Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Your Turn: ESPN Monday Coverage From Watkins Glen

Time to let you discuss the Monday NASCAR TV coverage without my comments being first. This is the time of the season when tempers are tight and Monday makes the week even longer.

ESPN offers a smaller telecast team on a Monday race. The Infield Pit Studio and the Tech Garage are gone. There is no pre-race show and the coverage is focused on the racing.

It was Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree in the announce booth. Punch handled the play-by-play coverage with Jarrett and Petree combining on the analysis. Jarrett brings his veteran driver perspective, while Petree has been both a crew chief and owner.

On pit road was Jamie Little, Shannon Spake, Dave Burns and Vince Welch. This group is making the transition from covering the Nationwide Series all season long to adding the Cup races to their assignments.

These days, NASCAR fans have several different sources of information about the live race in addition to the TV coverage. Online scoring, realtime NASCAR.com information, official NASCAR updates on Twitter and the live radio coverage are all available.

This puts fans in a position of comparing the TV coverage to the other information and content they are getting from these various forms of communication technology.

So, for this Monday road course event we are going to let the TDP readers offer comments first on their viewing experience watching the ESPN coverage. Please offer an overview of what technology you used to view the event and how you feel ESPN followed the action and kept you informed.

To add your 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 out of your Monday to read The Daly Planet.


David said...

Ouch. Just a total ouch.

Had to go to MRN it was THAT bad. No rundowns, no idea what was going on, missed pit stops, missed wrecks, commercials were out of hand, booth was confused at every turn, pit reporters were vague at best.

I'll have something more detailed later.

kswheels said...

The harping on Ambrose strategy all day got really annoying. I'd like to hear them say "We didn't know what the hell we were talking about." but that won't happen.

SalB said...

Trying to make sense out of how any race is unfolding since ESPN took over from TNT is almost impossible. Overusing bumper/in car cameras is irritating at best. Covering only the top runners is completely disorienting. If you can't see the race as a whole, it's just so much noise. As a whole, their coverage has been a big disappointment. DJ and Andy in the booth are good, but seem limited by what the director is willing to show on screen. All in all, an embarrassing effort from 'the wordwide leader in sports'.

@philgoodstory said...

ok, so we're used to jerry punch and the boys in the booth sounded bored by what's in front of them. nothing changed, even as ambrose closed in on stewart -- and even as questions lingered over who would have enough fuel to finish. the opportunity to build drama and suspense was right in front of the ESPN crew -- and like so many other things, they missed it.
but more than any of the normal shortcomings that we're forced to suffer through each week, the most shocking and downright pathetic thing was ESPN totally missing ambrose's pit stop on lap 55 (kind of like they missed harvick's pole-winning lap saturday). but this was just ridiculous. since practice, ESPN made ambrose a focal point of its coverage. he was the in-race reporter, his car was crawling with cameras and the booth repeatedly told us how flabbergasted they were by his team's pit strategy. so when ambrose's pit strategy comes together and his makes his last stop, ESPN is clueless -- and doesn't tell us until eight laps later. unforgivable. if you're going to build the man up as a story line for four days, someone should have had eyes on that car. at all times. period.
if ESPN can drop the ball so dramatically on one of its biggest storylines of the weekend -- what else are we missing?

TexasRaceLady said...

David said...
Ouch. Just a total ouch.
I'll see that Ouch, and raise you another.

This wasn't a telecast, it was a complete meltdown. It was painful to watch, and doubly painful to listen to.

The chief PxP guy was lost most of the time, so I was lost. Without the leaderboard I had no idea who was running in what position.

They lost me totally on the pitstops --- fragmented, or no information.

kswheels -- I agree with you. Just once let them say "we don't know what the hell is going on."

LuckyForward said...

Where is TNT when you need them?

Tired of the in car radio . . . who cares?

Tired in car pictures . . . who cares?

JP seems bored.

I know I certainly was!

Anonymous said...

Too much in-car/bumper/roof cams, same lackluster commentary by Punch, missed pit stops, missed cautions, missed wrecks, excessive commercials, DJ and AP once again taking over PXP, and a lot more that I don't even want to mention. Once again, ESPN continues to bore us all and continues to show that they do not deserve NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage. THERE NEEDS TO BE A CHANGE OF TV COVERAGE NOW! I WANT ESPN GONE FROM NASCAR!!!!!

Anonymous said...

All that was needed was Kenny Wallace, Jimmy Spencer and digger to make this telecast a front runner for a TV Razzie award. And for you folks that just joined us it was that bad.

Frank in Sebring

kswheels said...

philgoodstory - I was screaming at my TV that Ambrose already pitted when they were going on about his need to pit. They corrected it 8 laps later? I must've missed that.

Rae said...

Pictures were pretty. TV was muted while I listened to MRN on Sirius!

More than a couple times I heard something via MRN a while before it was shown on TV.

Daly Planet Editor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I actually stopped watching the race and let it record to do something else until I knew the race would be over, just so I could fast forward and get to what I needed to see at the end.

During the first 50 laps, I knew more of what was going on via RaceTrax and TDP and wished I was at work so that I could follow the coverage and assume it was exciting.

Petree seemed like a fool today, fumbling over fuel strategy and such for the entire time. The worst was missing Ambrose pitting and then raising a red flag and saying he is in trouble...then coming back from commercial and going "oops i guess I missed him pit earlier". It all played out with Ambrose finishing second.

Now, I didnt have access to MRN today or I would have gone to that and known whats going on.

But my god, regardless of that, Punch cant even raise his voice for the huge wreck, ESPN cant come out of commercial for it, and even Petree and Jarrett dont even sound interested in the racing for the most part.

Frustrated and sickened by ESPN. Coverage would be better if they just put RaceBuddy on a screen and I could watch the race that way with no announcers.

Anonymous said...

ESPN was completely lost on strategy. Nothing but in car cameras. The in car reporter and pit crew member camera is a waste. Irrelevant taped Tech Center piece. Few follow ups on driver's that fell out. Thru the Field just as the final pit window opened. Missed winning pass for Full Throttle. "High spirits" for Jeff Gordon after crash? Marty Reid couldn't have fixed that mess. Just terrible.

Sophia said...

JD, I don't know where to begin. Lather, rinse, repeat with same gripes.

ESPN ran me off to MRN as well. I am GRATEFUL to have MNR radio in house that got the station in clearly, as I walked around the house. Each time I came into muted tv room, excess in car/roof/bumper cams.

Thanks for the RT JD and for those who did not see my Tweet before I caved and went to MRN for 85% of the race, here it was

RT @sophias_place If you don't have MRN might as well watch TV blindfolded and have on cartoon network. No clue on ESPN

You can't get much more out of touch than that?
I've give anything to throw a cream pie at the camera director.

It was another day of Elvis "Shoot the tv moments", for those of you old enough to remember what that means :)

Dont' know what else to say that is family friendly

boyd said...

The thing that suck in my mind was "how is todays coverage different from Saturdays (with Marty Reid)".
There were a lot of difference:
Tv shots: I have no idea how they were planning their camera angles and who to cover. Then on the last 10 laps almost all were of the top three, even when 14 had built a huge lead, you could see passing on the straight behind them, but they didn't switch over to it.
PxP: I'm a long time NASCAR fan, and it pains me to say this, but Jerry Punch needs to step aside. There were long lapses of just DJ and AP doing PxP, or just having a conversation. We that had no choice, but to watch TV (No MRN in DFW today) were lost about what was happening. Missing a pit stop for the 47 car was inexcusable, and trying to set the Chase 8 laps from the end? No need.
Andy: Usually pretty savvy with pit work and strategy. Way off today. If you don't understand why a team is doing something, use the pit reports to ask.
DJ: Getting stronger in the booth, but shouldn't have to do play by play and answer questions from the doctor.
Pit reporters: The barbie twins and Dave and Vince can't be as silly as they seem on this show. How does it feel? what were you thinking? Come on.
Why don't we cut back when a bad accident happens? Hornish, Gordon, and Burton was horrific, and should have been an excuse to break away from the commercial.
Todays race was possibly one of the worst that I've seen on ESPN.
I really enjoyed Saturdays telecast, and today was as big F.

Kenn Fong said...


Weird lead in video to the live edition of NASCAR Now showed Kyle Busch winning the race... Mike should have said that was canned footage, not this race.

West Coast Kenny
Alameda, California

Anonymous said...

Worst race coverage EVER. And I watched the very first race ESPN broadcasted. BobbyDee

Anonymous said...

I switched to MRN. Kept TV on mute for last part of race. Interesting contrast.

Jojaye said...

Let me first say Thank You MRN - you saved my sanity today!

Very early in the race I muted espn the world wide leader, the ScRiPt was going to rule the broadcast. So I am going to contrast the end of the race. You see I never un muted the tv until JD posted we got to comment 1st.

*espn 20 minute red flag no thru the field loads of commercials, Tim Brewer full screen, & an over the wall bit. And loads of Script talk about junk that had nothing based on reality. Then after MRN already covered it - Driver interviews that were insipid & brief.Did I mention the scripted fuel discussion??

*MRN - we fans got thru the field, excellent explanation of wreck & track clean up, interviews by Glenn Jarrett with drivers at the care center on air immediately & he let them talk, discussion of a weather front forming west of the track

*espn gave us close up cams of every kind known to them. Roof, in car, bumper, & I think some slow moving donkeys. We got tight shots as much as possible & when special cams & tight shots were not available - we got passing that was missed.

*MRN gave me updates thru the field, info on cars off the track, cars that came back on the track & how many laps down they were. They painted a picture with words to keep me informed -( Caps for emphasis only) OF THE RACE THAT WAS HAPPENING ON THE TRACK TODAY!

*espn - more concerned that Tony did not "clinch" a Chase spot today & lapsed into the inane drivel about if the race ends now heres the points. How Dumb

*MRN - mentioned every driver in the race, was not shy about updating the lesser known drivers

*espn had maybe 10 drivers on the track unless they were in a crash or obstructing a "fav driver" of theirs. BTW its MarcOs Ambrose, maybe Marcus is his brother. He was not in the race, along with 20+ other drivers if you soley used espn for info

*MRN awesome play by play

*espn had none. I honestly felt bad for DJ & Andy P. It must be hard trying to work around a non existant PxP guy. Put Doc back on pit road where he can report & get rid of the Bobsy twins, who do not report. Doc could run rings around both of those useless girls in his sleep!

Anonymous said...

I know this blog is focused on ESPN's failure, but WHOA, Max Papis just threw Formula One under the bus!

Mark said...

We didn't have MRN in the Richmond, VA market either so I was stuck watching it on TV and wished I could have gone out and drove somewhere just to hear MRN. This race was sponsored by Heluva Good and unsurprisingly it was the complete opposite. Also Ambrose wasn't the Baked Beans Car and ESPN's focus on him couldn't fix that error

Sophia said...


Did you keep notes?? Have a secretary dictating?

Wish I could remember details like that. Great post :)

Anonymous said...

@ JD, Are you going to keep this up for the ones that still have to watch it after work? I'm sure I'll have something to say.

From what I read here, I pretty much "saw" the race. I want to compare the Planeteers coverage vs BSPNs. I'm betting that the Planeteers win.


Mike aka RickyBobby said...

ESPN = Actions Detrimental to Stock Car Racing. For reasons why read the comments of the TDP for the last three years...The few changes that have been made are equivalent to replacing crap with manure. Thats as family friendly as I can be right now

James said...

MARTY REID needs to replace JERRY PUNCH... end of story.

bobby dee said...

Turns out the 47 pit strategy was perfect. Where is the apology from the booth?

Jojaye said...

@Sophia - yup I took 14 pages of notes! Legal pad pages & thats just the first 20 laps & from the red flag. Imagine if I had entire race worth of warning LOL

Sophia said...

Dang, Jo, you could write a book.

Anonymous said...

I watched the first 40 laps on ESPN, then switched to MRN.

ESPN - Missed so many passes & spins under commercial that they had to replay them during green flag racing. Which resulted in missing more action that they had to replay.

Pit Reporters - Listening to their reception compared to MRN's reporters is night & day. The MRN reporters have respect for the drivers, & as a result, the drivers respect them. They know the right questions to ask & how to word them. They don't inform us what a driver said Friday, they give relevant information. They don't stir up controversy that doesn't exist. Certain ESPN reporters have bad reputations for poor questions, judgement, & assumptions.

Booth - JP sounded lost, as usual. Andy Petree let me down today. I had no idea what was going on with pit strategy. Instead of interpreting some of the decisions made by crew chiefs, Andy was equally as confused as I was. Where was Larry Mac to make sense of all this when you needed him?

MRN had wonderful coverage today. I wasn't treated like a 10 year old & wasn't taught what a brake rotor is. I got excited play-by-play announcers covering all the bumping, banging, spinning, & passing. I got great information from pit road about fuel strategy & plenty of driver interviews after an accident & after the race. They were honest all weekend about the weather. This entire paragraph is to show how MRN cares about NASCAR and the fans compared to ESPN offering limited perspective, tight shots, ignoring the weather situation & dropping the ball on pit road & analysis.

DewCr3w88 said...

Qualifying Cam, More Qualifying Cam, Raido Chatter from crew that has nothing to do with what they are talking about but hey they were talking while we had them on camera, Announcers are terrible Dale Jarret is the only upside, Alan Bestwick needs to be in the booth, missing stories up and down the running order, never said Andy Lallys name once, never followed up on what happened to truex after saying he was slow, never mentioned Logano fighting back to to 16th, never mentioned Robby Gordon finishing 18th after over heating, never followed up on Boris Said...

Its a disaster, if you dont have trackpass and the scanner you truly no clue whats going on.

DewCr3w88 said...

Forgot to add, they needed to take notes big time from the Grand Am race on Friday night.

Infact ESPN needs to have everyone watch the Grand Am coverage, the MotoGP coverage and the SPEED coverage of F1(Fox isnt so good).

Those broadcasts are so insightful in comparison its like night and day.

MRM4 said...

I had to watch the race via by computer at work. I sort of listened/sort of watched until the end when it was apparent Stewart was going to win. Then it got my full attention. There were a number of passes of drivers up front that were not shown. The pit reporters were pretty useless.

They did have one new camera angle that I liked. That was toward the S-es when the cars when come over a rise and then drop down on a right-handed turn. It should have the drivers really manhandle the cars in that stretch.

Kahnefan98 said...

To save themselves from further embarrassment they need to just let TNT or FOX have all of their races. TNT was the best I've seen all year and they added excitement to the race and hot just a "oh look we got a spin in turn 3"

Stephen said...

well longtime reader of this blog-felt the need to post some thoughts about ESPNs coverage today-in a word-awful.

Camera work was dreadful-close up shots and incars galore-show the racing!!!!!! If they would of watched Edwards and Bowyer and KuBusch and Hamlin all came from the back and made great moves whole race-while we watched the baked beans bumper cam or w/e.

Jerry Punch...is the worst play by play announcer of all-time-he is a pit reporter-like someone said earlier-hed run laps around the barbie twins who are clueless and ask the worst questions ever. Put Marty Reid in the booth please!!! Im begging now-the NNS races are SOO much better with him.

I love Nascar so much and the races will always be exciting to me no matter what-but dang ESPN is bad-Jerry wasnt even excited when that huge wreck happened-and the commercials were crazy today-i miss TNT-at least KP and Wally and Ralph were all ooo aa yelling and stuff.

Also-missed the strategy completely-Ambrose pitted-it was even on the tv-i saw him coming in-and they completely missed it-i was yellin at the tv for 8 laps-he pitted already!!!! jeez.

ESPN major stinks at this-I like having the announcers on tv-i like fox and tnt okay outside of the gopher and dw gets annoyin sometimes-but ESPN is just the worst ever-and today was the worst period.

Too many problems to list-these are just the ones fresh still.

Adam said...

This was painful to watch at times. Excessive commercials are just killing it. I joined up in lap 46 and witnessed the atrocity called NASCAR on ESPN.

Seriously, ESPN needs to watch Versus's IRL coverage. It really is amazing.

glenc1 said...

Glad to hear I didn't miss anything...MRN was so good (even if they did exaggerate just a tad..."Biffle is right on Busch's bumper" when he was like 3 car lengths back, lol.) I know this is a TV blog, but I must say, Glenn Jarrett was on his game today, and you could tell the drivers responded to that. It's too bad he had to wait til the TV guys were done....sounds like he was better. We had 'Sprint Vision' at the track, and MRN did a good job mentioning all the drivers. It can be hard at the glen because the leaderboard has the top 4 (I wish they'd upgrade that...) I did record it so maybe I'll go see how bad it really is...

Bill H said...

ok -i'll be the only one to give ESPN some compliments:




Oh yeah - the color red - they had that color nailed today!

Bill H

Gymmie said...


One of my Justin channels is replaying it now so I'll just use it as background noise until my shows start on my other feed at 7 as I catch up on stuffs.

rich said...

Well, last week finally forced me to go to MRN radio. Thank goodness for my recent move to an area that has Nascar radio coverage available. Even listening solely to radio and watching TV it was horrible. MRN is excitedly describing racing and ESPN is showing a closeup of a wheel. MRN is calling the green flag and ESPN is still in commercial (actually a Nascar promo). MRN is calling a big wreck in which my driver is involved and ESPN is in a McDonalds commercial. MRN is calling a challenge for the lead and ESPN has an in-car shot up (which it is obvious now with the labeling that they are making money off of).
Walt Disney is rolling over in his grave!

Vicky D said...

We are upset when we went to watch Nascar Now and it wasn't on. Very disappointing with ESPN.

Megan said...

Take a guess : Multiple Choice :

The most SECONDS that the announcers were NOT Talking was...

a ) 15 seconds
b 11 Seconds
c ) 7 Seconds ...

Did you say a ?

Are u serious ? The correct
answwer is c Maybe.

dyannah said...

Thank you for posting the change of time for the Monday edition of NASCAR Now. However, for those of us who are employed during the day, the change didn't do us any good. I certainly hope that the re-run schedule to air at 2 a. m. Eastern Daylight Time actually runs. I have contacted ESPN to let them know of my displeasure in their reschedule.

Anonymous said...

Lucky I was able to follow the race via PitCommand, because the ESPN booth was useless.

And they demonstrated a remarkable lack of understanding of strategy as they were constantly proven wrong after suggesting that various moves were a bad idea.

Couple that with the use of in- (and on-)car cameras, and this race was miserable to watch on TV.

Dannyboy said...

Where is the Jerry Punch I used to look forward to hearing from the pits all those many years???

Anonymous said...

Though it's spelt Marcos, it's actually prounounced Marcus.

Sydney, Australia

Kitch said...

Amen DewCr3w88

Grand-Am Rolex Series Races are great broadcasts. Leigh Diffey, Calvin Fish and Dorsey Schroeder are the perfect team.

And it's refreshing to see a pit road team - Chris Neville, Brian Till, Kelli Stavast, Justin Bell and Jamie Howe- who can shed light on events on the track and ask drivers something other than "how do you feel?"

The first time I heard them discuss actual strategy with a driver I almost fell over.

I haven't seen the Cup race yet. It rolled at 2.00am this morning. I wish I had MRN to take away Jerry Punch.

Watching live races down here are dangerous. Jerry's already put me to sleep during the Brickyard race and at Daytona.

darbar said...

We can complain, scream and rant all we want, but ESPN is not going to change what they do. As long as they sell out all their commercial time, we're going to be stuck with this pitiful excuse of a racing telecast. Unless sponsors start pulling out and ESPN starts to see lost revenue, then we MAY see some changes, but this will not happen in the near future. ESPN refuses to see a problem. I'm guessing they're of the opinion that their broadcasts are professional, informative and successful. And unless Dr Punch pulls a Weber, we'll be stuck with him for the long haul.

We Nascar fans are going to have to suck it up, and abandon ESPN's telecasts or go back in time to when the only way to keep tabs on racing was by turning on the radio.

Gymmie said...

@Dannyboy--if you find him please FedEx/UPS/SOMETHING him to ESPN STAT!

@Kitch---Yes I *love* Leigh, Calvin and Dorsey! They're awesome!

@darbar--true sadly, all falls on deaf ears :(

Anonymous said...

darbar & everyone else, you're right. And the solution is to cut and paste that blog comment into e-mails to all the broadcast sponsors. They're paying for it and they should know what the viewers think of it. If the sponsors push for change, it will come. We have to push the sponsors into action.

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

That's it. I am officially through with ESPN.

I don't have time to watch the entire race in the evening, so I didn't record the race. I do, however, have an hour to watch NASCAR Now - which last week gave me a nice professional review of the race.

Well, today, they decide to move NASCAR Now unannounced (well, announced, but while EVERYONE is at work and can't change their DVR).

So, I get an hour of two idiots discussing college football on my DVR.

Why would you suddenly decide to do a "live" post race show today when you routinely leave the air early to go to SportsCenter even though you are still in your NASCAR time slot?

Thanks for nothing ESPN.

Jim from NY said...

Hey All,

I read this column all the time, but this is my first post. I wanted to say that this is not a NASCAR post, but it is an ESPN post. I watched the Yankee/Boston game last night on ESPN, and was actually happy that their coverage of the game was as horrible as their racing coverage. They called A-Rod Big Papi. They spent 2 innings without any play by play interviewing Luis Tiant in the booth. I have never seen worse coverage in all my years watching baseball.

I am posting here because in general, it seems like ESPN just cares about its own agenda. Mr Tiant was on to promote a special next Sunday on ESPN. The last game of a 4 game series was pushed aside for a 30 minute interview/commercial!

I feel bad that the coverage was horrible, but I felt relieved that NASCAR is not the only sport getting poor coverage.

To drive my point home, one of the announcers acutally said, after his A-Rod/Big Papi blunder, that he must be confusing the steroid using players. Are you kidding me?

ESPN is a horrible network, and actually has gotten too big to care about what it actually started out to do - report on sports. All they care about is how to market themselves. Sportscenter is pure evidence of this. The fact that they can get so many professional athletes to cater to their advertising needs speaks volumes.

Sorry for the rant initiated by baseball, but for me it was eye opening. I originally thought NASCAR was just the stepchild, but in reality, ESPN is just a lousy network all around.

- j

Sophia said...


I've heard the same thing from baseball and football fans regarding ESPN.

Difference is, do they put a camera on the dugout while a guy makes a home run? Do folks get to see a touchdown or are they explaining the seams on a football and what the innards are made from?

When they show a horse race does more than one horse cross the line?

Can the camera follow the ball as it's hit into the air and into somebody's glove?

Ugh. Oh, i watched the Open Golf tournament, was that ESPN? That station missed half the putts due to poorly placed camera.

So maybe it's sports in general but honestly camera wise, NASCAR is still the worst in my opinion.

but I feel your aggravation. :(

I mean ESPN/FOX both like to brag on themselves but it's not like we have options except for those of us with radios (some of us can't afford XM or online junk to pay extra for stuff we should get FOR FREE (i.e. cable/satellite bill) from race broadcast.

It's all I can do not go off on a big rant but MRN helped me to realize, I can no longer stomach a race on the tv.

Sad day for those with no MRN. I wish I had it for truck and NW.

BSPU stinks!

Jim from NY said...


You are correct - 100%. I feel like NASCAR illustrates their lack of talent, especially compared to TNT this season, but the Sunday Night Baseball game illustrated their total self promoting agenda.

No sport is safe from horrible coverage these days!

- j

Daly Planet Editor said...

Jim, I rarely watch baseball but did last night because of the rainout at The Glen.

We had quite a conversation going on Twitter about ESPN ignoring this national high-profile game to continually show Mr. Tiant in the announce booth and tell stories.

The game was nothing but background content to laughing and joking announcers while it was very serious business for Yankee and Red Sox fans everywhere.

After the extended interview was over, right between pitches of an innning, ESPN did a SportsCenter update.

It was not breaking news, but golf and NASCAR news that had been over for many hours. I could not believe it.

There used to be nothing more sacred to ESPN than those two teams. To see MLB treated that way was stunning and gave me a much better perspective on how the network handles NASCAR.

After today's live race, they took the 5PM show and moved it to 3:30PM, making sure that every hardworking NASCAR fan who was recording NASCAR Now for viewing after work missed the program.

When they added the 9PM reair of the race tonight, I got a rude note from the ESPN PR guy talking to me as if he was doing me a favor by telling me they woke-up and decided to re-air the race.

It's very close to being done for me and that is why I decided to let viewers comment without my opinion first.

I wanted to make sure than anyone reading these comments knew I had not influenced them in any way.

Thanks for your views, I appreciate you taking the time to voice them.


DrTeplisky said...

I'm so glad Twitter exists--MRN all but non existent unless you have satellite radio during the week. The individuals on ESPN are great folks...but when aggregated as a broadcast team for race coverage, they rival the best industrial strength vacuum cleaner. One has to have a strong leader (kinda like a Terry Lingner) with an instinct for what racing fans like, need and appreciate to wrestle this dinosaur by the tail and get it moving forward. When I heard Doc Punch resort to the frat boy humor (how the Bush Beans car (Ambrose, #47) could run out of gas) expectations for the telecast went downhill from there. That lack of leadership is not just frustrating and annoying, it's sad.

boyd said...

We've all heard about next weeks Nationwide race without a play by play man in the booth.
How will that differ from todays race?

Daly Planet Editor said...


AB will host from the infield, but Dale Jarrett, Ray Evernham, Rusty Wallace, Andy Petree and Tim Brewer will be in the booth.

My opinion is that we will see Jarrett in charge and calling the action, with the others contributing.

There will be a column on this topic during the week.


glenc1 said...

I just got through about a third of it--with some forwarding. You know, I'm tempted to go back to my old VCR tapes of the Glen from 10 years ago & compare. Too many in car cams while racing was going on elsewhere. And the bumper cams, ugh. To be honest, the camera work is bothering me more than the analysis, but it's clear that AP & DJ are doing the PxP. They're ignoring too many teams. It just doesn't seem fun or interesting...

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with all of the above comments. I am watching the DVR recording. I am at lap 19 and ready to just delete the broadcast. I do have to ask ... what does everyone think of the ESPN full throttle. To me, it seems like non-sense ... having 43 spotters/crew chiefs air at the same time is pointless.

Stephen said...

I was bored and decided to watch the 1992 Nascar race from Sonoma on ESPN Classic-Bob Jenkins, Benny Parsons, and Ned Jarrett-they made it soooo exciting!!! It was crazy how much more excitment and professionalism and fun they had-the race wasnt even that exciting but Mark Martin got loose and lost a spot and they all went nuts-the cameras were wide and good-the in car was used correctly-and the pit reporters actually asked good questions!!!! Amazing-whatever happened to that?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Well, now we know why the trash bags and clothespins were behind Tony Stewart on his live NASCAR Now interview.

He was sitting on the back of SPEED's Victory Lane set and those were the backs of John Roberts and Jimmy Spencer's chairs.

Dont'cha love TV?

Martin Vincent said...

Could someone tell John Roberts that Stewart's nickname is "Smoke", not "The Smoke"? He's the only one of all the reporters on all the channels to call him that.

Kitch said...


Leigh is Australian. So I'm biased. He used to call V8 Supercar Series racing here, and was the voice when Marcos won both his titles.


Preacher said...

What was with the camera on Tony's car at the restart?! They missed the restart showing a turning car wheel. One more miserable excuse to use these in car cameras. I did hear DJ apologize for missing Marcos pitting and questioning their strategy. The whole booth at times seemed lost as there was dead air where no one seemed to want to say anything. Additionally,there was a lot of background noise in the booth of whatever they were doing in the booth not related to the on track action. Again I ask. Is there someplace we can directly complain to the networks and/or NASCAR about the misearable broadcasts and camera shot? I wonder why we even bother to watch anymore when you basically see nothing most of the race without any useful info to think about.

Vicky D said...

Anon at 7:28 - I second that!!!! Just gibberish on Sport Center at Nascar Now's time slot.

Daly Planet Editor said...


NASCAR does not have an email address for fans. Never has.

You can find the mailing address for them in Daytona Beach on Google.

Do not send email to NASCAR.com as that is a Turner Interactive company and not NASCAR at all.

For ESPN, type the keywords Contact Us to get the email page for viewer comments.

For NASCAR Now issues, there is the nascarnownation@espn.com email address in use.

Best we can offer at the moment...

Matt said...

The coverage was really quite pathetic. It made me ask a few questions: Were the announcers even in the same state as the race? Does ESPN have any pit producers..at all?? Why did it take 10 minutes to figure out Ambrose pitted? Does ESPN think radio communications or on-board cameras are some new 21st-century technology that they invented?

Sophia said...

In case there is any doubt, my biggest gripe is the lousy camera direction.

All the info in the booth will not make me happy if all we see are bumper/in car/roof cams.

Those DFR should've been awesome on this course but there were few wide shots of this from what little I saw and from what I read. I am blessed to have local FM station carry races in the middle of country music. Who knew they did that?

Anyway, I am not looking forward to MIS or any other race.

Nobody cares about THE RACE and it's obvious nobody cares about the dreck camera work.

Patrick said...

Just finished watching the race from the DVR. There's not much more I can add, but I'll try to bulletize my opinions:
A. Show us the battles (no matter where they are in the running order)
B. Have a director that is a fan (and not some film major)
C. If there are good pictures, then the booth guys aren't hamstrung (really evident today where they can't see the whole track)
D.Don't even try to pre-determine any outcome (just follow the action on the track as it plays out).
E. Stop using the pre-recorded stuff (I heard Tim Brewer say 'de-accelerate' at least 4 times this extended weekend)
F. If you do use the pre-recorded stuff (Brewer), don't try to pull it off as if it were live (doesn't work and probably makes Punch uncomfortable thank him when its over)
G. Figure out who is your best play-by-play guy and put him in the Cup race booth (meritocracy over tenure)
H. Pit Reporters: don't ask your question with 50 words (set them up to speak their mind).

I believe I got a better idea of what was going on by supplementing my viewing with the TDP comments (especially those dialed in to MRN). I don't think I heard once why Jaime McMurray was off and then so far back until he blew up. And I wouldn't have know that my driver (junior) was back on the track if he hadn't been rolling down pit road while following one of ESPN's "stories".

This isn't rocket surgery.
I. Watch some ESPN video from the previous contract
J. Apologize to Jenkins and bring him back
K. Put the good doctor back on Pit Road where he can shine (you made a good move with DJ replacing RW, so I know you can do it).
L. Admit when you've made a mistake (jeez, I learned this when I was 4; Ambrose's Crew Chief apparently made the right call after all).
M. Show some excitement (Listen to one truck race, one Marty Reid race, one MRN race and call me in the morning).

Good Night, Gracie.

Newracefan said...

I watched a great race it consisted of little circles and MRN. Thanks Pit Command. I couldn't give it my complete attention since I was at work but I always knew what was going on and didn't even need to use Nascar.com lap by lap; and had to limit the multitasking so The Daly Planet was also off limits. I am watching my DVR of the race and on several occasions have wondered why I wasn't seeing or hearing the race that I knew ocurred. It's 3 laps to go and there is no excitement at all. What a mess.

Walter said...

I had a great seat for the entire race and saw all the action ...well most of it, except pinballing to-do with Hornish, Gordon, etc, but follow-up at Care Center filled in details ...Barney Hall, Joe Moore, Dave Moody and MRN crew kept the story line going and added details as needed ...Glenn Jarrett was strong on pit reporting and victory lane comments from Tony ...all this while driving my courier route ...MRN does it right

Bobby said...

X's and O's matter. One thing I saw this season on Fox (somewhat on TNT, but it was later in the race) was Larry McReynolds' pre-race notebook on average green flag runs, first and last caution periods, and other pit pecularities. I don't know if ESPN wants their guys as much as Fox/TNT (Barry Landis at the controls) to be X's and O's.

And X's and O's guy would easily have shown pit stop notes.

Oh, by the way: If we're in a local cable or local affiliate break, you cannot break from the local break in case of a major incident. I didn't see the race live, so I don't know if Time Warner Cable Midlands was in a local break. If you're in a local break, then you cannot break from it.

Leslie said...

ESPN to confusing have to mute TV and listen to MRN!

agc211 said...

I’ve listened to several post race interviews and have found them all disturbingly familiar. It’s like a tape loop, “Thanks to my guys for building a great car, the pit crew did an amazing job and we gained some points today.”

I’ll be the first to admit that Kyle Busch’s antics were a little over the top, but I’m beginning to miss the passion that he, and many before him, used to bring to the table. Even Smoke has become a kinder, gentler version of his former self.

Just once I’d like to hear a reporter ask Dale Earnhardt, Jr. how he feels about his season this year and hear an honest, heartfelt answer. This calm, positive demeanor that he displays just doesn’t ring true. I’d be mad as hell and I’m sure he is, but this sponsor driver sport no longer allows for any real passion from our drivers.

Dave in OKC said...

@ Bobby -

I can tell you that Cox Cable Oklahoma City was in a local break when the crash happened, which was right at the top of the hour (1 PM Central), so a local break at that time would make sense.

I caught a little bit of the live, unscripted NN following the race. From the race coverage, it was hard to believe that Massaro, Craven, Lajoie, and Evernham watched the same race we did. Just for today, the booth and NN crews should have switched places - and thats not a knock on either DJ or AP.

darbar said...

Some of you have brought up an important an interesting point. ESPN has changed their focus when it comes to sports, all sports, and not just Nascar. I'm a college and NFL nut and when I think back on the broadcasts, it does sometimes turn into a backdrop for whatever else ESPN has in mind to promote. One of the worst is their Monday Night Football games. It used to be so great to watch those games when it was Dandy Don Meredith et.al. but now it just seems that the game is an add on to whatever or whomever ESPN wants to bring on. I've sat here many times wondering what so-and-so was doing in the booth. And then they have the revolving door of broadcasters, again some of whom I wonder "what the heck is he doing on there?". Case in point, Tony Kornheiser. So I guess that Nascar isn't the only sport getting the short shrift from ESPN. They're messing up everything they touch.

Dot said...

Thank you JD & Planeteers for the great coverage today. I read you and kept track on the leader board. You guys provided me info about cautions when the LB was a lap or two behind. Too bad you all can't fit in the booth with DJ & AP.

Marcos (who knew we were mispronouncing his name all this time?), was just full of surprises this weekend wasn't he? First with Weed and then with the booth. I'm glad he wasn't cursed being the in car driver.

We watched the race and FFd thru the commls (backed up for the Gillette one) and the red flag. It made the race a little more bearable.

BSPN needs to get over the love fest with Boris. He is no longer relevant on road courses. I'd rather see someone else's foot cam too.

I'm watching VL. For once I agree with Jimmy Spencer. Someone needs to fix that area where Sam hit the tires and spun back onto the track.

Theodore said...

I knew it was going to be a long day when they went to the bumper cam on the first lap.

Sometimes during an event I revert to the play-by-play guy I was in college and start calling the action myself. Old habit. I did it today during the last few laps and my girlfriend, amused, said, "Are you doing play by play?" I said, "Well, they certainly aren't."

As I observed last week, Punch is not doing play by play but rather hosting. I would really like to know whether that comes from him or if that's what the higher-ups want him to do. It wouldn't surprise me if that direction came from above, or if Punch was put in the role specifically because he would make a good host. He does make a good host. But that's not what racing needs on TV.

ESPN is increasingly about the entertainment, not the sports. They've been trending that way for a long time, but it really seems to be coming to a head now. Has ESPN jumped the shark?

Sophia said...

ESPN has jumped the shark and is lying on the beach like a bloated whale.

yet they have all the money and sports.

I am flummoxed. A friend of mine watches and sometimes attends the games at Ohio State. He claims the tv rights have screwed up those games as well with excess time outs and commercials..kills the momentum of a game. wow.

I still say the camera work RUINS the racing more than anything and that's the bottom line.

Sadly ESPN is not alone there...FOX had us screaming at the tv.

TNT had the best booth and the best director. Mike Wells.

Somebody needs to make him Camera Director Czar of all races. Get him in the booth or somebody that thinks like him? My gripes would be cut in half. Maybe even 2/3

Gymmie said...

@Kitch--Oh yes I <3 Leigh's accent! Leigh definitely is the professional and I think he could also call a race blindfolded! He does a great job!

@Matt--when I got off work and tuned into my friend's Justin site who was replaying the race, I tuned in just as they misspoke about Marcos' pitting, since I read earlier comments I just had to shake my head! They need to contract David Hobbs and Bob Varsha to call the race from CLT and we'd have better read: real coverage :(. Heck even Leigh, Calvin and Dorsey could do it!

The PXP really needs to be a radio guy, they know how they have to paint the picture for the fan. As many said, when listening to MRN and then attempting to watch the broadcast for the pictures, it's like they're watching a different race than what was on the radio and *not* in a good way.

I should be able to be in my room, kitchen or wherever and be able to picture what's being said on TV. I should come running back into the room because there's a 20 car pile up. But *crickets* and non-chalant attitudes just doesn't cut it anymore. I only know the original ESPN from the Classic races and that I think really has hurt them. We want *that* ESPN but as others have said, the script also carries over into other sports :(.

Gymmie said...

JD--when will people realize that we're not mindnumbed robots? We have minds of our own, we all (or at least the majority might have some teens here not sure) adults, we don't need you "coaching" what to say and you don't. We're all (attempting to) watch the same thing we can see with our own eyes what sucks, what's good and what we'd like to see improved. When people can watch via Trackpass and figure out what's going on better than they can "watching" on their TV and flocking to MRN after barely a handful of laps, it's the blind obvious that we're disappointed in what TV is putting into our living rooms. Heck, with Twitter between the media, teams PR folks, bloggers and fans, there's a better picture being painted as to what's going on.

6p00e5519050958834 said...

Let me say that I repeat what I’ve believed before: NASCAR on Fox is still the best coverage. I know from reading a NASCAR blog site that others might disagree, but ESPN would have to come in second in coverage, and TNT was last. I rank the networks as I do because of its overall package of how the race is covered. I guess like everything else, it’s the connection that anyone feels with the announcers. It’s a feeling.

NASCAR on Fox: I just like the pace and commentary of Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds. The opening song of the broadcast and the original idea of the Boogity, Boogity, Boogity at the start of the race added to my preference of the show.

NASCAR on ESPN: Tim Brewer is not my type of guy I would like to be explaining about the breakdown of a NASCAR. There’s something about him that just makes it boring!

NASCAR on TNT: My Sunshine and I thought that the noises of the engines of the cars were drowning out the announcers. I am sensing that’s why many fans liked the coverage more than the ESPN network. From the postings I read on fans’ blogs I noticed that everyone liked the feature on NASCAR.com web site, RaceBuddy. It presented several different camera angles streaming through the Web with even a pit reporter giving comments during the TNT television coverage. Out of the six races, I watched it once; I was mostly working when the race was going on live, so I couldn’t really judge how well that feature was on the coverage.

I know that the best thing that anyone can do is to be your own directory with RaceView. It’s too bad that we can’t all put all the best of every network and choose what any fan/viewer wants to follow.

NorCalFan said...

I DVRd the race and watched it after work. Unfortunately, I didn't have my usual crutch of PitCommand and radio/driver information to let me know what was happening on the track. Like others before me have said, a large part of the ESPN storyline was the "troubling" pit strategy of the #47 of Ambrose. But, when the #48 spun in turn one on lap 55and JJ's CC told him to pit the next time, the agenda changed. As the guys were commenting on Papis's good run when he was in hit pit on lap 55, the #47 is shown in the foreground driving down pit road. Seconds later, Dave Burns reported on the #48 in his pit and the #47 is shown driving by the #48 in the background exiting pit road. It seemed unbelievable that all 3 in the booth missed seeing the #47 pit on lap 55 and didn't correct their error until lap 63. What are they watching??

Gotta love Shannon's first comment to JG exiting the infield care center after the big wreck. "Spirits a little bit high right now..." Huh??

Oh, and I'd like to thank ESPN for changing the programming for Nascar Now. I take it TPTB at ESPN thought that show wasn't worthy enough to remain on the same channel for those of us who had the DVR set to record the show after the race.

@ Martin Vincent. I think John Roberts calls Tony Stewart "The Smoke" for the same reason he calls Greg Biffle "The Biff". It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode from years back.

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Daly Planet Editor said...

Sorry for the overnight spam, fact of life on the Internet.

Bobby said...

We haven't had MRN in our area in eight years, and for the past three years, we can't even access MRN since the MRN affiliate in the larger city changed to a weaker station that we can't get from Inner City.

Inner City dominates radio ratings with sports and news in the area that their stations (ESPN Radio, Big DM, Air America) are bigger than the power brokers at Clear Channel (WVOC) and Citadel Radio (WISW, The Game). The ACC coverage has helped ESPN Radio and Air America outrank the SEC coverage on The Game (Fox Sports Radio) and WISW (Hannity affiliate) even though it's a 3-hour drive from the ACC school and the SEC is in town. Usually MRN is the old rock station on Inner City, but for Monday races it does to ESPN Radio, and neither -- even though they are FM stations -- are available here 35 miles away. Sad we can't get the races on the radio to help.

jan said...

I was great of ESPN to rebroadcast in prime time but why didn't they let people know? They run a scroll 24/7 but never a word to let people know they could watch the race on ESPN classic. I only ran across the Pocono replay by accident and so made an effort this week to check all the ESPN channels at the top of each hour just in case. I'm sure lots of people who would have watched were never aware it was available.

Anonymous said...

For the first time this season, I listened to a few minutes of Raceday Saturday and Sunday as well as Victory Lane.....and turned off the TV. While I always have time to listen to Wendy, I can't take Wallace and Spencer any longer. What jerks! Maybe if I were at the track with a snoot full of beer in me, I could tolerate those guys???

Vicky D said...

JD - and I think you deleted my comment after the spammers. Sniff sniff.

Ken said...

If they could show the race so we could watch it, I could live with the useless drivel from the talking heads. I can watch the race at my local 1/2 mile dirt track without need for announcers and have a good time. SHOE THE RACE!

Anonymous said...

Just be thankful if you missed the Monday version of Race Day on Speed. Jimmy Spencer was comparing Kyle Busch to a "male dog in heat" and that the 12 drivers in the chase were females in a cage that Kyle wanted to get to. John Roberts told him that male dogs don't go into heat, but big mouth Spencer kept right on going with the comparison. It was just icky and I had to change the channel.

Anonymous said...

Patchwork DVR for me fortunately caught the NASCAR Now after the race, but only because I always set a record buffer for overruns. Moving that show from its scheduled timeslot without warning, on a Monday when just about everyone had to work and wanted race highlights, was the stupidest thing ESPN has done yet.
I did end up FFWD through most of the race because of the painful coverage, sorry I missed the MRN. I'm not usually one to complain about TV coverage, but this time it was pretty bad, the Glen is usually one of my favorite races of the year.

bevo said...

I decided to wait before posting my comments so I could listen to the replay of the race on Sirius last night.

I gave up on the ESPN broadcast with 35 laps left in the race and turned on the MRN call on Sirius. Last night I listened to the part of the race that I watched.

The first thing that jumped out was the information that MRN gave during and after the pit stops. The pit reporters discussed the strategies the teams were using and the problems each team was having with their cars. The most glaring example was Ambrose. MRN knew that he was on a two pit stop strategy meaning he would pit on laps 30 and 60. While this absolutely baffled ESPN the radio had it covered. Amazing that even though he was their "story" for the race they had no idea what his team was doing.

The interviews with the drivers and crew chiefs on MRN did not once use the phrase "how does it feel". The questions were direct and the answers were straightforward.

Looking back on yesterday I came to several conclusions.

ESPN had the worst broadcast since the Sonoma race on TNT in 2007. It was also reminiscent of the last season on NBC when they just gave up even trying to do a good job covering the race.

The big difference between ESPN and MRN is a love of racing. MRN hires talent that cut their teeth as track announcers and understand racing and people involved in racing. A perfect example yesterday was Jaimie Little referring to Tony Stewart as a "ringer". They pick up the lingo so they sound like they know racing but have no idea what it means.

There is a focus that is lacking with ESPN. The broadcast has the feel of an effort run by committee. Every aspect has to be used - in-car cameras, in-race reporters, foot cam, tech center, "cool" camera shot of the week, "the" stat, "the" feel-good story. All of these must be used whether or not they help describe the race for the viewer. I feel sorry for all of the long time technical people behind the scenes who I am sure want to produce a great broadcast and are faced day in and day out by bosses who have no idea what they are doing.

Yesterday was a train wreck of epic proportions but I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel for ESPN until they make sweeping changes of the people at the top.

glenc1 said...

I had SPEED on the scanner in the parking lot when Spencer got into the dog thing...turned it off. What a maroon...

I made it to the end...anyone can make a mistake, but when it's a road course, you *really* have to pay attention to the pit strategy and for ESPN to miss the whole 47 thing...geeez...and I like Andy, but that was a biggie...

The trouble with planning coverage on a road course is, there are often surprises because of gas mileage, etc...not necessarily with the leaders, but with the top ten, sometimes you get unexpected results. You have to go with the story that's unfolding, and they didn't seem to be capable. At some point they were showing the 48in turn one and I counted 5 seconds of complete silence. I don't need anyone to tell me that's bad, I can figure it out all by myself. DJ finally broke the silence like he was really trying to make this thing better. I wonder, with some practice, if he couldn't just be the pxp guy. I FF through commercials so can't comment on that, but generally I get that you can't come back during a local. Incidentally, MRN was concerned about that blind spot in 9 long before the wreck, the reporter described in detail the area he could not see when they were off air. I just thought it was interesting hearing how they go about sorting this out--they are professional and put a lot of effort into it, and it just feels like ESPN does not. While those who've said it is better are right, that doesn't mean we can't wish for better.

About 6p00e5519050958834's comments on TNT...sorry, but I have never been to Racebuddy, and I don't care about engine noise, but I know TNT's analysis is about 100% better than what I saw today, not to mention their camera work. And better than Fox, easily.

BTW...side note...I did see one adult male wearing a Digger shirt. And a few families buying stuff at the trailer, but it was Friday, they would be much busier on a Saturday.

Tom said...

Not much more to be said except that this was the first weekend since Daytona in Feb. where I actually watched the broadcast undelayed, warts, commercials and all. Like others, I compared Sunday to Saturday and Friday and even the TNT broadcasts. It seemed like these guys were so out to lunch it was ridiculous. I am not as impressed by Petree as many here are, but he is usually knowledgeable and adds to the broadcast. From the very beginning of the Marcos pit road strategy he sounded like he had no clue at all concerning different plans being used by teams. No wonder none of his drivers ever won a road course!!. I jest, but it was sad to see them harp that strategy and drop the ball in following up the fact that it was pretty succesful!
Mart Reid led a far superior broadcast in every manner on Sat. Perhaps it is time to start doing a little (a LOT) of shaking up so they might salvage something by November.

Inverness, FL

Anonymous said...

Did anybody notice that when Robby Gordon was in the pits with the hood up, the camera and announcers focused on it, and asked the pit reporter (can't remember which one) what was going on there, and it turns out he was in another pit altogether? Never did hear what the problem was.

I also noticed it looked like Jr was actually pleased & smiling when he got done with the "interview" by Spake/Little (whichever) and got over to the MRN interview.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Remember, we don't feed the trolls!


Ziggy said...

I'll second & sometimes 3rd everything everyone else has said.

Just think, another 14 weeks to go.


Bruce Simmons said...

With all of the above being said, I came into the telecast during the red light. At least there, they could keep up with the action.

The only reason I don't get the gripes was probably because the indoor A/C unit was pretty loud and I couldn't hear much.

The last 20 laps, muffled or muted were pretty exciting for me.

I'd think that after the entire weekend of bad wrecks happening where J Gordon got plastered, ESPN might have made an attempt to change camera positions to be able to follow the cars if they hit that pitch-back tire barrier.

There were a few times where all they could focus on were the front 4 or 5 running cars. But if you taped it, go back and watch the restarts. Look in the middle and back of the pack.... yea, way back there in the dust cloud. That's right ESPN, there was some 3, 4 and it looked like 5 wide racing back there at times... but that's OK, we really enjoyed watching single and double file racing at the front.

I love how ON MONDAY, we got to see the damage Ambrose did to his car on Saturday during his victory burn out! (Unless I missed it when they showed it Saturday. I'm sure that's a possibility.)

Did you notice we got more details on events that happened "yesterday," and last week as opposed to when it was happening then?

I don't know, it could be me blinking at all the wrong times.

At least we have our sport to watch on TV.

'Nuff said.

Bruce (NASCAR Bits and Pieces)

Dannyboy said...

JD and Jim from NY :

The Luis Tiant ESPN special was on last night while I watched the the rebroadcast of Victory Lane out here on the left coast. I switched over during VL commercials, as I am a lifelong fan of "Loo-ee!" even though was a Red Sox star.

THE SPECIAL WAS AN HOUR TOO LONG! Typical ESPN overdone social issues mucking up what should have been a wonderful story. Yes there were sad things that happened to Luis and his family, but they dwelled on that stuff so much, and played so much mournful minor-key music that I'm glad I was watching VL and NN so I didn't have to endure the whole Tiant piece.

I want to second, third, fourth and fifth most of the above comments, and just add that if they don't change, ESPN might force me to pay for some of that NASCAR premium content just to get away from the corporate swill of ESPN. Yuch!

But it WAS a great race, wudd'nit?

MtnVwJay said...

Just watching the dvr of race - at beginning they mention (with a chart) of assorted champions in the race - they mention 7 (seven) Sprint Cup Champions - I have Gordon, Johnson, Stewart, Kurt Busch, Kenseth and B Labonte - who did I miss? Jarrett is former champ but isn't participating in the race...

SMIFF_99 said...

Wow, 6p00e5519050958834--what coverage were you ACTUALLY watching?

Cause when I watched the races on Fox, I almost choked because David Hill and DW had shoved Digger so far down my throat.

Fox--Solid camera work, excellent PxP.......and yet they make all of that look fruitless every time 'digger' pops up on screen or we have to hear that stupid 'let's go racing boys' song for the MILLIONTH time.

Fox, again, is solid. But TNT takes it.

In my opinion, TNT set the bar pretty high this season--to be truthful, I had almost as much fun watching TNT's races (after Sheheen came on board) as I do when I go back and watch 10 or 20 year old ESPN or CBS races. Ralph Sheheen was the icing on the cake.

Here's what the PERFECT ESPN lineup would look like:

Pits- John Kernan, Dr. Punch, Dave Burns, Mike Massaro

Booth- Bob Jenkins, DJ, Andy Petree

Pit Studio- Bestwick & CRAVEN, maybe special guests here and

If we had that combination every week, even the worst camera work couldn't bring me down.

Kenn Fong said...


I like to be a guy who tries to look at things from the other fella's eyes, but it's hard to see how seasoned professionals could mess up this badly.

ESPN's telecast looks a lot like they hired a director fresh out of local TV who all of a sudden has a lot of new toys to play with, so he's got to play with them. Unlike most here, I don't want any of the gimmick cameras done away with; I just want them used judiciously.

A bumper cam can illustrate how close the cars run during a crash or bump-drafting, but I find it hard to justify using it live unless it's in a inset. Ditto the in-car: if the driver has to wrestle with the handling, watching him at the wheel is fascinating for a few moments. The foot-cam also works very well as an inset but we don't need to see it more than twice a race. (By the way, I still don't understand the "heel-toe" when Boris and other drivers are using the brakes and gas at the same time.)

I am at a complete loss as to why the Worldwide Leader continues to expose Dr. Jerry Punch to ridicule. Three years is enough. Make up some big title, put him back in the pits where he can excel. It's just cruel to leave him in the booth to twist in the wind.

Just about the only bright spot for me is I'm not that upset when I have to work during the race. Except for missing this community, watching the racecast on my DVR shortens the pain.

West Coast Kenny
Alameda, California

Jayhawk said...

I'm a bit late to the game, here, but before the last pit stop Kyle was leading Smoke. The announcers commented that Smoke had some problems in the pit and I suspected he might have lost the lead, but there was no mention made as to their relative positions after the pit stop. Some time later the crawler showed Kyle leading Smoke, but there was no camera work showing how much that lead was. We didn't see Smoke until he actually caught up with and was about to pass Kyle.

Jayhawk said...

Sorry, Smoke was leading before the stop.

Anonymous said...

I know that this website is about media coverage, but I thought that the racing at The Glen was so absorbing that the on-the-air talent became secondary. The race was a thriller right to the end.

I guess what I am saying is that the racing got in the way of the announcing. I can live with that. When it happens, of course.

alex said...

ESPN needs to quit trying to have an agenda and have to sport as the background as darbar and others have mentioned. I watched the race after work yesterday on DVR, and I had to skip through quite a bit of it. I never yell at my TV (because I feel like an idiot yelling when no one could hear me), but I yelled during the restart with 20 to go. From the in-side-car cam at the restart, to the tight shots through the esses that nearly gave me motion sickness, back to in the in-car shots through the bus stop turn, it was a mess.

Just to get a little perspective, immediately after the race I watched my tape of the 1994 Bud at the Glen, produced by ESPN. While the graphics were more crude, the camera work was better, the play by play was better, and JP was great in the pits. I felt I didn't NEED a ticker or other "crutches" on the screen to help the booth portray the action on the track.

There was no talk of points, points as of now, what happened in the Busch/NNS race the day before, forced drama, in-car "reporters", etc. Just solid coverage of the race.

Then after that I watched my tape of the 1984 TranSouth 500 at Darlington, also on ESPN. Back in '84 this was ESPN's first ever trip to Darlington, so you would think they might not know what to expect for directing the cameras and such. Compare that to Watkins Glen, that they've covered for most of two decades. 25 years makes a world of difference, and it isn't good. There is NO way that a network should have 25 years to improve themselves and show a race like they did on Monday. Terrible.

alex said...

Oh, and thanks ESPN for screwing everyone who came home from work looking for Nascar Now on the DVR. Well done.

Martin Vincent said...

@NorCalFan - It just sounds wrong every time John Roberts calls him "The Smoke".

Biffle is "The Biff", not just "Biff".

Stewart is just "Smoke", not "The Smoke".

Seems easy enough.

GinaV24 said...

since I was at work, I had to let the DVR record and watched it when I got home. What a sorry excuse for a race broadcast!! I'm sure that if I had been at home to watch, I'd have gone to MRN and my computer to follow the race.

I think that I'm done with watching any more races "live". I'll stick to using the DVR and just FF to what I want to see IF that is the director could actually show me the racing rather than too many in car shots and "the script". ESPN = World wide loser in motorsports coverage!

David said...

After having a day to digest the steaming pile of mush that ESPN produced I have some remarks. Didn't get to read all the comments because I think they would just further fuel my frustration with what happened but for the mostpart I agree with all I saw.

I don't have a problem with in-cars or the pedal cams, merely with when and how they are used is my concern. This goes back to ESPN not having a CLUE how to produce a split screen for their lives.

Thats peanuts though in comparison to what set me off. How disjointed or dysfunctional does your booth to production truck and vice versa have to be to put such rubbish over the air and say your proud of it?

It wasn't even a bad race! Tons of compelling storylines all race long! The pit reporters get an F- as far as I'm concerned. Dave Burns is decent with TNT and yet useless with ESPN, how does that happen in the span of 5 weeks?!

Why are we only following the same 5-7 cars all day long? There really was no honest coverage of Robby Gordon which maybe lucky for ESPN he was a nonfactor all day but it still doesnt excuse them blowing off what was arguably a threat to win on Friday for a majority of the race come Monday. The failed to talk about Mad Max who had a career best until after the race, Scott Speed led a few laps and got blown off, Stremme cleans out the 24 and 29 yet no follow up with the CC?

Even NASCAR Now had its issues. Mostly graphically they struggled showing incorrect screens at times. Ricky and Randy tried, as did Ray but even they seemed a bit confused as to who did what all day because lets face it, they missed ALOT.

Casey Mears had a pretty decent run, not a word was said about him. In fact the race around 10th sounded pretty fast and furious on MRN, yet ESPN seemed determined to stay with Ambrose at all costs. Even the drama they attempted to manufacture at the end with "fuel" was failed.

What happened Andy? Normally on the ball and up to speed he completely missed it Monday. Completely. Larry Mac would have RODE every single pit reporter to get every single game plan he could have possibly got and not only that he would run through his ideas of what a team was trying to do and furthermore would be willing to pat a team on the back if they proved him wrong.

This was a broadcast that really makes me not want to watch another race on TV until Daytona. It was indeed THAT bad. That being said, hopefully there will be some answers because the attitude ESPN demonstrated Monday and really since last week relaying back to Twitter-gate has been nothing short of embarrassing. A strong booth performance Saturday doesn't excuse the network for a mass failure Monday.

Great rain-delay coverage. AB is the franchise of NASCAR on ESPN in my eyes and if someone at ESPN doesn't realize it soon and utilize Alan to his full potential, someone should.

How many more years of NASCAR on ESPN? Loved these guys in 2000, how the mighty have fallen.

Brian said...

The Entire race was horrible. ESPN should be ashamed of the "show" they put on. Rather it is because of the the complaints or something else they are trying something different for the Michigan race (removing Jerry Punch as the Play by play and adding 3 more "champion drivers/crew cheifs" in his place. Yup. 5 people to call the race "as if they were buddies at home watching" To close here are a few tweets I made during the race.

WTH ESPN? how about a reset, follow up on 24, 29, 6 crewmember, reset the field... nope ANOTHER commercial break... I miss TNT

@ESPN Dear ESPN... YOU SUCK not only no follow up, then you missed the green flag!
(after rather than follow up after the 24, 12 & 29 wreck they went to commercial and missed the restart)

@abestwick espn NEEDS you in the play by play role in the booth.

tom in dayton said...

Thanks for taking the time Sunday night to watch that baseball telecast! You got to see why many of us who used to turn to the ESPN channels for all things sports now look elsewhere.
I appreciate your answer to me last week and it makes sense, so I won't repeat it here. But how can the Nationwide effort and the Monday telecast be so different? Even with the few problems of missed action on the track, the Saturday telecast was enjoyable and I found myself not multitasking. On Monday, after the first few laps, multitasking was the only way I could keep current with the race. I can't believe the sole problem is the on-air talent! Monday's broadcast was just so bad that, if one didn't know better, one would believe that a different TV network did the Monday race than the one that did the race on Saturday.
ESPN has shifted, in my opinion, to Entertainment over Sports. Maybe soon we'll start seeing the Magic Kingdom logo at the beginning to ESPN's sports broadcasts - it would be more appropriate!

MRM4 said...

Jerry Punch just confirmed what JD hinted at concerning Jarrett, Petree, Wallace, and Evernham all calling a race together. It will take place during Saturday's Nationwide race. Punch said it came from some bet at dinner. He did say ESPN may try the same thing during an upcoming college football game.

alex said...

I'm thinking that ESPN's nascar coverage is driven by the almightly dollar. Why did they focus so much on Marcos Ambrose? Is it because of his road racing background, or because Bush Beans gave them money? Every 4 laps we got the "Bush Beans in car camera". It wasn't even the little debbie car to ESPN, it was the bush beans car. If that camera wasn't sponsored, the coverage would have hopefully been a little more balanced.

David said...

Where's stricklinfan been? I usually totally agree with him and could use his eloquence here...

Richard in N.C. said...

I found the move-up of NASCAR Now to be a very clear indication of what EESPN thinks of its customers and NASCAR fans in particular. I can think of no good purpose served by showing N-Now at 3:30 instead of taping and showing it at 5:00 as scheduled. Thanks to JD I was able to tape the re-broadcast.

I guess it is just a corollary to the Golden Rule - as long as we have it, they'll have to come.

Charlie said...

If I remember right stricklinfan said on a post a bit ago that he was all done with Nascar this year and would not be watching it.

The main thing that I wonder about is how can Espn do such a fine job (until the end of the race) during the Nationwide race on Saturday and such a bad job on Monday. The only visual change was Marty Reid in the booth on Saturday and Jerry Punch was in the booth on Monday. Can one person make that much difference.
I would like to know if the person directing the cameras did both races. There was a big difference in the directing of shots. Saturday was good, Monday bad.

Ben in NC said...

"ESPN used a great camera angle from the front of Marcos Ambrose’s car during the race. It provided an excellent vantage point to watch the race leaders ahead navigate the road course. That view would also be good in restrictor-plate races."

The following was a quote from Jim Utter on another racing website. Until the rest of the media that covers Cup has to watch ESPN, dumb comments like these ain't gonna help us any. Yeah Jim, they'll be killer at the plate tracks...we'll just be watching darkness cause the camera will be stuck to the bumper of the driver in front. Anyway, just piss poor.

Ben in N.C.

alex said...

It's like on that final restart. When they had the camera pointed over at Tony's left front tire, my first thought was "Oh, that's a neat place to put a camera". That was replaced 3 seconds later with "Ok, now show me the damn race!"

jim said...

We don't need to see the foot work on road course races every time,plus they don't need the in car talk or the washed up crew chief showing what brakes are for,or Sally Littles stupid questions. Just show the race

Anonymous said...

thank god for dvr,tape it and skip all the bs

darbar said...

After thinking about this issue for a while, I may have come up with some pertinent comments.

1. ESPN treats their viewers as if they were watching Nascar for the first time. They seemed to have named their broadcasts "Nascar for Dummies Presented by ESPN". Nascar absolutely refuses to understand that fans don't need their gimmicks or fancy technologies in order to produce an interesting and exciting race. They refuse to allow the race do the talking.

2. They are enamored with their expensive technology. That can be the only conclusion one can come to with regards to their love affair with in-car cameras, bumper cams and the ubiquitous "Tech Center". They probably feel they paid a whole lot for this stuff, so they may as well get their money's worth.

3. Ever since ESPN was taken over by Disney, they have adopted a Disney-esque approach to their programming, which shuns taking any sporting event and showing it in it's reality, without showiness and gimmicks. I'm waiting for the day when an animated character takes over one of their sporting events as a play by play person. Perhaps if they brought on Shrek as the PXP person for Nascar, we could have an interesting race. Oops, maybe I shouldn't give ESPN/Disney any stupid ideas.

4. Neither ESPN nor Nascar care about the fans. This has been made blatantly obvious via their nose thumbing to the fans whenever they've made their concerns known. We Planeteers have been saying the same things for two years now, and we've all seen what has become of all this---absolutely nothing. Nascar continues to make and enforce their rules at will, they destroy the history of the sport all in the effort to attract fans that will NOT be attracted no matter how hard they try. And Nascar is in cahoots with ESPN, perhaps not in any concrete manner, but their silence on matters such as the sub-par broadcasts, just gives ESPN the tacit approval they need.

5. ESPN refuses to hire broadcasters who appear to understand the sport. As a woman, I'm all for equal treatment in the workplace, but I daresay they hired many of their female talent for their looks only and not because they know the sport. Give us a woman who really knows the sport even if she's not a man-drooling babe. How can two certain female ESPN pit reporters not be embarrassed by their continual mistakes and obvious lack of knowledge of Nascar. Now, I'm not saying that some of their male counterparts are without their problems (as made obvious by JP Montoya), but the lack of professionalism by these two are glaring.

6. Finally, ESPN will do absolutely nothing because they don't see or admit there's a problem. Until ratings drop to a point where sponsors pull their money, we're stuck with what we've got. ESPN stood for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, and they seem to have removed the word Sports from their personal dictonary.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking Shreck would be an improvement.

However, tonight I am determined to be as upbeat as possible about the broadcast. I have to take a moment to say that no one else in America would willingly wear purple ties on television, so this is another first for the WWE-er-WWL.

Sophia said...

From Darbar's post

"4. Neither ESPN nor Nascar care about the fans. This has been made blatantly obvious via their nose thumbing to the fans whenever they've made their concerns known. We Planeteers have been saying the same things for two years now, and we've all seen what has become of all this---absolutely nothing.

Nascar continues to make and enforce their rules at will, they destroy the history of the sport all in the effort to attract fans that will NOT be attracted no matter how hard they try. And Nascar is in cahoots with ESPN, perhaps not in any concrete manner, but their silence on matters such as the sub-par broadcasts, just gives ESPN the tacit approval they need."

Good summary Darbar!

If nobody has the guts to say this ON TV or in the media, BSPN will continue to get by with this rubbish.

If only Dave Despain would read this paragraph on the air on Wind Tunnel! It tells the story of ratings problems to large degree. Well that and the start times and races too long. :)

NA$CRAP should be ashamed

Anonymous said...

I disagree that 'NASCAR doesn't care about the fans.' I am very critical of them at times, but I don't think they don't 'care'. They just are occasionally out of touch. They cared enough to try double file restarts. They need to listen better about the broadcasts. If some of what we've heard is true, they do. And think about how much better ESPN is than it was...someone cared ennough to get rid of Brent and Suzy, right? I am a complainer, but I'm not without hope.

Dot said...
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GreenMeansGo said...

I had to work and couldn't watch the race, but was able to listen to MRN through PitCommand. All I can say is "thank goodness for MRN!". While flipping thru channels Monday night, I stumbled across the replay on Classic. I couldn't believe it was the same race I had just listened to on the radio.

darbar said...

Dot, Brian France just takes the money and runs to NY to purchase his $10 million apartment.

Anon 8:54, yes, Nascar did change to the double file restarts, but in my opinion, that's like feeding a minnow to a 10 ton whale. It's something, but means very little.

What about the complaints pertaining to the bad racing and the COT? How about complaints about bad TV coverage? Fans have been grousing about rules that make no sense, phantom debris cautions, the Chase being one of the worst things instituted by Nascar (causes nothing but points racing for the first 26 races and that's boring), insisting on having two races at tracks that some might say have no business having even one race, much less two.

And then we have the silly start times. If the NFL, MLB and other sports have no problem with their West Coast fans having to tune in at 10am to see their teams play East Coast games, why can't ESPN and Nascar understand that? They need to go back to uniform start times, EARLY start times. Heck, their ratings suck big time now, so how much worse can it get if they start races at 1pm Eastern??????

Dot said...
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Anonymous said...
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Richard in N.C. said...

I have to believe that some part of the problem with EESPN coverage is the absence of support from the mainstream media for the complaints of fans. In my opinion, no party gets a pass from the mainstream media like EESPN does. According to the mainstream media, any the problems with NASCAR broadcasts are the result of NASCAR and the COT, none are the result of how EESPN handles the broadcasts. Could make one question the objectivity and credibility of the mainstream media.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the racing is bad. I think the coverage is bad. I am not jumping on the anti COT bandwagon, having seen 5 races in person and good racing in each. I just watched the video of JD McDuffie (thanks, Jayski, for the reminder.) I never want to see NASCAR turn its back on safety, and believe me, I was so 'anti-NASCAR' in 2001 you wouldn't believe it. But I also have to acknowledge what they *have* done, if only too late. I can't only see one side because it suits me. I think Brian is completely out of touch. I'd like to see Lesa have a stab at it. I'd like to see ESPN listen to us. Lots of things I'd like to see, but I'm smart enough to know not all of this will happen right away; they are slow to change. and nothing wrong with us demanding it. I'd like to see NASCAR pressure them...and if you believe what we've heard (ie, Michigan) here, that is happening. I'm not some naive fan, I've been watching & attending for more than a decade, and am a student of what happened before. I'm very annoyed at the poor quality of broadcasting in general. But I don't believe they're stupid enough to 'not care.' They just don't try hard enough to understand. Also, I dislike the Chase...but to say that it 'causes nothing but points racing for the first 26 races and that's boring', well, what do you think was happening with 33 races under the old system? Points racing was the same in 1999, it won't change until more points are given for wins, no matter what the system. I do think that we (here) are students of broadcasting, when most are okay with passive watching, and they think everything is just fine. They're wrong, but they're not vocal. But it's not about not caring. It's about not listening deeply enough.

anon 8:54

Shaun said...

Bring back Race Buddy, such a great feature TNT brought to the table, I'd love to see NASCAR itself bring something like that out.

For me, I watched the race on RaceView, following my fav Smoke, with the MRN broadcast on. When a wreck or something happened, I put the TV on, and also switched over to ESPN for the last 20 laps or so.

Don't even get me started on FOX.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thank you. This might have been the best bunch of comments in the three seasons of TDP.

What wonderful and informed fans NASCAR has across the nation.

Now that NASCAR has changed the racing with the new restart rules, it's time to get some TV changes before the Chase begins.

Your comments may have starte the ball rolling.

Thanks to those who commented and those who took the time to stop by and read the opinions.


Tgro said...

One thing that makes ESPN so unbearable to watch is how all the announcers seem to have the same monotone pitch or frequency in their voice. It sounds like 3 straight-men doing a show with no lead. They are INCREDIBLY BORING to listen to and offer no Passion to the race.

Jerry Punch uses the same inflections throughout every race. You could close your eyes and listen to this guy and you would think you seen the same race last week. He sounds like he thinks he has a style and he thinks he is using it well and what seems to be happening is he just sounds the same boring way week after week.

Andy Petree just sounds too bumpkin and slow to me. Sometimes he sounds smart and sometimes hes Captain obvious.

Dale Jarrett would be better if he had a better supporting cast around him. The problem is he has the same monotone voice that his counterparts have. I know he was a replacement for the overtalking Rusty Wallace, but Wallace is a bit more seasoned now and seems more passionate when viewing a race and gives better drama. Jarrett always seems just a bit too stuffy. Jarrett needs a D.W. or someone with some fun to him to loosen and liven him up.

Then you cutaway to the pits and get pure amateurs in all its glory. The drivers almost look pissed talking to this group. And unfortunately they are just as dry as the rest of the crew.

The tech center brings us more dullness who obviously knows a lot about the car and usually does a decent job of explaining himself. But far too often I can't help but picture the guy in some dark country bar with gold chains on trying to pick up a chick over a beer.

What the hell is with the music before commercials? Random country songs and barely heard of cheesy rock songs sound so disjointed and unrelated to the race. Fox has "Lets go racing boys" which is annoying but at least it's slightly catchy and relates to the race. I miss the old commercial fade-out they used to have. TNT had their Buckcherry Highway Star which I think headbanging goes along well with racing. Old Country Crooners Crying like someone just got divorced is just too awful.

Why do we always follow the in race reporter with the a discussion with the crew chief? Same perspective repeated twice and just bores me more.

The Spotter chatter on restarts is just retarded. Is this seriously the competition to "Crank It Up"??? Listening to 15 people talk at once is ludicrous and adds nothing to the race. Listening to just 1 spotter, although lame, would sure be better than listening to 15.

And all race coverage gets accused of this, but ESPN is by far the worst at picking about 10 drivers to watch and thats it unless the others crash or blow an engine. When the chase comes, forget about knowing about anybody else. Just forget about it.

ESPN is by far the most disappointing and unwatchable of the 3 Networks who bring us the race each season and are firmly far back in 3rd place especially after TNT thankfully dumped Weber. The sad part is no one has Nascar longer than ESPN. Combined with their better but still overkill of Nationwide races, ESPN can almost single-handedly be one of the biggest reasons Nascar is losing its popularity. You cannot bore us to death and be incompetent week after week and expect viewers to keep coming back. After awhile, mowing your yard or going out somewhere almost makes for a better option. ESPN needs to revamp their both team and #1 should be Jerry Punch to get the boot, but I wouldnt be bothered with the departure and replacement of any of the team. This team just doesn't have any personality whatsoever and subtraction can only bring a possibility of addition.

Anonymous said...

Lot's of frustration with ESPN by real sports fans. I totally avoid all of their ridiculous talking head shows. No choice when it comes to watching the events. I mostly mute the sound and get status info from other sources. We need to recognize that ESPN is like Google, they make all of their money selling adverts. The sports is merely the bait. The ad rates they receive are based on the number of viewers delivered to the advertisers. They know dedicated fans will keep watching the event no matter how bad the production. They are really trying to attract the marginal fans who care about celebrity, sociopathic athlete hijinks, etc. They are the people the advertisers want

BWBarefoot said...

Thanks everyone! I have nothing to add, except to say that I wish that the commentary would be more outspoken as it relates to NASCAR issues.

Speaking of which, is it true that NASCAR has an Article 5 which essentially limits what the announcers can say about off-track issues?