Tuesday, January 12, 2010
"Race Hub" Returns To Start NASCAR's TV Season
The last time we discussed SPEED's Race Hub , the program had ended 2009 on a high note. Hustled onto the air during the Hall of Fame selection week, Race Hub looked goofy and amateurish at the start.
Too many hosts, too many guests and too much acting did not strike a chord with NASCAR fans. Luckily, the production team also recognized these problems and made some wholesale changes. By the time November rolled around, Race Hub had hit on a comfortable formula that featured conversation and analysis.
During the final weeks of the season, Race Hub hit full stride by combining the network's NASCAR experts with drivers and owners in the studio. The drivers were not shy about expressing their opinions and the analysts provided the topics to stir things up.
This season the Race Hub studio has barely changed. For some reason, SPEED continues to have two anchors host this short thirty minute program. With only slightly more than twenty minutes of actual content, a single anchor could easily handle the format and interviews.
Perhaps, a part of SPEED's fresh approach to NASCAR is a potential expansion to one hour versions of this program. There is little doubt that with the major team shops, top drivers and the majority of the stock car racing industry located nearby, SPEED has an advantage they can put to good use.
Race Hub airs at 7:30PM Eastern Time and this season SPEED listened to the fans and added an 11:30PM Eastern/8:30PM Pacific Time re-air of each program. The series runs Monday through Thursday, filling the days when the sport is back home each week before heading out to the next race.
On this first show, Race Hub featured an interview with Lee White from TRD, comments from Fox's Larry McReynolds and a conversation with IRL analyst Robin Miller. While the line-up was great, each of them could easily have continued their racing conversations and let this show fill an hour of air time.
In three weeks, Race Hub gets a partner as ESPN2 begins the NASCAR Now series once again. On the air since 2007, NASCAR Now starts earlier at 5PM and will be covering many of the same stories SPEED will present on Race Hub.
Watching these two NASCAR TV series jockey for guests and interviews should be interesting. NASCAR Now hits the air first and has the extensive resources of ESPN. Meanwhile, the SPEED studios sit just a quick ride from most of the major team shops and offers national TV exposure later in the evening for drivers, teams and sponsors.
Race Hub will use John Roberts, Adam Alexander, Randy Pemberton and Rick Allen as hosts during this first week. Danica Patrick will be the featured guest on Tuesday via satellite from Indy. Jeff Gordon's crew chief Steve Letarte stops by the studio on Wednesday as does Scott Speed on Thursday.
It's nice for fans to have more NASCAR TV this season and a tip of the hat to SPEED for returning this series after its limited run in 2009.
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