Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"NASCAR In 30 Seconds" Features Rutledge Wood

The mysterious program that is lurking on the SPEED schedule at 9PM on Thursday night is called NASCAR in 30 Seconds. It is produced by the NASCAR Media Group, who last year was called NASCAR Images. It seems a lot of things have changed for 2008.

SPEED's Rutledge Wood is going to host this one hour program that is going to celebrate NASCAR's most memorable TV ads of the past, and then preview the new ad campaigns for 2008.

“NASCAR fans should really get a kick out of this show,” said Steve Craddock, SPEED SVP of Programming. “Fans get to see Kenny Wallace when he was just getting into NASCAR and a much younger Darrell Waltrip. They’ll also see legends like Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, and the late Dale Earnhardt make their pitches during a different time in history. Not to mention all the great ‘behind the scenes’ footage you will see during the show. NASCAR in 30 Seconds will appeal to fans of every generation.”

The show will also feature a bloopers segment and some behind-the-scenes footage that did not make it to air. The way that NASCAR is trying to integrate this commercial content into a full-length program is a mirror of the NFL's Super Bowl efforts.

In fact, the new NASCAR commercials previewed in this show will be posted on on the day of the Daytona 500. Fans will be asked to go and vote for their favorite new commercial. Sound familiar?

The program is sponsored by Toyota, and culminates with an in-depth and behind-the-scenes look at Tony Stewart as he shoots his new 2008 Toyota commercials. The show will be re-broadcast several times by SPEED during the week before the Daytona 500.

The reaction to this TV show should be interesting. When Internet guys say things like "migrate content across several platforms" this is what they are talking about.

TV commercials become a show, then move to the Internet for you to see again, and finally they are aired in the product for which they were first created...the race on TV.

Just as we saw with several programs on ABC last season, the sponsorship pays for the creation of a "show" that is completely ad-driven. Regardless of the ratings, the idea is to heighten the visibility of "ad content" that was once just aired in the race and on the NASCAR TV support shows.

Just as we discussed on The Daly Planet last season, one of the biggest enemies of NASCAR commercial sponsors is technology. Isn't that ironic? People use DVR's, TiVo's and even their computer hard drives to record the races and then fast-forward through the commercials.

What they are trying to do is eliminate the commercial content and only view the program content. This specific problem is absolutely the best reason NASCAR should be driven to adapt the side-by-side commercial approach of the IRL.

By keeping the racing action (the program content) going on the screen continuously, it eliminates the ability of users to identify and fast-forward through the commercial content. It no longer exists. I am not sure why this concept is such a hard sell with NASCAR, where one hour of commercial and promo content in a three hour race is not uncommon.

It will be interesting to see how this show rolls-out, what it tries to accomplish, and just how well it is received. The Daly Planet will follow-up with a review on Friday.

We welcome comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. Thanks again for stopping by.

ESPN Finally Unveils Dale Jarrett But Misses The Mark

It was certainly one of the biggest NASCAR TV stories of 2008. Rusty Wallace takes a slow walk down to the Infield Studio and Dale Jarrett steps into the ESPN and ABC broadcast booth for the entire Nationwide and Sprint Cup race schedule.

NASCAR Now is also in the middle of some changes, and the first two days of the new schedule were low-key and without any outstanding elements. Wednesday, the network finally opened the door and presented DJ in an interview setting with his father alongside. What could be better?

Ned Jarrett has a very distinct place in the hearts of many veteran NASCAR fans. His personal style and gentle demeanor served to put all the best parts of NASCAR on display whenever he was on-the-air.

ESPN is trying hard to form a bridge back to the network's coverage from the 1990's, but no one is going to mistake the chaos of last season for the days of Ned, Benny and Bob Jenkins.

Now, there is finally a breath of fresh air for the entire ESPN NASCAR family and it is clearly the addition of Dale Jarrett. ESPN almost has a clean slate.

NASCAR Now is trying desperately to raise the credibility of this TV series, and has started-off strong in many areas. Knocking down the doors of mentioning "ESPN only" races and programs has been a great idea. Having Fox's Darrell Waltrip as a guest on Monday and SPEED's Michael Waltrip on Tuesday really opened some eyes.

Ryan Burr continues to set a fast pace in the studio, and he moved quickly to introduce the duo of Ned and Dale Jarrett. With Jerry Punch providing the voice-over of the Jarrett "intro," it seemed that a new and positive vibe was in the air.

Still sharp as a tack, Ned was in good humor and clearly happy that his son was joining the ESPN team. Dale continues to define the "cool and calm" that ESPN has needed in the broadcast booth. The intensity of Rusty Wallace was sometimes overwhelming for Jerry Punch, and often left things on-the-air disjointed and unfinished.

Unfortunately, the weakness of Ryan Burr was on display when talking with the Jarretts. Both Ned and Dale were clearly up for answering very important and timely NASCAR questions about the 2008 season, and sometimes overwhelmed Burr with their answers. His continuation with the tightly scripted questions left a lot of good follow-up information on the table.

Just as The Daly Planet detailed yesterday, there has to be some "loosening up" of this format or it will once again lose interest with the fans. Dale Jarrett said a Toyota might win the Daytona 500, he said Junior might be chasing Jimmie Johnson for the Championship, and both Jarretts said Junior will make The Chase.

Memo to ESPN: That is your new lead NASCAR analyst and his former ESPN broadcast legend father talking about the key issues of the season including Toyota, Hendrick and Junior. This would be exactly what fans wanted to see. Not Jamie Little recapping Las Vegas testing that was over...last week!

What a tremendous opportunity to stop the glossy pre-produced fluff and open this show up to the meat of the sport. There they are on TV for the first time, a racing legend alongside of the man that ESPN is counting on to save the network's NASCAR coverage and get things back on-track in the credibility department. Not one follow-up question was asked. Talk about a-swing-and-a-miss.

There are absolutely some very good and positive things going on with this program series. New hosts, a new roundtable feature on Mondays, and the inclusion of more ESPN personalities like DJ, Rusty and Andy Petree on a regular basis.

But, the forty-five seconds of Dale and Ned Jarrett excited and answering questions about the season, Daytona and NASCAR personalities was gone in a flash. That was a shame, because it has been the most interesting forty-five seconds of the first three shows.

Nicole Manske makes her on-air debut alongside of Rusty Wallace on Thursday at Noon Eastern Time as the NASCAR Now crew takes over the ESPN News Network for three live hours of Media Day from Daytona. Mike Massaro will join Ryan Burr back in the ESPN2 studios in Connecticut to round-out the coverage.

Allen Bestwick will first appear on February 11th from Bristol, CT as the Monday shows expand to one hour. That should be a show to put on the DVR, and possibly to save for a while. AB on ESPN is going to shake things up, and that is just what the NASCAR Now crew needs.

A little less gloss and a little more good humor and personality will go a long way toward getting fans to return to ESPN2 every single day...for ten months.

There will be an in-progress post up for the live Media Day coverage, and stories to follow on both the ESPN and SPEED shows. Things are about to shift into high gear in "NASCAR TV land." Fasten your seatbelt.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. Thanks again for stopping by.

Congratulations! You Made This The Top-Rated NASCAR Blog

Things in life come and go, but sometimes it is nice to have people recognize time and effort spent for a single goal.

This is the Wednesday press release from the Sports Media Challenge folks who use their own search engine and software to track all kinds of sports blogs.

They were kind enough to rank The Daly Planet as the #1 NASCAR blog on their list.

As you know, the simple format of this site puts one or two issues into the spotlight every day that relate to either NASCAR TV or some aspect of the NASCAR media world.

While I get to pick the topics and write the actual columns, there is only one reason that the nice folks at SMC chose this blog. That is the extensive interaction and the intelligent thoughts provided by you.

Throughout the past year, NASCAR fans of all ages and with all different kinds of opinions have converged here to share their views. Many times, the topics of my columns have come from email sent by readers who feel strongly about an issue.

My opinion of the Internet is that this technology is best used to empower people. It works best when someone comes away from using their computer feeling a sense of community and self-worth. In today's world, sometimes both of those feelings are very hard to come by in real life.

I hope that over the past twelve months, whether you have chosen to comment or not, that you have come here simply to be a part of the sharing of information by people who like NASCAR racing as a sport.

My current goal is to continue to empower readers by adding a forum that will allow new topics to be posted and comments to be generated anytime by any user. We are also working on adding your own reviews of races and other NASCAR TV programming in both text and video form to begin user-generated full-length columns.

Without the help of a lot of people behind-the-scenes, none of this would be possible. Jay over at has been a steady hand and a good friend since the start of this project, and continues to refer readers of his site over to this little blog.

Thanks as well to the many journalists, TV types and network media relations folks who have quietly made sure I had the right information, and often made sure to point out when I did not. Thanks to the TV personalities who agreed to answer your questions during our series of off-season interviews.

Dave Moody at Sirius Speedway gave me an opportunity to appear regularly on his program, and the boys over at let me talk TV on their iTunes Top 100 podcast. This season I will be returning to both.

Finally, I want to make clear once again that you are the reason this project survives. Without a strong community of dedicated readers, the issues that we brought-up to the NASCAR TV networks would not have resulted in the changes we have seen over the last several weeks. Simply put, your words got results.

As we officially open the NASCAR TV season on Thursday with Media Day at Daytona, we all know that soon we will be neck-deep in a slew of NASCAR TV programming that will run at a hectic pace all the way through November.

It is nice to be able to take a moment right now and look back at the incredible amount of opinion and information we created simply by working together. While some computer types may refer to it as "content," I prefer to call it "the real voice of the fans."

According to our friends at SMC, you have officially been heard. Congratulations.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. There is nothing to join and we do not want your email address. We simply want your opinion about the last twelve months of this Internet project.