Friday, April 10, 2009

ESPN Gets Interactive Friday and Saturday


The question of what to do with a stand-alone Nationwide Series race on Easter weekend is a good one. ESPN2's answer is to get interactive from the Nashville Superspeedway.

There are 48 cars that will be practicing on Friday at 6PM when Marty Reid, Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree are on ESPN2. The names of the drivers range from Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards right down to Benny Gordon and Ryan Hackett. The mix of teams and cars on the track should make things interesting, even in practice.

Click here for the direct link to send your questions to Wallace and Petree. Fans can do this in advance and also during the qualifying session. Reid is a TV veteran who has done everything from call the Indy 500 to hosting NASCAR Now in the studio. He should be able to keep things moving quickly and focus on the email from the fans.

Since things are a little bit different this weekend, it should be a good opportunity for fans to get interactive with a veteran TV team. There will no doubt be plenty of issues to talk about both with the Nationwide Series and other NASCAR topics.

The same announcers move to Saturday morning for the live qualifying at 11AM ET. This should be quite an affair with teams trying to break into this high-profile stand-alone race and get themselves on TV for exposure and sponsors.

The interactive element returns later on Saturday. Click here for a direct link to ask a question of the Nationwide Series in-race reporter, Justin Allgaier. It will be 3PM when Allen Bestwick and Brad Daugherty host the pre-race show for the race that takes the green flag about an hour later.

Allgaier is an up-and-coming driver who handles the pressure of this level of racing very well and may soon be headed for bigger challenges. It should be interesting to hear him answer the viewer questions before and during the event. Nashville is known for frequent caution periods, so Allgaier should get lots of air time.

This is the only NASCAR race of the weekend, so ESPN will play it back on the ESPN Classic Network at noon ET on Sunday for those who missed the live Saturday airing.

This post will host your comments about the live Friday interactive qualifying session. Please let us know if your question was used on the air and feel free to discuss the ESPN coverage. Just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

JD, his name is Justin Allgaier

Daly Planet Editor said...

Just changing it when you caught me! Sorry Justin!

Gymmie said...

YAY Mr. Alligator!

He's a great kid, I think he'll go places as he gets more seat time :). Hope he has a great race!

Lisa Hogan said...

ESPN already uses practice as time to shove their "cast of thousands" in front of the camera. I fear that "interactive" is just another way to avoid showing cars on the track.

I am not a fan of Mr. Reid. Once again, I'm disappointed that Allen is not in the booth.

Looking forward to the race on Saturday.

The Track Girl said...

Looking forward to the race this Saturday! It should be good.

and- they never want to answer my questions since they always have to do with keeping the older tracks part of the schedule. But I'll try!

I hope that they take the time to answer questions that have some substance. I hate it when they have an ask the driver and it's "What do you eat for breakfast?" or something. Of course, questions from kids, thats a different thing. You've got to answer some of those...

The Track Girl said...

Fellow Planeters (-eers?) I can't watch today because of work. If they answer "How important do you think it is to keep the traditions and heritage of NASCAR a part of this sport?" can someone let me know?

thanks!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Track Girl,

Great question. We will certainly keep you posted.

JD

Mike said...

Nashville Superspeedway's website shows the practices as being from 4:30 to 6:00p.m. Eastern and from 6:30p.m. to 7:30p.m. Eastern. Yet, ESPN2's broadcast window is 6:00p.m. to 7:30p.m. Eastern. Are we going to get a tape-delayed broadcast of the first practice? or are they going to shoot the breeze for 30 minutes while they wait for the final practice to start at 6:30p.m.?

It may all be a non-issue anyway as there's an 80% chance of rain today and a Tornado Watch in effect until 5:00p.m. Eastern in the Nashville area.

Mary said...

No DJ?
Oh well guess I can mute it to avoid Rusty.

Anonymous said...

If I recall, Rusty and Marty actually work much better together than Dr. Punch and Rusty did

Anonymous said...

Justin Allgaier as the man to answer the email . . .or more precisely the "Verizon Wireless Ask the Analyst" Csn't be a coincidence that he's the driver of the Verizon Wireless Dodge.

I wonder if Stremme will do this during a Sprint Cup race with his supposedly "unsponsored" car, and if Sprint might go crazy.

hotaru said...

If the event of a rainout today (reports have been on the cable news networks as I write this), let's hope the spend the time talking Nationwide. I cannot begin to mention how many times NW got rained out and they talked SPRINT CUP... annoying.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to ESPN, I find this sort of "interactivity" to be somewhat disingenuous. You see, ESPN will take hundreds, if not thousands, if not tens of thousands of questions on their website. Then when the show is on the air, they will select one - not at random, but one that they think should be asked. In other words - they'll look through the questions until they find one they would have asked themselves anyway. Then during the broadcast, I am supposed to be super-impressed by the "interactivity" of the broadcast when instead of just asking a driver a question they instead preceed the question with "Jim from Atlanta writes in to ask."

Sorry, but I consider this sort of "interactivity" to be a gimmick, and not a very compelling one, at that.

I understand Jeff Hammond uses Twitter during the FOX races. I don't use Twitter, but this seems truly interactive. Fans can go, read real-time comments and then actually interact with each other, not unlike they do on this forum during a race. That is real interactivity. But being pushed over to a website to type in a question that will never be asked, so I can then get a cookie on my computer from the website, doesn't sound like real interactivity to me.

I appreciate these broadcasts attempting to bring the fans into the experience more, but to me this sound like something cooked up in a boardroom by a bunch of seniors who have never actually used a computer.

Sorry if that is hard. I am otherwise very much looking forward to the race!

Sophia said...

Heard tornadoes in the area..two dead already

Gymmie said...

Yes I heard about that Sophia :( very sad :(

Vicky D said...

Too bad they can't have Hermie Sadler at the track to ask questions, he seems to be the one to ask the drivers intelligent and important questions. I don't see ESPN really asking a write-in question. I think Justin is a good choice of in-car reporter. Last race was a cup driver in the Nationwide race that got my goat. Hope we get to see some practice today too.

hotaru said...

Anyone watching NASCAR Now?

Started by not even updating us on the situation in Nashville (Junior interview).

Bad start.

stricklinfan82 said...

"The question of what to do with a stand-alone Nationwide Series race on Easter weekend is a good one."

I don't know why this has to be a question at all. Stand-alone race, companion race, short track race, superspeedway race, road course race, Cup race, Nationwide race, Truck race... none of that should matter.

Weather permitting, race vehicles will be on the racetrack practicing and qualifying, and ESPN will be there to televise those sessions. When ESPN is on the air to televise those sessions they should be showing us the cars on the track and talking about the cars on the track. That's all there should be to it.

In my personal opinion ESPN needs to stop the gimmicks during these sessions. Get rid of the video packages, studio guest interviews, pre-taped driver comments about their favorite colors, behind-the-scenes tours of ESPN's "toys", and this new "interactive practice/qualifying" gimmick.

When practice is going on, focus on practice, like Speed Channel does. When cars are qualifying, cover the qualifying session, like Speed Channel does.

This constant struggle of making the on-track action background noise continues to be the biggest Achille's Heel of ESPN's NASCAR coverage.

In my opinion all of those elements I mentioned can work quite well as features during NASCAR Now, pre-race shows, and rain delays. However, when those elements are used as tools to cover up and ignore the on-track action they are supposed to be covering that is a major problem.

hotaru said...

Just now getting to a preview (if you can call it that).

Mike said...

Why aren't they showing cars on the track? You can hear them in the background. They can't be any other series' cars because Nationwide is the only thing running at Nashville.

Mike said...

They went the first 10 minutes, went to a commercial break, however, we've yet to see 1 lap of practice or even a leaderboard.

Vicky D said...

And Rusty is still yelling at us. What's that point of being in the Craftman garage with TB. Then RW adds his 2 cents worth - just show us the cars and give us a run down. How hard can it be?

hotaru said...

just show us the cars and give us a run down. How hard can it be?

For them, I guess it's impossible.

That's why the sound is OFF!.

Mike said...

We can see why SPEED has to cover the Nationwide practices and qualifying sessions on Cup weekends. From the sounds of it, ESPN isn't even interested. Might as well say Marty Reid said it...."instead of just showing cars going around the track, we're going to show you what goes on in the garage." That sounds like practice is "just cars going around the track".

Mike said...

Let me add Marty Reid said that at the opening of the broadcast.

Anonymous said...

I've been watching for 15 minutes and all I saw was Busch, Edwards, Logano and Allgaier. Then you get the tech center every 10 minutes. Urgh. Update the cars not locked in! They have fans too! I get more info from the Nascar.com leaderboard than ESPN.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Pretty interesting approach.

Anonymous said...

This is the 6th or 7th tech segment shown, along with Allgaier's car sitting in the garage, and the sound of cars on the race track. They just don't get it, do they?

Vicky D said...

ESPN story of the weekend looks like it will be Justin Allgaier so that's who we are watching a lot tonight.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Well, so much for interactive. They took a swing at it, but the lack of practice coverage really was a problem.

stricklinfan82 said...

My thoughts on ESPN's "practice coverage": EXPERIMENT FAILED

I had a feeling things weren't going to turn out well when the show opened with Marty and Rusty locked in the Tech Center instead of in the broadcast booth, and sure enough my fears turned out to be true.

I've been beating this drum for more than 2 years with ESPN and unfortunately I have to do it yet again: SHOW THE TRACK!

The approach of ignoring the practice session they were there to cover to instead present a 90 minute combination of NASCAR 101 teaching sessions from the Tech Center, an exclusive all-access behind-the-scenes look at their featured driver of the week Justin Allgaier, and some useless fan participation segments yielded disastrous results, in my opinion.

I guess the only positive of this failed experiment is that they tried it during a Nationwide race and didn't wait until the Cup cars hit the track at the Brickyard to unveil the latest chapter of their ongoing "Ignore the Track Initiative". Maybe, just maybe, there's some hope that today has taught ESPN a lesson and we will never ever see another display like this again.

Then again maybe not, because this is ESPN we're talking about. It's just plain sad that in year 3 this network hasn't even grasped the very elementary concept of focusing on the practicing racecars when they are on the air to televise practice.

Sophia said...

Cripes! i was off and on making a pizza and emailing but did NOT SEE ONE CAR CIRCLE THE TRACK.

Did they show anybody? I 'heard' the car engines. I saw one brief glimpse on the straightaway and that was it (but I was busy and NOT giving the show my main focus..not worth it)

This is why I detest BSPN. They want to hear their own voices. I could swear every other 10 minutes with Brewer with a cutaway car. Still no more cars on the track.

At this point I might just skip the race.

Tell me again how the economy is with NASCAR?

I am convinced BSPN is trying it's best to totally ruin the sport. Perhaps they do still hold a grudge from years back and were banned from NASCAR shows. They certainly appear to have the UPPER HAND in how things are presented?

Where is the France family and TPTB in NASCAR? Not caring one whit at how coverage is brought to the MASSES as they check their bank balances.

:(

PammH said...

Soo glad that even tho I was home during this time, I didn't tune in. I just knew it would be a disappoint & I wasn't wrong...too bad, I would like to be..

Anonymous said...

I guess nobody wants to see a different approach to practice shows. If you really pay attention to each report during a speed/fox practice show, you will hear the same stats and story each time multiplied by 20 or so drivers and teams. "the ## car is loose on entry and tight off so they're gonna change shocks and adjust the tire pressures...blah, blah" It's the same report every time. But, I guess because you see a single car going around in circles on the track, it's perceived as coverage.
This approach showed you teams that were doing well, talked a few stats, and then showed hands on the actual parts of the car via Brewer and Wallace. I found it really interesting (admitted gearhead).
I applaud ESPN for trying a new approach. It takes guts to throw a different approach out there and they did. It was completely different.
And don't tell me you were disappointed that they didn't mention Andy Ponstein or Terry Cook, or that they went off the air
Yes. ESPN ignored practice as you would like to see it, but in my humble opinion, at least they made it interesting.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get to listen to much of practice since dad didn't want to watch it so we FF through it all. It seemed like it would have been something that I would have liked to watch. I have very limited technical knowledge, so the extra time in the tech center probably would have taught me a thing or 2.

Also, covering everything that was going on with Just Allgaier during practice also seemed like it would have been interesting to watch. Sure, he drives for a Cup affiliated team, and his sponsor probably gave ESPN money to focus on him, but at least they focused on a NW only driver for once. Don't forget that ESPN could have used this feature to focus on a Cup driver.

I did stop the FF when they were talking about Burney Lamar, so there was some talk about NW only drivers.

Overall, in theory the coverage might have been good. Having the ticker on top the ENTIRE practice also would have been a plus. Hopefully ESPN got in all of their tech center stuff so that they don't have to show it during green flag racing tomorrow since that would be a shame to miss actual racing.

Phathead said...

Has anyone looked at ESPN's RaceCast for today's race? It is currently 20 laps behind and shows Steinhouse, Brian Keselwoski, Clements and Logano all tied for first. It also is showing that Marc Davis is leading the points.

You would think they could do a slightly better job making sure their realtime scoring is correct. It's not like they don't have experience with this or anything.

Anonymous said...

I really liked this show it taught me a lot about the cars and why the changes do what they do. keep it up espn great show.