Sunday, June 14, 2009

TNT's Michigan Coverage Also Ends On Fumes


What a tough chore for the NASCAR on TNT team. Despite the parity of the COT's and the new fancy restarts, MIS once again offered little in the way of racing excitement as the Sprint Cup Series took to the track.

TNT is loaded this season with all kinds of good pre-race interviews and features. After the rather unique pre-race approach of Fox, Marc Fein and his TNT show has proven to be right on-target for the last two races. Kyle Petty and Larry McReynolds look at ease and really provide a good one-two punch for the network.

After the troubles of last season, TNT worked very hard to revamp the Wally's World feature with mixed results. There is no doubt that this season's offering of Dallenbach superimposed over racing footage is unique, but the information being offered is sometimes lost in the special effects.

Bill Weber retired the sky blue jacket and led Dallenbach through the second pre-race show. These two work well together and their conversation around the TNT cocktail table covers a lot of topics that other networks would never touch.

One issue addressed by TNT honestly throughout the telecast was the start-and-park teams. After the dents in the credibility that other NASCAR TV networks took by not mentioning the many teams who retired early, TNT kept the viewers updated as the numbers grew.

No matter how hard the cameras searched, there was quickly little excitement to be found on the track. The COT's stretched out and the familiar pattern of passing on pit road began again. TNT kept the triple-splits on the caution flag pit stops and set a good example for other networks to follow.

Weber also worked very hard to provide updates on the field. Sometimes using his pit reporters and sometimes just going it alone, this is an element that really helped the TV viewers whose only perspective is the TV screen for the entire race.

RaceBuddy was again a hit, but with one glitch along the way. The NASCAR.com team did not do a very good job of matching the in-car camera video to the correct team audio. Other than that, the designated pit reporter and the battle-cam make this online-only function a total success that should be exported to other networks.

Kyle Petty continues to be the star of the show, speaking his mind and opening the kind of dialogue between announcers that is just not seen on the other networks covering the sport. Petty enjoys picking the brain of McReynolds, the infield genius working his calculator all race long.

In Pocono, TNT focused on winner Tony Stewart even as other cars spun-out and ran out of fuel racing to the finish. At MIS, this problem was corrected with a tremendous wideshot of the finish line and an electronic graphic displaying easy to read information. It was perfect. Unfortunately, it was after the race that problems began again.

Last week, TNT left NASCAR fifteen minutes before the scheduled "off-time" of the Pocono race. The race was over, but there was plenty to talk about. This week, the network left more than twenty minutes before the scheduled end of the MIS coverage. How and why this has become an issue is unknown. One thing is for certain, it left a bad taste in the mouth of many fans. TDP comments and email tell the tale.

The reason for this frustration is easy to understand. Before the MIS race, there were over five hours of pre-race TV coverage on three different networks. One of those networks was TNT. Fans were asked to watch ninety minutes of TNT programming before the green flag fell.

Why then would a network so dedicated to getting NASCAR information to the fans leave the air and then have the audacity to show TNT viewers twenty minutes of a show on police chases? The closer is that TNT only does six races a year, so why the rush? On the TV side, lots of stories were left untold.

TNT has four races remaining with perhaps the most challenging up next. The network has struggled at Sonoma, but this year's on-air line-up and production team seems ready to finally master the road course chaos. It should be interesting.

We welcome your comments on the TNT coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Michigan. To leave your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and have a great week.

66 comments:

Andrew said...

The pre-race show was once again far superior to FOX's efforts, with knowledgable reporters and actual stories. The piece on DW proved that he can still be an insightful and entertaining commentator without being a caricature of himself. Major kudos for addressing the start-and-park cars for the first time all season, as well as discussing the loss of GM support.

The race itself started well, but swiftly turned into a typical recent Michigan race (read: boring). Once again, TNT did their best to keep up the energy and find the battles on the track instead of focusing solely on the leaders, but they could only do so much.

The chemistry in the booth continues to excel. Weber, Dallenbach, and Petty obviously have a lot of fun calling this race without resorting to cartoonish antics.. They can also remain serious when they want to, without becoming stilted or lapsing into long periods of silence. Larry Mac is also well-used, and at times, it feels like he's right there in the booth.

RaceBuddy was once again stellar, though several of the camera angles were focused on the same cars at once. It was hard to tell whether this was intentional or whether it was a function of Michigan's general lack of side-by-side racing. Jim Noble did a great job with pre-race interviews and filling in details during the race, especially during Stremme's wreck.

The handling of the sole wreck of the day was rather slipshod. It occurred not 10 seconds after TNT went off the air, but TNT did not break from commercial to show it. Then, they cut to commercial just before pit stops. While they showed a full recap of the stops, it was still a black mark on the broadcast and hopefully not a sign of how they'll handle wrecks at Infineon.

The end of the race was much better than last week; they actually showed cars crossing the finish line this time. But once again, there was a major, MAJOR error in the postrace - they cut it off with over 20 minutes left in the broadcast slot. While TNT had the good sense to avoid last week's online issues by putting the online portion of the show on RaceBuddy, it does not excuse the fact that they left early for no good reason. Only getting 10 more minutes of postrace online is even more insulting. I really hope (and suspect) that the early cutaway is due to the contract for RaceBuddy and/or showing the postrace online, but if not, there is simply no excuse for this.

That said, FOX's effort this year (and ESPN's, based on the Nationwide races) does not even compare to TNT's. It's truly a shame that they get some of the more boring races of the year (Pocono, Michigan, Chicago), as this is by far the best effort.

Totally off topic: Love that pic of Mark. The Purolator hat feels quite old school!

stricklinfan82 said...

My opinions haven't changed in the hours that have passed since I posted on the pre-race and in-race threads so I'll just repeat them again here in hopes that there might be a power-that-be out there somewhere who only reads the post-race wrap-up comments and doesn't go back through all the in-progress comments.

From the pre-race thread...

The biggest inequity in this NASCAR TV contract continues to be the gross imbalance between the amount of immediate pre-race and the amount of immediate post-race coverage the fans get on TV.

Getting nonstop pre-race hype from 9 AM to 2 PM is great for the NASCAR fan but it's a complete embarrassment that after all those hours of pre-race hype and 3-4 more hours of racing, the NASCAR fans gets basically nothing for immediate post-race information and analysis. On our luckiest day we get a winner's interview, 2-3 quick driver soundbites, and a few quick rushed soundbites from the analysts as the network is showing the results/points and rushing to get off the air and start their next program early and completely unadvertised. Then the TV screen goes blank and we get absolutely no fresh NASCAR TV content anywhere for the next several hours, but for a couple quick questions from the post-race news conferences on non-football weekends.

One can only hope that this will finally change in 2010. Here's a starting point - air NASCAR Victory Lane live since you're already filming it during the immediate post-race aftermath as it is, make NASCAR on TNT Live! a post-race show instead of a pre-pre-race show, break the Fox and ESPN 1 hour pre-race shows into a 30 minute pre-race show and a 30 minute post-race show, and fill your assigned program block with post-race coverage when a race ends quicker than expected.

From the in-race thread....

Great job by the on-site TNT crew. In my opinion that was easily the best Cup broadcast of the season to-date. I was especially pleased that the production truck rebounded from their last lap meltdown last week to give us solid coverage of the finish line. Besides the green flag pit stop coverage that is still lacking Fox’s continuous cars on track / cars on pit road split-screen, the TNT production crew has put Fox’s to shame from top to bottom, in my personal opinion.

While I give major kudos to the on-site TNT crew I have to give another major thumbs down to the TNT program director(s) in Atlanta. Movie fans weren’t going to tune to TNT until their program was to start at 5:30. The general non-NASCAR fan TV viewers weren’t watching TNT at 5:10 because they looked at their program guide and saw “NASCAR Racing” was on the air until 5:30. Those people with no NASCAR interest had already gone to find a different channel to watch.

Plain and simply, TNT had a captive NASCAR fan audience until 5:30. The only people watching were NASCAR fans. The general TV fans and the John Q Movie fans were nowhere to be seen at 5:10. Instead of appealing to the captive NASCAR-fan-only audience and giving us more post race interviews and analysis, this individual or group of individuals in Atlanta decided that the NASCAR-fan-only audience would rather watch a chopped up 20-minute version of some police video show between 5:10 and 5:30. What a disgrace.

I greatly appreciate the TNT NASCAR crew removing the dunce caps David Hill forcibly put on the heads of NASCAR fans worldwide from Daytona to Dover. I’m just sorry that the person/people running things at Turner’s headquarters also feel Mr. Hill’s need to slap down and disrespect the NASCAR fans. I’m sure they would get along quite well with the ESPN production truck member or members that think on-track practice/qualifying/racing is too boring and needs to be covered up with full-screen video packages and other junk.

Jojaye said...

So much to say...

First let me say thank you TNT. I did not have to multitask. I had RaceBuddy & your fine broadcast. Occasionally I read the blog & posted. I did not have to, I wanted to. Big difference. Its very nice to sit & simply watch a race.
The wide shot at the end was fantactic. Just awesome. Your last lap coverage as cars ran dry of fuel & the lead changed was great. Thank you for being so fan friendly!

I truly wish you had better races than the snoozers you got stuck with. Can anyone think KyleP would softsoap last years Brickyard mess? Along that line Thank You for addressing all the issues in a honest forthright manner. Its really nice not being treated like a dimwit.

I really appreciated your "side bite" discussion I learned a lot while being entertained. And there was no techno junk - just good easy to digest info.

I know you guys & gals at the track are busting your fannies to bring us great racing - lets discuss those programming suits for a sec...
* Attn Programming Dept! If you have the race scheduled for 5 hours & the race ends in 4 hours 37 mins. feel free to give us post race. That is the time allotted so let your pit reporters tie up lose ends. No one checks early to see if John Q has started already - honest.


Basically it was great day here I watched a race, I learned something & it was like hangin' with really knowledgeable friends for the afternoon.

Thank you to everyone in front of & behind the cameras & in the truck(s).

Anthony said...

TNT gets another A- from me. Race coverage was just as good as last week's from Pocono. Pre-race material was stellar. A few negatives, though:

First, the commercials. The Michigan race was about an hour shorter than the Pocono 500 and I think we saw the same amount of commercials (or fairly close to it.)

Second, missing the caution-flag pit stops. Weber admitted that the network misjudged when pit lane would open, so I give them credit for that. Still, caution-flag stops should not be hard to miss.

Third, leaving the air early to show a police chase show. Stricklin explained that problem best.

The actual job of broadcasting the race was, at the end of the day, better than a FOX telecast. It's right up there with the Pocono 500, and only 3 FOX races could even come close to the TNT events.

PammH said...

TNT learned from last wk in showing more of the racers at the end. Still ticked off about TNT leaving early on TV. I don't have access to RB or post-race coverage on the web. If they kept it up for a day or so, that mite help, but that doesn't happen.
But overall, TNT folks put FAUX to shame w/coverage!! Only go to MRN when they are @ comml. Never listened to FAUX most of the yr.
Sadly, I'm sure that will be happening again when ESPU takes over...:(

Dot said...

Re: the post race on N.com. Did others like me last week have problems with the player? Is that why they showed it on RB?

The post race on RB was very short and would've fit in after the race. So why not show it? If you can't watch it, at least you can record it. Do they repeat it on N.com?

TNT is not to blame for boring races. I think it's the arrogance of NASCAR/ISC/BF. Until they tweak the car and quit going to boring tracks twice (Pocono & Michigan) it's the way it's going to be.

Since the race dates aren't yet set for next year, they could eliminate going to these tracks twice. From the looks of the stands, no one would miss them. If fans really want to go, they get their one shot. Just like we do in LV. It would also shorten the season, a win win for everyone in these poor economic times. If and when things turn around, add them back on the schedule.

I won't be redundant and repeat what Andrew, Strick, Jo and Anthony have said. I wholly agree with them.

To JD, are we supposed to rant on TDP or email you when they go off the air early? Thanks for column. XOXO

Daly Planet Editor said...

Dot,

Just take a moment to email me if there is a technical problem with the TV coverage or with RaceBuddy.

All the TV networks are very responsive to fixing whatever is wrong so that coverage can be enjoyed by all.

Great comments so far.

JD

Andrew said...

@Dot - Yeah, I had trouble with the online postrace last week, though considering how little they showed this week, I don't think I missed much.

Sophia said...

Just wanted to second STLFan's and Jojaye's comments, and those that thought TNT did a great job during the race.

But leaving air early at the end, MAJOR disappointment.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Andrew said...

@Anon - And yet, many postrace shows on both FOX and ESPN (and TNT in the past) have interviewed upwards of 15 drivers and lasted well over 30 minutes.

Jojaye said...

@Anon 928 - Probably true for "stars", what about some of the drivers who don't get much air time? You think they might stay for a moment if pit reporters warned the CC? Just wondering about that...

Dan said...

In general I enjoyed the coverage. I like the fact that TNT tries to cover the field and not focus on the leader, especially when one car is stinking up the show. The leader graphic above the ticker is a nice way to keep up with who is in first, but I would suggest putting the interval over second in that line as well. That way we can have some idea if the lead is increasing, decreasing or staying the same while following the racing deeper in the field.

brad said...

not for nothing anonymous but i think drivers such as Robby Gordon or Bill Elliot would have loved to be interviewed today. neither got lapped all day adn both finished well for their respective teams. How about the continued "surge" of Montoya? Or maybe Sadler finishing 12th, they aren't having the best of years so far. A little good exposure would do all these teams a ton of good. Especially with all the start and park stuff going on the 21 team is a heck of a story. Part time and they found a way to stay on the lead lap all day and out ran a lot of fully funded full time teams. I believe if they had tried drivers would have been around! Coverage was great until the checkered flag flew and it went bad in a hurry.
hey JD maybe you can give Bill Elliot and the Woods some love for tenacity when your on with Moody this week. A quick mention would be cool!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:49PM,

We are happy to have your opinion, but please refrain from trying to inform this group of anything.

You may have noticed the very same drivers and others who you suggested fled MIS appearing on SPEED Report, SportsCenter, and Victory Lane.

JD

Nathan Brice said...

TNT and ESPN have much better coverage than FOX. I thought that TNT's coverage in 2007 was better than ESPN's coverage. Last year's coverage was really close, with a slight edge going to TNT. TNT's efforts this year have been good except for the fact that they have not done enough TV post-race coverage. I love the Pride of NASCAR series that they do. Mark Fein is a good pre-race host, Larry McReynolds is good as always, and Kyle Petty has been a great find. Bill Weber has gotten better with the play-by-play, but he still can use work. Wally really knows a lot and was not good on TV at first but has gotten much better in recent years. TNT does do a better job than FOX in many aspects.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:52PM,

That is because you are trying to tell us you know and you do not.

I am emailing with those involved just like we did last year with the TNT folks and each of us has very different opinions.

Nothing to do with online services should ever affect a NASCAR TV broadcast. Nothing.

Just so you are aware, TNT did an additional 15 min of post-race online at NASCAR.com live with interviews from the very same TV crew with the very same set of drivers that you said were not available.

If you have any other issues, just drop me an email anytime at editor@thedalyplanet.tv and we will handle the problem.

JD

Richard in N.C. said...

I caught parts of the race and have found Weber much less irritating than in the past and the coverage generally good, but I wish they had used a wide shot at the end rather than focusing right on the finish line. I was surprised that TNT went direct from the race to police chase videos that required a disclaimer for violence. I was able to catch part of Jeff Gordon's post-race news conference on ESPN News, and sure do wish all the questioners could speak up so viewers could hear their questions.

Jack from PA said...

It's hard to say which broadcast was better--Pocono or Michigan. I'd have to give Michigan the edge, simply because TNT did not botch the last lap like they did at Pocono.

Apparently the whole deal with leaving before the scheduled broadcast time must come from Atlanta, otherwise I'm sure from all the comments we made last week for leaving prematurely TNT would have listened--they listened to the finish line camera shots.

The one hiccup I saw was for Stremme's crash, and the missing of the pit stops. If this was FOX, they would have come back and had us all thinking it was live, then jump ahead like 30 seconds and have us all wondering how this all happened. Instead, Weber was honest and they showed us the pit stops in its entirety, about 2 minutes later.

Another thing I find disappointing... there's only 4 races left until ESPN's coverage begins. I'm really not looking forward to it whatsoever, especially if it is anywhere near their Nationwide coverage, which hasn't really gotten better from '08.

Grade: A- (10 times better than almost every FOX race this year)

Gymmie said...

*applauds* Stricklinfan

I missed Anons comments but (going from the responses) I will say even *if* certain drivers weren't available, there always are plenty more who *would* be. Those who get a mention in a blue moon or that we don't hear from a lot. There are *always* loose ends to tie up and of course setting us up for the next race among other things. Heck, back in 2K3 the July Daytona race ended early and they (NBC) stayed on the air pretty much the entire TV window. They darn near ran out of folks and were minutes away from interviewing the clean up crew if they had to.

Jack from PA said...

I doubt TNT couldn't find anyone... someone in Atlanta wanted to show World's Wildest Police Videos or whatever it was instead and they did. It was most likely not a call that anyone in Michigan could have made. If they were allowed to stay on the full 20 minutes that were scheduled it would have been nice to catch up with some feel good stories (R. Gordon, Elliott, Sadler, Montoya, etc.).

David said...

Stricklin fan you are my hero i concur.

Robyn, I saw what you said in the other thread and I totally agree with you, thanks for saying what I tried to say earlier without all the stats!!!

TNT was solid top to bottom but filling out their timeslot would have been GREATLY appreciated. If there was an hour to fill and they went 30 minutes, thats fine but you had 30 minutes to fill and you only filled 10.

West Coast Diane said...

TNT is just way more enjoyable to watch and listen to, even with some of their short comings (not an Extenze pun...LOL). In fact, there are so few as compared to FOX and ESPN. And in one week they fixed the ending of the race issue. If they fix the post race when the race runs short time wise, they will be near perfect.

I used to totally love FOX, but it has gone beyond telecasting a sporting event. It's turned into a three ring circus.

I am dreading ESPN's turn. As much respect that I have for the good doctor, it has gotten to the point that I can't stand to hear his voice.

More important is the visual aspect...TNT is just light years ahead of FOX and ESPN in presenting the racing. The irony, in this day and age of technology, TNT does it by using the "less is more" principle.

We can only hope that FOX & ESPN are paying attention. Some how I doubt it....egos too big to give the fans what they want.

Sophia said...

West Coast Diane

AMEN! to your post. Less is more, less graphics/clutter/video junk/tons of adds on screen. GReAT DIRECTING of bringing us the pictures as they fly through the air into our living rooms.

I TOTALLY DREAD ESPN. And for YEARS? NASCAR totally screwed the fans w/ this deal as they giggle to the bank amid nose dive in ratings.

Anonymous said...

All Nascar needs to do to understand why they have empty seats and significantly declining TV audiences is to watch the Pocono and Michigan races.I actually dozed off for a few minutes and woke up for the white flag lap.Only in these 'gas mileage' fiasco's can a guy that totally dominates a race finish 22nd. I'm happy for Mark Martin. The guys in the booth continue to be long-winded (KP) and seem to be in a constant story telling mode. The post-race was a complete flop. I hate to watch these parades where the top cars are separated by a hundred yards. But I just read where Nascar might have a solution to this embarrassment-Danica! Yeah,right!

Ken said...

I thought TNT did an excellent job with the little they had to work with. NA$CAR seemed to call "debris" cautions only to keep the field from being lapped.

Unlike many, I didn't mind that the post-race was cut short. I turn the TV on when the race starts and turn it off when it is over. I don't need to hear the same PC correct drivel week after week. I want a good solid race broadcast without a bunch of bells and whistles and nothing more.

Anonymous said...

Two weeks in a row TNT has presented something rather surprising. The race. I can't say the same for ESPN or Fox. TNT's use of fewer bells, whistles, and graphics has been a blessing. Now if they'd just totally ignore Brian's France's coverage policy and show guys like Robby Gordon, Bill Elliott, and the rest of the underdogs a little bit more, they could almost have an old ESPN quality race.

midasmicah said...

While the tv coverage was real good, nothing could could make this farce of a race exciting. Although most races at MIS are boring, this had to be one of the worst. As usual when one car gets out front, it stays there. Until there are some modiifications on the COT, this will continue.

Michael said...

As far as I am concerned TNT blew everything when they left the air early. As a Kyle Busch and Robby Gordon fan I was looking forward to seeing both of them interviewed and instead I got a rerun of Cops.

Way to blow it TNT.

Anonymous said...

I've been saying for a long time that the networks should cut down on the prerace. & add some time for post race. When they have something fresh, & tangible to talk about.

dawg

TexasRaceLady said...

Although I risk being redundant, I feel I must add my voice to those expressing disappointment over the short shrift given to the post-race interviews.

As for it being available online, that's fine for those with broadband capability --- which I do not have.

I really would have enjoyed seeing interviews with Bill E, JPM, Robby Gordon, and others who had good days.

As for the race broadcast itself, it was enjoyable. I feel as if I'm sitting with the guys in the booth talking about the race --- they make it comfortable.

Anonymous said...

I felt the booth talked more when they should have watched. (i.e. radio communication of crew/driver being talked over.) Wally is bad for TV. Weber is worse. Petty is great. He is the only one who is honest. TNT spends too much time during the race talking about everything but the race. Listen to MRN, and you'll never de-mute TNT.

Anonymous said...

I was stuck in my car for the last ten laps, listening to an exciting finish on the radio. When I got home and watched the TNT version of the last three laps, it struck me how lost Weber was.
I will give credit for TNT showing other cars besides the leader finishing.
The radio broadcast called the winner, then immediately went to commercial without even identifying who finished second.

Anonymous said...

I bet the tv ratings will continue to fall. Michigan is not a very exciting race, but TNT sure missed the boat.

The PXP team kept telling us that such and such a driver had gained 20 spots. I kept screeming to the screen --PLEASE SHOW IT.

We had Mark, Jeff, Carl, etc. who all make HUGE advances. I think they waited to show Mark passing 1 or 2 cars until he got within the top 12 and the same with Jeff. They showed him passing maybe 2-3 cars until he got up to the teens and then said, "Jeff has advanced over 20 spots."

TNT, we watch tv so we can watch the race, not hear you talk about it.
In the meantime, the trio of
announcers told their chatty stories, forgetting the tv audiece wanted to see the race.

I thought TNT had a lot of commercial time but waited until Jayski posted the race vs. commercial times. Wow!! We see less race time on TNT than we ever did on Fox. What a lop-sided percentage!! For sure that should effect the ratings!!

I still prefer the Fox team and don't see the same with TNT. i suspect the TNT tv ratings will continue to fall below Fox's.

Anonymous said...

good recap of the coverage, but I don't know how anyone stayed awake to track it all. Aside from the last 20 laps, that race was one of the most boring I have seen in a while.

Anonymous said...

I wish I knew more about TNT's technical capabilities and the number of people working in the production truck. I think this is where the answer lies. The reason the pre-race stuff is so good is because they've had a whole week to work on it and think through what they're going to do. After the race they've gotta be flying by the seat of their pants. Those production decisions must be tougher and trickier to make. Maybe they just don't have the manpower or the ability so TNT made the decision to just not do it. I'm assuming they don't do all the interviews live; how many can they tape back at the truck and how many producers do they have to edit? How long does that take?

I've seen it before in broadcasting: great talent and content held back by a network's desire to hold down costs by not replacing outdated equipment or budgeting for enough support staff.

Anonymous said...


Nothing to do with online services should ever affect a NASCAR TV broadcast. Nothing


JD,
That is soley your OPINION. It is not FACT. You need to refrain from stating your opinions as facts as you so often do in your blog.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:32PM,

1 - It was in an answer to a question and is clearly my opinion.

2 - So, you believe that activities on the NASCAR.com website should push the live TV coverage off the air early?

It's easy to hit and run, how about adding your personal opinion like almost all of the others who commented above.

JD

Anonymous said...

Taken from great column on Nascar Insiders....So True!!!!

"So here is what I’m proposing to you. Instead of being mad about EVERYTHING, chill out a bit. NASCAR is just entertainment folks. It should be something you turn to to forget about all the world’s problems. It shouldn’t create more for you. Allow yourself to get lost in the last lap drama of today’s Michigan race, where both the first and second place cars ran out of gas! Don’t be afraid to have a little fun with Kyle Busch being cocky and mouthy all the time. And if you are upset about something, it’s still okay, just don’t take stuff so seriously. Bring it over to TNI ( <– that’s us) and we’ll do like Ari Gold says to do… We’ll hug it out b**ch!""

Vicky D said...

Just a quick comment I, too, was very disappointed when TNT left the broadcast early to a show about catching speeders or what have you. Like all of us have said, pare down the pre-race show to show a longer post-race. Maybe they got tired of the boring race from Michigan and just think, we get to watch another race there in 6 weeks. Good column, JD.

darbar said...

I really like TNT's coverage overall. I love not having the screen cluttered with the scores from MLB, Soccer, and every other sport.

But again, the racing was boring until the last 20 laps---same for Pocono and it's going to be even worse for Sonoma. When is Nascar going to wake up and realize that this car stinks and since the Chase format, these guys do nothing but points racing. When they're just driving around, trying hard not to screw up so as not to lose points for the Chase, you're not going to get great racing. Keep the Chase if you must, but do something that will make it more rewarding to race hard and win the friggin race. Sheesh, I hate points racing.

But considering what TNT has to work with, they do an admirable job.

Anonymous said...

If I had not seen the race on tv, I would have been glad that it was so good according to most of the comments. But I did see the race and thought it was very boring.

I do agree that the best part of TNT booth is Kyle Petty. Though he does not stay on task (comments on ongoing race), he is so interesting.

I still don't car for Wally or Weber. Since most folks seem to say they hated DW, Fox, and Digger, I have to wonder why NASCAR ratings on TNT were down 13% last week. Maybe it's something other than Fox.

SonicAD said...

I don't think this is a case of them dumping early just to push the post-race show. I've said in other posts that TNT has done this every year of the new TV coverage, and decided to dig up the evidence today.

Now, TNT didn't start doing an online post-race show until after the Daytona race in 2007. So for the 4 races before that, let's see if they left early then:

For Michigan in 2007, TNT went off the air at 5:15. See http://dalyplanet.blogspot.com/2007/06/tnt-dumps-nascar-for-van-helsing-movie.html for details.

The other races appear to have either went off the air on time or later than that.

2008: Michigan again, 15 minutes early again: http://dalyplanet.blogspot.com/2008/06/tnt-catches-early-flight-out.html

The other races they stuck with it, but it also looks like the other races didn't finish so early in their window.

So, not saying don't complain about it, just saying it's nothing new, and that I'm still astounded that people are surprised by this.

Anonymous said...

I also don't understand the rush for TNT to get off the air the last 2 weeks. I don't get too much into the post-race interviews unless there is a fight, controversy, or my guy wins the race. Still, it's not like they had to get to any valuable programming.

Anonymous said...

It was a boring race but judging from past Michigan races I have watched, it has a higher probability of being boring than most tracks.

TNT did the best they could with what they had to work with. Anyone who thinks Fox's buffoonish approach to race coverage is better, must like morning talk radio. It's just one yuk-yuk after another with Fox. At least TNT tries to cover the race and leave the clown antics to the pre-race show.
BTW, it was a boring race and it was a very quick race (thank God), therefore once the checkered flag flew I wasn't going to sit around and watch the post race show. It was a beautiful spring day out and there was still 3+ hours of sunlight. My point is, perhaps I wasn't the only one that bolted when the checkered flag waved. If that is the case and there is a noticable drop in ratings for the post race show, no wonder tnt doesn't stick around long.

bullitthead said...

IMHO the 1st two TNT race broadcasts have been the best of the 2009 season so far. As an avid reader of NASCAR-related sites and blogs (especially TDP), I stopped watching the pre-race shows this year to avoid the repetition. I have thoroughly enjoyed the extra coverage provided by RaceBuddy not only during the race but afterwards as well. In fact, I would happily pay for it as a replacement for the TrackPass subscription I renew every year (especially if they would include the Scanner feature). That goofy-looking RaceView (which I don't pay for and never will) can't hold a candle to the real-time video stream provided by RB (or Side-by-Side for that matter).

I ain't exactly happy about TNT cutting out early, but at least some sort of alternative source was available for a post-race recap. I wish that there was some way the TV broadcast entities could put the post-race show onto a "dark" channel for those folks who are unable to get broadband 'Net connections. But, alas, that's probably much easier said than done.

Anonymous said...

Does the fact that Fox is a network station that broadcasts a signal and TNT is a cable only network get factored into ratings. (i.e., weighted average - number of households with the ability to see the race vs those that actually tuned in).
The fact that it was such a nice day on the East Coast plus it being a cable only network could explain why it was less than Fox's ratings.

Richard in N.C. said...

I prefer Mike Joy & the FOX crew, but I find Weber tolerable this year and I really enjoy Kyle.

I missed some of the last 100 or so miles of the race, but I was glued to the TV for the last 10 laps. I thought it was super drama, really - much better than Ned winning at Darlington by 7 laps.

Now the rapid TNT escape at the end of the race is something else.

Mïk said...

"Nothing to do with online services should ever affect a NASCAR TV broadcast. Nothing"

Well said, JD. A TV broadcast should tell the story, the WHOLE story, and Nothing BUT the story.

When TV starts relying on other sources to finish the tale, then TV is nothing more than a setup device. I shouldn't have to go elsewhere to hear the rest of the story, ever.

Race Buddy is a good addition to the race coverage, but it doesn't, and shouldn't, make up for the failure to tell the tale on the broadcast. TV shouldn't be leaning so hard on this crutch in telling the story.

I have Race Buddy, and have it set on Battle Cam, but I don't watch it unless the action on TV gets slow. Usually, the action is slow there, too. I won't go to it to get the whole picture because that's what the TV is supposed to do. And I certainly won't go to it to finish the story. That's as bad as switching networks in the middle of the race!

I hope this isn't a trend because ESPN will be using it to drive up revenue for its lagging websites, if it is. If TV thinks this is a good idea, it'll be a bad deal for the fans, I guarantee.

Anonymous said...

The TNT post-race is just another example of convergence. No need to hate it, embrace it.

It may seem odd at first, though this needs to be encouraged. The more use we can get from alternate multimedia platforms the better.

I have no problems with what TNT did. Who knows, a high Internet post-race show hit count may lead to something even bigger and better down the line.

Enough of the nearsidedness.

Lesley said...

I think the Fox team saved what was a very boring race until the last lap of course..I think the current crop of cup drivers are just to good! making for little or no crashing at all! Take ARCA for example..Much less speed,many more crashes..Anyone of the top 25 cup drivers could step into any other form of racing,,F1,Indy..etc,and be at the front right away..The double file restart is a good direction to increase action that the fans crave for,but more has to be done..I say lets add another 50 HP to these cars and make things a little more intresting..Bill Elliot did 212 at taladega..This sport needs an anti boring program downloaded before It crashes!!

Lesley said...

Sorry! I meant TNT!!

Dell said...

A GREAT job of directing...far better than anything I've seen on FOX - or anywhere else, now that I think about it! Get Captain "Sing-Song" Weber off television completely and the TNT presentation would be super good. That sing-song delivery would get him flunked out of any legitimate broadcasting school.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 4:12PM,

I understand your point but just want to make one thing clear in my response. The true meaning of convergence is having the same content readily available from multiple sources.

The problem in this case is that many folks do not have broadband access in or near the location where they view the race telecast.

Had this race run past the originally scheduled time, TNT would have a leg to stand on. Unfortunately, this was over 20 minutes before the off-time.

Moving cable TV viewers from one channel to another like ESPN does for the Nationwide races is tough enough, but moving NASCAR fans who just watched four hours of TV over to the Internet to see post-race interviews did just not cut it IMHO.

JD

Wes said...

In the post race rundown, I could have sworn Weber mis-labled Martin for Ricky Rudd in the 5 car. Can someone confirm. Rudd has been out the car for over a year and out of the 5 car since 1994 or 1995.

GinaV24 said...

I was in and out watching the race because I personally don't find Michigan race any more exciting to watch than I do Pocono, so I had my computer on with racebuddy up and was listening to the scanner and watching my guy drive up from dead last. Considering how little TV coverage my favorite driver (Gordon) got except for the mentions that someone else noted, I'm glad I chose to do it that way. I was looking forward to the post-race coverage because TNT had extra time so I thought I'd get a little more than the usual soundbite since he finished 2nd, but nope AND it was taped because the interview on pit road was done right after he got out of the car and on racebuddy you could clearly see Jeff in VL congratulating Mark Martin.

I was disappointed that once more TNT ran off like a spotted ape after the race was finished. That's when I want the most coverage, NOT for 5 hours, 5 HOURS before the race. Honestly, I do not plan to spend 9 hours of a summer Sunday glued to the TV set -- for an exciting race, yes, for pre-race AND race. NO!

Otherwise, I agree with the great comments that others have mentioned.

darcin5261 said...

I know this is slightly off topic here, but it's still discussing TNT.

At last week's race, Race Buddy apparently did a little thing by covering up Digger's hole. Such an insignificant thing, but maybe not for Fox's David Hill. In a comment that I feel is totally silly and adolescent, Hill says "Digger won't call. He won't take my calls. He's very upset at being mocked....". Hey David, maybe it's time you realized that most Nascar fans don't like your rodent and let it go at that.

Newracefan said...

I was disappointed that TNT left early an I had to watch the rest of the post race online along with the media center interviews at the same time. How about a little better coordination with that one but I digress. The true test for me will be next week, I am going camping for the first time and will be internet and TV free until sometime late Sunday night. I will DVR the race and a few other things. Then I'll see if watching without multitasking still gives me everything I need and want to know,

Anonymous said...

I wish someone would give Petty a "heads-up" when he starts talking over the driver and crew chief radio chatter! He says he cannot hear them. It drives me nuts! He and Wally were doing a lot of talking at the same time, but yesterday I didn't notice it.

I do appreciate how they respect the fact that there are 43 cars on the track and not the same 6 or 7!

Anonymous said...

JD,
You don't understand convergence. Its not about bringing the exact same content, its about generating new, complementary, and specialized content across different delivery methods.

PammH said...

anon 8:45, I am afraid u don't get it. Unless I pay mega-bucks in a crappy economy, I CAN'T get streaming ANYTHING at my home! And it's not just me. People are having to cancel their web stuff in order to pay their mortage! Wise up & get a REAL name, bud.
Off the soapbox now...sorry JD.

mariondeerhunter said...

again tnt was good.no dw praying and begging the great knaus and johnson was so smart.no bias for hendrick the big plus of tnt.

intheknow said...

Editor, Just so you know the Anon post you deleted at 9:48pm was mine. Somebody else was rambling on also using an anon. identity. My post was factual about the drivers leaving in a hurry, I witness it 38 times a year. I am at every race working in the media and have been for 10 plus years. The interviews you see on the other shows are all taped in a 15-20 min. window after the race and played back as live interviews. I'll pick another identity this time. intheknow

Daly Planet Editor said...

intheknow,

I understand your point and thank you for taking the time to repost.

However, I think you are confusing the scramble that the local stations, taped TV shows and the Internet media have after the races with the live main TV network agenda.

The issue is not whether to interview drivers live or not, but rather to stay and tell the story of the previous three hours.

My email box overflowed with messages from the angry fans of drivers who did not make the air on the TNT post-race show.

This anger is heightened by the fact that the network, that has only six races a year, left the air more than twenty minutes before their scheduled "off time."

Then, they aired twenty minutes of police chases in a show that was over ten years old. This is not a TV recipe for responsible decision-making at the executive level.

I know the scramble for the helicopter and the airplane all too well, but the point is that if TNT kept the infield stage active for the post-race with Marc Fein, they could let Weber and company go and Fein, Larry McReynolds and the pit reporters could tell the tale.

Thanks,

JD

TheCarpenterKitchen said...

Just want to let someone know that I LOVED LOVED LOVED the video with the Racer putting the manhole cover over Digger. It was clever and adorable. It was not cutting, but the truth. Way to go, someone. I hope there are more. Humor of that kind is very important in life.