Saturday, August 22, 2009
Your Turn: Sprint Cup Series From Bristol, TN On ESPN
The very long night race from Bristol brought yet another new wrinkle to the TV coverage of the sport this season from ESPN. New green and yellow colors on the ticker were the tip of the iceberg as the TV focus shifted from the race to the Chase for the Championship.
ESPN ignored the festivities happening on the track during the one hour pre-race show to originate programming that contained repeats of features shown on other ESPN NASCAR shows. There were two agendas running side-by-side on this evening before the race.
Many fans emailed about the driver introductions that would contain musical selections picked by the drivers themselves. ESPN advised they could not show this portion of the festivities due to rights issues with the music.
Just like last season, ESPN described the single-lane Bristol of old during the pre-race show and talked about the bump-and-run. Other than the final lap, this is something that almost does not exist since the new track surface and configuration was revealed. The mandatory footage of old fights at Bristol was used again.
The pit reporters also struggled in the pre-race with the fact that this is the new Bristol track. Questions aimed at drivers about the old days were politely moved aside to reflect the modern reality of a two groove racetrack.
Jerry Punch called the race with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. This is a very different style of racing at Bristol and it gave Punch trouble last season as well. The side-by-side racing was tough to handle for the team and it became apparent quickly that the Chase and the leaders of the race were going to be Punch's focus.
The director inserted in-car cameras frequently. This removed the race perspective for the TV viewers and it was tough to get oriented. In-cars were often used when cars were running in tight quarters and fans missed a lot of the action that then had to be replayed from other camera angles.
Fans are now familiar with the announcing style of Punch. Details, stats and basic information is relayed while Jarrett and Petree try to create the excitement and often call out when something happens on the track. Punch has a measured monotone and rarely changes, except when reading an ESPN baseball promo or introducing a commercial.
Petree has been having a tough couple of races in his role as the strategy person in the booth. It started at Watkins Glen and continued through the Bristol event. His casual style and relaxed manner sometimes has a tough time fitting into the scripted world of the ESPN telecasts. He began this season as the voice of reason but has recently often become the voice of frustration.
Jarrett takes the high road in every situation because that is his style. When start-and-park car Dave Blaney caused an early incident, Jarrett said nothing about the reality of the situation. His patience and kindness has won him a lot of fans, but it might be time for Jarrett to step-up and take over when these telecasts are struggling.
Commercial breaks are always an issue at Bristol, but this telecast seemed to contain more than usual and the timing was sometimes rough. Lots of baseball promos dominated the night as there is no Cup race next weekend to promote.
This is an opportunity for you to offer an opinion on how you enjoyed the ESPN telecast of the night race from Bristol, TN. 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. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.