Sunday, June 14, 2009
Live Blogging The Sprint Cup Series Race From Michigan on TNT
TNT rented a house on a Michigan lake for the NASCAR on TNT announcers. It was close to the track and made the travel and logistics a lot easier. Kyle Petty quickly dubbed the place Camp Weber.
When not fishing or having a sing-a-long with Petty on the guitar, the TNT guys were talking about the issues with MIS. Junior fans remember him creeping across the line on fumes last year, saved by a late caution flag.
Now, the Sprint Cup Series comes to MIS after a wild season that has featured as many stories off the track as on the racing surface. MIS has the potential on TV to either provide a great telecast or become an exercise in gas mileage once again. NASCAR is hoping that the double-file restarts will add a kick to the middle and closing parts of the race.
The irony of General Motors announcing the withdrawal of funding for the truck and Nationwide series this week is not lost on the Cup teams in the garage. Putting on a good show is more important then ever when the survival of the series as we know it may be at stake. Next week will bring the real world fall-out of the GM news.
TNT is off to a good start in 2009. Petty, Larry McReynolds and Wally Dallenbach have been working well as a unit with Bill Weber directing traffic. Petty may be the star, but Weber sets the tone and he got annoyed in the closing stages of the Pocono race.
That break in communication caused a failure on the final lap that resulted in a big hiccup. The TV perspective was lost on the last lap, the cameras only showed the leader and the drama of cars spinning and running out of gas was never shown. Weber's words about Tony Stewart being the story made no sense with blue tire smoke in the background and other cars slow on the apron. In NASCAR TV, the final lap is more important than the first.
TNT's online companion is RaceBuddy. Again offered free to any broadband computer user at NASCAR.com, RaceBuddy offers a designated pit road reporter, four camera angles and team scanner audio. For those fans who enjoy multi-tasking, it just does not get any better.
Petty continues to push the envelope by Tweeting while he is on the air and this week TNT has added a direct link for fan questions at the NASCAR.com website. Upping the interaction between the fans and the TV crew is something that TNT has been doing well. Hopefully, somewhere ESPN is making notes.
TNT has been great with the directing, including the triple-splits in the pits and the priorities assigned on the track. With the huge MIS facility, the TV coverage is going to have to jump continually to the best racing on the track, regardless of the position of those cars in the line-up.
The network offered good recaps last week and seems to be aggressively including the pit reporters continually during the race. Interviews of the drivers who are out of the race this week is going to be important, especially if there is a big incident early on.
The biggest complaint emailed to TDP about Pocono was the fact that TNT left the air 15 minutes before the scheduled off-time. The remainder of the post-race interviews were done online at NASCAR.com, but that eliminated those not multi-tasking and did not seem to be fair since there was time remaining.
In 2007, TNT did the same thing during a crucial race and explained that it was more important to start the vampire movie early and keep the audience than offer interviews to NASCAR fans. The resulting anger changed that policy rather quickly. Perhaps, it might be a time to review that memo.
MIS offers the clear opportunity for both NASCAR and TNT to put the sport squarely back in the spotlight. Great weather, evenly matched cars and double-file restarts might be just what the doctor ordered to change the momentum for this series.
TDP welcomes your comments on the TNT coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from MIS. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.
We appreciate you taking the time out of your Sunday to stop by The Daly Planet.