Monday, November 16, 2009

Your Turn: Sprint Cup Series From Phoenix On ABC

We are finally at that point. This column signals the next-to-last time that you will be able to offer your honest opinions about the TV coverage of the Sprint Cup Series. This time, the race is from Phoenix and the TV network is ABC.

Allen Bestwick started the day with NASCAR Countdown. He was joined by Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty and Ray Evernham. The show recapped the Chase and profiled Mark Martin. It did not touch on the Keselowski vs. Hamlin issue from Saturday.

Evernham was a late add to the panel and was on both the Saturday Nationwide and the Sunday Sprint Cup Series races. No idea why the network put him on this show.

Jerry Punch called the race with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree in the broadcast booth. Down on pit road were Shannon Spake, Jamie Little, Vince Welch and Dave Burns. Tim Brewer was in the Tech Garage.

PIR was a race that put Jimmie Johnson and his #48 team in the spotlight. ESPN responded by theming the race coverage around Johnson, who helped by leading a significant part of the race. Cautions were few and the driving was clean.

Pictures were good, audio was solid and once again there were no technical issues with the telecast. This has been a very good area of improvement for ESPN this season.

If you would take a moment to offer your opinions on this telecast, we would appreciate it. These comments are read by many people during the week. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for stopping by, I know it has been a long season.


Sophia said...

Without being gone or busy doing OTHER things around the house, I purposely found MRN and turned OFF the tv.

Ah, breath of fresh air. I read on TWITTER & here, same old junk with camera work MISSING the action.

I turned on tv when I heard there were the big wrecks then it went back off..until last two laps of the race...but it was OF COURSE The JJ show.

When MRN calls out the tv guys for LACK of info, that should speak volumes. But of course that will be lost on ESPN and more importantly NASCAR.

But MRN made the race INTERESTING & fun.

Ken said...

A race was scheduled today but we were no able to see it. We watched a MHS infomercial starring JJ. We didn't get to see the race and were given no information about the race. The ratings will drop more next year as people will know what to expect.

Anonymous said...

Was there anyone else on the track besides Martin and Johnson. For those of you that don't know, Martin drives the 5 car and Johnson drives the 48 car. (sarcasm over)

The Loose Wheel said...


Homestead can't come and go quick enough.

Will elaborate on this disaster later.

dara2K said...

ESPN/ABC has a big challenge. How do you make a telecast exciting, entertaining and create interest when Jimmie "juggernaught" Johnson is "stikin' up the show"?!! ESPN/ABC is challenged on a routine basis to make Nascar race coverage interesting for any fan. For weeks, ad nauseum, ESPN/ABC has focused their coverage on Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya, and yes..wait for it...that 50-year-old Mark Martin!! Can the fans stand another four hours of the same old, same old?? I guess it's worth watching to see how ESPN/ABC can create interest with the snake meat next week! Thanks to The Daly Planet for giving us the opportunity to contribute!

terrisanislo said...

Amazing how PRN/MRN can do it!!! My heavens, there are enough stories each week to cover 2 hours! And if they'd just comment on ALL the racing, that would take the WHOLE RACE! Duh!!!

Chris said...

Nothing like beating a dead horse with there comments MRN makes the race exciting, ABC announcers make the race a big BORING plot. and the Camera work well they could have done better if they just pointed in to the mountains!!!

Vicky D said...

50 year old MM looked and sounded whipped and Jeff Gordon trying to be funny but I didn't think so. Watched hotpass and enjoyed that much better than the regular broadcast. Happy for Jeff Burton waiting for his interview but he's not in the chase so he'll be later I guess.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, The picture is worth a 1,000 words.

Anonymous said...

Today illustrates the need for a real Play-By-Play announcer. When that big wreck happend Jerry Punch sounded so monotone and like those kind of wrecks happen everyday!? "Oh big crash. Dale jr and Tony Stewart involved."

Dale Jarret had to point out there was a wreck happening since Jerry was sleeping or something? Also Jarret explained the incident and had to point out who was in the wreck because Jerry couldnt for some reason?

I like Jerry I really do. If ESPN was smart here is what they would do for next season. Since Shannon Spake is pregnant and having a child in the offseason get her off pit reporting and back to doing stuff like Marty Smith does and just have her be a reporter. Move Jerry to fill the pit reporting space since Jerry is really good at that.

Finally move Marty Reid (Since ESPN for some reason wont touch Allen Bestwick) to play by play for both Nationwide and Cup races all year long. ITS A SIMPLE FIX ESPN! Get Shannon out of pit reporting since shes having a child, move Jerry in her place, and then put Marty in Jerrys place!

Anonymous said...

I don't care what people say, if ABC/ESPN provides coverage of the race and not just a certain few drivers, the telecast will still keep fans watching. People turn the telecast off because of the Jimmie and Mark show every week, just like it was today.

People watch to see how their drivers are doing even if they are not in the Chase and ESPN doesn't seem to get this. Apparently, they want all of us to be Johnson/Martin fans.

This has been the downfall of the Chase and why people hate it. Race fans just want to see a race. At the end of the race, let the points fall where they may. We don't need to be provided endless scrolls of the points "as they run"

How you try to script an auto race is beyond my comprehension which in my opinion is the main reason why their coverage is terrible.

Storylines like the Top 35, Michael Waltrip's final races as a driver, Bobby Labonte getting a full sponsor next season, Tony Stewarts first season as owner a success. These are a few of the storylines that they could cover that aren't related to the Championship that would be worth covering. Why they aren't covering any of these, I have no clue.

This network should be embarrassed to call themselves the "Worldwide Leader in Sports" after these telecasts.

I can't wait to see the rating of the race next week because anyone who is not a Johnson fan will not be watching. Whatever the ratings are, ESPN will have brought that on themselves.

sue said...

I knew it was going to be a rough day when the first 15 minutes was all about Jimmie. But thankfully they only showed last weeks wreck only once but they did shower us was a list of the changes made to the car.

I do agree that there are so many story lines that could be used along with Johnson's success but alas unless it deals with Johnson you won't hear it on ESPN.

Anonymous said...

I made it until halfway and could not take anymore. I turned off the tv and read a book.

- All afternoon we got constant updates on the #5, #24, and #48. Which is understandable since they are fighting for the championship. However, nobody else was covered. We all saw this coming heading into New Hampshire, the Chase has been dominant the last 10 races and the race is the background noise. But it's ok, we got the points as of now every 10 minutes.

- Dr. Punch continued to struggle. This is nothing new, and I hope I will watch history at Homestead - the last race of Jery Punch in the booth giving me car numbers, overused phrases, promos and 3 hours of monotone boredom.

- Lousy pit reports. We were updated on the top 5 constantly. The only pit updates I saw back in the pack weren't much. It was a news story of the weekend, what the crew chief told him/her yesterday, and 1 sentence about the cars handling. I read the news on Jayski this morning, tell me something new.

- Pit problems were documented ten minutes after the fact, S&P teams were not mentioned. People were suddenly off the track and back on the track. Drivers moved through the field and some lost 10 spots on pit road. They were not covered.

- The half of the race I saw had a lot of dull racing. The first 15 laps drivers were fighting for every inch of ground with new tires. Then it became survival on old tires. There was no passing (at least on the tv) and drivers just maintained their positions until pit stops. I wonder if there really was racing all day today, because I didn't see much in green flag runs.

Thank God Homestead is just a week away!

Lensly said...

When will the Worldwide Leader in Sports invest a few bucks in the off season for some public speaking coaches for T. Brewer and maybe a few others on the announce team?

Brewer just said, "And they can make our ship sank" or something like that talk from way back in the hills.
It is a new world of communications and the "good ole boys" days of NASCAR are over. Look at how the world looks at our sport with announcers so hickey they can't even speak correctly.

If ESPN is short on cash then maybe they can buy Tim a copy of Rosseta Stone's English Lessons and he can study at home.

Laurie Chambers said...

I'm at a loss for words which does not happen very often for me...I've typed a number of different thoughts and deleted them...I say 'ditto' to pretty much all of those who have left comments before me...I will say that I'm counting down the days til Daytona not because of Danica but because we'll be back to good coverage of our beloved sport and will hope that ESPN will have 'gotten their game on' by the time they are due to pick up the races.

boyd said...

I think the problem over all is that ESPN is covering the chase, and forgets to cover the race that we, the fans, want to see.
I'll give you the benefit of the doubt ESPN. If it's a boring race, tell us. Or better yet show us.
I had twitter up today, and got information from the posters that never made the broadcast, or if it did, much later.
I had more than one friend tell me to change over to the radio, that there was much more racing than what TV was showing.
I am refusing to have to multi task to get the information I want.
I turned over to football. Guess what? Good pictures, commentary, and all on the TV.
The people that cover the races before ESPN keep up informed, and let us know what is happening one the track with pictures and words.
Before this year, there was never a time when I turned from a NASCAR broadcast to another sport. Never a time when I would miss a race. I probably won't watch Homestead, because in covering the chase I'll get to see JJ running just in the to 20 and miss the race that I turned in to see.

Vicky D said...

Maybe TB needs to read the book - Tech Garage Updates for Dummies!

Anonymous said...

Buschseries61, if you thought the race was boring this week, just wait until next week. The drivers will be playing is safe the entire race, to not get in the way of the 48 and 5 and will want to get out of Homestead quick with vacation looming on the horizon. The telecast of the JJ show will be similar if not worse than it was today so unless you are a JJ fan, your not going to like what you see.

Not to get off topic but did anyone watch qualifying on Friday and notice how excited Dr Jerry got when JJ got the pole on his qualifying run. That was the most excited I had ever heard him without talking about an ESPN/ABC promo.

DougS said...

On Lap 5 Dale Jarrett commentates about all the side by side racing that nobody can see. Turned off ABC and switched over to hotpass and MRN. And watched a great race and heard some awesome battles and listened into some great scanner traffic.

I thought I saw an improvement yeterday in the NNS race. And was hoping it would carry over to today. Guess it wasn't to be. Too bad on a track like Phoenix. Well already making plans to watch the race live next year.

Anonymous said...

MRN had racing and battles. When I looked to the feed and saw the Jimmie show either looking out his window at NOTHING or looking at him by himself or wide shots showing NOTHING and eventually the camera FINALLY getting close enough to see the cars.

I don't understand why they're getting away with this sad excuse for airing a race :(

Julie said...

Jimmie Johnson led the most laps and won the race. He deserved coverage, but the first half of the race coverage was horrible. It was completely focused on the 48 and the 5 in some useless attempt to make the championship exciting. As the race wore on, I think they made more of an attempt to spread the coverage out a little more, but by then the bad taste was already in most of the viewers mouths.

I think the race was better than what ESPN showed, but we'll never know.

Ken-Michigan said...

I learned alot earlier this season that it's more enjoyable to watch DirecTV's HotPass on NASCAR Sunday's, so I can't comment on the entire ABC coverage, I refuse to watch their coverage and their commercials / promos.

The only part of the ABC coverage that I DID tune in for was the final 10 laps. At that point Punch and the crew sounded as if they had just buried their favorite family pet. Zero excitement, BUT I do not place the blame on the TV crew.

JD- you stated here, during the race that it was "ESPN's responsibility to bring us an exciting telecast". I cannot agree with you & I'm surprised you said that.

Although I can no longer stomach the ABC/ESPN coverage, it is NOT their "responsibility" to bring us excitement. It's their responsibility to "cover the event" as it unfolds. I am defending the production team for this one.

Watching paint dry cannot be made exciting, no matter who is bringing you the coverage, even if you have 12 people with microphones. The current state of NASCAR and the car they compete with for 30some weeks is not exciting.

The problem is the race car and until changes are made, there isn't a network in America that can make NASCAR exciting.

This time around I cannot agree with you. The competition on the race track will dictate the amount of excitement dished out from the respective network and NASCAR is responsible for the competition.

In Allen Bestwicks words "agree or disagree" ??

Sally said...

I barely made it to half way, then turned off the TV and found lots of things to do around the house. I turn on the TV to watch a race. It's been my understanding that there are 43 cars in a Cup field. All I heard about was 10 of them. Not what I expect on a race broadcast. If there was less focus on 'the chase' and more focus on 'the RACE', perhaps more people would be inclined to watch on Sunday. I'm done for the year.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Ken, have to disagree.

We have seen all kinds of NASCAR racing long before the Chase came around.

The choice by ESPN this season is to sit and pout if the race is not up to what they want it to be.

That is what Ramsey Poston from NASCAR said after Talladega.

Every day on ESPN you see basketball, football and other live events that do not come down to the wire. They do not have all exciting plays.

The TV producer uses his knowledge to go after the stories of the game regardless of the score.

There are seventy cameras, four pit reporters, four infield announcers, a Tech Center and three more guys in the booth for Cup races on ABC.

The responsibility of the TV telecast is to convey the excitement of cars running at speed on the highest level of stock car racing.

Getting up on the wheel and doing just that has clearly been the challenge of this NASCAR on ESPN team.

Even Barney Hall of MRN called them out by saying racing was going on in the field and yet ESPN was just sitting on JJ and the front few.


Sophia said...

ken michigan

If you can't agree ESPN coverage is horrible, you are the ONLY person I know of that LIKES the pictures/camera work during all the races.

That horrible cam work is what is driving fans to radio in droves...or to NFL.

Sure the COT needs better handling issues addressed, maybe wider tires, but MRN TELLS THE REST OF THE STORY (as Paul Harvey used to say) & even MRN Barney Hall (not known for being controversial I don't think) Called out TV for never showing what's going on beyond the 10th car...said that's where most of the real racing is going on.

I heard that with my own two ears!! :)

Truer words were never spoken.

Stevie Wonder could pick better camera direction.

Sophia said...


sorry I am slow typist and said the same thing JD said about BHall

Beating A Dead Horse said...

Ken MI,

I would be content if ESPN on ABC would just telecast the race that unfolds, as it unfolds, and tell the stories of the race. Each entry has a book of stories that should be researched and compiled as the season progresses. When the race contest unfolds as a yawner, the booth and infield studio should step in, go through the field as it runs and tell the stories of the teams. That alone is enough content to fill hours of air time until a Drama Caution is thrown and excitement can be restored-Shoot Out Style! That is the broadcasters obligation to us viewers and sponsor product consumers.

Yogi said...

They are staying away in droves

glenc1 said...

I agree with you on this one, JD...plenty of people who have attended races this year have come back and said it was totally different than what was presented on TV, that there was racing going on all over the place, and ESPN just wasn't covering it. To be honest, I was watching other stuff, and turned over after 50 laps. No idea where anyone was or why, and yet, I never would have found out by listening to ESPN, so I found MRN quickly. I usually like Phoenix racing, and it was kind of ruined for me by ESPN.

Ken-Michigan said...

I listened to the majority of today's race on HotPass which utilized the MRN feed.

Even MRN had many, many moments of non-entertaining commentary & I have great respect for their coverage.

Their were very long periods of green flag racing, which led to very long periods of no passing on the race track. If there was any excitement, it was when the leaders were lapping slow traffic or damaged race cars.

Did we need NASCAR to throw the mysterious cautions for debris to make it more exciting? If, they would have done that people would bash NASCAR for bogus cautiuons.

These cars are far to equal when it gets to a certain part of a green flag run. Nobody can pass anyone & it turns into 20 or 30 minutes of absolutely nothing happening.

This isn't the first time or the first track this has happened. The only common denominator is the C.O.T..

If the car and the rules are tweaked, we will all enjoy a better raceday.

Dot said...

I tuned to BSPN to see the race. When did the call letters change to KHMS/WHMS? All JJ, MM & JG all race long. Oh yeah, there were brief moments of other drivers. I'm guessing accidental. Someone in the truck must have stepped out for a smoke.

Even if the cars are running single file, there must be a story somewhere. Bobby L getting a full time ride next year. Mikey's last run at Phx (most likely). Where Mears and Sorenson may end up next year. Robby Gordon without full time sponsorship. They could show these cars as they talked about them. Maybe sponsors would sign up if they knew they'd get TV time. This part is NASCAR's problem too. Would you pay thousands/millions of dollars not to be seen? They all can't sponsor the big named drivers. It's pretty sad that a driver has to be in a wreck or oil down the track to get a mention.

I'm going into broken record mode right now. Jerry Punch must go. I believe he is holding back DJ & AP.

What was Ray doing on the Infield Show? Auditioning? Keep him and get rid of Brad. Why do they need all those people?

I almost fell out of my chair when I saw Marcos being interviewed. Spittle couldn't even get it right, though. She said he got into the 88. Marcos had to correct her that Jr spun in his own oil. How long did she have to review the facts before she spoke to him?

I have a question. BSPN had to be salivating about the Kez/Diva feud. Why no mention? Since BF was there, did he put out the order not to talk about it? Or, was it too late for the script revision?

Vince said...

Once again this weekend, I mostly watched the NFL games. Three or four times during breaks, I switched over to see what was going on with the race and every time I saw and heard the same thing. The cameras were on JJ. And Dr. Punch was giving car numbers and his over used cliches.

Glad I watched football even if my team got beat again. Reading everybody's posts it sounds like I didn't miss anything. ESPN/ABC doesn't seem to care about their coverage of NASCAR, so why should I?

Anonymous said...

Ken, that's been happening at races since...forever. Nothing to do with the COT.

Sophia said...

Vince said

ESPN/ABC doesn't seem to care about their coverage of NASCAR, so why should I?

Amen, and even sadder, NASCAR does not care. Even Brian France does NOT watch the tv broadcast (rarely goes to races!) and blames the ratings on Jr doing badly. Ha, as if one NFL team doing horribly would affect NFL ratings (Yes, BF is stupid enough to compare little ol Jr to a big fat bunch of teams? If the product is made or broken by 1 driver, sad day in motorsports. BF is just CRINGEWORTHY to read or hear interviewed...quite sad really :-( )

NASCAR is so out of touch with the sport they no longer CARE how the sport is BROADCASTED. After years of being 20 minutes on WWorld of Sports, today's 4 hrs plus of bad tv coverage is making people sigh for those quality 20 minute days. SHAMEFUL.

I think the ESPN NA$CAR contract is called 'selling your soul to the devil and grinning all the way to the bank as you sit in your New York hi rises! Or avoid court in Fla.'

SPEED CHANNEL and peeps equal the LOVE OF NASCAR.


sorry, I usually just say lather, rinse, repeat. I have no idea where that rant came from. :-(

Anonymous said...

FOX must be so looking forward to Daytona.

Their TV audiences will be huge with desperate NASCAR fans who haven't actually seen a race since FOX/TNT telecasts earlier this year.

Fans can again laugh, cheer, groan as we follow the other 42 drivers and their sponsors.

FOX should send espn a thank you note....


Anonymous said...

Ken-Michigan: I have to agree with you. There were good chunks of the race where it was single file and difficult to pass. ESPN should have handled it better, but did not. Their job is to cover the 43 cars in race, not to fluff it up with fake excitement. We already have enough fake hype with The Chase. The problem is, ESPN did not do their job and cover all 43 cars.

Two wrongs don't make a right. ESPN needs to improve most aspects of their coverage, NASCAR needs to help the teams with the COT.

Anonymous said...

where did the concept come from that it shouldn't be hard to pass someone? Single file went on under the old car. I'm all for making the cars better, but that's not the main problem here.

red said...

i didn't watch one moment of espn's coverage today. stayed w/mrn and laptop: TDP, twitter, a few other sites.

first time for everything, i guess, but . . .

i actually enjoyed a race for the first time in months. no, my driver was never really in contention but i heard about the entire field, each racer, each team. i heard about our sport, our entire sport. that's all i've ever really wanted from espn and it's exactly whatthey failed to deliver.

next week? i'm planning to be too busy.

PammH said...

Just gotta post, because of the veri-word, which is snoties! The same reason I posted earlier because the veri-word was panties. Coverage sucked as usual-all JJ all the time-boring. I may not even tape the race next wk or listen. It just doesn't matter anymore. Didn't watch VL & will ck to see who's on NN before I watch.

Anonymous said...

We all make the same comments every week. How about we all look forward to 2010 because it is very clear that ESPN/ABC is not going to change.

TexasRaceLady said...

I really can't say much about the telecast --- because in my estimation there wasn't one!

It was a 3 hour Jimmie Johnson infomercial.

Ocassionally, the 4-letter network would deign to show us a couple of other cars --- but rarely.

To be perfectly honest, I mostly watched football. And I don't even like football.

GinaV24 said...

I probably watched about 1/3 of the race. I was following it more through trackpass and the radio. Watching the race on TV means I have to listen to the bad announcing and the lousy camera work and I can't stand the frustration of doing that anymore on a weekly basis. I usually make sure I watch the green flag and the first 10 laps, well for the first 10 minutes all I saw was the 48 car. Great if you are a 48 fan, but for those of use who are interested in the racing that is going on or another driver, well, bored now, so I went off and did other things -- laundry, check in on the football games, yard work. Are you listening NASCAR and ESPN? I'm NOT inside glued to the TV.

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

I love these comments, "I'm a 48 fan and I hate the coverage".....HA!

Yes, let's ignore the guy leading the championship and on his way to making history to show guys battling for 10th, 15th and 23rd or how about we show those all epic battles for the top 35.

If you guys hated this coverage today, then you probably would've hated the IRL season-finale at Homestead this year too because Versus (who did a great job with the IRL this year) did the same thing for that race.

GinaV24 said...

Oh one other thing -- I tune in to see the RACE, not because of the chase.

It's why hands down MRN does a better job of covering things even though I can't "see" it on camera -- they actually cover the race.

We know Brian France doesn't watch the races. I wonder if Helton, Darby and Poston do?

Jimbacca said...

I believe when the chase was first announced some teams and people voiced the concept that they may as well shutdown after the 'preseason' because they won't get coverage even when they run good.

ESPN has proven that sadly all to be very true. Week after week a team is running up front with no mention. The only way to find out a person is doing well is the ticker. Every week there is racing going on in the field or near the front of non yellow names. But the only time it would get covered is if a yellow name would happened to involved somehow. Bobby Labonte has continually been up front no mention. 96 has continually been up front in parts of the race no mention. It's no wonder even in this economy that teams are having trouble getting sponsors.

As far as S&P mention. I only saw 3 or 4 names today so nothing really worth mentioning. Not like the Busch field that 1/3 of the field raced to park.

Kicking over to Hotpass with the MRN feed was a great awakening to how a boring race can be covered. Maybe ESPN should just use the MRN feed for the live instead of just the replay.

Anonymous said...


At least during the IRL season finale there was an actual points battle occurring since all three of the top contenders were within 8 points. Not to mention that race went caution free, and with barely 20 cars on the race track, that made for not much racing.

As for the race today, we watched JJ extend an already very comfortable points lead by focusing almost entirely on him. There was racing in the field during the race, but we definitely did not see most of it.

Ann_Ominous said...

Terrible. No improvement as compared to the Nationwide race, which did have some.

I should of gotten my act together and gone to the dog show.

Or gone channel surfing and tried to find figure skating.

Phoenyx said...

Two of my favorite drivers, Bowyer and Burton, finished 7th and 2nd respectively. Yet I FELL ASLEEP during the final 80 laps of the race, during which time they were both in the top 5.

Lackluster broadcasting, lackluster race coverage. Lackluster camera work on the race "action".

ESPN is the wrong network to cover NASCAR. Best race this weekend was the Truck race... covered by SPEED. Maybe not as fancy, less polished, no Dog & Pony Show... but maybe that's what made it great to watch.

Look back to the races even 5 years ago. When NBC covered the races. Much more interesting.

Maybe if NASCAR/ESPN spent a little more time actually COVERING a race, a little less time talking about irrelevant BS (like football, baseball, basketball... challenge of the gladiators...) and maybe bring back covering drivers that are, oh, you know... NOT in the CHASE, maybe it would be less of a travesty to watch.

How is it, even with former drivers an crew chiefs in the announcer's booth, that the race action being called could be so bad?

Anonymous said...

I swear, I think some of you get excited when you nitpick about coverage. Is it perfect? Of course not, it would be silly to say that. But you all act like it's the end of the world when they show an in-car camera.

The fact of the matter is, the pints leader pretty much dominated the race. HE SHOULD GET THE MOST COVERAGE! I thought they did a decent job of showing the various passes over the course of the race. But, why should a guy who is 20th on the track get the same amount of coverage as the guy who's leading? It's not the fault of ESPN that Jimmie Johnson is wiping the floor with the rest of the field.

The fact is, on the long green flag runs, the field gets spread out. There really is no racing to cover. Would it be nice if they talked about they guy running 10th? Sure, but I know they mentioned guys like Ambrose, Burton, Allmendinger, etc. on more than one occasion. It was neat to see Burton climbing up through the field.

For all of those who mention Trackpass or whatever, THAT'S EXACTLY THE POINT! ESPN's coverage is intended to be general in nature, with things like Trackpass providing in-depth coverage.

Anonymous said...

DVR'd the race today. Packers, Cowboys won today.

I tried to watch the broadcast after dinner.

The Info button kept telling me it was NASCAR racing. I still don't believe it.

I'm almost positive it was QVC and they were selling scale model Hendrick cars and throwing stock footage in to spice up the sale!

If I'm wrong I'll have to call Directv and have them fix the problem.

I'm still waiting for the race to start.

Dave In Milwauke

OSBORNK said...

I think the camera work has gotten worse because the quality and number of cameras has improved. In earlier years, the fewer number of cameras and their poorer technology required that they show the race much as it was seen by the people watching the race at the track. Cars are now shown so close up that they cover the entire screen and they can do it anywhere on the track. That doesn't give you the feel of being there which I think is needed for a good broadcast.

I have watched a few races in the past in front of my 52" HD Tv with home theatre and feel like I am in the stands with sound coming at me from all directions. I sure would like to experience that again.

RobFromToronto said...

I followed thru with my personal boycott of espn/abc and did not see todays finally..RobFromToronto has been silenced..i do tend to ramble :) okok..i still am talking..go figure..i just checked nascar dot com for todays results and saw yawwwwwnnn...jj winning and reading this column i see i missed nothing and my day was better spent doing "other stuff" i dont really want to boycott homestead..i love that track..but i most likely will..not that espn/abc will notice my absence :P

Dot said...

Anon 10:51 said "For all of those who mention Trackpass or whatever, THAT'S EXACTLY THE POINT! ESPN's coverage is intended to be general in nature, with things like Trackpass providing in-depth coverage."

Trackpass isn't all that, BTW. It's a cartoony thing that shows car numbers. Now Racebuddy, that's a whole different animal. Funny, TNT offers that AND good race coverage on TV.

BSPN is intended to be general in nature? Really? I disagree. My roommate Dan watches the race on TV. So do many others without a computer. It's on TV so the fan at home can watch the race. TV should cover it in depth. I don't mean every single incident or pass, that would be impossible. But, certainly they can show more than they do. Take out the tight shots and bumper cams and that problem would be solved.

I do want to congratulate JJ & Chad on their 4th championship. There's no denying it, they are good. I just want balanced coverage for all the teams.

I am curious though if BF is going to do something to JJ & Chad proof the Chase for 2010.

Sophia said...

Trackpass isn't ALL THAT but BSPN thinks they are all that and a bag of chips!

Was it here somebody mentioned ESPN showing race on tv with MRN Audio. Now THERE's an idea.

Think of the money ESPN would save to not fly booth guys and pit people around. :)

I had only MRN today and except for brief moments (about 3 minutes each) for the replay of wrecks, no tv. It was liberating.

And the most enjoyable time I've had "watching/listening" to a race so it can be done on TV.
MRN was not the JJ & MMartin show.

SAP is NEVER SPANISH on my remote like the booth claims, but I would LOVE for it to be MRN!!:)

West Coast Diane said...

Haven't read any posts. "Someone" messed up and didn't DVR HotPass, so I had to watch ESPN.

Ok, so the race was a bore in itself and my driver crashes again!!! But, ESPN does nothing to bring any excitement or knowledge to the party.

So many things irked me. The tight shots...why??? The stands looked pretty full, so the excuse of not showing empty stands doesn't fly. The single car shot. Granted cars were spread out, but wide shots would let you see a few more cars! Why did they bother to show JR's car being worked on with a report from Shannon about an oil leak they couldn't find and that possibly was the reason he spun? What a waste, they never followed up on it.

The last 50 laps I set the DVR to FF on the slowest speed because we couldn't take it anymore. The majority of the time it was just Jimmy going around by himself.


The last 5 weeks I have used HotPass. I forgot how truly bad ESPN is. It is no longer just about JP and PxP. I find DJ and Andy provide very little information about anything. Maybe it's because of JP. I don't know anymore. All of them seem to speak in cliches and mostly state the obvious. I want to hear something I don't know!!

Also can't believe that there are not more qualified people to do pit reporting than the 3 ESPN uses. Although Shannon did not bother me that much today. Maybe that is because Jaime just drives me up the wall with her silly questions and over animated. And Vince is just a male Jaime.

And why can't these people just speak in a natural voice. That is the big difference between FOX and TNT vs ESPN. FOX & TNT call a race like they are just hanging out with you discussing the race and giving their insights. ESPN seems like they are reading prepared text with instructions to talk loudly and/or animated. Unless of course something exciting is happening on the track then they are instructed to talk in monotone.

I may not even bother with next week I am so fed up. I can go to sleep.....

West Coast Diane said...

PS...I was so disappointed when I saw that Bobby Labonte had our favorite "E" product on the rear panel of his car. I know sponsors are few and far between, but it is just so beneath Bobby. Does he have kids? How sad. I hope this isn't his sponsor next year for his full time ride.

larry said...

I didn't watch nor did I DVR the race (I forgot!). I think I've lost interest after 50 years as a fan. I did check in to learn the final running order.

Anonymous said...

Mercifully, this Nascar season is drawing to a close. It never fails to amaze me that the networks brag about all the trucks and camera equipment they bring to a race while routinely missing the action on the track. I'm a huge Wendy fan. Jamie and Shannon I'm sure are just wonderful people, but from a technical standpoint, they are an embarrassment. Tim Brewer is also useless.

Todd Crane said...

OMG....DRAMA cautions I love it!

MattTSB said...

I had to run some errands and had the race on in the car for a while, as well as watching a good chunk on the tv.

I was the first time in a while that I've listened to part of the race and watched part, and I did not come away from the radio portion feeling better informed or entertained. It was a fine way to keep informed while I was out of the house, but the "Full Field Rundowns" that many people seem to get so excited contained just over zero information beyond running order. They did say it was "Nice" to see some RCR cars up towards the front and that Edwards was expected to be better, but no information about why he wasn't. It was just an audio version of the scroll at the top of the screen.

At least on TV if they zoom in on one car you see other cars around it-on radio whatever they talk about is all you get. TV (any network) gives you near constant running order, intervals, laps behind, and who's off the track. There's much more information available via the worst TV broadcast than via radio.

Anonymous said...

anon at 10:51 wrote
"The fact of the matter is, the pints leader pretty much dominated the race. HE SHOULD GET THE MOST COVERAGE!"
Um,here's a headline for ya (while you cash your espn paychecks)
What should get the most coverage is THE ACTUAL RACING ON THE TRACK!!!! The fact that a driver or team leads the championship justifies NOTHING interms of coverage. Side-by-side, changes of position, ill handling cars, tactical pit strategies, no THAT deserves coverage.....and although you'd never know it from your employer's coverage, that kind of action happens every lap for the entire race.

Bray Kroter

rich said...

Even if Jerry Punch was replaced with Marty, the problem of poor coverage would not be solved.
Somebody needs to blow up the production truck. Surely they use a different crew for NW and Sprint race coverage. The NW race had good pit stop coverage and good camera work. The Sprint Cup race coverage is totally different. Whats up?

50 yr. fan said...

Better get ready for a Digger
onslaught in 2010. Fox is hawking the rodent and extended family, probably in anticipation of conning kids into another Christmas present request.

It's a shame BSPN didn't get a
comment from Brain Farce on the
Kez meeting. They were probably
scared of what he may say about
their coverage.

Garry said...

The problems with this telecast are many. One I will point out first is the networks inability to blame Johnson for brake checking the field that led to the pile up on the restart. He deliberately caused that, and it was glaring. So obvious was it that the network of course blamed someone else. ESPN has "discovered" that Jimmie can do no wrong. Also tired of waiting to interview drivers from the infield care center UNTIL the race restarts. Can't they do that during the caution? The interviews at the end of the race are ridiculous. One interview, and 5 reporters analyze the comments. One interview, then analysys. Ad nauseum. I too, had to check the race starting grid to see if Harvick, Biffle, Kahne, Newman, Sadler, etc. were start and parks. To my amazement they were in the race! Now it's off to Homestead where ESPN and Hendrick Motorsports can continue to ruin the sport. Ratings will be an absolute disaster! Both entities are truly bad for the sport. I think badminton will be my new sport of choice. Until ESPN starts to cover that....

MRM4 said...

Anon 6:48, if ESPN does decide to take Punch out of the play-by-play role, he'll quit before he goes back to the pits. He'd rather do college football and basketball instead of pit reporting.

I was gone during the first 55 laps of the race and it didn't seem like I missed much. I flipped back and forth between the race and the Cowboys-Packers game. I would have stuck with the game except it was boring too (3-0 at halftime). I really doubt I'll watch much of the Homestead race.

GinaV24 said...

Brainless already answered the question about "johnson-proofing" the chase. He laughed at it. He doesn't watch the races - not at the track or on TV.

And didn't you hear? Everything is going great in NASCAR.

Ziggy said...

I just realized that screaming at the TV during ESPU-NASCAR telecasts is becoming a habit to the extent that my DW is asking me if I'm OK.

From lap 49 to 105 they said JJ's name or car # 47 times !

Warning: Feb 14th,2010, Digger is back !

Anonymous said...

Watched NFL all afternoon. DVR was recording the race. During commercial breaks I would turn on ABC to see the same thing, JJ on the screen. Lap 80 I turned off the DVR and deleted the recording. Twitter updates informed me that JJ won. ZZZZZ. I still have no idea where my favorite driver finished, but I don't care. I even have deleted the DVR Cup recordings for next weekend.

All throughout my years, I have gone to local pavement and dirt tracks, as well as NASCAR races. The reason I went was for the show. I watched where the racing was, where my favorite drivers where, and kept an eye on the leader periodically. It did not matter to me who was running away from the field, since I was watching other cars fight tooth and nail for every spot.

This is what I believe ESPN is too ignorant and self absorbed to understand. Race fans want to see the race as it unfolds. No hype, and constantly following the same select drivers. Get a producer, director, competent pit reporters, camera men, that all understand that they need to show the viewers the race as it is happening, not how they would like it to happen.

As much as I hate Digger, Fox has my favorite race of the year... Daytona. All of the new drivers/teams/sponsors, and NO MENTION OF POINTS AS THEY RUN RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!

I have given up this year, and will watch this spring and through Chicagoland, but once August starts, I doubt I will even want to watch anymore. I give up.

Anonymous said...

ESPN's coverage sucked as usual.

Why did they keep running the chase points standing across the top of the screen every two minutes. Hey idiots! The points standing don't change that much from lap to lap to warrant such constant reporting.

Conversely, why will they not reset the field after cautions. There was no mention of lucky dogs and wave arounds and since they constantly kept the crawl giving points standings we couldn't figure out who was where and who was on the lead lap. And PLEASE always inlude the time intervals and lead lap information on that crawl if you are unwilling to reset the field. It's the only resource we viewers have to figure out who is where.

Predictably the longest stretch of time that went by without an update of the points standings was after the checkered flag waved. Then all of a sudden we had to wait 15 minutes for an update. Not to hard to see how ESPN wanted to keep people watching by withholding that information. I hate being manipulated (especially after having to endure the constant harping of the points standings during the race) so I turned the tv off and went online to see the points.

Donna DeBoer said...

Good race on radio.
Good race via internet.
Lousy race on TV.
How much more simple can it be?

I echo the general sentiment:
I want to watch for THE RACE *not* THE CHASE.

Anonymous said...

Uninteresting play by play means I watched football and checked on the race occasionally.

Anonymous said...

ESPN/ABC has a big challenge. How do you make a telecast exciting, entertaining and create interest when Jimmie "juggernaught" Johnson is "stikin' up the show"?!!

Uh, how about the same way they made it exciting and entertaining when Richard Petty was "stinking up the show". Geez!

Anonymous said...

Sophia--it's not BSPN that's doing it but DirecTV. They show the ESPN/ABC broadcast for pictures but play MRN/PRN audio. Not sure if they have a channel separate from the driver channels to just have the BSPN and radio.

But you have the driver in one window with their telemetry and radio and then the BSPN in the other window.

gretajean said...

It used to bother me when the networks would continually tell us what "tight" and "loose" were, but at least that was about the RACING. Now it's "50-year-old" Mark Martin, JJ's points and "shootout style" restarts. Just cover the race and the rest of it will work out, just like the points. And if there is a wreck, please at least react like a human would -- how about "oh no!" or "trouble!" for starters. You could practice that.

BWBarefoot said...

Diane, the reason that Extenze appeared on the #71 car was a sponsorship deal with car owner Kevin Buckler. It was to have been on the #70 car, with Kevin Conway, who Extenze has supported all year, but Conway failed to qualify in Buckler's other car.

As for the race broadcast on ESPN, I can't add anything more to what has already been said. The race ended early, so there was a lot of postrace coverage. However, the ticker didn't run as many times as I would have liked considering how few drivers were covered during the race itself.

Smiff_99 said...

Hey Anonymous @ 11:12.....there WASN'T TV coverage (aside from WWofS) when Petty was 'stinkin' up the show', so your argument is moot.

Does anybody remember a few weeks ago here on TDP when somebody (perhaps JD, not sure) mentioned that Mike Joy had twittered something about Digger being gone next year?

I hope I wasn't imagining that, because in all reality, that's the only GLARING problem with Fox's coverage.....that AND DW's blatant partiality towards Gordon, Busch, and JJ.

But at least he raves about more than ONE specific driver, instead of the 'All JJ, all the time' mentality of ESPN.

P.S.- Glad somebody other than me noticed when JJ brake checked the whole field and ESPN said nothing except 'I think a car further back in the field mighta spun their tires'.

The Loose Wheel said...

WCD, the Extenze thing on Bobby's car is actually a throwback to what sponsors used to do. If they missed a race they would hop on the first unsponsored car in the race. In this case it was Bobby's teammate.

KudzuCarl said...

This horse has been beat to within an inch of its life, so I'll keep it short. Near the end of the race, Jerry commented that JJ's win put Mr. Hendricks in position to possibly win his 9th championship next week. Duh! The top three drivers, and the only drivers with a shot, are all Hendricks drivers. The championship is guaranteed to Mr. Hendricks. How does Punch miss this fact? It sure can't be because he never checks "the points standings".

West Coast Diane said...

@BWBarefoot....thanks for the "E" explanation.

Also agree regarding your ticker comment. I do not understand why the ticker isn't run ALL the time with intervals.

And running the "points as of now" ticker was totally useless.

Anonymous said...

To ESPN and their employees, broadcasting a race is just a job. They go about it with the same enthusiasm as someone digging a ditch. Like most fans (and they caused it), they can't wait for the season to end. I don't think they can adjust to not doing ball sports. With ball sports, the action always follows the ball. To ESPN, the leader is their ball and they follow it constantly.

What justification can the ad department give to the Board of Directors to justify the millions of dollars needed for sponsorship when their car, driver and product is never shown on the broadcast? I can see sponsorship agreements changing to reflect how well a team does regarding the chase. They might stop sponsorship in midseason if it is clear they are not going to make the chase.

Sophia said...


Only PRE RACE cartoon of Digger is gone. Sorry.

We also have to remember Fox camera selection was full of bumper cams/disjointed jumping. I CLEARLY remember them ruining long track races & also too many tight shots.

ESPN is just the WORST.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for Hotpass on Direct tv, I can listen to MRN. Radio was covering all these pases that tv never showed. I think they thought everham could fix it, NOT. Put Eli and Allen B in the broadcast booth!!

glenc1 said...

Kenny Wallace has completely lost touch with reality if he thinks we should give 'thanks' to NASCAR. Good grief.

I think we're all going to appreciate Fox more...I guess I can learn to live with the gopher. But...that doesn't mean if they're not doing a good job I won't switch on MRN.

Marylee said...

No, no, no, don't put Marty Reid on the Cup race. Did you hear either Andy or Dale chide him for talking about the point standings DURING the Nationwide race! I loved it. They made it clear that the points changes during the race don't mean a thing, it is only the end that matters. I know this is a Cup series commentary, but I found the narrow focus of the Nationwide race just about as awful.

JohnP said...

After I got done with the Redskins game I skipped to the Vikings game to see Bret Farve win. What spirit that guy has.

I was in no hurry to get to Nascar because I expected every other sentence to be "Jimmy" "Johnson" or "Jimmy Johnson".

Got to the race about 4:15est and was pleasently surprised.

Even though Johnson led a lot of the day, ESPN did not dwell on his name as they have the last "many" races. Like since the Chase started.

It's still not a great product. But I'll give credit where credit is do.

It was not a Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy show coming from the broadcasters.

I did notice that JP's time was limited. He and DJ are the most guilty in the last many races of obsessing on Johnson.

All in all, a little better then in the past from this ESPN crew.

Still don't give a darn about the Tech Garage. I'm not a gearhead.

Jonathan said...

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE put Andy on the Cup side. The nationwide race on saturday was great but compared to sunday (i thkn i've said this the past 10 mondays) it was light years ahead of the cup race. Andy brings excitment. I had the MRN feed on through hotpass yesterday and they were getting into the battle w Bobby Labonte and a few others when I heard em say yeah we actually talk about the great battles on the track unlike the tv guys who focus on the top 10 and thats it. great stuff is anyone going to wake up and say hey Espn needs to change something??????????

webmaster said...

ESPN/ABC seem to have forgotten what the point of a race broadcast is: to allow those who can't attend the ability to watch the race from home. All of the sights and sounds of the racetrack should be conveyed to the viewer (or tried to).

Think about when you go to a race. Do you watch one car only for 500 laps? Of course not- you scan the track and watch the battles as they develop. You keep a tab on the leaders, but watch what you want to.

ESPN needs to remember that the viewers want to see racing, not a storyline. Show us the race - whether it's Dave Blaney pulling off at lap 10, or Paul Menard and Robby Gordon duking it out for 27th - show us. Use wide shots to give us a feel of how big the track is and let us see the whole field.

As long as Cup races are, ESPN should take the time to really go through the field and tell us what the real stories are with the teams. How's the mood on the Michael Waltrip team? New car or sponsor for John Andretti? Tell us!

Real races don't have scripts, points as they run, or animated gophers in turn three. The PA doesn't blast oldies when a caution flag comes out. We sit in the aluminum bleachers, not a lush infield studio.

Please, please, please show us the RACE!

Sophia said...

Just saw this quote on twitter by a local business media consultant and it works with ESPN, obsessed with JJ& and the CHASE.

What's right with the camera work, NOT ESPN's current tight shot/top 2 drivers blathering.

You lose sight of "what's right" when you are blinded by obsession with "who wins".

Anonymous said...

ESPN/ABC made the telecast unbearable to watch. They only covered like five cars mostly all the time to make their lives easier . I had enough of it and switched to watch my Dallas cowboys get spanked by the Green bay Packers but it was still a fun telecast to watch.

Richard in N.C. said...

In the 3rd year of its contract, the minimal improvement in Cup broadcasts I think proves 2 things - (1) EESPN does not care what NASCAR fans think and (2) the failure to improve Cup broadcasts must rest at the very top of the Evil Empire. In the 3rd year of the contract I believe it is now fair to ask whether there is a vendetta playing out against NASCAR in light of the bad blood when EESPN was locked out of having a piece of the NASCAR coverage pie. Hopefully EESPN's mediocre Cup broadcasts will be an incentive to NASCAR to start laying the groundwork for a NASCAR network at least by the time the current contract comes up for renewal. However, in fairness to EESPN, it does have programming that is of lesser quality than its Cup broadcasts, as well as much that is better.

Tgro said...

It always amazes me that people will howl about seeing 4-5 minutes of Digger during a race 3-4 hr race and complain this is how bad the coverage at Fox is after seeing the travesty that ESPN does to racing week in and week out. You could quadruple Digger for me as long as Fox or TNT announcers were covering the race. I mean seriously...when ESPN covers a race, I'd rather see a Digger Cartoon than watch those guys cover a race. ESPN Racing has the worst coverage of any sport ever! The ALL-TIME worst coverage in any sport ever, period!

Andrew S. said...

My impression if yesterday's race and coverage from BCCC* on ABC


* Bristol (CT) Clown Community College

Anonymous said...

I just saw Jeff Gluck's tweet up there...ya know, that's kind of the *point*. If NASCAR, with all their bias and control freak-ish-ness, can still, via MRN, do a decent broadcast (with their cast of experienced professionals), then why can't ESPN, with their stable of professionals, do the same? And as far as NASCAR getting it right with MRN, even a blind squirrel scores a nut now and then. Plus they've been around since the previous administration.

RobFromToronto said...

just saw the overnights for phoenix...2.9..humongous drop from 3.6 last year..i'm not alone in my boycott :)

Anonymous said...

Again all of the comments about the supposed race coverage has reinforced my ongoing decision to leave the TV off on race day. I relied on MRN and computer sites to satisfy my interest in the race.

On a racing site it states that ABC/ESPN will show flag to flag coverage at a certain time. I suppose they showed the green flag at the start and the checkered at the end. It sounds like that was about the only thing that they did to make that statememt true.

The only race I watched on TV this weekend was the Truck race. I miss being able to watch on track live racing of the other series, but will not turn the TV on just to be disappointed once again.

I guess I am appalled at the money spent in a tight economy to alienate the fan instead of giving them something they enjoy and look forward to.

The race wasn't that exciting, but MRN did they same thing that I do when attending a race in person. They found some kind of action to follow and did a good job of letting us know the running order on a regular basis. They were my eyes at the track.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks for your great comments on this topic!