Sunday, June 28, 2009
Live Blogging The Sprint Cup Series On TNT from Loudon, NH
The big news on Sunday morning was that TNT's Bill Weber had been sent home from New Hampshire. Ralph Sheheen is going to step into the play-by-play role for Weber during the live telecast. As you can see from the photo above, Sheheen is not stranger to NASCAR.
According to thatsracing.com, Weber was involved in a loud and public confrontation late Friday night at the TNT hotel. Shawn Courchesne of the Hartford Courant reports Weber received a one race suspension for his actions. No further information has been or is expected to be released by the network.
The TNT booth announcers were not involved in the Friday telecasts, although the pit reporters participated in the coverage of practice and qualifying on SPEED. Weber was at the track on Friday and the incident in question was apparently much later on Friday night.
So, Sheheen will jump into the play-by-play role that is familiar to him. Sheheen is a TV and NASCAR veteran who can usually be seen on SPEED handling the various motorcycle coverage. As veteran fans know, Sheheen has a long history in NASCAR and continues to live and work in the Charlotte area.
The TNT analysts Kyle Petty and Larry McReynolds did not mention a word about their broadcast partner Weber during the pre-race shows. Wally Dallenbach also passed on the opportunity when he was shown in the TNT booth with Sheheen.
New Hampshire is a flat track that tests the patience of both the drivers and the TV crew. Little passing and slow spins in the corner are the TV profile of this track. Veteran fans may remember that soft walls were added after two high-profile fatalities years ago.
TNT's coverage of pit road is going to be key to the telecast. Passing will happen under caution as the cars race away from stops and the pass for the win may well happen because of the pit crews. TNT has been working hard on the pit stop coverage and this will be perhaps the biggest test.
Rain is in the forecast. Should the track get wet, TNT's options are limited. The infield stage is open and has proven to be useless in bad weather. It will be up to Sheheen, Petty and Dallenbach to fill the time.
There are plenty of storylines in this event. TNT has done a great job of treating the teams equally and leaving the Dale Junior and Kyle Busch hype for others. Petty continues to Twitter during the race and RaceBuddy again is going to add four additional race cameras and a dedicated pit reporter to the coverage.
TNT is gearing-up for the Wide Open coverage at Daytona next weekend. It should be interesting to see how Sheheen handles a full Sprint Cup Series live telecast.
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