Sunday, August 9, 2009

Time For TV's Monday Shuffle

Here we go with the Monday drill. SPEED steps in and presents a one hour edition of NASCAR RaceDay at 11AM. This will be the one and only pre-race show.

John Roberts hosts with Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace. At Pocono, this show originated from Victory Lane as the SPEED Stage was gone. Wendy Venturini was called back to the track as she was about to board a Sunday afternoon airplane to head back to Charlotte. She and Hermie Sadler will be the reporters for the show.

Venturini is now rivaling Larry McReynolds with her meteorology skills. She has spent a lot of time during RaceDay pointing at the weather radar screen. Let's hope that does not happen again on Monday.

Last week, ESPN also packed up the Infield Studio because there was no pre-race show. I would expect we will see that again. Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree will call the action at noon ET.

ESPN's pit reporters have been having a rough couple of weeks on the Sprint Cup Series races. Saturday, the Nationwide Series race also proved to be a challenge. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch will be at it once again on Monday. Controversy vs. coverage is the issue with this bunch.

The Glen can offer great racing for TV. The balance of in-car cameras vs. wideshots is a key to the telecast. Marty Reid did a solid job on Saturday of working very hard to keep viewers up to date on all the teams. Relaying information to TV viewers on this road course may be the biggest challenge.

The new restart rules are going to make portions of the event simply fantastic. Racing for position all the way to the bus stop chicane is going to create great TV pictures. Needless to say, it will also create great racing.

There are lots of storylines in the event, from the drivers who really need a win to those racing to make The Chase. Road course ringers and start and parkers will also play a role. It should be interesting to see who stops and who races at the back of the pack.

TDP will be live blogging the race here and on Twitter. Join us for comments on the ESPN TV coverage from Watkins Glen. To add your comment to this post, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

The NASCAR Twit Has Hit The Fan

Some NASCAR fans are madder at ESPN than David Reutimann at Denny Hamlin. If possible, they would like to pull a David Stremme and spin ESPN at full speed down the backstretch like Robby Gordon.

The reason is as simple to understand as these now infamous words. "You are not permitted to report, speculate, discuss or give any opinions on sports related topics or personalities on your personal platforms."

This is the harshest quote from ESPN's new social media guidelines that went into effect on Tuesday. The word "you" pertains to any ESPN reporter, anchor, writer or anyone else who might have been engaging in direct contact with actual sports fans. The words "personal platforms" are directly aimed at Twitter.

We joked when ESPN was bought by Disney that all employees were now cast members. What was funny then is not funny now. ESPN is trying to say that any two-sentence Tweet on any sports topic by any employee at any time belongs to them and it better not be sent without direct permission of a supervisor...or else.

Tweeting is called "microblogging." Each Tweet of 140 characters or less gets across one single thought. These Tweets often come with a website link, picture or video attached. It is easy, convenient and instant. Those are three things that has never been.

There is a big difference for NASCAR fans between instantly getting breaking news updates, exclusive pictures and Internet links on Twitter and logging onto's NASCAR page to see if anything has been updated.

The bottom line is that Twitter hurled into the Internet Stone Age.

Over at the AOL Fanhouse, Will Brinson offers these comments on ESPN's new Twitter policy:

From the sense of breaking news, as well as engaging readers/viewers, well, it's not so smart. Twitter has become a tremendous source of information for every news outlet to bring in new fans, to interact with current consumers and to break news. Implementing such a policy in such a rapid and stringent manner seems short-sighted.

The real crime for NASCAR fans is that ESPN has no technology to replace Twitter. Information relayed directly to fans from ESPN's NASCAR reporters and personalities is gone at what may be the most critical time of the season for the sport.

Does ESPN know what it meant to a fan to have Marty Smith, Ryan McGee, Mike Massaro or Allen Bestwick respond directly to a question, issue or compliment? Twitter allowed a very personal door to be opened to the reporters who normally were only seen on, NASCAR Now or one of the ESPN TV networks.

As you might imagine, NASCAR teams, drivers, officials and fans flocked to Twitter and made NASCAR one of the largest sports blocks on the service. So, ultimately the information will still flow, the pictures will appear and the stories will emerge.

The only ironic thing is that none of those Tweets will direct NASCAR fans to ESPN websites or TV programs. Now that ESPN has left the Twitter building, there are plenty of companies ready to step right in. Ultimately, this may go down as one of the most poorly-timed decisions in ESPN history.

Judging from TDP email, the only thing many NASCAR fans know is that they will miss the ESPN Twitter presence and the ability to directly interact with the ESPN personalities they have grown to know and respect.

We will watch ESPN's NASCAR Twitter messaging on Saturday and update this column as the day progresses. In the meantime, please feel free to offer your opinion on this topic. Just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by The Daly Planet.

Watkins Glen Race Postponed To Monday At Noon ET

Update: The Sprint Cup Series race has been postponed due to rain until Monday at noon ET. There will be a one hour RaceDay show on SPEED at 11AM. TDP will live blog both shows. Join us for updates and info tomorrow.

Here we go with twelve hours of NASCAR TV. NASCAR Now is the bookend, with the preview show at 10AM and the review show at 10PM. Long day for host Mike Massaro.

RaceDay from the Glen allowed Wendy Venturini to put her meteorology skills to work and point out the huge storm headed for the area that is supposed to hit around 2PM.

Jimmy Spencer starred in the show opening as General Patton and had one foot in funny and the other in creepy. These interesting show opens are actually courtesy of The NASCAR Media Group that produces the SPEED Stage shows.

Allen Bestwick has Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty alongside as he hosts an hour of pre-race at 1PM. This show should use the Saturday Nationwide Series race that ESPN produced as the foundation to build the Sprint Cup Series preview.

Wallace and Daugherty have been doing a very good job of building the excitement for these races. Between Wallace's outspoken comments and Daugherty's over-the-top enthusiasm, the Infield Pit Studio has been fun to watch.

Jerry Punch will have Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree next to him in the broadcast booth to call the race. Lots of TV watching in the booth as this is a road course and seeing all the way around the track is tough. Both Jarrett and Petree called the Nationwide Series race, so they should be ready to go.

As usual, the challenge for ESPN is to balance in-car camera views with wideshots following the double-file racing in the field. Trouble comes quickly at The Glen and the TV team is going to be called on to react quickly when something happens on the track or on pit road.

Watch the TV director cut the pit stops on this track that runs in the opposite direction from the other road course. Green flag stops should be in a double video box that allows the racing on the track to continue to be seen continually.

The quick camera cuts of this track make it tough to integrate elements like pre-recorded driver soundbites that ESPN has been forcing into the last two Sprint Cup Series races. It also makes it tough for Tim Brewer to get his points across from the Tech Garage. Hopefully, Brewer keeps it brief today.

ESPN continues to use the "flying headshots" as the cars finish the race instead of the same drop-down electronic graphic favored by the other NASCAR TV networks. This makes it tough to watch the race and also see who finished where.

We are going to open the live blog early today and welcome your comments on all the NASCAR TV programs on the air this Sunday. 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. Thanks for stopping by TDP.