Monday, September 6, 2010

Your Turn: Sprint Cup Series From Atlanta on ESPN

Marty Reid is getting his first taste of the NASCAR TV telecasts that have to handle multiple storylines. The race, The Chase and the bubble boys dominated this telecast of the Sprint Cup Series race from Atlanta.

Allen Bestwick started things off with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty from the Infield Pit Studio. College football caused this show to come on a couple of minutes later than scheduled. Tim Brewer was in the Tech Garage.

Once again, the pre-race show featured pre-recorded packages that had been used earlier on the week on NASCAR Now and other ESPN TV outlets, including ABC. Erin Andrews may have some promotional value on other channels, but in a pre-race show for a very important race re-airing her laps with Dale Jarrett was an interesting choice.

Marty Reid is handling his first season of Sprint Cup Series races for ESPN. This has proven to be a challenge. Reid is used to calling the action, but juggling the various themes that ESPN throws his way has been rough. In this race, Kyle Busch was the early theme and then Greg Biffle took the attention.

Points as they run right now is a term that some fans hate. ESPN thumped TV viewers over the head with the Chase and the points until the real racing began with about 40 laps remaining. Suddenly, it was never mentioned again.

Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree have been working together for several seasons. They have been through many difficult times with the NASCAR on ESPN team. This is their best season ever matched with Reid in the booth and Bestwick hosting from the infield.

Jamie Little, Dave Burns, Dr. Jerry Punch and Mike Massaro were the pit reporters. They tried several times to interview crew chiefs during the race, but mostly ran into the stone cold wall of silence when it came to decision making and updates.

There were no technical problems, no weather issue and the sound was outstanding from the race. Coverage was the normal ESPN style of moving from one small group of cars to another. Commercial timing was tough with several cautions and key passes for position happening while the network was away.his post is you opportunity to offer your own TV wrap-up of the ESPN coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Atlanta. 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 as always for taking the time to stop by.


Anonymous said...

first interview after a boring race...Kyle Busch. Enough said. NASCAR is a waste of time. ESPN was less than adequate but don't know how much i can blame them. Nascsar wastes my time and their coverage of Kyle Busch made me want to punch marty reid in the face. it was lame.

Anonymous said...

they hyped that stewart wasn't gonna win the whole race for 300+ laps. and he wins. oops.

Vicky D said...

JD, you hit the nail on the head with the "Points as of Now" telecast, then they didn't mention it as much like you said with about 40 laps to go. I don't think they'll be much of a post-race show. ESPN script gets really old too why do they do that. If I were MR I would be upset with the way they want him to call the race. It seems like DJ and AP worked well together. Liked AB's updates throughout the race. I think they missed some green flag pitstops too.

Jonathan said...

I enjoyed this race I give it a C flat out no more no less much better than Bristol but not as good as the first 3 or 4 races of the season! We needed more of the blimp cam if you ask me but the coverage got much much better during the last 40% of the race! Thanks JD for letting us have a place to comment on the race, thanks to everyone who stopped by, and thanks to Nascar for giving us the best sport on the planet there never will be anything like it!!!! Had a fun night can you tell??? :)

Matt Slater said...

It appears anonymous and I watched a different race, or have a difference of opinion. I didn't notice a KyBu love fest. I was thoroughly entertained and have no major complaints about the coverage. I thought it was a fun night and well worth the time invested. Looking forward to next Saturday.

Jonathan said...

yeah I dont understand the comments on the Kyle Busch love fest hey the kid is coming off on of the best couple weekends in his life he deserves some coverage but I didnt see it as overkill like the JJ love fest of last year

Anonymous said...

+ Dr. Jerry Punch, Allen Bestwick
+ Finish line camera shot
+ The S&P endurance competition in the garage, and out of the garage, and back in the garage, and.....
+ A long, physically & mechanically difficult race. We may no longer be at Darlington, but this beats Fontana's Snoozefest

- Points as of now
- The return of the script
- The forced Kyle Busch mentions
- The Chase hype, there is nothing really left to hype at Richmond.

ESPN was strong & stable for so long this season, but the cracks are growing by the week now.

Anonymous said...

Other than Bestwick, ESPN put forth a solid A+ effort through the whole race. The entire evening was enjoyable. Thanks, ESPN.

Anonymous said...

KellyNorCal on Twitter:
Let's see 9 laps to go we are watching two 2 car "races" for 14th and 7th??? Where is what is happening up front? Keep dropping back to other stuff then can only focus on Kasey and Ryan trying to find some kind of fight....ESPN sucks. Bring back SPEEDVISION.

LVI56 said...

I think it was a good broadcast. Was worried the points as of now would dominate the race, but it wasn't too bad. Could have been a bit better, but overall ESPN did well.
The post-race Nascar Now is great, Ricky Craven is really enjoyable to watch and listen to.

Brian Fletcher said...

Not a bad showing tonight. The "Points As Of Now" updates seemed fewer than normal. I didn't notice the over-hyped Kyle Busch coverage everyone is griping about. Yes, they did cover him more than some other drivers, but he was either up front or working his way back up from the front. Look at it from this standpoint: If it weren't Kyle, and it were your favorite driver, and he had been leading/running up front and was penalized for speeding, wouldn't you want to see how he was coming up from the rear? If your driver's two teammates both had engine trouble, wouldn't you wonder if he also had problems?

I hate to always be the one to play devil's advocate, but a majority of the comments here always seem to be pretty narrow-minded, whether it's a practice session (keyword practice, as in non-event) being preempted by an actual event, or a driver being covered too much (though I do admit that there are many times they do focus on a driver who isn't really important in the grand scheme of the race).

On another note, I'm sure I'm not the only one who is sick and tired of the lack of respect NASCAR seems to get from some of ESPN's SportsCenter anchors. John Anderson is normally one of my favorites because of the humor he brings compared to a more dry personality like some of the morning anchors, but there is a fine line between funny and disrespectful. It's obvious that he and a handful of others (Steve Levy and Stuart Scott come to mind) don't think too highly of NASCAR, but I'm sure they aren't huge fans of every other sport that ESPN covers, yet they manage to do their highlights a fair amount of justice. Comments like "Vroom vroom, let's go racing!" are just a step above the childish antics of Darrell Waltrip.

dara2K said...

Alan Bestwick is probably the only redeeming character in the tragedy that is ESPN where Nasar viewers are concerned. I like Rusty Wallace, DJ and the rest but the PRODUCTION and DIRECTION of their talents is PUTRID! When 2 cars are fighting for the LEAD in the last 22 laps, the DIRECTOR SHOULD SHOW THE LEAD CARS! The wide shot on the corner continually cut off this shot. Does anyone at ESPN actually watch the viewer feed? Also that lap-by-lap announcer, Reid, should just put himself out of our misery. He is terrible with his fake enthusiasm and AM radio DJ voice. He is grating!Just be yourself, dude..Then the delay of programming for college football overtime is just unacceptable! ESPN needs to make a commitment to the fans and put NASCAR on the HARD COPY schedule! Also, Tony Stewart is a champion and was hardly mentioned tonight EVEN WHEN he was leading the race! Even Stevie Wonder can see that was wrong!! This ESPN coverage has so much potential and it just is miserable to watch!

LVI56 said...

That was a horrible interview with Tony on sportscenter. I thought he would join the guys in the pit studio or live with Nichole and Ricky on Nascar Now.

dara2K said...

...And anther thing..since ESPN is so "drama driven" they should have interviewed Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne after the race. One of the big headlines of this race was that Kasey Kahne bumping Ryan Newman in those last precious laps probably will keep Newman out of the top 12 race contenders. If ESPN is "bubble boy watching", they buries their lead! The stories are there if ESPN can get off their script once in a while!

Roland said...

Absolutely incredible race. Best of the season. Definately worth every minute of those 4+ hours. Espn tried their hardest to screw up with bad prerace, focusing on Kyle Busch, and once again some dorky commentary by Marty Reid, but they pulled it together and dominated those last 40 laps. Andy and DJ were on their game and the minimal input from Rusty and Brad in the pit studio was perfect. The race gets an A+, the coverage gets an A. All in all I was very satisfied at what happened tonite on tv and at the track, great night!

Jimbacca said...

Watched the race, DVR style. Cameras have improved. Commercials were plentiful at the start but seemed to taper off. Coverage wasn't bad. Interviews not bad. Not many airhead moments like in previous years. I didn't wish for Fox or Racebuddy or MRN PRN so not so bad. But I wasn't hanging on every word so maybe that helped me enjoy the race. Or maybe the race was so damn long I blanked out on the early part. The booth is a good mix right now.

Wisconsin Steve said...

I enjoyed the broadcast and thought the racing was fantastic. There was decent coverage of the finish line at the end of the race and the commentary was good all night. The pit reporters were strong, even without Vince Welch (week off?).
It doesn't bother me that ESPN emphasizes the race to the chase or updates the points. They're just covering an ongoing storyline in the sport - thats they're job. But I wish they would stop pretending like there is drama surrounding the 12th spot in points - everyone knows that Bowyer pretty much has it locked up, including the drivers behind him in the standings - they've said it.
I didn't notice an obsession with Kyle Busch at all, nor did I notice one with Jimmie Johnson last year. Drivers who lead laps and win races (and in JJ's case, win consecutive championships) are going to get a lot of attention - that is how it should be.

Jonathan said...

Yeah that ESPN Sportscenter highlight of Nascar and that was 10 or so minutes into sportscenter was just sad vrrrm vrrmmm???? and something about calling w car insurance after showing a wreck???? I wasnt paying to much attention since it was sooo long after the end of the race that sportscenter mentioned Nascar that i wasnt fully watching but seriously the Sports Center crew 90% of the time makes fun of Nascar when showing highlights it makes me soooo mad!!!! yet they will talk about Golf like its some great thing but if Tiger isnt playing Speed showing Nascar Sprint Cup Pratice gets better ratings than the PGA!!! Bull S*#( makes me soooo mad Sport Center guys grow up!!! And what happened to Sports Center respecting Nascar after the race??????? It sure didnt happen tonight what after 6 races that changes?????????????? JD what do you know about this and whats the deal ESPN is out to kill Nascar now that its the NFL season I said it at Bristol and im saying it again tonight

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the race,but it's obviously too long. Maybe I dozed off,but I would have loved an interview with Casy Kahne and Ryan Newman. Lots of people complain about boring races and boring drivers. Then someone comes along and makes every race interesting,like Kyle Busch, and they whine. Personally, I think Marty Reid should concentrate on NHRA drag racing. DJ and Andy played off each other well last night.

Anonymous said...

Well, I stopped watching early. I do not understand why whoever is in charge of the camera work thinks I want to see just two cars all night long. Can anyone explain to me why they do it? There has to be some reason, wrong as it is. Hopefully, it is a technical reason and not some kind of personally trait. MC

rich said...

Why did ESPN pay so much to broadcast a sport that they have no respect for? The Sportscenter coverage was crappy and seemed to be given reluctantly by the announcers.
I think that it is time to start beating the drum again for AB to PXP. I thought MR was going to be OK but he just seems lost sometimes. It seems that he just doesn't do his homework like he should.
Once again, without Twitter and this blog I would have been lost in this race. They just jump, jump, jump. They give no thru the field. They still seem to follow the script instead of calling the race.
Hey, ESPN, Allen Bestwick knows Nascar. Put him in the PXP position and ratings will increase.

51 yr. fan said...

An interesting read from Dustin Long/Roanoke Times on Jayski. He
quotes Paul Brooks from NA$CAR
giving the reasons ESPN is showing the races. I wonder if Brooks has
even watched a race on ESPN. He
sure let ESPN blow smoke up his

Anonymous said...

Waited a long time for wrap up on
Sports Center like it did in previous weeks. After close to 40 minutes, all there was were a few weak questions of Tony. Next week when there is a full slate of college and NFL games, expect the coverage to be even more sparse. Switched over to Victory Lane - had forgotten it was going to be on so missed half of it (but watched rerun this morning) - caught most of Tony's comments. He certainly has matured since becoming a car owner. Really enjoyed listening to him. He is "corporate" without being over the top. Nice moment when ESPN showed his father shining flash light for a pit stop.

Marsha - Iowa

Anonymous said...

I was so impressed with the National Anthem they performed at Atlanta. It was magnificent. I usually pay little attention to that part of the event because so many singers think they have to put their own “spin” on it and ruin it in the process. But these guys made me stop what I was doing and watch them perform the entire song. It even put a lump in my throat. These other so-called “singers” could learn a valuable lesson from that. Thank you, guys, for a rousing and stirring rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. I could tell how much the fans at the track enjoyed it, too. That was America at its best.

Tim said...

I think it is safe to say that the majority of NASCAR fans spend time viewing other sports. Football, baseball, tennis, golf, basketball,etc.. Monday morning water cooler conversations are usually about plays or a coach's play call or a call by an official. There may be an occasional gripe about the broadcast but most of the conversation is about the actual play on the field. After all that is the object of the sporting event. The play by play in any sport is important but not the main topic of discussion. Except when it comes to NASCAR.

Apparently the concept of presenting a Cup race has morphed into a carnival like affair. The broadcast has become the competition to the race of that day. The makeup of the broadcast team is often reviewed more than race itself. Bigger, higher, tackier is the path of broadcast venues. Like the art of misdirection the broadcast is designed to draw attention away from the poor product being presented as a race. At the end of the day the results are the same. Cup racing as we know it today has become a mindless merry-go-round of 33 cars getting in the way of the 10 cars that are good enough to win. If a way to inject some form of real competition into the races is not found reviewing the broadcast team will be the only reason for the event.

I have been involved with racing long enough to have sat in the stands and watched Marty Robbins wheel a race car. There are no quick fixes to the problem but if left as is NASCAR will be about rating tv hosts. We can leave the cars in the shop.

Anonymous said...

Marty Reid is really hard to listen to. He just doesn't seem to have it.

Bring back Mr Bestwick for pxp.

Jayhawk said...

It was miles and miles better than Fox. It was so much better than Fox that it was hard to believe I was watching it on the same TV. It was so much better than Fox that it was hard to believe it was the same kind of event. It was so much better than Fox... Well, I think you get my point.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy this part of the season with ESPN because I catch up on my sleep after racing my car at the local short track the night before. I slide into the Grand Snuggler (recliner), turn the sound to low and snooze away. The "white noise", Reid, Jarret, etc, puts me right to sleep. Then Rusty speaks...If I hear "races his brains out" one more time, I'm going to puke. Rusty is the worst, he cannot annunciate many words. And he rarely makes much sense. Just give the coverage to FOX and call it good, at least they keep me entertained. For me, the dream broadcat team would be Mike Joy, Kyle Petty, Adam Alexander, Jeff Hammond, Glen Jarret, Jerry Punch, Steve Post and Muke Bagely.

Tracy D said...

ESPN's coverage is so much better than last year's, I'm just grateful I can watch a race without turning off the sound and listening to the radio. Still, badly timed ads interfere with the flow of the race, but I'm aware they pay the bills. I would love to have Race Buddy or its equivalent available thru ESPN, but it's a pipe dream, I know.

This race was a good one. The split screens were well used. Showing Newman and Kahne immediately after the race ended was great. I stayed awake for the whole race, which I can't say has happened in the past.

Charlie said...

I just got done watching the race this morning.
Marty Reid is a chatter box and won't shut up.
I know now how Espn feels about the complete racing package when after a re-start there were 21 cars that got the wave around and Marty said how there were so many wave a rounds that you should check out the ticker to see who is where. Does Marty want us to watch the ticker instead of the race. It is his job to tell us who was waved around and why and where they are.
Just think race fans we have 4 more years of Espn. I think it is 4 years.
The arcade director is a joke. In-car cams, tight shots. Do you know Espn has been broadcasting races for years upon years and this is the best they can do.

I do have a question. Would the people watching the race like to see on the ticker now and again the number of laps each driver has on his tires?

Wisconsin Steve said...

Did anyone watch NASCAR Now last night? They offered great post-race coverage with Briscoe and Craven. They showed plenty of interviews (including Newman) and highlights of the press conferences. Who cares about what Sportscenter does if NASCAR Now is on (for once)?
BTW- Sportscenter's NASCAR coverage is only worth watching when Ryan Burr is hosting. He's the only one who seems to know anything about the sport.

West Coast Diane said...

NN - Only watch because on early here & DVR'd. Use FF for repeat stuff & "people" I don't care to hear from.

RD - DVR. Only watch if someone at TDP comments on something I would be interested in. NO to Kenny Wallace.

How about JR, Kyle P, Wendy & Hermie for 1 hour.

PreRace - Packaged pieces. Many repeated. Why would they do something original if they know Football will most likely preempt them!!!

Race - same ol', same ol'.

Tight shots. Only one or two cars in a box.

Jumping beans camera shots. Hurts my eyes trying to focus.

Rusty, Brad, Tim - no value added.
If you need a "hollywood hotel" Allen,& Ricky Craven and/or Ray Evernham.

Petree is ok, but I would take Ray in announce booth, too.

Nascar - races too long. Never thought I would say that. Qualifying, implement Truck quals, multiple cars in order of practice times. Earn your spot, not depend on bingo ball luck of the draw.

Chase - I have tried to like it and do see some value to it. However, with the way it has played out especially with how it is covered I say go back to most points wins championship. Give 50 to 100 points for wins. Points for a pole. Boys have at it!

All of the above and more is why I DVR and watch on HotPass.

Anonymous said...

I think Marty Reid is very good at PXP, ESPN keeps changing the theme every 30 seconds and that keeps his timing off. The broadcast would be so much better if ESPN just let everyone have fun (reporters,PXP,color,updates,). We would have fun then because they are having fun. It appears that ESPN makes sure the booth and the infield are not on the same page. AB is one of the best PXP today and should be used by ESPN and their coverage would improve.

Ricky Craven is a breath of fresh air. He provides insites that would be missed were it not for him. His on air presense is just great.

Matt said...

I think ESPN/NASCAR is so focused on showing that there is "real racing" throughout the field, they have forgotten that showing random cars passing each other with no context does not enhance a race or make it look any more competitive. It just makes fans more confused and frustrated. I'd rather focus on a lead battle for 20 laps even if they arent side by side every lap then switch every 15 sec from the lead to "a pass" for 30th just because they want to show us "passing."

Vicky D said...

Received an email from my friend who works at the track during race weekend and he said he didn't notice the colors of the lights in the backstretch any different. He did mention that they were late in getting the lights on though. I forgot to mention in my previous post that the anthem was wonderful. I couldn't stay awake for the entire NN last night and missed SC.

Anonymous said...

And it came to pass that I went to a Labor Day Cookout today amongst NASCAR illuminati and glitteratti.

Chief topic has been the overnights on AMS on ESPN.

"Nice and toasty tasty" is the consensus among the cablers.

"Cable third will get you a half-sixth share," sed the broadcasters.

"Wot's hot?" said the marketers.

"Driftin,'" said the Music/Pop Culture guy. "Its got the kids. They can do it at home {and here is the key point}, and they can do it in their cars --- on any sufficiently large parking lot. Ot is the future."

Just reporting, not judging.


Zieke said...

Anon. 9:59
Agreed the Anthem was wonderful, however the Star Spangled Banner at it's best is performed by Jim Cornelisen before the Chicago Blackhawks home hockey games. You would be awed. Enjoyed the broadcast with Marty really sounding professional and entertaining. His director isn't the best, but MUCH better than FOX. I also like ESPN noting the "other " drivers having good runs.

longtimeracefan said...

Marty Reid looks like a funeral home director and sounds like a hyped-up used car salesman. If he is the best ESPN can find to do the pxp, then they should just show the race without commentary.

The Loose Wheel said...

It was a really good RACE, but broadcast wise ESPN struggled for 260 laps. The final 60-70 they were actually really solid. the 3 wide battle for the lead they did a spectacular job covering it. Pit reports were shaky I felt, the interviews during the race were random and baffling. Interviewing Biffle and Sadler but not Speed after his blow up or a guy like Sorenson who had a great battle with McMurray for a decent finish.

Good finish line shot though, just a weird night I felt.

Anonymous said...

Just to add to my earlier comments. I, too thought the Star Spangled Banner was done extremly well. Pre race, I would have appreciated a song or two by Foreigner similer to how Styx was featured earlier in the season. As for Kahne/Newman, it seems like there is at least one juicy story at the end of every race that gets essentially zero coverage. If the drivers won't talk, why don't the expert pit reporters climb the pit box or at least report what was said over the radios. We all love Bestwick, but I still can't get over the blunder he pulled earlier this season. It was right in the middle of all the Bad Brad controversy. AB is hosting in the booth with Rusty, Dougherty and Brad K. They toss to a pit interview where Kyle Busch says that Brad wrecks someone every week. They toss back to the booth and AB and the other guys utter not a word of followup!! Real reporters pray for opportunities like that to cover real controversy. For a couple of minutes they continued to make small talk with Bad Brad. Unbelievable.

MRM4 said...

I recorded the race and watched it Monday morning, so maybe my view of the broadcast is a little different than most. But I thought the coverage was pretty good. They showed lots of action when there was action. And the whole broadcast wasn't totally about the Chase. I'm sure Saturday's coverage from Richmond will be the opposite.

My only complaint was a couple of references by Reid when he referred to Denny Hamlin as Kurt Busch when Kyle Busch was racing him. And later on, he called Kyle Busch Kurt.

Anonymous said...

Dara2k....did you watch the race? I did and while I have problems with some of the coverage points, I don't get what you're saying about the battle for the lead with 22 laps to go. Those were caution laps and after the restart which was well covered, #14 jumped out to a 1.5sec lead which he held onto and increased as time went on. ESPn is not to blame, & should be applauded for finding SOME racing at a track where they usually stretch out. Sounds to me like you have problems with the racing more than the coverage.

Anonymous said...

The anthem was good, but you pick what you like--I'd rather have a good recording than a bad one done live but that may bother some (assuming theirs was recorded, which it appeared to be.) Actually, Zieke, I have heard Tom and am not awed by the rendition. He's extremely talented, mind you; I recognize some people like opera-style singing, I just don't, personal taste. I'm not a big fan of his otherwise, but Toby Keith is more my style, straight & simple, like normal people would sing it (even those of us who can barely carry a tune in a bucket.) And I like harmony versions like the one Saturday. Just trying to make the point, we all have different musical likes & dislikes, which is why we have different people doing it every week. I do like a variety, I just wouldn't want to have say, Tom every week.

Anon 7:35, we're lucky we even got pre-race, no time for rock bands now that we're on ESPN. How they schedule this stuff is just crazy.

If anyone doubts the Kyle love fest, check the caws & jaws # of mentions. For a guy who was not a player most of the race, that's overkill. But worst of all is Brad D, he's starting to make me sick. I think the kid (kyBu) is talented, but enough already. Brad & Rusty have to go. If you must have a cover crew, get Craven or LaJoie or someone who can actually contribute and not just cheerlead for their favorites. The actual camera coverage and what not was okay. Not stupdendous, but okay. I watch the sports car racing and they just do such a better job, and on road courses (which would seem to be more difficult.)

Marylee in Richmond said...

One thing I appreciate - the 2 boxes to show 2 different parts of the race at the same time.
One BIG thing I do NOT appreciate - saying how many points out of the Chase some driver is when we are 50 laps into the second to last before the actual Chase. A waste of words. Means NOTHING.

Donna DeBoer said...

I think this is the next to last time I'm going to leave comment on the TV races this year. Since there seems to be no pleasing I expect the Chase coverage will result in a crescendo of whining. I'm sick of negativity. Unless there's a miracle the TV deal won't be realigned until 2014.

Atlanta really IS one of the best 1.5 tracks, I regret circumstances that prevent more people from attending (me, lack of finances) that resulted in them losing a race. I thought this race was great. I expect next week's Richmond race to be even better.