Wednesday, February 25, 2009

TV Topics: Economy, Kyle Petty And Digger

ESPN continues to tackle the economic issues affecting the sport head-on in the daily NASCAR Now program series. Wednesday, host Nicole Manske was joined by reporter Angelique Chengelis, analyst and Sprint Cup Series owner Brad Daugherty and Eddie Gossage, the president of Texas Motor Speedway.

The starting point for the discussion were the recent remarks by President Obama in reference to the future of the domestic car makers. "Everyone recognizes that years of bad decision making and a global recession have pushed our auto-makers to the brink," said the President. "We should not and will not protect them from their own bad practices."

He called for a re-tooled and re-imagined industry to continue in the very country that invented the automobile. Chengelis put this topic in NASCAR terms. She reminded Manske that the priority was not NASCAR, but simply survival for these companies.

"It would be absolutely devastating," said Chengelis in response to the question of the auto-makers leaving NASCAR.

She reinforced that all three of the companies have to prove to the President they are viable in order to receive financial help. "If they are not viable, I don't know how the sport can be viable," said Chengelis of NASCAR.

Daugherty is a single-car team owner and he used the word "catastrophic" in reference to the potential pull-out of the domestic manufacturers. Gossage addressed the challenge for NASCAR tracks to sell tickets by outlining the reduction in tickets prices, parking fees and change in food policies at his facility. It has been a long time since $20 bought a ticket for a Sprint Cup Series event.

Kudos to NASCAR Now for addressing the economic issues head-on. Manske also had Whelen Modified champ Teddy Christopher in the studio to recap the recent test in Bristol, TN where the Mods will hopefully race later this season. The group shattered the track record in testing and ran both with and without restrictor plates.

Over at SPEED, the network is still trying to explain how the cast of the now defunct Tradin' Paint is suddenly involved in a game show that seems to be made-up as it goes along. NASCAR Smarts is a mess and while TDP has consistently called for more fan involvement with SPEED at the tracks, this ain't it.

Traveling Kyle Petty to the Sprint Cup venues for a thirty-minute game show also does not seem to make a lot of sense from an economic perspective. Petty appears in no other SPEED Stage programs.

Finally, reports that Digger appeared 46 times in the actual California Sprint Cup series race. That number would be 47 for those of you who watched the pre-race show cartoon. This week there is another new episode. Here is a brief overview from Fox:

In the third installment, “Picnic Trick”, Digger’s girlfriend Annie accuses him of watching too much NASCAR and not spending enough time with her. In an effort to make it up to her, Digger comes up with the perfect plan – a romantic picnic on the infield during the race! But when his loving gesture looks to be ruined by a visit from Lumpy Wheels, can Digger and Annie work together to save themselves and their romantic day?

That wraps-up a very diverse journey around the NASCAR TV beat. Please feel free to add your comments on these topics. Just click the comments button below.

TDP is a family-friendly website, foul language or hateful speech will result in your comment being deleted. Thanks again and happy posting.