Monday, August 9, 2010

Your Turn: Sprint Cup Series From Watkins Glen On ESPN

It's been a memorable weekend for the NASCAR on ESPN team. Good weather and great racing has a way of making the TV coverage even better.

Allen Bestwick hosted the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty from the Infield Pit Center. Marty Reid called the race with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Dr. Jerry Punch had the weekend off, so Mike Massaro filled-in on pit road. Dave Burns, Vince Welch and Jamie Little rounded-out the pit road gang.

ESPN presented a pre-race show that once again put Rusty Wallace on the spot for some comments on road course racing. Daugherty was once again the cheerleader for the sport which was easy to do given his success with Marcos Ambrose.

The booth was enthusiastic, but faced the common TV challenge that we see on road courses. The announcers can only see the frontstretch and have to rely on the TV monitors in the booth to view the rest of the course.

ESPN used aerial views of restarts to give a great perspective of turn one. The remainder of the course was covered with the standard array of cameras. There were no special effects or other nonsense that ESPN has tried to force into coverage over the last several seasons. This time, it was just about the racing.

Watkins Glen seemed to breathe a lot of excitement into the racing and made for an exciting presentation on TV. This is your opportunity to offer a comment about the coverage. 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.


Wisconsin Steve said...

Loved the aerial shots of the restarts. Booth was strong. Awesome coverage of the finish line at the checkered flag for the second day in a row. I only wish we had heard more from pit road. Updates were few and far between.

Daniel Christopher Vining said...

I really enjoyed this coverage from ESPN. Aside from a couple of #WhileWeWereAway moments, I heard no complaints. Good job ESPN! Oh, and I really loved the 3 shot they used to show the in-car, bumper, wide shot combo. Good deal.

Anonymous said...

Overall I thought the coverage was good.

I didn't see the beginning of the race (or the prerace) since the race started so early for some reason, but the parts I saw were pretty good.

My only major complaint is the coverage of the end of the race. I don't understand why they would just show car after car crossing the finish line in single file, when they could be showing the jubilant winning driver and pit crew.

Vicky D said...

Had an issue posting just a few minutes ago it gave me an error message - Service Unavailable. Well I'll type another comment. I thought the booth was good today, although the pit reporting was very week. I am also watching Ricky Craven on Sports Center and he is ON IT!

Anonymous said...

GREAT COVERAGE of Finish Line. IMPRESSIVE to hold the camera.

So happy JPM won :) Loved the snaking headlights coming at the camera !

(Google keeps messing up names?!)

Anonymous said...

Great job by ESPN. They have stepped it up and now Fox is clearly, clearly in dead last place in this game.

Only thing I wish they would do, and the other networks too, is when someone has a problem send a reporter down there and talk to someone about it. They never do that.

Marty was solid, I like it when DJ and Andy exchange ideas. ESPN seems to have listened. Again they showed most off of the end of the race and even that battle for 22nd or whatever that was. That's what I want to I give ESPN a B+.

Anonymous said...

Good work ESPN.

Camera choices showed actual racing. (could cut the in-car shots even more.) Aerial shots were great.
Booth kept up well, especially since the pit reporters were nowhere in sight.
Love, love that you again showed the final lap across the line.

I was worried after the terrific coverage yesterday, but you did good.


TexasRaceLady said...

I was blown away by the coverage of the RACING !!

The booth was solid. No extraneous chatter and no "when I was racing...." Great job, guys.

The aerial shots of the restarts were the greatest. The use of close shots was limited to where they were useful --- particularly the 3-way split between the leaders. Fantastic.

The only negative was that JP wasn't on pit road. I missed his confident manner and good reporting. Today, the reporters just seemed to fade into the background.

And thank you, thank you, thank you for the locked camera at the finish line.

FOX, I hope you were watching yesterday and today, and taking notes. THIS is how you cover a race.

As an example of how good I thought the telecast was, I flat forgot to get online here during the race.

Richard in N.C. said...

What I saw, about half off and on, was very good coverage I thought - but did I understand DJ to ask Ambrose during a caution where he planned to pass JPM?

JohnP said...

ESPN is far better this year then in 2009. 2009 was horrible, but 2010 is proving to be quite good. Far superior to Fox in 2010. I'm not a huge fan of the in-car cams because I can't see the racing. It's simply to close of a camera shot. However, with that said, ESPN found a way today to make it work - finally. When Montoya and Ambros were battling for first there was a triple screen up. Two cams, one from each car. And the third one showing both cars. Now, that worked for this fan. Loved it. Could see both cars racing from the "real" camera - And the two car cams. Oh, they covered the finish for the field. My what a idea for Fox to think about!! Lol. Overall I'm very satified with ESPN this year so far. Now we know they can actually put a good production on TV, and it's all up to how they handle the Chase. Obsession with the Chase, or covering the race we are spending four hours of our time to watch. Big question to be answered. But, sticking on the positive, ESPN has done good so far this year and is Vastly improved from last year. Thank you ESPN. Keep it up.

cp43 said...

Good coverage of a difficult to cover race.

On iTunes are available some classic NASCAR races. They had a clip from an early road course race where Benny Parsons was stationed out by a corner instead of up in the booth. He not only calls a wreck before the camera can get to it, but actually walks up to the driver and asks him if he's ok after hitting the tires.

Maybe ESPN needs corner reporters as well as pit reporters, like MRN does.

Good flying from the chopper cam pilot also.

Anonymous said...

Of the little I saw this weekend, I want to say thank you for good anthems, race coverages, and best of all better camera work. I have to wonder if I am in the minority on a couple of issues: 1) I do not like M. Waltrip - I will not watch anything he is on. 2) I do not like the over hyping on the panel. 3) Am I a prude for thinking the name of this race has no place on my family TV? Says how far espn has come that I am not complaining about the actual race coverage and its so sad that fox is so bad. TV ratings will pick up with this type of coverage.

51 yr. fan said...

My compliments to ESPN for the
good camera work with less in-car
and much more wide and overhead.
I still don't understand why the
cars need to be shown as they travel along pit road in lieu of
showing on-track action.

Rusty is still asleep. He called
caution once and it never happened.

Great column today JD!!!

Anonymous said...

A nice solid telecast. Like others I loved the aerial shots, wished for more. There were times we could have used more wide shots. The use of the 3 sections on the screen ( in car, bumper & wide)was actually informative and enjoyable, good use of the "toys" on that one. Overall good shot selections today.

The commentary wasn't awful, at times it simply re stated the obvious, in excruciating detail.
The phrase "if you're new to NASCAR..." should be banned LOL
Did you know Marcos is an Aussie, Juan is from Columbia? Yes we knew you told us often. We really missed Doc today on pit road. The pit reporters were under used, they could have added a ton of info.

I was amazed when they stayed for 9 or 10 mins. with only the leader & #2 cars only to go to commercial & we had to see a replay of the pass for lead change. Really bad luck on that one.

I don't understand why ( not complaining here) we get such great coverage during this huge road course race - yet at an oval its hit & miss last week. I would think it would have been the opposite.
Unlike some I liked the cars crossing the finish line. I also enjoyed the post race both parts.

Really- a good job this week. Solid B.

red said...

anon@5:15: just as an FYI: helluvagood brand has been around since about 1925; based in sodus, ny, a town between rochester & syracuse, ny. their snack dips are a well-known brand here outside philly.

the name doesn't bother me one bit as i'm used to seeing it in grocery stores around here but to each his own.

Anonymous said...

I'm very proud of the ESPN turnaround. Fox should really be embarrassed now that both TNT and ESPN have left them far behind in the dust. Patricularly with the last lap camera work.

I really hope the new Fox Sports guy cleans house behind the scenes because the Fox Nascar productions were a total embarrassment compared to their counterparts. Not even close!

Sally said...

I was pleasantly surprised with the ESPN coverage today. Did a great job with overhead shots, limited the in cars to mostly replays when they actually help show wha happened, and covered more than the top 4 or 5 cars. Don't know where the pit reporters were, but they left the booth scrambling for info for much of the race. Thrilled to have the camera cover ALL the cars coming to the finish line! Well done, ESPN. I guess you really have been listening. Please keep up the good work.

glenc1 said...

sounds like it was good on TV...glad, because it was in person also. Just wanted to say, it's 'Heluva Good'...1 L. And they understand that people don't always have a sense of humor about it, but as a local company, I support them (and I buy their cheese!) The website has the explanation of the name, as red mentioned, they're a northeast brand and sponsor Dover too.

btw, Richard, I know at least the Spencers and Nate Ryan were there in person.

Dot said...

I have to say I was shocked to see them show the cars crossing the S/F line. They need to do that every week.

It did seem that the race flowed better than in the past. I think it's due to the improvements made to the track. No one stuck in the kitty litter bringing our more full course cautions.

Looking forward to MI and hoping for more great coverage.

Jonathan said...

damn had a long long long day yesterday and ill be honest for the first time in a long time I was in a dead sleep pretty much the whole race, woke up around the end and was sooooo happy form JPM he deserves this like no other.. Now im sorry I was sleeping cause i havent seen this many great comments about the telecast since well I dont know lol its been that long. damn oh well happy for JPM

Adam Wood said...

Finally ESPN has figured out how to broadcast NASCAR. It took 4 seasons, but today was an example of broadcasting excellence. I can't believe I am saying this, but the other networks, FOX in particular, need to look at today's race and make some serious changes based off today's broadcast.

The only complaint I have to give, and I will continue to give it until it is addressed, is commercials. Montoya and Ambrose battled for 8 laps only to lose the pass in commercial. We need side-by-side or wide open coverage or something similar in EVERY RACE!

But if they can fix that and fix the online debacle, we can start filling the grandstands and posting record TV ratings again.

Tripp in Mississippi said...

I have to add my compliments on the three-box shot. Kinda reminded me of Race Buddy. Someone apparently thought of that before the race because the boxes were well positioned for this application and I don't recall seeing that configuration in another ESPN race. It was just the berries.

Areal shots are always excellent and they were used today to great advantage. The long low shots of the approaching cars were aces too. I don't mind in-car shots as much as some others and it seemed they stayed away from them more than normal. Not at all a bad thing as long as they were on the action, which they were.

The booth was on it. Full stop. Now, I think that the NNS crew when Ricky Craven and Ray Evernham might eventually be better with experience but this is the best pxp crew in NASCAR. I take nothing away from Mike Joy and Larry Mac who are two of the best individuals in the booth.

I'll agree with those who said the pit reporters were flat. The good doctor's absence was apparent, but with the lack of full course cautions, the action was mostly on the track and that's where the director focused. Again, not a bad thing.

This may have been the best ESPN Sprint Cup race I've seen in their new broadcast contract. I also tend to like how road races look on TV with more dramatic camera angles/positions than at an oval track. Some of the shots looked very Formula 1 like. Yeah, that's good too.

Overall grade: A-.

Monrozombi said...

While the coverage of the race by ESPN was top notch, the action on track left me wanting more. ESPN did a fantastic job with the Ambrose/Montoya battle I was pleased they stayed with it and kept acknowledging that it was the most exciting battle on the track. I commend them as well for showing battles deep in the field on both Saturday and Sunday. Of the 2 road courses WG is by far my favorite, with speed and a lot of good passing it can make for an exciting time but this race was lacking that.

I don't know if its the car, the spoiler, the shock package or whatever else is mandated on the cars anymore but I feel that the lack of very good side by side racing on every track this year has kept my attention elsewhere during the race. I find myself listening to Trackpass more than actually watching the race, I hope that there is more that NASCAR can do to put the excitment back into the race. They've taken some good steps but its not enough. Realigning the schedule and the Chase is one way and I hope that NASCAR continues a hands off approach and ESPN keeps it up for the rest of the season

51 yr. fan said...

It's going to be interesting what
Boris "I don't care who I wreck"
Said has to say on NN today at
5. I'll bet they don't present a
rebuttal from Driver 14 since Said
is a homer at ESPN.

MRM4 said...

Excellent coverage on Sunday. ESPN seems to have made the right moves in covering races. If they can continue this for the rest of the season, it should put some serious pressure on Fox to improve their telecasts, but I doubt nothing will be changed for '11.

Dannyboy said...

Since everyone else has pretty much echoed each other with well-deserved praise for ESPN's complete turnaround from worst to first in their coverage, I'll add my 2cents with personal biases out front.

To me, the booth team lacks something; they don't have a certain pizazz that I feel has always been a part of FOX's, and in the past NBC's team (one more time: MAN do I miss BP!).

And for the actual PXP/commentary: I'm getting tired of how often in addition to lacking excitement, they simply get it wrong. DJ is one of my favorite all-time drivers, but he is a shadow of his dad's sterling commentary. And Andy Petree has long been someone I admired for his record as an owner/team leader. But repeatedly I am left cold by their analysis.

Towards the end of the race yesterday, Ambrose was unable to take the fight to JPM as he had in the exciting middle laps. The booth opined that Ambrose must have hurt his car on the restart to explain the increasing gap. It never occured to them that despite that gap, Kurt Bush was unable to close or pass the 47 until many laps later at the end of the race. It was obvious that the 42 had checked out, and Juan's post-race comments (excellent interviews on Nascar Now!) showed that he had indeed saved his brakes during the battle with Ambrose, who in turn admitted that after the last pit stop his car's former edge had disappeared. Yet the booth were obviously off in their call on this.

Wonder how this played among others out there?

Zieke said...

That was a great race. Too bad Marcos didn't have enough for the end, but ESPN clearly showed Fox how to broadcast a race. The booth is bound to get some things wrong, given their needing to watch monitors for alot of the track. Imagine what FOX would have done to that. Missed JP in the pits, but the others did ok.

Donna in FL said...

I love Watkins Glen road course the best so was very much looking forward to these races. SO PLEASED ESPN didn't mess up either the Nationwide or Cup race presentations!! Great job this weekend by all elements, even the pre race. Also, SPEED did a great job as always from Nashville with the trucks, so for me, a win-win TV weekend of NASCAR racing!! The only part I skipped was Cup post race, I appreciate ESPN is making the effort to provide more of it but I don't have time to sit through Sportcenter waiting for them to get to NASCAR. I watched Victory Lane instead. I think the late NN got DVRed. Heard Boris is on Monday NN Roundtable, should be a hoot!

PS I've been buying Heluva Good! dips for more than 30 years!

Tom said...

Good broadcast overall, I like Marty Reid and think the whole product is improving a lot. Good point about DJ and AP being out to lunch when it came to Ambrose late in the race....I was thinking the same thing! No one else was catching him! Montoya turned it on. I do think that valid points are made concerning the analysis of these races. It seems far too often these kinds of statements are made, and they do not seem well thought out at all. Last year, I gave them the benefit of the doubt because pxp was not strong and DJ in particular was picking up much of the slack. Reid is a solid booth guy and the two analysts should be able to do just that...analysis, but do it correctly! kinda liked the bumper cams on the road's fun to see cars whip left AND right at close quarters!

Inverness, FL

Anonymous said...

Overall,I thought the race broadcasts over the weekend were quite good. Personally, I enjoyed the aerial shots. I've been fortunate enough to have raced there on three different track configurations going back to the old track in 1968. The track was reconfigured in 1972. I thought Rusty and Marty did a poor job over the weekend. Am I the only one to notice the goofy things Marty Reid says? He comments that Jeff Gordon is trying to pass Robby Gordon and says that "Gordon Prevailed"??? Huh? I could list a bunch of these. I thought DJ did a great job analytically. Rather than a knee-jerk reaction to an incident,he dissected the possible causes to what happened. Petree has been flat this year. He seems to be reluctant to take a position on controversial issues and seems to show favorites. Tony Stewart will never cahange. If he was in Boris' seat,he would have done exactly what Boris did. Mark Martin or Jeff Burton would have gotten in line behind Boris and passed him at the top of the hill. But no, Tony risked a repeat of what Leffler did in the same situation Saturday afternoon. The weather was great and the racing was even better!

glenc1 said...

Question on both days--did the TV guys mention the good crowd? The radio guys went on about it, even off air. The weather didn't hurt, but the grandstands were very good both days. Glad to hear the TV guys seemed to do well with it.

BTW, the anthems were all excellent--that girl hit every note on Saturday, and she did the Canadian on Sunday too (which probably didn't make the air.) Much easier to sing, of course. I'd much rather hear her than the opera-type guy. Bo was also excellent.

just an FYI from one who only had MRN's interview. Boris said it was just hard racing on Sunday, and he thought he gave Tony enough room, but if he didn't, it was his mistake. I don't get the hatred for Boris. He's been wrecked as much as he's ever wrecked anyone else...just sayin', for someone who's seen him for over 10 years. Usually he's trying to get every piece out of whatever ride he has. Honestly, I think the drivers get over this stuff long before their fans do. And no, I do not wear a black curly wig on raceday. Also--off air on MRN they said Boris had an unapproved spotter & that was why he was called in. No idea if that was true; just what I heard.

Anonymous said...

Dannyboy, I agree that the commentary about Ambrose near the end of the race annoyed me as well. They kept saying that there had to be "something wrong" with Ambrose car even after he had passed Kurt Busch and was clearly the 2nd place car in the middle of that run. I kept asking how running solidly in 2nd place meant something was wrong other than he wasn't as fast as before.

The second thing that bugged me about that is, if they thought something was wrong why didn't a pit reporter give us an update on Marcos?

All in all, I enjoyed the race and the rest of the coverage, except one poorly timed in-car camera during a battle for the lead.

Anonymous said...

Like Dot, I was stunned at the way ESPN showed the finish. Could hardly believe my eyes.
Good job ESPN.

Tony was my hero in this race! Said not only pushed Tony off the course, but he ruined Biffle's day also. He has no respect for the other drivers, including those who are fighting to get in the top 12.

I used to like Said, but the way he handled the Ambrose incident a few years ago and the way he drives now, has turned me away.

Harry in Calif

Stickwiththebiff said...

and Greg Biffle took Sterling Marlin out of the WG race a few years back. Marlin called him 'a bug eyed dummy'. One of the funniest things I heard that weekend (wasn't a Biffle fan at that point). Just a thought...sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.

I just think it's kinda funny that so many complain about the boring personalities, and when you get people who are interesting, people complain about that. Whatever.

Anonymous said...

With ESPN doing such a bangup job with the race coverage can we hope that Fox/Speed are watching also and perhaps next year they will be smart enough to get rid of the loudmouth Waltrips and some of the other garbage they keep around?
What a pleasure to watch a real professional broadcast.No boogitys or diggers or any silly crap,just a good professional show.

Anonymous said...

I posted earlier on how I liked the broadcast. Let me give a "excellent job' to the Glen for the improvements to the track. It made the whole race more enjoyable! Now, if only nascar would get rid of the cot and the cookie cutters.

Ritchie said...

I haven't heard anyone mention the SportsCenter spot with Ricky Craven. Good move by ESPN to have a SportsCenter personality paired with Ricky Craven to help the SC personalities through the racing segment so they don't just have to stare at the camera dumbfounded by the fact that they must say something witty about a sport they know nothing about.

It wasn't totally smooth, but at least Ricky was able to carry the segment.

Maybe we are finally seeing some "cross-pollination between the Nascar Now crew and the SC crew.

GinaV24 said...

Good coverage, I liked the aerial shots and yay, a finish line shot that made sense.

Other than wondering why there wasn't much reporting from the pits, I enjoyed watching the race broadcast.

I've always wanted to go to a road course race, but it does look like you are limited in what you can see, so getting good TV coverage is really great.

Ken-Michigan said...

I'm becoming a big fan of these overhead / blimp / chopper cams.
Hope they continue to use them.

Tip of the hat to the TV truck for how they covered the finish of BOTH races at The Glen. They were really on their toes for the finishes and didnt throw in the towel once the leader passed. Coverage of 18th place battle....thats cool.

I'll be at MIS this weekend, hopefully ESPN provides another strong broadcast.

Palmetto said...

I don't have much to add to what's already been posted. The graphics used were effective and did NOT require any additional visual gimmicks. Great shots, including the overheads and what I thought were a couple of new angles. Booth crew wasn't 'over the top'. Finish line shot of most lead lap cars for both Cup and N'wide races.

ESPN coverage has moved to the top of the list this year. It's almost as good an TNN used to be :-)

glenc1 said...

Gina, I can't speak for Sonoma or the others, but I would imagine they do what the Glen does--you have giant Sprintvision screens all over, so yes, you're watching TV, but at least you can hear it live. :) So you pick the spot you like to watch the most. We are on the S/F line, but many people choose turn 1 or turn 11 or the esses. It's still fun to be there.