Monday, June 8, 2009

SPEED And NASCAR Hiding Truck Series Reality


The Monday news release was easy to understand. "Red Horse Racing regretfully announces the closure of the #1 Toyota Tundra driven by Johnny Benson. The decision is effective immediately."

Just like that, the reigning Camping World Truck Series champion was gone. No sponsor, no dollars and no more hope.

The last race for the CWTS was in Texas and carried live on SPEED. Rick Allen and Phil Parsons have teamed-up for years as the TV faces of this national series. SPEED has a separate producer assigned to the CWTS and the telecasts for the last several years have been steadily gaining viewers. That's the good news.

The bad news is that the Texas race may have changed the way some NASCAR fans view both SPEED and its experienced announcing duo. Regardless of the reason, a decision was made prior to the start of the Texas race that is still mystifying. SPEED decided to ignore reality.

We all know times are tough. When IRL teams like Rahal-Letterman are parked and the NHRA is a shadow of its former self, that truth is certainly hammered home. While mergers solved some problems in the Sprint Cup Series ranks, the trucks have taken it right in the teeth. Last Friday may have been a truly defining moment.

The Texas race started 33 trucks, with several of the drivers being new names to the series. That in itself is not news, as the trucks often see teams try to qualify for a single race. Regional teams trying to make the move to the national level often choose the trucks as a first step.

Krista Voda presented the pre-race show with her usual smile and charm. Pit reporters Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander updated the top teams and the stories of the day. Allen and Parsons then took over as the trucks moved out on the pace laps.

Once the green flag flew, SPEED inserted the ticker at the top of the screen that updates the positions of the trucks on the track. On this day, that single strip of electronic information would be the only thing at TMS speaking the truth to the television viewers.

As usual, a field of only 33 trucks got strung-out rather quickly on the big TMS oval. Then, it began. The ticker at the top of the screen started listing trucks at the back of the field as "off." While Allen and Parsons continued to talk about the action at the front of the field, truck after truck made the big left-turn into the TMS garage and simply parked.

Before lap 40, almost one-third of the entire Camping World Truck Series starters had parked. 10 trucks were in the garage packing to go home before the first pit stop for fuel. Click here for NASCAR's finishing order. Terms like handling, ignition and transmission were listed as reasons these teams left the race.

NASCAR fans know better than that. As ESPN's Randy LaJoie would say, these were the "valet parking" teams. They fully intended to start and then park as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, in the SPEED TV booth, things were all rainbows and roses. Allen and Parsons never referenced that 10 of the 33 competitors in a nationally televised race had simply parked. From high above TMS they had both watched as this unfolded, but never said a word about it. The reason is simple.

Everyone but the SPEED TV viewers and the fans in the grandstands knew about it in advance.

We often refer to SPEED as the little network that could. Chugging along after starting as Speedvision, the cable TV company was actually moved to Charlotte, NC to become a full time NASCAR cable channel years ago. It never happened.

Instead, the resulting TV hybrid is a mix of reality and lifestyle programming blended with pre and post-race shows from the NASCAR tracks. Throw-in a smattering of open wheel racing and special events and the network is a mish-mash of the highest order.

The only high-profile NASCAR series carried on SPEED is the Camping World Trucks. The network even produces and televises the post-season banquet. To many viewers, Krista Voda embodies the friendly and honest nature of this series full of colorful characters and good human interest stories. Allen and Parsons seem more like friends than announcers as they let the action on the track take center stage.

That may be why it was so tough to watch the Texas race unfold as racing reality and the SPEED on-air presentation took two very different roads. If NASCAR and SPEED decided to take this approach in some public relations move, they certainly paid a price. In the mainstream media, however, there was barely a whisper.

Click here for a good story from Truckseries.com that tells the tale. "This was hardly the Truck Series we've come to know and love," it said. Matt McLaughlin at Frontstretch.com also mentioned it in his outstanding Monday column.

The issue of hiding reality goes back this season to TDP's problems with SPEED in February. This column documented the sharp contrast between what SPEED was "selling" to the fans and what the personalities really thought. The only way the truth leaked-out was a technical mistake.

As the remainder of this season goes by, there has to be a reality check from the NASCAR TV partners and there is a good reason why. NASCAR fans are not stupid. They follow their favorite drivers and teams online and live in the real world every single day. The role of TV in this sport is to accurately report, not to manufacture a new NASCAR reality and hope to get away with it.

The truck series is heading for Michigan and will hopefully pick-up some additional teams as Sprint Cup drivers cross-over for this event. It will certainly not be the same without Benson, but the real question is whether SPEED will decide to step-up and begin to restore the credibility lost after the Texas telecast.

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

67 comments:

Glenn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
glenc1 said...

a lot off topic, but thanks for the update, Glenn...sigh...I feel for the man...

I didn't catch the truck race til the end, so I didn't know about the *volume* of S&P teams. Yikes. Ideally, the loss of big teams might signal some attention on the local guys trying to make the race--unfortunately, they're not *really* racing. So sad. What happened to Benson is criminal, but I know it's the economy. I know NASCAR probably can't be seen to be 'helping' teams...but there must be some better answer for this. And it should be noted that Phil Parsons would probably be the last person who would mention it....owner of a Cup S&P team.

David said...

Phil also owns a Nationwide S&P team too.

This is beyond depressing. Im speechless, disappointed, and upset to hear this news because Johnny is a class act and a heck of a driver. Maybe a NW ride will open up or something else in the trucks but by looking at the landscape its not likely.

At least the NHRA might be down on sponsors but still provides competitive quality racing while many of the other series cannot say the same thing.

Gonna be an interesting night on tv today. ESPN even ran a ticker crawl about the JB news.

Old School Truck Fan said...

Having gone to Indy & Louisville (what a wild track!) during the initial season of 95, it is sad to see how bad things really are in the series.

What makes it worse, I really do not think there is a long term answer to the multiple problems they are facing.

For Butch Miller, IWX Trucking, Johnny Benson, Kenny Irwin (RIP), Travis Kvapil…Thank You for all the great memories I will always have of the series.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Glenn, please refer to the Kyle Busch column listed on the right side of the main page under links.

You can then comment on the SPEEDtv.com forum or the story about this topic.

Thanks, now lets get back to the trucks with the comments please.

Anyone have a sponsor for JB?

JD

Jojaye said...

The Texas truck race was really uncomfy to watch. I originally thought it was because Mikey wasn't there. As "new" trucks began to disappear or not be mentioned it slowly dawned that there were an awful lot of S&P's -as one of the Planeteers mentioned announcers wouldn't say a word as one of them owned teams who S&P.

Now Johnny Benson is rideless, who is next?

NASCAR made such a big deal out of responding to fans in Sprint Cup.
When will they break down & listen to us about the Truck series?

+ the pit rule change is not working, lose it. It adds nothing, probably hasn't saved teams enough to justify its continued use.
+ Restrictor plates? Restrict yourself,from killing competition.
+ NASCAR saving the owners $ is not a good idea, does "I can't afford for NASCAR to save me money" sound familiar? I think it was Childress who said that. Could have been another owner
+ Get BSPN to hype,plug, mention or acknowledge the series exists. Highlights & info please.
+ NASCAR dig into the piggy bank & get some adverts going, and help the Trucks get some sponsors! On the trucks & no more of the Blah Blah Co is the NASCAR exclusive provider of HoHum. Sponsors on the trucks, not of your pockets.
+ Get the Truck Series back to its roots. Not the superspeedways, the smaller tracks & let them race!
+ Pray its not to late for the Truck series -

I never thought California was going to be the litmus test -I honestly thought it would be in July. Guess no one got the time right. Never did I think the CWTS champ would be sponsorless or rideless this season.

Anonymous said...

Mr Daly

Economy or no, Toyota ought to have the common sense, loyalty and frankly, brand-marketing smarts to insure that Mr Benson is in a Toyota for the balance of the season.
Good heavens, he's in the top 5 in points, the defending champion, an out of a ride????

Bray kroter

Anonymous said...

Post Script

Speed should be unabashedly ashamed for their blatent misrepresentation of events on the track at Texas. Moreover, they owe the Truck series fans-who have stood by Speed thru thick and thin.....at this point, VERY thin, an apology and frankly, better treatment than this.
The individual responsible for instituting this editorial philosophy should lose his or her job, and at once!!
Bray

Anonymous said...

Post-Post Script

The photo you used at the top of your article is interesting.
I interpret it now as men putting the cover ONTO the truck.
Sad

Bray

glenc1 said...

Jojaye, NASCAR dishing out more advertising *sounds* like a great idea...but they need a new campaign. Maybe they need Gene Simmons...lol...or Patrick Dempsey; even the Sportscar series is doing little ads that tell you about the drivers. Something different to catch people's attention, not just trucks wrecking with the same old music. And I do think smaller tracks might help, but at the same time, you'd get more attendance at a companion race (or nearby...like ORP/Indy.)

Actually--it occurs to me the one man who knows how to promote is right in their back yard--Humpy Wheeler....

majorshouse said...

I was disappointed that we did not hear more about the start and pakr trucks Friday night and NASCAR in general seems to be having a identity and credibility crisis and need to get out of it before they lose all sense of credibility and fans. Let's not forget about the sponsors as well and i am also disappointed to hear that Red Horse Racing has closed up shop and Johnny Benson has now been the victim of two teams just closing up and leaving him high and dry.

Glenn said...

Sorry JD

Jojaye said...

@glenc1 - or how about Pete Townsend - he could do etiquette lessons LOL

I agree on Humpy

glenc1 said...

Hey...not Pete, but close...how about Eric Clapton? He's a friend of the Germains, showed up at a race a few years back....but then, today's young people wouldn't know either one of them... (and yes, he'd know better than to smash up a perfectly good guitar too...)

David said...

Too much too fast. The big tracks are great for purse money but are hard on the teams. The spacer plate has made things even more difficult because these trucks were already momentum dependent and NASCAR made it 5 times worse. Its the same problem in the NW series but understandable as NASCAR does not want to look silly by having their #2 series go faster then the COT in their #1 series.

Humpy Wheeler is a great idea because this is a guy who is VERY seasoned at promoting and speaks to what fans want to see.

As a fan, I want to see hardnose racing for every position, I want to see guys be able to pass without HAVING to bump someone but at the same time still have that be an option and have guys willing to use it. Emotion, passion, and a competitive venue with a competitive race vehicle is what we need. Leaving Richmond was a mistake, add some more short tracks please.

California can go, We can drop a Texas race too, but perhaps expanding to a 28 race season might be a good answer too. The truck season starts so slowly with only 4 or 5 races in the first 3 months of the season it is rough to get an idea of what is going on in the series because so much can change on the sponsor, driver, and team front between races because you have weeks to prepare or weeks to undergo massive change.

Too much change too fast for a race fan is BAD. The reaction to the COT demonstrates that.

Also, ESPN...you should be doing your job and living up to the name of the show you call "NASCAR Now" and that is discussing the series, and promoting FOR the series. I am cool with promoting the NHRA and other motorsports on ESPN because they are on your network, but at the same time its a NASCAR show, and ALL of the top 3 NASCAR series' deserve to be promoted wherever they may fall on the television lineup. Work with your fellow tv partners and not against them. This competing network BS just needs to stop. Its been said for over 2 years now by people on this blog and its a 100% correct.

What is important and should be important to you is the quality of the sport you cover and its quality is being harmed because your interest is NOT the fan and this little rivalry or war or whatever it is leaves fans uninformed and unaware of their options. SPEED promotes for you guys, I suggest you step off the high horse for a bit and spread the love around.

We are going to see blank trucks for awhile, but if we can get to addressing the problem instead of pretending its not there it could and will go a long way.

Remember a few years back when Kertus Davis was in that #0 car and it was unsponsored, he had a great run, the network took notice and he got a shot in a fully funded car to do something. Then the sport dictated his future from there. Ashton Lewis is another excellent example of a network taking a hard look at an underfunded team, with a driver looking to get a break and creating the platform to showcase himself and audition for a ride.

Timothy Peters this year has been a good example, he is running his team out of a garage. This reminder, and SPEED talking about this team's effort and how they have run well convinced the sponsor it was worthwhile to fund him the rest of the year. Alot should be taken from that.

We might not be able to fix everything in a timely manner, but a collective mentality to look out for the best interest of the fans and teams alike as well as the Truck, Nationwide, Cup and even NASCAR as a whole would go a long way to improving not only the product on the track but also in turn helping ratings I would hope.

This series has SO much potential, its just very very hard seeing what we are seeing this year.

Bill H said...

I know the economy is going down and many truck teams are strugling but I can't help but feel that having the drivers cross over from the cup to race a few truck races (or even nationwide races) hurts the series more than it helps. If you have teams that are good enough to be in the truck series and can get sponsors, but miss races due to trucks being raced by cup drivers, or in the case of the nationwide race can not get a top 10 because of the cup drivers or do not get TV time due to the cup drivers, this has to have a detrimental effect on the teams and their sponsors, as the sponsor is not getting the return they deserve.

As for the TV coverage, Speed and Nascar do need to step up and talk about the reality of what is going on and not gloss it over or ignore it. Nascar should tax the cup teams and use it as a stimulus for the nationwide and truck series to offset the higher cost and loss of sponsor dollars in the smaller series dur to the cup involvment.


Bill H

Daly Planet Editor said...

Glenn, no problem! Unless I take it down you can leave any post up there. Between posts, emails and Twitter it makes for a long day!

Richard in N.C. said...

I take it the cost of a N-wide team versus a truck team would not be a great deal different, but from last weekend it looks like the prize money for N-wide is roughly about 50% more than for Trucks - and that $5,000 or $6,000 per week difference could be the difference in being able to limp along or not. It seems to me that maybe ISC and SMI need to look at boosting the purse some to keep truck fields up. I have no real idea how fairly Trucks and N-wide are dealt with on purses.

I guess I can understand SPEED's knee jerk reaction that talking about the Truck series being in danger might drive some viewers away, but maybe more honesty might get some more fans to come out to help save the series.

Anonymous said...

Economy or no, Toyota ought to have the common sense, loyalty and frankly, brand-marketing smarts to insure that Mr Benson is in a Toyota for the balance of the season.
Good heavens, he's in the top 5 in points, the defending champion, an out of a ride????




That's racing.

Heck, Danny O'Quinn was the NNS ROTY for 2006, and he's struggled to find someone to give him a full-time ride ever since.

Dot said...

If JB's out of a ride, who's next?

Here are my suggestions.

Run only at the smaller tracks.

No more stand alone races with the IRL, run them on the NW and/or CUP race weekends.

Keep them east of the Mississippi until things get better. Yes, I'll give up going to LVMS in the fall.

All non truck regulars (NW & CUP drivers) start in the back and pit back there too. They could use bingo balls for their starting positions. Make them feel like the Odd Wads. Give the regulars a fighting chance.

One piece of good news is, once they start the DFR, I believe the two pit stop rule is going away. YAY

Gymmie said...

Poor Johnny B. :(

I hate to see more close down but as things go it's pretty much a reality. I hope things turn around but if teams get too far down how long would it take to rebuild?

David said...

Less stand alones = more Cup drivers in trucks. If thats what you guys want then root for more companion events.

I love that both TMS races are standalones for trucks. They have been running that place with IRL for almost a decade now. That is not the problem for the trucks at all. Its better for them I think.

Having them on SPEED is both good but also hurts because its not something everyone has easy access to, and FOX has those 2 races early in the season but they could use a network race late in their season which would help a bunch I feel.

Newracefan said...

How sad for Johnny, I am really afraid this and the just another nail in the truck series coffin. No ride for the defending champion (Red Horse could have gone the start and park route but they didn't so cudo's to them) To be honest JD I don't care about Speed not telling us about the S&P cars, I was more bummed out that the racing wasn't the greatest because of such a short field

Anonymous said...

I think the Truck series is in a death spiral. Its too bad but other series have come and gone.

Vicky D said...

When I heard this news, I felt terrible for Johnny Benson and his team. He's a former Busch Series Champion plus Truck Series Champion for heaven's sake. Surely he'll find a ride before the next race. Surely.

Martin Vincent said...

Here's my suggestion! Johnny Benson replaces Brian Ickler in the #15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota and earns driver points at Michigan. If Ballew really wants Ickler in this race, he can file a late entry for him and it wouldn't matter if Ickler doesn't earn driver points.

This way, Johnny Benson doesn't have to lose ground in the driver standings while he's looking for a new ride. What do you think?...

David said...

Billy Bellew is barely breaking even with Kyle in the 51 giving all his winnings back to the team, I doubt they can afford to field a 3rd truck

Anonymous said...

How many times did TNT talk about the Start and Parks? It's not just a SPEED or ESPN problem

Martin Vincent said...

They did for John Wes Townley a few races ago, and that's a costly proposition if you've seen him race in the Nationwide Series.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:15PM,

Just so we are on the same page, this issue has been a topic for all three series on TDP this season.

The topic in the column today was the incredible number of trucks that pulled off before the first fuel stop in Texas.

Let's not get off track, this is a TV/media blog and we are talking about the fact that two well-known announcers on a series that we have loved for years made a decision not to talk about what was actually happening in this one race.

When the Nationwide Series visits Kentucky next weekend, you can bet we will be watching how ESPN addresses the same issue.

Thanks,

JD

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to think about the truck racing. On one hand, it is great racing and incredible action. On the other hand, it just doesn't seem like a series that can support itself. They cannot draw the fans or sponsors, so of course it is dying. On one hand you want to try and do everything you can because the racing can be so good. On the other hand, the good racing clearly doesn't resonate with fans, or else they would sell out every show. I think most people who like the trucks LOVE them, but it's also clear that love is not shared by NASCAR fans as a whole. I would rather let the series die and use the drivers, talent, and money from trucks into making the Nationwide series a deeper, more consistent series that doesn't need/rely on Cup drivers as much.

Dot said...

To keep the CWTS viable, changes are going to have to be made mid season. If changes aren't made, we won't be able to comment on the TV coverage, because there won't be a truck series to comment on. As others have said before me, I think we're watching a slow painful death.

Did you know that there are only 20 teams that have run all 8 races so far this season? SDDD has run 6 of them, so I am including that team too.

Wouldn't it just be better to have smaller fields w/o the S&Ps? IRL only runs 20ish cars and it doesn't seem to hurt them. Do they even have S&Ps?

Back when the trucks started, 36 was a good number. Now, not so much. I'd rather watch fewer trucks tearing it up than 10+ fall out week after week.

What could Rick and Phil say about the S&Ps? That they are crappy teams just running for giggles?

The coverage of the trucks was just weird this past weekend I think a third body is needed in the booth. Ken Schrader would be good if Mikey isn't available and he's not dirt racing. CUP & NW have three in the booth. I think it works.

JD, it's hard to discuss the TV coverage when there seems to be a problem with the series itself. They do go hand in hand. When the reigning champ is rideless, the series has a problem. No amount of good TV coverage will fix that.

Here's hoping that the race this Saturday at Michigan is much better.

@ Martin V, I like your idea about JB replacing Ickler, at least for the time being.

@ Anon 10:23, I read you when I was I ready to send mine. Good idea. Take the strong truck teams and put them in NW and get rid of those S&Ps. There's only about 20 teams in NW that have run all the races this season too.

David said...

John Wes has that Zaxby's money. That speaks quite a bit to him being able to replace someone in anything despite his results.

Johnny B. doesn't have the sponsors lined up behind him which sucks.

darbar said...

Although the truck series has provided some of the best racing on TV, perhaps it's time to shut the doors on that series. Yes, I know that's hard to hear, but I don't want to see the truck series turn into the IRL, with 22 or so trucks starting every race. Can you imagine how boring a race would be with that number of trucks on a superspeedway? Perhaps if they shut down the trucks, maybe some of those sponsors could jump over to Nationwide or Cup cars. When you hear that Richard Petty racing had to lay off a number of employees today because Dodge isn't paying their teams, truck sponsors would be welcome to any team not named Hendrick, Gibbs or Roush. But one thing is for certain, the truck series cannot go on like this for the rest of the seaon.

Anonymous said...

I think putting the trucks on a TV network that not everyone gets is helping to make the lack of support for the series self-fulfilling.

Show races on ESPN 8 or whatever, aa long as it's a channel on a lower tier of cable/satellite services.

RvNGrammy said...

With his early sponsor problems, I fully expected that Todd Bodine would be the first big name to be out of a ride this season. I'm sad for JB. He is one of the cleanest drivers on any circuit; I will miss seeing him on the track.

I agree with others, Toyota should reward his loyalty by making certain he has a ride for the rest of the season. I won't hold my breath.

Anonymous said...

I think the mistake that many of us make is thinking of TV broadcasters as reporters or journalists. They are neither. They are cheerleaders for a sport where conflicts of interest are so bad and so widespread that fans have begun to accept blatant conflicts as the norm. If there is a "worst" in this regard, I nominate Fox and Speed in a tie. If there are any individual broadcasters who would like to report objectively on the larger issues, their bosses would never permit it.

The networks and the individual broadcasters see their well-being inextricably linked to the health of NASCAR. There is no need for NASCAR to coerce these folks---they are willing participants because they have the same financial stake.

NASCAR's response to major problems has always been that of an ostrich - stick your head in the sand. Does anybody remember NASCAR's constant assurance that their old drug testing program was great just the way it was? They continued to assert that for a while even after a driver was caught using heroin in an amusement park. NASCAR's response to major problems in the truck series and Nationwide series is much the same - everything is fine.

I have a very low opinion of ESPN. It pains me to say that I think they are the only network with a willingness to look at larger issues. (Sorry, TNT's presence is too short to count.) I wish I could say ESPN's motives were noble, but I attribute it to arrogance and a desire to stir the pot.

Observant fans can see the evidence in start and park cars/trucks, unsponsored teams, empty seats, lower ratings, etc. As the old saying goes, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. The networks and individual on-air personalities may be telling me it's a beautiful swan, but I know better. It's still a duck. I don't care how many cheerleaders tell me it's a swan, I know it's a duck.

At their best, I can only hope for a broadcast team that covers the action on the race track. And they usually do a lousy job at that. For anything beyond that, I hope for an occasional nugget from ESPN and print/internet writers. But most of all, I trust my eyes and the ability to distinguish between a duck and a swan.

Michigan fan

glenc1 said...

anon 10:23...sadly, I think you have a lot of good points. It seems like a lot of 'fans' are interested in the wrecks or the 'celebrity' and such of NASCAR, rather than actually enjoying the racing itself. It certainly is ironic that the best racing we see is in the series in the biggest trouble.

I think the manufacturer deal may have hurt them more than the others--going back a ways, remember Michael Gaughan pulling a truck team because he lost Dodge support...and eventually they shut down altogether--I'm sure there were others, plus, the manufacturers weren't able to count on selling trucks this way after gas prices skyrocketed. Just a 'perfect storm' of bad things happening. I also agree with Michigan fan that NASCAR knew this series was in trouble for awhile and appears to have done very little to help.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the S&P's while it was happening. Honestly I don't blame Phil for not saying anything when he's involved in the exact same practice in other divisions.

I'll say this. When they took the truck series away from the Heartland Park and Evergreen race tracks and had them go cookie cutter racing they took what I always thought was cool about the series. They took Nascar to places it wasn't at or that Cup couldn't go to and it gave fans in those areas some great racing. When they started coming to places like Atlanta it was great at first because the racing is super at that particular track.

But attendance has gone way down at Atlanta for example in a short amount of time. Why? Half of Atlanta drives a truck on the street.

There's just something missing in the truck series. Was it better when the big Cup teams also had trucks in the series too?

Great racing but the series is in a death spiral. I hope it pulls out.

bryanh said...

Jayski usually has the entry list for all 3 series on Monday, no later than Tuesday morning, but the trucks entry list is not posted yet.
JB was going to retire, when he found out Bill Davis was shutting down, but he must have been promised a lot to go to RHR, with Hammond, and his partner. It was reported that the sponsor did not come through as promised. I bet JB wished he had retired, and run his track, and his dirt cars.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the S&P's while it was happening. Honestly I don't blame Phil for not saying anything when he's involved in the exact same practice in other divisions.

This is precisely why people actively involved in ownership should NOT be in the booth.

If they can't be trusted to tell the story honestly, then they should not be there.

Anonymous said...

It seems like a lot of 'fans' are interested in the wrecks or the 'celebrity' and such of NASCAR, rather than actually enjoying the racing itself.

This is what happens when NASCAR tries to "expand" and bring in new fans--you get lots of new fans and higher TV ratings...for a while.

Then, the people who weren't really racing enthusiasts in the first place drop off, and you're back to where you were before: with the people who like stock-car racing for what it is.

Problem is, in the process of making the sport more "accessible," you've new alienated a portion of those original fans, so the results is a net loss in fanbase.

David said...

"Get back to basics"

Add some short tracks on quality circuits. Hated we lost Mesa Marin and Bakersfield because the communities were too stupid to realize noise would be a problem building next to a racetrack and out politiced them into closing.

This series REALLY misses Bobby Hamilton Sr because he was such a great voice for the series. JB is too but he doesnt get the chances on TV to be that voice for whatever reason.

David said...

News drops today that Timothy Peters will team up with Red Horse to use resources from the #1 team for his effort for the remainder of 2009

Tracy said...

Dot said: "JD, it's hard to discuss the TV coverage when there seems to be a problem with the series itself. They do go hand in hand. When the reigning champ is rideless, the series has a problem. No amount of good TV coverage will fix that."

What Dot said...

Also, as someone else said, when Phil Parsons and Hammond are owners, they aren't about to say anything negative about what's going on in the series.

What surprises me is that so many drivers have said the trucks drive more like the COT than the NW cars, thus they're a great training ground for drivers looking to get into Cup. (Scott Speed, for example.)

Why kill the one series where new/young drivers can learn from the veterans in equipment that readies them for Cup?

And those veterans -wow, that's racin'. I am sad beyond belief at what's happening to the series. Will any amount of TV coverage help? It would if it equaled bigger purses and more sponsors. Isn't that always the bottom line?

bryanh said...

Preliminary entry list now on Jayski, with only 32 trucks

Anonymous said...

Kudos to RHR for putting a truck under Johnny in Feb., hoping his championship would attract $$$. Its a shame that didnt work out.
.
I dont think its Speed's responsibility to play up the start and park issue. It wasn't Mel Allen's duty to alert his listeners that Mickey showed up to the Stadium with a bad hangover, and that's why he struck out four times.
The truck broadcast team has three duties: inform, entertain, and get you to tune in to the next race.
When NASCAR decides that S&P teams are an issue, so will Speed.
.
Speed is in the BUSINESS of broadcasting the sport. So enjoy the TV coverage; accept its limitations.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone asked Allen and/or Parsons why they didn't mention the S&P teams? Surely TDP can find a way to ask. We're free to make assumptions whether it's politics or conflict of interest but what better than to hear it from them directly.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:08PM,

Let's be clear. Never asked the SPEED crew to "play-up the S&P issue."

They made their choice and we are talking about it. 10 trucks pulled into the pit and it was never shown and never mentioned. That is a choice SPEED has to live with.

Anon 12:22PM,

Isn't the better question why the card-carrying NASCAR reporters who do this full-time for a living never asked?

JD

Anonymous said...

JD,
You need to lighten up man. You are spreading undue fear. Our President has said the economy has turned the corner and is well on the way to recovery. However, the only thing you want to talk about is doom and gloom.

NASCAR and SPEED are doing their best to present the truck series in as good of a light as possible.

You, on the other hand, want to cast dark shadows over it, causing more sponsers to pull their money out of the series. Shame on you for that.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 1:00PM,

What gloom and doom is that? The difference between telling the truth and avoiding reality is pretty clear-cut.

NASCAR fans want the straight scoop from the TV announcers.

If someone crashes, they call it. If someone takes the lead, they call it.

If 10 of 33 starters park before the first pit stop apparently that does not matter.

As a loyal viewer and longtime support of the Truck Series and NASCAR, it matters to me.

I appreciate your opinion and hope you understand mine.

JD

GinaV24 said...

I don't watch the truck races on TV on a regular basis, mainly because I can't stand Mikey in the booth, but I tuned in to watch Texas and although Voda and the guys in the booth did a great job with the telecast - I was very puzzled by the ticker and didn't understand what was going on until I read about the start and park teams after the fact. Then honestly, I felt upset that it was mentioned on the broadcast.

I'm not a big fan of "lying" to the fans or broadcast audience. NASCAR and all their TV partners need to step up here and just state the facts. I don't need them to editorialize or preach to me, just say what is actually going on and let me decide what I think.

We see the same thing week after week with the Nascar Now programming -- nothing exists unless it exists on ESPN. When they take over the broadcasts in July, I guess they will do what they did last year and pretend that the season is just beginning. I get truly tired of the farce being played out at all levels of NASCAR. You said the fans aren't stupid and I agree with that statement. It's just a shame that the management of NASCAR and the various TV networks don't believe that.

A few years ago, Speed Channel was one of my absolute favorites. I watched a great deal of their broadcasting, but for the last 2 years since they went to "lifestyle" programming, most of the time, I couldn't tell you what is on since it simply doesn't interest me in the least. I'll watch the History channel -- that's informative. There's nothing in Speed's "lifestyle" programming that fits my life.

I feel badly for Johnny Benson. Amazing that he won the championship last year and this year - out of a ride. I'm sure he thought the move to Red Horse racing was a good one, but maybe in hindsight he should have stayed with BDR. Of course, I don't know if BDR is still in business or not, so maybe it's a moot point.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why RHR didn't move Johnny to the funded ride. No offense to TJ Bell, but Johnny is 7th in points while TJ is 18th. I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure if Mikey had been there he would have blurted it out

Anonymous said...

The proper way to manage this situation is exactly what is being done. If you are running a large corperation, and need to close a facility, you aren't going to tell the employees what is coming down the pipe. You will continue to tell everyone things are going great. That way, they keep on working hard, showing up for work everyday.

If you let people know what is really going on, they may get discouraged.

NASCAR and the media should paint a rosey picture as possible, even if it means stretching the truth, in order prevent the fans and more importantly the sponsers from leaving in fear.

darbar said...

Anon 1:37,
The reason why they didn't put JB in the other car probably has to do with contracts and money. Perhaps what the sponsor pays for TJ Bell's car is nowhere near what they need to field JB and his contract.

glenc1 said...

anon 10:18...the problem with your assumption is that *I* was one of those fans once. And yes, I learned to love the racing, not the other stuff, but the new fans have to come from someplace (without being too morbid, you are going to lose those 'old timers' eventually.) There has probably always been a turnover of sorts...but you can't stop looking for new fans. Perhaps they went about it the wrong way at times. It's NASCAR's series, but I think working *with* their TV partners to improve it is in everyone's best interest. I do agree though, I'd never seen tracks like Evergreen before I watched the truck series, smaller venues suited them.

I don't know if I'd say Speed has an obligation to save the series-- I do think they have an obligation to be honest. Journalists are there; they see what's going on closer than we can (and it's their job to bring it to us.) Perhaps an honest discussion on S&P & the series woes could come up with some positive ideas.
rounds...

I do believe all sports use their media coverage to excite people about their sport...less 'cheerleading' than racing, perhaps, but promotion nevertheless. I think it has to be partly about personality, and no, I don't think 'bland' drivers are the reason for it, everyone has personality, it just takes the right journalist to bring it out.

anon 2:38...I sure hope that is sarcasm...scary to think anyone could actually believe that...

Anonymous said...

I was really looking forward to the truck race as I am one who never watches because of Michael Waltrip. Sorry, I honestly can't listen to him, and I believe I'm nowhere near alone in this view. My big problem is with the start times.Once I realized how late the green flag was actually going to fly, knowing I was not going to stay up late enough to see the finish, I turned the TV off.Lets face it,some of these start times don't make sense.This is not the first time this has happened to me.

Nathan Brice said...

They don't really do that for the Sprint Cup Series, either. They try to justify all 43 teams being good, but we all know that is not the case. Likewise for the Nationwide Series. I wonder what will happen to the Truck Series in the future. I think that the Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series should be fine, although the Nationwide Series could have short fields if they switch to the new car. There are only 44 entries at Michigan for the Sprint Cup Series this weekend. I don't know that we will ever get to the point in the Sprint Cup Series where we have short fields.

Nathan Brice said...

By the way, John, it is nice to read you again. I thought that this blog was gone, but it is good to see that you got it back up and running some time ago. My apologies for not looking for it sooner.

David said...

remember, in this day and age drivers come with their own sponsors. See TJ Bell. When PIT is on the truck, that is NOT a sponsor. Jeff Hammond is an owner of that entity, it just makes the truck look sponsored. The kitty litter company is TJ's sponsor and they are sponsoring the truck only when TJ drives it. Therefore you can't throw him out and put JB in the truck without rocking the boat. Much like RPM had with Allmendinger after they put him in the 19 in favor of Sadler. All the sponsors threatened to walk so RPM caved and kept Elliott in the car and have run AJ out of pocket ever since.

Toyota is actively looking for a ride for JB, but sponsorship will be important if he wants to finish the season I think.

Now about playing up S&P...we dont need SPEED to mention that so and so start and parked but a mention that so and so went to the garage is just as satisfactory. Much like TNT said the 36 and others went to the garage as it happened or within laps of it happening. Thats all anyone is asking SPEED to do. If your a fan of one of those guys do you want SPEED to just pretend they werent there? Even if you know that your guy was in a start and park car? Its a courtesy thing more then a S&P thing.

BOZO said...

JD,
Does nascar have final approval of on-air talent? If so, it becomes a big decision for that talent - do I risk losing a good paying job in this economy by describing the events happening? or even if nascar doesn't control, if speed mgmt tells me not to even mention it...do i put a stake in the sand and say no i have my integrity and lose my paycheck?

Anonymous said...

This will save the series:

Put Jeffrey Earnhardt in a black #3 truck and have him and Kyle Busch battle for wins and put on some good shows. The fans will come in droves.

Dot said...

@ Anon 6:57, better yet, put JR in the black 3 truck....

Anonymous said...

Just what would you expect Phil Parsons to say about the S & P teams?

dawg

Sophia said...

@Dot

Put JR in the truck? You mean John Roberts?

or "Jr".

Meow Hiss

Sure is sad to see this series struggle and SPEED..but methinks the suits are certainly muzzling the on air folks. And you can't blame them for wanting to keep their jobs and saying what they are allowed to say.

Must be stressful for them though. Look at what Mike Joy had to say and ignore on the track. Truck series is just too depressing to speak of the problems during the race?

I don't know. But I missed Mikey's enthusiasm myself.

After TNT, hard to watch any other race now. Only 5 more. :(

bobby dee said...

Durn. I just got SPEED in HD & now Trucks have problems. Seriously though DP, I can SEE for myself they are S&P trucks. No need to mention it on the air.