Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pit Reporters Missing Element In Fox Broadcast

The story began to unfold shortly after Chris Myers signed-off from the Hollywood Hotel and the Sprint Cup Series cars took to the track at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The cars strung-out quickly and the race took on the look that fans know all too well. The COT was racing in Atlanta on Fox.

Mike Joy may be the best NASCAR play-by-play guy in the business, but the burden of keeping the fans interested in this telecast should not have been placed squarely on his shoulders. Once Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds had exhausted their Atlanta stories and anecdotes, it was Joy who carried the day.

This season has seen a very different dynamic in terms of the teams coming to the track each week. Between the contraction of the power teams and the back markers clawing their way into the field, the stories of the sport are now spread from the pole to the final qualifier.

To that end, Fox has been struggling with their own form of tunnel vision. Once the race is underway and things have settled down, the pit reporters begin to fade into the background. The production priorities in this race were Digger, video race recaps from the Hollywood Hotel and then a return to the action on the track.

While several drivers who fell out of the race were interviewed, Fox has dropped a fundamental tool that the other NASCAR TV networks use on a regular basis. The radio networks covering the Sprint Cup Series use this tool as a key piece of their overall coverage. Call it a full field rundown, a through the field feature or even a race recap. What Fox has dropped is the information on the teams outside of the top ten.

The dynamics of this event were certainly scrambled when many teams went a lap down, but that should not be an excuse to remove those teams from the TV coverage. This is not a normal NASCAR season and it is crucial for almost every team to try and get some TV exposure regardless of the circumstances or their position on the track.

Once again, the Fox ticker at the top of the screen was the only reference for fans of those cars who had faded from the lead lap. While clumps of cars were seen racing, once the field strung out for a long run, the tunnel vision returned. Since NASCAR does not pay anymore for the leader at the halfway point, the TV networks are basically free to comb through the field and look for the stories of the race that would be interesting for the viewers.

This is where the top team of NASCAR pit reporters on TV was once again left out in the cold. The Fox trio in the booth this season loves to talk and talk they did about almost everything under the sun. When they were not talking, it was time for Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond to follow-up on something the trio in the booth had...well...talked about. At times, this circle was maddening.

Unfortunately, technical problems probably caused by solar interference happened across the country during the race. TDP readers started reporting the problems in California and by the middle of the race those of us in Florida were staring at green screens with no audio on both the SD and HD feeds.

On the good side, nice pictures and great sound meant another strong performance by the TV tech team at the track. Quick access to the NASCAR video of the cars leaving pit road and the overhead shots of the racing action were very useful. Fox changed the lower right video box on the pit stops to show pit road instead of a fourth car. This worked, but is still hard to see without a big screen TV.

Luckily, the closing laps gave the TV telecast some excitement and featured several good stories. The new graphics and camera wideshot showing the cars on the lead lap crossing the finish line are a wonderful addition to the telecast. Once again, despite running late, the Fox team finished the telecast with all the right interviews and explanations.

The Digger factor was as annoying as usual, but the announce team now routinely ignores the animation being played if something is happening on the track. The cringe factor is still there when Digger is used as a "funny element" over a replay of an accident that has just ended the racing day of a Sprint Cup team.

The NASCAR on Fox team has next weekend off and then it is on to Bristol for the most hectic TV telecast of the season featuring laps of fifteen seconds in length. There is no bigger challenge for a TV crew than Bristol.

Please add your comments about the TV coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind while posting.

Thanks again for taking the time to read The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

I still cannot understand why the networks do not give more visual coverage throughout the field. Besides appealing to fans, it sure seems to me that it would be much easier to sell an ad to say Stanley Tools if Stanley felt reasonably sure that its car would get some TV exposure.

Dot said...

Maybe they'll regroup before Bristol and the coverage will be better, along with the racing. One thing they need to do is practice getting the camera over to the wreck/incident faster. As soon as DW or whoever says "trouble" or "uh-oh" the guys in the truck need to be paying attention. How hard is that?

JD, I asked about the lag time during the race. Why does it happen? I see it happen on other live shows too. The host will ask the camera guy/gal to show a close up and it doesn't happen for several seconds. This is one of my TV pet peeves.

@ Richard, I know. You would think that in this economy, NASCAR would demand that all sponsored cars get shown. Hey, here's a concept. They could get the pit reporters to talk about them. You know, a few at a time? They could call it " Thru the Field".

Lou said...

Two things that I noticed were better this race broadcast. One was the four box pit stop with the lower right used showing pit road and then going to the wide shot as the cars left pit road. It did look nice on the widescreen tv. The other, which JD alluded to was that when the gopher appeared the announce booth did not always acknowledge it. It seemed there were less sightings that way. I was not counting them, but look forward to the final number of sightings.

For the second week in a row, it was nice to see cars cross the finish line with the new graphic on top of the screen.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the race coverage was pretty solid. The wrench thrown at FOX today was the Lap 65 caution for the crewman running out to get a tire. That changed the complexion of the race from there on out, and no one could have been prepared for such event.

I agree with JD that the pit reporters are still lacking, but I was glad that Dick Berggren was in the garage trying to catch up with some of the drivers as they fell out of the race.

The AT&T race breaks sometimes aren't necessary, but with 4 hour races it's easy to see why they are in place. Instead of seeing a race break early, in the middle, and towards the end, I would rather one nice, long run-down of the race, along with a Through-the-Field, towards the end. If the most fans are watching at the end, I can see catching them up to where the race is at that point.

Overall, I thought it was a strong production. We thought that Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards would be factors, and they really weren't. We thought people would slam Goodyear again, but they didn't. We thought the cars would be sliding around like crazy...and they did. That was basically the only story FOX had today. Again, strong production, but a tough broadcast.

Bristol should be an easy one for the FOX guys. Larry Mac was right in saying that we all need a break. Perhaps FOX, or specifically Digger, needs one the most.

Sophia said...


I have been and so have others been screaming since last summer SHOW ALL THE CARS ON hard is that to figure out with the LACK of sponsors on cars/trucks.

we watched the race but also talked a lot during cautions and commercials. cameras were S L O W to catch a problem..and with the weather issue here, the big RED graph warning us off the big scary weather covered up the ticker so we never knew who was where?! when it would go away...Fox would drop the ticker..

I MISSED this blog for info but seeing my brother from the NW was more important..but one is clueless depending on TV ALONE for races.

My brother is used to DVR race and never sitting thru commercials as he is very busy at home and has cut back on NASCAR viewing..goes to a couple races each year and loves that.

Something is off in the booth for information for sure and camera work lacking..except the finish is better. YAY..more than one car across the line is great thing!

stricklinfan82 said...

I thought the race coverage was good. I do agree that it would be beneficial to get more full-field updates during the race when the field gets strung out but I do think the pit reporters do a great job being on top of things when there are legitimate problems developing with the teams. I also appreciated Fox making sure to interview guys like Reed Sorenson, Travis Kvapil, and Bill Elliott when they fell out.

The biggest problem with Fox continues to be the ridiculousness of the cartoon element that unfortunately continues to become a bigger and bigger part of the broadcasts as the weeks go on. Sadly this week brought the added element of using Fox 3D to play a child's game of pretend by putting an imaginary "Digger car" out there on the track with the real race cars. This continues to be the most embarrassing thing I've ever seen in the history of NASCAR television. I personally find trivializing the danger of drivers hitting the wall and each other at 200+ mph by making those pictures share a TV screen with scared cartoon characters "trying to avoid being hit" very insulting. I hope it never comes to this but it's really going to be a sad day if God forbid a driver gets injured in an accident that shares the screen with the screaming cartoon characters, or if some day on a pre-race show Chris Myers is forced to discuss a tough issue like a serious injury/illness in the sport and then somehow have to come up with the words to inexplicably transition from a serious topic like that to getting the viewers excited for the latest episode of "Digger and Friends".

A few other thoughts on NASCAR TV....

During practice Mike Joy brought up Robin Pemberton's public proclamation that NASCAR will not allow "start and park" in the Cup Series this year. Obviously I'm not at the track and have no inside information, but there were 3 retirees that to me arose at least a reasonable suspicion of possibly being "start and parks" (starting the race with no intention of attempting to finish):

#09 Mike Bliss
- unsponsored car
- ran 4 laps in the first Saturday practice, ran 0 laps in Happy Hour
- this #09 team did 7 "start and parks" in Cup in 2004 (the last time there was a car shortage like this)

#66 Dave Blaney
- unsponsored car
- also fell out early at California in their only other unsponsored Cup start this year
- this team owner also co-owns a team that has made 65 Nationwide starts in the last two years and has 65 DNF's, never running more than 46 laps in any race

#87 Joe Nemechek
- unsponsored car
- 3 DNF's in 3 Cup starts this year
- Mike Joy stated during qualifying something along the lines of "He'd like to have a sponsor so he could buy enough tires to run an entire race."

I hope my suspicions are proven to be unfounded though and very much look forward to Larry Mac possibly talking to these teams and/or NASCAR's "start and park inspectors" during his weekly garage area research and possibly reporting on his findings on the air at Bristol. I sure hope this isn't another case of NASCAR lying through their teeth like they do every time they puff out their chests and tell the media "We don't allow people to buy points or swap points"... as Clint Bowyer continues to enjoy his qualifying exemption "driving what was Bobby Ginn's #01 car in 2008" and Sam Hornish enjoys his "driving what was Bill Davis's #22 car in 2008".

Finally, I'd like to comment on the Mike Joy - Darrell Waltrip discussion on the "mess" that happened on that restart with all those lapped cars restarting in front of leader Jimmie Johnson. DW reiterated his belief that NASCAR should adopt the IRL "wave around rule" while Mike Joy disagreed and said it wouldn't be fair to let lapped cars 'steal laps' through pit strategy. I definitely agree with Mike on that thought, and I'm disappointed no one brought up the most obvious and logical solution to this "tail end of the lead lap" restart problem. All you have to do is clean up the rules and make all lapped cars AND tail end of the lead lap cars restart on the inside line. When you're on the tail end of 1, 2, 3, or more laps down and running between the pace car and the leader you have to give up that track position and drop to the inside when they call for one-to-go, so why not just force the drivers on the tail end of the lead lap to do the same thing? That way the leader would always the first car on the outside line and there would be no more of this confusion and inevitable chaos that results from that many desperate drivers restarting right in front of the leader (like we saw as recently as this year's Daytona 500).

Anonymous said...

I must say you got that right JD!! Good job!!

Anonymous said...

Mr Daly
Given your personal history intelevision sports, would you not agree that the true mark of a production's team quality comes when a mediocre event is being covered? Its then that the folks in the truck need to find and tell stories and keep the telecast compelling.
It is here that FOX consistantly fails and fails miserably. It seems apparent that the key production people do not understand this sport. I dont doubt the passion of the boys in the booth, but they don't create the coverage, and as a result are hung out to dry.
The insulting "Race-Rodent" digger is one visible example of how out-of -touch FOX is.

I am surprised you didn't write about the enormous number of empty seats yesterday!! It was astounding.

Glad you are back

Bray Kroter

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the broadcast and thought Fox did their usual great job. TDP predicted that they would concentrate on Jr and Kyle the whole race and Fox did no such thing. I really can ardly wait to see the recap of the race that shows that the camera did show all the cars. I think that sometimes the criticism of Fox is so over the top.

Anonymous said...

If the FOX crew reads this column...please please...keep the viewers posted on the field. Especially when the field is strung out..we get the up front top 2 or 3 comments over and over and over..what about 12th and 20th and 30th? For instance..Tony Stewart was not good the beginning of the race..went a lap caught by the "tire" caution..another lap one lap down by passing the leader..and another lap back with the lucky dog. He finished 8th. Why didn't we hear anything about him, his car or how he got his top ten finish. WHY? Matt Kenseth had a bad car..but finished 12..Ryan Newman lost not one but two cylinders..finished in the top 25..who would know? What was up with Kyle Busch? Hey David Gilliland did pretty good..I guess..never heard !! The bottom line is..not everyone's favorite driver is in the top 5 every week..their favorite driver might be running mid pack or worse..but all the drivers pay an entry fee..all the drivers sponsors pay dearly for coverage..and ALL the fans deserve to hear a couple of times during a race about their matter where they are running. The way FOX is covering the races we might as well only have a field of 5 cars..and then where would NA$CAR be? In this economy one would think FOX, NA$CAR, the track owners, the team owners, and MOST of all the sponsors would DEMAND coverage of every car on the track..and I don't mean just a passing pan of the field with the camera..I mean let's hear what is going on with the 1st, 10th, 20th, and 40th place cars! Come takes 43 cars to start a race..

Unknown said...


The #66 did not S&P. They had a legitimate issue. There was a problem early in the race and spend about 86 laps trying to fix it. The car did get back out, but only for a handful of laps before whatever it was started skipping again.

I have to say that I don't really watch the broadcasts that much, but I do have to say that they need to cover the entire field.

One thing that I noticed that resulted from the tire caution was the increased amount of racing. Normally those on the lead lap could clear the lap down cars pretty easily. Sure those in front were able to pull away, but with so many "good" cars a lap down, it was harder for those at the end of the lead lap to get through traffic. Normally you only get that for 5-6 laps after a restart, but yesterday it was going on for full runs. I think that I heard DW say once or twice that there was a lot of action going on away from the leaders.

Unknown said...

I forget to add, if there is any question as to why talking about all the cars are important, just ask Tilted Kilt. While I think the SPEED crew when a little overboard in their promotion of the new sponsor during the truck race, there were times that you could not get onto their website because of the heavy traffic.

Anonymous said...

Stricklinfan82... if you make the tail-end-of-the-lead-lappers start on the inside, then all of a sudden the second one in line is no longer on the tail end of the lead lap, they're a lap down (since the leader will the the first car in the outside lane). I agree that the confusion is unfortunate, but I think the system is just fine as it is. It doesn't happen all that often anyways, what with all the imaginary cautions NASCAR throws so it can avoid green flag pit stops.

GinaV24 said...

I think a full field run down should be done at least every 30 laps, and I mean full field, not just the top 10 or 12. That way all the cars would be covered and all the fans would know what was happening with their driver. We all know DW and the rest can talk, but they need to make sure that the race coverage is handled well, not just be a bunch of talking heads. Radio does a full field run down on a regular basis and their pit reporters go and talk to any driver that falls out of the field. TV should be doing the same.

I'm happy that the booth is ignoring Digger. It's unfortunate that we, the fans at home watching, can't do the same. And having the graphic pop up when a car has been in a crash is just tasteless!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 8:50AM,

Here is the quote on that topic:

"Mark Martin may be on the pole, but all eyes will be on Kyle Busch once the race gets underway. This season, Busch and Earnhardt may be the only two drivers that Fox will regularly update when they are outside of the top fifteen."

As you may see from today's column, Fox did not update many drivers that got a lap down and even dumped KB when he faded to the rear.


Anonymous said...

Digger go away!
I beleive that the announcers whom ever they maybe , be required to mention every driver and sponsor at least twice at some time during the race.It is a very exxpensive sport and all work very hard to qualify and race. So forget digger remember all the humans involved in racing and speak their names.
That would be a good project for DW who likes his voice heard. I have been going to ,watching races and at one time worked Pocono Medical Dept, for over 40 years and I feel all drivers should be mentioned.

Anonymous said...

I don't watch wrestling because of all the theatrics, and when Digger came out I changed the channel. I can't wait for the second half of the season when NBC shows Fox how to broadcast a sporting event.

Anonymous said...

The only problem I had with the telecast was not showing a rundown as cars crossed the finish line at the checkers.
Otherwise, life is good for KB fans! I love to read all the bitter Jr fans complain about every little thing Kyle does during the race-in-progress comments.
That Blue Deuce looked great in HD on Fox all afternoon long.
Also, no freeze ups on our local Fox affiliate here in NY state.

Anonymous said...

JD - I always find the call for full field rundowns by pit reporters interesting. Do we really want FOX spending over 14 minutes every 30 or 50 laps doing full fied? Think about it - 43 cars - say :20 seonds each = 14 minute and 30 seconds. Be careful of what we wish for. I just do not buy that we need to see every car covered - does not happen in either - give me the most important stories well presented and I will live with no coverage of Ken Schrader as he's 10 plus years from winning or comming close to victory lane.

Anonymous said...

I know many disagree but I don't want full field rundows every certain number of minutes or times per race. It's boring and you miss out on the track action while they are doing it. I think a couple of mentions during the race of every driver should be done with an explanation as to why they are where they are. Break it up but be sure every driver has a little attention from TV.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 1:05PM,

I think your comment describes the problem quite well. Assuming that teams outside of the top ten or the lead lap do not have fans because they are not "important stories" is not really the case.

Other than the final lap, TV should be moving constantly through the field with both cameras and announcers looking for exactly what you described, the stories of the race.

This emphasis on the leaders was not present in the older TV days, where the story of the race may be the clump of cars battling for tenth with the top nine all strung out and no one passing.

The cameras would stay on the battles and the racing rather than continually show viewers two or three cars racing in formation at the front of the pack.

As usual, it's just my opinion but I miss being told what is happening to the teams that are not lucky enough to show up on the chosen TV group at the front.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I don't watch wrestling because of all the theatrics, and when Digger came out I changed the channel. I can't wait for the second half of the season when NBC shows Fox how to broadcast a sporting event.

March 9, 2009 12:05 PM

You a couple years behind???

Anonymous said...

Fans must be BUYING the "Digger" CRAP on, why else would FOX be pushing "Digger" so hard???

Lorraine said...

I agree with everyone about the “powers that be”, whether it’s Fox or NBC, not doing a rundown of each team throughout the race. It has been one of my biggest pet peeves for a very long time.

That being said, it’s not a new problem. This practice has been going on for years. No matter what station carries the race, they all focused only on the frontrunners. If you’re not running in the top 5, forget about any TV coverage unless you’re being lapped by the leader or wrecking. If you are able to catch one of the old races on ESPN Classic, watch it, you’ll think you’re watching last week’s race because the coverage hasn’t changed.

It’s a good thing I have Trackpass, otherwise I wouldn’t have a clue about my driver’s status. At least I can listen to the scanner traffic between driver and crew chief and be disappointed or elated right along with them.

You would think that with all the technology and personnel these stations bring to the track each week to cover a race, they would use it to its fullest potential and give the fans what they want - fair and comprehensive coverage instead of frittering it away on some critter that should be road kill.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 1:48PM,

Here is AP and Yahoo! Sports reporter Jenna Fryer on Digger and the Atlanta race:

"OK, the camera angle was fresh new technology when Fox introduced it, and the cartoon gopher that popped up was stomachable, at first. But Fox has given “Digger” a life of his own and it’s just too much."

"Seriously, is there anyone over the age of eight who actually likes Digger?"

"There’s a pre-race cartoon – on Sunday, Digger had to woo his girlfriend with a song about NASCAR to prevent her from leaving her for a Formula One-loving rival – an onsite Digger that apparently lives in the infield, constant marketing and nonstop promotion."

"But the final straw came during Busch’s victory lap. As he rounded the track backward, checkered flag flying out his Dodge window, announcer Mike Joy totally crossed the line."

“I see the basis of a new Digger cartoon right here,” he said with a laugh.

"Huh? In the moments after an exciting finish, Joy was thinking about a cartoon gopher?"

"Fox Sports boss David Hill is unabashed in the moneymaking opportunity he saw with Digger and all the merchandise the gopher could produce. But enough is enough. The network has allowed the gimmick to monopolize its coverage at an unprofessional level."

"The broadcast is supposed to be about sport, and in a push to sell stuffed gophers, Fox has totally lost its perspective."

stricklinfan82 said...

I definitely give Jenna a round of applause for that commentary. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

This deals with another network but I think It needs attention Badly!!Speed TV needs to fire! there sound engineer!!Did any one see the bike race Friday night??You could not hear a word of what was going on in the race! Does Speed not see this?Do they simply flip a switch and walk away?? COME ON MAN!!!

Daly Planet Editor said...


I am sure there are some AMA boards on which you could post your comments. SPEED botched the audio on both the road racing and supercross telecasts.

We do not review motorcycle racing, but that was a disaster from start to finish. No graphics, few usable audio portions where you could hear the announcers and lots of yelling from Ralph Sheheen that made it unwatchable.

I feel bad for the technical problems that SPEED has been having, but I actually had to turn off the audio portion of the supercross because it was so bad.

Thanks for your comment, let's get back to NASCAR on Fox in Atlanta.


Tom said...

I am glad that Jenna chose to address this. I usually tape delay about an hour, but when I realized that there was rodent ridiculousness, I ended up going live. There are some features I like to see during pre-race, but I refuse to in any way make it worth FOX's while to air that nonsense.

Sorry FOX, show me digger--I don't watch ANY of you pre-race commercials or features!

Inverness, FL

boyd said...

The TV broadcast was pretty good, but we missed the lap down cars and that is where some of my favorites reside now.
I think that if we have to put up with Digger, lets put him to good use...
Every car that is unsponsored gets free Digger decals and some cash from Fox. That way they would get some sort of coverage.

Anonymous said...

I don't really like the 'through the field' rundowns. They take forever and are kind of repetitive.

Still, I would prefer them to the current coverage, which dictates that nobody gets any coverage except the leaders.

There's a middle ground of course. When there's not much going on with the lead guys, why not show Stewart for a couple minutes and explain how he's managed to get laps back and all that. Especially in Sunday's race, with all the chaos that the caution flags caused throughout the field, it's amazing how many drivers got no love from the producers.

Anonymous said...

When MRN and PRN do their full field rundown I believe it only takes a minute or a little more. I don't keep up with it, but I'm virtually sure they do 3 or 4 rundowns in a race.

Dot said...

@ Boyd, I like your Digger decal idea. Let me add to it. If FOX is so gung ho on Digger and we're so gung ho on a field run down, why not have Digger tell us who's where. Yeah, we'd be annoyed but, we would know where our drivers are.

Oh, I found out that Marcos' tire was dropped then hit.

Anonymous said...

Richard - How can this be? Full field rundown featuring every car in a minute or so? That would be less then 2 seconds per car/team if you do the math. What can you really learn in 2 seconds or less? And it's also reasonable to note there is a difference between television and radio - do we really think seeing 43 different cars for less then 2 seconds each with matching pictures will be good.

DewCr3w88 said...

this is the second week in a row that if you paid attention to trackpass/raceview you understood that there was 3 wide racing and tons of passing going on back from 9-20th all race and we saw not a second of it. every restart we saw the front 2 cars and a fraction of a second you could see the rest of the field 3 wide and you would be hoping to see who was in it before they quickly changed to a shot of the front two cars

Now I know the front runners get strung out and that usually is the case at 1.5mi tracks, but networks seem to think we want to see a close up shot of a top 10 car and zooming in on it filling the whole frame is no help either becasue then you cant get an idea of where he is in relation to everyone else.

Digger dancing with an checkered flag is so embarrassing to anyone who is a racefan its unbelievable. I want someone at Fox to explain how if you have friends over and the race is on, how do you explain to a casual fan that this is what a race broadcast consists of.. A cartoon dancing or making facial expressions with a video camera.

Anonymous said...

Here is a direct quote from my 7 year old son during Sunday's FOX Atlanta pre-race show ....

" Why are you watching cartoons Dad, I thought the race was gonna be starting? "

He's 7 !! and HE could figure out that Digger doesn't fit !!

Digger is a blatant slap in the face of the sanctioning body and their fans.

Anonymous said...

These races can be produced in a manner to professionally cover the majority of the field without calling for full field rundowns. It's simply easier and show's the lack of preparation in the way they currently produce the FOX races.

Viewership was DOWN 16% at Atlanta. That's large in my mind.

FOX is there to cover and report on a NASCAR race. They've had years to sharpen their skills, but their production is dull as ever.

I'll agree some of the racing is losing it's luster as well since the introduction of the COT. That's NASCAR's fault and they are starting to feel the effects, hence, a lot of empty grandstand seats.

You would think that if the "economy" was the reason for low ticket sales....wouldn't the FOX ratings be rising (people staying home to watch).... instead of falling 16% ?

If NASCAR events on TV were produced in a more professional manner and gave the sport more respect, instead of cartoon animals and boogity-boogity.. people would STILL be buying tickets, corporate America would be buying advertising on the network, and maybe ISC stock would climb as well.

Mr.France you've allowed FOX to go too far.... CHANGE IT !!

Newracefan said...

I thought Fox did a decent job with the race they were handed. They do need to give the Pit Road reporters more air time with the run downs/ through the field. The radio just lists who is where and that is why it only takes a minute but when something happens to a car they tell you what it was no matter where the car was running and do periodically give you the back story of why someone is where. Mike did give us the running order to the top 20 or so multiple times but I'm not at the race so I can't see why they are there. We did get some back stories but there were many more out there. I remember reading somewhere that it's not the job of TV to give a sponsor/car air time but with what is going on right now perhaps a little time for everyone might improve overall ratings and therefore increase revenue for both the teams and Fox/ESPN/TNT. Fans of drivers not running well are more likely to tune in if their driver is at least mentioned and info about their run makes it on TV. I swear I remember Fox doing through the field/ race run down or what ever in the past so I am not sure where it went. Fox has the best pit reporters in the business use them please.

I was OK with Mike Joy's comment about Digger when Kurt was going backwards, I actually thought it was pretty funny. I've chosen to ignore the animation in the corner and so far it's working for me. I can't wait to go to Dover this spring and see how much Digger stuff is there compared to last year which was none.

GinaV24 said...

OK, I can agree with JD on the point that rather than full field run downs, following the action and stories on the track would be the right choice for the race coverage. I can see why it would take a lot of time from the actual racing, especially if they do the camera shots on each car.

Also, I agree with Jenna's article. Sorry, as soon as I heard them say they were going to the Digger cartoon during the pre-race, I switched the channel. I get that kids and probably some of their parents like it, but use some judgement on the overkill. I will certainly NOT be buying any Digger katchka any more than I bought Ricky Bobby crap when Talladega nights came out.

Anonymous said...

Gina, add me to those who thought Talladega nights was 2 hours of my life I won't get back...

Anyways, I thought the coverage was 'okay' except for the rodent. To stricklinfan82--it's unfair to put Joe in that group. I am not particularly a Nemechek fan, but he's been running a team himself off and on for many years--*not* a S&Per. He had (before his talent was recognized) Brian Pattie as a crew chief.) He wants to run a whole season and I don't think he wants to be in the garage for it....I think it's just a lack of money. You just can't buy equipment that's as reliable as other teams. JD alluded to having a crew to pit your car as a difference; I'm assuming Joe had one, but someone can correct me if I'm wrong. It's the 66 team that's been questioned, and your stats would bear that out. Be interesting to see if that stops.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Let's move on from insisting on full field rundowns!! They will feel endless .. the timing just does not make sense.

Give us the best coverage of the best racing on the track - never miss the pass for the lead (as it could be the last one that wins).

Show us the leaders on pit road where we know races are won and lost - then do those commercials that we all have to understand pays the bills.

Follow the best and most important stories and remember there are 43+ teams.

Let the 2nd guessing begin.

Dot said...

@ DewcCrew88, I so agree with you about the camera change from a racing bunch back to the leaders.

When the camera is on the racing bunch, whoever they are, that would be a perfect time to mention those drivers. Yesterday would've been a good time to do this when KuB was 7 secs ahead of 2nd.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:41AM,

You certainly take things very literally. As I mentioned in my column, you can call reviewing the field anything you want. I certainly did not demand that all 43 cars be reviewed in every segment or even together.

The NASCAR TV networks handle this situation differently. Fox recaps the cars on the lead lap or the top ten. TNT starts outside the top ten and goes as far back as they choose. ESPN uses the pit reporters to review the field and tries to at least get in the top twenty.

The key thing to remember is that top names are now in the middle and the back of the field in every race due to the wild economic circumstances we are facing this season.

What I am suggesting is that Fox wake-up to the fact that doing things the same way as last season where reviewing the field is concerned is no longer working.

They changed other things like coverage of the final lap and puttig the wideshot of pit road up for caution flag stops. It is about time they help the fans of the drivers outside the top ten understand how those team got there.



Anonymous said...

This showing only the leader has been a hot topic for a long time.

How would fans react if TV were showing cars 1/2 lap down and the leader had a wreck. They would complain why wasnt TV covering the leader and showing the wreck instead of the cars 1/2 lap down.

On the other side TV is different now and all three TV partners - even ESPN use split screen at least for replays so it is possible to cover multiple cars - heck FOX did it in the Atlanta race.

again be careful of what you wish for.

Daly Planet Editor said...


If what was being shown on the screen was a bunch of cars racing hard for position, the leader all alone blowing a tire or spinning out would not be a big deal.

This debate was grown out of a new approach to TV that was oriented around a small group of high-profile drivers who brought sponsorship to the table on the TV side.

The roots of this problem lie within the TV industry and even with NBC gone, they are still with us.

What is the importance of the leader on any lap except the final one in today's NASCAR?


Anonymous said...

JD- Thanks for keeping the site up! I just noticed it today, and I have A LOT of reading to do now.

Mr. Joy is great at play-by-play and Larry & Jeff do a great job from a crew chief's perspective. The pit crew is one of the best and could be used more, but they stayed on top of pit stops and interviewed most of the drivers with trouble. A through the field from 1-20 would be much appreciated and less emphasis on digger, racer's new best friend.

Rubberhead88 said...

Last week I listen to the radio and watched the race. Much better to do that.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Fox's argument that Digger brings a younger audience to the race is that they are not coming for the race itself--they're coming for the cartoon.

Racing's survived for longer than TV itself without having to use a silly cartoon character to promote itself.

Digger is an embarrassment and shows how desperate Fox has become.

Anonymous said...

Let's move on from insisting on full field rundowns!! They will feel endless .. the timing just does not make sense.

NBC used to do them all the time when they had NASCAR. Called it "Through the Field." Even had it sponsored.

They worked great.

Anonymous said...

What would've been nice to see was Sam Hornish Jr BEFORE his car hit the wall ...

Then one could compare Bill Elliott's two interviews ... The one he gave to FOX first ... Then the one he gave to PRN ... They were two totally DIFFERENT interviews ...

Bill's story had changed by the time he gave his interview to PRN ... At that time, he actually admitted that Sam might've had a tire go down as his car went straight into the turn ... Whereas he threw Sam under the bus in the FOX interview (which some fans seemed to enjoy) ...

Since both FOX and PRN failed to do an interview with Sam, we will NEVER know what really happened ... and that is a complete disservice to Sam, his fans, Roger Penske and all that watched / listened to the race ...

Neither FOX nor PRN said "why" the 09 of Bliss retired from the race ... But, PRN did report legitimate problems for Blaney (whose car owner is a News Corp employee) and Nemechek ...

BTW - I like Digger ... I also enjoyed "Talladega Nights" ... and I'm far from being 8yo ...