Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Camping World Truck Series Can't Catch A TV Break


After losing Saturday to rain, the Camping World Truck Series took to the track Monday in front of a small crowd on a chilly day in Martinsville, VA. The good news is that the live SPEED telecast of the race was solid and the trucks put on a great show. The bad news is that almost no one saw it.

A silver lining did exist, however, because both NASCAR Now on ESPN2 and This Week in NASCAR on SPEED would be on the air later Monday to review the action.

As luck would have it, Kyle Busch was once again in the mix and the finish of the truck race would be memorable. After the race, the SPEED cameras captured Busch running down pit road, jumping the railing and leaving the premises without talking to anyone.

What a great tie-in to his struggles in the Sunday Sprint Cup Series race as those highlights would be the centerpiece of the two NASCAR TV shows on Monday. Since there was no Nationwide Series race, the Sprint Cup Series and the Camping World Trucks were the only game in town. This would be great TV exposure for the truck teams.

Mike Massaro was in for Allen Bestwick and it was clear from the start that a lot of the Monday NASCAR Now program was going to be focused on the Sprint Cup Series. Ray Evernham, Ricky Craven and Mike Wallace offered good comments about the drivers, the action and the results.

Since there was no live guest scheduled, there would also be plenty of time to talk about the only other race of the weekend, the trucks. Including this series in the NASCAR Now program used to be a battle. Apparently, that battle is not over.

Massaro introduced an embarrassing highlight package that included him naming the wrong driver, not knowing Todd Bodine's truck and finally getting lost in his commentary during the final pass for the lead.

The package ended with Kyle Busch slamming down his HANS Device and helmet. In this one hour show, the trucks got 55 seconds of coverage. Instead of turning to the "expert panel" for follow-up, Massaro led directly to commercial. His words were ironic.

"And we'll talk a little bit more about Jimmie Johnson...coming up," said Massaro. It was time for the ESPN.com poll results on whether Johnson can win another championship. The blue states and the red states were battling it out. One thing was for sure, the trucks were done on NASCAR Now in more ways than one.

Later on Monday, Steve Byrnes led a rowdy Greg Biffle and Michael Waltrip through the same Sprint Cup Series highlights and explanations on This Week in NASCAR. This crew has a very different style and the first-hand accounts of the Sunday race were outstanding from both panelists.

The good story here is that Waltrip called the truck race for SPEED, so he had the inside scoop. Byrnes introduced the highlights and SPEED gave their only major NASCAR series 75 seconds of highlights. That's right, less than 90 seconds of highlights from a Monday race which most fans had not seen.

Not only did this highlight package not tell the story of the race, it contained no post-race interviews from SPEED's own live Monday telecast. SPEED approached this race as if it had taken place on Saturday and fans had already seen the highlights several times. With the race actually airing at noon on Monday, nothing could be further from the truth.

It seems like the Camping World Truck Series cannot catch a break where NASCAR TV is concerned. The series has no weekly TV show, no regularly scheduled features on either TWIN or NASCAR Now and only a thirty minute pre-race show for exposure. On this Monday, even that was cancelled.

One key goal of the NASCAR TV partners this season was to help the Nationwide and Truck Series survive these tough economic times. While this message resonated earlier in the season, Martinsville proved to be a complete failure where both SPEED and ESPN were concerned in terms of the truck series.

While the Nationwide Series continues to be populated by Sprint Cup regulars, the Camping World Truck Series teams are holding on by their fingernails right now and several are about to fall by the wayside.

What will it take for these two TV programs to wake-up to the fact that the NASCAR TV partners have to be actively involved in helping all three national series in the sport survive this crisis?

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38 comments:

Dot said...

I'm watching TWIN now.

I watched NN live. Mike M was a mess today. His notes were all over the place. He said so himself. How does that happen?

I can't figure out why the CWTS gets no love. I watched it off the DVR. What an exciting race. Lots of action.

JD, how are the TV numbers for the trucks? We know Cup is down.

Sophia said...

I fell asleep during TWIN (NOT because of the show, just feeling puny)

I have the tv on to catch the midnight TWIN show but sorry the trucks did not get more time.

Shame Mike M was a mess but I do not watch that show anymore. AB is ALWAYS prepared, though that I have ever witnessed.

Bryan said...

JD, Iknow you like Mike Massaro, and his reporting, but he was not on his game today.Toward the end of the show he seemed totally confused. Someone needs to wake up at Speed, and give the trucks some air time. If they cannot give them a 30 minute show, at least show good detailed highlights. They have plenty of time, and need to leave off some of the crap they now have on.

Dot said...

Wow, KuB's radio convo. Why didn't he just tell Roger to ........

TWIN was much better than NN.

Yeah, what Bryan said.

Gymmie said...

@Dot--I was thinking the same during the KuBu feature.

It's very sad that the Pick 'em Ups couldn't get some real air time on TWIN :(. How are folks suppose to become fans if they don't know WHY!

I started watching Busch because of the famous Happy vs. Biffle incident at Bristol. I saw the highlights on IWC and I was like "What am I missing?" Showing some of the real emotion of these guys and Kylie storming off again might add some viewers. Showing why the beatin' and bangin' is the best racin' out there.

Sophia said...

I enjoyed Twin immensely.

I was hoping we would hear what Penske said to Kurt on radio.
about how if Kurt did not want to drive anymore he could be replaced.

:)

Dot said...

@ dear Sophia, I didn't know that. Kurt has been so pleasant lately while being interviewed. Leopards and their spots, I guess.

It's one thing when JR rags on Eury JR on the radio, but your car owner? Frustrated or not, show some respect.

Stu Gatz said...

Sorry but I thought ESPN did a good job yesterday. Ricky Craven and Mike Wallace did a great job on anaylizing and post mortom of Sunday's Race. I wish I would have had a chance to see TWIN.
Ya Mike M. was little frazzled but Craven and Wallace did their best.
It would have been a stellar show had AB been there.

Lou said...

I did watch the truck race yesterday and followed along on the inprogress on TDP. I enjoyed the coverage as well as the comments on TDP.

Just finished watching the 0800hrs showing of TWIN on Tuesday morning. Once again I did enjoy the program as usual. But after watching the truck race I am disappointed that more time was not dedicated to that race on TWIN. Some time could have been taken from the preview of Texas to cover the trucks in this review.

Michael Huff said...

I was luckey enough to be able to watch the CWTS race yesterday and thought it was a great race with superb coverage.I didn't get to see TWIN until the replay this morning and couldn't believe the little amount of time that was spent reviewing the truck race,didn't even have the time to show KB's temper tantrum.

50 Yr fan said...

The live truck coverage was very good yesterday. I still say it
is the closest to "old school"
racing.

Great to see Busch brothers real
personalities shown after all
the media love fest for "the brothers" last week.

50 Yr fan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tracy said...

Got the truck race on DVR on HD. What a good show! How TV can ignore this super series is beyond me. How nice of Harvick to thank the fans who showed up on a Monday.

TWIN's highlight was the Kurt Busch/Roger Penske "chat." Total frustration for both parties involved.

hotaru said...

Did not watch either programs last night, but this always seems to happen when there is a truck race... they get treated like the second-class series.

Photojosh said...

It's a shame. Particularly since the Truck series is the only NASCAR series that I have grown to like MORE in the past few years. MY cup interest has stayed the same and my Nationwide interest goes up and down depending on the storylines or racetracks. But the trucks have actually gotten me to want to watch them more. Mostly because the racing is good and the production and announcers are generally great. I was actually really bummed that I missed the Wizard of Oz broadcast last year.

It's particularly insane that Speed would ignore the trucks so badly. It's THEIR OWN BROADCAST! Makes no sense at all. But then again, with season after season of Pinks/secret-life-of-towtrucks/extreme-auto-makeover under their belts, why would we ever think Speed would make a smart decision about racing?

Anonymous said...

hotaru said...
Did not watch either programs last night, but this always seems to happen when there is a truck race... they get treated like the second-class series.

March 31, 2009 11:50 AM

That is good...They do happen to be the 3rd class series behind CUP and Nationwide!

Coloardo said...

Even Saturday there was no pre race coverage for the trucks. Sad.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 1:51PM,

Can you help us out as to why you feel that way?

JD

Anonymous said...

Colorado,
When Trucks are on FOX, they choose not to do a pre-race show. Who knows why, but it was also the same way when Busch Series races were on FOX. They always got a pre-race on FX, but not on FOX.

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said...
Anon 1:51PM,

Can you help us out as to why you feel that way?

JD

March 31, 2009 3:27 PM

It's just the way things are setup with NASCAR in their pecking order. Trucks get less coverage, Drivers get paid less, tickets less. I know it is a crime to mention on here, but it plays out just like MLB-Majors-AAA an AA. I think those involved in the series know they come behind Cup and Nationwide in most aspects of the sport.

Ross Roseannadanna said...

I see a good reason to believe that NASCAR wants to kill off the truck series and has communicated it's desires to the media partners. What other theory could explain the events you have pointedly made about the truck series coverage since your blogs' inception.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 4:46PM,

NASCAR created the truck series to serve the tracks that could not attract the Cup Series because of the number of seats available.

Over time, the series became so popular that it was brought into a much higher profile position.

When it migrated over to the bigger tracks and began to have dates with the Cup Series, it became a hit.

The live TV package on SPEED has good ratings and all the races are televised.

I don't share your opinion that it was ever set-up to be less than another series, just that it was intended to be different.

Thanks for your comment and your perspective.

JD

Newracefan said...

TWIN wasn't bad and yes they could have at least given the trucks a few minutes. Greg has been more animated but with the run he had I'm not surprised. NN was also OK I really like Ricky and Ray together they balance each other well and the fact that they even mentioned the trucks is an improvement from last year.

Vicky D said...

I thought TWIN was very good last night did everyone notice that they showed Greg's girlfriend when she confronted Kurt Busch's wife after Kurt took out Greg from a couple of years ago. Yeah, we heard Penske's/Busch arguing over the radio on the show. Kurt played it down on Windtunnel Sunday night though. I also enjoyed NN I didn't notice Mike's frazzleness but I had to have only one eye on the show the other on dinner.

Anonymous said...

I didn't bother watching NASCAR Now. If ESPN thinks it's ok to give Bestwick every other week off then I'll just watch NASCAR Now every other week. Ridiculous.

As for TWIN. It was awesome as usual. I thought the amount of Truck coverage was just about perfect myself. They covered the main moments of the race.

fbu1 said...

This is the same ol' sad story that refuses to have a happy ending. It would be a great theme for a country ballad. The trucks simply get no love from the NASCAR brass or the media.

The CWTS is a stand alone NASCAR series, not a minor league. It has its own unique personality. Truck fans are NASCAR fans. We are all diminished by the lack of coverage.

bevo said...

JD -

Today on Sirius Speedway Dave Moody interviewed the owner of Johnny Benson's truck about a sponsorship they came up with a gun company. The deal was basically squashed by what he called the NASCAR TV partners. He didn't say Speed specifically but I think we can read between the lines. Apparently it would conflict with their advertising standards. Sounds like something right up your alley.

Deborah said...

Unfortunately I missed the initial interview with the owner of Red Horse Racing but I did hear Moody discussing it later in the show and he did specifically cite SPEED as the TV partner that had an issue, but Moody said that SPEED was well within their rights to choose to accept or deny any advertising and have any kind of standards regarding advertisers they so choose.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised SPEED has an issue with a gun company on a truck. They almost always focus on the gunbrokers dot com truck. Plus, it's not like 90% of their prime time programming is geared to that side of society.

bevo said...

@Deborah-

I found it interesting that in the Benson interview on Monday that first mentioned the issue he said it was NASCAR that killed the sponsorship. I don't know if that's what he really thought or if he was trying to keep the heat off of Speed because of his relationship with them. It is an interesting situation though.

Deborah said...

Bevo, I thought that was interesting too, Moody then followed up with NASCAR who said they were never contacted about a gun company sponsorship. That's when it came out that it was SPEED that raised the objection. Pretty big difference between SPEED and NASCAR imo, and it's surprising that Johnny seemed to not be in the loop on who was responsible. There's a few other times when a story has made the rounds via the rumor mill that a driver or team has lost a sponsorship because NASCAR wouldn't allow it, I wonder if there are other times when NASCAR is blamed when in reality there may be more to the story like it appears may be the case here.

Lesley said...

They are Trucks! Not Cars! People want Race cars ,not race trucks ,unless your headed to Baja or some Stupid indoor event..(I do enjoy the nascar truck series..)But! they are still trucks..Someone in the big three auto makers came up with this truck Idea to sell more product..The sad part about this is that they are not trucks at all..They are a race frame, only made to look like a truck..They will always be 3rd rate as they should be!!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Lesley,

They will always be third rate? Is that because of the racing, the drivers or the tracks?

JD

David said...

JD will there be a topic about the Red Horse v. SPEED dilemma?

Daly Planet Editor said...

David,

The issue is not really a big one. There is no connection between the TV standards of what types of commercials are aired and the sponsor deals for the Truck Series.

Benson has the right to have any sponsor that NASCAR allows on the track with signage on his truck.

The network has the right to reject any type of product or company that does not fit the guidelines of the TV company.

JD

David said...

True but via jayski.com Benson was told if they had the sponsor the cameras would purposely ignore them...

Which begs the question of bias in the coverage. I fully understand not selling commercial time to the company and I'm okay with that. But if they put the sponsor on the truck and Johnny runs well with said sponsor, he is as deserving of the airtime he would had he had Toyota Used Certified or Exide on the truck...

Dont know if what Johnny said at MIS is the total truth but it sparks a good debate I think

Daly Planet Editor said...

David,

There has never been an opportunity to just put any sponsor on a NASCAR vehicle.

If the sponsor is for a product or a direct solicitation for a product or service that violates the network guidelines, it creates a problem that simply cannot be solved.

This is a situation that has happened before and probably will happen again.

JD

Anonymous said...

Well of course unless you buy a huge 'Cup television package with tons of commercials. Then your dick pills will get all the coverage and a spot on the hood of a top team's car.

Don't forget to get your dick checked at the dick pill trailer in the infield between the turn 2 porta pottys! Free samples! lolz