Sunday, December 7, 2008

Truck Series Banquet Officially Closes TV Season

It seems somehow fitting that SPEED would be the NASCAR TV partner to close-out the 2008 season. NASCAR coverage first began this year with SPEED's John Roberts anchoring the January testing coverage from several tracks.

We sometimes get caught-up in comparing the different styles of the three NASCAR TV partners who cover the Sprint Cup Series. That allows SPEED to fly under the radar.

While that network covers practice and qualifying sessions for the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series, it is the "support programming" like RaceDay and Victory Lane that most NASCAR fans remember.

The only NASCAR series totally served by SPEED is the Craftsman Truck Series. With the Camping World sponsorship set to begin next year, SPEED is delivering to both NASCAR and Camping World the only national racing series with significantly higher TV ratings for 2008.

Contrasting the style of SPEED while producing the Truck Series races with the three Sprint Cup TV networks is always interesting. ESPN ended the season with four announcers in the infield studio and three in the broadcast booth for a total of seven. SPEED used three during the year.

ESPN used four pit reporters to cover the teams while SPEED used two. By including Tim Brewer on the team, the ESPN total number of on-air voices during the actual race was twelve. Since Krista Voda stepped aside after the pre-race show, the SPEED number was five.

As TDP reported many times over the season, Truck Series Producer Keith D'Alessandro chose to keep things simple and focus the coverage of the event on the racing. While this concept seems basic, it was the key problem for all three of the Cup Series TV partners. During the races, there was always something else going on.

SPEED was helped by a good cast of characters who raced in the Truck Series last season and the racing itself was fun to watch. Play-by-play announcer Rick Allen and color analyst Phil Parsons have bonded with the series and made this a real franchise for SPEED.

Added to the booth line-up for some spice was Michael Waltrip. At first an unabashed Toyota cheerleader, Waltrip found himself this season and decided to complement Allen and Parsons. The results can be seen quite easily. A tremendous rise in the TV ratings and a fantastic season of NASCAR racing on TV.

It will be Allen and Voda who host the post-season banquet coverage on SPEED. The program airs on Monday at 8PM and will once again be the casual "talk show" format that worked so well for Allen Bestwick and Shannon Spake during the Nationwide Series TV show. Click here to read that review.

The Truck Series holds the banquet almost immediately after the season at a hotel in the South Florida area. The post-produced presentation of this banquet has actually been fun to watch on SPEED for the past couple of seasons.

Popular comedian Tom Papa is returning. In the past, he has brought the house down with his personal style that involves those attending the banquet and really helps to break the ice for the nervous drivers and teams. The musical guest is John McLaughlin.

Unfortunately, SPEED is not preceding the banquet program with the Truck Series year in review program. The network remains firmly focused on filling the weekdays with reality-based "lifestyle" programming. On this night, NASCAR is following PINKS, Pass Time and Unique Whips.

There will be a full column up about the Truck Series banquet shortly after it concludes. To add your thoughts about the Truck series coverage on SPEED this season, just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. Comments will appear shortly after they are submitted. Thanks for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

I loved the coverage of the truck series this year. As I have stated before, many times the booth announcers made me feel as if I was actually at the track, what with all of the excitement! I hope they keep up the great work, and also remember to KISS.
Keep It Simple, Stupid.
As far as the reality shows during the week, Pinks is tolerable, Pass Time is laughable, but the dumbest is Unique Gangmembers. What a clown.

majorshouse said...

I just wish that the other series were coverred by Speed like the truck series has been, and they ahve shown us that showing great racing is more important than having too many personalities and that has been really refreshing to watch too.
I just wish that NASCAR could ditch the current television contract and let Speed do all of the coverage witht he team of Steve Burns, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond in the booth with Krista Voda in the pits. That would make for one really exciting package and Speed has continually shown us with the truck series as well as the Formula One series that less is definitely more and it is a real shame that the other big name networks cannnot figure this out.

Lou said...


I just get tired of reading from all those who constantly post and comment how great the truck race coverage is. And those comments are how I feel also. It sometimes feels like we are watching Ground Hog Day. And no one is hearing/reading what we are saying.

Racing on the track as it is happening. And that is what SPEED gave us this season in the truck series. Is that to much to ask? It just seems that FOX and ESPN just do not seem to get the message. Just keep it to racing, that is all I ask.

No, I did not watch all the truck races this past season. But the ones I did watch were the way racing should be covered. Not to mention how great some of the prerace shows were.(remember the sunset on the hill)just a good example of how less in more. And that happened most of the season.

And FOX and ESPN wonder why I watch HotPass from Direct TV for cup races, duh.

JD, those are some of my thoughts on truck series coverage on SPEED this season. They did a great job compared to the others.

Anonymous said...

It always seem you are a real cheer leader for SPEED and the Truck Series. That's good. But they have a long way to reach the popularity of Cup. My neighbors are truck fans and always decry that the stands are half empty.

As far as tv ratings go, sure the trucks are up, but they have decades before they reacch Fox in the ratings. According to Jayski, Fox went up in their ratings this year (5.7)which is about 9.325 million viewers. That's about 10 times more than the trucks. Fox's ratings went up this year and that includes the Fontana rainout.

Since Fox has the most popular sports show in the spring, I just don't see them disappearing anytime soon. I don't get why you think they were a "key problem" for NASCAR.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:38PM,

The reason I like the Truck Series is because they show you the racing.

I did not say Fox Sports was a key problem, but that it seems between Digger, the Hollywood Hotel, Hammond's Pit Box and the cutaway car they always have something else to do than cover the race. That is the problem, their own TV agenda.

Don't get me started on only showing the winning car finish the race.


majorshouse said...

I think that if Fox would cut out the crap and show us the race, they would be much better and the very same thing goes for ESPN as well.

Sophia said...

well, I forgot how lame and butchered the Truck awards show can be.

A commercial after EACH driver who talks for what, 60 seconds? 90 seconds tops? Anybody have a stop watch.

And it would appear by the horrible camera work the same director is there as in NYC.

Oh, well. This is so fake and chopped up..and the comedian seemed to be insulting to the faces in the crowd. Ouch. The heavy guy on Cup might have done way too much bathroom humor but folks did laugh...sheesh.

Yea, these award shows truly are NOT for public consumption.