Monday, March 8, 2010

Your Turn: NASCAR on FOX From Atlanta

FOX continued Sprint Cup Series coverage with the race from Atlanta. Coverage began at 12PM ET.

Chris Myers, Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond started the pre-race show from the Hollywood Hotel. The pre-race show had several features including an interview conducted by Waltrip. The Slice of Pizzi feature had Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the guest.

Waltrip joined Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds in the booth to call the race. On pit road was Steve Byrnes, Krista Voda, Matt Yocum and Dick Berggren.

Digger popped back up this week early on in the race with animation and then faded before the halfway point. In-car camera use was again a big topic as was the tight shots of two cars that seemed to dominate the coverage at times.

Pictured above is Joey Logano's tire that was just one of the many tire issues in the event. FOX originally blamed the problems on the camber of the wheels being used and then continued to try and put the issue in some sort of team context. The Goodyear spokesman, who was at the track, was never interviewed.

Several drivers were knocked out of the race, but Carl Edwards was the one selected for an interview. He was shown the replay of his accident in an effort to get him to blame another driver, which he declined. Other drivers out of the race who did not have the potential to generate controversy were never interviewed.

The "Crank it up" feature continued and was inserted at several critical times in the race. The commercial load continued to be the same, but the movie trailers and the movie videos run inside the race were gone. The ads returned to the normal sponsors associated with the sport.

The weather was good and the FOX technical crew had no issues on the air. Fox worked hard to keep the split-screen effect on green flag pitstops and used a lot of pitstop replays. The pit reporters were not significant in the race, with Steve Byrnes contributing the most information.

FOX frames NASCAR very tight, so a significant portion of the race was specific cars shown without a frame of reference to the track or the rest of the field. The final twenty laps were great racing until marred by an ugly incident involving Carl Edwards. The FOX team handled the incident with dignity and let it play-out on the TV screen and the track. Both drivers were interviewed.

On the first restart FOX cut tight and entirely missed the big wreck of the race. It was shown through replays. The finish was exciting and the TV pictures showed the entire field crossing the line.

This post is your opportunity to voice an opinion of the TV coverage by FOX. To add your comment, 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.


Daniel Christopher Vining said...

Pre race was a vast improvement over last week. Overall, I say good race for FOX. I enjoyed it. Only bad things were the over use of In-Car Cams, and they still have some dodgy camera work. Getting better though, IMHO.

Haus14 said...

so who thought elder Busch would win before younger Busch in 2010??? anyone?

red said...

disclaimer: i do not watch any pre-race anymore and i did not watch all of the race but . . .

fox dodged a big bullet because of that wreck at the end. they dropped the ball with the tire issue, they fixated on the in-car cameras, they relied on close shots when wide shots would have far more interesting.

all in all, they swung . . . and missed but were saved by carl edwards' temper.

i think those at the track likely saw an awesome race. i just wish i could have seen that at home.

Soloman said...

I'd like to suggest to all the networks that we have not all made the transition to wide screen HDTV's.

They were discussing Jamie McMurray sliding up the track and wrecking somebody, and they were discussing a view that could only be seen by those with a wide screen.

Scott W said...

Soloman said...

I'd like to suggest to all the networks that we have not all made the transition to wide screen HDTV's.

They were discussing Jamie McMurray sliding up the track and wrecking somebody, and they were discussing a view that could only be seen by those with a wide screen.

I couldn't see it either..and I have a widescreen HDTV.

Haus14 said...

These new start times are perfect...walked in the door from church just in time to see the beginning of the pre-race activities.

GinaV24 said...

Too many in-car shots, not enough information from pit road, few updates or "through the field". the tire issue should have been addressed since it obviously affected the racing. Goodyear had a rep there, don't blame it on the race setups unless you really know that.

There were some good shots of the field and overhead shots and I was amazed that they actually showed the field coming to the checkers - not the whole field but the majority for a change.

DW said he gets paid to talk - well it must be by the syllable, it's a shame it doesn't have to have any value to the words.

I have to say that my takeaway from race #4 in the season is this: don't bother with any of the pre-race garbage and I'm going back to my practice of watching the green flag fly, the first 10 laps and then I can go away until the last 30 laps and not miss anything of substance.

Debbie227 said...

Fox did a good job today....2 blips...

1)coming back to a caution and not even go right to it. They needed a sprint promo first.

2) DW and is continued blantant bias towards JR. Why they allow it to continue I dont know.

Have a good off week!

Anonymous said...

Just look at the Las Vegas comments. Everything went a little better today. The first half of the race broadcast fustrated me to the point I had to walk away & do something else. The camera angles were awful. The focus of the race dissolved into a confusing mix of strategies and cameras. Mike Joy's heavy breaths had a scary resemblence to Dr. Jerry Punch. The 'analysis' of the tire situation was a joke.

Tuning in with 30 to go...the booth had much more energy. There was a rundown through the lead lap cars. Drivers had to step it up and race hard. A focus was restored and camerawork improved marginally. FOX slowly crumbles through the race, but is so strong in the end. Maybe a stronger pre-race would energize the booth and fans for a long afternoon.

Final Rating: *** / ***** (3 out of 5)

Chris from NY said...

Coverage was touch-and-go. Did not care for the stiff jokes, Oscar references, shoddy camera in the area of 15 to 7 to go, and the Slice of Pizzi (which also had stiff jokes).

The Hollywood Hotel was right in predicting a crazy and/or controversial finish. I could imagine what will be said on Wind Tunnel on the matter of the Edwards-Keselowski crash.

On the matter of Edwards, Keselowski, and the crash, it is getting much too dangerous. The first plan of action would be removing the wing, as it seemed to play some part in propelling the 12 car up.

Goodyear has some explaining to do regarding the tire failures, but as long as the race doesn't become a bomb like Indy '08, it isn't the worst we've seen.

51 yr. fan said...

Still too many in-cars and subterranean shots. The cameras
should stay on the leaders for
at least the first lap after the
green flag. The director wants
to see everyone pass the starting
line when the question at hand is
who is going to take the lead.
Then comes the obligatory ground
shot which shows nothing. When is
Fox going to get a race fan to direct?

NO excuse for Edward's stupdity!!!

RutgersKev said...

A guy gets his first ever top 5 finish and FOX doesn't even interview him. Talk about a missed moment!

Why would any sponsor pay millions of dollars to someone not from the "big 4" teams? They never get shown on TV, and when they finish 5th (and 6th) they don't even get an interview!

Phathead said...

Started the Paul Menard Empire on Facebook after last week and he goes out and scores his second career Top 5.

Coincidence? I think not.

And DW has a new habit of repeating himself several times in short succession. He mentioned Montoya's new lines twice in less than a lap at the end of the race.

Phathead said...

Kevin - Menard finished second at the Fall Talladega race in 2008. Not his first top five, but still poor choice not to interview him.

Statboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OSBORNK said...

I don't know how anyone would be able to follow the race if they had to depend entirely on the TV broadcast. Without input from folks on the blog, I would have been more confused than I was. I didn't expect a lot and that's what I got. Rather than all of the close shots, show us what we would see if we were there in a very good seat.

Darcie said...

I was at friends' house and couldn't blog during the race, so I had to watch it with quite a few non-Nascar fans. It's really interesting to see/hear the race from rookie eyes. The Fox pre-race was disjointed, but can anyone answer a question from me? Why has the Pizzi lunacy focused on three Hendrick drivers? No one could figure out why these guys would allow themselves to be put in that position.

My friends all commented on what they perceived to be dumbed down announcers. I tried to explain that the good ole boy Southern thing seems to play well to a certain audience. BTW, they voted DW off the island about half way through the race.

For everyone at the house, the racing was boring for a lot of the time. The one suggestion is to watch the last 20 laps of every race and then you'd have something. All the laps before that seemed to be nothing but patented points racing.

Letting Goodyear off the hook was bad business. And, I do not like the new Tony Stewart. The old Tony would be totally yelling about the crappy tires that Goodyear provided.

Carl needs to be sit down for one race, and lose a lot of points. Everyone knows you don't crash anyone on purpose at Atlanta, and especially in front of a grandstand full of fans. Bristol and Martinsville is the place for payback, not when you're going 190mph.

Finally, for the most part, the coverage was on par with Fox of the past few weeks. No improvements. I did see the numerous empty seats and laugh when I hear the guys talk about the huge crowds. NOT !!!

Anonymous said...

FOX booth totally blew the fact that Kurt Busch jumped the start on the final green!

Surprised they weren't screaming about Jimmie Johnson/Digger/Knaus.

DW did get in a mini "boogity" on the last restart


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

Loved the broadcast. Do wish they would use a drop down at the end of the race with the running order as they crossed the line. I don't like the Pizzi segment in the prerace. Pit reporters are second to none, especially the blonde chick.

GinaV24 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The coverage was uneven, lacking the continuity of follow up. Things were just left hanging. Tires, what was going on with the tires? Teams were reporting problems, we were shown worn tires, a Goodyear Rep was never interviewed or even asked about tires. He was interviewed in the Media Center yet Fox ignored it. We got lots of speculation about "aggressive setups" yet nothing concrete. But Hot Dang!! We got to find out about Pit Reporters fantasy picks! Now That was insightful reporting! How could my day go on without that info!!
Only through Twitter did I get that the Goodyear people were surprised by some of the problems. At Atlanta? Notorious for tire "issues", where they had tested & not 1 word was mentioned.
That is like ignoring cars with the stripe at Darlington. Its rather obvious.
Missed lead changes having to be shown in replay, missed action on the track under green had to be a replay. Racing in boxes, boxing bumpers, rodent, incar, roof, tire cams, many missed stories about what was happening with teams, 3 Hendrick cars not up front ( not even close) how about some interviews with drivers out of the race not named Carl or Brad?
How about a Paul Menard interview?

Usual rant starting --
I should not have to use radio, Twitter & a blog - to supplement TV broadcast that does not do its job. I should be able to follow a race ( or any sporting event) with just the TV coverage.

Rant ended

Some one mentioned Fox being the new espn from last year. A good comparison. And I turned them off & listened to the radio.
Looks like I'm starting earlier this year. I hate it when networks screw up the sport I love.

How long till TNT?

Vicky D said...

Anon at 6:59 - we thought KuBusch clearly jumped a restart (over Kahne) earlier in the race and not one person in the booth noticed - guess they weren't looking at the window. I missed some of the race as I had stuff to do around here but was disappointed in CE's action on the track. He'll be docked points and then that's the end of it and BK finishes the race in 35th place when he was running in the top 10.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mind how the race went today. Much better than last week. Could have done without the long drawn out discussion about what kind of "green" Almendinger's car was.
I don't watch pre-race anymore. It's never interesting, no matter whether it is Fox or ESPN calling the race. I don't want to see anymore Junior spotlights until he starts racing more competitively. I like the guy, but let's focus on guys who are more consistent. Junior has the distinction of sitting on the pole yet not leading a lap. Let's focus on other drivers in pre-race!

Palmetto said...

As usual, Digger reared his unnecessary head at an inappropriate time, during the replay of Robby Gordon's accident. Screaming cartoons aren't funny superimposed over someone's wreck.

I did like the 'count up' of cars on lead lap that started with 21st position and ended with the leader. That was a pleasant change.

Palmetto said...

Oh, and late in the race when the booth and the 'Hotel' were side by side, my wife asked why it required that many people to cover a race. As we all know, it doesn't; or maybe it does, but the two studio people would be better located on pit road.

Richard in N.C. said...

I made a point today of watching the FOX pre-race show and I thought it was pretty good - and Chris Myers sounded just like he does on FOX Sports radio. I was reading the paper and doing other things at times, but I thought the race call was good - especially at the end.

glenc1 said...

for the first time in a while, I didn't look at TDP or follow things online--I had it on, even prerace (nothing else on) but partly I was listening & not looking, so I can't say much about the video. I thought it sounded much better than the last few weeks. Joy seemed better, Darrell talked too much, Larry's grammar is just irritating. I usually like what he says so I try to ignore it, but the 'has wents' do get on my nerves. But I did not hear a lot of rundowns, focussing on the usual suspects, although a few mentions were made of some, like Gilliland.

The thing with DW is, what I find annoying is, he says things based on 'assumption' a lot of the time; about what the cars are doing and what the drivers are feeling. And I think, he hasn't driven in years, how would he know? I find myself wondering if drivers aren't secretly laughing at him.

I did see a lot of in car cam, but I also saw a lot of shots of actual racing, not necessarily at the front, though I would have hoped for more. I did wonder about how bad the tires were--and why they didn't find people from Goodyear & NASCAR to talk to about it, other than saying they were looking at it (at least not that I saw/heard.)

prerace--that Pizzi guy wasn't even close to funny. Just seemed juvenile & stupid. The interviews were pretty much what I'd already heard on Racedy. Overall, not bad but could have been better.

Anonymous said...

TNT please hurry and get here before DW drives us all nuts. From now until he goes we will not be watching prerace shows and the race will be on with no sound. Hope the sponsors dont mind but we want to keep our sanity.

Anonymous said...

FOX does the Best NASCAR Race Coverage

Anonymous said...

The Pizzi segment on the pre-race show has been a giant flop.

Darrell Waltrip continued his year-long struggle today. It was painful watching him talk about how the 82 car could possibly pass the 7 car for 35th place in 2009 owner's points due to Robby's crash today.

I also feel Fox needs a new voice in the director's chair. There was way too much in car camera coverage from the first lap through the end of the race. We missed all the action on nearly every restart because of it and he also completely botched the final yellow flag stop. His resume indicates that he's a very talented guy. I would respectfully suggest however that his talents are better served sticking to the sports like football that he perhaps has a better understanding of.

Richard in N.C. said...

I thought the Pizzi segment was better last week because JJ did not seem to take it as seriously as Dale, Jr. did.

Wonder what is going on with Jenna Fryer. I have not seen but just a couple of articles under her byline this season.

Anonymous said...

Surely you didn't think Jr was taking that crap seriously. He was laughing all the way through.

red said...

@richard in nc: jenna's been on twitter quite a bit. not sure that explains anything but there you have it!

Anonymous said...

I must say...the last month or so, DW does seem to be suffering from Ken Squier-itis. In other words...the older you get, the more names you know so the harder it is to come up with the right one. We all have those moments, but when you're a broadcaster, obviously it's more obvious. Luckily his co-workers have helped when they figure out who he's talking about.

TexasRaceLady said...

I was really disappointed that FOX, either booth guys or pit reporters, weren't able to pin a Goodyear rep and ask about the tire issues. This was a major story of the race, and they skimmed right over it.

Again, camera work was a dizzy experience. Inside the car, outside the car, on top of the car ---showing everything but what I wanted to see -- the race.

I can say that holding the camera on the finish line so that we saw more that 1st and 2nd cross the line was nice. However, a drop-down list would have helped since the cars were going by so fast I couldn't determine the numbers.

I swear DW never took a breath the entire broadcast.

bevo said...

I don't watch pre-race so I can't comment on it.

Mike Joy still seems a bit off but not as bad as the first few weeks. DW is just mailing it in now, obviously not doing any preparation before the race and just saying the first thing that comes to mind.

Pit reporters were pretty much nonexistent until the last 20 laps except for Steve Byrnes keeping us updated with how his fantasy racing picks were doing. No information about the tire situation except to show us shredded Goodyears.

Direction was once again the weakest link. In-car shots followed by speed shots on the walls followed by the grass shot that is supposed to show the cars. But the cherry on the sundae was the in-car shot while the car is sitting in the pits.

It's too bad that these issues obscure the great work the men and women behind the scenes do. A change of the director and/or producer and a shake-up in the booth is needed.

Anonymous said...

If it has a Waltrip broadcasting,I will no longer watch it. I didn't watch the truck race as MW was in the booth and I didn't watch the Cup race today as DW was there.

I really wonder why the sponsors care more about keeping there announcers than there fans.....

Tom said...

Yeah, DW is really hitting on 1 cylinder this year, I find myself actually thinking that the opposite of whatever he says is the truth. The tire issue was so poorly handled that I believe that Goodyear WAS at fault, simply because the FOX gang made it a point to never mention that as a possibility! These guys have 0 credibility this year.

Inverness, FL

Donna DeBoer said...

Atlanta is always a good race and, even with unbalanced emphasis on tire issues, FOX showed this one pretty good. Commercials were less distracting, commentary fair. Oh and hey fans want drivers to mix things up, and we certainly got that drama now didn't we! An exciting race to the end, and Kurt #2 team deserved the win, fought hard all race and avoided trouble. Thought there could've been a bit more to post race interviews.

Can't remember which prerace it was but loved the piece showing the history of Atlanta stock car racing. Love that even the Hotel is now making fun of Pizzi. Maybe when Stewart is on he will finish him off, along with the pizza.

Smiff_99 said...

In a boradcasting sense, DW and Ken Squier aren't even in the same area code.

Anonymous said...

Follow the money. Finances make an impact on the coverage. Sponsors pay FOX for the in-car cams. That's why they use them so much. Tight car shots are used to reduce the view of the other sponsor signs at the tracks - mostly those who don't pay to advertise on Fox. ESPN is no different.

Garry said...

Pizzi segment HAS to go. DW has ran his course, so they need fresh faces (and voices). I think that Mike Joy is tiring of DW. Several times yesterday, as well as last week, he stepped on his last couple of words. It was funny, because someone has to put a stop to it. DW says that he gets paid to talk, So I'll agree with an earlier poster: At least have some value to what you say. Don't talk for the sake of talking. Shut up once in awhile, DW. It bares repeating:I want to see COMPLETE pit stops, not one side of the car, then cut to another car, etc. Coverage was better this week, but still a long ways to go. Get rid of DW, hire someone new and fresh.I think if they limit the pre-race to thirty minutes, and focus on race set-ups, driver interiews, and updates, then they might have more time to interview after the race is done. Sidenote: NASCAR will NEVER sit Carl Edwards out a race, because A: He is one of the chosen, and B: AFLAC is a primary sponsor for the network trivia question.

Anonymous said...

Would a Paul Menard interview be that much to ask, really???

GinaV24 said...

Garry - I agree with you -- as I was driving in to the office today I was thinking about the race broadcasts and I think you are right, it's time for a change. What was fresh and new and exciting back in 2001 has lost its "charm". DW likes to talk about how to drive the car, but he never drove this car, so how real is that? Larry Mac and Jeff Hammond haven't crew chiefed in the cup series in years now either and I don't belive they've crewed anyone since the COT came in, so its the same problem.

Fox and NASCAR have decided to give the fans "bread and circuses" to try and distract from the real problems of the sport and the lousy broadcasting. What's the old line? I'll paraphrase it - "If you can't dazzle them, then baffle them with BS".

Enough of the BS, I want to see real race broadcasting with credible professional announcers.

Richard in N.C. said...

Paul Menard is one of the favorite whipping boys of the NASCAR bashers in the print media, so if he gets interviewed it will have to be TV. I did not happen to see anyone interview Jack Roush after the race.

Thanks for the heads-up on the N-Now panel - no reason to watch.

MRM4 said...

The overall broadcast was much improved over last week. Seems like someone at Fox read our complaints from last week.

The biggest downer was the lack of attention paid to the tire issue. Was there a problem with the tires or just with some of the setups? We'll never know because they never bothered to go down that road.

JohnP said...

You know, really it does not matter if Menard finished in the top 5 once before or not. It's still news because he's rairly in front. And Allmendinger finished 6th. I won't say if that's a first or whatever. But, it's not the normal goings on for him to be upfront. But very little coverage of either of them. They did a good job. And Speed finished 10th. Again, I don't know if that's his personal best. But, we shall never learn from the Fox team. Think about it. 30% of the top ten were teams that are struggling. And Fox basically ignored them.

Vicky D said...

Plus Regan Smith finished 14th and we didn't hear much about him all day either. I guess with some of the cars wrecking with less than 10 or so to go, he got by and didn't crash with them, but still they could have said something. Bet his parents would have been happy with a word or two.

Allison J said...

Wow, what an endless gripe fest. Something tells me that if you each were allowed to put together a broadcast, you would be devouring each other here nonetheless.

FOX did a great job, especially for an epic long race. DW gives great color commentary ... most fans that I know, and I know a lot of the RV and follow 'em crowd who travel around the country with the series, love DW's presence in the booth, running scanners for TV audio from the stands and lamenting the end of Fox' stretch of the season.

DW well deserves that spot as an accomplished driver and sensitive commentator. So what if he gives Jr some extra attention.? Clearly, those who spout the anti-DW-because-of-Jr gripe week after week after week are not members of Jr Nation (as in VERY MUCH not into Jr). DW is so not corporate, which to this lady is quite refreshing.

I mean, really, the constant crankiness is really starting to define this site.

Those in-car shots.... I'll betcha EVERY time one comes up, you're running to your list for TDP posting content. Are they that bad? I mean, the race takes hours and hours to execute. As a SCCA racer, I like the in-car shots, by the way.

You guys are going to gripe this sport into the junk heap, not save it. You'll do what you're going to do, but as the mom of a NASCAR clan of my own, I'm telling you, be careful what you wish for.

Sophia said...

I enjoy all in the booth. Always have. Not into hatin' just to be hatin'.

My only gripe that's now keeping me away from the racing this season IS too many in car cams & zoom shots killing the race/perspective/flow
Granted yesterday I listened mostly to radio.

But I had to just say I love the voices on SPEED/Fox in general from Mike Joy, to DW, Larry Mac, to Steve Byrnes & some others.

If we could have Mike Wells TNT wide cam direction and the voices of FOX i'd be a happy camper. (course I LOVE Kyle Petty, too!)

Yes it's OBVIOUS the incar cams are MORE paid COMMERCIALS. I'd rather see more commercial breaks and most all WIDE CAMERA during the coverage and battles throughout the 43 cars. the in car cam Virus that has ruined the sport for me. My brothers also no longer watch LIVE races (fans 14 yrs, & 22 yrs) They DVR thus don't understand how HORRIBLE the disruption is...

Still, last year Dr. Punch got clobbered and I never was a part of that either. Thus, my confusion for the hatin' on DW who I enjoy. But it's just my opinion.

But didn't want any to think I just come here to gripe. I think the real clueless ones are the suits running the show and telling us to watch talent shows & cooking shows over Twin??!!

JohnP said...

@Allison J, I've been to my share of races also. It's different in person as all sports are. Not eveyone can be there though.

But what you are missing is this.

There are a Huge amount of fans who simply don't want to multi-task during the race. They want to WATCH IT. I don't want to get tweets, listen to scanners, or radios or be on the computer during the actual race. I want to watch it. SEE IT.

I want to have a proffessionally produced product on tv that I have dedicated 4hrs of my life to watch on tv.

The concept is really not that hard.

Oh, if you have followed this blog for very long, you will also see a lot of bloggers stand up and clap approval when the TV, yes, TV broadcast is done good. Read the comments about TNT. Broad approval from this blog.

Your there in your RV. I'm happy for you. But 99% of us or more are not. And that is what the TV broadcast should be projecting to.

GinaV24 said...

Very good points, JohnP - I am fortunate to have gone to a fair # of races too and maybe that's the problem. I watch the action on the track that I want to see when I'm there and feel deprived when I don't get that view of the whole race when I'm at home.

I use a scanner at the track, but I have either my favorite driver's scanner on or the radio broadcast. I gave up on using the TV feed 5 years ago since they weren't calling the same race I was seeing at the track.

I would MUCH rather be talking about how great the Fox broadcast is -- all they have to do it show it to me. As JohnP said - a professional, well put together broadcast and I'll applaud it here.

This blog has been the only place that the fans have had to talk in a coherent manner about the TV coverage of races, good or bad. I am grateful to JD for the effort it requires for him to give us that. Positive change IS possible, but someone has to be willing to listen to the things that are constructive criticism first.

Anonymous said...

I was please Fox stayed with the race from at least 35 to go and maybe more. I notice at that few to go and was sure it would take a commercial break. Didn't happen Go Fox

RPM said...

I skipped the prerace because I'm tired of hearing Chris Myers play stupid. Even if he knew nothing about NASCAR when he started the job he'd have to absorb something by now. It's an act and it's worn thin.

I like Mike and Larry, but DW has worn out his welcome as far as I'm concerned. He's more irritating than Bill Webber ever was. Let's hope ol DW does a disappearing act like Webber winds up pulling rabbits out of hats on Fast Track To Fame.

Daly Planet Editor said...

OK, I am going to jump on the 12:30PM media conference call with Mike Helton. Will updates shortly.