Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Your Turn: Monday NASCAR Doubleheader From Texas


What a Monday of NASCAR TV. FOX got the day started with the Sprint Cup Series race. Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond stayed in the Hollywood Hotel although there was no pre-race show. Mike Joy, Larry McReynold and Darrell Waltrip were in the TV booth.

The telecast followed the formula that we have seen from FOX this season. Mike Joy was low-key with Larry McReynolds providing the excitement. Darrell Waltrip offered his opinions and sometimes needed a little help on the specifics.

There was no rain delay, but there was a major accident that caused a red flag. The action was typical of the Texas track, focusing on several laps of racing after restarts until the field gets strung-out. The Hendrick cars were featured for a large portion of the race and the FOX announcers spoke extensively about the Hendrick organization.

The FOX pit reporters were Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum, Dick Berggren and Krista Voda. After being on the air for several hours on Sunday, they had a full-length Cup race to do on Monday. FOX is the network that under utilizes the pit reporters and did again in this race.

The FOX telecast concluded with almost an hour of time left for post-race. FOX used about twenty minutes and left before 4:30PM ET. Most viewers reported local shows inserted by the FOX stations. No explanation was given when FOX did not fill the timeslot or at least remain on the air until the half-hour.

ESPN2 was next and blasted onto the air with the Nationwide Series race. Marty Reid, Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree were in the broadcast booth. Dr. Jerry Punch, Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch handled the pit road reporting duties.

Reid has changed the ESPN coverage and never let down his high energy style. Wallace is a bit awkward in this role, since he is an NNS owner, but held his own. Petree has been solid for ESPN since this TV package began in 2007.

The race was the normal parade of the Cup drivers vs. the Nationwide regulars. Credit ESPN for keeping the pictures wide and searching for the racing on the track. The pit road reporters provided recaps during the race and followed the pro-active style of the "new" NASCAR on ESPN team.

These two races began at 12 and ran through 7:30PM ET. There was about a 45 minute break between races for TV viewers and NASCAR fans. There were no technical problems, which is a big credit to the networks and the NASCAR Media Group who maintain the TV compound.

This post is your opportunity to offer your comments on both the FOX and ESPN coverage of the Monday doubleheader. To add your TV-related comments, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for hanging in there and stopping by The Daly Planet.

22 comments:

OSBORNK said...

I watched both races (except when I fell asleep during the cup race) and the difference in the coverage was striking. The Nationwide race was the more interesting race to watch even with the domination of KB. The Nationwide coverage showed racing and the cup coverage showed cars running fast.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm actually looking forward to ESPN taking over the cup coverage
The improvements they've made from last season are working well.
As for FOX, well a lot of people compared their coverage to comfort food.
Too bad this year that comfort food is getting really stale.

PammH said...

ESPN made a runaway race exciting, because they showed racing back in the pack. From what I read here, Fox not so much. But the race I listened to on radio kept me up w/were most of the drivers were. All in all, so NOT worth taking a sick day off for!

Spectricide said...

I really like the split screen shots. As a KB fan I think Z-Line paid a lot of money to be out front and get show time but no one really just wants to see that either. Good job of spreading the wealth and following some top tier racing!
Blast away but I think Rusty has heard the criticism and agree with your take on it. He does pretty good when his not the owner or father- tough gig.
Missed the Cup post coverage, or so I thought scrambling at work after the Red Flag. Why would they waste that air time and fan enthusiasm?
Thank you

majorshouse said...

If ESPN will keep doing what they have been doing, the Cup portion will be exciting. I enjoy listening to Marty Reid because he brings a level of excitement that Mike Joy seems to have lost and maybe it is because DW is there with him and cannot speak over him.
Too much Waltrip all of the time and he needs to bring the excitement up and lay some ground rules down like evidently has happened over at the four letter network.

Anonymous said...
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PammH said...

Just read a tweet from DW, thinking things are fine from his view. Think that pretty much sums up the Fox coverage.

KoHoSo said...

Unfortunately, I had to miss the NNS race as I am still without a DVR.

The Cup race was mostly the same ol' same ol' we have been seeing all season. There were a few occasional moments of competence but they were all too brief.

While I have many other issues with the utter implosion of the Fox crew this year, the absolute insistence on sticking to tight camera angles and in-car/bumper-cam shots no matter what is being talked about in the booth has led me to suggest the following to Fox to save money in these difficult economic times.

Fox should just get a die-cast of every car and take a shot of it from the front, back, left, and right. They can have those all queued up and the director could simply hit a numbered button whenever that car is mentioned by the announcers. They can then fire everybody (except Mike Joy who should replace Chris Myers in the Hollywood Hotel) and just pipe in the MRN or PRN feed. With the radio people providing the audio I guarantee that having nothing but die casts on the screen would still be more exciting than the visuals Fox has been forcing down our throats this season.

I'm still wondering...was Fox actually this bad for much longer but it was all hidden behind a dancing rodent?

Ann_Ominous said...

Fox continued their downward slide. I could tolerate the booth if what was shown on the screen was exciting, but it isn't. I suspect that Fox is doing their camera work for the lowest common denominator: the guy still watching on a little 19" analog tv set with a hd converter box and whatever is the new equivilant of rabbit ears. Those of us who have made the transition to the 21st century just have to suffer.

ESPN corrected the backslide they took last week and had outstanding coverage like they did in Nashville.

ESPN 4 1/2 stars out of 5
FOX 1 star

Anonymous said...

I am a retiree who has been following NASCAR for almost 50 years. I have no obligations and was free to watch the entire cup race without interruptions or distractions. I finally gave up around lap 150 when I decided I would rather mow the lawn.

What finally wore me out was the incessant use of in-car cameras, bumper cams, and closeups on single cars. The constant changing of cameras made me feel like I had a combination of attention deficit disorder and motion sickness.

The on-air announcers weren't much better. I wasn't being informed about the race that was being held in Texas, and I decided there were better ways to use my time.

I hope Fox's gimmicks, sideshow atmosphere, and commercials are drawing in new casual viewers because they are certainly driving away serious fans.

MRM4 said...

I had to watch the race while I was at work, so I paid attention to a big part of the race, but not all of it.

I thought the Fox coverage was okay. The two biggest things that stood out to me was under-utilizing the pit road people again and DW being way off with some of his comments. Maybe DW needs to go race a truck again or something to re-hone his views.

I only saw a little of the ESPN2 coverage. Kyle Busch stunk up the race, so I can't offer much on their coverage. From what little I saw, it was good coverage.

Vicky D said...

The cup race recording wasn't started until lap 155 (I feel just like Dagen McDowell on Fox Business). I thought the broadcast was ok yesterday Mike Joy seemed to get his enthusiasm back too and DW seemed to have throttled back his incessant yakking. FF'd thru the NW race but what I saw I thought they dedicated too much time to the cup drivers again, but then I always complain about that. Still think MR is doing a great job in the booth.

Garry said...

The FOX coverage was a non-stop Hendrick love-fest.Nauseating. If ever a network was accused of showing favoritism, it was yesterday. All Hendrick, all the time. I feel sorry for about 38 drivers, who never get air time, even if they are in the top twenty. Also, CONSTANT commercials during the coverage, with the "this race break brought to you by..." or the Sprint Now segments. The bracketology HAS TO GO .NOW. It's just plain stupid. As if this is March Madness, and they pit one driver against another, as if there aren't 43 teams out there. Racing is a crap shoot sometimes. The "head to head" stuff has to go.
Side note: NASCAR really needs to look harder at the "cheated up" car of JJ.If they can't find anything, they aren't looking hard enough.No way is that car legal.As far as the Nationwide race, I went to a restaurant, and watched with sound down, but could clearly see that they were showing the racing, as opposed to the "chosen" ones.
Back to the Cup race, when JJ came up on Kevin Conway and ran into the back of him, the booth clearly showed the favoritism. Kevin was up against the wall and held his line. Where else is he supposed to go? Up into the stands? But it's never JJ's fault. Although I laughed out loud when they replayed Gordon's radio chatter. He clearly doesn't like "Mr. 4-Time." That was too funny.

Donna in FL said...

Watched Cup race on DVR before switching to DVR-delayed NNS race. Just briefly, I wish this was the way a normal Cup race broadcast would be. Little or no pre-race, room saved for post-race (however it appears they didn't use it). The switch to ESPN coverage was dramatic, much better calling of a pretty run of the mill race. Too bad, because of the races themselves, Cup was better.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone as confused as I am about this new DirecTV Head2Head competition? To me it seems like they're trying to make it like the NCAA tournament. They were talking about it during the race, giving the drivers "seeds" (who decided that anyway?) and pitting them against each other and having fans create brackets. What does this have to do with the actual race?? That's what I tune in to see. I don't want to see endless gimmicks which are actually devoted air time during - and take away from - the race. First Digger, and now this. Please, just show me a race!

JohnP said...

The best way I can sum it up is this. Yesterday's Texas race is the first race I have ever mutted the tv and listened to the PRN broadcast. After watching near about every Cup race since 1996 that should spead volumns.

In 1998 the wife and I were on vacation in Maine. We were caught off guard about the Indy race being Saturday. We had to get to Fort Kent(tip of Main). But didn't have reservations. We laid out the time frame so if we could not get a hotel, we would have time to actually drive back and catch Indy. We got a hotel.

Now I'm muting Fox. Thats a big change.

Bringing in Bracket Stuff(BS), the mole, Pizza, and all the other gimmicks simply tells me Fox does not beleive in the Nascar product. Fox beleives Nascar can not stand on it's own like it has for 50 years.

Anonymous said...

The Texas races are usually single file parades with less than 20 cars on the lead lap.This race was better. They were over the top at the end of the race regarding Hamlin 'playing hurt' the week before. DW is good at calling what's happening on the track. It's when his BS starts that frustrates me. Fox has a nasty habit every weekend where they start to run the race tracker at the top of the screen and then kill it at about position 20. If they don't intentionally kill it,then they start it just before a commercial to accomplish the same thing. The Nationwide/Truck broadcasts are typically crisp. Unfortunately,we were stuck with Rusty Wallace in the booth. With his huge ego,he really likes to use the word "I" a lot.Before Kyle Busch showed up in the booth Saturday during the rain delay, Rusty was dumping on Kyle. Before he left the booth, Kyle gave it back to Rusty. Rusty fared better than Jimmy Spencer. When Spencer did it,Kyle won the race and emptied a bottle of sports drink on Jimmy's rug on Victory Lane-priceless! Petree can be good, but he confuses me. Some time I think he insists on being politically correct refusing to assign blame when even Stevie Wonder could see what happened. Other times ,he seems to play favorites. Same for DJ when he's in the booth. At least Monday, we were spared two hours of Race Day. All the fans that showed up Monday deserve a lot of credit for sticking it out.

Jon said...

Hi all, long time reader, first time poster. I watch the races live in the UK, we get the full FOX broadcast from beginning to end these days.

I thought the coverage of the big wreck was pretty poor. The FOX coverage focused on Jeff and Smoke talking to each other, and didn't check up on the condition of all the drivers at all. JPM took the hardest hit of anyone, having gone head-on into the fence but there was no mention as to his condition, no post-crash interview, nothing apart from a brief comment that "we believe all drivers are OK"....

cdh said...

I used to never watch a race on FOX live because of the nonstop commercials. But I recently started listening to the driver scanners online so I have to watch live instead of using my DVR to fast foward. It is getting harder and harder. Almost impossible. So I'll probably cancel my scanner subscription soon. Nice work FOX! I guess the only way to watch the race is to buy a ticket and show up at the track. Or just wait until TNT takes over. I can't believe that the execs at FOX think this is good TV. It must be on purpose. I wish I could sabotage the cameras so that they could no longer zoom in.

BWBarefoot said...

I actually played the head-to-head contest. It's not as bad as some of you think, as this is a Fox Sports contest in which the winner gets a Roush Mustang car and possibly even a million dollars if one guesses every result correctly. (I missed at least two of the "matchups," so I won't get the million.:()

Yes, this is a gimmick, but again I think it's rather harmless. Then again, I sympathize with the fans who disagree with me, as this is not really what goes on in a NASCAR race.

One note to add: FOX changed its opening to name all its non-broadcast networks as well as FOX itself. Previously, it listed the upcoming events on the broadcast network.

Smiff_99 said...

Glad other people picked up on the blatant Hendrick favoritism by Fox. It was--in a word--'nauseating'.

Every other word out of their mouths was either JImmie, Johnson, Jeff, Gordon, Mark, Martin, Jr., Dale Jr., Junebug, Little E, 4-time champion, 4 time DEFENDING champion, Hendrickcars.com, Rick Hendrick, or chevy.

Somebody shoot me....PLEASE.

Richard in N.C. said...

I still haven't had a chance to watch the middle 100 or last 20 laps, but I enjoyed the rest of the race, especially the JJ - Gordon battle. I wonder whether the response would be the same if the race televised Monday was from the 1970's and showed lap after lap of RP and the Silver Fox battling?