Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NASCAR Waking Up To TV Issues? (Day Two With Updates)

Update: This is the second day of this post. Please refer to the many comments below from fans on this topic. We are continuing this theme for Wednesday AM with media updates later in the morning. Keep checking back, there is a whole lot going on where this topic is concerned right now.

Over the last three seasons TDP has documented the good, the bad and the ugly where NASCAR TV is concerned. Topics discussed have included studio shows, the traveling SPEED Stage programs and of course, the live race telecasts.

This season's Sprint Cup Series race coverage has certainly been interesting. At the start, we fought with Fox over the continuing embarrassment of Digger. This summer, we were stopped short by the amazing changes at TNT and how Ralph Sheheen stepped-in to save the day. Then, the big boys came to the table.

After working for six months on the Nationwide Series coverage, the NASCAR on ESPN team switched over to the Sprint Cup Series and proceeded to fall flat on their faces. Fans went from interactive analysts and excited announcers to the familiar drone of Jerry Punch and the total disaster of ESPN's production choices.

"Sprint Cup Series Continues To Baffle ESPN" was TDP's column after the July race at the Brickyard. Click on the title to read the column and the 160 fan comments. In the column, there was an important paragraph.

Speaking of the radio, once again there was an incredible difference in the amount of information and excitement provided by the radio team vs. the TV announcers. Energy provided by the radio broadcasters really drove home the point of how badly ESPN needs a change in the booth.

One week ago, we offered a column titled "Five Days To Change." Click here to read the column asking ESPN to step back, take a deep breath and make serious changes before the Talladega race. It never happened.

Monday, NASCAR's own Communications Director Ramsey Poston offered a rather blunt critique of ESPN's Talladega effort. Here is an excerpt:

The ABC broadcasters certainly weren't happy with the race and they felt compelled to remind viewers of that virtually every lap. They seemed to blame NASCAR's enforcement of the rule prohibiting bump-drafting in the corners for every moment they didn't like.

Along the way ABC missed a lot of very good racing. That's not to say that every lap was a barn-burner, but there was some seriously intense racing as well.

Interestingly, a caller on Sirius NASCAR Satellite Radio this morning said that he first watched the race on ABC then listened to the MRN rebroadcast and said, "It was like two different races," referring to the excitement and action portrayed on the radio broadcast.

Sunday, the NASCAR on ESPN Producer did not get what he wanted and the fans paid the price. Instead of working hard to make the best of what was happening, fans got an arrogant group of pouting announcers and a TV team that threw in the towel and could not wait to board the flight home.

Now, instead of just TDP and the fans calling out ESPN, a top NASCAR executive has echoed almost the exact same sentiments. It's about time.

Maybe on Tuesday it will start to sink in that NASCAR's Director of Corporate Communications penned a public column that addressed the TV coverage as lacking intensity, excitement and direction. Click here for the full article.

Update: Click here for Darrell Waltrip putting his two cents in on this topic and others now in the spotlight.

Now, there are five days left until the race in Texas produced by the NASCAR on ESPN team for ABC. The questions is, what will ESPN change before this Sunday?

We welcome your comments on this TV issue. This is a media blog, so we would ask that you direct your comments about the COT issues to another site. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below.

This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and share your opinion on this topic with us.


Tom said...

Sorry, JD, but we all know the answer to your question...
No changes are coming. It's excruciatingly clear ESPN has mailed it in.

MikeC said...

While I've held my share of criticisms for the ABC/ESPN broadcasts, I think the only reason the NASCAR official took those shots at ABC is because the ABC commentators said something negative about the racing at Talladega on Sunday. The TV ratings are down, there's empty seats in the stands for the races, and NASCAR seems to becoming very sensitive about anything that's said negatively about the sport. Sorry for being so cynical, but that's how I see it.

Luke said...

John, I couldn't agree more about there being a night and day difference between MRN and ESPN's broadcasts.

No doubt that it was like a completely different race.

They really need to step back and take a look at the job MRN/PRN do, and learn a thing or two.

While I understand that part of the radio deal is that they have to be able to give a great visual through a medium which can provide no visual, but if you put their broadcast on top of the camera shots, you get pretty darn good coverage.

I can't thank directv enough for a) Free Hot Pass, and b) Using MRN/PRN as the voice over. It works, and really, really well at that.

Haus14 said...

Nascar Now's poll question on Monday asked the audience to vote on the biggest story line from Sunday's race. There in lies one of the problems with ESPN's coverage. They can't just cover the race and let it unfold. Everything has to be about story lines. If you noticed on Sunday, there was a lot of wide shots of the pack racing around the track and then there was the iso's of Jimmie. Why? Because he was the story line. They were going to go with it no matter what.

Don't get me wrong, I think that there needs to be a production meeting and everyone needs to be up to speed on the events and happenings leading up to the race, but those stories and events need to be used as the info to fill in the blanks in the race, not to replace the race.

Skip said...

I will be at the Texas race, so I won't be watching the coverage, but at the spring Texas race I was struck by comments on Frontstretch and other places about the boring race - at the track the leader was typically checked out, but there were 4-5 guys battling for second place virtually the whole race, and there was plenty of racing going on. There was always racing going on somewhere. So while I never got around to watching the TV replay, I assume that the race the TV producer showed was not the race I was watching.

I bet the same thing happens this weekend.

kbaskins said...

To be sure, Mr. Poston's about ABC's coverage were to deflect criticism away from the poor racing, something he does later in his blog. Nonetheless, his indictment of the ABC broadcast team is valid. When the race didn't follow their script, they were at a total loss to find something compelling to present the viewer. It was like they just decided to sit back and wait for the inevitable carnage at the end of the race.

Having said that, I find Mr. Poston's comments hypocritical. In the aftermath of Dustin Long's interview with Larry MacReynolds, Kyle Petty and Jimmy Spencer, Mr. Poston released a statement that in the last paragraph challenged the employers of these three men to be "concerned". The final sentence read, "Fair or not, broadcasters essentially telling the fans to stop watching the races is not a good thing." I'm pretty sure that telling fans that "[A]long the way ABC missed a lot of very good racing" falls into the same category of undermining race viewership.

I'm just sayin'...


Bill Jordan said...

The disparity between radio and TV is unbelievable. Its fun to listen to a race where the announcers actually are excited about the sport. They take a bit of dramatic license, but did you know that there are other drivers on the track then the 3 or 4 chase drivers of the day? If you were watching TV you'd have almost no idea.

Several weeks ago I stopped watching ESPN/ABC (like many others according to the ratings) With the last 3 races of the season bring as heck 1.5 milers. Don't think there is a reason to come back.

Debbie227 said...

Poston and NASCAR can say what they want about ABC/ESPN, but the bottom line is that actions speak louder than words. Until I see it with my own eyes, I will continue to be skeptical.

I would be more willing to accept that Poston was more upset that ABC/ESPN was speaking against the all powerful machine that is the Nascar powers that be. I highly doubt he was upset about any racing he saw on tv.

Kyle E. said...

ESPN needs to improve. Hopefully the strong words coming from above will encourage them to do so.

I do think it is too late to make any significant changes this season. I'll just keep my fingers crossed and cherish the coverage with Fox and TNT while we get it.

WickedJ said...

Well, atleast there arent websites devoted to the hate of the broadcasters

NASCAR is mad at ABC for badmouthing the product and ABC is mad at NASCAR for ruining the race with a last second rule change.

though i agree with the TV/Radio comment being two different shows. as i said on Sunday you could almost see the MRN guys jumping up and down with excitement as they called the race

Sal said...

I find it fascinating that all of a sudden, Mr. Posten notices that ABC/ESPN didn't deliver stellar coverage of a race. It's certainly a good way to divert the criticism Nascar is getting for trying to tell the drivers how to drive their cars, isn't it? Too bad he found out be listening to a caller on radio rather than actually watching a broadcast himself to keep abreast of how his 'product' is presented to the public. Shouldn't that be a priority of Nascar? Just sayin'.

buddawg said...

It seems that WWE Raw got it wrong the other week. Instead of having Kyle Busch and Joey Logano on, maybe they shoulda scheduled Ramsey Poston vs. oh I don't know, anyone in the media, print or tv. Maybe that's how they have to hash it out?! Ya know, I don't have a problem with ESPN covering JJ the way they do. I mean the man is the cusp of history and how he is doing and where he is in relation to the guys behind him in the Chase is a major part of the race. I get upset with the coverage too when I don't get to see my favorite driver, but David Poole said it best one time, if your driver wants some face time on tv, be a better driver and race up front. You don't win races running in the 30's and 40's and no one watches to see who is running back there either. He also said, when a driver like JJ is in the back, that is also a story b/c its so unusual that he is back there.

IPingUPing said...

I've long held the opinion that ESPN considers itself bigger than the game or sport they are covering. I also think it has a Northeast bias, which is not the hotbed of racing (when compared to the south, I've been to Stafford Speedway and a few others). Just take those two items and you have an ingrained attitude that will provide little interest in covering. An example, the half hour after the special report announcing the Hall of Fame on ESPN News, there was 0 mention of it, but plenty of pre-weekend football coverage (wasn't that a Tuesday)?

I think ESPN was presented with a GREAT opportunity, the rules changes right before the race. How would drivers react? What was NASCAR's reasoning? How would the cars react to the change (Tim Brewer)? We never heard from a NASCAR official, we saw how the drivers reacted, but everyone tip-toed around the fact that this might be a protest (DJ and Allen mentioned it briefly). They need to bring a more "live news" feel to the coverage, the need to spend more time on the pits than just someone calling a pit stop and for goodness sake get someone with some emotion in the play by play chair. If you couldn't get excited over that Ryan Newman crash, you can't cut it.

Mike said...

Sorry Daly Planet, you are wrong here. NASCAR didn't criticize ESPN because of the quality of the broadcast.

They are upset because ESPN isn't following the "Everything is just wonderful with Sprint Cup" script that Brian France wrote

Daly Planet Editor said...


While some in the print, Internet and radio world are following that, ESPN paid hundreds of millions of dollars for the current NASCAR TV contract.

Regardless of opinions on the racing, the fundamental duty of the TV network covering the race cover the race.

Fundamentals like resetting the field before a green flag, effectively covering pit stops and finding the best racing on the track regardless of position have been ignored by ESPN this season.

I understand your point in terms of what happened last week with Larry McReynolds and others, but working hard to deliver the best telecast to the fans should be the primary goal IMHO.


Anonymous said...

I'm confused (WHAT a surprise - not) but, didn't Mr. Poston just blast Larry Mac, KP and Spencer for being too NEGATIVE? And now, he is after ESPN for the same thing? This says to me JD that it has less to do with NASCAR seeing 'the light' as far as ESPN lousy coverage and is still focused on no one being able to say bad things about the racing or nascar.

So does this realy help our cause, or is he just insisting that ESPN needs another shot of koolaid? In it's way, the new rule provided ESPN with the opportunity to back up what the three Amigo's were saying in Dustin Long's artical, and now they are feeling the wrath of NASCAR.

I don't think this advances the ball at all except maybe unintentionally. It does say to me that Nascar is circling the wagons, and I was surprised at how K Shrader and MW toed the line on WT and TWIN.

Ritchie said...

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

NASCAR takes heat for screwing up a race. ESPN takes heat from NASCAR for saying the racing was bad, and takes heat from the Daly Planet for poor race broadcasts. MRN calls an exciting race, but hey, they are owned by NASCAR so of course they are going to take advantage of the lack of visuals to say the racing is great. NASCAR says MRN is great, and suddenly says that ESPN is crap, but only after they criticize NASCAR for screwing up a race.

In the meantime, the Daly Planet embraces NASCAR because NASCAR is taking the same position as the Daly Planet.

The politics of this whole thing is beginning to make me dizzy...

Tom said...

Clearly this is a deflective move on NASCAR's part, given the beating they have taken the last two weeks (or more). I am glad that it is out there though, because at least it is an acknowledgment of what we have known all along-ESPN coverage is...lacking. My concern now is that this may escalate and ESPN may go "rogue", meaning they will take the position that they paid for it and they will do what they want. This may not be too far from what we are seeing now, but it really could get worse if ESPN decides to "puff up" against NASCAR and starts to purposely make poor broadcast decisions just to be spiteful. Yeah, there is lots of money involved, but I am guessing ESPN would kinda like to get out of it all now, as they have many plates full with football in the fall....and they are probably thinking they spent way too much for an inferior product.

-another thing- As I cancelled my sub to Sirius because of the ISC takeover of the channel, I can't listen to the morning koolaid drinkers, but don't be surprised if this is a major topic criticizing ESPN from the Poston point of view.

Inverness, FL

Anonymous said...

I don't see anything wrong with the way ESPN announcers handled Sunday's race. The race sucked. The announcers had a choice, either pretend it didn't suck and that there was nothing wrong (essentially peeing on the fans' heads and telling them it was raining) or tell it like it was.

I for one am glad they told it like it was. They echoed what we fans already knew.

OSBORNK said...

ESPN/ABC did a very poor job of broadcasting a very poor race. I'm sure both are mad at the other for pointing out the other's poor performance. MRN makes the racing sound exciting because the listeners normally can't see the actual racing (whether you are watching TV or not)and you can imagine the racing is as being good.

ESPB/ABC and NA$CAR will fuss and fume about the problems of the other but do nothing about their own problems. Nothing will change and fans will increasingly become former fans.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Poston's comments were shot towards ESPN because they were critical of NASCAR's rule change. I doubt he gives a rat's ... about the coverage itself. NASCAR wants all the media to be grateful they have a job and praise NASCAR for all they do. No negative opinions are allowed. How is a sport supposed to grow if NASCAR wants everyone to have the same 'happy' voice?

buddawg - You agruement is flawed, because drivers finished in the top 10 and were not covered all day or interviewed in the post race. Bobby Labonte was in the top 10 most of the race, but only got 1 shoutout by Dale Jarrett. Michael Waltrip finished 6th...where was he all day? What more do you have to do to be covered?

Also, you have to admit the extra Jimmie Johnson coverage was overboard. With less than 20 to go, would you rather watch the pack 2 and 3 wide or Jimmie Johnson in 33rd single file? ESPN needs to dump the script.

bevo said...

@KarenB- Excellent point. I see Mr. Poston's criticism not being directed so much at the way ESPN covers a race but at the digs on air against ISC and NASCAR. It still amazes me that he is the Director of Communications for a large corporation. Just look at his track record handling issues like Ms. Grant and Mayfield. After his threats against McReynolds, Spencer and Petty we now have this against the ESPN talent.

The message being delivered to everyone on tv is the old "you have a nice house for your family and it sure would be a shame to see it all go away in an instant". Mr. Poston couldn't care less about the coverage just so long as it isn't critical of ISC and NASCAR. Notice he never had a problem when tv found fault with SMI tracks like Texas and it's water weeping and bumps or Charlotte with it's "levigating" issue.

rich said...

Thanks for the link JD. Interesting article. This shows at least that Nascar knows what is going on. I think that they spoke publicly because of what the booth said Sunday. Kind of a shot over the bow. Don't you think that ESPN knew that they were going to get their hand slapped.
You fans gripping about the single file racing need to go back and look at some of the old superspeedway races. This is just the way it is. Those drivers can not race 3 wide for 3 hrs. The tension would be over whelming.

MRM4 said...

MRN and PRN has to make their announcing sound exciting because it's radio, there is no visual reference for the listener to gauge anything. In television, the images are right there. Viewers are smart enough to know when a race is good or when it's a stinker.

Having said that, had Fox or TNT been broadcasting that dud at Talladega, they would have fished out some old stories to liven up the broadcast. ABC needs somebody colorful in their personality for the broadcast team to liven things up a bit.

earl06 said...

I'm not going to go as far as to say that Talladega was a good race, but it was a lot better than the TV broadcast made it out to be.

During commercials, I listen to the MRN feed on Sirius that has the officials' freq. Between that and twitter, I got more info than from ESPN.

ESPN covers what they feel like talking about and just mails in the rest. There is no evidence that they are able to react to things as they are happening. Anything outside of the script confuses them and thus is ignored.

glenc1 said...

Ritchie, that's priceless...about the same as I was's very circular...

And as KarenB points out, hypocritical.

We don't ask for the world...really, Mr. Poston and ESPN, we don't. We want fair, accurate and detailed coverage of the entire race, and the entire field, something MRN manages to do every week. We'd just like the visuals to go along and broadcasters that have the assurance that if they're giving constructive criticism, they're not going to be fired (and MRN doesn't have that security either.) And a little excitement wouldn't hurt either, as well as some new pit reporters who know what they're doing. That's pretty much my wish list...

Mike said...

“Along the way ABC missed a lot of very good racing. That's not to say that every lap was a barn-burner, but there was some seriously intense racing as well.”

@@DP This is what I was getting at. It’s simply not true, and the ESPN announcers let the audience know it. The drivers were so scared of the NASCAR warning that they just cruised around in circles until the end. While the MRN guys do a great job being enthusiastic, at Talladega they were providing commentary on exciting racing that was fictional.

If this was any other race, I would be as thrilled as you are. However, it wasn’t a good race, ESPN called it right, and the NASCAR folks in charge of controlling the media are not happy that folks told the truth.

Sicklajoie said...

Ritchie, you hit the nail on the head with that comment.
I wonder what the broadcast would've been like if TNT had called the race. I'm absolutely sure Wally and Kyle would've been even more critical of NASCAR after what have occurred. And Poston would've called them out, too.

Donna DeBoer said...

I got news for NASCAR. For a few minutes anyway, ABC was finally doing some truthful reporting of a lousy race, which wasn't in their "script". I didn't get to use my "toys" (radio & internet) to watch the race this time as I was at a party, but I made the very same comments to the room that Dale Jarrett made about the "racing", about 5 min before he said it. I take great offense at the suggestion that veteran former racer DJ, when he's being candid, doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to racing and drivers. If MRN was able to make this race sound better than it was, good for them. I've preferred the radio race coverage for a long time. Because what I saw and heard on TV wasn't worth my time, and the lack of any sufficient post race, after such a dramatic finish, is once again completely unacceptable.

bevo said...

While I too love the job MRN does on races, they have excellent information from their pit reporters and concentrate on the actual race, they do tend to exaggerate how close the actual racing is. David Poole dared to make this point a year or so ago and was attacked by the MRN announcers especially Dave Moody.

It's always wise to remember that MRN is owned by ISC and their prime mission is to sell tickets for their races, hence the racing is always exciting on an MRN broadcast.

Anonymous said...

Alot of these comments are centering on how NASCAR "screwed up" the race with a new rule and how the the broadcasters made a big deal of it.

I hate to break to you, NASCAR has always said don't bump draft in the turns. The only difference is that this week they said we'll be watching closer and penalize you if you do it.

Why is it so hard for many to believe that maybe, just maybe NASCAR HAS had enough of sub par telecasts?

There was nothing in this weekends race that was different than any other race at Talladega in the past several years.

There were over 13,000 passes recorded by the scoring loops during the race, 58 lead changes among 25 drivers. What more do you want?

Sure there was single file racing, happens every time, why? You drive 500 miles in excess of 190 MPH and tell me you wouldn't want to catch a breather in there somewhere.

It's ESPN's job to explain that and it's their job to keep the audience entertained during that time.

I gave up listening to the ABC broadcast several weeks ago, I have the luxury of having hotpass with the MRN audio. I didn't hear how the ABC crew handled the race.

Having said that, I highly doubt ESPN took advantage of the single file racing segment to give a full field rundown,

talk about the drivers/teams outside of Jimmy Johnson having good runs and why they were having good runs,

talk about why they were running single file. Why weren't drivers pulling out of that line hooking up and try to drive to the front?

I could see the ESPN video and all I saw was the 48 bumper cam sailing along in 30th place.

They missed the Menard/Nemecheck incident, they missed the Kurt Busch incident, they missed the Newman incident. What were they looking at? You only get one guess.

TV has the same story to tell that MRN and PRN does. ESPN simply chooses to edit the story to fit their agenda not the fans interest.

Dave in Milwaukee

Anonymous said...

I suspect that fans find the races boring because the coverage is boring. It seems that the people who listen to radio or who sit in the stands have an entirely different viewpoint. I watched TWIN last night and thought - I wish I had seen the same race. NASCAR will pay the final penalty when sponsors chose other venues to advertise. Is that a barn door and is the horse out yet??

Daly Planet Editor said...


I have to disagree. This is the exact same thing we have seen at Talladega before with different rules packages.

What ABC was trying to sell was that this was somehow different and NASCAR's fault. In fact, despite my personal feelings on this type of racing, it was the same old same old.

Poston is a pretty smart guy who picks his fights. Dale Jarrett suggested on the telecast that there was a conspiracy not to race.

Jeff Burton, the unofficial mayor of the garage responded "I think that's complete nonsense."

As much as I understand the frustration from fans on the COT issues, we have all seen NFL and MLB games that were not close during the entire event.

The TV network goes for the stories, follows the reality and keeps on top of what is actually happening.

IMHO, once JJ moved to the back of the pack, ESPN was lost in space. How many shots of him riding around at the rear of the field did we see? How many times did we see his pitstops, hear his radio conversations and have the camera looking at Chad Knaus?

They should have had a pit reporter just go up to Chad and say that this was not the script ESPN was prepared to cover.


Jack J. said...

Ramsey Poston learned his trade as a Washington D.C. public relations spin doctor and his blog is merely a weekly attempt at drawing attention away from the real problems within the sport.

Yes, ESPN has its issues. Yes, the criticism from Larry, Jimmy, and Kyle got a little outlandish at times. But to try and convince us all through some weak Jedi mind trick blog that we didn't actually see what we saw - hours of single-file racing until it was time for a double file restart - is insulting to those of us who continue to stick by the league when others have not.

While real NASCAR journalists cover the real news in their Tweets, Poston counters with who-cares info such as "hey, we just won an award for our fan council!"

Mr. Poston, please stop spending so much time writing useless blogs and Tweets and spend more time addressing the real issues.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:21 Dave,

I agree with you that ESPN made a big deal of the rule making the racing bad, but I don't know what else they could do when drivers were taking swipes at Nascar. Was the booth suppoosed pretend they didn't hear them? So ESPN addressed the complaints. However, you are also correct in that the racing wasn't too much different, and you are dead on in what ESPN didn't cover.

To my mind, these two facts kind of MAKES the point that Mr. Poston's comments were NOT directed at the actual coverage, but were aimed at covering complaints against Nascar.

Anonymous said...

Dave in Milwaukee...I agree on the history of the corner rules and have mentioned it several times. Chad Knaus mentioned it on TWIN last was not *new*, they were just choosing to enforce it again (and I suppose there may have been drivers who wanted it and drivers who didn't.) But they're all afraid to say which side they were on now, except Ryan, who had the 'I was just in a bad wreck' excuse (legitimate.) My thought was, it would be a lot more dangerous to 'bump' in the corners than to push someone around the track. That would have been tough to police too, though.

But it looked like the same 'dega to me. And people who were there in person said it was not that different either. ABC just seemed wholly unequipped to handle cars in single file--like they were trying to invent something that wasn't there. Single file races happen at many tracks for many reasons, and have with BOTH car configurations. And yes, there are always things going on and it's TV's job to find them. And Dave is also right that they had the opportunity to use that time for something constructive, and chose not to. I think this one is more on ABC than NASCAR, much as it pains me to say it in light of NASCAR's inability to accept criticism. But I can't 'make it so' because I declare it to be, I have to go with what actually happened rather than 'the script'. Neither NASCAR or AESPN have my full support in this election...but today I'd have to pull the lever for NASCAR. Next week it might be different....

Laurie Chambers said...

I LOVE NASCAR but have come to dread the races when ABC/ESPN are at the's a calamity of errors from everyone involved with producing a good race broadcast and blaming NASCAR for changing a rule to attempt at making a race safer should have nothing to do with the broadcast itself...there was still alot of strategy going on and oh..guess what...the race was won by a NON-CHASER and soooo sorry for Jamie McMurray that his HUGE WIN wasn't publicized like it should have been...I am frustrated but WILL stick by my beloved sport...ABC/ESPN...PLEASE look at the truck race from 10/31 on was great and you all should at least try that format...we would all greatly appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Sunday, the NASCAR on ESPN Producer did not get what he wanted and the fans paid the price.

This may be the more interesting line of the whole article. What was it the producer wanted that he didn't get? Are you saying that the changes you asked for were also asked for by the producer? That would be huge news.

Anonymous said...

You only need to listen to this audio from MRN of the last few laps of Talladega. There is excitement, there is drama, there is calling of action, there is the mentioning of all the drivers that matter. This audio would TOTALLY work on TV, it is NOT radio-dependent:

Anonymous said...

Success has a thousand fathers, and failure is an orphan. It looks to me like this whole thing has reached the finger-pointing phase where everybody tries to put the blame on someone else.

I try very hard not to take any enjoyment out of other people's problems, but I will make an exception in this case. The massive egos of ESPN and NASCAR make me say "a pox on both of you."

I would like to think some positive changes may come from this, but I am not optimistic. I think it will be business as usual for both NASCAR and ESPN for the remaining races of this season. Perhaps ESPN will make some changes in the off-season, but I am not counting on it. And NASCAR? Well, they're the same old NASCAR and have never given any indication they will change the way they do business.

I am not a Jimmie Johnson fan but I do not dislike him. I recognize that what he and Chad Knauss may accomplish is historic. Still, ESPN's concentration on him severely hurts the coverage of any individual race. And I watch NASCAR because I enjoy racing, not because I want to see some guy make history.

I am dreading the return of Fox because of DW's inevitable man-crush on JJ. On second thought, maybe that's a good thing. DW had a man-crush on Junior and predicted 7 or 8 wins in his first season with Rick H. We've seen how that turned out. DW's next man-crush was on Kyle Busch, and he thought it was possible for him to win all three championships (cup, Nationwide, and trucks) in a single year. And we know how that turned out. As hard as it will be to endure DW's man-crush on JJ, at least it may guarantee there won't be five championships in a row.

Anonymous said...

GOD LOVE JP!! But sometimes I wonder if I'm watching a BOAT race(Ragatta)?... or CAR race (Nascar) Sailing this and sailing that!! Cars Sailing all the time?? {Well backwards at Talladega Yes)


Anonymous said...

anon 11:17...sailing is a verb....

Photojosh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Andrew said...

Personally, I agreed with the ESPN guys this time. NASCAR's ridiculous rule did screw up the race, and they were RIGHT to call out NASCAR.

Wish more members of the media would be willing to call NASCAR out when it is needed.

Anonymous said...

The MRN guys are notorious for being NASCAR suck ups. There was no racing out there. With the freedom to make stuff up without people having pictures to go along with it, the MRN broadcast was telling tales that never happened. They can make paint drying sound exciting, even though, it is really just paint drying.

Photojosh said...

"Wish more members of the media would be willing to call NASCAR out when it is needed."

I doubt you are going to see that as long as you've got NASCAR thinking that it needs to rule the media with an iron fist and send idiot attack dogs like Poston out to say one thing one week and then say the opposite the next week.

I always told people they were idiots any time they made an "inbred hillbillies" joke about my watching NASCAR. Little did I know they were just trying to warn me about the NASCAR-media relationship with NASCAR itself. Might as well watch professional wrestling at the rate this is going.

West Coast Diane said...

Dave in Milwaukee (anon @ 9:21) thanks. My sentiments exactly.

The "no bump in corners" is NOT new. The threat of penalty was.

The ride around in a "conga line" NOT new. Remember JR asking for Redskins score, pizza order, etc. I had to agree with Jimmy on TWIN. A driver can't do 500 miles in packs 3 & 4 wide. I say reduce the mileage. Still would need "rest" time, but much less. Husband reminded me the 150's at Daytona produce some of the most exciting racing.

The real issue is, as with every race ESPN does, their inability to find racing through out the field and/or stories among the full field. ALL races, not just Talladega during ride around time.

I have been watching HotPass/MRN. Yes, at times MRN "enhances" the action, but I have found it is the exception rather than rule. Plus, many of us who attend races, listen to MRN, where it would be obvious if they "enhanced" their calls all the time. Just not the case.

All of this is giving me a headache. What once was an enjoyable experience and a respite from all the stuff going on in the real world has become no different than the political wars in DC.

Anonymous said...

The broadcast was really bad, but you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and that race was a sow's ear! I did enjoy hearing D.J. and Andy not mouthing the NASCAR party line. I was kind of surprised they didn't receive a royal visit in the booth.

Ritchie said...

Disclaimer - I am not a Jimmie Johnson fan!

JD, (per your 9:35AM post)
There you go again, with the Jimmie Johnson thing. You accuse ESPN of being obsessed with him in their broadcasts, but I believe you may be just as obsessed with him in your blog. You know the Orson Welles quote, "I hate television. I hate it as much as I hate peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts." You seem to be that way about JJ.

You really need to let the Jimmie Johnson thing go. Covering him Sunday did not hurt, nor change the overall broadcast. Everyone knew that he was at the back and was going to come charging through in the closing laps of the race. It was important to cover that aspect. Also, covering him turned out to be one of the few things ESPN got right because his finish turned out to be a huge story in the end.

I'm not saying they shouldn't have covered other things, but empirically speaking how many minutes out of a four our TV block did they spend on JJ? Twenty minutes? Does anybody really know or are we constantly just relying on our emotions to tell us that ESPN is spending too much time on him?

motoroney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kenn Fong said...


I agree with you. ESPN's producer did not get the story line he wanted. I'm not Kreskin, but I think he wanted to see the 48, 5, 24, and 14 running at the front of the pack three-wide. Instead they got the current and future Cup Champion hiding in the back of the peloton, like a field-filler.

When that happened, the producer was ham-strung to some extent. It's a story that the reigning and presumptive champion is backing into the points championship. Unfortunately, his announcing crew didn't have to cajones to say that out and call him out for a lack of intestinal fortitude.

BEGIN OFFTOPICYes, it was a smart and clever thing to do. But it does nothing to engender warm fuzzies for the original Stepford Driver./END OFFTOPIC

While it's true that us Planeteers were busy following the race by multitasking, I can tell you for a fact that my three friends who are NASCAR fans I know do not use their computers to fill in details during the race. So it seems boring and unnecessary to us, but I am willing to cut ESPN's producer a lot of slack for returning to the 48 again and again to reset his position, because I know my friends were interested to know where the current champion sat.

I find it sad that while the peloton was playing "follow the leader," the ESPN staff didn't use that as an opportunity to dive head-first into Silly Season. It would have been more interesting than listening to the announce crew whine incessantly about how NASCAR blundered. A McMurray feature would have made everyone look great. (If there was one, I probably missed it when I went out for the newspaper.)

West Coast Kenny
Alameda, California

motoroney said...

did you ever notice that on NASCAR Now when ever they show a replay they use the audio from MRN?
it seemed like the guys in the booth were watching the race from a tv monitor instead of looking out the window
the Newman crash was a perfect example they seemed like they did not know it happened until it was over and i was watching it on tv they only caught the very tail end of it how many cameras do these guys have at their disposal if the racing was bad the coverage was worse
my buddy and i were laughing our butts off when DJ said that the fans were excited because Bobby Labonte was running second give us a break between NASCAR and ESPN this series is DOOMED!!!

gretajean said...

So NASCAR has decided to blame ESPN for the poor racing. Isn't that special. They think that we're all just stupid sitting out here complaining about nothing. Ryan said he feels they don't respect the drivers, and I feel they don't respect us fans, either.

When a large part of the race is single file and the drivers themselves are talking about how bored they are, how is that ESPN's fault.

I haven't enjoyed ESPN's coverage of racing, but the Talladega race was much more than that. And NASCAR refuses to admit that it's their own fault.

Newracefan said...

Couple of points. The single file has been going on at Talledage especially since it was paved. I remember last year it was all blamed on the chase because all the chase drivers were in the back. Does anyone remember Harvick calling out Carl after the wreck for not knowing what he was doing because he was in the back all day. This year the reason was the new rules. The rule is not new they've had it forever, Nascar wanted to stop the 2 car hook up more that anything, theoretically if 2 cars hooked up for an extended period they could possibly start lapping the field (I know over heating issues but perhaps 2 team mates with the guy in the back with no tape). I also believe there were some drivers that went to Nascar and said you've got to stop this because not all the drivers were cooperating.
Do I think ESPN should have ignored what was going on, NO, do I think that it should have stopped them from calling the race, NO and that's what happened. Single file was a great opportunity to do a through the field and resetting the field after pit stops neither of which happened. I am a JJ fan that's why I pay for pit command so I can hear their scanner and know where he is at all time, I do not expect ESPN to tell me this every 5 minutes, I'm sure non JJ fans are livid because even I thought it was over kill. How about telling me why other drivers lost the draft like MW or Reut.
I've been to races at Dover which like most tracks has issues with a period of long green runs but MRN finds something to talk about somewhere and when I look where they are talking it's there.
I'm glad RP called out ESPN and rightly so they are calling the race they shouldn't be saying how horrible it is, would I understand a statement like the drivers are just biding their time yes but then talk about something else. This is where Fox shines, we may have gotten too many tight shots and bumper cams but we certainly would have gotten every story they could find. I wonder if the Pit reporters are even following anyone else besides chasers and maybe the first 5 others. Next week should be interesting, hopefully ESPN doesn't take it out on DJ and AP because if JP had been directing the discussion it wouldn't have kept coming up.

Anonymous said...

Seems like a nice little battle brewing here. NASCAR not happy with their TV partner?

Ramsey Poston seems like the educated corporate mouthpiece. I might listen to Jim Hunter but NASCAR has the new breed of spokesman in Poston.

In my opinion, the product that both NASCAR and ESPN is giving the fans is poor. And the ratings continue to plummet verifying it.

Anonymous said...

JJ pretty much has the title wrapped up now. If he officially clinches at Phoenix, the TV draw for Homestead will be nil. Everybody will be watching football. This is one of NASCAR's worst nightmares.

NASCAR has their work cut out for them going into 2010. They have really let their core sport deteriorate. Can't get rid of Brian France (Commisioner per se) as his family owns the entire deal. It's not like stick and ball sports.

Anonymous said...

I have to ask the question...

What was BAD about the entire race as so many here have said?

This sport is no different than ANY of the stick ball sports.

Is every NFL game a barn burner? Is every MLB game a home run derby? Does every NBA game feature 250-300 points total points?

Does every NASCAR race feature 3-4 wide racing, fender banging, helmet throwing action?

The answer is NO!

The difference is the networks are prepared for the 9-6 score in an NFL game, they are prepared for the Pitchers duels.

Do the NFL or MLB broadcast teams sit in the booth an bemoan the fact that nobody can seem to score a touchdown or get a hit off two hot pitchers?

Do they talk about conspiracies amongst the players to keep the scores low or not to hit the ball?

The answer again is NO!

They have back stories ready, they have sideline reporters looking for something, ANYTHING to talk about. They have goofy stand ups at the hot stand, they talk about a players climb from poverty to stardom in the NFL and how he his mom a new house and car.

What do we get? A former driver talking about a conspiracy amongst the drivers. Pontificating about perceived rule changes that effect the racing.

Why not a back story story about Robert Richardson Jr? Who is this guy and why is he running so well?

Why no stories about silly season?

Did ESPN not know about the Penske Brad K. move for the rest of season? c'mon somebody had to have heard something.

What do I think was the difference in this race?

ESPN not keeping the viewers engaged and interested throughout the event.

Dave in Milwaukee

Anonymous said...

Ya know, maybe NASCAR as a whole can't get rid of Brian because as
Anon 2:02 put it 'his family owns the entire deal' But ISC is a publicly traded corp, so can't the board of directors do something? Not to mention that Brian isn't the ONLY member of the France family that has a vested interest in the sport growing and prospering. Just a thought.

buddawg said...

Buschseries61- I understand your point, but you also have to think about this. How long did Labonte or Waltrip race up front? Now I had to listen to a lot of the race on the radio. What little I saw on tv, a lot of the guys that finished in the top ten were not there all day and from what I heard, the MRN guys did acknowledge Labonte and Waltrip, but for most of the broadcast, I didnt hear their names on the radio either. So how do you expect tv or radio for that matter to acknowledge certain drivers if A- they aren't in the top 10 for most of the day and B- when positions change like they do at Dega and Daytona, sometimes people are just missed. My last thought is this and this what I hate about the Chase, ESPN feels it should cover the Chase drivers first and everyone second. Sometimes to a fault, they forget that there are 31 other drivers out there. That is flaw that needs to be corrected. Stop trying to whoo new fans. Embrace the ones you have and you will see a BIG difference in their numbers.

Daly Planet Editor said...

ESPN's response to Poston's column:

"We feel we had a strong telecast. We're not going to comment on the article.''

There ya go....

Anonymous said...

ESPN's response to NASCAR's criticism will be the exact same as that Hill clown that runs Fox's was earlier this year when it was mentioned that NASCAR brought up concern over the Digger nonsense - laughter.

bevo said...

@ri88girl- The France family owns 66% of the voting shares and controls 60% of the board of ISC

glenc1 said...

WCK...I love the 'peloton' that's funny...

Anonymous said...

@ Bevo,

bummer! oh well, there went that idea -P

Sophia said...

I am not buying that the Powers that Be are SUDDENLY upset about the same things I am.

Putrid camera work and ESPN's gadget cam roulette.

After 3 years? Nope, not buying it.

Philip L. Jones said...

I have to say that Poston is 100% justified in everything he says in his blog. The ABC telecast -- like all ESPN/ABC telecasts all year -- was terrible and poorly represented the amount of action that was on the track.

On at least five occasions (cutaways to Jimmie Johnson in the back of the back, for example, or when ABC needlessly showed the 39 and 14 riding toward the rear of the field while playing their radio chatter), the ABC crew failed to show lead changes or other close RACING happening at the front of the field.

Someone listening to MRN or watching Raceview/Trackpass will get a very different perspective of the race than simply what was shown on-screen by ABC. What we see on TV via a broadcast partner isn't "THE RACE," it's that broadcast partner's VERSION of the race. We see what they want us to see. So even if there is stellar racing going on, if ABC wants to show the 48, 39 and 14 riding at the rear or the 5's bumper cam as he slides toward the tail-end of the line while there are lead changes going on up front, *then that's what we'll see.* And unless we have an alternate means of keeping up with the race (Trackpass, MRN/PRN radio, Twitter), then that's what we're likely to believe is happening.

With 43 cars on track, no broadcast partner can ever fully capture the true reality of all the racing that is taking place every lap. But ESPN/ABC's perception of the racing that they pass off to us viewers *as* reality is by far the worst of all the broadcast partners.

NASCAR has done a great job listening to fans recently (double-file restarts, start times, etc.). I implore NASCAR to listen to the fans when it comes to broadcast partners.

I don't care how much money ESPN throws at you when it comes time to negotiate the next TV contract, but PLEASE either ensure improvements in the quality of their telecasts or GET RID OF ESPN/ABC as a broadcast partner.

Poston's blog is right on, and I'm glad he's acknowledging the issues viewers see each week.

Anonymous said...

ISC owns and operates tracks - NASCAR is the sanctioning body.

The entire family thing is an odd situation. They truely control the entire sport. All worked great until Bill Sr. and Bill Jr. passed on and now we have....Brian running NASCAR. That says it all.

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

This is real curious.

The Planeteers probably know more about TV than NASCAR and ESPN put together.

I have seen this movie before, where NASCAR positions a PR person
(Williams, Sullivan, Griffin, et al) to become the scapegoat when something goes badly wrong at the sanctioning body) Poston has become, through his pronouncements, the lightning rod...and it would not surprise me if he were conveniently offered up as the scapegoat.

All the machinations aside--the fans/viewers, sponsors and those who make their living in the sport were not treated to ESPN's best efforts in the broadcasts aired so far this year. This effort is also an insult to those who risk life and limb on the track each week.

The Planeteers have outlined some easily implemented changes which could right the ship...but I am afraid that this year's efforts will suffer the same fate as the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Anonymous said...

more like the Titanic...a lot flashier, with all the bells & whistles...

The Loose Wheel said...

Robin finally noticing what we've been saying for a little over 2 years now...

Amazing ain't it?

JD, I'm starting to back your idea that there will be massive changes in the offseason but I only wish ESPN would not drag their feet and wait THAT long to make a change that needs to be made TODAY.

Chris from NY said...

This has to end, now. NASCAR shouldn't wait till 2014 or whenever it is they're supposed to redo the TV contract. They're in big trouble and have to do something about it.

This December would be a nice time to go back to the drawing board and let NASCAR and the fans take control of the TV broadcasts, not just a bunch of dummies in Southern California.

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

Another thing, didn't I read on Sunday where ESPN asked for Helton to come in the booth and he refused. I didn't really think too much at the time, but Poston is certainly following up what seems to have become more of a chilly relationship. Maybe nascar is actually upset about the coverage. Or is this just me being niave and consperitorial? (Both of which are possible unfortunatly.)

Richard in N.C. said...

I have come to hate the term "storyline," which it seems to me has come to mean the "story" we have prepared in advance to tell the viewers without regard to what might actually be happening.

I have a hard time understanding NASCAR's announcing such a major rule modification a little over an hour before the race, but I take it NASCAR is saying they got a lot of pressure at the track from senior drivers to be tougher on bump-drafting. Seems to me NASCAR tried something to improve safety and ended up whiffing. Maybe if they had announced the rule change Thursday or Friday and if there had been more practice time, maybe the drivers could have adapted better.

Lets see, the mainstream media will not criticize EESPN and it seems clear that EESPN is above listening to the fans (its customers), so maybe some public criticism from NASCAR will get some attention in the hollowed halls of EESPN.

Hopefully a mostly boring race will get everyone's attention and NASCAR and the teams and NASCAR and EESPN will recognize that improvements are needed on the track and on the air and will actually start addressing the situation.

If MRN and PRN are able to make the races more interesting than EESPN, maybe someone in Bristol might even accept the heretical thought that maybe the radio guys know something about race broadcasting that EESPN could learn from.

Sophia said...

I emailed that ESPN OMbudsman guy last week with a brief note of specificity complaints.

I got the MOST generic "i can't respond to all but your note is important to us deal" that I would love to post here but know it's against the rules.

But honestly, sometimes I'd rather get no response than something emailed to the MASSES from some assistant or robot.


Haus14 said...

Daly Planet Editor said...
ESPN's response to Poston's column:

"We feel we had a strong telecast. We're not going to comment on the article.''

There ya go....

That is like an alcoholic refusing to go to an AA meeting because he "feels" he is fine and doesn't have a problem.

I think ESPN needs an intervention! Maybe A&E could do a special episode.

Dot said...

I have read through all the comments. I agree with most of them.

With this p***ing contest going on between BSPN and NASCAR, the real losers are the fans.

I think both are to blame. Between NASCAR's rules and BSPN's lack of race coverage, we're doomed.

Chris from NY said...

If BSPN continues to do what they do, change would not be good enough. Giving them the big heave-ho and giving TNT and FOX longer stretches would help.

Then FOX would have to be talked or even threatened into getting rid of Digger, then most of this situation is fixed, and it would be up to NASCAR to start improving the on-track product.

Chris from NY said...

Saying that was a strong telecast just makes proof that ESPN has more hot air than all the blimps in North America.

Beating A Dead Horse said...

Don Ohlmeyer said in his most recent column and I deliberately take this out of context". . . and then the broadcast's momentum ground to a halt." [Read the entire eye-opening column]

What telecast and what sporting event was he talking about? Well he was referring to the Notre Dame-Purdue match-up. What upsets me is this quoted phrase applies to every NASCAR race ESPN has broadcast since the resumption of 'the contract'. What I have witnessed is a complete lack of observation and analysis from personnel in the production truck. Without real-time observation and analysis, the producer and director cannot make the on-the-fly decisions needed to tell the story of the race as it unfold. At that point in the broadcast the wheels come of their little red wagon and they resort to their notes from the production meeting held midweek. This makes for a pathetic, impotent spectacle splashed all over the airwaves for everyone to witness.

Epic Fail Sports Network defends their impotence by blaming NASCAR for enforcment of a rule the drivers have requested for some time now.
Only after what seems like hundreds of emasculated NASCAR race broadcasts courtesy of Disney sportsdweebs does NASCAR's Corporate Communicator have a beef. And Poston does not acknowledge any of the complaints we have documented on JD's blog, instead he addresses how the EFPN broadcast affected the NASCAR family, personally. (Effective immediately, EFPN will be required to us the service entrance at the NASCAR offices.) Poston is not swinging a big bat here and is not aiming at our target. Unfortunately he does not assuage our dissatisfaction.

As to the racing Sunday,Dave in Milwaukee 9:21am makes valid points. Anon 9:58am elaborates on his points and makes his own valid points. I have attended uncountable Cup, Nationwide, Truck, Sports Car, Dirt Super Late and Late Model, Late Model Stock Car and Tour-type Modified races over the last three decades across the southwest and southern United States up into Ontario and Quebec. I have never watched a motor contest run its full distance that was boring. The strategies (and every team has one) play out over the course of the race and watching the success and failure of these strategies play out in real time is the drama of the race that EFPN cannot tell. This earns the WWL the title of "Epic Fail Programming Network"

Darcie said...

Nascar can't stand it when anyone questions their perfect sport. But it becomes even more important when their broadcast partner starts calling out Nascar and the product they're putting on the track.

I realize I'm not the most savy Nascar fan, but I'm totally getting sick of all the talking heads, including the likes of Spencer and Knauss that the racing is great, and using the example of "lots of lead changes". Am I not getting something here? What does lead changes have to do with great racing, especially when a lot of those lead changes are due to pit stops, cautions and team mates allowing their fellow driver to lead a lap in order to get the bonus points. Why do they keep trying to convince us that these wonderful lead changes equate great racing? Is that all they've got?

I just watched my Tivo'd TWIN, and I have to say I got a bit upset with Steve Byrnes calling out bloggers and the like by implying that we're off target and don't know what we're talking about. He says he tries not to read blogs like TDP, but he's read a few and he feels we're all wrong and what we're doing is going to hurt the sport. Perhaps the sport needs the internet and bloggers to try and keep Nascar honest.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jerry Punch is now being scored in the boring position.

Anonymous said...

I urge everyone here to take two minutes and write a quick paper letter to ESPN/ABC about their broadcast. Here is the address to mail it to:

ABC Sports
47 W. 66th St.
NY, NY 10023

ESPN Television
ESPN Plaza
Bristol, CT 06010

Hookaville said...

I'm not sure if I was more annoyed with the single file racing, or the defeatest commentary of the ESPN announcers. The announcers were focused on reminding us of the last minute rule change the entire race; they never dropped it. It was a complete joke of a race and a telecast. The two (NASCAR and ESPN) should be ashamed of what they did to a perfectly good race weekend. I was hoping todays blog would include TWIN's Monday night show too. Because, if there was any question that NASCAR influences the opinions of Spencer, Knaus, and Waltrip, there is no longer any doubt they told those hosts to tote the party line on that show. Knaus went as far to try to convince viewers at home that it was exciting the way JJ raced around in 35th all day. I mean, he could have lost the draft for gods sake; what's more exciting than that?!? All the announcers claimed the race was exciting, and that single file racing is normal. Sorry, but single file racing is not normal for 2/3 of the race. They drank a lot of kool aid on Monday. Until NASCAR loosens up the control on the broadcast outlets, we're forever going to be dissappointed. Khrushchev, I mean Helton is doing a disservice to the sport and journalism as a whole by censoring or controlling the information shared during NASCAR related shows. Eventually, they may find their sport as outdated as the car that they drive.

Hookaville said...

By the way, I noticed that Jayski didn't include the DP with the rest of its links today. I guess NASCAR isn't the only one strong arming the press/media.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Kinda noticed that myself...


Matt said...

Exactly what great racing did ESPN miss during the single file parade that occured during the first 100 laps of Sunday's race? Is Mr. Poston seeing things? Yes, ESPN has terrible coverage, and MRN is better, but ESPN's announcers were right, the rule change ruined the race. In case anyone hasn't noticed, the rule change was THE story of the race, both during and after. Just because NASCAR doesn't like the blowback doesn't make it so.

And I'm getting sick of hearing NASCAR blast every single crew chief and driver who disagrees with them. It's time for NASCAR to listen to these veteran people and stop thinking they know it all.

Tom said...

For Darcie...
I realize I'm not the most savy Nascar fan, but I'm totally getting sick of all the talking heads, including the likes of Spencer and Knauss that the racing is great, and using the example of "lots of lead changes".
FYI: Sunday's race - 58 lead changes. The spring race - 57 lead changes.
And from what I saw on Sunday, the greater majority of them happened when they were supposed to happen - at GO time!
36 of the 58 lead changes happened in the second half of the race (after lap 94).
Add in guys who stayed out while others pitted, and that number shrinks a little more.

Harry said...

I agree that the NASCAR comment was a typical defensive reaction because of the problems with the race (I believe Ryan Newman, too). It's always someone else that is the problem.

Hookaville said...

I sent an email to Jayski. I asked if it was just a one day slap on the wrist, or permanent ban?

Vince said...

This is a quote I found from Teddy Roosevelt. I think it pertains to both ESPN and NASCAR. It says, ‘In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Time for NASCAR to quit slamming everybody that is critical of them and time for ESPN to make some changes to their lackluster coverage. NASCAR and ESPN are both driving fans away in droves.

Richard in N.C. said...

I have not had a chance to watch TWIN yet. That having been said, I think I would be willing to accept Chad's view of the race since I suspect he did find it an exciting race from his perspective - I mean several $million on the line potentially. Also, no matter how sloppy or overmatched, offhand I don't recall hearing an EESPN announcer repeatedly say a football or basketball game was boring - especially Dickie V. At the same time, I am inclined to believe JP, DJ, and Andy do give their honest opinions, unlike several EESPN commentators.

Sophia said...

WOW! DW article is great but is he kidding? Is this a fantasy town meeting he would LIKE to have or is it going to come to fruition?

I think DW made some very great points but can not imagine him being allowed to get this set up.

NASCAR would have no control.

I love his idea about ex drivers that can speak freely.

Doesn't that also, sadly, speak volumes about this sport? Though I hear NASCAR has always been this way. . . .

Anonymous said...

Now, there are five days left until the race in Texas produced by the NASCAR on ESPN team for ABC. The questions is, what will ESPN change before this Sunday?

Answer: NOTHING.

As you can see from the ESPN response to NASCAR's communications director, they not only do not recognize problems, but they think they did an excellent job.

There will be no change. The fans are doomed.

Anonymous said...

You are so way off base and full of yourself, its unbelievable. You have missed the boat completely on this one. Are you now saying Ryan Newman was just following ESPN's script? That is what NASCAR is trying to defend. It has nothing to do with the broadcasts itself. It has everything to do with the boring racing NASCAR has put on and trying to pass the buck on that major issue.

If Newman and other drivers didn't speak up and place the blame squarely where it belongs, NASCAR wouldn't hand said anything.

Donna DeBoer said...

Just read DW's article. I would like to see that, even participate, but I wonder how serious he is.
Mon NN & TWIN as big a disappointment as I expected. But they have jobs to keep. Oddly, VS' Qwest For the Cup did the best recap.
Haven't talked about it recently, but for me RaceHUB is doing exactly what I wanted it to do. TALKING constantly to people, some location work, touch on the day's stories. As for the yap about how hosts look, they can show up in pajamas for all I care, as long as the talking continues.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:37AM,

Sorry, but I do not understand your comment. The script we have been talking about for three years is the one decided in advance by ESPN.

In this case, it involved JJ running up front and being the key to the race. Instead, he played possum and they had no idea how to respond.

There were PLENTY of stories and PLENTY of racing in this event. The TV network just had to let go of JJ and go get them. Never happened.

Ryan Newman was never mentioned by me in any way and his accident (which was missed live on TV) has nothing to do with this topic or article.


The Loose Wheel said...

Drivers have ALWAYS complained about plate racing. Why everyone REALLY wants to gripe now is beyond me. Single file racing at Talladega is nothing new either. I stand behind that and if you want proof go load the 2005 and 2007 fall race tapes and tell me otherwise. That being said, how a network presents a race is everything. NASCAR making a late rule change like they did was over the top in my opinion but as Elliott Sadler stated on SIRIUS Monday, the talk was flying around the motorhome lot Saturday night that a change WAS coming. For the drivers to play stupid after the fact is silly, they knew what could be coming down the pike, ESPN should have known better. Being critical of NASCAR's rule change and flat out going out of your way to embarrass them they way ESPN did Sunday are quite different. You use pre-race to have a discussion about the rule-change, how it will affect competition, then get off that boat, cover the race, then use post race to revisit, re-analyze and criticize if necessary. Andy Petree and Dale Jarrett should have BOTH through recent experience on plate tracks have known better and understood what was actually going on. Like Sadler said, if you really think you can get 43 drivers to all race in line and cooperate without someone saying "why do you get to lead then?" then your nuts. I don't buy that conspiracy.

ESPN needs to remove its head from it's rear and realize that this was a pretty typical plate race, especially for the Chase Era.

NASCAR has work to do with improving plate racing and listening to driver concern and most of all putting the race back in the driver's hands to control the situation. When NASCAR starts telling guys how to race, I have an issue with it. Make all the rule changes to the car that you want, thats your job, but the drivers have to race the cars, not you. Maybe since Brian France and Mike Helton have never actually RACED they don't understand that, but someone has to put the situation back into the control of the drivers. If they wad them up, they are big boys who can handle it among themselves

Anonymous said...

Ryan Newman has everything to do with this topic. He blasted NASCAR in his live, on-camera interview over how bad the racing was due to their actions.

NASCAR, trying to cover their backside and pass the buck, claimed there was good racing, but it just wasn't shown on TV. I trust Newman more than NASCAR.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:52AM,

That is because you want the issue to be the COT and racing at Talladega.

That is not a TDP issue. We talk TV and this topic is the ABC coverage of the actual race in Dega.

There are planey of blogs that talk about the racing and NASCAR issues, but we talk TV.


Anonymous said...

You still are completely missing the point. NASCAR isn't picking on ABC/ESPN for the TV coverage. What they are trying to do is defend the COT with the myth that things are really much better than TV is showing. What Ryan Newman said completely dispels that myth.

Ed said...

Matt McLaughlin

I have no idea why someone in your position would make such a tasteless and needless, sexist comment as you have done recently about Krista Voda.
We need to be appreciative that NASCAR has broken through the Glass ceiling and Fox and Speed have assisted by having a woman announcer in the sport as have the other networks.
I know of Krista and her work and have seen her every weekend at the tracks working hard to get her craft right. She is knowledgeable about our sport and it shows in her interviews and announcing skills. Thank goodness we have someone like her in the sport. So why would anyone want to knock her down with such a rude and tasteless comment about the way she looks particularly when she was having some fun?
You owe Krista and all of your readers an apology ASAP to attempt to right your mistake and dig out of this.
Just please take my advice, and give Krista all the respect she deserves as an announcer, a motorsports fan, a woman and a human that did not need a man to tell the NASCAR world his opinion of the way she looks.
I, by the way, think she looks great!
Maybe you need to take a look at all the over weight men walking around in the garage and comment on their big butts. I am one of them so take a cheap shot at me brother! I can handle it.
I don't know if you are married or have a woman in your life but I hope when she hears of what you did she makes some adjustments in your love schedule to teach you a lesson about how to talk to women. The last time someone made a comment about my lady's thighs she poured a mixed drink over his head. He deserved it and it was too funny!
You "man up" now as you say and apologize to Krista please.

Tracy D said...

CWTS ratings up 21% for last race. Hmmm...why? Better TV coverage? Better racing? You betcha.
I've given up on ESPN and Nascar. Going to watch the trucks and my local track racers live.

Sophia said...

CWTS ratings up? good news.

Now if we could ALL get Cable companies to put SPEED on lower tiered BASIC cable where it belongs, Ratings would go through the roof! :-)

Good job trucks!

Jayski said...

RE: By the way, I noticed that Jayski didn't include the DP with the rest of its links today. I guess NASCAR isn't the only one strong arming the press/media.

AND: Daly Planet Editor said...
Kinda noticed that myself...

No one strong arms me to do anything on the Jayski site, I have 100% control of it and ESPN has never ONCE told me what to post or not, they suggested a couple years ago no to post some negative stuff and I told the sales guy to go pound sand, plain and simple, John usually sends the links, he was probably 'testing' me to see if I would post them myself, he failed as I am pretty busy with the news and race stuff first, and article links to other sites are secondary and I just plain forgot to check for John's stuff. So, no conspiracy with me or the site

thank you very much - Jayski

Richard in N.C. said...

Is it just me, or is it curious that the 1 NASCAR national series (the trucks) where ratings are going up is the one (a) where EESPN is not involved and (b) the one that gets very, very little attention from the all-knowing nattering nabobs of negativism of the NASCAR press corps?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks Jay! Sorry for the hassle.

No one has been a stronger supporter of TDP since we started than Jay. He picked up my columns and helped me with Internet issues.

Before you email others about me, how about letting me know!



Richard in N.C. said...

There are only 2 racing sites I check everyday - TDP and Jayski.
Thank you both, very much,

The Loose Wheel said...

ditto with Richard. Thanks Jay for stopping by. Been following the site since 98/99

The Loose Wheel said...

The funny thing about the Truck ratings is the fact that the broadcast crew has been VERY vocal about the pit crew rules in that series this year as well as the desire to have DFR's. I'm just happy that series is finally getting some notoriety, if people would have only caught the bus 5 years sooner!

Anonymous said...

@ David

I agree, and done for the most part without the help of Cup drivers.

@ Richard, with you, first two sites I go to in the AM during the season. Thank you Jayski

GinaV24 said...

LOL -- well, look at that, Poston actually made a statement. It's a shame that it's taken NASCAR this long - the fans have been experiencing this excrutiating excuse for race coverage for several years now.

Actually though I think the only reason he said anything was because NASCAR didn't like it that ESPN wasn't "positive" enough with its coverage. As long as they are always pro-NASCAR management, no one cares how bad what they show on TV is, but let them say something that NASCAR doesn't like and the worm turns.

GinaV24 said...

JD, if ESPN had sent a pit reporter to tell Chad that this wasn't the story they had expected to cover, Chad would have politely said (or maybe not so politely), that this was the strategy the 48 intended to employ to win the Chase. Too bad for ESPN and too bad for the fans at home that ESPN could NOT adapt on the fly and cover the daggone RACE instead of being stuck with their script.

ESPN is supposed to be a professional organization, well, act like one. If the booth wasn't up to do on the fly play by play, then they should have let Bestwick do it.

I don't have a lot of respect for any of the talking heads from NASCAR. They are awful at PR since they insist on covering it from an alternate reality perspective -- everything is wonderful! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! And the fans are no longer stuck with 1960's technology and so we know better. Plus, we have a place (courtesy of you) to be able to express our comments in real-time and en masse, so NASCAR hates the fact that people say negative things about it, well, there's always the option to actually FIX it.

Chris from NY said...


I don't think we should expect any change. It's been the same for a few years. The only way to change is by booting ESPN and letting TNT take over, and I don't think NASCAR will call for an emergency renegotiation.

Through the Fan Council, we need to have a better say in what goes on in the broadcasts. That should be in the next contract.

Anonymous said...

If they didn't change it last year, why would they change it this year? I actually think Jerry Punch was worse with the numbers last year. This year he has a whole new bag of cliches, but if they didn't can his boring performance last year I can't see them doing it this year. God, I hope I am wrong. I can't take Jerry Punch any more.

USS New York said...

I'm a 'newbie' here, so...

A belated thanks, to John Daly and TDP, for offering a forum for those of us - both young and 'experienced' - to air our viewpoints w/r/t the television coverage of NASCAR events.

My posts yesterday were aimed at the aerodynamic failure - a subject in which I'm self-educated - of the in-place COT.

More widely-of-issue: The failure of the media - in this case EEK!SPN - is a simple extension of those in 'power' (both NASCAR/ISC and even higher up) stuffing bird droppings in the lap of a US consumer who they think left his/her brain on the dufus table.

The truth is that there aren't THAT many 'dufuses' in the USA.

We're a pretty damn smart country, both in what we believe in and what we expect when we pay for a service.

This folderol we're having stuffed down our sensibility is clearly not what Bill France SR had in mind for the citizens of the USA, let alone the troops who secure our liberty.

Bobby said...

I remember a few years ago at Talladega on Fox Darrell made the comment "are they doing the rope-a-dope"?

Can you imagine Barry Landis and Fox deciding to listen to the radio chatter of various drivers and playing them during this single-file train? Of course when fans listen to the chatter they could just have a laugh. Meanwhile, the booth would just draw strategies for the whole race.

Now when he said that during the same single-file racing I almost had to imagine myself like a radio. You had to paint the picture of Jimmie hanging on the ropes, letting opponents punching but nowhere near the head. As they tire out, Jimmie comes in and attacks, and scores a 155-point day while the others are left puzzled.

Hookaville said...

I apologize for the trigger happy email to Jayski. I realize, the last thing he needs is a bunch of planeteers emailing him for what are basically uneducated assumptions on my part. Won't happen again.

All of us here do appreciate what your site offers all of us race fans. I apologize for the accusations made in my emotion inspired email. Although, I was expecting your usual, "if you don't like what you read, don't visit my site", response. Obviously you can see it's not the first time I've emailed you with disagreements with the content of your site. Let it be known, I appreciate that response. And let it be known, i've emailed you with positive feedback as well. Keep up the good work, and I'll shut up...

David Kingsley - (Hookaville)

USS New York said...

Hey David / Hook -

You're just a youngster, but note well:

You wet-ears can ONLY speak Moderation.

Don't EVER think the masses are uneducated.

USS New York said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carl in Alaska said...

One observation on race broadcast. Watched Nascar Now on Ryan Newman's crash. The footage they showed did not use their race announcers, it had to be from MRN or a radio broadcast. There was excitement and passion in the play by play not what was heard on ABC/ESPN. Sorry can't get MRN here.

Richard in N.C. said...

I'll always wonder whether DJ and Andy might have been more animated if they'd been looking out the window at the race instead of calling what was on the monitor.

USS New York said...

"Carl in Alaska said...
One observation on race broadcast. Watched Nascar Now on Ryan Newman's crash. The footage they showed did not use their race announcers, it had to be from MRN or a radio broadcast. There was excitement and passion in the play by play not what was heard on ABC/ESPN. Sorry can't get MRN here.
November 5, 2009 12:20 AM"

Very observant!
The masses are mere recipients, and bolster your comment.

N.B. -
"The show" overrides all aspects of alleged journalism - which of course all televised sports presentations are by definition.

Word veri: cormin
[Harvey Corman?]

USS New York said...

" Sal said...
I find it fascinating that all of a sudden, Mr. Posten notices that ABC/ESPN didn't deliver stellar coverage of a race. It's certainly a good way to divert the criticism Nascar is getting for trying to tell the drivers how to drive their cars, isn't it? Too bad he found out be listening to a caller on radio rather than actually watching a broadcast himself to keep abreast of how his 'product' is presented to the public. Shouldn't that be a priority of Nascar? Just sayin'."

The key word that Sal used in his statement is DIVERT.

Classic tactic.

Word veri: defulta.
Default? Heck yeah. Default to the script.

BTW, this 'default to the script' stuff is nothing new. It was invented decades before it was implemented by NASCAR.

USS New York said...

"Richard in N.C. said...
I'll always wonder whether DJ and Andy might have been more animated if they'd been looking out the window at the race instead of calling what was on the monitor.
November 5, 2009 1:01 AM"

EEK!SPN might just as well put black shades on those windows.

Word veri: smutab. Perhaps an anti-viral pharmaceutical?

USS New York said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hookaville said...

I didn't say the masses were uneducated. That's why I said "uneducated assumptions on my part". The "my" part being the operative word. Meaning I take responsibility for my own jumping the gun, actions. Sadly enough, I'm not that much of a youngster. That's why I apologized. Should have used better judgement. Congrats on the world series win. Also, the USS NEW YORK is a pretty ship!

Anonymous said...

Of course Darrell Waltrip is going to criticize the other network.

Dot said...

@ Richard in NC, I believe DJ & AP were looking out the window when they said "trouble in turn two". It took the camera person an eternity for us to see it (script must have demanded that the bumper cam trump live action). Had they been looking at the monitors, wouldn't we have seen it sooner?

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

Worse still, the BSPN directors (if you can call them that) didn't show any replays of the Menard-Nemechek crash, even after the cameras took 30 seconds or longer after the crash started and after the initial "Trouble" hail. Everything was about the pit stops and the Chasers. Because of their incompetence, I'm sure most of us didn't know whether that was tire failure or driver error. You can also blame tight camera shots for missing that.

Give us a change already.

Anonymous said...

MRN/PRN annoucers (all excellent professionals) can cover a 'bad' race - unfortunatley with tv, you can't fake it. Well, maybe you can fake the moon landings, but a race that looks like 43 cars heading south on I65 for a Panama City, FL beach trip - you just can't put lipstick on that pig and make it anything other than what it is! BORING!

Richard in N.C. said...

Dot, actually I was responding to a comment above since the first I saw was a replay of the accident, and then watched live while Newman was upside down. I must repeat, though, that I was impressed with how JP handled the wait until they got Newman out of the car.

Chris from NY said...

Off the topic of E/B/EE/EEK-SPN (Whatever different name you want to call it), FOX's only problem is Digger. The only reason Digger exists is because that idiot by the name of David Hill chose to accept the name "Gopher Cam" (I think FOX-hole is more appropriate, because that's where all this will end up eventually). The main problem with Digger is that he does not represent the culture or anything that really matters about NASCAR. All he represents is what kind of execs work at money-grubbing FOX. Same case for that stupid robot on the NFL telecasts, only this is more dumbed down. And that image is being falsely applied to NASCAR, and anyone will try anything to stop it. Other than that, the camera, sound, and announcing crew does a good job (DW's not shutting up at certain points aside).

I'm glad ESPN doesn't pull an act of stupidity similar to Digger, because their coverage is pointless enough.

It's a shame there are no MRN affiliates in NY City or North Jersey. The station that used to broadcast MRN does the NFL now. I guess the only option to get away from these clowns on TV is to get TrackPass.

Our chance will come.

Anonymous said...

Talladega was a horrible race becuase it wasn't a real race. JJ finished sixth and basically napped at the steering wheel the whole race.

Dot said...

@ Richard in NC, Just reading more comments and saw yours. Sometimes it's hard to tell who's responding to what when there are lots of comments. And still going, I might add.

Re: Chris from NY comment about Digger. I can't believe that I'm typing this but, I would rather see Digger and the better coverage from FOX than what BSPN is showing (or not showing) us. At least Digger is/was a momentary thing. I do want to say that the best thing about BSPN are DJ, AP & AB.

Richard in N.C. said...

Texas N-wide and Cup races are PRN races. Home page makes it appear that you can listen to WBRF FM online - affectionately Barf radio.

Word veri = ebrized. Am I admitting to having ingested too many e-mails?

buddawg said...

I thought the most interesting comment of allthe ones on this site was when Jayski once told the "talking heads" to "pound sand" in regards to him just putting positive comments on his website. What the heck? I can't believe the media would say that, the same media that because of the first amendment even have jobs.

Richard in N.C. said...

Sure would seem to be a good time for NASCAR to set up an e-mail address where fans could communicate directly to NASCAR. Can't be rocket science. Even the White House has a comment line you can call to leave a comment for the President.

Chris from NY said...


I saw a rerun of the Prelude to the Dream on Speed and they absolutely nailed it. I'm glad they showed that because that gives us a good oppurtunity to get away from ESPN's whack. I am agreed. The FOX crew is uber-successful when compared to ESPN.

However, this Digger junk is a nonsensical insult on intelligence and has to stop. This, plus ESPN's continued arrogance, just contiunally shows us that we're up against a bunch of morons who just buy their power, not earn it.

Chris from NY said...

Best thing about ESPN is that they don't come up with a ****ing gopher or whatever stupid mascot can be added to wreck our coverage.

TNT, however, pwns Digger and ESPN any day.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks for some of the best reader comments in the three year history of this website.