Sunday, May 24, 2009

Two TV Laps To Go For "NASCAR On Fox"


It certainly has been an interesting season for the NASCAR on Fox team. Both on and off the track things have been scrutinized from every angle as the TV ratings continue to slip for the Sprint Cup Series races.

Sunday is the final home game for the group as they telecast the longest race of the season from the Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Fox TV season ends in Dover, DE on the following Sunday. That is definitely an away game.

In Charlotte, the regular Fox crew will assemble yet again and follow two hours of pre-race coverage on SPEED with a 45 minute show of their own. Chris Myers has plenty to talk about from the Hollywood Hotel this week. Topics range from the actual racing to the upcoming Sprint Cup driver's meeting on Tuesday morning called by NASCAR.

Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond have been on-the-air on SPEED for the past few days and the transition over to Fox is always interesting to watch. As Myers does his act, fans can quickly realize how little real information and NASCAR news filters through on this pre-race show loaded with gimmicks and cartoons. What a change from the simple and straightforward approach of SPEED.

Mike Joy had a very long day on the air calling Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series activity Saturday on SPEED. He returns to Fox Sunday to call the longest race of the year and should be a huge change of pace for TV viewers from ESPN's Jerry Punch on Saturday night. Joy directs traffic, calls the action and is not afraid to tell viewers when something goes wrong.

Last year, this was the first race where Waltrip began his slow emotional meltdown that caught many by surprise. Whether it is age or perspective, Waltrip seems to be genuinely and deeply affected by the end of his participation in the Sprint Cup Series telecasts.

This was also the event that exposed his deep affection for Kyle Busch and his belief that the talent of this driver is very special. Waltrip is unapologetic for his comments and has continued this season to be a huge cheerleader for Busch. Perhaps, the recent All-Star race telecast was a good example of this issue.

Larry McReynolds is the hardest working man in NASCAR TV and he will once again transition directly into the TNT telecasts while continuing all his duties for SPEED. He has been overshadowed this season by both Waltrip and Digger, but continues to offer the kind of solid and analytical commentary that made him a fixture on the NASCAR TV scene years ago.

Joy returns to SPEED as his vintage car hobby lets him have a great perspective for that network's Barrett-Jackson car auction telecasts. He jokes about having the off-season to research and find car parts only to have to go back to work to pay for them.

Fox emphasized Digger this season and it cost them dearly in the court of public opinion. They over-sold the races and the short event in Phoenix turned into a disaster on the air. Finally, Fox Sports executive David Hill hosted a one hour chat on his lunch hour and basically told fans he was doing things his way and if they did not like it that was "tough."

All-in-all, it has been a roller coaster since Daytona. Regardless of whether or not it has been a fun trip or a rough road, one thing is certain. Two more telecasts and this season's ride will come to an end.

TDP welcomes comments from readers. Just click on the comments button below to add your opinion on this topic. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

14 comments:

David said...

So the "meeting" on Tuesday is not about the drug policy whatsoever...

At least thats what the rumors say. Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR - glad FOX only has two races left, but it is unlikely NBC can save NASCAR from the absolutely jingoistic FOX broadcasts that make all fans feel as naive and stupid as DW.

justsomeguy said...

Why don't you liveblog the best racing series on the planet - F1!

Monaco on SPEED, starting NOW! Real race fans have been awake for the greatest day in racing, watching the GP2 race at Monaco (just ended) and preparing for the F1 race, followed by Indy and the Coca-Cola. Unfortunately last year this day of race watching showed how weak NASCAR really is in comparison to the other series, but who knows, they might come through with good racing this year.

eaglesoars said...

justsomeguy said... I agree, I'm on the west coast and I start my racedays when F-1 is on around 3am. ;)
Sure I could TiVo it, but that's just not the same. lol

Ken said...

I really look forward to not seeing or hearing DW and Digger. I am sick of gimmicks and hope the other broadcasters have learned from the Fox mistakes and do a better job. I simply want an objective and complete commentary with good camera coverage.

GinaV24 said...

Well, the DVR will be recording this race and depending on what I see when I get home, maybe I'll watch the whole thing. I'm sure NOT giving up my weekend plans for Fox. I cannot believe how much has changed since Fox began their coverage in 2001 and its NOT for the better. DW has always had a bad habit of cheerleading for a driver that he likes -- it used to be Junior all the time, now it's Kyle Busch and Toyota -- sorry, but that has been a major reason why I've stopped LISTENING to the race broadcast on Fox. We get it Darrell you get paid by Toyota or at least your brother does.

I like Speed - most of the time - when the Brothers Waltrip are not in evidence. Mikey keeps me away from the truck series broadcasts, too.

I'm not expecting that much improvement when TNT takes over (at least I assume they are still doing their 6 week commercial stint in the middle of the summer?) and after watching some of the Nationwide races, if Jerry Punch continues in the PXP role, well, I'll be one of the missing for that race coverage.

I like Mike Joy and Larry and Hammond -- so they will be missed. But Chris Myers brings absolutely NOTHING to the broadcast and I've already said my piece on DW - plus his shilling for Toyota - gee whiz, no wonder the ratings are down.

justsomeguy said...

Ken-

I just watched the F1 race and the U.S. folks covering the race are mostly just watching the same feed you are (they are not even live at the race) but they have more passion and emotion than you will ever from DW or Fox in their NASCAR coverage. True racing passion overcomes gimmicks and DW platitudes.

justsomeguy said...

GinaV24-

Be assured that DW is paid directly by Toyota and Fox nevers brings up the clear of interest this presents. DW owns a Toyota sponsored race truck and DW was paid handsomely by Toyota as a "consultant" to help bring them into NASCAR.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Every season we live blog the Indy 500 because it is a spectacle.

As you may know, this is a TV blog. The F-1 coverage on SPEED is simply a world feed purchased by the network and voiced-over in Charlotte, NC.

SPEED pays to have a pit reporter and a camera crew on-site, but nothing else.

I was lucky enough to have done F-1 for years when it was on ESPN and that sport certainly has changed.

JD

Anonymous said...

The thing about DW and Toyota -- there has been full disclosure. As you have already rattled off, you are familiar with the relationship between the two, and can then judge his comments accordingly.

What would be the real travesty would be if DW had a Toyota relationship that wasn't right out in the open for everyone to see. I think there are a lot of announcers out there that get a free pass from the criticism, because they aren't so open about their affiliations.

I don't think DW has a bias, actually, and I believe him when he says he'd go nuts for Kyle Busch in any car (likewise, he seems to go nuts for "June Bug" when he's up front, even though he isn't in Toyota). But if you do think he has a bias, at least he discloses his potential conflicts. That is much more than you can say for most of the commentators. Is it as clear who pays, for example, Rusty Wallace throughout the year for various commitments? Yet he comments on a wide range of topics and we never know if his comment about a given track or team are biased.

PS - You should have live-blogged Monaco. At least that race is exciting. The Indy 500 is about an hour of tradition and two hours of single-file "racing"

justsomeguy said...

Editor-

Good point on the reason not to live blog Monaco here, but I expect it to be the most exciting racing of the day. It was an average Monaco, but an average Monaco is still some of the best racing of the year.

It is about the only track left where almost zero error is tolerated by the driver, almost any mistake results in a crash and out of the race.

elena, chicago said...

I know that many bloggers do not like Digger. As a matter of fact they HATE him. But public opinion can also be counted by sales. And Digger makes money. As a matter of fact, I think NASCAR was probably surprised to see how many millions of dollars Digger was making for Fox.

So NASCAR is coming up with a set of NASCAR dolls and more kid stuff to follow. I think NASCAR finally realized that whatever their demographics are, these fans have kids, nieces, nephews, and grandkids.

NASCAR is planning a big splash with these dolls, the first one being the #88 Dale Jr, and the second being the #24 doll, Jeff Gordon. I'm curious to see how much tv add space they devote to get these to compete with Digger.

Vicky D said...

Just Some Guy - even though the broadcast guys are in the states reporting the F1 race, they have more enthusiasm than JP does when he's sitting at the track calling a NW race in person.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for the live blogging of the Sprint Cup Series race from LMS.