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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19 comments:

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...

All it was mostly was more DP over-hype.

That was a waste of time

Dot said...

I just finished watching Race Hub. Got my TV race coverage fix in.

I love how laid back they are. I don't care that I know all the news stories, I will still watch it.

JD, speaking of laid back, or lack there of. Any word about NN relaxing their dress code? Also, who's going to be on it? No Boris, no Boris. xx

That truck race at the end of Hub. I would love to see that. Any chance of that on SPEED?

Haus14 said...

Speed needs to be sure to feature Wendy Venturini and Krista Voda on Race Hub. Obviously they have other responsibilities and may not be able to be full time hosts, but they are certainly more than capable of handling the host role on a consistent basis.

West Coast Diane said...

I enjoyed Race Hub tonight, but segments too short. Need an hour show or cover less topics. My preference would be 30 minutes and more discussion on fewer topics.

I like all the Speed people, so no problems with hosts. Agree in a 30 minute show might only need one.

A comment about Speed Report last night. I do not get the loud music over the talking. The Michael Schumacher piece was a waste. Why do they do it? It's a news show. Why are they playing music at all? And if they are compelled to play music why so loud? I can't hear what is being said. If it continues I don't think I can watch. My husband was irritated as well.

Donna in FL said...

Still loving Race Hub!! Would be great if it got expanded to an hour. I thought they touched all the bases pretty well since the last showing and it looks like no abatement on getting guests, my fave part.
I'd like to request right now that the Danica-crying stop. She's here, she's gonna race, and regardless of how she does she's gonna get talked about. I already know of more eyeballs preparing to watch NNS races because of her, and that's a good thing.

glenc1 said...

Missed the beginning, but I enjoyed Robin's segment and just generally getting down to race talk again--I will say, Larry was certainly enthusiastic if nothing else. We all knew there were no breaking stories so it's not like anyone should have been expecting something big. It might be fun to feature more of 'what I did on my winter vacation' with some of the drivers who did some racing, although they obviously showed a bit.

50 yr. fan said...

I think Hub is going to be the
best of the racing programs. It
was good to hear some racing
conversation without their wanting
to make you think it as "breaking" news and hype. The modest
set and dress depict the sport a lot better than the glitz and loud
presentation by the other network.

GinaV24 said...

I'd like to see the show be an hour. I like the laidback style better than NN's ESPN stiffness. Considering that Speed is far more driver friendly AND much more accessible being located in NC, it should be interesting to see how the 2 shows play out amongst the fans.

I hope that Wendy and Krista get the chance to be on this show as well. they always do a great job.

I just muted the TV until they were done with all the blah blah blah about Danica. Maybe I'll be more interested after she races, but right now, it's all just hype.

Chris from NY said...

I'll be watching tonight. As a matter of fact, I've missed almost every airing of Race Hub so far.

When's Preseason Thunder coming back?

JohnP said...

Watched Nascar Now a few times last year and didn't like it. Thought I was looking at bankers, lawyers and politicians. Yuck. Very uncomfortable for me to watch.

My curiousity is up now about Race Hub. Since I have a sinking feeling TWIN is history :( we are going to check it out tonight.

Keep it 1/2 hr though if they want us to watch it every night. Can do that, or 1 hr once a week. Can't do 1 hr four times a week.

Sophia said...

I found the music and or LIVE TRACK NOISE too much on SR and NHub.

Robin Miller was drowned out by car noise...Frankly as others have mentioned SEGMENTS should be longer to allow for more conversation.

I could've listened to Miller for the entire show. He has much to say but I know he is not "NASCAR"

But he's worthy of talk time imo. :)

Anonymous said...

I did enjoy Monday's Race Hub, but I don't think you could stretch it to an hour each night. I don't think there is enough content.

Even the much-loved RPM2Nite was only a half-hour, and that covered all of motor sports, not just NASCAR. And let's face it, there were quite a few shows when it seemed like they were trying there hardest to fill time.

One advantage that the two-host format has over a one-host format is that it helps in the feel of informal discussion. One host makes it feel like more of a hard news show. And I think Race Hub works best with an informal vibe.

77KJAX said...

I think a 1 hour show on Monday , followed by 1/2 hour shows tues thru thurs would be best overall ...... monday could be more in depth stuff & more folks might be available on a slower raceshop day . More Wendy,Krista,& Rick Allen please ......Fridays we usually get update news during qualifying & practice .... good balance

Anonymous said...

I liked the show for the most part. It was pretty laid back. It was too soon in the season for Larry to begin Mc Screaching on the air. He and his partner DW need to learn when things are exciting and and show excitement, and when it is not. And for the last time , it's the content , what people say and the information they convey, not what they are wearing, who cares what they wear. Come on , get real.

Richard in N.C. said...

I do enjoy Race Hub and try to catch it every night. Monday's was far, far superior to all of the World Wide Leper's coverage of racing this year.

I can't think of any show on SPEED that isn't improved by an appearance of Robin Miller.

Anonymous said...

Want a reason SPEED sucks when it comes to NASCAR?

Race Hub comes back this week, then only one show next week to cover NASCAR Preseason Thunder from this weekend.

Then they pull the plug for the Barrett-Jackson Auctions and NASCAR fans lose again.

Next week is the NASCAR Media Tour! Did SPEED forget?

What makes SPEED any different from ESPN when it comes to pre-empting NASCAR news?

JohnP said...

The wife and I watched Race Hub for the first time last night (tuesday). I want to say, GREAT JOB Speed Channel! The casual, laid back setting, clothing made us feel very comfortable. The content was good. The interview with Danica was good, she showed she's not as shallow as some portray her and the show brought that out. When a show is laid back it makes the guests comfortable and the fans get to see the best side of them. Nascar Now just furthers the "corporate" approach making it hard to watch. This will blow Nascar Now out of the water if marketed correctly to the fans. Keep it 1/2 hr, or as someone suggested, an hour on monday, half hour the rest of time. On a sad note, after watching Race Hub, I think that lowers the chances of TWIN surviving, RH is better and deserves the 8pm slot, EST.

JohnP said...

@annon 5:08pm - Quote

""it's the content , what people say and the information they convey, not what they are wearing, who cares what they wear""

Really? Thats not what I was taught in the marketing I've learned over years in college and business. How it's conveyed is critical to the audience it's being conveyed to. Critical, or the audience(customers) will be turned off.

But wait, um, ok lets go with that. Lets put the women in thonged bikini's. I mean, "who cares what they wear".

Marketing 101: Give the customer what they want. Nascar fans want casual, because Nascar fans live casual lifestyles for the most part.

Anonymous said...

Why was my comment about Randy Pemberton's jeans, a disjointed first night on Race Hub, and tacky Cracker Barrel type signs on the set deleted?