Monday, July 19, 2010
Big Monday For NASCAR TV Shows
It was supposed to be a quiet Monday in NASCAR TV land. After an off-week for the Sprint Cup Series, both ESPN2's NASCAR Now and SPEED's Race Hub were planning a brief review of the Nationwide and Truck Series races before zooming-in on the big weekend approaching in Indianapolis. Saturday night changed those plans.
The final lap of the Nationwide Series race opened a debate that started in Daytona and has grown in volume with every racing weekend. NASCAR opened the door to aggressive driving and now they may have created a monster.
Up first is the anchor show for ESPN at 5PM ET with no re-air. The one-hour Monday version of NASCAR Now has grown in popularity over the last two years. This is in no small part due to the hard work of Allen Bestwick. He took this show over and gave it the credibility it had been lacking.
This week, the versatile Mike Massaro is hosting. Massaro was actually at Gateway on Saturday night working as a pit reporter. He has some first-hand observations about the aftermath of the Nationwide Series race.
This is a reporter roundtable edition of NASCAR Now. Nate Ryan from USA Today, Bob Pockrass from Scene Daily and David Newton from ESPN will be on the panel.
Click here to read the Pockrass story suggesting Edwards should get fined for his actions. Click here to read Ryan's story about the same incident in which he offers no opinion but his readers certainly do.
Newton has been an interesting presence on the NASCAR scene. His Twitter comments after the Saturday night race offered two good points. One, Edwards should remember that Keselowski has nothing to lose in the Sprint Cup Series this season in terms of paybacks. Two, that NASCAR continuing to let this build could have serious consequences once The Chase is underway.
This promises to be a fast-paced hour full of good conversation. ESPN continues to be very formal on the air, with no viewer feedback except for a contrived poll with sometimes hilarious questions. No social media contingent to this program at all.
SPEED has been trying to get up and rolling with a one-hour 7PM version of Race Hub. Things have been uneven to say the least. From "More than a mouthful Mondays' to Miss Sprint Cup reading driver tweets on the air, this show needs a lot more real content and a lot less fluff.
Thankfully, one of SPEED's top studio hosts Krista Voda is back on Monday. Reporter Danielle Trotta returns with a JGR visit and fresh off his Legends Million experience driver David Ragan stops by the studio.
Voda needs some support in terms of dealing with the clash on Saturday night and the larger issue of letting violence in NASCAR escalate. This is one of those days where NASCAR should provide an executive to answer fan questions in the studio and deal with the issues head-on. So far, the sanctioning body has failed to answer this call.
Fans have seen the race highlights many times by Monday night and the new Race Hub has been slowly falling back into the old trap of repeating them again. The content of this show needs to come from fresh interviews, fan feedback and in-studio experts.
The challenge for SPEED is to step-away from their reputation in-studio as NASCAR's unofficial marketing and public relations arm and develop an identity for the network and this series. This show is not produced by The NASCAR Media Group and is an opportunity for the network to create it's own brand.
It should be interesting to watch two TV networks cover much of the same ground in very different ways. The suits and ties of ESPN vs. the casual look and feel of SPEED always makes for an interesting comparison.
We will use this post to offer comments before, during and after the two Monday TV shows. To add your opinion, 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 The Daly Planet.