!!!!! My wife and I just looked at each other and started laughing. I wonder if Punch reads this blog.
1 quickie...KUDO's to Kyle Bush for giving $100,000.00 to Sam Ard.. His stock went up 100 fold!

Anonymous said...

I know John says otherwise , ( why wouldn't he ) but the ESPN people DO NOT read this blog . At least no one of any authority . Nor does anyone important at any of the networks and certainly not at nascar . None of the above has even the slightest interest in what fans on a blog have to say . Nothing but mindless complaints by losers and malcontents . If you need any proof at all about the above , try to think of some issues that have been corrected because of fan discontent . That would be a very short list .

And the ramming down our throats of every thing Johnson and Hendrick has its roots in ESPN coverage from the 90s . The fans became so sick of the constant" all Jeff Gordon / Ray Evernham all the time " theme of nascar broadcasts by ESPN in those days that the backlash against Gordon still exists to this day . And guess who led the shilling . None other than Jerry Punch .

Anonymous said...

I dont get what the big deal is. Background noise at tracks has been an issue since NASCAR was first televised. You old farts just complain about every possibly thing. Next thing you know you wil complain that the colors on the graphics are too bright.

Exactly. Some psoters here would apparently like to have these shows produced in a library. (Tey already complain that the fans in the background of the other shows should be quiet.)

Races are loud. That is part of the environment.

Tom said...

By saying this site is anti-ESPN is as ridiculous as saying no one in authority pays attention to the comments. A prime example of someone "listening" has been at ESPN. I truly believe comments here had something to do with Nascar Now going from terrible to at least bearable (when there is real news). If you read last years blogs, I think you would find TNT getting trashed pretty hard, and there was some major improvements this year. I expect major changes at ESPN over the winter, probably in part because of comments here. Take a few to read through from Feb 2007- you will see what used to be a problem-maybe not so bad now.

Inverness, FL

bevo said...

I was at the race yesterday so I can't add anything to the ESPN coverage but I can say something about the race itself. There was plenty of passing unlike the first couple of years when it was a single-groove track and right after they repaved it. Turn 2 is still tricky, the folks in the condos have a patio view of it so if you want to watch wrecks that's your place. I did listen to some of the PRN coverage on the scanner (since it's an SMI track) and they didn't have the best day. As someone else said, they yuck it up too much and try to force the "fun" and forget the action on the track. MRN is by far the best.

I actually missed reading everyone's comments during the race, this place is getting addictive :)

ri88girl said...

I think Chad should open TWIN by just saying 'Albatross' It comes right between Aardvark and Armadillo his other two 'secret' words RE Bootie.

In keeping with that wonderful picture, I have to have faith and pray that the suites at ESPN will make at least two critical changes for next year. One, they must either replace Dr. Punch or redefine his role to allow DJ to handle the actual on track play by play. Two, they must hire people who understands how to direct and produce a Cup race. The 'B' team, while better, will not satisfy me next year. Especially if thre is no significant change in the booth.

Not only is this the first time in my 37, no lie, years of following nascar that I want the season to end, it is the fist time in my life I have turned off a race and watched something else. ESPN has succeded in turning me in to a casual view; at least of their network.

Earlier in the year I offered to start a hunger strike in Bristol Conn as I live so close, next year if this is what we get again, I'm doing it. I'm not letting these mornons kill my sport. So if you ever hear on the news that they think they'll need a rollback to remove the very large, itate old lady from the ESPN lobby, you'll know its me just following through.

Viva La Revolucion!

Daily Double said...

And another thing, why in hell do they fill the screen with useless graphics?? One scrollbar is MORE then enough to keep me informed/updated through the race. The only thing that could make there broadcast any worse would be to add Keith Olbermann alongside Rusty Wallace.

ESPN, the days of old were your proudest moments.

GinaV24 said...

Boy, that photo is great and so true! Poor babies -- Johnson didn't make their script possible -- too bad! Maybe somebody should just call the race that's being run instead of trying to make it fit some stupid script. Do the football announcers follow a script? I don't think so -- man, let this season be over -- it's been boring anyway --

Anonymous said...

I changed to the NFL when Tim
Brewer started the weekly spring
rubber presentation. The canned
cr*p is killing the show.

majorshouse said...

The only time I thought that Punch sounded good was when he called one pit stop from the booth and it is blatantly apparent to me that is where this man belongs. He did well years ago when he covered the pits and he cannot call a race without a script. I don't know which race was worse, the Nationwide race on Saturday or the Cup race yesterday afternoon. I love the interaction between Petree and Jarrett, but please let's have AB in the booth with them instead of Jerry Punch. I just wish that NASCAR and ESPN would just listen to their fans or they are going to quickly lose the base that it took years to build up.

Speedcouch said...

I'm not really sure what the director at ABC is thinking lately! We get a split screen for green-flag pitstops when some cars in the back of the pack come in and that view gets the larger picture! This relegated the view of the racing for the lead or other positions to about 13 inches! That tiny picture didn't even look like it was HD! Thanks for giving me 13 inches of racing on my 50 inch screen and about 18 inches of a single car pitting!

Otherwise, ABC continued their practice of covering "stories" instead of the racing. I understand Jimmy is the points leader, but at times his car running back in the pack gets the larger picture (or full screen) and the leaders or other good racing gets reduced to 13 inches!

I thought ABC did a good job at the end covering the fuel strategies of various teams and it was good to see Dave Burns get to do the Victory Lane interview again.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 2:38AM,

Just to make sure you understand how this works, this is only a post about one race.

The Monday NASCAR Now shows have been great. Nicole Manske is a success story for ESPN this season and a great choice in the studio.

ESPN's Nationwide coverage is often a blast as has been documented here all season long.

How and why the Cup troubles are continuing is anyone's guess. DJ and Andy have been outstanding, but they are slaved to what is being shown on the screen and what the Producer wants to do next.

Thanks for the comment, I just wanted to make sure you knew about the positive parts of the NASCAR on ESPN TV package.


midasmicah said...

You hit it right on the head. No matter was happening on the track, no matter how your driver was doing, all you were going to get was "The Jimmie Johnson Show". Somebody needed to give Punch some "spiked punch" to make him go asleep. What a bore.

Anonymous said...

When you decide in advance what you're going to cover in a live event--no matter what actually transpires--you get what ESPN did Sunday, complete with video of "secret signals" and a lack of interest in the guy leading the race because he wasn't the driver who was supposed to be leading.

If, by some chance, the leader and eventual winner of a race was a non-Chase driver, I think ESPN would just go to black and say they had had technical difficulties.

Anonymous said...

Secret signals have existed since the beginning of racing . But we have ESPN giving Knaus the credit for inventing the wheel . And poor Andy Petree has to go along with the show and try to explain something that really didn't need an explanation . The people in the ESPN production truck feel that every facet of every nascar broadcast needs to be dumbed down to beginner level . I can't figure out who they think their demographic is . We ALL know about spring rubbers , secret signals , and all of the other things the ESPN bunch wastes time examining . Please , just show the race and ALL of the cars .If you need pointers , watch the F1 broadcasts . They don't feel the need to appeal to the very least informed fan at all times .

Robyn said...

As usual, I only was half paying attention to the broadcast. The first caution after JJ went down a lap I asked a friend do you think that they will stick around to show his pit stop? I soon got my answer. For the first time all year (I think), the pit stop of a lap down car (that wasn't being repaired) under caution was shown. I guess someone realized that the lap down cars have to pit too.

Ziggy said...

What a joy it was to watch racecars other than the 12 chasers running in the top 10. Can wait to see the total amount of "face time" MacMur & Rutie recieved. (betcha JJ got 4 to 5 times more). Wore out a set of new AA's clicking in & out of the race.

Tracy said...

"So if you ever hear on the news that they think they'll need a rollback to remove the very large, itate old lady from the ESPN lobby, you'll know its me just following through."

Ri88girl, you gave me a much needed laugh. I just hated the race coverage yesterday and found it beyond depressing. I could stand to drop a few pounds - I'll join you in the lobby hunger strike. Anyone else? Or do you think it'll do more good in the lobby of France's headquarters? Maybe at Daytona? Hmmm, gotta plot the revolution ....It's been a while since my 60s protest days, but I can get back in the swing of annoying the PTB.

boyd said...

Being a Cowboys fan, I had a very hard choice. Since my wife is an even bigger Cowboy fan, the decision was made for me. Watch the poor excuse of the game and DVR the race.

I usually watch the race and read this blog as I go and sometimes contribute to it.

I won't make that mistake again.

I watched the broadcast right after the game, and had to keep myself from hopping on TDP. I had no idea why this car was on the screen when talking about chaseres and was amazed to actually see the UPS and Crown Royal cars (Dr. Punch, feel free to try this verbage). The thing was it was still mostly the JJ show, and I'm a Hendricks fan.

I will make sure to keep the radio on, if there is Cowboys race conflict, because the TV doesn't show the whole story, only a little portion, and sometimes that is a reach.

I'm done with trying to watch on ESPN.

Waiting for real racing coverage at the Chili Bowl and Daytona.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 6:40AM,

Funny post. The hardest part about solving the ESPN problems is that it is tough to take something that big apart during the season.

We saw this last year when the coverage was so bad on ESPN fans were starting petitions to get them fired.

There were a lot of changes in the off-season, but unfortunately they missed changing one key element.

If they had just quietly put Jerry Punch as the head of the Infield Studio with Rusty and Brad it would have made all the difference.

Regardless of the Allen Bestwick issue, it was clear that what ESPN really needed was a new play-by-play person who could inject some excitement into what we all knew would be a COT year from hell.

Hopefully, they will at least give AB a shot at the PXP position for 2009 unless Marty Reid sneaks in now that the IRL is gone.

With just a couple of tweaks in the on-air talent department and one change in the TV production truck, ESPN could immediately be having a blast with NASCAR for the rest of the current contract.



chase said...

John: Great pic - great column - I totally gave up less than halfway through. I do not understand how ESPN can CONTINUALLY give us coverage like this without even attempting to make any changes. I'm exhausted from Sundays with ESPN and to use a line for a film, "I'm not going to take it anymore". I will continue to watch the remaining 2 CTS races and that will be it.

Sophia said...


Mystro is a nightmare. Passport was great. TW did an in house software "upgrade" -really a downgrade. Horrible blue on blue tv guide.

And worse, if YOU have a DVR, prepare for maybe losing your shows or sitting down to watch them and having them be gone or missing half a race..the ff often does NOT work in many dvr's shows won't allow you to record them/error messages.... Just the regular digital box is a mess. I finally screamed ENOUGH and was going to have the digital yanked after the last NASCAR race and see if they improved the service by Feb. The lady from TW THEN gave me about 19.00 or 20.00 off the current bill and will freeze the price for a year!!! So you know they must be getting lots of complaints.

Prepare for lots of rebooting, the digital guide 'hanging' with 'data loading' and plethora of other junk.

Mystro takes twice as long to reboot as Passport. IF you have an HD box, it can take up to 15 minutes to reboot I was told.

Good luck and hope it works during sporting events. I wondered when somebody else here would comment on this TW tv issue. Just google the issue and you can read complaints for HOURS.

But losing the picture during the race is a good thing if you have bevo noted, the PRN guys try to yuck it up too much....

good luck Karen. Email me if you have specific problems.

Anonymous said...

We can nit pick all we want. To Quote Lauren Wallace, "Story with me is." Boring racing! Sure Doc. is out of his depth, but no amount of "stories" gimmicks etc. can make a boring race interesting.
NA$CAR racing is no longer interesting. their COT, that they're so proud of, just does not race well. They want to blame the economy, & I'm sure it partly responsible. Still, "Story with me is" Boring racing.


Desmond said...

After seeing the sign, I have visited the website that was mentioned in the picture. I didn't know you could do that! I hope it's a free service. Thanks, John.

As for the race coverage: It's the same as it's always been, and that's a bad thing. ESPN made some improvements in the last off-season (e.g. Bestwick as the new studio host and the reassignment of Rusty). But it's apparent that more changes need to be done in the next off-season.

One moment, they were trying to balance coverage of Chase and non-Chase drivers, and the next it turned into all-Johnson, all-the-time. Make up your mind, ESPN!

Richard in N.C. said...

BEVO- 5 Star comment!

Daly Planet Editor said...

There are new TV/Media notes and pics from the Halloween version of the Craftsman Truck Series race up on the main page.



Thornton, Colorado said...

I am awaiting word from ESPiN that Jimmie Johnson has just invented the cure for cancer. He already walks on water and saves souls.
For the next two races, I will be rooting for one of the "backmarkers" to run up front. I am one of those people that secretly enjoy the pain of others (others being any employee of ESPN). I bet yesterday the production truck looked like a Keystone Kops episode, when Jamie McMurray was leading. They probably even have 48 gear on in the truck as well....

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Richard in N.C. said...
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Newracefan said...

I think we should all email Chad at Nascar Performace and ask him about secret signals and codes for what was wrong with the car. I seem to remember that he said he passes notes with adjustments at time, not exactly code but....

twilk said...

How many times did we have to see the guy sitting next to Chad Knaus patting Chad's back?

Adam T. Martin said...

"BTW, the phrases "for those of you just tuning in..." & "young guns", & "phenoms" , & "young man" & calling car numbers like a bingo game should be retired, now please."

I feel like a tape recorder is saying those over and over again.

Also, the replays of showing the 48 team do signals in the pits had me scratching my head and shaking in disbelief.

Again, where is the ABC/ESPN of the 1990s aka SpeedWorld? Has anyone forgotten how to run a great telecast?

Bob Jenkins, you're needed in the booth. We miss you. If not, bring us Paul Page or Allen Bestwick.

Also, I would love to see Jon Kernan again.

Props to Ms. Shannon Spake for stepping up.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

I would direct your attention to the 70+ comments above.

If you have some opinions to offer, why not take advantage of this opportunity?

Bestwick is on the list because he is already on the ESPN team, knows the ropes and switching the two would not require anyone to lose a job.

Not quite sure what you get out of adding off-topic comments. You can always email me at editor@thedalyplanet anytime if there is an issue to discuss.



Anonymous said...


Is there any hope that Bestwick will get a Nationwide tryout before this year ends? Not that he needs one, but upper, upper management may need tangible evidence before making a move this big.

For the haters, the rumors of John Daly's demise are greatly exaggerated.

Sorry, JD. I know that last bit may get my comment booted, but I almost had a heart attack myself when I saw the headline.

- Rick Eckart -

MelissaAnne said...

As usual, I toss my hat in the ring. I suffered through the broadcast with everyone. And as usual, I am so thankful to have the computer and the radio along.
JD I am surprised that you missed Shannon referring to Mark Martin as a young inexperienced driver. I am not sure of the quote, but unless I misheard her...