Monday, September 20, 2010

Your Turn: Sprint Cup Series From New Hampshire On ESPN

With the NFL season underway, the NASCAR pre-race show was moved to ESPN2. After the NFL coverage was over, the race began on ESPN.

It was Allen Bestwick hosting from the Infield Pit Studio with Ray Evernham, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. The show did not contain the kind of long pre-recorded features seen in the last three pre-race shows. That allowed the analysts to offer more opinions and the pit reporters to do more interviews.

Marty Reid called the race with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree from the TV booth. Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch, Jamie Little and Dave Burns were the pit reporters. Tim Brewer was in the Tech Garage.

The Chase was the theme of the race telecast from the start and overshadowed the actual race. Mixing coverage of the Chase and the race has proven to be a tough task for ESPN.

The actual racing on the track was typical short track action with the battles for position causing accidents in the corners. The weather was great and there were no technical problems from the TV crew.

This post will let you offer your TV wrap-up comment on the ESPN coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Loudon. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.


Terri said...

Nothing to say. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

@Terri -Amen to that

I "saw" more of the race with Track Pass & PRN than I got to "see with eyeballs" on bspn.
Thats why I didn't comment during the race. Nothing even remotely family friendly to say

Same old same old

More Commercials = Less Racing

Can we use fail whale for this?

Anonymous said...

ESPN needs a clue. This was a poorly-covered race, and that's a shame, because the racing was good quality. But soundbites with 20 to go? Whose idea was that? Seriously?

PammH said...

Followed the race thru Twitter & here. Got frustrated with the TV coverage, so took a nap during the middle of the race. Woke up w/20 to go. Clint had the best car all day, so I was glad to see him win, even tho it was heartbreaking for Tony. I'm in a bunch better mood than usual after watching a race. And my guy had a good day, so that helps. TV coverage was awful.

Ron said...

Terrible as usual! Couldn't hear the booth for the roar of the cars. Didn't even need booth announcer today. Pathetic!

Darcie said...

Like I said yesterday, ESPN is fumbling the ball, not only with Nascar, but in other sports also. Camera work and direction during yesterday's Wisconsin football game was as bad as their coverage of Nascar. We all used to say that ESPN was excellent in their stick and ball sports, but from what I've seen, that coverage has headed in the crapper also. And like the booth monkeys for Nascar, the booth announcers for football can be called booth bozos. Having the play by play guy wondering why the field goal unit wasn't on the field, when it was only second down, to the color man calling Wisconsin, Nebraska, all the way through the third quarter, shows something is very wrong in Bristol. Has ESPN become too big, and too arrogant, for their own good? Have the best crew gone over to CBS and Fox and their football coverage? All I know for certain is that as bad as ESPN covers Nascar, it appears their other sports are suffering also.

TexasRaceLady said...

As my friend Sophia would say ---
"Lather, rinse, repeat."

Commercials were overwhelming. Marty Reid was "off" all day.

The ONE redeeming feature from the broadcast--- Jerry Punch on pit road. Only he could have gotten such a good interview from Tony after the race.

OSBORNK said...

There was a good race today. Wish I could have seen it. Even though I had the Tv on the entire race, I didn't get to see the race. The babbling booth couldn't get the names right. I hope to one day see a good race with good coverage. The only good coverage we ever get is on tracks that doesn't lend themnselves to good racing.

Anonymous said...

Marty Reid is a half second behind the planet and get's excited at things a little girl at her first race would be excited about. Otherwise it sucked.

Kayleen Stewart said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wisconsin Steve said...

Pit road coverage was solid today. Coverage of the finish line at the end was terrific. NASCAR Countdown was pretty good, too.

I thought the balance of coverage between Chasers and non-Chasers was good. They can't avoid talking about the Chase teams a lot because they're the ones running up front, for the most part. They were late on providing some informational updates (wave-arounds, lucky dogs, etc...) but at least they provided them eventually.

Post race coverage on Sportscenter was also decent. Having someone like Ryan Burr hosting makes an enormous difference - he actually shows respect for the sport.

Aside from missing the debris (if there was any), I thought ESPN did a very nice job today.

Matt said...

The problem with the coverage was the amount of commercials. Marty Reid did mention the lucky dogs, wave arounds and some penalties but they were rattled off so fast because everytime they came back from break, it was just as the green was waving. No one can re-set the race in half a turn. If they cut the commercials (or timed em better), their coverage would be better.

The other problem: too many talking heads. Between Andy and Dale and Rusty and Ray and Brad and EVEN Brewer how can you keep the race straight with all them babbling about strategy, most of which didnt make sense, because that's what the director wants to focus on.

I actually thought they did a decent balance between Chase and race today. Whether you want to believe it or not, most of the Chasers run up front and will be covered. But there was nice focus on McMurray and Allmendinger and Newman, et al. And if the top points runners are in the back, that should be mentioned to. Could it have been better, of course. But there were no "chase-only" through the fields and only once did we see Points as they Run.

Overall, I'd say B- for today's race. Decent, but lots of room to improve.

Kayleen Stewart said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vicky D said...

I thought MR has been off the last few races but it's probably because of the producer shouting in his ear. Someone mentioned too many people on ESPN broadcast and I agree with that. I think there was too much time was spent on JJ. Good interview after the race with TS. Some updates from pitroad were missing especially in regard to JR being blocked and the booth was begging someone to tell them what happened and we didn't hear about it til laps later.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
glenc1 said...

I was away today, but it sounded good on the radio....

Um...I will say, I checked Caws & Jaws last week--commercial time for Richmond was almost the same as last year. And the year before that... not saying that's a good thing but...

Anonymous said...

"But when Brian France took over and made it a sport on the same level with MLB and NFL, he did not make his own management understand integrity of the event." I cannot agree at all with this statement. 1) The sport is no where close to being on the same level as MLB or NFL, on any level. Whatever sport, the game or race has to be the star and then you add the show. Brian France has taken the star and made it second/third rate. The show has suffered as a result. BF would like it to be on the level as MLB and NFL, but all he has done is ruin the sport/race. MC

Lisa Hogan said...

Today’s ESPN coverage of the Cup race was more of the same just multiplied by the Chase factor!

Camera selections were confusing. Booth was confused. Too many videos, graphics, commercials during green flag racing. Too many people in the infield studio. If ESPN has to have one, Bestwick can handle it by himself.

I’m going to be kind and just say that Tim Brewer had too much camera time. I’ll also be kind and say that Marty Reid was lost before the Chase and now with this new ESPN Chase script, he is lost and drowning.

Darcie - I will say that “I feel your pain with ESPN/ABC”. I was watching the Alabama/Duke game and a Duke player was injured….timeout…commercial. When ABC came back from commercial….Wisconsin game was there. I never could find out what happened to my Bama game. ABC and ESPN2 were both showing Wisconsin. The Wisconsin announcer kept getting the final score wrong and was jabbering. ESPN/ABC messes up any of my sports that they carry. Their “anchor” people jabber away during tennis and don’t seem to have a reason for being there except they are ESPN branded folks.

As always, thanks to JD. I hope all of us survive this Chase!

Anonymous said...

How many times did Reid say 'there are four non-chasers in the top 10'? What a useless comment. Who cares?

ESPN is horrible at everything except college basketball. But it's only because a gym floor that is 94 feet long. Not hard to cover that.

I had hopes they might do a better job than last year but they aren't. Except for JP on pit road.

Drop all infield analysts and put Bestwick in the booth with DJ and Andy. Send the infield studio home and just give us real, factual race coverage. Nice and simple. Kinda like Versus does with Indy cars.


Ritchie said...

I agree with Matt, coverage was decent. They showed the drivers crossing the line at the end and they kept us up-to-date with the race strategies. There did seem to be some poorly timed commercials. They really do need to work on that.

I'm not exactly sure what some in this forum and Mr. Daly want in terms of coverage of non chase teams. Everyone gets angry about it every week (and every year), but I honestly don't understand what the big deal is. They talked about McMurry, Junior, Almendinger, Montoya, among others who aren't in the chase. Like Matt said, most of the teams in the top 20 were chase teams and the others were the ones listed above. I have been watching and listening to the races for almost 40 years and I cannot remember any media ever covering all 43 cars equally. It can't be done.

Also, like it or not we have a chase that NASCAR instituted. It is the format that determines the Cup champion. To ignore it would be ridiculous. Can ESPN fine-tune their coverage somewhat? Yes, of course they can. But I remember the races in the 1990's when the only thing the media talked about was Gordon and Earnhardt because they were the only two capable of winning the championship. I also remember the year Gordon won the championship and 13 races in the same season. Does anyone want to guess how many times Michael Waltrip's running position was mentioned during the course of that final Atlanta race that year?

I was watching the modified race on Saturday and they showed their "points as they run" graphic on SPEED. Before the truck race the primary story was the Cup drivers and Todd Bodine's point lead. Its the racing TV industry standard and the participants in this forum seem to be the only ones that care.

Everyone has a right to their opinion, but at least be honest about it. ESPN, for all of its faults, is covering the race when it covers the chase.

I'm just looking forward to the posts that say "I didn't watch the race, but I know the coverage sucked!" I know they are coming.

glenc1 said...

I didn't watch the race, so I have no idea if coverage sucked, lol. But...just for a little balance, I just read Jenna Fryer's AP piece on the race. She never even *mentions* McMurray's finish, nor any other non-Chaser. Kinda disappointing, but shows you, it's not just TV.

Jeff said...

Today was without doubt the best NH race I've seen, usually the "Magic Mile" (who named it that anyhow, is this like Kyle Busch dubbing himself Rowdy) is usually a snoozefest. E$PN did their almighty best to screw it up though, way too much split screen focusing on 2 cars, way too much Capt. Obvious, Brad and Brewer.

Someone needs to tell the marketing geniuses at ad companies repeating the same tired ads over and over just ticks people off, Nationwide, Progressive and Geico, I'll never call anyone of them based just on the stupid commercials.

oI guess our only hope now is that heads will roll at E$PN over the winter and they can put someone in charge that gets it.

Unknown said...

I know that this is a tv blog, but I really don't know why everyone praises the radio so much. I listened to most of the race on PRN. The field was not reset after the cautions. At least one of the field rundowns only mentioned the chasers. The lucky dog recipient was not given after every caution. There were interviews during green flag racing. There seemed to be just as many commercials as the tv broadcast. The only positive was that the action was described better than on tv, but that's about it.

Anonymous said...

I started watching lap 30, and gave up by lap 200. Marty gave me a headache today.

If watching green flag driver interviews, Tim Brewer demonstrations and in-car cameras works for you, keep on watching. But it doesn't work for me.

If the Chase is all you watch for, keep watching. But I watch for the race, and that was partially covered today.

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna break with some of the others and say that ESPN did a fair job today. Not great, and not as good as the days of old but not their worse effort either.

They did show the cars crossing the finish line rather than key on just the winner. That tells me that maybe, just maybe somebody is paying attention to some of the criticism.

They did show some of the non-chase cars and gave some of them nearly as much coverage as the chase cars. This was good to see. The guy who seemed to be racing the hardest all day, and had the donuts to prove it, was Junior. I thought the coverage they afforded him was pretty reasonable considering the effort he put forth.

I agree though about the commercials. I'm not sure that's going to change though. It's been a long time since the competition on the track in any way matched the corporate feeding frenzy over our wallets.

Anonymous said...

One thing that REALLY REALLY bugged me was that every single time ESPN showed someone making a pass, Marty Reid chimed in that the driver who was passed "let him go by." Listening to Reid, you would think that no pass was ever earned, and that drivers are simply pulling over for others to pass at will. I know that sometimes this is technically correct, it just ruins the race when the lead announcer makes every pass seem like a fix, makes every competitor seem like they don't care about their position, and makes every move on a track with little passing seem like a conscious decision by the leading driver to simply "let" the guy behind him pass. REALLY annoying.

earl06 said...

I went immediately into the red zone when 12 of the first 25 laps were missed due to commercials. Caws/jaws always has the same stats, about 35%-40% commercial time, but I'd like to see them break it down by green flag laps. What percentage of green flag laps were missed? Would be interesting.

Aside from that, the coverage was decent. Marty was a little lost for some reason and Brewer's segments were intrusive and uninformative as usual. I kept waiting for the commercial break to come with 20 to go, but it never happened, so there's that.

Good race, OK coverage. That's about the best one can hope for these days...

hiway said...

Allen belongs up in the booth, knock of airing the 43 radios going of for the start your engines(that had to be rusty's idea),greenflag,ect.ect...,Show the entire pre-race & the race on the same channel (they own quite a few).
What ever happened to our strickly nascar channel we were going to get? The screen looks like a betting channel showing everything that's gong on in the universe. NASCAR needs to step in & tell them they are ruining the sport.

E-Ticket said...

I flipped between Red Zone, the race and the Dolphins game. I found my self staying on the Red Zone and Dolphins game longer and longer. The most distrubing part of the broadcast was a term I had not heard in a broadcast before. "Non-Chaser" they would call a driver that then name him. Did they realize their are 31 other drivers in the race. Over and Over we heard this term, I finally just turned off the race until the game was over went watch the last 3 laps. Then went back to the RZ channel. I really don't care anymore, JD thanks for all you hardwork, lets hope the Marketing/PR shuffle that they are attempting starts showing some improvement or this sport will be lost on an entire generation..

Mariemont Kiwanis said...

I'm willing to give ESPN the benefit of the doubt on a few things, but some things just have no excuse.

I actually tweeted Allen Bestwick last week about missing the restarts in the N'wide race and he said it's hard to time perfect without knowing if there will be pit stops. I disagree because I know people time exactly how long a lap under caution takes and should know exactly how many spot to fill in.

I actually thought the Truck race on SPEED was amazing, maybe that had to do with Busch and Harvick battling side by side every lap, but the broadcast as a whole I thought was great - perhaps because there are less hands in the cookie jar for the Truck race, or maybe because it's on SPEED, who understands how to cover motorsports.

I understand there isn't anything the network can do about WHEN to take commercial breaks because you don't know when a caution will fly, but BEFORE 10 laps in is ridiculous and within 30 to go is even more ridiculous, especially at a short track.

I would love to see side by side implemented in some fashion. I understand the advertisers don't want it, but if the ratings continue to drop, I can't imagine they'll want to advertise in the sport anyway.

I personally mute during the commercials and use the radio - I also pull up's live leaderborad and listen to Kevin Harvick on the radio to keep my entertained.

Overall not a bad broadcast - still don't appreciate not interviewing the Top 5, forcing me to watch Sportscenter for post-race coverage, but whatever. SPEED Report and Vic Lane had a great interviews.

Not sure what they can do about the commercial load, but it certainly seems to be the achilles heel right now.

MRM4 said...

Jeff, I believe it was Mike Joy that gave Kyle Busch the nickname "Rowdy" because he started driving a black #51 like in Days of Thunder.

I thought the coverage was pretty good except for the amount of commercials. Anytime a commercial came on, I'd flip it to a football game. Got to see a fair amount of football that way.

subsailor_739 said...

I've been meaning to post on here for a while now and the race at NH pushed me over the edge. I know my hearing is going bad so is it me or does the racing sound in the background drown out the guys in the booth calling the race? I can't understand why ESPN finds it necessary to have the sound of cars racing by turned up so loud. Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree talk loud enough, but he sound of the cars drowns them out so bad I can't understand them.

Anonymous said...

Not a bad race, and okay coverage. I had no trouble with the sound mix on my television. Yeah there were lots of commercials, but that just gives you a chance to flip over to the NFL games and check them out.
They did seem to laser focus on Harvick way too much during the first half of the race.
I liked that they went to a NASCAR Sportscenter after the race.

Donna DeBoer said...

No more comments on TV races except to say, NASCAR better lean heavily on its partners or figure out how to restructure TV for next season. It can't wait.

The kids had a game, whose commercials were better, NASCAR ESPN or NFL FOX? It became pretty clear to them & me that the NFL was getting the better & more entertaining varied spread. So now we're even falling short in that category. See paragraph 1.

Anonymous said...

For a long time, I've posted that the Truck and Nationwide broadcasts were more enjoyable than the Sprint races-shorter and less BS from the Booth. It's also interesting that more bloggers are seeing the point I made months ago about Marty Reid being sub-par. I watched a replay of the race and the mind-numbing useless statistics from Reid were ridiculus. He obviously doesn't know anything about Nascar racing. All you have to do is just listen carefully to exactly what he says. I thought the race was fast paced and thought it was a descent broadcast.

Marylee in Richmond said...

I disagree that "no technical problems" but maybe that is because I have a different definition of "technical". Several wrecks/spins took a LONG time to be shown on TV and, as I recall, at least once someone said "Let's see if we can show a replay of that." It appears to me that all the $$$ is going to the 7 people in the 2 booths, so that there is not enough left for enough cameras and the "support" people in the truck. The "truck" SHOULD be able to see on a camera monitor that there is action and IMMEDIATELY switch to that camera.
Unfortunately, I missed the last 60 laps. But, at least I didn't have to hear over and over about the Chasers and one or two other drivers, and NEVER find out, for example, why Bobby Labonte had such a bad finish.

sue said...

Thought the coverage was good. Showed lots of side by side racing, along with split screen. It always seems to be alot of commercials when your on a shorter track.

Anonymous said...

That "split screen" from ESPN is terrible. Why do I have a 60 inch HDTV and then they use 1/3 of it with colored graphics not showing race action?

GinaV24 said...

pI was at the race in NH this weekend so didn't watch the TV coverage. I also no longer record the races because unlike in other years, I never go back and watch these racesa again. Sounds like I made the right choice on that.

The race itself wasn't bad although there were long periods of time where there wasn't much passing, but I've been to NH before and that's pretty much the norm. IMO the racing isn't that exciting, there but the crowds are good and it was a beautiful day so I'm not griping. I got to watch the race on my terms and didn't have to listen to any babbling from the booth or terrible camera work and commercials. BTW, PRN did the broadcast, I much prefer MRN's calling the race.

there was a pretty solid crowd there although it didn't appear to be a sell out. Bruton's not popular with the locals, based on conversation with them and you could really tell that the police interaction wasn't what it had been and it made traffic a nightmare getting away from the track.

Someone mentioned that Marty said drivers were letting one another pass, well, I'm sure there was some of that but it was usually when the other car got into position to take it anyway and from my point of view on the track, it looked legit to me.

Helton was at the track on Sunday, too and it's the first time I've ever heard him sound like he meant it when he thanked the fans for coming. It's really a shame that NASCAR and its TV partners are going to continue down this way of coverage, it hurts the sport.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that I savour every minute of any race that comes with no Darrel Waltrip stupidity. It was all beautiful except for the commercials.

Anonymous said...

I just took this week's NASCAR fan council poll, where I weighed in the on coverage of this weekend's race.

I found it interesting that the poll featured three questions about the race and six questions about Monica Palumbo, Ms. NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

Two things really bug me about the race ESPN showed:

1) They kept putting up a meaningless stat by showing what a particular incident did to a Chase driver's point standing, as if the race was over. Usually something like "That drops Denny Hamlin from #1 in points to #11 if he is unable to recover". Well, guess what Marty Reid: There are 150 laps left, that stat means NOTHING!!!

2) They have got to figure out a better way to show the running order than the slow-as-molasses scroll at the top of the screen. How hard would it be to put a digital version of the scoring pole on one side of the screen, listing running order by car number? There is nothing I hate more than wondering "I wonder where Driver X is running" and then having to watch that snails pace scroll roll by. If my guy is running, say, 13th, and the scroll is on, say 26, it takes like a full minute to find out where my driver is. Especially on HD screens, they should just have a static running order that updates in real time on the side of the screen (or even at the top of the screen where the current scroll is). Even the CNN scroll moves faster than that thing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment about the horrible split screen. Why is one half of the split so small? One time they were showing a battle for the lead on the "big" split screen, and Reid says "There's Jeff Gordon making a pass on the right side of your screen." and my wife said: You mean that tiny little dot was Jeff Gordon?

Anonymous said...

I was at the race race & recorded it. From my point of view, what I saw on tv was pretty much what I saw at the race. I disagree about the split screen. It allowed me to see several passes that I actually missed at the race
The TV production was good, not great. Announcers not so good. But I still think that you are seeing what NASCAR is putting on the track. If a drivers pulls over and let's someone go by how is it TV's fault. Maybe if NASCAR improves their product, you will see a better show on TV.

The Mad Man said...

When the stories first surfaced that BSPN was going to cover the races, fans immediately clamored for the split screen coverage and voiced their opinions on it. The Idiot in Charge, BZF, stated that the advertisers wanted their branding and as such there wouldn't be any split screen coverage. What's funny is that not a single advertiser ever stepped forward and said they agreed with BZF's statement about the split screen.

Of course, we've all been let down by the coverage, if you can call it that, BSPN provides. Disjointed camera shots, babbling from the booth that makes Professor Irwin Corey sound sensible,then the coitus interruptus from the infield buffoons,and the commercials being interrupted for a few laps of racing.

I'd hate to think what the grandstands would've looked like if they hadn't pulled a "Fontana" and given away thousands of $40 tickets.

Mule said...

Same old "Chase" hype. Much about nothing of relevance to the fans. Race coverage is poor at best if you call it race coverge, more like Chase coverage. Marty Reid's forte obviously isn't racing. Can't keep names, teams, or even what lap it is straight. Places emphysis on storylines or scenario's that are of no significance. Too many personalities in the booths as well as bafoons and bimbo's in the pits.
Way too much time on split screen focusing on 4th & 5th, or 15th through 20th. I'm so glad I purchased a big screen TV only to watch racing in a 20 inch & 14 inch boxes.
Post race coverage watered down by Sports Center NFL, MLB, and banners with collge football scores.
Hope NASCAR is particularly proud of this multi million dollar media package they have. They may have been laughing all the way to the bank. Bet their laughing out of the other side of their mouth now because they got short changed in terms of rating numbers and fans.
Do away with a rediculous play off style format for determining a Champion. Place more emphysis on winning. Give the brands a bit more flexibility for brand identity such as the Nationwide cars. Give the teams more flexibility in lowering the CG on the COT before short-flat track racing dissappears altogether. Not all want to watch anything but mile and half down force race tracks. Above all, treat the fans like people instead of sheep!

Mike (Detroit) said...

FYI for everyone. I lifted this from Jayski's site. ESPN's live telecast of the Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 19, earned a final national household coverage rating of 2.6 (U.S. rating 2.3), averaging 3,676,828 viewers (households?), according to the Nielsen Company. Last year's race telecast aired on ABC and earned a final U.S. rating of 3.2 (ESPN).
The overnights were a 2.1/5, down from last years 2.6/5 overnight with a final of 3.2/7 and 5.04 million viewers.

Anonymous said...

Not surprising the ratings were down. The Dallas Cowboys had an early game. There is just no way to compete with the NFL.