Friday, January 23, 2009

Three TV Topics For The Weekend


This certainly has been an interesting week of NASCAR TV from SPEED. This weekend provides the first live racing that fans will see as several high-profile NASCAR stars join the sports car gang for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Coverage begins on Fox and then transitions over to SPEED while the race itself has a much later start time in the afternoon. The TV listing information is located on the right side of the TDP main page.

Although this is the first big North American race of the season, it did not apparently deserve even a blurb on ESPN's SportsCenter or ESPNEWS. The stick-and-ball frenzy continues with plenty of time for endless talking heads, but once again ESPN swings-and-whiffs where motorsports in North America is concerned.

Hermie Sadler appeared on the final Preseason Thunder show of the week on SPEED. Sadler has come a very long way in a relatively short period of time with his TV skills. He covered a pretty wide variety of topics with good credibility, but once again SPEED ducked the issue of what the Truck Series would look like after Daytona.

This has been a strange phenomenon all week long, as the Camping World Truck Series is carried exclusively by SPEED and Fox. For some reason, the network has turned almost all the attention and effort toward the Sprint Cup Series alone. Sooner or later, the real story about the trucks will come out.

This week's Trackside shows, also on SPEED, were taped on Sunday at the Daytona Fan Fest. Friday's program featured an interesting interview with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski.

Since Keselowski lives in one of Junior's rental properties close by, Junior tagged Keselowski on-the-air as the friend who never calls and just comes over. Keselowski responded by admitting that he is, in fact, Junior's "Kramer."

A relaxed and happy Junior shared several family stories and had fun with the Trackside gang. After a long winter, it was refreshing to see the biggest star in the sport speaking about his family and friends openly and with pride. He also spoke candidly about the struggles for sponsorship on the Nationwide side of the sport.

While John Roberts on Preseason Thunder tried to preach to the viewers that NASCAR does not have its collective head in the sand about the real world struggles of the economy, that was never the issue that TDP raised. Roberts took a shot at "the websites" that were complaining about the smiley-faced approach of the pre-season TV.

The reality of life is best understood when those involved in the struggles are openly and honestly talking about them. This week on SPEED has been a parade of "fluff" with moments of candor. It should have been the other way around.

If NASCAR and SPEED were trying to keep the veteran fans and win new ones, the approach of having endless conversations about winter vacations, children and the fact that there has been no testing at Daytona did not do the trick.

After the Rolex 24 and the Toyota Shootout are over, SPEED has another week of Preseason Thunder at 7PM Monday through Friday. The Charlotte media tour is done, the drivers have all been interviewed and the rust has been knocked-off the brains of the NASCAR fans.

Next week will be the final opportunity for SPEED to be center stage, as NASCAR Now on ESPN2 returns on Monday, February 2nd. Now that new pets, scraggly beards and winter vacations have all been discussed, SPEED has the opportunity to step-up and do some real reporting on the issues in the sport including the Nationwide, Camping World Truck and regional series.

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 stop by.

20 comments:

SonicAD said...

Don't forget the Toyota All-Star Showdown at 10PM tomorrow... which brings up the question, qualifying and heat races tonight were rained out, and I missed the first 4 minutes, so I missed the time they're coming on, but they said they'd be covering qualifying, heats, and the race tomorrow night, got any info on when they'll be on the air with that?

The J said...

SonicAD,

i think i caught the times but im not sure. i think theyre coming on at 10 tomorrow night.
as for the article, im actually looking forward to the rolex 24 cause i havent seen any racing in 2months. and next week is do or die for speed. if they dont do anything to address any issues, i think their reputation may be hurt for a long time. but they dont have much control over the issue. im sure nascar is telling them what they can and cant say.

Daly Planet Editor said...

If I get an official update from SPEED I will post it, but until then 10PM is still the time for Saturday night.

JD

Anonymous said...

Last year, I pretty well kept my TV on SPEED 24/7 from mid-January until the Daytona 500 (I work from home).

This year, I haved watched virtually NONE of SPEED's coverage, because every time I check it, it's more fluff about what the drivers did during the off-season.

Funny thing is, even though there are no cars on the track this year, there's arguably more news to be covered, but SPEED isn't covering it.

Want me to watch again? Talk racing, not lifestyles.

As has beden expressed here before, Sirius NASCAR Radio has no trouble covering the actual sport, all day long.

Why can't SPEED?

Dot said...

I got home hoping to see the end of the Toyota All Star Showdown. I'm saw 39/10 instead. You know, the one where Jimmie wins?

How have the numbers been for this show since it's on in the day? I wonder how the ratings are for tonight? More viewers accidently watching? JD, do you know? I would much rather watch this on a Fri or Sat night. Six hours saved on the DVR are a lot.

Looking forward to the Rolex race. At least SPEED/Fox do that right.

SonicAD said...

Dot: Well, the racing tonight got rained out, so they had to put something on, and I think that was a pretty good choice. The main event is still scheduled for Saturday night, and no rain is in the forecast, so you can still catch that.

Vicky D said...

JD, I agree with you about Hermie Sadler he had an especially good rundown of Elliot's issues with GEM. I'm still wondering whether he'll get a good car to race. John Roberts comments about the websites was a dig I guess. Anyway, looking forward to Houston's Krohn Racing's two teams this weekend. I think some of the racing on the 39/10 show goes on too much too.

KoHoSo said...

A mostly rhetorical question Mr. Daly but, in regards to ESPN not making any mention of this weekend's racing at Daytona...how long before both web-based commentators and fans just throw up their hands and give up on ESPN because they just plain don't care? I mean...it's not like we're asking for wall-to-wall coverage from "The World Wide Leader" -- just a quick mention on SportsCenter and a little square on the website would be fine.

As for John Roberts' comments, I thought I was going to pull an Elvis on my TV set when I heard what he had to say. JD, you were so right in how he totally missed the point. It would also seem to me that the story of the economic impact on NA$CAR could be approached from several positive angles (how teams are finding innovative ways to save money, etc.) so it's not all "doom and gloom." If garbage like Roberts' comment is all we're going to get this year, I have a bad feeling that I'm going to be an even angrier fan than I ended up being last year. :-(

Daly Planet Editor said...

KoHoSo,

Thank you for the comment. You really said it quite well when it comes to the wild twist in the NASCAR TV coverage this season.

Think of the irony. Here we are wanting to know the reality of how things are going, both good and bad, so we can get ourselves psyched-up for 38 weeks of giving our time to this sport.

Then, along comes SPEED and begins to do this little dance about goodness and light while telling us nothing.

The most amazing thing to me was what Brian France did this week. I listened to his press conference on the media tour and he never mentioned any problems with NASCAR itself.

Then, later that same Thursday, he puts a hiring freeze on all NASCAR companies for the year.

At a time when NASCAR needs to step-up and let the TV guys talk, SPEED has provided nothing in terms of a look into the reality that we can read about on every single NASCAR website on the Internet, except NASCAR.com.

I have a feeling when ESPN2's NASCAR Now comes along, they will blow SPEED back into the world of "Wrecked" and "Living the Low Life" very quickly.

As I said to one SPEED on-air personality, this has been nothing short of embarrassing.

JD

Grover said...

So dang excited for the 24 today, I swear I feel like a crack addict that hasn't had a fix in a few months!!

During the rain out of the Toyota Shootout Qualifying was it just me or were there TONS of commercials for ESPN. At least 2 every local break, and several on national commercial breaks.

However was glad to finally see 39/10. Wonderful program, wish they would air it at a time I could have watched the entire series.

3bud said...

SPEED has one more week to re-legitimize themselves without all the fluff and stuff. With ESPN coming on with NASCAR NOW in Feb. maybe one of them will shed some light on things. We know ESPN can dig up dirt ( real or not) maybe this time they can use their no fear of NASCAR approach for some good/real reporting. It might even sway some of us to believe they are a legitimate NASCAR resource.Being a fan of SPEED's NASCAR programing (except for some revamping of a daily NASCAR show) up to this I hope they turn it around and let more comments like DW's through. I can't believe that ESPN would become the SPEED of old. So please SPEED pick it up abit.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

I like hearing the personal stuff. That isn't the problem.

The problem is the powers that be can't figure out how to blend the serious with the fun. I don't blame them for not doing all the potential doom and gloom all the time. That certainly isn't going to fire up and excite the fans.

However, on the flip side it can't be ignored. Part of me thinks they aren't sure what really is happening. If you look at Sprint Cup & NW there are some new teams starting up, which is pretty surprising considering the state of things. Then again, some large teams seem to be struggling.

That doesn't mean they shouldn't discuss the issues with facts and opinions. I just don't want speculation ad nauseum. That helps no one.

In this day and age the fan has access to so much information. The state of our economy is the biggest clue things might not be all "JR went to Aspen, Jimmy grew a beard, there is no testing".

So, it is hard to understand how they can ignore the hard news and think we don't know they are putting "lipstick" on some serious issues.

Nan S said...

John Robert's article at Speedtv.com seems to be based entirely on reading your website. He disagrees with those of us who do not like the conflict of interest created by having current team owners as analysts. He thinks they don't owe any explanation for issues when they have a conflict or inside info. He seems to feel that they don't even have a duty to viewers to say, "I can't talk about this issue, due to conflict of interest, or legal constraints." Instead he seems to support just ignoring items that come up, like the whole Sadler issue. He seems to ignore the point that someone with a financial interest in a team, might want to present them in the best light.

Anyway JD, we can see that this site is read and reacted to by people connected with the sport.

Anonymous said...

While the fluff continues,I'd like to commend Herme Sadler for the fine job he did last season. Thankfully,he doesn't make the splash that Spencer/Wallace do, but he's a solid analyst.

eaglesoars said...

SonicAD said...

Dot: Well, the racing tonight got rained out, so they had to put something on, and I think that was a pretty good choice. The main event is still scheduled for Saturday night, and no rain is in the forecast, so you can still catch that.


It may not be in the forcast, and this morning as I watched the weather they were assuring us it was leaving, but being 20 miles south of Irwindale I can tell you at 11:00am it is still raining quite hard and has been all day.
I sure hope it goes away.

Anonymous said...

SPEED WAS great when it was getting it's self up to speed. It made Thunder heads of us, & in the process, made Thursday,& later Saturday nights special.
Now that it's turned into "all NA$CAR, all the time" I've pretty much lost interest.
Wind Tunnel, & the WoO, is about the only shows that do anything for me now.

dawg

Newracefan said...

Hermie has come a long way when he first started I couldn't understand half of what he was saying now he is doing a fantastic job and thanks for the personal side of the ESad mess. I also loved the Jr interview on Trackside I remember thinking how happy and contented he seems with his life and that is a good thing. As West Coast Diane said I like hearing the personal stuff but my TV screen isn't Rose colored and I can handle the bad stuff too.

Anonymous said...

Classic Fox finish for the 24 Hours at Daytona. Only showed the winner crossing the finish line.

GinaV24 said...

Speed used to be "must see" TV, not now. John Roberts -- you're a good reporter, but please, don't think that shining all the fans on is the way to deal with the reality of racing. Give me real information, not fluff. I don't mind fluff mixed with my racng news, but all fluff all the time is BORING. A lot like the racing was last year.

Brian France's media garbage -- geez, how lame is the guy? I wonder if he ordered all the NASCAR staff to vote for him on the poll that's up on Jayski? that's the only way I can figure that many people voted that he's doing a good job. A trained monkey would do better -- no offense meant to any monkees.

ESPN is just a joke with their coverage. I don't bother to look at them either. It's the internet for me.

Sophia said...

Fox coverage for NASCAR is going to stink...one car finish..just not worth it.

last season, was not worth watching except for TNT (STILL can't believe how the director) MIKE WELLS made all the difference.

I lost my only in person NASCAR buddy to gripe and email during the race,and long time musician friend of 29 years...his unexpected death further makes me RETHINK my so called "passion" for NASCAR and what's important even with hobbies...and to invest 4 hours to watch "ONE CAR FINISH". WHY? Just to be aggravated?

I am gonna keep up on nascar news with articles and race highlights.

All I wonder now is how they are going to mess up the GREAT RACE with excess of bumper/gopher cams/cut away at the finish....beautiful track, it CAN look great on tv...but....just not feeling the love for the sport. TPTB don't love the fans.

Huge life surprises do change priorities but I was hoping to enjoy the DAYTONA...but after so many missed shots and bad ending for Rolex...I am spitting into the wind.