Friday, August 20, 2010

Rick Allen Gets The Call

Over the past couple of years we have often discussed how one thing rarely changes in sports TV without affecting other things. Such is the case with SPEED this weekend.

Steve Byrnes just finished his first week of hosting Race Hub on a fulltime basis. Byrnes set a very different tone with the show and it will be interesting to watch the new production team try different features, formats and ideas. One hour of NASCAR TV Monday through Thursday from a studio based in Charlotte, NC has a ton of potential.

Byrnes left quite a legacy of hard work on the road. The first task was to name new hosts for the Trackside program. SPEED recently announced that Krista Voda and John Roberts are going to share hosting duties, with Voda handling the majority of the remaining programs this season. Friday at 11PM ET will be her debut.

While bringing in a veteran like Voda may have been expected, the second move following Byrnes departure was an attention grabber. Camping World Truck Series play-by-play announcer Rick Allen is going to move up to the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series on Friday.

Allen will handle the entire day, including practice for both series and the Nationwide qualifying. The full TV schedule for Friday is on the left hand side of the TDP page.

Along with Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond, Allen will be on the air Friday for over five hours. The Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series should be an interesting challenge for Allen, who has made his mark focusing on the trucks. This season, however, Allen has also done studio work as a host for both The Speed Report and Race Hub.

Before the season is done, Mike Joy will also step-in and help with the support programming of practice and qualifying, but for Allen this is a big opportunity. TV viewers who do not watch the trucks are going to be exposed to Allen on a product that Byrnes has made his own for the past several years.

One trademark of Byrnes is that his personality and good sense of humor come through on the practice and qualifying coverage. Allen is more personally reserved, focusing on allowing Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip to take the spotlight in the truck series programs.

This is going to be a good test of Allen's NASCAR TV skills as the intensity, noise and fast pace of Bristol is not only present for the actual races, but also for the practice and qualifying. Allen ends his day at 5:30PM when ESPN takes over for the Sprint Cup qualifying coverage.

We will use this post to host your comments on the Friday daytime coverage from Bristol Motor Speedway. To add your TV-related comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

There will be a live TV blog up for the Nationwide Series race on ESPN Friday night. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


David Dubczak said...

Not sure I like having Krista Voda on Trackside. She's great in the roles SPEED and FOX have her in, but she just doesn't seem to fit with the Trackside group - I have a hard time seeing her shout "We work hard... and we play hard!". We'll have to see how it works out.

Anonymous said...

Just got back from MIS Carfax 400 NASCAR weekend. The race was exciting, the weather steamy, and the fan experience cool, but the 4 days ended far too soon.

For 2 adults to attend the Carfax 400 last weekend at MIS, from Thursday to Sunday, while staying at the Comfort Inn in Toledo, it cost about $1200 ($300 fuel for travelling 1000mi from home to the track and back, $400 for 4 motel over-nights, $240 for 3 meals and snacks per day for 4 days, $200+ for tickets, & souvenirs, tolls, and other costs).

Yesterday morning, while still basking in the afterglow of RCR and Kevin Harvick's win on Sunday, I continued to plan the ultimate holiday break for the spring of 2011... back-to-back weekends at Bristol and Martinsville, with visits to the HOF and selected race shops in and around Charlotte mid-week between races.

My wife and I attended the spring race at Martinsville earlier this year and we were looking forward to sitting in the stands at Bristol at the exit of turn 4 next spring.

Our road trip holiday was supposed to start on the Wednesday and finish the next Tuesday and would cost about $2400 (just barely affordable for 2 people living on fixed-income pensions).

We love NASCAR racing and the fan experience found at different tracks, so we both made year-long sacrifices to save enough money to go.

Yesterday morning, after receiving confirmation from Martinsville that the race there would be held on Sunday, April 3, I finished booking the Martinsville portion of the road trip, and waited for the 2011 schedule to be announced so I could finish booking Bristol. I had heard that changes were coming to the new schedule involving California and Kentucky, but I never imagined a change to the Bristol-Martinsville part.

After the 2011 Sprint Cup schedule was posted on the website yesterday, I knew my plan was screwed. Instead of the series moving between the two tracks on two consecutive weekends as it did earlier this year, in 2011, the series will move to California after Bristol and then back to Martinsville two weeks later.

In order to experience both Bristol and Martinsville Sprint Cup races next spring, either another $1000 and a week on the road are needed, or $500 and a drive home with a return to Martinsville 2 weeks later.

We have been looking forward to attending both races in the spring of 2011 and we’re sure many other dedicated NASCAR fans also sacrificed things in order to afford to attend those race weekends and we all agree the schedule change was poorly thought out.

By putting 2 weeks between Bristol and Martinsville, NASCAR will waste the excellent opportunity to extend and enhance the race fan experience, and compliment perfectly a visit to the Charlotte area in 2011.

We live on fixed-income pensions so Martinsville is in, and Bristol is out - there’s no extra money.

Anonymous said...

Happy Friday Race Day in Temper Valley Planeteers <3

I look forward to seeing how Rick does I think he'll do well :)!

Busy Busy Busy day as usual!

Anonymous said...

I've commented here a number of times that I thought Rick had a lot of potential. He's been solid on the Truck broadcasts. Voda has come a long way since 'Nascar Nation' but seems best at background or color topics. She'll never dive into any of the technical or car-handling subjects. Race Hub seems to be a bit more serious and focused. Filling four hours a week with material we haven't seen/heard a million times will continue to be a challenge. I wish Rick luck. He'll do just fine.

glenc1 said...

Anon 10:27--I'm sure we all appreciate your passionate comments (I'm jealous!) even though this is a TV blog. But I think you are probably in much more of a minority than you think, especially in this economy. NASCAR is more than likely looking at a lot of complicated things, climate (particularly in the early and late parts of the season), race team considerations, holidays, events local to the tracks (such as the 'deer season' Texas conflict), and they have a complicated task. I doubt a few fans enjoying a 'double header' was at the top of their list of things to consider, even if it sounds like it would have been a very cool trip. I just don't envy them the task of trying to please everyone.

I am not worried about Rick doing a good job--he's a professional and it's a good opportunity. I hadn't given much thought to who would be doing live hosting on Fridays but I think it's in good hands. As for Krista--frankly, I think less 'work hard/play hard' stuff and more interviewing would be better for the viewers (not that I don't want them to have fun; it's a casual show.) But I look forward to seeing what she can do with them.

Nan S said...

I expect Rick to be fine. He is always good during the Truck racing.

GinaV24 said...

I've really enjoyed Race Hub this week. With Steve being the host, the show felt a lot more focused than in the past and well, I really like the in depth personal interviews on the show, so for me, this show really hit it perfectly. Great job, Steve.

I like the modifieds too so I enjoyed seeing that race on Speed. Being able to see good racing was the reason I always enjoyed Speed so I really enjoyed tuning in this week.

I think it will be interesting to see how Krista does on Trackside -- I hope it goes well, but it will probably feel a little strange for me that Steve isn't at the track. You get used to things being a certain way and change is unsettling, even when its "good" change.

I don't know much about Rick Allen so I'll have to watch a while and see how it goes.

I'll have to catch up with qualifying and practice via internet.

Anonymous said...

Watching NW Practice right now.

Rick Allen=Borrrrriiiinnnngggg!!

glenc1 said...

if any TDPers are interesting, Jayski has the link to the drivers' song choices for introductions. Sadly, I don't know half the songs, lol.

Gina, I think that's why the guys were getting kinda emotional last week talking about Steve--they're going to miss him being around too.

Ken-Michigan said...

Maybe I watch too much NASCAR TV.

I'm growing very tired of McReynolds and Hammond.

Their "know it all" mentality is over the top and very annoying.

Chadderbox said...

Thanks for keeping us informed on the updates and changes to the TV coverage. I really love this blog.

I am having to DVR things today. I will have to give my 2 cents a little bit later today.

Anonymous said...

Rick allen deserves this new posting and we think he will do quite well as always.
Ken-Michigan should try to listen to DW for about 15 seconds if he wants to hear someone who is really "over the top and annoying".

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of Rick Allen until Wednesday when I watched truck series qualifying.

If someone has this DVR'd its worth a second look. Around the time Kyle Busch qualifies (on the poll), Allen gets into a discussion with Michael Waltrip where Waltrip's jaw hits the floor as Allen shows he doesn't know the very basic way in which cars qualify and lineup based on speed.

Allen proceeds to nonsensically argue for strange things as Waltrip is very confused but finally sorts it all out for us.

It's one of the strangest dialogues Ive ever seen on NASCAR TV and lasts for a few minutes.

It caused me to look up Rick Allen and think that he has absolutely NO clue what he's talking about.

Vicky D said...

Glen I don't know 90% of the driver's songs, sorry to say (I did like Tony Raines song however. I think Rick Allen was a good choice but does this mean he won't be doing the truck races any longer, or is this in addition. Looking forward to NW race tonight, hopefully it'll be a full time regular who wins it!

Lisa Hogan said...

I think that Rick Allen's announcers voice got him the job on the Truck Series. He almost drove me nuts when he first started. He didn't speak NASCAR and tried to use "Indy" car terms which didn't apply. :)

He has improved over time in the Truck booth. But, he is still lost a lot of the time.

I wish him well with his new duties. :)

Richard in N.C. said...

Terrible way to start the racing weakend - hearing the King of Start & Pokers on SPEED talking before practice for N-wide.

GinaV24 said...

glenc1 -- call me crazy, but I don't blame them, I got a lump in my throat too when I was watching Trackside last week with Steve saying good bye at the end.

I'm really happy for him that he can stay closer to home - all that traveling must be a bear even when you enjoy what you're doing.

Speaking of that, it amazes me that NASCAR didn't put an off week in the 2011 schedule before the chase -- I can't imagine how rough it is on all the people on the race teams.

Racing Fool said...

Rick will be awesome and Krista will add a lot to the show. It's about time they got a woman on the tube that CAN handle the dudes. Maybe this will be a first step to have announcers that can actually use proper English instead of the Gooberville drawl that Hammond has. Smarts is always better over the camera than the dummy redneck act. Only good thing is Hammond is not acting. The act has gotten old in the NEW world of NASCAR!

Racing Fool said...

Plus, I'll bet you Steve and all of them, especially Larry, are sick of Hammond and his macho man ego. Time to move on the sorta ex-crew chief. Please give him a job so he can stay in Charlotte on weekends also.

Anonymous said...


Listed as ESPN but it has Little League Baseball??

Sally said...

Great. ESPN is waiting for a little league game to finish, but has PTI on ESPN2. Guess that tells us it's much more important to have some hokey opinion show air than live qualifying. Hard to take the E's too seriously when they pull stuff like this.

David said...

pitcommand is not working on

Lisa Hogan said...

Again, southern bashing, how quaint!

Rick Allen did o.k. today. I think as long as he reads stats, throws to commercials and talks about what is happening on the track he'll be fine. He gets in trouble when he tries to "discuss".

ESPN has overbooked again. Hoping for a good race tonight. :)

glenc1 said...

Sally, I actually like PTI...but it should never trump live sports. This is ridiculous. If they can't schedule properly, they NEED to put it online.

Darcie said...

Give me a break, ESPN !!!! The LLWS game is still on, and no talk about qualifying. This stinks. Texas has a 6 run lead, but they still keep this game on the channel. We know where their priorities are.

Darcie said...

It takes very little time for a car to qualify at Bristol. At this rate, we'll be lucky to see the go or go homers qualify. These kids play slower than the big leagues. Oh, great. A grand slam, bringing this game even closer.

Terri said...

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.....

dSPN has Little League on its main channel, PTI on its second channel, and no other option for its scheduled programming on its Number 1 channel.

I knew it was too good to be true after last weekend's good race telecast.

David said...

Qualifying should have been on SPEED. Period.

Im not going to blame ESPN for the game running long, how many times has a race run long forcing other sports fans or something to have to wait or miss something? It goes both ways.

Quals should have aired via SPEED. Its going to be on tape delay anyways I imagine so we'll probably see all the cars regardless. Its no different then qualifying has been all year. Only a couple times has it actually been LIVE.

Anonymous said...

"You haven't missed anything."

That's a lie;'s qualifying leaderboard shows at least five cars have already run.

Ann_Ominous said...

Sheesh! The Texas team is local to my area. I change the channel over to get qualifying and they nearly blow the win!!

Oh well, at least they did win - NOW 4 NASCAR!!

Everytime I come to make my first comment I get a red x for the visual verification box - and it doesn't take my password either.

GinaV24 said...

Well, since ESPN isn't showing qualifying ANYWHERE, I'm going to go out for a bike ride.

Amazing that they would rather run PTI than move qualifying over to ESPN2.

I already checked on fosxsports and my guy isn't on the pole, so I've lost interest anyway.

I hate that ESPN has the qualifying stuff -- they are already overbooked.

David said...

Good to know Andy and DJ were paying attention back in Charlotte when David Ragan spun out before he took the green and was allowed to change tires.

Stunned the booth is THAT clueless. Mistakes galore already.

Lisa Hogan said...

Yeah, David, booth seems to be off.
Reid really needs some new catch phrases. His "tried and true" are not working for NASCAR. Last week he had a driver "splitting the uprights".

Rather than get frustrated, I'm just going to laugh and hope they get it gathered up by race time. :)

Vicky D said...

Ann, I always have the same issue with the word verification there's only a box with an X in the corner but then I log in and it shows up then. But then I have to re-insert my password. I'm not sure what qualifying you are talking about for cup? I was at work and missed it but I guess it's already over.

glenc1 said...

David-I was a bit shocked by that too...I mean, Andy was a crew chief, for crying out loud.

If I get the red x, I just refresh *before* I make my comment.

OSBORNK said...

Vicky and Ann--I have the same problem every time the first time I try, including this time. It gets frustrating.

Vicky D said...

Os & Glen I always thought it was JD monitoring our posts!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey folks, the Nationwide Series live blog is up!