Monday, May 24, 2010

Hall Of Fame Induction Changes Sport Forever


There are few first-time things left in NASCAR. The sport is in a familiar groove that pushes the athletes to repeat rather than innovate. The monkey business and the colorful characters are gone. Now the questions are how many races won, how many championships and how many millions of dollars have been made.

Over the past four seasons, the NASCAR TV contract has left a huge hole in the sport. Gone were the retrospective TV shows that fans remember from the TNN and old ESPN days. The sight of gray-haired men telling tall tales was replaced with flashy video editing, young corporate spokesmen and lots of sponsor hype.

As media technology evolved, it focused us on the future and left the NASCAR past a mess of videotape cases, reels of film and graying still pictures. The legacy of the sport was scattered throughout North America. It lived in boxes in the attic, film canisters in the basement and photo albums covered in dust.

The movement to establish a NASCAR Hall of Fame came long before tough economic times hit the country. It came on a heels of the lucrative TV contract and high hopes for continued growth. Today, it seems like that decision may have served an even higher purpose.

Charlotte, NC was the right place for the building. Cooperating with the downtown development folks was the right thing to do. Companies and major events can now look at the Queen City with a new eye toward conventions, trade shows and technology. The ability to take a business group to the Hall of Fame may seal many a deal.

While a flashy building and a new office tower is nice, the character of the Hall would be defined by the very people who built the sport in the first place. Without the active participation of the NASCAR pioneers, the entire project was doomed to failure.

When the call went out from historian Buz McKim, the NASCAR pioneers answered. Suddenly, things that had been destined to remain private forever emerged to a most public reception. From out of the barns, basements and attics of America emerged the cornerstone of a sport that had become larger than anyone had ever imagined.

McKim and his staff were three years in the process. Vintage pictures, amateur movies and early videotaped interviews were part of the process. Away from the track, a big slice of the NASCAR pie involves radio and television.

It was the original power of live TV pictures that changed the sport forever. From Daytona race coverage on CBS to the first cable TV exposure on ESPN, TNN and TBS there was no doubt that the electronic media was going to be the vehicle that delivered the sport to a broader audience.

Ultimately, radio and television will again play an active role in the sport through activities at the Hall. It will be the interactive exhibits that continue to tell the story of the origins or organized stock car racing. It will be the TV shows, radio broadcasts and specials produced about the Hall that will get the message out.

The picture above is Mike Massaro and Rusty Wallace as ESPN's NASCAR Now show originated from the Hall on Sunday morning. SPEED will be on the air 12PM ET through 4PM with the arrival of the inductees, the induction ceremony and a review of the activities.

We will use this post for your comments on the TV coverage of the Hall of Fame inductions. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

79 comments:

Sparks said...

JD,

Very nice blog posting. Well stated and thought provoking.

Nothing stays the same, but TV allows us to remember how things once were. I hope to take my children and grandchildren there one day. I'm sure the footage that has been recorded will be the primary link for generations to come.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thank you.

PammH said...

Loved Ryan's jacket! And so glad David Pearson decided to come.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Nothing beats a good racing stripe. Nice job by ESPN on the preview show.

PammH said...

Krista looks beautiful in that dress. Yes, ESPN did an excellent job. Wish the interview w/Kyle hadn't locked up tho.

Daly Planet Editor said...

This is the big time for SPEED. Krista set a classy tone and Hammond and Byrnes are asking the right questions.

B-Flo said...

krista voda for the win

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PammH said...

actually anon, I thought the same thing about RC. And I read that both TE & Jr blew off the fans & local media.

B-Flo said...
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B-Flo said...

the hall of fame looks sweet...i want to check it out so bad

Daly Planet Editor said...

Can you feel the very different tone from the normal SPEED shows?

Got an entertainment pro coordinating things for TV.

B-Flo said...

JD, i agree completely
its been a very good production
pretty fun seeing all the drivers and owners

B-Flo said...

i wonder if down the road, ken squier gets in as a contributor?

TexasRaceLady said...

Yes, JD, it does have a different feel --- and I like it.

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JohnP said...

Iv'e been watching nascar since 1996. I'm 44 now, started late I guess. But I'm a loyal fan. I've never seen Richard Petty race one single time. All I recall from DW is him racing for his own team, in the 17?, and always at the back of the pack. Never saw DW win, or even run good. Never saw Cale Yarborough race once, but do remember a cameo or two he did on The Dukes of Hazzard in the 1970's. I've seen Jr Johnson on the History Channel talking about moonshining and racing, never saw him race once. Never even saw Ned Jarrett race once. I'm watching Speed right now and this is wonderfull. After going to the hall in Daytona in 1999 I was hugely disapointed. But this hall of fame is awsome. So far Speed is doing great.

As most know, I don't comment often when the event is actually occuring on TV.

But I want to say GOOD JOB Nascar. This lets the newer fans (is 14yrs still new? Lol) get a flavor of the past that simply has not been available before. Good Job.

Daly Planet Editor said...

The Hall if trying to figure out how to approach the media issue.

Chris Economaki, Ken Squier, Barney Hall and so many others come to mind just on the TV and radio side.

The late David Poole, Tom Higgins and other talented journalists need to be recognized as well.

I have a feeling they will work it out.

Daly Planet Editor said...

oops, "is trying to"

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B-Flo said...

I just thought that Ken Squier would be one to make the Hall since he is the one that made NASCAR a television event like it is today which helped the growth of the sport

Anonymous said...

Not sure if I have the same opinion as the author. The pacing is too frantic for me. Is there some kind of rule that you have to make a camera cut every .5 secs. Calm down, let it happen...

Anonymous said...

Hope they have podiums for the other speakers, seems awkward with them just standing there reading the prompter

robbiejr said...

You know, I would forever be a dedicated fan of Speed if they did this with limited commercial interruptions. I know that's more than one could hope for, but I think it's fitting an historic event like we're witnessing today.

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PammH said...

I can tell you that what is happening on Sirius is somewhat dif than on TV. Just not hearing the same sounds. Interesting..

PammH said...

Jim France looks ready to break down any moment. And Brian is mouthing his speech. This is gonna be a looong 3 hrs.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Don't forget, this is a scripted awards show that is being done for the first time.

If you have seen Cooperstown or Canton inductions speeches, it's a lot of history review.

I think things will get rolling once the inductees talk.

Tom said...

Is great seeing and hearing some familiar NASCAR folks of past years who seem to have vanished from the television lately. Only quibble is the indoor setting which is lit to look like church or an Amway convention. In other words, a little too formal for my tastes. Wonder why they chose not to go outside like the baseball and football Halls of Fame. Their inductions have a lot more of a fan friendly vibe

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Anonymous said...

Watching this I can only be proud of Bill Sr. and Bill Jr and their accomplishments to this sport. But... in watching Brian and thinking through his reign I have to wonder about the future.

Anonymous said...

This induction looks very professional and well thought out. Quite comparable to NFL and MLB.

PammH said...

I think that speech would have been better if had been abit faster. Because it was very interesting.

Anonymous said...

PammH - what is Sirius doing that makes it so different?

PammH said...

For one thing, they are ahead of TV. And Eli Gold is introducing some radio clips during the video shown on TV.

MikeC said...

Yes, radio is running about a minute earlier than television is. And the off stage elements are different.

PammH said...

Wow-a Gomer Pyle reference-luv it!

TerryG said...

While I appreciate them putting names under people, was it really necessary to label Dale Jr. as Dale Earnhardts son? I would think the "Jr" after his name would be self explanatory.

glenc1 said...

Pamm...I was just thinking, how many kids out there are saying 'Gomer who?', lol. They may see him in a couple weeks....

Tom said...

Wish we could hear that DW during the races

PammH said...

Not suprised DW went long for just a video intro. But he told some good stories.

Gymmie said...

@TerryG--can't remember who tweeted it but last week one of the reporters posted that someone mentioned how big of a fan they were and asked if Jr. was Junior Johnson's son :p

Except for the lawyer I've liked everyone else. His was chockfull of great info but just seemed to drag on forever :(.

So happy to see Mom Lynda there she looked so proud of The King and Kyle :)

David said...

I really liked Hendrick and Kyle Petty and Winston Kelly. Of course the speeches from Richard Petty and Junior Johnson were great too.

Brian France...ummmmm, no comment.

PammH said...

here we go..

Daly Planet Editor said...

Defining moment for the sport.

PammH said...

Showing Dale's family, brothers & sisters. They are having a rough time holding it together.

glenc1 said...

whoever removed the stand is gonna hear about it....I was kinda wondering why they had it when there was a podium...I guess to just make it 'pretty'.

That was a nice group showing from a somewhat divided family.

Glenn said...

PammH said...
Showing Dale's family, brothers & sisters. They are having a rough time holding it together.


Me too.

Thanks to all who have participated in allowing me to see and learn so much about NASCAR today.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Nice job all around. Clean, classy and focused. That is really all you can ask for in a program like this.

Anonymous said...

This is a very important day for all NASCAR fans...these are the folks that you are trying to be on the track--all families have various stories-some good-some bad--these men are just that men....racing was their life...Congrats to all! The next group inducted will be just as awesome!

PammH said...

started slow, but the stories were all great! glad TE let the kids talk. It was a wonderful program. I didn't blog much, because I was sooo into it.

Paul said...

Krista really looks nice today. But with a 1/2 can of hairspray not one hair out of place! j/k :)

PJ said...

Thought the show/ceremony was very well done. Right mix of respect, stories, tear invoking moments... Awesome!
PJ in NC @pj4jj

Gymmie said...

it was a very nice ceremony :). I don't follow other sports closely so have no idea how they do things but I thought it was wonderful and seemed to be about a minute behind what they were doing in person.

Really enjoyed it don't know who Roger Goodman is but do agree he should do the banquet too!

Richard in N.C. said...

I thought the storyteller session the other night was one of the best shows I have seen on TV in months - and in my opinion proved yet again that Tom Higgins is still the best NASCAR writer.

I guess it was not the time or place, but one of the things I believe Jr. Johnson deserves credit for is that he knew when to get out of racing - did not hang on too long.

I did not watch the EESPN show as I found it inappropriate for EESPN to have Ed Hinton on the air in Charlotte for the induction. I did find it intriguing that Rusty W. was interviewed again today on SPEED and was surprised EESPN would allow.

Sally said...

Good show, and well done Speed. I hope someone at the Hall is getting with many of the pioneers that are still around and getting them on tape for future exhibits. I think it would be nice if the Hall had different categories for entry...like media members, or crew chief/owners a separate category.

Wisconsin Steve said...

This was a terrific ceremony that I enjoyed watching and will never forget. I especially liked Teresa Earnhardt's final quote of Dale (about having the opportunity to race for a living and being remembered for it). That's what this is all about.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Richard, you might want to Google around a little bit and re-visit your Ed Hinton issues.

Think you may not have the whole picture on the issue in question.

Just a suggestion.

B-Flo said...

im really disappointment i was not able to watch the whole thing but the parts i did watch was very good
i really think krista voda made a good case to replace chris myers in the hollywood hotel
her or my boy steve byrnes would be great improvements over myers

Jimbacca said...

'Back in the Day' Showed the work of Bud Lindemann in the early days. I would say he would be one journalist to have in if he presented the racing in the earliest days/

Jonathan said...

What a great day for Nascar, heck I should say what a great weekend for Nascar! I dont think you could have asked for a Better Hall Of Fame Induction as this!! Throw the great All-Star race we saw last night and man I dont think I gets any better than this! SO happy for Nascar and yes I did shed a few tears today and I've only been a fan since 04 but still this was huge! Hope everyone enjoyed this weekend as much as I did Great weekend SPEED

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, Is there any restriction on what of the HOF induction that SPEED can make available online? Does NASCAR.com have control over what part of the HOF functions that SPEED can make available online?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Richard,

None of the NASCAR TV partners control any kind of online content. NASCAR.com shares with SPEED, but all the video appears on the NASCAR.com website.

Any online video you see of the Hall right now is being used within 24 hours as a "news" item.

JD

Richard in N.C. said...

Oh, why no SPEED Report this weekend? Thanks.

Sophia said...

Richard in NC

I was VERY disappointed no SPEED Report after the huge weekend in Indy. Good grief. I needed a fix of news stories & Robin Miller. HORRIBLE idea to ignore Indianapolis. :(

PLUS WTunnel delayed...sheesh.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is no SPEED Report or Victory Lane today. VL was live last night and repeated. TSR moved aside for the HoF replay.

TSR returns next week, Race Hub is tomorrow at 7:30PM on SPEED.

This TV schedule has been up on the TDP main page all week.

JD

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, thanks. I enjoy and usually tape both shows - SPEED Report and Wind Tunnel. Since I don't understand TV thinking, if I'd had my druthers, for 1 week, I would rather have seen the S-Report than W-Tunnel, especially since Wind Tunnel was taped anyway. I guess there's some programming rule of thumb that both shows could not be cut to 30 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Shame on the organizers of this event to leave Dale Jr's mother, Brenda, in the audience when the "family" took the stage.

Or was that Teresa's idea?

MRM4 said...

I thought the actual induction ceremony was well-done. My only problem with it was it being spread out over 3 hours. I think 2 hours would have been enough. One of the first gentlemen that spoke for at least 20 minutes was enough to put a person to sleep.

Dannyboy said...

I was either at work or otherwise occupied for most of this weekend, so I missed the live ceremony. Watched the re-air last nite here on the west coast. It was an incredibly wonderful HOF induction ceremony!

I am old enough to remember watching NASCAR since back when all you got on TV were edited race broadcasts on FILM (or later video) several weeks after the event.

I remember the fuss when Chevy brought out the 427 "Mystery Engine" that DW refers to Junior Johnson running @Daytona. I say all this to emphasize that I remember Junior when he was a DRIVER.

Seeing this show reminded me: 1) of how old I'm getting; 2) how far we've come as a sport; 3) what an incredibly rich history that has been largely ignored prior to the HOF.

The show was magnificent and all involved deserve the highest credits. It was a true next step in the evolution of NASCAR on television.

My wife and I have one major gripe about the TV show: the director's habit of just as someone went up on stage to receive an award, they cut to a wide shot of the audience and you missed for example the embrace of Richard and Kyle Petty (which was shown all too briefly in the recap follow-up broadcast). This was not the only example: they did it EVERY time. It was extremely frustrating to miss these poignant moments. And it spoiled what was an almost flawless broadcast.

Donna in FL said...

*insert quarter*
Simply wonderful. More words fail.
Hope this is the benchmark to build on for next year's ceremony.

Anonymous said...

anon 7:39...just remember, that may have been Martha's choice. She may have felt uncomfortable in the spotlight. Lots of people do. I am not a fan of Teresa, but I don't want to blame her for things she might not have anything to do with.

Dannyboy, I kind of agree...maybe a split screen could have captured both, but may have been awkward.

Dannyboy said...

Anon 8:12 pm : Yes, I thought of a split screen and nixed it for the same reason as you.

Directors today love jump-cuts (sorry, I've worked as a cameraman) - if they showed the star getting up from their seat for a split second, then the crowd cheering for a split second, you've given the viewer all they need as background. Then you show the intimate moment on the stage. It's not rocket science.

The Mad Man said...

There were a lot of famous people in the audience that they failed to identify. It took them 6 tries to identify David Pearson. They never identified Wendell Scott's family. Even with Ricky craven sitting next to Jimmie Johnson, they never identified him. But they had plenty of time to show Brian France playing with his tie, then his coat, then his tie again, then twiddling his thumbs when on stage with his sister.

And why didn't they have Dale Sr's mom and brothers on stage. They are, after all, Earnhardts.

I wonder what Flossie Johnson, Junior Johnson's ex wife who was with him throughout his career, thought of his induction?

I realize this was the first time this was being done, but from my perspective, it looked like a rank amateur production. After almost two solid months of ads on Speed about the HOF and shows connected to it, I think they over-staurated things and the show didn't match the hype.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Mad Man,

You make some great points. There was obviously some thought put into who would be included and who would not in terms of in-show graphics.

Since there were only brief periods of Mike Joy voice-overs, I don't know how you would accomplish the inclusion of all those folks.

The guys producing were entertainment guys and I just don't think they use graphics like we are used to seeing in sports programs.

I really wished they had come back from commercial and identified personalities in the crowd and also took the time to show the fans that had traveled there for their heroes.

No doubt there were some lessons learned along the way.

JD