Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday Media Notes

NASCAR held a conference call to notify the media of changing start times for Sprint Cup Series races in 2010. David Hill of Fox Sports, who is pictured above, was joined by David Levy from Turner and John Skipper from ESPN. Brian France was also on the call.

Hill admitted he was wrong to push for later start times three years ago and that it was time for a change. All the TV partners have agreed with NASCAR on standardized race times for 2010.

Nicole Manske will host NASCAR Now at 5PM on ESPN2. Ryan McGee will be a guest and the complete overview of the new start times and how these changes were driven by the fans and the TV ratings will be discussed.

Legendary owner Bud Moore will also be Manske's guest as he speaks about his history in the sport during the week before the first class of Hall of Fame inductees is announced. This is part of an ongoing series of interviews on NASCAR Now.

You can also head over to Jayski to read about the new schedule changes. Please feel free to leave your comments on this post about the new schedule announcement.


Anonymous said...

Maybe that stupid Gopher will be gone next.

ems74 said...

Finally. What's next? Actual quality television coverage from ESPN/ABC? I might play PowerBall tonight - the stars are aligned.

WFamous said...

Seriously? This has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. It's already impossible to get things that need to be done on Sunday completed before 2:17, and now they are going to move it up two hours?

Plus, the Daytona 500 is an all-day event and now it's going to be over in the middle of the afternoon? What a let down.

I know I will be watching a lot less Spring Cup in 2010. Thanks for nothing NASCAR.

glenc1 said...

It should be noted, this wasn't just done for was also done in response to the spectators (at least according to what I'd read previously from some of the NASCAR PTB.)

When I first started going to the Glen it was at noon---which was great. I wouldn't have minded if they'd had to make the Central zones later, but this is a great move. It worked fine ten years ago when NASCAR was growing by leaps & bounds; I see no reason it won't work now.

Anonymous said...

I am ecstatic that NASCAR has finally fixed this problem! This start time issue should never have had to be a problem! If every race would have continued to start at 1, like they did in 2003, maybe certain things would be better off!

Regardless, I am happy that the TV partners and NASCAR were able to agree about this. If they want to attract new fans or keep casual fans in the mix, they have to know when the races are actually beginning. The fact that all but like 6 of the daytime races are starting at 1PM eastern is easy to remember. Besides, the NASCAR drivers and teams will get home a little earlier (not to mention the fans that attend!!!). And, maybe rain won't be as big an issue, either. I am thrilled that this change was made!

Daly Planet Editor said...

They basically had to do something. The current schedule was not working.

The races ran too late and the fans just recorded them for later viewing.

This is a good first step to getting the TV house in order.


Steve from NJ said...

Well about time. I emailed Daytona this year when my ticket renewal (4 seats 2 days) came asking what time it was going to start next year. 4 times I emailed them and got no reply. Screw them I let my tickets go after 14 years. Every year it got later and later recently and last year was like 4:45 by the time the green flag dropped. We much prefered 1:00.

Sooooo by the time we got back to Orlando area for diner it was midnight. And then up early to drive back to NJ on Monday.

I guess they don't need my $$ bad enough to respond to my emails.

Steve said...

Honestly, I don't really care what time the races are... my big beef is that when you look at the channel guide it lists a time about 1.5 hours before the actual start time.

In other sports they have a pre-game listed and then they have the game listed. When you look to see what time the event is you can easily differentiate the two, but not so with Nascar.

I'm sure they do it to 'trick' you into watching more of the coverage so they get more ad dollars... but how many times does it leave a bad taste in your mouth because they planned their day incorrectly because of it.

Anonymous said...

This is the correct move, long over due. But is it "a day late and a Dollar short" as the old saying goes?

Our family and many we know stopped GOING to the races because of the late starts. I know 6 people that gave up long term Daytona 500 tickets for the same reason. They all plan to stay home.

The awful TV coverage has been beaten to death and with good reason. I try to catch the last 10-20 laps, no sense wasting my day on the rest of it. And even then the wife is mad at me because she has dinner cooked and the race is still going on. When you have to choose between seeing the end of the race and keeping the wife happy, what do you do? That's a no brainer.

With the early starts we will watch more, how much more remains to be seen.

The comments about having to go to work hit home.

The best news is Daytona starting when it should again. Mr Hill has to admit he was wrong.

Anonymous said...

West Coast NASCAR fan here and I am so glad that we're getting back to the earlier start times. I always enjoyed pre-race at 9:30am here and racing just a little after 10am. When out West, the races will begin about 12:45pm(green glag). Heck, I wouldn't even mind the race starting an hour or more earlier than that. I do believe this will help the ratings some too. Not that I am a big ratings kind of guy. To me, they are what they are, but I love the change to earlier start times. I went to the Martinsville spring race this year and couldn't stand having to wait until 2:15 eastern time for the green flag. I was in North Carolina during the 2007 Daytona 500 and waiting for that race all day seemed like an eternity. I love when the Daytona 500 starts at 1pm-ish and ends 4pm-ish. I, as a West Coast NASCAR fan, never asked for later start times and think it's great that we'll be getting "back to basics" on the start times. Good move NASCAR. About time you get the networks to let you run the sport and not vice versa. Jeff

Daly Planet Editor said...

Totally agree, no live races for me again this season. Can't get back home to real life.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

Finally NASCAR and TV making sense. Having an early start time. Maybe it will bring back some viewers, or not.

Mary said...

As Moody has just said on his show he looks forward to getting home on a Sunday evening. A good move for the teams and broadcasting folks at least they won't be getting home in the early hours or the next day.
Sadly night races never work for me I'm a daylight person!

Anonymous said...

How many years did it take NASCAR to fix their mistakes? About time they fixed something and thought of the fans at the track. I won't be getting home from Ponono at midnight anymore.

I am also glad to see the Daytona 500 end in daylight again. Some forget this race has been a day race for decades and was not meant to be a night race. Those who stop watching simply because the races don't end in the dark aren't true race fans.

Leslie (poohbearluvs88) said...

I love the set uniform start times for the races. I think the only exception should be the Daytona 500. It should be a all day event.

Does this mean that there will be no time for the prerace crap that they show on TV? God, I hope so!!

PammH said...

This is great news! Makes me wonder how this will effect RD on Speed. Overalp or cut back to an hour maybe?

Anonymous said...

2 positives of this change: More time to run the races in case rain comes before or during the race, and hopefully more time for post-race coverage on the channel that is actually showing the race!

WFamous, do you have the same problem with the NFL when their games start at 1 PM? Wake up earlier, get things done, end of problem.

Daly Planet Editor said...


The pre-race shows begin at noon, NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Now at 10AM. You will be drowning in pre-race TV just like this year...only earlier.


The Loose Wheel said...

Happy about this decision, hope by 2011 it will carry over into CWTS and NW as well.

Wonder how this affects the Auto Club Speedway Auto Club 500 start time poll. Probably negates it completely.

This was a great decision something I cried for for YEARS!

Thank you NASCAR, thank you TV.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but think when I am reading these comments that this shows the increasing age of the average Nascar fan.

1 PM is early. Really early.

The Loose Wheel said...

From what I read via Jayski, NASCAR says the race time is "1 pm" and "3 pm" with green flags dropping roughly 45 minutes after the hour.

If the networks adjust pre-race to 45 minutes, with the only exception being RD which should be an hour and start 1 hour before designated coverage, its win-win all around!

The Loose Wheel said...

Annon @ 4:49, I live in the west coast and started watching NASCAR when I was 12 years old, 1 pm start times were LOVED by me. It gave me the ability to roll out of bed, watch the race then have the rest of the day to do other things which is what many west coast fans will tell you that lobby for these times.

Daly Planet Editor said...

David, on the conference call the TV execs said the green flag will be no later than 15 minutes after the scheduled start time.

sue said...

They tried it, it didn't work, they admitted their mistake and now back to the way it once was. Good for them and especially for us. But you know folks will still complain because were Nascar Fans!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 4:49PM,

Early for Early for Early for college

What do you mean? That gets the races over around 5PM and not 7PM.

Happy to hear your viewpoint, just do not know what it is..


Kevin said...

I don't know if I like this or not.
I kind of liked some of the later starts (not all...) I never saw it as a problem. I don't see it making much difference in either ratings or attendance.

I don't guess it really matters to me, though. It will be a little easier to plan out my Sundays.

Unknown said...

I have been going to Homstead maimi speedway since its first what was then the first Winston cup race. And for 7 years we baked in the hot miami sun. When they started to install the lights around the track it was a sign that nascar would have a night race there. Best idea ever. Besides the looks of a night race it made things much more conferrable. I wonder if Nascar would be willing to repay the million plus dollars that the track spent on Nascar. Now the only night race to go on at Homestead-Miami speed way is the Indy car race. Which out of my 3 times going there is hasn't been remotely packed with fans

red said...

coupla really positives here:
1. consistent start times: no more having to keep an updated calendar w/start times just so i don't miss a green flag
2. a consistent green flag time: 15 or so minutes after the hour. excellent b/c i don't watch pre-race and this lets me know EXACTLY when i can expect the green flag
3. credit where it's due to nascar for hearing the fans and bringing the networks into line with this. i'll keep answering my fan council emails and i STRONGLY encourage other planeteers to sign up if you haven't done so already.
4. hill admits he was wrong: 'nuff said. altho' i have to say: his arrogance knows no bounds when he says "you don't mess with tradition." uh, yeah: that's what WE say, mr. hill, so how about going to back to covering the race and getting rid of the bells and whistles . . . and gophers?!?

so, 2 changes that actually reflect an abiity to listen to and respond to the fan concerns: double-file restarts and set start times. props to nascar for finally stepping up and taking action.

next on the agenda:
* let teams dink w/cot so there will be better racing
* get ticket prices down
* move some sponsors to smaller teams and away from nascar corporate.
* bring same consistent start times to n'wide and trucks

Anonymous said...

Yeah - these early start times are crazy.

I crack up about the people so happy they know when the races are now! How hard is it to check on Wednesday when the race starts?

In the NFL you have to look to see if your team plays at 1, 4, Sunday night, or Monday night.

Sometimes the race is on Saturday, sometimes Sunday afternoon at 1, sometimes Sunday afternoon at 3. Who cares.

But noon? Man. Crazy if you ask me.

I will REALLY miss the night racing. The cars look great under the lights. Plus, as bad as the handling is on the COTs the last thing they need to be doing is running more races in the heat of the day.

I predict 10% ratings drops across the board.

glenc1 said...

I think the naysayers are in the minority, so I don't think ratings will drop anywhere near that. Newer fans who don't remember the old days, maybe, for the rest of us, it's going back to what we wanted. NASCAR probably had focus groups & all that before they did this...they know what most fans want in this regard.

JD...I could be wrong, but I think 4:49 is saying young people stay up later on Saturday night, nephew didn't get up til at least noon until he got a job.

The Loose Wheel said...

JD, I reread it and saw that about the start times.

Should be interesting to see how this plays out late in the season. I imagine Homestead would become a night race which I wouldn't have a problem with.

Vicky D said...

I think this is a good idea for Nascar. Remember a couple of months ago Nascar bigwigs called in the drivers, crew chiefs and owners to get suggestions to improve racing. The only idea that I have heard coming out of that was the double file restarts. I guess they're still working on other "great" ideas.

Anonymous said...

David @ 6:21PM

If you go to, they have a story with all the 2010 Sprint Cup Races and new Start times.

Homestead is at 1:00 PM according to that posting

The Loose Wheel said...

Annon, Hopefully with a year between now and the next Homestead race, NASCAR, Homestead-Miami Speedway and the networks will discuss that start time. I dont feel it is a huge damaging blow if they are a day race, but if the fans there are in favor of being a night race, they should have some say.

Ending that single race on a Sunday night without a holiday following is not a bad idea I don't think.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean NO night racing?

The Loose Wheel said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

Not at all, take a look over at Jayski or

The races will start at 1PM Eastern when they are on the East Coast. They will start at 3PM Eastern when they are not being run in the Eastern time zone.

The night races will be at 7:30PM as a standard time.

Still not too sure on what the other comments are about. No races start at noon and this is the time the Cup races used to start for many decades.


Anonymous said...

Thank you NASCAR for sinally fixing the starting times! I am extacic that the DAYTONA 500 will be run entirely during the day and finish under sunlight like it is ment to be!

Vince said...

Good move by NASCAR and the tv partners to win back fans with standardized start times. I'm all for it.

Now if we could just kill the gopher....

Anonymous said...

David @ 6:48 PM has a slightly different schedule posted. It has the Fall Fontana Race at 3:00 PM ET, which would be a 12:00 Noon start there

Anonymous said...

well I don't mind about the early start times but I am dissapointed that the daytona race won't end under the lights. That's when the racing was good especially with these COT's.

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Anonymous said...

Great to see consistent start times!

I agree with the comments about the 500 being a night race.

Hopefully the rain won't be as much of an issue. Hopefully many will be over or to at least halfway by the time it hits. Or if it comes early hopefully it'll pass and by the time the track is dry still enough time to get a 4 or 5 hour race in.

Oh how much fun would consistent N'wide times be! LOL! Flipping through 8 billion BSPN channels trying to find the race because some silly football game can't get over in time :p.

Anonymous said...

Been waitin on this for over 5 or so years now. I hate when east coast races, primarily early and late in the year end up starting at 2:30 pm and ending around 6:30 pm. I hate how the track on the straightaways is completely shaded and dark almost, then in the open spots where there are no grandstands, you have the strong sunglare. It makes it harder to make out which car is which on the tv and in the stands

West Coast Diane said...

Works for me. I may actually watch the races live when they start at 10AM west coast time.

Personally we are thrilled with Daytona starting earlier. Next February will be our 6th and the one thing we have said is we wished it started earlier. It will mean we have to get up earlier to go the Fan Zone and walk the pits, but that is ok by me.

Also, regarding the Daytona Truck race. Please, pretty please with sugar on top...can you change the 9PM start time. I think all but 1 of the last 6 races we have been bundled up from the cold and wind. Just too darn late to start! And we stay at the track. Feel sorry for the folks that have to drive any distance to get home or back to hotels.

The important thing is thanks for listening. Double file restarts is the best change so far. So much more exciting. Now the consistent start times. Next.....??????

Bobby said...

A concern I have is now all West Coast races will start at noon instead of 1 PM. The start times of 1, 4, and 7:30 ET should be the "three options".

The Daytona 500, Atlanta in March, and Homestead should have the 1/4 "option" where they may run the race at 1 or 4. Daytona and Atlanta could go 4 PM in order to assure the first four races before the break are 4 PM starts before they go to 1 PM start. A move to 4 PM starts would mean Phoenix in November would be the only 2 PM green flag on the circuit, and put all West Coast races at 1 PM.

The "sweeps" factor could be in play in 2010-11 television; a 1 PM Daytona 500 would be good in 2010 because of the Vancouver Olympics.

Newracefan said...

This is fantastic, it may mean that I can't do yard work before the race but at least I can something other than take out for dinner. Not to mention I won't be driving home from Dover in the dark.

Geeze said...

FWIW,the few NASCAR team member's that have commented on this on Twitter, have responded with the equivalent of "thank god".

Dot said...

I am beyond thrilled. Racing in the AM. Just like when I started watching back in 1996.

@ red, ditto.

Hill admitted he was wrong? Wow. Now if he would only admit that about Digger. What I don't get is, how did he wield that much power over NASCAR and the other TV partners?

The Loose Wheel said...

Noon for WC races is an A+ from me. The 2nd Phoenix race will be a 1 pm local start though since by then we are back on Mountain time rather than Pacific.

Daytona at 1 PM is perfect IMO. I was all for seeing the race end later, but quickly got over it once I saw what it was like. They already have a night race, and doing night races just for the sake of doing night races has wore me out. I figured though the 2nd Texas date would be a night race, wouldnt surprise me that for 2011 TMS changes one of their dates to a night event, as well as Homestead and perhaps a couple others.

Sophia said...

@ Red

How does one sign up for the NASCAR questionnaire deal or whatever it's called?


I ALSO wonder how DHill had power over ALL of NASCAR and stations to change start times that bothered most fans from day one?

I agree this is a HUGE step forward but unless the TRUCK PRODUCTION improves, we will have the same complaints only we will be throwing shoes at the tv earlier/or flipping on MRN or blogging gripes earlier.

What the camera direction is SHOWING at home continues to be a HUGE beef for this viewer. Stunned the reality of that problem continues to be ignored . . .

Richard in N.C. said...

Good idea. I wonder whether in the FOX & TNT segments of the 2010 season N-Now will at least report what time the Cup races will be held even if they don't ID the network carrying them?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny any comment critical of the early start times gets deleted?

Wisconsin Steve said...

-Earlier start times for next year.
-Double-file restarts.
-Moving banquet to Las Vegas.
-Banning testing.

All great decisions made by the sanctioning body this year. Keep it up, NASCAR!

Anonymous said...

I am a California fan, and I don't like the early start times. It puts the race smack in the middle of the day when it's nicest outside and very difficult to justify being in front of a TV. I don't expect NASCAR to program to accomodate us out here on the left coast, but we don't like it, so there.

Daly Planet Editor said...

We expect comments from adults to be in complete sentences and contain more than just anonymous slams of this topic.

As you can see from the thousands of comments offered over the last month, any viewpoints are welcome.

This is simply a return to the start times that were in place for decades before TV asked them to move later for ratings.

If you are objecting to this from the West Coast, include your comments on the actual issues involved please.



Anonymous said...


Yhere are 2 significant elements to this.
First, David Hill actually admitting he was wrong on something(wow, a real moment!)
Second, the fact that ESPN sends John Skipper to the media dance- a guy who, unlike Hill and Levy, has ZERO experience in a production role, be it studio or remote. Skipper is an empty suit who's specialty is internet and digital media. Is it any wonder that ESPN NASCAR coverage is so detached from the standards that fans reasonably expect?

red said...

@sophia: try i believe that's correct, jd? the surveys come each week and ask about your feelings about the previous weekend's races. nascar's position is that the fan feedback from these surveys is what pushed some of the recent changes. if that's the case, then there need to be as many fans as possible participating.

i understand the frustration being expressed by some fans on the west coast: the 1pm east coast start times will definitely be a major change for those folks. if races started at 9am on sundays here, that would be the final push that would move me to buy a dvr b/c i won't skip church for the race. unlike the poster here, i wouldn't stop watching nascar; i'd just postpone it for a few hours!

david hill admits he was wrong, double-file restarts, consistent and earlier start times and now i'm reading a tweet that mike joy says that digger will be gone from fox next season.

will wonders never cease?

glenc1 said...

I think expecting NASCAR to accommodate preferences like 'I have things to do' is asking a little much...there are generally enough hours in the day to get things done if you simply plan things. When racing started, Sunday was still mostly a day of rest (and I realize times have changed for a lot of people, but I'm guessing that's why they chose mostly Sundays....) I don't expect us to go back to Mayberry, lol, but it's basically...'majority rules' here. What is best for the largest number of people is what they decided to do. If you don't fit in that category, it's unfortunate. I am a big football fan, and it's hard when my team plays a night game on a work night. I choose to miss the end or be tired at work. But I don't expect Sunday or Monday Night Football to change just for me. And the folks that have to stay up late for baseball probably feel the same.

Tom said...

This is better than I could have hoped for! I never thought they would actually standardize the start times so well! I may actually catch some live racing next year!

Inverness FL

Tom said...

My DVR lists the full one-hour pre-race separately, then the race itself. When I record the race, it always starts with, or close to, the opening ceremonies.

Tom said...

For we West Coasters, having the Infineon race bumped up two full hours (2 p.m. to Noon) makes all the difference in the world.

MRM4 said...

Changing the times is great from a TV viewership standpoint and as a spectator.

With races starting at 1:00 in the east, they should be over by 4:00 or 4:30 and I have the rest of the afternoon and evening to do whatever I want to instead of 6:00 or 6:30 like it is now. My whole day is shot unless I record it on the DVR and watch it later.

As a spectator, this is great too. I have gone to every Bristol spring race since 1992 except for this year's race. When the race used to start at 1:15, I could be home by 6:30-7:00. But not as pf late.

And the Daytona 500 is better when it's in the daytime. It hasn't seemed like the same race in recent years.

Anonymous said...

The later start times were an effort to attract more west coast viewers... it didnt work.
The unintended consequence was that the ticket selling radius for each track decreased by 100 miles for every hour the start was delayed. Most fans HAVE to get back home so they can be at work Monday morning, and except for Daytona, most fans drive to the races.
This change should help TV ratings AND help fill many of those empty seats.

Sophia said...

@ red thanks

Didn't know Mike Joy was on twitter unless he's on a group twitter like FOX does.

As of this morning Twitter is broken here in Ohio..nobody's streams have updated since about 11am. Wondering where all our tweets went. twitter black hole.

Nice to hear Digger is gone?

Now on to the other real white elephant in the room. CAMERA DIRECTION!

(paging Mike Wells to give lessons...are you listening NASCAR ? :-D )

TerryG said...

Hallelujah! Finally they fixed their mistake, and the races will be on earlier. I live in Mountain Time, and hated the late starts. Like a pp said, maybe the stupid Gopher will be the next thing to go. We can only hope.

jennifer6973 said...

I think this is great, I stopped going to Daytona after the 2005 race, when I got home @ 10:30 pm. So this is excellent.

Sophia said...

Just to clarify, it's only the Pre race DIGGER Cartoon that is gone.

He will still be holding the camera and promoting during the races.

Hurry! Order your ringtones & T shirts! :D