Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Race Hub" On SPEED Returns For 2010

It dropped out of the clear blue sky during the week of the NASCAR Hall of Fame selections. It came together at the last minute and looked exactly that way when it began. Now it is making some real news of its own.

SPEED confirmed to The Daly Planet Wednesday that NASCAR Race Hub would return for 2010 beginning on Monday, January 11. The final show for this season will be Thursday, December 3.

After being roundly criticized for a lack of weekday NASCAR programming, SPEED is changing its tune. This thirty minute show fills the void Monday through Thursday with a mix of news, highlights and interviews.

Let's face it. There is simply a lot about this TV series that does not make sense. Why start a new show with only weeks left in the NASCAR season? Why put tired announcers on a new assignment after nine months of hard work and travel?

If SPEED wanted to float a trial balloon, they certainly did. Beginning with bad make-up, rough lighting and awkward moments, Race Hub has settled into what fans have wanted for a long time and ESPN never delivered with NASCAR Now.

The new TV studios for SPEED are right down the street from Lowe's Motor Speedway and just a quick drive from most NASCAR shops, team suppliers and racing-related businesses. ESPN declined to establish a TV studio in the area back in 2007, opting instead to keep NASCAR Now in CT.

It only took a week or so until major NASCAR drivers and personalities started figuring out that a ten minute drive could land them on live national television. Suddenly, sponsors were being announced, issues were being discussed and "want ads" were being posted by those actually looking for a job.

Along the way, SPEED took a bare studio and started to assemble the kind of scenery usually associated with a TGI Friday's or a favorite sports bar. There is certainly still some work to do, but the purposeful statement of casual conversation and attire is clearly aimed at the suits and ties of the NASCAR Now gang.

While various on-air talent have been tried on the program, Krista Voda stands head-and-shoulders above everyone else. While she has been fun to watch on the Camping World Truck Series pre-race shows, there is little doubt that a studio environment allows her once again to show the skills that brought her to our attention in the first place.

It has also been interesting to see SPEED move the various pit reporters and color analysts through the show allowing them to get their feet wet in this format. While all are clearly comfortable, it was surprisingly Jeff Hammond who was most effective in his appearances.

Stuck for years in the Hollywood Hotel for Fox, Hammond also works regularly at the tracks for SPEED. He is an analyst for practice and qualifying, then works as a panelist on shows like Trackside. Race Hub put the spotlight squarely on him and it worked like a charm.

Just as NASCAR Now rotates reporters, hosts and panelists, there is little doubt we will see the same from Race Hub for 2010. It should be interesting to see if Voda is named as the host and the rest of the cast rotates through the series.

The end result is that NASCAR fans will now have two very different programs to view on the four days between TV coverage from the Sprint Cup Series tracks. Increasing the amount of national TV exposure for NASCAR on these days can only help to focus on areas of the sport that clearly need media attention.

If you have watched Race Hub, share with us your opinion of the show and how you feel about SPEED deciding to bring it back for the entire 2010 season. To add your opinion on this topic, just click the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Thanks as always for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

I will watch this show next season, but ONLY if they cut out the scripted skits. They aren't funny and those guys aren't actors. There are a lot of pieces in place to make this a must-watch show, but so far they haven't put them together yet.

I haven't watched the show since Krista Voda was talking to a TV screen of Steve Byrnes, and then the camera pulled back and Steve, it turns out, was standing right behind her the whole time, just talking into a different camera. Krista then was forced to say "Aw, Steve, how'd you do that? I didn't know you were there!"

That's the kind of stuff that has to go. I'll tune in during Daytona week to give this show another chance. But one more skit, and I'll just stick with NASCAR Now, which is currently the benchmark by which other shows are judged.

Bill Jordan said...

Nothing at all against Voda I think she does a great job. But would really like to see Wendy V get a shot at hosting this show.
(No Rutlage ever period please)

You know what would be cool? A Shop tour Tuesday or whatever. Since your just down the road, send a camera guy out and give us a 5 min tour of a different shop every week on the show. I think that could be a hit feature. Could do more then the top 3 series as well. Some late model and other dirt programs have their facilities close by.

Give us a west coast air time please! 4:30 in the afternoon is a no go for most working people out there. My DVR is on the fritz so missed the last 2 days shows...

BToS JD said...

It fills the void that NASCAR Now leaves by being local and realtime. Except for the Monday round table, NASCAR Now doesn't do it for me, just more ESPN feature drivel.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I think Race Hub is a Race DUD.
It follows the FOX recipe of producing more fluff than substance, thinking that "cutsie" is more important than content.
It's easy to connect the dots from glowing hockey pucks to animated gophers to sleezy looking sets and ditzy sounding chit chat between balckberry twitting "hosts".

No journalism because there are no journalists. Instead, we are expected to settle for drivers who "can make the 10 minute drive" to the fast-food restaurant-looking set, so that he can array us with references to the "budweiser/stanley tools/energy drink/consumer goods/
ChevroFord". Oh, don't forget the obligatory references to the "guys in the shop who work so hard".

Hey, I WORK HARD TOO!! And MY TIME IS VALUABLE! If you want my attention, then deliver some insightful, researched, factual STORIES THAT REFLECT THE STATE OF AND ISSUES FACING THE STRUGGLING SPORT!!!! ENOUGH OF THE HAPPY, BOOGITY BULLCRAP of people sitting around singing Kum-Bay-Yah and feigning surprise when some other talking blivit suddenly appears in the monitor screen behind her.
I am fed up with SPEED, FOX and ESPN and their self-serving attitudes cum "sports programming"

Cooter said...

I love "Race Hub" and continue to be a big fan of Krista Voda.

Hopefully, SPEED will re-air the program later in the evening or perhaps the following morning.

In its present time slot I get to see it only once in a while (hardly ever).

rich said...

Glad to hear that after Christmas break Race Hub will return. I really enjoy this show. Sure, it still has some rough edges to polish but at least the suits and ties are gone. I think that the 30 min. format is just right for me. I like the speed report update and the different drivers and crew chiefs that have dropped by.
Glad to see NN get some competition.

Donna DeBoer said...

As I've emphatically and enthusiastically stated a few times here - I LOVE Race Hub! SO glad I'll have it next season. I don't mind any of the people they've had hosting, I like em all so if they settle on one or keep rotation it'll be fine by me. I also don't mind the set, we keep looking at the shelves to see if there's something new!
For me, NASCAR Now handles the day's news and ongoing issues. Race Hub touches on those things but the BEST thing is that their main focus appears to be talking to NASCAR teams EVERY DAY either in studio or on location. I hope to see more equal treatment of series, and I believe that this TV exposure will be a big positive for the smaller shops and teams. I'm interested in them all- Cup, NNS, Truck, Mod, AA, Can etc.

TexasRaceLady said...

I really enjoy the show. The first week, or so, was rough, but it is showing lots of promise.

Last night's show with Chad Knaus in his suit coat and tennis shoes, was a hoot. I love to listen to him because he gives information clearly and concisely.

Krista really stands out as the host. I am glad she ditched the hat. LOL

Anonymous said...

Bill. I really like the idea of race shop day once a week. With all of the CUP, Truck, and Nationwide teams there is a lot they can show! Great idea.

batchief said...

I sometimes wonder if I am watching the same shows as other posters here. I am a big fan of using humor while being informative and entertaining. There is enough seriousness in the news these days and I, for one, am happy to get a break from it. Steve Byrnes and Krista used it when Totally Nascar was on and I loved it then and I love it now. Thanks to Speed for bringing Race Hub back next year. To Krista, Adam, Randy, John, Ralph, Bob V. and Bob D., keep up the good work.

50 yr. fan said...

This is the best Nascar show on
now. I've worn thin with the NN suits and scripts and the Race Day
antics of Spencer and Wallace.

The race shop idea is great and
may help bring more visitors to the
shops/stores when fans really see what's available for free to them.
It would be great to also include
input from some of the retired
participants of our sport.

Unknown said...

The Hub may not be polished yet, but that itself makes it kind've distinct. You don't have to be polished as long as we're getting real news, rumors, drivers, etc.

I got it on continuous DVR, and it's my Nascar nitecap before nite-nite.

Anonymous said...

I would love to comment, heck I would love to just see this show. But they don't seem to want the West Coast fans to see it. I am at work, and am not a DVR owner. But I shouldn't have to have a DVR to see the show. As often as they rerun those stupid tow truck shows, seems they could show us the NASCAR stuff at an hour when we are home to see it.

Vicky D said...

I'm still not entirely happy with Hub I'll have to give it more time to work out the rough spots. Maybe next year they can come up with some better segments and get rid of that crazy couch.

GinaV24 said...

I haven't been a regular viewer of this show since when I tuned in early on, they were definitely in "rough" mode. I am glad to hear that Speed is stepping up and providing a show like this for the fans. I will start programming the DVR for it since like most of us fortunate to still have a job in this economy, I'm at work when it airs in real time.

I like Hammond - I'm not a big fan of the Hollywood Hotel deal, but when he gets a chance to get outside that, he is an interesting person. I like Krista as well and I think that it would be nice to see Wendy too.

The once a week race shop deal is a great idea.

You can tell that the drivers are much happier with this concept -- yes, it's right up the street which really helps, but also, they like these people unlike the adversarial relationship with the ESPN crew who, IMO, like to stir up trouble, rather than just reporting the facts.

Thanks for the update, JD and for this site. I hope that you are going to give us a place to talk NASCAR TV next year, too.

Anonymous said...

Just watched NASCAR Now. Did Tim Brewer honestly just say that when you switch manufacturers, you change noses and that changes the aerodynamics of the car?

Uh, Tim... it's 2009!

The Loose Wheel said...

Annon, Brewer is partially correct about that. The only place a manufacturer gets to play with anymore is nose and rear clips. A friend informed me that DEI actually turned quite a bit of their cars around simply by using a Ganassi nose piece which changed the aero footprint and handling characteristics of the car dramatically. Not as wacky as it sounds, Brewer actually has this one right.

As for the Hub, the little bit I have seen I have enjoyed. Seeing a Wendy V. get a shot would be awesome as I think she could really add another element with maybe up and coming ARCA drivers or local names...

She has proven herself at the track and on RD time and time again, seeing her do an episode of Race Hub each week would be very cool to say the least.

I clearly missed the boat on the Mike Rowe topics btw lol...

Anonymous said...

I would like to see Speed take the show through the off-season...& include other motorsports, like F1.
Like a half-hour Speed Report daily, or at least 4 days a week.

Anonymous said...

I'm thrilled Race Hub will return in 2010. They continue to tweak the show and make it better. I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere compared to the awkward suits on ESPN.

(I do agree with Anon @ 12:44, the corny parts of the show have to go)

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt DEI picked up something from Ganassi, but I just don't think it has anything to do with the manufacturer. There isn't a different template for a Dodge or a Ford, they both have the same specs.

The Loose Wheel said...

The noses are all different though.

Richard in N.C. said...

I have really enjoyed Race Hub and try to catch it every night. It does now help make up for SPEED's annual, inexplicable hibernation of Wind Tunnel for about 2 months, especially this year when it has been demonstrated that a guest host can carry the show in Despain's absence.

tom in dayton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.