Friday, April 10, 2009

Nationwide Series Needs A Good TV Showing


Like it or not, the Nationwide Series is ESPN's baby. While some of the practice and qualifying shows are produced by SPEED, the Nationwide Series races are on the ESPN family of networks.

Fans of this series for the past several years know that races like the one this Saturday in Nashville are few and far between. Rarely does the Nationwide Series get to be alone in the spotlight.

Normally, the entire Nationwide Series TV presentation is a smaller slice of the Sprint Cup Series with some backmarkers thrown in for good measure. The TV focus is on the Cup drivers and the racing often resembles "Cup drivers unplugged."

Somehow, the big guys can let down their hair and just race for fun when it's on Saturday. The pressure is off, the field is thinner and there is no Chase to make down the road.

Friday in Nashville, ESPN unveiled the network's interactive approach to practice. Basically, it gave the producer a license to continue to avoid what was really happening on the track unless it involved a chosen driver or storyline. The ESPN2 coverage was strangely twisted toward tech features and additional content that did not follow the real story of what was actually going on in the session.

ESPN2 returns at 11AM Saturday with qualifying coverage. There are 48 cars trying to make the field and they range from big names with powerhouse teams to rookies with backyard efforts. Certainly, the stories are within the cast of characters who will take to the track.

In the past, ESPN has surrounded the car actually qualifying with electronic graphics on the TV screen while offering other interviews and content in a second video box. The thrust of the coverage is not really focusing on the qualifying laps themselves, but continually talking about the network's chosen topics.

For TV viewers, the clash in styles between SPEED and ESPN where qualifying coverage is concerned could not be greater. SPEED makes an effort to show every car's attempt and follows the efforts of the teams equally. ESPN puts the emphasis on the Cup drivers and avoids putting time and effort into the other competitors.

The actual race airs at 3PM on ESPN, with Allen Bestwick and Brad Daugherty kicking things off from the Infield Pit Center. Tim Brewer is in his Tech Center while Marty Reid, Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree will call the race. ESPN has done a very good job of covering the Nationwide races with a stripped-down broadcast that has put the focus back on the on-track action.

It should be interesting to see how the TV team approaches qualifying and the race this Saturday. This post will serve to host your comments about the TV coverage from Nashville. To add your TV-related comment, just click the comment button below.

TDP is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking time on this holiday weekend to drop by The Daly Planet.

117 comments:

Anthony said...

JD, the N'wide race is actually on ESPN. Countdown is at 3 and the race begins around 4:15.

Sophia said...

JD I just tweeted @TDP to ask if the race was on ESPN or ESPN2 due to confusion.

Might want to retweet the correct one. I can't keep UP with this BSPN Channel roulette. I'll look for your reply.

:)

Karen said...

Qualifying on ESPN2 at 11:00 a.m. Anthony is correct. Race is on ESPN with Countdown at 3:00 and racing show at 4:00.

Glenn said...

Babies get treated better than NASCAR does.
The Nationwide series may be ESPN's, we gotta show some of it, programming, but not their baby.

Lisa Hogan said...

I have to wonder if ESPN expected and planned for a rain out of practice and just stuck with that script.

My TV will be on for qualifying; but, if it is the ESPN usual, I will be doing the family multi-tasking thingy. :)

I am looking forward to the race.

TexasRaceLady said...

If the "coverage" of practice was any indication, the race coverage will suck.

As far as this old fan was concerned, Friday was an unmitigated disaster.

Bah, humbug.

I'll tune in, but if it turns sour, I'm gone.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks guys, ESPN it is for the race on Saturday!

JD

Vicky D said...

The qualifying just started and Rusty is already annoying us. I don't know how much longer we can have this program on.

3KillerBs said...

Why do we have to watch the actual qualifying laps in a tiny, little window that might be 1/4 of the screen?

ESPN, that's asinine!

hotaru said...

After yesterday's coverage disaster, I will not be watching.

(thank goodness I updated my media player on Thursday... now I can stream that radio station that coveres NW).

peggyann said...

I certainly agree with those who disliked yesterday's practice coverage. Watching my poor Cubbies lose was better than seeing Tim Brewer, even muted.

Sophia said...

Glad I missed qualifying after hearing the cars must be in a tinier box than ever.


If NW is "ESPN's Baby," They should have given it up for adoption. They treat it horribly.

Also, JD and others, after seeing the schedule with Football on ESPN and other shows oN ESPN2, could indeed the show START on E2 and get rouletted to ESPN.

Such a nice day not sure if I will watch if the sun stays out. :)

stricklinfan82 said...

The qualifying coverage was much improved over yesterday's "practice coverage" debacle but in my opinion there is still room for improvement. I would much rather see the entire laps of all the go-or-go-homers instead of having parts or all of some of their laps skipped for Tech Center pieces, video packages, full-screen interviews, and the "Dash for Cash" program explanation like they were today.

Kudos though to ESPN for interviewing several of the go-or-go-homers and for also shining a little bit of a spotlight on the very serious start-and-park problem that is ruining this sport. It was very refreshing to hear Rusty Wallace come out on TV and explain that Terry Cook was only there to make some start money so he would probably put up a great lap because he didn't have to worry about having a race setup. Also a great job by Jamie Little to get Brian Keselowski to come out on TV and explain his #96 car wasn't there to race and was instead just entered to be a "money maker".

In my opinion it would go a long way for the TV folks at ESPN, Fox, TNT, and Speed to stop burying their heads in the sand on this issue and put some pressure on NASCAR to put a stop to this start-and-park problem.

Start-and-park is more or less a "victimless crime" (if you will) when the entry blank comes in below 43 cars and they're only there to fill the gaps. It becomes a very serious issue for the health of the sport though, in my opinion, when start-and-park teams are showing up at the track and taking away starting spots from real racers, and possibly forcing those real racers to have to fold up shop because of the money they lost from those DNQ's.

Here's holding out hope that Fox will scrap the cartoon during the pre-race show at Phoenix and have someone like Scott Riggs, Tommy Baldwin, Scott Speed, or Jeremy Mayfield on the set to take off the gloves and tell the world what they really think about "start-and-park" and what it's doing to this sport.

Dot said...

@ dear Sophia and Strick, good posts.

What I want to know is, why didn't the Dash for Cash exempt the CUP teams?

Another thing I wonder is, if we see the S&P issue as a detriment to the sport, why doesn't NASCAR?

tiamatsrevenge said...

NASCAR is using the S&P teams as a way to force the other teams to figure out "how" they need to improve themselves ...

IF you want to run the full season, you best figure out "how" to NOT get beaten during qualifying by a S&P team ...

I know that Jeremy & Tommy Baldwin don't have the $$$ like HMS / JGR have ... So, they should work together to figure out how to beat the S&P teams on the Cup side ... Same thing goes for the Nationwide & Truck teams ...


Scott Speed DNQ'd at Texas because he just does NOT have enough seat time in the Cup cars ... and needs to learn the system ...

Dot said...

Why is there an hour pre race show with a live event after the race?

Richard in N.C. said...

I have mixed feelings about the S&P-ers. I don't have a problem if a team is parking one week so it can afford to "race" the next week- but I do have some problem if a team has no intent to really race at all and bumps a real racer out of the field as has happened to the Riggs and Mayfield teams in Cup. One partial solution that has occurred to me would be to provide that part of the purse for each team in the race would be paid in the form of 4 or 5 sets of tires in place of money.

Anonymous said...

I thought ESPN did much better with their qualifying coverage. I was impressed with the number of interviews with Wimmer, Townley, Brian Keselowski. As stricklinfan82 said, there is still room for improvement. It was a major step in the right direction.

Gymmie said...

go Mr. Alligator Go!

Leftturn said...

Is it raining at the track?

Aven said...

I don't have a problem with the S&P cars. If you're not fast enough to qualify, you don't deserve to race. Once you qualify,I think you can do whatever you want regarding the race.

Leftturn said...

all i know is espn's radios are better than any other networks!!

David said...

Oh look...a motorsports calendar that DOESNT include the Sprint Cup Series...

On the start and park thing:

Its the duty of every team to go as fast as they can in qualifying to make the race. That being said I can understand an unsponsored team being a start and park group, but what BURNS me is how MSRP claims they are a start and park group due to lack of sponsorship, yet they have a sponsor on the car a few weeks ago and they park.

Also what burns me is how these teams get ignored. Part of why they are start and parks is due to exposure. Im not saying push the team down our throat but a mention of their situation and how they are looking for a sponsor so they can run the full race, use Terry Cook as an example. They qualify well week in and week out, a quick interview before the race with them and a plea for a sponsor to step up and fill that void so they can actually race for once would go a long way in my eyes.

Gotta address these teams though during the race instead of a quick 2 second blurb that they went to the garage, and give a reason for why they parked. Sorry but start and park or not a follow up is neccesary in my eyes.

Daly Planet Editor said...

At least the S&P issue is getting some attention. That took a long time.

tiamatsrevenge said...

Albertans singing the US National Anthem ???

I know they're doing the post-race concert ...

But, C'mon!!

Vicky D said...

The National Anthem was fine with week,at least we didn't have to mute it. I wish the audio guy would turn down Rusty's mic so it doesn't sound like he's screaming at us since he has some good points. The qualifying was pretty extensive, I was worried they would show 2 cars go out - 5 minutes of commercials. I wonder how David Green will do he couldn't even make it out. I agree with a previous poster, I think Mayfield & Riggs' teams should work together to get those guys in the race.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Different vibe with Marty in the booth.

David said...

Atwood having a GREAT start...yet no one says a word

Vicky D said...

At least they are showing more racing further back instead of the front guys. I have RaceCast on espn as nascar didn't have live leaderboard running today.

David said...

Atwood, a great feel-good story being overshadowed by the top 8-fest.

MSRP cars parked...

David said...

I will say ESPN does have the triple pit layout down pat

tiamatsrevenge said...

No MRN in Seattle ...

Local affiliate is airing Vancouver hockey ...

Daly Planet Editor said...

Come on Shannon...

Karen said...

Someone please remind me who MSRP is.

Sophia said...

Karen I also wonder who MSRP is :)

Hopping between nascar and masters golf

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey, trying to go through the field. Let's see how far they get.

Labbie said...

I think MSRP is Phil Parsons team.

Dot said...

@ JD, not far.

The Track Girl said...

Umm. Didn't we just have a commercial break like two minutes ago?

Vicky D said...

Phil Parsons & Randy Humphrey owns MSRP racing.

David said...

Thats the 90 and 91 cars who are MSRP

Daly Planet Editor said...

Still looking for racing and not leading...

Daly Planet Editor said...

Now, that is how to show caution flag pitstops on TV!

Anonymous said...

This race broadcast is very refreshing. It beats the heck out of the trash produced by Fox this season. Just now, we actually saw a race off pit road, instead of a closeup on a crewman cheering.

Karen said...

What was the caution for?

David said...

debris

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hope ESPN can keep this feel for the Cup stuff later this year.

Glenn said...

This is a first for me. I'm seeing more on tv than I'm hearing on radio. Way to much "chat" today.
And it continues, interview with Sam Bass, creator of the guitar.
WOW, they did stop for the yellow and pit stops.

Karen said...

But, David, did they show the debris? I didn't see it if they did.

David said...

I didn't see anything

Vicky D said...

Good shot of wreck. Like the booth crew, sometimes AP corrects Rusty's comments. I like Marty because he sounds like he enjoys racing and calling the races.

Dot said...

Debris? Is that what crashes are called now?

Dot said...

@ JD, could the booth feel be attributed to Marty Reid over Jerry Punch?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why Eric McClure gets to carry the Hefty sponsorship with him from team to team despite his - err - lackluster - performances?

David said...

Dot the caution before the wreck was for debris

Sophia said...

ok..just jumped back from golf.

Is it me or did they speed up the ticker!!!???

:-)

Dot said...

@ David, thanks. I must have missed it while in the other room.

Karen said...

could the booth feel be attributed to Marty Reid over Jerry Punch?

Dot, that is an understatement!!!

David said...

np, but since i feel like being a smarty pants...when they wreck it does create debris...which is the dangerous part of a wreck... lol

Daly Planet Editor said...

Every announcer has different styles. Jerry is primarily a reporter, while Marty is a play-by-play guy.

Glenn said...

ESPN must be producing MRN's broadcast today. Pre-taped interviews, commercials, station breaks, chit chat, comment or two on the race, repeat.

Vicky D said...

JD - yeah, JP is always asking questions of the others in the booth while Marty is the leader of the three. He seems to know who is in the cars, whereas JP calls just the car numbers.

Sophia said...

Hate to hear that about MRN.

PRN is like that. Are the normal MRN guys off for holiday weekend?

Not that I get them for NW.

Wreck

tiamatsrevenge said...

Anon @ 5:17 -

The Hefty sponsorship is WITH Eric McClure himself ...

It's the fourth year for the partnership ...

Mike Wallace HAD a similar contract with Geico ... But, that got messed up when Nationwide took over the series sponsorship from Busch last year ...

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hope carl does not get hurt....

Dot said...

Did they ever finish the story about the 22 yr old tire changer? If I missed, can someone recap?

Karen said...

Dot,

Not yet that I heard.

Gymmie said...

if they did, I missed it too Dot :(

Vicky D said...

So many commercial breaks although that Verizon one is a riot. Marty hasn't mentioned one of my fav truck drivers who is in the race today and running 17th. Just noticed the live leaderboard is up and running on nascar.com.

Glenn said...

2 of the 6 are regular Sunday guys. The 4 other are part timers.

I don't think any race is boring, some are just better than others. This one is on the low end.

I sync'ed up the radio and tv at the anthem. Unless something has happened, ESPN is at least 4 seconds behind on what's happening.

Dot said...

Thanks VickyD, I'm changing now. The BSPN one is messed up.

Hey, the story about DJ is on. Good for him.

Gymmie said...

YAY! How awesome for him! I hope he does well :)

Vicky D said...

Is everyone content with the race and don't want to post. Poor Brian Scott hadn't seen/heard of him all race and he starts overheating in the pits and they show him. Too much of Carl Edwards coming through the field though.

Dot said...

@ VickyD, the coverage is better than most today. I'm enjoying it.

Anonymous said...

Fox would NEVER show a pass for 14th place. I'm glad ESPN does it.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Between The Masters and Easter, there are probably about ten of us here.

Dot said...

@ JD, too funny.

Karen said...

JD,

Ten very dedicated fans.

Newracefan said...

I'm here just not posting due to multitasking but had to chime, I'm actually enjoying the B team.

Dot said...

@ Karen, Right on.

Karen said...

Glenn, I totally disagreed with you that this race is on the low end. It's been more exciting than anything I've seen in a long time, especially since it's on BPSN.

David said...

Nemecheck upside down! WOW!

Dot said...

Just enough wrecks to keep it exciting. Glad no one got hurt. Wow, look at Joe still driving!!!!!

Daly Planet Editor said...

WOW!

Vicky D said...

Bad wreck!

David said...

Uh wow. Im still shocked he went over on his lid

Sophia said...

ok a new hockey game is scheduled for 7pm. will the race stay on this channel?

inkthatpaints said...

I'm glad Nascar decided to throw the red flag rather than run under caution.

The Track Girl said...

Holy cow.

Anonymous said...

Awesome coverage on the flip. They have camera's and sounds..... feels like I'm there

David said...

I guess when your underfunded thats one way to get tv time...

Vicky D said...

Thumbs up for Joe!

Anonymous said...

Any car repair company would love sponsorship on the 87 now!

2fast4U said...

are they going to get Joe back out there? I hope so, great way to get seen on TV.

Karen said...

Steenhouse, Stinehouse, good grief, Rusty.

Dot said...

Funny, Anon 6:48.

How come Joe got to drive back to pit road?

David said...

No, NASCAR wont let the 87 back out since the roof flaps are structurally damaged. Unsafe car.

Vicky D said...

Rusty needs help with the driver's names.

tiamatsrevenge said...

Why does Jamie insist on calling Tony Sr "Pops Eury Sr" ??

The Track Girl said...

Nice shot of turn four, but not start finish....

After showing the racing back in the pack, you would think that they would bother to show the field across the line.

Dot said...

Ya think they hung the wrong bodies on the Gibbs' cars? Glad Sliced Bread won over KyB.

Great race today. Good job to BSPN. Short post race I bet.

Anonymous said...

The energy in the booth was great today.

inkthatpaints said...

Burnout = I guess this was the last race for Joey's motor

David said...

You only have to pick one engine every 3 weeks, odds are that may have been the Texas engine in the car today, or they may run the Texas engine next week.

Lisa Hogan said...

I've been reading the comments during commercial. Just haven't been posting.

Overall, I enjoyed the race coverage. Especially covering the racing all over the track and the finish.

Thanks for the site, JD.

Happy Easter everyone!

Gary said...

Joey needs to get fined for unsafe burnout in Victory Lane. Too close to too many people.

Needs to be lead story on Monday coverage.

The Track Girl said...

Good race!

Happy Easter everyone!

Jack from PA said...

I don't see too many Nationwide races, but this one was great. Good racing to begin with (unlike the Cup Series), and good coverage. I like Marty Reid. He does a great job of announcing what's going on on the track, making you feel like you're there (almost like Rick Allen). I enjoy listening to him and his enthusiasm. Liked to see some racing behind, especially throughout the last few laps when it was single file til about 10th. Hopefully the Cup races on ESPN this year will be like this. Overall, I'll give it a 9.

David said...

What Gary?! He isnt the first to do something like that. Ive seen Jimmie Johnson do it too.

Tons of guys have.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks everyone, have a great Sunday and Happy Easter.

Anonymous said...

Sophia said...
ok a new hockey game is scheduled for 7pm. will the race stay on this channel?

April 11, 2009 6:45 PM

????????????????????????????

Anonymous said...

ESPN does a good job with racing, always has too. I completely don't understand why sone folks have an issue with Rusty Wallace as an announcer. He's very good. I like to have an opportunity to listen to different TV guys calling races - they all bring something to the mix, some more than others. I think Rusty delivers.

I also like SPEED and Fox too for races. NBC, no so much. TNT is good tho.

Anonymous said...

I felt like the call of the race was much better today for ESPN and to me it was because of Marty Reid. Once again shows that the right PxP guy makes a big difference.
He just seemed to be more on top of stuff and didn't get lost the way the good doctor does at times.

Lesley said...

ESPN..Did a great job!! From the practice on friday to the race on Saturday...Great job gang!!!

stricklinfan82 said...

Solid end to the weekend for ESPN in my opinion. The practice coverage was a complete debacle but the qualifying coverage was better and the race coverage was very good, in my opinion. To me it goes a long way to improve the viewing experience when the production truck focuses on the best racing on the track, like ESPN did on Saturday. When the leaders were close the cameras stayed focused on them (as they should have) and when they weren't the production truck panned back and bounced around between different side-by-side races deep in the pack.

My only critique on the race coverage is their method to covering yellow flag pit stops. The triple-pit method is fantastic, but I wish they would stick with that shot throughout the entire pit stops. When they have the 18, 20, and 60 in the triple-pit, for example, I don't see the need to keep switching back-and-forth between the triple-pit and a full-screen shot of one of those cars that were already in the '3-box'.

Other than that minor detail it was a very solid effort, in my opinion. It sure would be nice if the ESPN Cup broadcasts turn out more like Saturday's race broadcast and less like Friday's practice broadcast.... but again I'm not holding my breath, because as we saw last year for whatever reason solid Nationwide broadcasts never seem to result in solid Cup broadcasts for the ESPN folks.

Charlie said...

I just got done watching the Sunday short version of the race. I thought it was to chopped up and really didn't flow well.
To me it was the Busch, Logano, Edwards show. With around 10 laps to go when that car flipped the announcers didn't even realize this had happened until they saw a camera shot of this car and saw how the roof flaps had be crushed and they knew something must have happened that they missed.
I heard Marty Reed (I think that is his name) say over and over again - We have had action all over the track. If that was the case why not show it. They also talked about the points race as if this was the last race of the year.
Like I said I just saw the short version and I was not impressed.

Jay said...

I thought this was an excellent race broadcast, best I have heard in a long time! Marty, Andy, Rusty and ESPN team, PLEASE KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK! No nonsense, closely followed the action and the relevant story lines, lots of enthusiasm, great explainations of technical issues, good pit reporting, etc! I'm actually excited about watching the next Nationwide race! Dr Jerry is probably an outstanding guy, but Marty Reid is a much better play by play guy for leading the team in the booth. He seems to know who and what he is talking about, doesn't make frequent mistakes, and delivers the broadcast in a way that it seems so much more thorough or "complete" than most other race broadcasts. I was not expecting much but was very very impressed; this was easily the best race telecast I have watched all year.