Wednesday, January 21, 2009
NASCAR Brass And Media Collide On Thursday
This season has been very strange for NASCAR since the first day of January. No cars on the track at Daytona, bad team news every single day and many fans who almost seem shell-shocked about what is happening to the sport they love.
The first ten days of NASCAR TV programs on SPEED have made it clear the way NASCAR has chosen to approach these issues. SPEED's marching orders are to make believe everything is just fine.
Conversations about babies, off-season trips and anything else under the sun other than the reality of the sport at this moment is fair game. Other than a momentary slip on Monday (click here), it has been all smoke and mirrors with happy smiling faces.
What is left of the national motorsports media is being driven around the Greater Charlotte area on their annual media tour this week. Stops have already been made at several shops with less than stellar attendance by team owners and key drivers.
Richard Childress was off hunting, Roger Penske had a prior engagement, Elliott Sadler is on his well-timed honeymoon and George Gillett was nowhere to be found.
The traveling media pack has dutifully reported on what they were told, done their TV interviews and then got on the bus to the next stop. This year, the final destination will be the NASCAR Research and Development Center on Thursday afternoon.
This is where Brian France, Mike Helton and the NASCAR executives will face the media after France gives his annual "State of the Sport" address.
Lee Spencer from FoxSports.com talked about the possible scenarios:
NASCAR State of the Union — Traditionally, this has been an opening-day event. With no Daytona testing and Speedweeks less than a month away, it will be interesting to hear the spin for 2009. This is (also) NASCAR's opportunity to unveil any significant rule changes (perhaps some miracle to keep the Camping World Truck Series afloat?).
The picture of what NASCAR will be putting on the track in 2009 is hazy at best for many fans. This is an opportunity for France to talk candidly about how NASCAR is going to buckle-down, come together and race through this deep economic crisis.
Once France and his executive team are through, it will be up to the media to ask about the issues NASCAR has been hesitant to address. With outspoken writers like Jerry Bonkowski, Mike Mulhern and Bob Margolis no longer writing for major publications, it should be interesting to see and hear which members of the media put France on-the-spot about the real issues.
There are a lot of very fundamental questions that have not been answered by the NASCAR TV partners or the NASCAR.com website writing staff. It should be fascinating to see how the combined print, Internet, radio and TV journalists approach this one opportunity to speak directly with France, Helton and the rest of the top executives of the sport.
TDP will have a full report on Thursday afternoon with the details of what was asked and how those questions were answered.
In the meantime, perhaps you have some suggestions of a good question or two that the NASCAR media folks could ask France or Helton? Please feel free to click on the COMMENTS button and give us your thoughts.
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