Sunday, May 9, 2010

Your Turn: NASCAR On FOX From Darlington

Well, it certainly was a long day's journey into night. The Sprint Cup Series night race at Darlington kicked-off with the Hollywood Hotel at 7PM and ran for more than four hours on FOX.

Chris Myers started the telecast with a 30 minute pre-race show. Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond joined him for updates, news and comments. Mike Joy took over the call of the race with Waltrip and Larry McReynolds. Krista Voda, Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum and Dick Berggren were the pit road reporters.

The Cup Series did not experience the tire blowout problems that plagued the Friday night Nationwide Series race on ESPN2. Instead, the racing was good with passing into the corners and at the end of the straights.

FOX started with energy and focus. Mike Joy was energetic and called the action on the track. After using a lot of cameras and following the action, the familiar FOX routine returned. Tight shots of one or two cars mixed with in-car cameras became the order of the day. Late in the race, FOX showed us that the DirecTV blimp was above the track. This perspective was rarely used and really missed.

The best pit reporters on TV were used sparingly with no field rundowns and regular updates. Instead, FOX took a page from ESPN and used endless in-car radio replays.

This is just a post to let you offer a race recap of the TV coverage from your perspective. To add your opinion on the NASCAR on FOX telecast, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.


@RichardAllenIDR said...

DW is just getting unbearable. He constantly contradicts himself and just makes the same comments week after week.

Shirley Buttacavoli said...

Since I only listened to a few minutes of Fox I can only make one comment.

I could not believe they did not know Tony Stewart couldn't see his pit during stops @ lap 84, thus the reason there was no 'time' posted after stops, cuz he didn't stop for anything. Even journalists at track were confused, and I believe, it was thanks to the coverage provided by Fox.

Thanks to Sirius providing a channel for Tony Stewart, I knew what actually happened.

And curious to know if TPTB realized they were losing viewers to NBC & SNL, thus no debris to create GWC....which is where I'm headed.

Hope all moms (and grandmothers, as Mary Lou Hamlin mentioned)in NASCAR Nation have a happy and safe Mother's Day.

Unknown said...

Have to admit I watched the whole race with the volume turned down and twitter and PitCommand on the computer. With that said, I thought it was a good race. It was exciting, not the ending I wanted, but exciting nonetheless. It wasn't too long for me. I enjoyed every bit of it even it I was mad at the ending, LOL. The broadcast was stupid as always, too many close shots, in cars, but with the volume turned down and 3 scanners wasn't so bad.

Ann_Ominous said...

It started off improved - not great, but definitely improved - then it was back to the old horrid after JJ and AJ wrecked.

OSBORNK said...

I thought the broadcast was an improvement over recent fiascos but more is needed. If they would use more wide angle shots and stick a sock in DW's mouth, the show would be much better.

Jonathan said...

great job Fox much much much much better than last race!

Jonathan said...

I can not belive this.... I just went to and there is not one mention of Denny winning at darlington????????? Not one the 4 front main ones, not on the 10 or stories on the left??????????? Now that sucks. ESPN is nothing to me after tonight. wow that makes me so mad you dont understand. something needs to be done here, this is over an hour after the race and not one................. not one mention of nascar espn suck an egg

Jonathan said...

UFC is there main story... ESPN U SUCK

Anonymous said...

I think I saw more of the Safer Barrier Camera than any other shot of the race. Then it would rotate to a shot of the leader or another car running alone, quick roof cam shot of some random top five car with the leader in view, AND THEN BACK TO THE SAFER BARRIER CAMERA. The SBC frame consisted mostly of the foam that is used to cushion the wall. It had to be at least 40% of the shot. I can close my eyes and describe all of the cracks in the largest piece of foam in the foreground.
It made no sense.
Whoever runs the next broadcast should watch a race from the stands as a fan, and use that experience to better inform the television viewer.
I should be able to enjoy the whole race without having my ears tortured by the corndogs calling it. Imagine being a fan at a race with DW sitting beside you. He's yelling in your ear over the noise of the cars that his niece or whoever is graduating from some college in Delaware.
I personally would have to go get a hot dog and return in some other empty seat, which is easy these days.

Congrats to Denny Hamlin. I changed the channel for Betty White on SNL before the finish. I found out who won this Morning in the paper.

James said...

I can not understand the reasoning used in the direction of the cameramen. Have these folks never watched a race? There is absolutely no flow to the camera and the booth. It just seems they are constantly behind with the action on the track. It is really difficult to watch and I am not the only person to lower the volume.

Anonymous said...


I came in on lap 91, no big deal missing fox coverage with other things to do, and at first thought fox had listen. There was a race run down, the booth seemed to be over their beginning of race hysteria hype, camera shots pulled back a little (not enough), and even DW seeming to try not to overdo his belief that his style of color commentating is what I want to hear.

It went downhill (pun intended) from there. I counted 6 different camera shots in one lap and not one showed the race. (I would like to know how many different camera shots they averaged per lap.) Then they had a couple of laps showing roof cam shot of empty track. I turned it off.

Nascar better wake up and understand that they are in a make it or break it time. Fox coverage is killing them.

Sally said...

As the season goes on, I find myself more often drifting away from watching he race. The TV coverage on Fox so far has been disappointing. Between the ADD choices of camera shots and the tendency to really cover only the top 10 or 15 cars, I have no idea how the race is unfolding. That makes it very difficult to maintain any interest in watching from flag to flag. Too often what the camera is showing has nothing to do with what the booth is talking about. Tight camera shot choices and in car cameras completely isolate the TV viewer from the excitement. I'm going to find myself with a lot more free time on the weekends this summer.

Zieke said...

It's too bad that Fox continues to let Waldrip blather away with Larry Mac. Their ratings are suffering greatly from it, and NASCAR is getting hurt immensely. Every week the posts are the same, and Fox does nothing. Do they think that the very few that can stomach DW will carry them through their season? Wrong, Wrong.
By the way, the hockey playoffs were great last ev. The announcers are A-1 and it shows they really do their homework.

Chris from NY said...

Worst camera work ever. I hope the ratings are in the dumpster. I quit watching at about lap 136.

I was watching some of the F1 race, and seeing how much better it would be if NASCAR would make like F1 and produce a majority of the coverage, not the networks.

JohnP said...

I was so so lost on what was going on within the race. Strageties, fuel windows, camera work, simply no information. Just discusting coverage except for the golden child JJ. Looks like so much was happening during the race and Fox refused to cover it. As a Stewart fan, this is the second week in a row I don't have a clue what happpened to him. Did he miss his pit, was there another car in his way and he could not get in, or did the pit close right before he wanted to enter. Pittiful coverage. And we might as well just start calling DW FW. Read that clean folks. I mean Flip Waltrip, he changes his mind every other mouth full of the junk information he has. He's usless and has ruined his reputation. We turned the race off in total discust with 138 laps to go.

Anonymous said...

I saw the last 100 laps, and I really feel bad for Mike Joy trying to speak between Larry and Darrell.

When the booth was not sure if Gordon went a lap down, instead of waiting for official scoring, DW just blabbered away. He's one lap down, he's on the lead lap, maybe he's two down, no, only one down. Hello?!? If your information may no be accurate, don't speak and let Joy speak.

51 yr. fan said...

The coverage was poor as usual. I
can't figure how anyone would think
that showing a ground level shot
of cars passing could give anyone
a sense of racing. What do they
gain by showing fixed point camera
shots? They had the perfect platform with the blimp, but as
far as I could tell it was barely used. I got so irritated I stopped
watching with 80 to go.
Please hurry TNT!

Vicky D said...

I agree with Osbornk - stick a sock in DW's mouth. Unbearable so much yakking it detracts from the coverage. Both of my guys had a so-so race but by the time I turned into SNL, I missed Betty White. Hope she wa sfunny. This weekend will really tell the difference in telecasts since all 3 series will be at Dover.

Ken said...

When you watch a race in spite of who is in the booth instead of because of who is in the booth, you know there is a problem. When you have to use the internet and radio to know what is going on in the race, you know there is a problem with the camera direction and the commentary from the booth.

JohnP said...

For 51yr Fan and myself to walk away from the race and throw our hands up, and others to listen to radio/internet instead of Fox is extremely telling. These are hard core race fans, or they would not be here writing. Those that turned it off, or watched but didn't listen to Fox accounts for almost 25% of the comments so far. I've been to many races, there really exciting. This Fox coverage is horrible for Nascar.

bevo said...

The beginning of the race was promising. MJ was active and LM seemed to realize his place and not do play-by-play. DW was subdued and not talking over everyone else.

There was information from the pit reporters during green flag action.

Then it went all downhill for the booth. They quickly devolved to the level of the director and his spastic camera shots. Suddenly we only heard from the pit reporters recounting pit stops. The shots got tighter and easily 50% were in-car. We had no context for what we saw on our screens.

It's obvious that there is a huge problem with the production team. No vision of what a telecast should be other than a vehicle for commercials. It's a hot mess that needs to be torn down to it's foundation and rebuilt.

West Coast Diane said...

Booth started out much better. MJ doing pxp and sounding excited. LM & DW adding analysis.

Later on, not so much. Towards latter half and especially the end of race, seem to have gone back to "stream of consciousness", blather.

Oh this is interesting...listening to end of RaceDay this morning and the piece on the Craven/Busch Darlington finish in 2003 Had to hit the rewind. Larry Mac and DW doing the pxp. Didn't or couldn't hear Mike Joy....LOL!!

But I digress.

The camera work....terrible. Same as every week. Tight shots, in car cams and jumping beans.

Drop down for finish. Pretty PLEEEEEASE, with sugar on top?

Interesting, even though there were issues with camera work for ESPN's NW race Friday, I remember a number times shouting "Holy Cow", or something to that effect :- ) when they showed the cars coming off the corner. The speed sensation was so cool....forgot how that used to "feel".

Come on guys, use your brains and skills to let us at home get some of that same sensation as being at the track....that's all we ask.

Ps...regarding wave around: why do folks think the leaders should have to race cars a lap down? Besides leaders should be racing each other, just means more cautions (faster cars trying to get around slower cars in bunches), longer races and win not determined by actually racing. Off soap box :-)

HRH48 said...

Was there a race?? All I saw was commercials.

Anonymous said...

Larry Mac: There's no bonus pointes for yelling "wreck in turn 2" first while someone else is talking

DW: Real life version of Digger

Mike Joy: How many times must we tell you...this is not our first time to watch NASCAR.

Crank it up = time to go to bathroom, get a snack from the buffet or huddle with the clueless producer in the parking lot.

GinaV24 said...

JD, maybe I shouldn't post this, but after watching what I recorded on the DVR, I am SO glad that I was at Darlington and so got to see the race - all the action on the track without having to hope that Fox would show me what I wanted to see or having to listen to DW and the rest of the idiocy that Fox is presenting as race coverage. The disconnect between what I saw at the track and what Fox chooses to show is unbelievable.

BTW, the action was really good on the track all through the race. Restarts were scary exciting to watch and watching them setup for passes was awesome. Really good racing. I was sorry that Gordon didn't win since he had a really good car, but at least NASCAR didn't find a way to "manufacture" excitement in this race with a fake GWC. The race actually got to play out on the track, not in the wonderful world of NASCAR.

rich said...

Well, I posted a comment saying that it was much better and at that time it was but the only constant is change itself and the Fox broadcast definitely changed in the latter stages.
Hard to believe that 2 years ago I bragged on this crew for being the most professional and knowledgable. I am not blaming the booth crew but the director that pulls the strings. It is up to him or her to make the broadcast going out be exciting and concise and complete. It just ain't happening.

KoHoSo said...

For the second week in a row, I had non-NASCAR fans in my home for the race. I again did my best to try not to prompt them toward any particular point of view although that is getting harder and harder for me.

Both I as well as the ones that joined me for Richmond noticed a huge improvement in the quality of the announcing. Overall, Joy seemed more effective (if not more excited to be there), McReynolds was more informative, and DW was more restrained. There also seemed, at times, to be a better link between what was being shown on-screen and what was being discussed. However, there is still a long way to go to get back to their previous high standard. I liken it to some poor mid-tier college football team where you're trying to find some hope by telling yourself that, "Well, we got beat by 56 this week, but at least it wasn't a 70-point loss like the week before," all while the remainder of the schedule is the likes of Florida, Texas, and Ohio State.

The camera work was still generally awful and makes it seem like it's being done by know, nothing but tight shots and can't keep the same camera angle for more than five seconds. "How can you tell what is going on," I was asked by one of my guests. Another commented that the constant back-and-forth between tight shots and in-car views were making her dizzy...and that was well before I had begun to serve any of my infamous alcoholic concoctions. ;-)

As for the other important leg of what makes a good race telecast...pit reporters, where art thou?

Even with some improvements in the booth, I have no confidence that this is a sign of things to come. Frankly, I am looking forward to the Indy coverage on Versus and ABC just as much to feel like I am taking a break from "gooberized" racing telecasts as I am because I always enjoy the "500."

majorshouse said...

My biggest problem is still DW and Larry Mac. They just overrun Mike Joy and he comes off looking old and stupid and it is DW especially that acts so stupid and I like what one poster said earlier that he is as bad as Digger and makes about as much sense. I find myself not really knowing what is going on with the telecast and being blind, I rely on what they are saying and really enjoy listening to it on the radio more than watching the tv broadcast. Last night was just more of the same old stuff and frankly i cannot wait for TNT and ESPN, and there was a time I would have never said that. Really sad but this crew needs to be changed and so do the directors and producers of NASCAR Racing on FOX.

Sophia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cdh said...

Unfortunately the director at FOX is never going to stop jumping around pointlessly from bumper camera to in-car camera because he paid a lot of cash for all those hi tech doo dads and needs a return on his investment via ad revenue. Too bad for us. I kinda wanted to see the race, but oh well.

Anonymous said...

JD I can't believe you said something to the effect that this team would be better with Krista in the hotel and Steve Byrnes in the booth in the race thread.

The problems in the booth lie with Larry Macreynolds and Darrell Waltrip. One of them need to be replaced. Hammond and Myers probably both need to go and the whole pre-race deal should be redone. The pit reporters are fine. Steve Byrnes is far better as a pit reporter. His booth work has been completely unimpressive. If Mike Joy needs to be replaced (which I don't think is the case quite yet) it should be by Rick Allen. But I still think that's around the time of the next TV contract.

However, before any talent is replaced try restructuring the truck and technical crew first. The only one who I think has really out lived his complete usefulness as a broadcaster is DW. But David Hill will probably never replace him...

Kylie said...

Boo Hoo Hoo Fox is not getting us fans the quality coverage it deserves PUH. What you people don't realize that FOX is giving you quality broadcasters and trying to reach out to the 18-34 age demographic. I know it's not perfect but to get that demographic and sponsors this is a precious price to pay.

Secondly, you people need to get thicker skin. The bashing of DW is really unwarrented. The ratings drive TV coverage. I don't see a need to replace DW. And Digger the gopher is a nice addition lets people see racing from the ground with a kiddie touch.

Enough with all the FOX bashing it's gettin old.

Jonathan said...

Amen Kylie

mobilechamps said...

Hmmmm, Loud, but good not so bad.

Ken said...

Kylie, 18-34 men are the people who have stopped watching the Fox telecasts. Most already have one know it all Dad and don't want to listen to snother in the form of DW. I'm DW's age and I'm sure my kids would agree with me. The young folks don't want to listen to his babble and we old folks know he is full of it and is clueless. The people who relate to the rodent are still learning to ride bicycles.

MRM4 said...

Lack of information and not paying attention to what's on camera is what makes Fox's coverage so sad. Like early in the race when Gordon got into Vickers a little bit and bent the fender in on Vickers' tire. The camera showed it, the booth seemed confused why Vickers had smoke until they showed them a replay.

Also, they only kept viewers updated on the top 10 except for Junior, Johnson, and that one update on Edwards when he was about to be lapped.

I'm not fond on the in-car cameras that are fixed on the driver. But the one of Mark Martin getting into the wall and the shot of Edwards' concentration level with a bad handling car were good.

Donna DeBoer said...

Kudos to SPEED for the best Raceday I've seen in a very long time!!! Let's keep it going!!!

Trident said...

Awful direction.

The only one who I think has really outlived his usefulness is David Hill.

p.s. word veri 'innapti' - change the 'a' to an 'e'

GinaV24 said...

Ken, I had read that fact, too. That the 18-34 demographic has already been lost by NASCAR -- probably turned off by the way the races are broadcast.

I contend that the way to get race fans interested in watching races again is simple. Show and call the race.

Anonymous said...

Kylie, that's a pretty weak defense of Fox's broadcast. If the numbers were there -- if the ratings were up dramatically this year as DW dominates the in-booth conversation -- you might have a point. But that's hardly the case.

What Dick Vitale has been to college basketball or Lee Corso to college football -- is this how Fox sees DW? If so, that's sad and wrong-headed. And a little condescending to the NASCAR audience. Mike Joy is the consummate professional in the booth. It's just soul-draining to hear him go AWOL while DW makes a point like drivers get tired during a long race or something completely valueless to new and seasoned fans alike. Please.

Zieke said...

Hate to break it to you, but Fox gets bashed by most of us because we are huge race fans, and feel that their coverage is quite bad. Fox is losing fans by the gross, and don't seem to care because they have guaranteed money. As for DW, he was very annoying when he drove (yes, I remember) because he continuously shot off his mouth. That has not changed. If it was just Larry and Mike in the booth, they would be pretty good. The camera shots would still need improvement,however.

Kylie said...

Not everything has been perfect with FOX though they can do better with camera angles. People complain constantly about DWs schitck, the afformentioned camera angles and the digger cam.


JohnP said...

Kylie, all respect ok. But your theory does not hold water. The tv rating are down in every race this year except Phoenix and Dega. And when compaired to 2008 ratings, Phoenix and Dega are also down. The viewership of the Super Bowl of Nascar, Daytona 500 has the following rating. 2008-17.8 million viewers. 2009-15.9 million viewers. 2010-13.2 Million viewers. Thats a 25% drop in TV viewership in two years. It's only common sense it's the broadcast, because the actual racing at the track has not changed. It's how the race is being presented to the TV audience that is the issue here. With the deep recession more folks stay home from the race and TV rating should be going up. There not, there headed south fast. Your right saying you can't please everyone - thats life. But the broadcasters better figure out how to please a lot more viewers real quick. If you want to look at the TV ratings yourself, here is the address.

Anonymous said...

The Darlington ratings are up - which is just more proof FOX is putting a great telecast on the air.

I don't understand all of the complaints. I thought the camera work was great, and the commentary from the booth was expert!

Daly Planet Editor said...

8% is not even a blip on the radar from the problems of the past.

This has been the worst year for NASCAR on FOX from the A-team movie promotion at Daytona through the Pizzi harrassment of Mark Martin and other drivers.

The director is lost and fans are leaving in droves. The race prior to this was one of the lowest rated TV races in history.

Instead of pretending it isn't happening, how about just fixing it?


Anonymous said...

Kylie, I'm in the precious demographic you mention, and I cannot stand what Fox does. Sorry, but their overuse of technology doesn't interest me one bit. I want good, basic race coverage from announcers who aren't saying silly things and talking over one another. I don't need a rodent to get my interest in a race. I don't need some folksy hick thinking they know it all, but only prove, race in and race out, that they don't know as much as they think they do. Like I said, I want great camera work, less talking heads and no flashy technology like in car cams. You're not going to attract my demographic with what they're putting on the screen at the present.

mshjamh said...

can anyone tell me when the FOX contract ends?

Tom said...

Sorry to bear bad news, but the current TV contract ends in 2014. Four more seasons of this madness.

GinaV24 said...

I have to say that I avoided the whole hype about Showtime while i was at the track. We were having something to eat when Brad came out and I had no interest. I was kind of stuck with Mikey since he hosted the command to start engines with the Mom's.

JohnP said...

@anon May 10, 2010 5:42 PM:

Your correct about the ratings for Darlington are up for 2010 over 2009.

What you failed to mention is Darlingtn 2010's ratings are under both 2008 and 2007.

Anonymous said...

Why were there so much emphasis put on just the top 5 by Fox.Is like if your driver is not in the top 5 then you are not going to see his progress on the TV screen.Funny how we couldn't wait for Fox to return this year and now they are the worst and look at how much ESPN have improved. I can't wait for TNT at least we are going to see more cars on the TV screen.