Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday TV/Media Notes

Here is a Wednesday recap of some of the NASCAR TV/media topics happening now and on the radar for later this week.

Rusty Wallace has admitted what many of us suspected, that he is the "Dumbass" culprit:

“At the end of Friday night’s telecast, I made an unfortunate remark regarding Kyle Busch,” Wallace said. “There’s no excuse and I certainly know better. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone, including Kyle, for my mistake.”

“ESPN has spoken to Rusty and he understands his remarks were uncalled for,” ESPN said in a statement to

The Wallace admission gets the other members of the TV team off the hook, but continues to keep the issue of using NASCAR owners as TV analysts very active.

Click here for the most recent update in the horrific US Fidelis scandal. As pictured above, Wallace assured NASCAR fans in TV ads that buying extended warranties from this company had his seal of approval. Apparently, there is plenty of "Dumbass" to go around where Wallace is concerned.

ESPN has no plans to make changes and both Wallace and Brad Daugherty will continue with their roles on the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series telecasts.

On that note, it will be ESPN's Dave Burns who will get an opportunity to call the play-by-play on the Nationwide Series race this weekend from St. Louis, MO. Burns will be joined by Wallace and Ricky Craven in the TV booth. Both Burns and fellow pit reporter Vince Welch are going to be put in this role as ESPN continues to work on its NASCAR line-up.

Well, TNT went out this season with a whimper instead of a bang:

A lackluster run in the ratings for NASCAR on TNT concluded with record lows for the 400.

TNT drew a 2.8 U.S. rating and 4.608 million viewers for the 400 on Saturday night, down 7% in ratings and 4% in viewership from last year (3.0, 4.814 mil), down 13% and 10%, respectively, from 2008 (3.2, 5.129 mil), and down 30% and 28%, respectively, from 2007 (4.0, 6.365 mil).

This marks the lowest rated, least-viewed edition of the 400 in the nine-year history of the race. As recently as 2005, the race drew a 5.7 rating and 8.958 million viewers. Ratings and viewership have declined each successive year.

Not sure if this is a statement on the Chicagoland track, the quality of the TV telecast or the time of the year. Anyway you slice it, not good news.

SPEED has jumped into the Legends world with coverage of the big race on Saturday night:

Dave Despain will host SPEED's live three-hour coverage of the inaugural Legends Million from Charlotte Motor Speedway on July 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Phil Parsons will call the race for SPEED with Matt Yocum and Marty Snider working the pits.

More than 300 drivers from 36 states and two foreign countries have registered for the one-of-a-kind grassroots Legends Cars race featuring a total purse of $1 million. The A-Feature winner is guaranteed to take home an unprecedented $250,000, while the final spot in the feature is assured $10,000.

This should be interesting, but three hours of Legends racing is a lot.

Finally, click here to read about a huge new partnership between some big hitters aimed at taking on ESPN's online prowess. This article is interesting because is squarely in the mix. As they say, this could change everything. Thanks to Ken and our friends at the Sports Video Group for the article.

We will update any other stories that pop-up on Wednesday. The NASCAR Fan Council, classic NASCAR races on iTunes and more RaceBuddy this year are on the front burner.

In the meantime, please feel free to give us your comments on these topics. 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 stopping by.


Ryan said...

I don't really see nascar classics on itunes being that big of a deal when you can watch tons of classic races on youtube for free.

Anonymous said...

Could you explain to your readers exactly how Rusty should have known about his sponsor beforehand? Should Rusty Wallace have been the person responsible for uncovering fraud? And is there any evidence that even if Rusty had looked into it further, he would have found anything? After all, these folks were lying to people, wouldn't they have lied to Rusty, too?

Jonathan said...

Why do we even follow the "Ratings" there meaningless.............. let me say that again THERE MEANINGLESS!!! We can turn phones into computers but we have a way of taking ratings that is the same as it was in 1980!!! Its a shame ratings are a joke.... Ha Daytona pulled a great rating.... and thats during a time when most are pulled away from there computers and DVRS (JULY 3rd) sooo that to me is a true rating. The Daytona 500 pulled in ratings that would of crushed most past 500's till the pot hole. Nascar has the worst luck w tv stuff (Olympics, Labron, Celtics Lakers, World Cup)Otherwise people are back to there new style of watching what they want to. and thats usually not sitting in front of the tv for 4 hours straight. We need a NEW SCHOOL way of taking ratings, Radio just changed there way of taking ratings so does TV! Just my 2 cents what do you think???/

GinaV24 said...

Well, Rusty has always suffered from a case of "dumbass" IMO, so he's lack of tact is no particular surprise. Other than the Waltrip brothers, he's probably my least favorite booth personality in NASCAR.

JD, I read the article you attached about the SI-Turner deal and I have to say that I didn't really understand it. I think I'm pretty good at business gobbledy-gook but maybe I just don't understand media speak. Can you offer any clarification?

Anonymous said...

If anything Wallace is the DA.

The low ratings in my opinion are a reflection of Nascar's woes..not TNT's effort.

Donna in FL said...

I'm not surprised that the Chicago ratings were down. We gave up on TV and only used internet, RaceBuddy, scanners, etc. I'm not sure what NASCAR can do, the TV coverage has to be paid for, but it seems the more commercials, the more viewers they lose. My bottom line opinion is that the NASCAR TV contract needs to be renegotiated NOW. Technology is moving too fast, and people right along with it. Also, I will insist until its admitted that the Nielsen rating system is broken.

Well, Rusty's comment was no surprise- from past comments, how he feels is no secret. It doesn't matter if you agree with him or not. While he's on the set working such outburst is totally unprofessional & adds to the negative perception of the sport. EVERY driver deserves equal regard from TV. What people don't seem to get is TV bias is going to happen when you have commentators and analysts with vested race interests. Whether its Rusty, Brad, MW, Phil, even DW... how many more owners & relatives is TV going to hire? WILL we be seeing Childress in the booth now that his grandson is coming along in his RCR Truck?

We'll look at the Legends stuff if there's DVR time, but won't go out of our way.

Looks like a lot of people are newly invited to the NASCAR Fan Council. Did they just expand the ranks, or did they replace the old participants with new ones?

Anthony said...

I agree with Donna ... I think the Daytona ratings were up because the race was national-commercial free. Oh, and the race started 93 minutes late and had a red-flag that pushed the race ending to about 1 a.m./et. What does that tell you?

But as Jonathan mentioned, the system for accumulating ratings is antiquated because it doesn't account for all the people who may have viewed TNT's races online. If it did, perhaps the Daytona rating would have been a 4-point-something, and the Chicago rating a high 3-point-something. We don't know.

What we do know, as we've discussed on here numerous times, is that Internet race coverage, with or without commercials, is necessary for those viewers who are on-the-go or don't want to sit in front of the TV. Perhaps NASCAR will figure this out one of these days and allow and ESPN3 the opportunity to broadcast online.

And going back a couple days, I sure hope NASCAR listens to what Jeff Gluck wrote regarding his experience in front of the TV Saturday night. The coverage was completely pathetic. ESPN usually doesn't run that many commercials, so hopefully the Brickyard 400 will pull a good rating and have solid coverage with Marty Reid and Allen Bestwick directing traffic and actually calling the race.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with you calling Rusty Wallace a "dumbass" I will forget about visiting this blog again. I'm sure if I came on here and said a driver I didn't like was a dumbass, I'd get my comment deleted. Must be nice to have power.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 5:09AM,

You can Google the title of my original article on Wallace and US Fidelis to answer your questions. It was written in June of 2009.

Google "Daly+Planet+US+Fidelis" to read the column. Thanks.


Daly Planet Editor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ritchie said...

I get really frustrated when analysts and media types begin talking about ratings.

For instance, I keep hearing that viewership is down for all sports, and for that matter all TV shows. However, it never seems to concern other sports as much as it does NASCAR. How can the other sports not care about this? It may just be a matter of my demographic, but I NEVER hear of anyone watching a baseball game. Several years ago I would constantly hear people talk about watching the Braves game, but not anymore.

The benchmarks that are used to describe viewer trends always seem to be based on past performance, which on the surface seems to make sense. However, a lot has changed since 2007. In 2007, I didn't have a DVR and I didn't have nearly as many channels as I do now.

For instance, Friday's Nationwide race was shown during a time when I didn't have access to the TV. So I recorded it on the DVR. I also got to watch some of it at the restaurant because they had it on. There were probably 200 people at the restaurant where it was being played.

How can that possibly be measured properly? Why does this not seem to frustrate people setting ad rates? If I were paying for advertising, I would be worried.

rileha said...

@ Anon 5:09

Anyone with more than two brain cells could have figured out Fidelis was a shady company. In fact, the first time I ever heard about Fidelis was when I saw the commercial with Rusty. Just based on the information in that commercial, I said to myself "This will not end well".

I do actually believe that NASCAR/owners/drivers should be more careful about who they accept as a sponsor. It is their reputation they are putting on the line. It is sad to see NASCAR/owners/drivers so desperate that they will let just about anybody be a sponsor these days.

I predict Extenze will be the next company we see fall.

Phathead said...

So.... Rusty calls one of the big names in the sport a dumbass on air, but Randy Lajoie admits the mistake of using weed and Wallace just gets a slap on the wrist?

Nice to know announcers can get away with that kind of thing.

And to the Anon questioning the Fidelis comment... you shouldn't get into business with an ex-felon ;)

sbaker17 said...

Rusty's quote would have been better if it was like this:
“At the end of Friday night’s telecast, I made an unfortunate remark regarding Kyle Busch,” Wallace said. “There’s no excuse and I certainly know better. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone, including Kyle, for my mistake.” "I HEREBY ANNOUNCE MY RESIGNATION FROM ESPN/ABC."

Rita Jean said...

I agree that the ratings system for tv is grossly flawed. I don't have an answer on how to fix it necessarily, but I think alot of us know it's broken. Reminds me of those political polls where you have to view the +/- ratio. It's certainly not an exact science.

I posted a similar comment on yahoo's blog about Rusty's mishap. This is not the first time an on-air slip has been made in tv history. Big deal. The President of the entire free world called Kanye West a jackass not too long ago. They swooped that mishap right under the rug...and fast! Sometimes, it just happens. Heck, I was laughing! But I guess no one else was?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that Rusty was not smart in his choice of US Fidelis. I guess it was a way for a him to assure that his son would have a full ride. I guess he didnt plan on US Fidelis running that TV spot every 15 minutes on every channel. In the current lawsuit I read they brought in 250 million off Rusty, and the owners managed to embezzel over 100 million. If you google them there is history going back to 2002 on numerous lawsuits, and owners convictions for conterfiedt, forgery, and fraud. I guess Rusty shouldnt be held responsible for the loss of money to people who bought the worthless warranties.... But the whole game would change if he was held responsible for playing a part in the scam... He did benifit, while the working class suffered the loss.

51 yr. fan said...

The Daly Planet put people on notice about US Fidelis. I'm
not sure when Rusty wised up but
he or RWI was owed about 1/2 million at the time of bankruptcy
filing according to a news article
from earlier this year. I really
wonder who is the DA?

Extended post-purchase warranties
seem to be questionable. I suggest doing research before you
spend your money.

Richard in N.C. said...

When you have commentators at L'EESPN like Rick Reilly, Skip Bayless, Call-in Cowherd, and Ed Hinton routinely spewing mean-spirited bile, I can't get too upset by Rug-head's slip of the tongue - and Tony Kornheiser can attest that being correct is no defense at the Evil Empire.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of sponsors out there that I have never heard of. That warranty company seemed kind of iffy from the beginning. In reference to Wallace, that 5 hour energy one is questionable. When they do the one with him driving that old station wagon and then show his son saying "No way" the look on his son's face is really strange and he looks as if he is high or goofy on something. I read and hear some of those energy drinks really mess with you.

I had no problem with what he said in reference to Kyle. I am glad he had to apologize but don't feel he should lose his job over it. Sometimes there is too much censorship, but what bothers me most is the bias and favoritism toward certain drivers. I think a lot of us actually begin to dislike certain drivers because of media showing their bias and cramming some of the drivers down our throats until we want to barf or turn the channel every time they talk about certain ones.

GA Red

Ken said...

i can't believe Rusty didn't know he was signing a sponsorship deal with crooks when he did it. He had to have known or strongly suspected the dishonesty of the felons he was dealing with but did it anyway simply for the money. If he didn't know, he is dumber tha a fifth grader.

I'm not sure the ratings are terribly wrong. I didn't watch the race intentionally because I knew what to expect. I did spend 35 minutes watching the race on my DVR on Sunday before I knew who won. In the 35 minutes it took, I didn't miss a thing by the skipping.

GinaV24 said...

I've been reading a lot of blogs and articles this week and all of a sudden, the media is talking a lot about the changes to the chase, obviously in response to BZF's comments.

What strikes me as really interesting is that after years of telling the fans who hate the chase how stupid we are, most of the media has changed positions and seem to be more supportive of fans who are saying "can the chase", rather than this dumba** idea that France has to "tweak" it again by making it even more of a crapshoot.

I guess you can tell where I stand on the chase for the chumps. It sure doesn't make me more inclined to watch the end of the season races on TV.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

JD, a little off topic but TV related. How in the world does total viewership and ratings differ? The obvious example is the super bowl, whereas Super Bowl XLIII achieved 98.7 million viewers, but only a 42.0 rating. Such high viewership should mean high ratings, why is that JD?

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Gina. Finally, after years of fans screaming that the Chase is not all that, they're finally agreeing with us. Even members of the media have decided to stop drinking the Nascar Kook Aide and start talking the truth, that it's the racing, stupid. No matter how hard a TV network might try, if you have a crappy product on the track, you're not going to have viewers. Brian France's idea to stop a driver who hasn't won a race from winning the Championship is a total and complete bust, and it took the egos too many years to admit it. But the fact that galls me the most is that far too many in the media, both print and electronic, have been trying without success to make us believe that the racing has been the best it's ever been. Between the nasty looking and difficult driving COT and the stupid Chase, Nascar is dying just as quick as open wheel racing did after the acrimonious split. Perhaps now, with viewership at an all time low, and with so many empty seats in the stands, someone at Nascar needs to grow a set and demand major changes that will bring back the fans, and provide real racing, not just points collecting. Heck, even the demigod Jr openly admitted to racing not for wins, but for point to make the Chase. If that comment didn't wake someone up, nothing will.

Wisconsin Steve said...

Its interesting to me that Marty Snider is a part of Speed's lineup for the legends event. I realize that he works Cup practice sessions for Speed during TNT's summer run, but this event is seperate from that. Does anyone know if this is just a one-time thing or has Mr. Snider joined Speed as a regular?

Richard in N.C. said...

Assuming US Fidelis was acting illegally or unethically in its dealings with its customers, IF Rusty could have known or discovered such activity, then clearly EESPN and the other networks with large research and legal staffs should have known about such and refused to air the ads - and, in the case of EESPN, alerted Rusty.

JohnP said...

"Chase for the Chumps" LOL. Love that GinaV :) Thats exactly why I don't give Johnson much credit. 26 weeks of testing, 10 of racing. That's all the Chase has been from day one.

Wallace is a bad situation for all involved. There is a legal term called Due Diligence involved here. I'll put the definition up

"Due diligence" is a term used for a number of concepts involving either an investigation of a business or person prior to signing a contract"

Wallace didn't do his due diligance concerning this issue. He was running for the money.

Nascar, Wallace, and MORE IMPORTANTLY Fans were hurt by Wallace's commercial and the fraud of this company.

Vicky D said...

I can see where Rusty Wallace got duped by US Fidelis too what about Angela's Motorsports! I didn't hear what he said about KyBusch but I'm also looking forward to the weekend with no cup race. There's always something that comes up almost each week that we can write about.

Anonymous said...

GA Red, I'm not a fan of energy drinks, but all 5 hour energy is, is caffeine like a cup of coffee and some vitamins. I read up on it, the nutritionists thought it was pretty harmless in moderation.

Dave in OKC said...

Regarding this Saturday's NNS race: It will be good to see Craven in the booth again, and I think he's really going to earn that paycheck this week! The dynamic should be totally different from the Reid/Craven/Jarrett combo that was so good at Nashville in April.

Dave Burns: Solid talent, great guy; really deserves this shot. It is a little difficult, however, for me to picture him as a PxP guy. I'm not going to prejudge - I hope he does well.

Rusty: Well, he's Rusty. Should we expect the usual, or will he turn it down a notch after being called to the hauler?

Ricky: Second time in the color chair, but has worked very well with a diverse group of panelists on NASCAR Now. It will be real interesting to see how this trio interacts.

This will likely be quite different from what we saw in April. I hope it's at least almost as good.

Dot said...

JD, regarding US Fidelis. Rusty isn't on the hook for being a spokesperson and getting sued himself is he?

I am SO GLAD that Jimmie Johnson has ruined the Emperor's Chase. I'm hoping he wins five in a row! This could be one reason fans, casual and otherwise aren't watching racing. BTW, how come football's ratings never go down?

How anybody could think a playoff system in auto racing, like stick & ball sports would work is beyond me. Racing is such a different animal. The guys I feel sorry for are the ones who have been leading all season and get booted down to 5th, 6th...because they didn't win enough races. The others are the ones who have won races and are outside of it. I think if you don't have a win, out you go. That's why the Chase is unfair, imo.

I'm not looking forward to BSPN at Indy. Not that great of a race and being shown by not that great of a TV partner.

PS. JD, I enjoyed listening to you on Racing On Dirt tonight. Good job. :)

Zieke said...

Good call sbaker17. However you must have forgot the fact that with Rusty's resignation comes the barring of everyone named Waltrip from anything connected with television. Please consider adding to your already profound statements.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe Rusty get's off with a mere apology for his comment. That type of comment puts his integrity as an announcer in serious question. As if it already isn't questionable as a team owner. RUSTY NEEDS TO GO. This won't be the last incident - just wait.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR continues to dig itself deeper into a hole. Possible radical changes to the chase (AGAIN). A schedule shakeup that will surely alienate some fans in the affected markets. BZF refuses to even have a dialog with the Indy Car President Randy Barnard. No wonder interest is waning each week. If in fact the economic situation was to blame, then TV ratings would not plummet. Fans who have no money to attend in person would watch from the comfort of home. But no - ratings drop as total fan interest in NASCAR is dropping rapidly. Hey Humpy - does BZF have your resume? He could use you.

Anonymous said...

What heppened to the intelligent gurus that Brian France had surrounded himself with to grow the sport? George Pyne left to take a position with IMG. Brett Yormark was the television guru. He too left for a position with the NBA New Jersey Nets. Do you think they saw the writing on the wall with NASCAR ? Sure seems odd.

Anonymous said...

I don't know but Nascar is dying and somebody needs to act fast. Viewership have really dropped off compared to previous years. I really don't see viewership getting better for ESPN's portion of the schedule. Whatever it is, it needs to get fixed fast.

Anonymous said...

Hats off to Brilliant decisions in the schedule of events. St Louis
has theee worst possible summer
weather in July...Right ok So what
do the Suits do ? The idiots and
morons schedule not 1 but two races
on a weekend. Middleof July.
Who the hell is running the
business .. Mickey or Minnie.
Incredible. But of course nobody
would be there for the Truck race
anyway ... it is just a lot less
folks than u could imagine.
Good nite