Saturday, August 15, 2009

Your Turn: "Backseat Drivers" Nationwide Series Telecast

Saturday afternoon ESPN2 presented a special edition of the Nationwide Series race from MIS. The telecast featured four ESPN analysts in the broadcast booth and no play-by-play announcer.

Allen Bestwick hosted the telecast and handled many of the TV duties from the infield. Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree took the lead and created most of the play-by-play coverage. Rusty Wallace was talkative and outspoken. Ray Evernham stayed in the background, but added his opinion on lots of topics.

The weather was good, the pictures and sound worked very well from the big oval. Coverage featured full-screen coverage of green flag pit stops, a focus on selected cars and less of a pit reporter presence than normal.

This is your opportunity to offer your review of the ESPN2 coverage of the Nationwide Series race. Please include your reaction to the "Backseat Drivers" format and your personal level of enjoyment of this telecast.

To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and share your opinions.


Holmes said...

We want to thank all you viewers for joining us for todays broadcast of the "ESPN Employees 250" here on ESPN, where we matter more than the events we cover.

Anonymous said...

Thank god ESPN stayed with Busch and Vickers for their comments. That made up for every bit of stupidity in N'wide broadcasts the last few weeks!

Jimbacca said...

The final, under 10, laps coverage was great. Almost worth the rest of the punishment or coverage (at least the 1/4 of the race I saw). Brad out of nowhere great. Nice ending.

Cryle almost running over an official was just well yeah. They were going for the win. He would have done the same thing if not worse. But his interview was not as bad as expected. Vickers good interview.

Not sure if its the announcing or the train driver but there's still a rail missing during the event as a whole.

Aven said...

It was a disjointed and confusing broadcast. The talking heads had to be ignored to follow the race. If they had a good director, we could totally ignore the booth

Richard in N.C. said...

The special broadcast professional responsible for cutting from the B-17 fly-over to Kyle B kissing his girlfriend should be neutered, very slowly.

Dave in OKC said...

Good idea, bad execution. The finish saved the broadcast.

DrTeplisky said...

I feel for all of you regular posters--and concur 100 percent with your frustration, anger and angst with the broadcast. This was a concept that should never have seen the light of day. But the arrogance of the folks in Bristol is colossal--and the poor viewers got the shaft.

Anonymous said...

I for one wish that Coke would end the stupid "chug points" promotion. Those guys can't possibly know how ridiculous they look.

Vicky D said...

DJ, we don't want to see those "back seat drivers" anytime soon. Bring back Marty and Randy.

Sophia said...

@Richard in N.C. regarding cutting to kyle kissing g/f from the plane, I also found that *&^&^ annoying.

Bottom line, Sophia's same gripe.

Horrible camera work screwed up entire telecast. Wide shots, wide shots!

I don't care about the booth SHOW me the race with wide lenses and leave the bumpercams/incar/Roof cams at home.

TexasRaceLady said...

I think this type of broadcast might work with a couple of changes:

First, not 4 people in the booth.

Second, a smaller track where the camera can see the action. Provided, of course, the director knows enough to show the action.

brad said...

While the last 5 laps were great and the post race shinanigans were awesome, there was still something amiss. The idea of useing 4 "guys" just sitting around sounded interesting but in reality it was chaos. There needs to be a set "info" person to keep the viewers up on laps down, S&P cars, etc. The work of Mr. Bestwick was great as usual and the pit bunch did a nice job today. The main issue was the camara work. Full screen pit stops while under green and large box views of the tech center as well as all the in car shots early. We had in car shot on lap 2 instead of wide shots but it did get better. Over all I think we need a pxp man in the booth and Jarret would probably do alright if it was designated to be his job. The producer and directors should be ashamed of the shots they have been giving us since ORP. I would probably watch the same type telecast again but wait awhile. ESPN have your production truck go tonight and watch the race from ORP and see if they think they are dropping the ball. I appologize already, a scholar I am not. I ramble alot. Thank JD.

bevo said...

As I said in the in-race comments the big problem with this was it wasn't a "guys sitting around watching a race". It was a sloppy, poorly executed effort. Either do a traditional telecast or do something really different but don't be half-"you know what" about it. As the old saying goes the only thing in the middle of the road is a yellow stripe and dead armadillos.

The biggest revelation for viewers is that "The Problem" with NASCAR on ESPN is the director and producer and how important a play by play announcer is for a race.

Unknown said...

DJ did a very good job. He should be proud. However he is most valuable in the booth as a commentator instead of the PxP announcer. Punch is an excellant pit road reporter and putting him as PxP has not been favorable for him. I would hate to see the same thing happen to DJ as has happened to DrP.

What is so hard for Espn to see they have the answer but refuse to use him.

Very proud of Rusty, he did play nice today.

Ray, ok from what I could see. Did he stay gone on snack trips or did they have too many talking heads?

Just let AB have the job so we can watch the race.

I'm sure we can find something else to complain about if that is the problem.

PammH said...

When Ray finally stopped asking questions to have the guys reminence, the booth wasn't too bad. Not as good as Marty & Randy. The camera work was horrid, as usual-too much in car. But the ending of the race was captured perfectly! Unfortunately, didn't get to see many other folks cross the finish line. I give the broadcast a C-. The last 3 laps brought up the grade.

Anonymous said...

Well, they tried it and it did not work. The "Backseat Drivers" were put in an impossible position. The directing was obscene.

Bring back Marty Reid immediately. Not only is he very good at pxp, he seems able to force sensible camera coverage with his comments.

There was one great thing about today's broadcast, no Jerry Punch!


Karen said...

Am I the only one thinking AB did too many recaps? I have to eat my words about DJ. He did a good job but so did AP. Rusty gets on my last nerve but seemed overly excited if that's possible. Ray, better on NN and infield studio.

Agree with all about camera work. And unless I missed it, don't know where anyone crossed the finish line except the top three.

The Loose Wheel said...

In a word this was a struggle.

Call it what it really was to me. The Dale Jarrett Play-by-play audition as well as a chance for Ray Evernham to step up in a booth role. Love both these guys because they have excellent commentary as it relates to the sport but in those stated roles they were attempting to do today, it was a bust as far as I'm concerned. The production truck was a WHOLE other issue. Everyone else will nail those in prior and further posts.

Dale is a great analyst with the skillset to be a PxP guy, but like I said in the earlier thread, I just don't like him in this role when you have a perfectly competent AB sitting in the infield studio. Bring him in, let DJ do what he does best and draw on his experience to help us understand the race better and put JP in the infield studio with Ray Evernham. Ray can probably step into a booth role in time, much like what SPEED has done with Hammond over the years, but being called upon for 2 or 3 hours straight Ray just doesn't seem comfortable in that role yet. However, he can be a great addition to the infield studio alongside the good Dr.

Rusty Wallace, -sigh- Reid keeps him in check and thats about the only guy that can. As a NW only guy, great. With the Cup crew, not so much.

Anonymous said...

I actually liked it. Certainly a little rough, but none the less I think this idea has some potential. The varying opinions and adlibed feel were pretty cool. Rusty seemed a bit out of place though. He needs to study up, early on he said nationwide cars are 80hp less than cup, the dif is a bit more than that rusty. The real problem is that they are tweaking the nationwide side when it is the cup broadcasts which need desperate help. I listen to the nationwide telecasts, Sunday is mrn day. That's what espn should focus on.

NorCalFan said...

IMO, the experiment didn't work. Too many talking heads in the booth and although it may have been unintentional, DJ was doing PxP warming up for tomorrow's race. After all, somebody needs to tell the viewers what's happening on the track because the production truck with their camera angles surely don't tell the story.

Although Rusty adds some emotional excitement to the commentary, he is better suited to co-hosting the race. His annoying habit of saying the word "man" in every sentence drives me around the bend.

Oddly enough, I listened mostly to AB recap the race comming back from commercials and the pit reporters (never thought I would say that). The booth of four were talking all over the place--not as irritating as Full Throttle but close.

Glad BK and not KB won the race.

P.S. Red, glad to hear you're on the mend and back on the blog.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Rusty would have been so excited about a post-race fight if Kyle pulled Stephen out of his car and whupped his behind. I'd like to hear the commentary on that one.

Now that said, once again, Kyle gets way too much coverage.

Patrick said...

1. It wasn't the worst broadcast from the booth, but I think an experienced PxP is in order.
2. Who is responsible for the pictures? Producer/Director? Give us shots that tell the story of the race.
3. Be careful when you go away from green flag on-track racing. Always keep the on-track pictures on the screen and in the biggest window.
4. Lose Tim Brewer. Put Ray Evernham in the Tech Studio (and prove to us that it is at the track and live; open a window).
5. Put Punch back on pit road.
6. Put Bestwick in as PxP on Cup races with DJ and Petree
7. Put Marty Reid in as PxP on NW races with LaJoie.
8. Keep Rusty out of the booth. He just likes to hear himself talk.
9. Minimize the gimmicks. Limit the on-board, in-car, bumper cams.
10. Pit reporters did a decent job today. Keep your questions short and set up the driver/crew chief to tell their side.
11. More full order run downs.
12. Tell us who is how many laps down.
13. How can Rusty Wallace AND Ray Evernham be SO vocal about the S&P earlier this week and be COMPLETELY silent about it during the race.

Vicky D said...

Patrick, from the words in one of my favorite shows, how hard can it be???? All your suggestions are great ones!

Dot said...

I went to the pool and DVRd the race. I FFd until the last 10 laps. Dan warned me that I would love the finish.

I did notice that there was excitement from the booth at the end. How could there not be? At least their voices changed unlike JPs monotone. I had to laugh at Rusty wanting to see a fight. As someone said here last week, Weed got outKyled again. I love it.

I can't comment on how the Backseat Drivers experiment went. From the comments I read, Ray was a non factor. Why did they have four up there anyway?

Unknown said...

wow, nothing seems to please this site. i actually liked this little experiment. kept the race rather interesting, and not the usual boredown in the middle. sure, a little tweaking is needed, but i give it a B+

Daly Planet Editor said...

The J,

What do you mean by that? These comments are from fans all over the nation.

Your entire comment was four sentences and one of them was an insult to all of the people who took the time to comment.

What's up with that?


Anonymous said...

The experiment was just that, an experiment. I think what was learned was that 4 experts talking was to much, based on the unprofessional camera coverage. If the director did a better job show the story of the Live race, the expert commentation might have worked better.

On the overall the traditional Basic Race call of a car race, with a professional exciting Play by Play announcer, with color commentation by two experts is still the standard.

Alan Bestwick at Play by Play, with DJ and Petre would work for Cup races. How many times does ESPN have to hear or read this before the impliment the change? This improvment in ESPN coverage does not take " Rocket Science " to figure it out.

Newracefan said...

It wasn't awful but it was great. I found I needed internet to keep track of who was where and that's not a good thing. The camera work was the worst part, when will they learn that jumping to a car camera view makes it to hard to see what is going on. Not to mention full screen green flag pit stops. The flow of the race wasn't the best and I blame that on the producer/director not the booth experiment. I actually think we got more PXP then when JP is in the booth because they knew there wasn't one so DJ and the guys stepped up. I wonder what it would have been like if we had the camera work actually telling the story of the race, guess we'll never know.

Bruce Ciskie said...

Cameras = BAD

Analysis = pretty good

Pit reporters = okay

Postrace = AWESOME

Vickers with the quote of the year. Camera work needs to be improved to make it watchable.

ESPN picked up English Premier League soccer starting Saturday, and they had the international feed in HD of their game. It was awesome.

Too bad there isn't an international feed of NASCAR races ...

bevo said...

@The J- Read the posts on TNT coverage, ESPN at ORP and the ones about Marty Reid. When we see quality production we praise it.

This was not a quality production.

Patrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick said...

The J,
wow, nothing seems to please this site.

Actually, this site was quite pleased three weeks ago with the coverage of the Nationwide Race from IRP:

We are NASCAR fans that demand a reasonable product for our patronage. Our sport cannot grow in popularity with the current quality of broadcasts. This site is an outlet for us to voice our opinions of that television coverage, good and bad. Lately, the bad have outweighed the good and our expectations aren't unreasonable or costly. All the tools are already there to produce a quality program that we all can be proud of.

Thanks for your opinion as well. Could you detail exactly what you would "tweak" and what you are satisfied with?

Paul said...

It must just be us but my wife and I thought this was one of the best broadcasts this year... JMO.

tom in dayton said...

Well, it could have been a lot better, but it also could have been a lot worse!
A somewhat confusing and nearly unwatchable broadcast until the final ten minutes of the race, then a reasonable flow to the checkers but cutting away from the winner for the action in the cooldown lane (which could have been tape-delayed)was disappointing.
Why did we get such an outstanding effort at Indianapolis Raceway Park and revert to the mediocre presentation of the Nationwide races since then? Could it be that they (read ESPN), if they really wanted to produce a superior broadcast could but most of the time don't really feel like it?
We really just like to watch an auto race, with someone directing the action and one or two others filling in some background to that action.
It's to the point where during Sprint Cup races, we multitask (usually turning on MRN/PRN for the audio and only occasionally bringing up the ESPN audio).
Suspecting what they can really do, it's just disappointing to see this effort from DISNEY (the worldwide leader in sports)...

red said...

first up: many thanks again to all planeteers for all your good wishes and thoughts. the "getting better" part of all this is made easier when i can share a race with you guys!

i understand the thinking behind this experiment: we all enjoyed the rain delay broadcasts where the script was tossed into the puddles and an authentically good time was had by all.

unfortunately for me, today just didn't work on that level and the most obvious reason is this: it wasn't a rain delay broadcast, it was supposed to be a race broadcast. during a race broadcast, what's happening on the track should be the focus and the booth should be giving us information about the race. the intent was good but the execution just didn't work for me.

initially, dj seemed to be the guy who would handle the theoretically non-existent PxP position and i thought he was doing a decent job at it. but at some point, that fell apart and the predominant voice in the booth became rusty wallace. once the balance of the booth shifted and it became "rusty-heavy," the early coherence was lost.

evernham was part of the mix early on but again, became lost as the broadcast progressed. even petree, who can usually hold his own in the booth, seemed lost today. it was almost as if the gang was hesitant to step over each other verbally and so they just . . . sorta . . . faded. fortunately for them, the last 10 laps saved the entire broadcast and espn should send a set a tires to both vickers and busch for the drama after the finish.

(and rusty? if you're reading this? please, by all that is holy in your life, PLEASE learn to pronounce brad keselowski's name! you're supposed to be a professional at this and the failure to get your head around the name of the #3 driver in the series is embarassing, . . . "man"!)

camera work was so inconsistent, uneven and superficial that it was a struggle to try to follow what was happening. we had disorganized visuals on pitstops; green flag racing ignored in order to cover pit stops; more of the "racing in little window and anything else in big window" nonsense; at least one car blowing an engine and we only saw that on replay because we were, as i recall, watching a pit stop on a crew member's helmet cam; tech center taking a full screen while there was racing happening. in short, all the poor visual aspects of the broadcast that we've identified previously continue to drag down the entire effort.

finally, as anon@6:41 observed, the problem with the epsn/nascar broadcasts hasn't been on the n'wide side: it's the mess that's made of the cup broadcasts that's killing tv viewership. marty reid has been wonderful in the n'wide booth and i missed his presence immensely today. although we only commented on it once, i can't help wondering how much reid would have brought to those last 10 laps and the aftermath.

for me, the basic premise of this experiment was flawed and so i think the booth did the best that could be done under that premise. i would not watch it again, however.

independent of that, the camera work continues to baffle and irritate and it's all the same issues each week so nothing has really changed for me as far as espn broadcasts of nascar racing.

Unknown said...

Mr Editor -
Let's see ...ESPN spent a half-season (JP) in an effort to run off a majority of fans, but it hasn't worked ...wonder if NASCAR cares at all since they likely have pocketed the $$ ...then toyed with using a professional (MR) but was it just a tease to insult serious fans the ultimate insult of no play-by-play ...wonder if they'll use no voices and replay previous races for future broadcasts ...leave it to the suits to stiff viewers royally

Patrick said...

Who said? Red said...
(and rusty? if you're reading this? please, by all that is holy in your life, PLEASE learn to pronounce brad keselowski's name! you're supposed to be a professional at this and the failure to get your head around the name of the #3 driver in the series is embarassing, . . . "man"!)

Amen. And, how professional is it for a broadcaster to say he wanted to see a fight? This may be acceptable for a hockey broadcast, but I am really embarrassed to hear that from the booth. While we, as viewers, may be thinking it (and of course, NASCAR hit the big time with 1979 Daytona fight), this is not a representation of our sport today.

Anonymous said...

you know, I didn't think the actual broadcasting was that bad. And I think DJ could do PxP...he may have held back because he didn't want to monopolize...those Jarretts are polite fellows....doesn't mean he couldn't do it...

I was only 'watching' the end,and yes, they could have done better on camera work and rundowns. Sorry, but I don't have issues with Tim. Not *always* the best speaker, but I'm not a 'car guy' so if it's beyond the basics, it's usually informative for me. Could there be better speaking more relevant crew chiefs....probably, but he's okay.

And yes, I know Rusty mispronounces Brad's name, but a few short weeks ago everyone was all over the 'Marcos' thing and we now know the reality. Just saying...Brad himself said it wasn't a big deal to him. People have mispronounced sports names for years. Tony Dorsett comes to mind. It irritates me, but it's better to mess that up than the camera coverage.

Dennis M said...

We expected that we would not like it, but it actually was a pretty refreshing change. We thought the coverage overall was pretty good and Dale did an excellent job!

BTW - Kyle is still a crybaby and the Vickers comments were perfect!

Sophia said...

Anybody know a place online I can view the Brian Vickers comment from tv..where he said this wasn't the Ky Busch show and some other comments. That was too funny.

Thankfully tomorrow I have access to MRN!!

If tv can't bring decent race video, I am not interested in griping again about my main beef--Camera directing.

Helen Keller could do better. Yes she's blind, deaf...

and dead. :)

Just saying.

Patrick said...

Sophia said...

Anybody know a place online I can view the Brian Vickers comment from tv..where he said this wasn't the Ky Busch show and some other comments. That was too funny.

The Final Lap with Kerry Murphey:
Brian Vickers Vs. Kyle Busch at Michigan -

JD, I hope its O.K. to link.

Patrick said...

Sophia and others:

And also funny is:

Busch & Vickers in the media center, postrace, together.

Dot said...

Has anyone else noticed that our common complaint are the camera angles we are shown during a race?

I am always here commenting about the live race (when not @ pool) so I don't pay that close attention to every lap. I did today for the last 10 laps.

Why can't we see the race like we would if we were at the track? Who at BSPN thinks it's a good idea to have car cams on all the time?

Was Tim Brewer live, or was he Memorex? Buzzed right through him today.

Is it any wonder that the booth gets tripped up with what to tell us? The camera was on Drivers X & Y and they started talking about them. Before they could finish, the camera shifted to Drivers E & F. E & F were just driving, not passing, bumping.....

At the end of the race, why didn't they use the split screen to show Kez's burnout in the small box and the Vickers/Weed feud in the big one? It's not every week that something good happens.

Sophia said...

Patrick, I went hunting and found the youtube of BV and KB and put it on Twitter but it cuts off BV mid sentence as it got good, darn it! Will try your link, too. THANKS.


yes common theme camera work STINKS. we detest it. Each week, like shampoo.

Lather, rinse, repeat. BSPN & NASCAR don't care.
Ratings tank.
The end.

NASCAR wonders WHY?

Gave us DFR races but we no getta see them. :(

P.S. If you brought back from retirement or from dead, great announcers/drivers in the booth, they could NOT save the lousy camera work,

DewCr3w88 said...

I dont even know what the announcers were talking about half the time.

Dale Jarret and Rusty did a decent job today, because they were relatively funny while doing it. Alan still needs to be in the booth desperately.

Its 2009 we can split screen and show two things at once. They missed green flag racing for close ups on single cars pitting under green. The worst was at the end of the race while watching Kyle lean in Vickers window they could have at least gave us a camera on Brads burnout after one of the better finishes of the year.

I guess Mike Helton saying the COT is fine is all we need to know about Nascar and how much they care about the product they put out.

Race Fan In MI said...

When I first heard about this idea, I really thought it would be a disaster.....I was pleasantly surprised. I thought that today's broadcast went much better than anything ESPN's done this season. I was entertained, informed, and it seemed like there was good chemistry between the guys in the booth.

BTW, for the Cup races, I definitely think that Allen Bestwick should replace Dr Punch in the PxP role. Punch seems like a nice enough guy, but Bestwick is an excellent PxP announcer, something Jerry Punch just isn't.

Brian said...

There were parts of the race where I enjoyed the broadcast, EVERY time AB was giving us an update about the race with more excitement and tone in his voice than Dr. P does on Sunday it made me long for the old NBC days with him as play by play. ESPN has to be able to see his raw talent. Marty Smith tweeted it better than I can say it.

RT @MartySmithESPN: Unless you've personally sat alongside him in the moment, it's impossible to understand how good Allen Bestwick is at making television.

I appreciate ESPN trying something new, but we really liked the ORP broadcast, then someone somewhere changed something. Rather than go back to what worked, How about we try, just once AB in the PxP role for the cup race? Put Dr. P on Pit road or in the studio where he shines. Hey, if it doesn't work out then we can always go back, right?

Sophia said...


Grateful to your youtube link. Gives interview in it's entirety. :-) I tweeted that one and deleted my other one that cut off BV JUST as things were getting good.

Sorry JD, that scene is worth sharing.

Thanks for all the extra stuff on the blog.

bryan said...

I also think the experiment wasn't a success - but it also wasn't a failure. DJ's had enough practice at PxP to pull it off after sitting with Dr. Punch, but as others have said, was too polite to take over with this format.

In terms of pictures please just show us the car race. Don't show us the tech centre telling us what a mirror does over green flag racing. If you _have_ to do tech centre, put it in a small window or do it under yellow.

Keep the toys for parade and yellow flag laps; in-car cams, bumper cams, etc are OK when there's no action, and would help differentiate those situations.

Anonymous said...

I think that the "Backseat Drivers" coverage is best for once every blue moon. And if matters behind the scenes were taking care of properly (more wide shots, less in-car shots, etc).

Personally, this is what should be the booth lineup:

Allen Bestwick
Andy Petree
Dale Jarrett

Marty Reid
Randy Lajoie
Rusty Wallace (Marty brings the best out of Rusty.)

I think Doc should be back on pit road where he shined for so long, but I wouldn't object to him hosting in the pit studio either.

The question is: Will ESPN ever listen to any of us?

Stephen said...

did not work-camera work was again dreadful as usual on ESPN-good race at the end made up for it a bit as did BVs awesome post race interview.

The fix is so easy-get a new director and producer-get rid of the music going to break, no more backseat drivers-put Jerry Punch on pit lane-put AB or Marty Reid in the booth with DJ and Andy-and get rid of tech garage crap-seriously-the mirror piece was USELESS. Idk why its so hard-theyve got the right people to do the job-but they are in the wrong spots!

Holmes said...

Marty Reid
Randy Lajoie
Rusty Wallace (Marty brings the best out of Rusty.)"

Marty Reid thinks as he reads this, "Oh, no, why me?"

Holmes said...

Who are those professionals working the Knoxville Nationals? ESPN should look into interviewing those guys for some should-be available positions.


Unknown said...

Honestly, I think the backseat driver was a great idea, on paper that is. Yes I love to hear what the guys are thinking, I do. I just wish they equally got time into say something. It would have been ten times worse with Brad there, he would have even drowned DJ and Rusty out, in my opinion with his topics of conversation sometimes.

Anonymous said...

@Holmes, The two guys who were doing the Knoxville Nationals were AMA on SPEED/NASCAR on TNT's Ralph Sheheen and World Of Outlaws Sprint Cars on SPEED/Sprint Car Racing Hall of Famer Brad Doty.

matt said...

I liked the broadcast. It had a nice flow to it and the whole booth seemed really into the race. Yes, Rusty talked too much and Ray didnt say enough but thats nothing new. We still had the same awful cameras but thats not the booths fault and shouldnt take away from the nice announcing job the 4 of them did.

Tim Robinson said...

Too much purposeful trying to feed off of each other, and Rusty trying too hard. If he would stop trying to be "so excited" he might do well.

DJ was decent, but at times still seems a bit shy in my view.

Ray, although I like him a lot, doesn't work in a 4 man booth.

The whole thing gave me tired head!

Can we just go back to what everyone knows works? Bestwick as PxP, DJ and Petree doing color and move on. Dr. Punch, i know they are trying to honor your loyalty, but you belong in the pits. Your best work has eminated from there.

Brewer reminds me of Hammond, more worried about his looks and his tan than anything else. Frankly, I think he is terrible in that Tech Center thing.

And for the love of all things good, please, please, please GET RID OF THE FULL THROTTLE crapola!

It mucks up an already incredibly challenging broadcast with gibberish!


tom in dayton said...

In addition to my earlier comments:
JD and others have bemoaned the lack of additional NASCAR-oriented programming. The concept offered on Saturday could be turned into a pre-race show where each episode could be the group rembering incidents at the track where that day's race was to be held. We all saw the possibilities that the single episode of the Humpy Wheeler show presented - now mix him or Ned Jarrett or Cale Y. or DW into the group and it could be an outstanding program and cut the actual pre-race show to 30 minutes before the green flag drop to simply give the viewers a up-to-the-minute briefing. Such possibilities!

Anonymous said...

I don’t have answers, just questions. Questions that granted are mostly rhetorical, but questions that need to voiced none the less.

Would ESPN be so bold as to “experiment” with pro football or college football or pro baseball or pro basketball right in the middle of their respective seasons, in the same manner as they did with the Nationwide NASCAR race?

Just because the ESPN Management foolishly, in a moment of capricious madness, gave Rusty Wallace a ridiculously excessive financial contract for his services, for a job he has never been capable of performing at proficient level, why does the audience still have to be punished for this management mistake?

Why is it that the most professional, most competent, most respected, most experienced NASCAR play by play man on ESPN’s payroll, Allan Bestwick does everything but NASCAR play by play?

Why the seemingly arbitrary four analysts? Come on ESPN, be bold, act like a world wide leader. Let’s do ten! Why not throw Ricky Craven, Marty Smith and Ed Hinton out there. If you put Brad Daugherty in the analyst mix, then Rusty wouldn’t be the most incompetent guy on the team. Erik Kuselias and his vast reservoir of motorsports knowledge would be a perfect complement to the multi analyst team, especially if any legal issues popped up during the race. Why couldn’t Chris Berman drop by and make up funny nicknames for all the drivers?

Why not put the camera on the analysts full-time, and just let us see the start/finish line in the background where we can see glimpses of the cars as they pass by every lap? That way we can spend a few focused hours with our good pals Andy, Rusty, Dale and Ray hearing them talk about racing ad nauseum without having to go to the trouble to actually have to watch it.

Why is ESPN pretending that the race is more important than the broadcast? Why the charade ESPN?

Lesley said...

I thought they all did a great job!As much as Marty Ried is, as good as he is ..I did not miss him at all!!!!Nascar Racing needs Nascar people!Even though they were just a bit Yappy...

Anonymous said...

DJ was great,as usual, as was far too much Rusty. I just love it when Rusty shuts up when his kid costs him a ton of money! There are too many cooks in the kitchen. AB was under utilized.

Delenn said...

Anon @ 3:42am. Don't give them ideas ;-)

I got the impression that they were being reminded by the director that there was no PxP. I suspect that is why DJ seemed hesitant.

Seems to me, AB, DJ and AP should do Cup, MR, RL and possible RW should do Nationwide. JP should be in the pit studio - he'd be good at that, with Ray and RW. Loose Brewer and Brad.
In the early part of the year, rotate the 2 crews so each crew does 50% of the races before Indy.

Then sort the pictures out. Really. Show the race. Is it that hard?

3KillerBs said...

The excessive number of competing voices wouldn't be so irritating if the cameras were actually showing the race.

Its as if whoever is in charge of the camera shots has never seen a race before, took the job only out of desperation for a pay check, and couldn't care less about actually following the action.

50 yr. fan said...

Hard to imagine guys sitting around
and talking racing when they are in
the standard ESPN image of slicked back and in suits. Loose Rusty.
He didn't have a clue when the
first pit stops were to occur.

"Techno-plegic" Brewer explaining
the fuel "syphus" and how a rear
view mirror works.

Great presentation by DJ & AP. The
ending and post coverage made it a B+, but I would love to have seen
one more replay of the ending.

Donna DeBoer said...

Hey, it didn't go as badly as I feared so overall giving the NNS MIS Experiment a B-
But bring back Marty R and Randy, just for the entertainment of picking on Rusty. Pretty good restraint for Rusty as his kid was tearing up the car, and I agree, too bad there wasn't more of a scrape at the end, Kyle should've ripped Brian out of his car.

Palmetto said...

Anon@3:42, I don't know about ESPN experimenting with NFL coverage, but several years ago someone did (NBC?). They broadcast at game with NO booth crew, just fed the stadium PA system into the broadcast feed. You may notice that it hasn't been done since; draw your own conclusions.

I looked forward to this experiment, hoping it might be like sitting around in the living room with these guys. What I didn't realize was that when I'm watching the race with my friends, the PxP is going in the background, and at least one of us is paying attention to it. When we miss something, there's usually one of us who caught the details from the PxP.

This would have worked if I'd had MRN going in the background, but that kinda defeats the purpose. I'd like to see it tried again, but I'm not sure what changes to suggest to improve it. Four guys was definitely too many. Drop Ray, who is much better in a panel show, and Rusty, who would be much better if he learned sign language and covered the race for deaf viewers. Maybe replace them with another driver, say a Cup driver who has run N'wide a few times during the current season like Tony Stewart or Matt Kenseth, or a N'wide champ like Randy Lajoie.

Gene Haddock said...

I thought the experiment was worth a shot. DJ stepped his game up. Petree was solid. Rusty kept us informed of how Steven was doing, as usual! Ray was excess baggage. Best thing was no droning Dr Jerry.

Saw some good comments here such as letting Ray take over for Brewer in the 'studio' garage segments. Bring Bestwick back to PxP.

50 yr. fan said...

I just saw the press room post
race dialogue between Cryle and
Vickers. What a hoot! Points to
Nicole for asking Vickers today
about what the garage thought of
Cryle. Too bad he didn't have the
guts to answer the question. It
should make some good commentary
today since they are running 13th
and 14th in points.

GinaV24 said...

Well, it was an experiment, I'll say that. If ESPN would just get the message that fans tune in to SEE the race, things would be much better. If all I want is to hear people talk, I listen to the race on the radio.

Why ESPN and others think that the race fans want to see the noses of cars or the inside of cars and NOT the whote track just baffles me.

Anonymous said...

terrible broadcast,to many shots of Rusty's non competive cars,thank god for dvr's and the mute button

Steve L. said...

If you would have watched this race with the sound turned off, you would NOT have had a clue what was going on.

Problem was, even with the sound turned on, I still didn't have a clue what was going on!

Show the darn race, cars on the track, front, back, and in between. Not just the first few cars. Long views with the cars coming at us not in-car shots where you can't tell where they are on the track.

Sit around and discuss the race AFTER the race, not during the race!

Get Allen Bestwick in the booth! He's the best asset they have, use him!

West Coast Diane said...

@ Patrick...ditto your posts (and many other TDP'ers).


Sorry JP, much better without you. While disjointed, the "tone" was much better. Didn't pain me to listen.

I actually laughed at some of the exchanges. Ribbing each other or calling each other out on opinions was fun.


Four guys in a booth, no matter who, is too many.

Poor camera work. Shots, overuse of in-car, bumper cams. Great camera work would cover a multitude of sins. IMHO great camera work would improve the PxP and anaylst comments by default.

Bottom line:

Use Marty Reid & Randy Lajoie in NW. I might even accept Rusty in that a compromise.

Next year...If you just can't put AB in the booth, move Marty to Cup with DJ and AP. Need a real PxP guy to direct traffic and get the best out of analysts.

Anonymous said...

ESPN just doesn't get it. Most true race fans want to see the racing, not just the top 4 or 5. We want to see where our driver is and hear why he went from 5th to 26th during the break

itsonlyrockandroll said...

1. As usual, the announcers never
stopped talking. Oh ok ten seconds.
2 My point is this : Isnt there a
way to let the TV fans .. WATCH
AND LISTEN to the engines...without
constant talking ????
3.And most of the fans can see what
is happening on the track - without
COMMENTS from the announcers.
3. How about this:
On restarts .. LET US HEAR THE
ENGINES .. without the announcers !!!!
4. OH but ESPN has something called
" full throttle. That's fine but
why in theee world would we want to
heaar all of the blabber and chatter _ from the spotters ???
5. The annoucners can speak in
normal tones !!! We can hear it.
6. Need Microphones at ground level
7. And we really DONT need play by
play. thank you

50 Yr. fan said...

Sorry "Rock and Roll" but I don't
want my den to be a mosh pit.
I enjoy the dialogue.

MRM4 said...

Jerry Punch didn't call the race? Who knew?

itsonlyrockandroll said...

How do I answer a posting here ??
And dont tell anyone I couldnt
figure it out.

itsonlyrockandroll said...

I still dont know what a Rear
End Housing is? We are all dumb
on different topics. But the boys
in the booth did NOT EVEN have the
courtesy to tell us.
Nothing surprises me at the
Gang of 3. That woul be Jabber
Jarrett Punch Drunk and Handy Andy.
Of course they keep on JABBERING
on a Restart...where the sounds od
the engines ARE FANTASTIC.
I am gonna Google Rear End
Housing and Report back.