Friday, September 4, 2009

Biggest NASCAR TV Saturday In Memory

Several different elements have come together to create a "Super Saturday" of NASCAR TV for fans. Between ESPN2 and SPEED there are thirteen straight hours of live NASCAR action on TV. Get some extra snacks and settle in, this should be good.

SPEED's outstanding team of Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond are always entertaining. They have been with NASCAR fans handling various practice and qualifying sessions since February in Daytona. On Saturday, they will be front-and-center for a big chunk of the live TV coverage. The trio begins at 11AM ET by covering both sessions of Sprint Cup practice.

Joining the team from the garage area will be Wendy Venturini and Bob Dillner. These two have been showing fans just how familiar they are with the personalities in the garage as they move effortlessly between drivers, crew chiefs and owners for interviews.

John Roberts will host a version of NASCAR Live at 12:30PM between practice sessions. Roberts has been working very well with this low-key program. Using a variety of reporters, Roberts lets fans get caught up with the day's events through this simple and effective show.

After the 1PM Cup practice is over, all hands continue on deck for SPEED as the track goes directly into Nationwide Series qualifying at 2:30PM. On this day, it should be fun to watch the drivers running up and down pit road as the Sprint Cup qualifying follows directly at 4:30PM.

It is time to change the channel at 6:30PM and pray that somehow the 3:30PM college football game on ESPN2 has ended in three hours. Judging on past experience, that is not likely to happen. Waiting to start the NASCAR Countdown show are host Allen Bestwick with his expert analysts Rusty Wallace and Ray Evernham.

This trio is going to have their dancing shoes on as they will have to be flexible with Countdown and wait for the college football game to end. Both Wallace and Evernham will then move to the broadcast booth as part of ESPN's ongoing television concept called "Backseat Drivers."

Wallace and Evernham will be joined in the broadcast booth by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Fans who watched the Nationwide Series race from Michigan may remember that the four analysts basically sit in the TV booth and discuss the race. Stories and reactions to the racing are going to be offered to viewers instead of the standard play-by-play announcer calling the action and letting the two analysts chime-in as they see fit.

As the Nationwide action winds down, the Camping World Truck Series action gets underway. SPEED offers Krista Voda with the pre-race show for the CWTS called The Setup at 9:30PM. This is another simple and effective show that allows a lot of information to be presented to the viewer in SPEED's now familiar informal style. Voda is a proud Iowa native, so with the trucks ready to roll in front a big crowd at Iowa Speedway, this show might be a bit special.

One thing we do know is that Voda will not be delayed by football. So, it will be Rick Allen capping off the night by calling the CWTS action on time at 10PM. As usual, Allen will be joined by Phil Parsons but on this night viewers also get an added bonus. CWTS champ Johnny Benson will be joining the team replacing Michael Waltrip who is attending to Cup duties in Atlanta.

Benson is currently on the injured reserve list nursing the effects of a SuperModified accident in his hand-built car a while back. Luckily, the safety features Benson put into the car literally saved his life.

The CWTS race should wind up around midnight, putting an end to a very long day of NASCAR TV action on what many know is a very big day of college football action. Currently, the weather forecast looks good for both Atlanta and the Iowa Speedway area.

In addition to NASCAR and college football, there are a ton of sports on TV this weekend from tennis to baseball. NASCAR will hopefully make its way through the maze and into the homes of NASCAR fans without any big issues. TDP will keep you updated on any changes or situations as they happen all day long.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by, we welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.


Anonymous said...

Between ESPN2 and SPEED there are thirteen straight hours of live NASCAR action on TV. Get some extra snacks and settle in, this should be good.

You say "this should be good" now, but my guess is that soon we'll be reading another column about TV overkill and "who needs 13 straight hours of coverage for Atlanta?"

Daly Planet Editor said...

Well, I do wish that before you take the time to flame us, you read the column at least.

The Camping World Truck Series race that fills the final timeslot is from Iowa.

Only the first half of the racing doubleheader is from Atlanta, but nice try.


Lisa Hogan said...

The big question might be: What kind of camera coverage will ESPN choose for Cousin Carl's broken foot? :)

Daly Planet Editor said...


Lisa Hogan said...

iced tea just missed the keyboard!

Glenn said...

At least we only have less than 25% on ESPN.
If only every day was like this or better with nothing on ESPN.

David said...

Any reasoning given for why Friday is dark at ATL?

Hate to say this to my fellow planeteers, but Im hoping for some weather Sunday to push the start back so I can catch the race! lol.

Looks like it won't happen though so I'll be with ya'll Saturday and at the end of the race Sunday.

Heck of a Saturday though, Gonna be alot like what it was like at Michigan last month.

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...

Anon 9:38- If not, you'll hear it from me! :)

Actually, although this frees Fri up, everything being on Sat does not guarantee I'm gonna watch everything, for some reason if any on-track activ on Saturdays (final practice) is televised, I tend to not watch it.

I'm at least in for the truck race. Hope it ends before R & B (Rocky and Bullwinkle :D) at midnight.

word veri- counter? An actual word, I get! :)

Kenn Fong said...


I wonder if Dr. Jerry Punch will show the xrays and analyze them for us?

West Coast Kenny
Alameda, California

David said...

Ah, the REAL question, if Carl wins do we get a backflip?

Remember Milwaukee last year? even though he had great reason not to do it, they boo'ed the heck outta him.

red said...

i'll be on board from the set-up thru the truck race but will skip the rest.

the "big" stories will be edwards' broken foot (@WCK: great idea to have dr p analyze the x-rays -- and funny, too!); maybe the bobby labonte issue and then endless chase discussions, even during n'wide events. cup drivers will stink up the n'wide race and the "backseat coverage" will confound viewers. those who aren't confused by that will be irritated by the poor coverage of the actual race.

and sunday will be a repeat of it all.

cynical, you say?
nope. just going with the pattern so far.

Ghost of Curtis Turner said...

hhhmmmm Cuzin Carl broke his foot playing Frisbee ??? I wonder if Roush will dump him like NBC dumped Allen Bestwick after he broke his ankel playing hockey???
....I'm not say'n I'm just saying...
I expect at least 30 minutes of in car shots of Carl's foot. Plus I bet ESPN misses at least one restart becuase they will be covering his foot mashing the gas.


Garry said...

Well, "backseat drivers" on ESPN is better than the Good Doctor reading the phone book to us. I like the cast-cam idea. So it will be a struggle for the network to cut between cast-cam, Carl-cam, Kyle cam, and commercial-cam. Maybe NASCAR can step up and let 41 other drivers attemt to qualify for the

Anonymous said...

Is Iowa a sell out? I live in Iowa and there has been very little promotion of the truck race even though we are only an hour away (especially in comparison to the Nationwide build up).

With college football season beginning, when everything is on Saturday (practice and qualifying for both Cup and Nationwide and two races), I will be watching much less of Nascar events. I'd totally forgotten about the Nationwide race. I was planning my schedule as to when I could get the yard mowed then I saw the schedule. Guess the yard will have to wait until Sunday afternoon.

NFL Network is not available from our cable company so I don't have a comparison. What do they fill the hours with when there isn't a game. If there was a Nascar Network, would it be feasible for it to be on the air only two or three days a week?

Anonymous said...

No CWTS practice from SPEED today. No CWTS qualifying tomorrow. SPEED is showing Nationwide qualifying, but no Nationwide practice. That just doesn't cut it from somebody that claims to be a motorsports network. Pathetic. NASCAR needs to strong arm them by kicking Raceday and Victory Lane from the tracks until SPEED can show they can cover the sport like a motorsports network should.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:38AM,

It is a shame that you cannot see the NFL Network. They are doing a wonderful job with a great HD network.

There is no opportunity to start a NASCAR Network in the immediate future. NASCAR sold the rights to all three major series to several networks for many years to come. The Internet (online) rights are owned by Turner with over five years left on that deal.

It would be impossible to anchor a NASCAR TV network with no website and no live events.

It seems that the Hall of Fame is the focus right now. Down the road who knows what technology will bring, but the cash cow for NASCAR is the multi-billion dollar combination of TV and online rights.


Anonymous said...

If NASCAR wants attention this time of year, weekends are a bad place to be. Saturdays will be drowned out by college football, and Sundays starting next week will be all NFL.

NASCAR has picked the worst possible time to end their season if they want to be anything but a regional sport.

Either move away from weekend race dates, or completely change up your schedule. Football isn't going anywhere, and like it or not, will always take first, second, and third billing when it comes to public attention.

David said...

NASCAR became the #2 spectator sport to football being a "regional" sport as you call it.

The issue NASCAR had though, is they tried to "improve" on that to try and compete with the NFL. Bad idea. While I agree it won't surpass the NFL, they have had weekend races for 60 years and it has worked. Tracks put 100,000 people in on a regular basis, even with an economic downturn more people turn out for a race then a single NFL game.

NASCAR isn't going anywhere, though I do concede a shorter season should be looked at in the next few years (though it wont happen)

Anonymous said...

Comparing raw attendance figures for a single NASCAR event is rather misleading. Sure, you can say the lone Cup event can draw 100k. Though, take into account all of the NFL games on a Sunday, and that will put you well over 1,000,000.

The reason why weekend race dates have worked over the past 60 years was because the sport didn't aspire to be on the national scene. Plus the costs of running a team were far, far less including inflation.

The sport has been chasing money, and the only way to fund that is though expansion and getting a bigger piece of the national spotlight.

Though, by going that route, NASCAR has chosen to go head to head with football, and that is a battle which is not sustainable for any length of time. There just isn't enough room on the big stage to get the sponsor dollars they need to thrive during this time of the year.

Cutting races, starting / ending earlier, and Friday nights may be the way to go. Or option 2 would be to take a step to a much simpler time, the way things were back in the 70's and 80's.

David said...

Friday night races? Local track racing is already suffering, racing on a Friday night would kill them even more.

Weekday races?! Races are usually an all-day event...Do you really think attendance would be better if the races ran on Friday over a Sunday? The Truck Series and Nationwide Series have proven otherwise.

Yes, All NFL games combined average more than a single race, but there are 3 touring Series races in a weekend, probably average 150k in attendance which is not bad for a "regional" sport.

Again, there are SEVERAL NFL teams clamoring that they won't sell out a single game this year, so this NASCAR ratings/attendance slump is not an isolated incident like many have been trying to make it out to be IMO.

As a race fan and a football fan, I manage to follow both pretty well on Sunday's...

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:29AM said "If NASCAR wants attention this time of year, weekends are a bad place to be."

I think that sentence should read "If NASCAR wants attention this time of year, weekends on ESPN are a bad place to be."

There are plenty of national TV networks that are not filled with endless college football games from all four timezones.

Several of them even show other NASCAR races...


Anonymous said...

"No CWTS practice from SPEED today. No CWTS qualifying tomorrow."
How does SPEEDTV get away with this??

Anonymous said...

"No CWTS practice from SPEED today. No CWTS qualifying tomorrow."
How does SPEEDTV get away with this??

The blog author just has a different set of rules for SPEED than ESPN. One one hand, the three grand national touring series are "just different" from one another, requiring ESPN to give same treatment of the Nationwide series as Sprint cup gets.

On the other hand, SPEED, somehow, gets exempted from having to meet the same standard.

The SPEED guys are "good 'ole boys" that have been around NASCAR for a long time. Many people at ESPN just aren't going to be accepted into their club.

Daly Planet Editor said...

anon 3:19PM,

Nice try, I hope you are getting paid well to keep it up.

The CWTS has always been topped by the N'wide and Cup Series on this schedule.

The big drawback of a standalone Truck Series date is that we normally lose the early coverage.

When the coverage is split or the trucks race with N'wide or Cup we get the other on-track activity.

The "good ole boys" of SPEED moved to Charlotte from Stamford, CT. The key executives came from an Atlanta regional sports network and Turner Broadcasting.

Did I mention nice try?


Tom said...

Just remembered this. May be a smidge off topic, so I apologize to JD and everyone in advance if it is...
With Marty Reid in the booth at Montreal and Carl Edwards having won the race, we didn't have to hear the words "signature somersault," as JP so stupidly described it several times last season.
Should Carl win on Sunday (and he's won at AMS before), be on the lookout for the classic misstep.


David said...

Yeah Tom, its quite annoying when JP does that. Though with Carl's broken foot, he might need to improvise lol.

Trucks not showing practice: This is not the first nor last time that happened this season. The reason SPEED "gets away with this" is because 99% of the races never have practice aired, tomorrow is too jam packed with NW and Cup action, and its the 3rd Series.

ESPN paid alot of money to get the Nationwide Series exclusively, and way back before this TV deal that SPEED got with the Truck Series, ESPN gave the truck Series the same treatment it is getting now from SPEED. No practice or quals were televised if there was no room for it. Hell, we even had a race on tape delay before.

Now do I agree with the decision? No, I wish at least practice was being televised today but SPEED made the decision to opt not to. Probably has more to do with cost of production > reward for anyone tuning in.

If anything I am more upset does not have a live leaderboard of truck practice than I am for SPEED not televising it. It sucks both ways but tomorrow's reasoning at least makes sense vs. ESPN just flat out having poor scheduling of NW coverage sandwiched between college football with no wiggle room for games/races that run long. Stupid if you ask me.

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...

In reference to the trucks, and as someone who prefers the them to get more respect and attention, not covering their sessions just 'cause it's not a companion to 'big Cup' a huge disrespect to the hardcore truck series fans such as myself.

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...

Can you believe that the lead story on last night's/this morning's NASCAR Now was Carl's injury? It was even mentioned on one of our local newscasts. But the thing is,he's racing. I can't imagine how much everyone would be talking if he wasn't.

Another reason ESPN won't be on my tv on Saturday night. More Carl Edwards love.

David said...

Crap, Brent Musburger sighting. At Atlanta in a full drivers suit on PTI.

I thought we were past this...

Vicky D said...

And NN from last night was only about 6 or 7 minutes long with their other broadcast before it. What are we going to do with ESPN?

Richard in N.C. said...

If I'm not mistaken, the NFL was around during NASCAR's biggest growth spurt.

I am also a big NFL fan, so I am conflicted when the Redskins or the world's champion Steelers are on - but it's just a fact of life. I'd rather juggle NFL and NASCAR than have NASCAR shorten its schedule.

It fascinates me that many in the mainstream media now like to talk and write about NASCAR's season being too long and imply that NASCAR could just snap its fingers and shorten the schedule, which I am sure is very far from the truth. There are major financial issues involved in eliminating races, but most in the media don't want to let facts interfere with another way to criticize NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

@David--I just saw a tweet from Hotlanta linking a video of that. No more BRENT PLEASE! I hope they're not going to force him on us somehow this weekend!

My word was dallys

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

I hope someone covered the infield fiasco to be today at AMS. They were not allowing anyone in the infield until this afternoon. (At least that was their plan) All of my group that normally attends, wrote to AMS to beg them to reconsider, but to no avail. We have 8 spots in the High Speed Corral and usually go in on Thursday AND Friday, and at that time the infield is halfway full. I'm at home now, I don't know at this time if I'm even going. They have forgotten the "little" folks....(sigh)

Daly Planet Editor said...

Did you guys see Carl Edwards on The Weather Channel? What was that about? It went on and on. I guess it was Aaflac driven, but after a while the wheels came off that appearance.

Carl looked like he was ready to go.


glenc1 said...

Carl is hoping the little girl from Aflac's hospital gets to do the backflip. He was on the Weather Channel and I didn't stop laughing for 10 minutes. Using his crutch as a pointer, hysterical. Am I looking forward to ESPN covering it? No.

glenc1 said...

shoot, JD, missed your post on that, forgot to refresh. It was not any worse than any other amateur doing it...the voices in his ear were killing him, as it is with most. Tropical update was good though, and as he pointed out, they wouldn't have let him do it if anything was happening, lol.

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...

I missed Carl, only caught the tail end of them (going into commercial)

Well, it all begins tomorrow morning...

Anonymous said...

Larry Mac is going to be jealous!

Vicky D said...

Sorry I missed that weather channel deal with Carl. I think Larry Mac visits over there every time he's in Atlanta. I emailed a friend who works at the track to find out what's going on there this weekend maybe I'll get a scoop. I'll be in Atlanta but not going to the race this time either. Hope the back driver's telecast is better than the first one.

Steve L. said...

I'm at the track and the Nationwide cars are on their final practice.

It's got quite overcast in the last hour. Weather this morning on local TV said 10% chance of rain and that clouds would move in to make it partly cloudy. Hopefully it will keep it somewhat cooler than it was yesterday here at the track.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for the SPEED coverage of late morning and afternoon activity in Atlanta.

Please return to the TDP mainpage.


MikeC said...

I've heard that NASCAR wants to see how things go this weekend at Atlanta, as this may be the wave of the future. Minus the Daytona 500, instead of 3 days of on- track activity, do everything in 2 days. They think this might be a way of saving the teams some money. Practice & qualify, and run whatever companion races there is on the first day, and then the Cup race on the 2nd day.

Steve L. said...

Sure makes for a VERY LONG day.

David said...

MikeC, Impound races were the "wave of the future" about 3 years ago...

Its interesting thats for sure, but not feasible for all races due to scheduling conflicts and trying to make the NW races 1 day shows if possible.

I wish Richmond was a 1 day show, they've done it a few times in the past when weather came in and it was fun to see to say the least.