Monday, November 1, 2010

TV Police: Talladega on ESPN (Updated)

In one of Pete Pistone's many rants against this website and the free expression of opinion on NASCAR television coverage, he dubbed us the "TV police." Well, thanks to Pete that will be the name of our post-race wrap-up for the rest of the season. That's our favorite TV cop above, Steven "The Lawman" Seagal.

NASCAR Countdown was hosted by Allen Bestwick and followed the script of focusing on the Chasers to the letter. A tribute to the late Jim Hunter was brief and did not include any personal observations from the likes of Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham, Dale Jarrett or Andy Petree.

The program avoided reviewing the yellow line rules on the final lap, despite the controversial finish of the truck series race. Highlights of that race were shown. The final lap and the run to the finish has been a key element of many of the past races at Talladega.

After Bestwick, Brad Daugherty, Wallace and Evernham finished the pre-race show it was up to Marty Reid to call his first Talladega Chase race. His opening focused on the Chasers before introducing Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the in-race reporter. That appears to be a role that Junior does not relish.

Once the race was underway, the difference between the styles of SPEED and ESPN was made very clear. ESPN's tighter perspective meant split-screen shots and cameras zoomed into the pack focusing on the leaders. On Saturday, the truck series telecast featured wide and high-angle shots that showed the track and the entire field.

Putting this race into an exciting TV package depends on the ability of the play-by-play announcer to drive the telecast. In stark contrast to MRN radio, ESPN's Marty Reid has begun simply talking about what is on the TV screen

A true play-by-play announcer like Bestwick, Mike Joy or Eli Gold would have moved fans to the edge of their seats on a regular basis as the pack circulated at almost 200mph. The racing was great, the stories were compelling and once again NASCAR did its part by putting on a great show. Reid was never in that mix.

It seems like ESPN just does not get it. The producer only tells the stories of the leaders, with teams suddenly showing-up who have battled back through the pack unseen. The director frames the racing so tight there is no perspective for TV viewers. Just a clump of cars on the screen and then another clump and another.

Reid struggles with wave arounds, Lucky Dogs and updated information. His limited NASCAR knowledge does not allow him to make easy conversation or references. Make no mistake, Reid is an accomplished TV veteran who was outstanding on the NHRA telecasts for ESPN and has a long history in motorsports.

Regardless of whether it's the communication or the personalities, it's pretty clear that things are just not meshing. Often, the voices from the Infield Pit Studio are much more exciting and informed than the three in the TV booth. Leaving Bestwick and returning to Reid is nothing short of the same letdown viewers experienced with Dr. Jerry Punch in that role.

One bright spot is that Punch has raised the level of pit road reporting and is having a solid season back in the role that he helped to define. Speaking to Dale Earnhardt Jr. after his accident, it was once again clear that Punch had the respect of one of the top drivers in the sport.

During one incident, Reid began to scream that we were having the big one. There was no accident at all, just some good driving. It seemed that Reid and ESPN were going to be very upset without a major accident in the race. It was talked about in NASCAR Now, during NASCAR Countdown and throughout the telecast.

It was somehow fitting that with only nine laps to go, a caution for debris came out and ESPN was unable to find what car caused it or even show a replay. This was the defining moment of the race as the front pack was paired-off and ready for the run to the finish. TV had no answers for what had happened to stop the action.

On the final lap, the director missed the incident that put AJ Allmendinger on his roof. The split-screen effect had the leaders in the big box and some of the field in the smaller one. Tight shots again doomed ESPN as they have for the past four years.

On TV, the final lap was a disjointed mess. On the radio, it sounded like an amazing finish to a fantastic race. MRN had the details and all the information as it happened. It should be interesting to hear your comments on what you saw.

Update: Fan emails asked why no AJ Allmendinger interview post-race. Also, why no Mike Massaro in the ESPN studio instead of a SportsCenter talent. Finally, why didn't ESPN replay various angles of the last lap leaders for TV viewers instead of just waiting for NASCAR to make a decision on the finishing order. All good topics for discussion.

This post is designed to get your opinion of the TV coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Talladega on ESPN2 and ESPN. To add your opinion on this topic, just click the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to share your viewpoint.


Roland said...

They didnt see the big one? Then what the hell was that on the last lap. The ignorance of ESPN after the checkers is amazing

saltsburgtrojanfan said...
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Anonymous said...

Two things stood out for me. First, as the 43 is upside-down sliding hard into the wall, Marty Reid is yelling "IT'S THE BIG ONE" excitedly as if he was waiting the whole race to say it. Did not care for that one bit.

Two, the ending did not feel at all like a Talladega race. You show the entire straightaway because it is a really cool and you get to see all of the car movement and any wreck as it happens. Instead, they are showing the leaders from behind in a tight shot as all of a sudden cars are spinning all over the place and we have no idea why or how. Then they didn't even show a replay of anything for what seemed like five minutes as confusion was all we were left with.

Sorry, that felt like a major letdown after watching a 3+ hour race. When the entire race hinges on the last laps, that type of finish makes me cringe.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...
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rich said...

Wow, the contrast between SPEED's coverage of the truck race and ESPN's coverage today of the Cup race is like night and day.
I was on the edge of my seat for the truck race but the old white knuckle finish to the Cup race just was not there due to the lack luster performance of the booth.
Put Bestwick on PxP

Sophia said...

Tuned in for a rare race cause it was Talladega. Soon tuned OUT & listened on radio.

The whole ESPN bunch was almost GIDDY with excitement pre race about "the Big One." Pathetic.

Then when it did happen on the last lap...Cameras missed it completely. Even the replay only shows the wreck WELL AFTER it started.

Remember this happened with Sadler on a road course wreck?

How the bleep can ESPN keep MISSING BIG racing events.

Honestly, just tuning in again *been months since I watched a race live...only 1 other since TNT LEFT* got me all honked off again.

So not worth it.

NASCAR EPic FAIL for allowing BSPN to broadcast so POORLY the "Actual NASCAR race."

We have trick or treat soon...wish I had a witch would match my mood after listening & then TRYING to watch on tv the last 22 laps.

Wasted space of too much SPLIT SCREEN and same old gripes. Flipped on Bengals at times or just listend to race on MRN (LOVE THOSE GUYS but even they went to commercial after two laps)

The end I was trying to listen to tv & MRN same time...but ESPN left us all HANGING with the big one they all looked forward too.

ARe the drivers ok...why did we not see it?

Is there SECRET video these days we can't see?

Was this the same director that MISSED Elliott Sadlers bad crash (Remember we only saw a tiny corner of that on the rt side of our screens)


Thanks for keeping the blog going but honestly, I'm in a foul mood after 'Trying' to watch this race..and completely mucking up the end. . . .

KoHoSo said...

I only got to see the final 50 laps without interruption or distraction. However, what I saw was not much different than when I was able to chime in more often earlier in the season. Because a couple of Planeteers latched onto this during the live blogging, I will use it again -- useless yakking. How many more times this year do I have to be embarrassed in front of my less-racing-knowledgeable friends as the all-too-lengthy comments from the infield studio have Captain Obvious written all over them? It makes me literally feel sad to have such a great pro like Alan Bestwick surrounded by people making statements that are of absolutely no use to either the long-time or novice NASCAR viewer...and all while there is great action out on the track that is screaming to be noticed and analyzed from the booth.

As for the "TV Police" thing...don't even get me started on Pistone. However, I will say this...considering the almost complete ineptitude we have seen in this year's NASCAR coverage from both ESPN and Fox, a more appropriate representation of a TV cop who is truly fitting of what has been dished out this season would be Detective Frank Drebin from Police Squad!. >:-)

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

I saw the final moments
Chad being a crybaby
Not seeing the big one in full
tight shots galore
need i say more
i think not

Ricky said...

How long does it take to show a replay of the finish or a wreck? They must have waited at least 5 min before showing one replay! When we finally did see a replay, the camera angels were horrible. Sad that the worldwide leader in sports can not do better than a fan in the stands may have with their personal video camera.

Then, after the race saying that we really did not have any big wrecks. Hello, A car was flipping down the front stretch and 6 other cars were spinning. I'd say that is a big one.

How many more races until NASCAR on Fox?

Dannyboy said...

I was so excited about this race going in. The race fulifilled my expectations from the opening laps. After spending some time on the phone with my parents back in NJ, I returned with 10 to go and my excitement grew with each lap.

When the inevitable happened later than usual it was no surprise, but it could not have been covered more poorly than ESPN did. Yes, this was a tough situation, but their current management has the coverage so badly skewed to their pre-selected storylines that we sat there watching helmeted drivers in split screen - which reveals literally nothing - while they fumbled the football repeatedly.

Awful, awful, awful.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

Hey ricky

NASCAR on Fox is not much better.

As a matter of fact they are just as bad

Or worse


ESPN is just not going to change and the hollow promises are such that viewers are so gullible that theyll tune in no matter what and even if they turn off after a few minutes.

The greed has engulfed ESPN that they are losing viewers ONE BY ONE

Zetona said...

Funny, I didn't think the coverage overall was nearly that bad. I could see most of the cars for most of the race, with a few exceptions early when they focused on Johnson or Hamlin at the back.

The thing that surprised me was not just missing the Big One, it's the fact that they paid almost no heed to it. They showed one camera angle in replay, though they clearly had more (the live shots were from a different camera than the replay.) AB was reluctant to even call it the Big One, even though it involved at least nine cars (and I'm sure I could have counted more had they shown more replays), and instead referenced the sort of "20-car wrecks" that haven't been seen at a Sprint Cup race at 'Dega since 2005. No interview of Allmendinger either, even though he flipped.

LVI56 said...

Race of course was great, broadcast was OK. I didn't have a problem with camera shots or commercials, just Marty Reid not being able to call it. He has his list of phrases that he tries to inject in every situation, they are so unfit and awkward. Put AB in the booth, I don't think anybody calls a Talladega race like Bestwick did for NBC.

Happy to see that ESPN streamed the race online. Would like to hear what led to that and if they will do that more.

Sophia said...


How do you know there were live shots they chose not to replay? never mind..I realize you are in the business maybe.

Still that was HORRIBLE replay..esp since my earlier rant ESPN on pre race yapped endlessly when the big wall would happen.

They wet their pants in excitement & ignored the real big one & left us in the dark.

I'm so TIRED of BSPN treating us like "mushrooms" ...if you catch my drift.

GinaV24 said...

So this site is the TV police? LOL, I like it. I no longer read anything that has Pistone's name on it on the web - since like the other Sirius radio folks, he's drunk deeply of the NASCAR koolaid.

Now, on to ESPN's broadcast - I don't watch any of the pre-race shtick any more. There is no value in it for me. I can't stand Rusty and Brad although I enjoy Allen very much. I watched the first 30 laps at a friend's house and listening to the booth talk about how wonderful all the lead changes were in the early going, when it doesn't matter made me sure i wasn't going to bother with the whole race. I listened to the race on MRN while I was driving home -- wow, what a contrast -- good updates and it sounded exciting even though I didn't see any pictures. They went all the way through the field - unlike ESPN's focus on the chase drivers only.

When I got home, I turned on the TV, ESPN was in commercial. I switched to football and came back -- still in commercial. I put trackpass on the computer, MRN for the PXP and JD's blog - that allowed me to follow the race.

Marty was so lost it was awful. Split screen is fine, but really after watching Speed's broadcast of the truck race, ESPN's show today was pathetic. It's a good thing DJ knew what was going on otherwise the PXP would have been even worse.

The end of the race was the worst -- only ONE long shot of the final action? Marty screaming about the big one when the 43 car was flipping around was ludicrous.

I continue to be disappointed with the way ESPN covers NASCAR. Plus they left early - as usual -- SC came on and I have now left too -- The vikings are playing -- at least the camera work at football games is consistent and their PXP people know what is going on.

JD, if you are the TV police, please deputize me, too. I'd be glad to have your back.

Vicky D said...

And after the victory lane interview, ESPN goes to SC and still no interview from AJ and it's been at least 45 minutes I guess since he's not in the chase, he's a non-driver with no importance. I missed a lot of the telecast they aren't getting any better though, are they?

Daly Planet Editor said...


ESPN is streaming both ESPN and ESPN2 online for Time Warner Cable subscribers.

Basically, that lets the TV signal pop-up on your laptop or desktop at home. You must be a paying ESPN cable TV sub.

Since ESPN included NASCAR, that allowed Turner Sports to begin streaming the races online at the website. This is a big change.

There is no doubt in my mind that some stuff is about to go down on Monday over this issue.

Basically, if NASCAR allows Turner to offer the Sprint Cup Series races online without restriction it will affect the ESPN TV ratings and many other components of the existing TV contract.

This is a story we will be updating on Monday.


Mike (Detroit) said...

TV police, I like that. I watched the race today as the Lions game was blacked out (Just wait for that ratings bump from the Detroit market Mr. France) I lost touch with the booth because my mind tunes out when bored. The racing at the track looked pretty good. They had to pull back the cameras today just because of the sheer size of Talladega, so that made watching a little better. You know that wide shot will be gone as they head back to cookie cutter town next week. Over all the coverage was nothing to write home about for sure. Thanks to JD and everyone on the Planet who keep me up to speed today. Remember NASCAR's not the only thing ESPN hoses up, they also butcher NHRA and PBA bowling coverage.

Roland said...

Watching the post race on sportscenter. They actually showed one good clear view of AJ's flip. Post race has been even more pathetic on sportscenter. Host doesnt know anything about this sport. Theyre only concerned about replaying a prepackaged nascar media group highlight reel from the spring race at Texas not what just happened.

Why cant we hear from AJ? Does anybody know anything? Is he still in the care center or is this just a massive fail by espn? Hope Speed gets an interview with him.

My thoughts on todays coverage: Ive never been one to make a big scene about the camera angles, but when its the last lap, and there 4 wide and going to wreck any second, you gotta show it. Cant just cut to the leaders. You should never ever have to use split screen on a restrictor plate race. The pack is right in front of you, show it.

Terrible post race fail by not interviewing the top 5 and interviewing Jimmie and Denny. JJ and Denny deserve interviews because they are the championship leaders, but the interviews should wait till the top 5 have been interviewed since they did not finish top 5. Instead the top 5 were blown off like they werent even there. Would have loved to hear from Reutimann, he was up front all day, but espn just dont care.

Fox deserves there fair share of critisim, but man i cant wait the start of next season. Fox can do this a whole lot better than espn. This has been the most pathetic television broadcasting ive ever witnessed. If they dont fire at least half the crew for next season then the ratings will continue to tank. Marty is just plain awful. I can not stand to hear his voice. Every time he opens his mouth it shows just how much more stupid and ignorant he is. He has sucked any fun there was out of the broadcasts. Unfortunatly for me im not really an MRN guy but i cant wait for next week cause Ill be listening to PRN for nationwide and cup. Ive just had all i can stand. This is not the sport i fell in love with 12 years ago, this is a freakin joke. The racing today was awesome when the cars werent single file, but ugly cars and horrid tv coverage are ruining this for everyone. Its so so sad to watch this ship sink week after week.

Zetona said...


When they cut from showing the leaders, they showed Allmendinger flipping from a camera that looked like it was mounted in Turn 1, with the cars coming toward it. The replays they showed were all from behind the wreck. They showed no replay from that Turn 1 camera, but I bet that camera caught more of the wreck than just the bit that they cut to as it was happening.

In any case, when a car is tumbling down the race track, it's a big deal, but it was just sort of brushed aside by ESPN, which is both disappointing for those who want to see what happened and disrespectful to the drivers involved.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

TV police lives in side of the net
TV police comes to ESPN
TV police comes to ESPN and Fox

I'll be more than happy to join the TV police force Mr. Daly

ESPN i will write you a ticket and you better pay it.

If not you will face heavy consequences.

Such as time in prison, OUR PRISON.

You are in our jurisdiction now.

Start listening to your customers and everyting will be fine.


Travis B said...

Well, to be honest, I hardly even watch it on TV. I have the TV on the race, I just have my trackpass that I use mostly. I am happy that streamed the race, I'm just not sure if this is to be expected for the remaining races.

I was upset that the replay of the wreck at the end wasn't shown for a while.

Also, it seems like the guys in the booth focus too much on their monitor and not the race in front of them. They seem to get confused. If they are going to do that, they may as well broadcast the race from the studio and save money.

They need to use both the window and the monitor to make it better.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

Oh and BTW The only bright spot of ESPN in NASCAR Now

NASCAR Now is fine dont fix it

Officer SBTF

OSBORNK said...

DJ told us early in the race that nothing mattered until there were 15 or fewer laps to go. They proceeded to make small talk as the cameras rolled until the end of the race. Unfortunately, the last 15 laps were no different than the rest of the race. As has been the case all season with ESPN, the narrative had little or nothing to do with what was on the screen. If I didn't have access to other sources, I don't think I would have had a good idea of what was happening in the race.

We could save a lot of time if we could get a signal when there is 20 laps to go. The first part of the race is just a Sunday drive to stay out of trouble.

TexasRaceLady said...

TV Police? I LOVE IT ! !
Count me in as a member of your force, JD. :-)

I was really let down at the end when ESPN left the track without an update on the 'Dinger. That was shameful.

For the most part, while the racing was good, the broadcast was ho-hum.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...
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Unknown said...

Horrible presentation of the second most competitive race in Nascar history. The errors were glaring from Green to Checkered. ESPN is so far behind the eight ball it is unreal.

Preshow foder is garbage at any plate race. It always seems to become the "Big One" hour with the same piece talking about drivers wrecking. ESPN just takes it to the highest of extremes. Rusty and Brad are tiring to listen to in the infield studio and do not represent themselves in a professional manner ever. It's time to shuffle them both out in favor of more presentable on-air personalities. They both have the knowledge to explain Nascar racing but can't put it into words that make a compelling prerace show. The focus on the Chase is warranted but more time should of been spent recapping the potential of wild / close finishes in Talladega history.

Once the Green flag flew it was time for the ESPN stats and statistics course. The entire booth fails to deliver excitement week in and week out based on the prerace script. Marty Reid does not need to even bring up lead change and different leaders unless a record is broken. If fans are tuning in for the duration they're well aware how much passing has occurred. I believe he recited the lead change number at least a dozen times during the race today. At least we were spared the points as they run today for pretty much the entire duration...

The booth watches the TV feed way too often. Even as the cars are thundering by underneath the booth at the start finish line Reid could not define the proper leader because he wasn't looking out the window. They clearly were not looking out the window when the big crash happened either. The over dramatization of every crash today was also very sickening and clearly a point made to the commentators to get loud about when it happened.

The entire broadcast could be worlds better if the booth called the race from the window and what they thought was compelling out on the speedway. Let the cameras follow suit. Emotional phrases and voice tones should be interjected during key passes to keep the fan awake on his / her couch at home. That's what the booth lacks now, emotion and passion for the race itself.

The new two car breakaway reeks havoc for the director as there is enough of a gap to warrant a tighter shot IMO. However it can not be overused. Unfortunately that's what limited the re-playability of the "Big One" on the final lap. Split screen boxes need to fall by the wayside fast. They were good in moderation but now it's just as bad as the over abundant rear bumper cam shot.

The finish of the race was a debacle by Nascar and ESPN. ESPN should have been showing replays to determine the winner as Nascar decided and Nascar should just do away with the white flag ends the race rule. There should be a guaranteed green flag finish at the end of every race. ESPN infield studio members should have the backbone to begin advocating this instead of kicking their collective feet in the dirt and shrugging shoulders and always agreeing with Nascar.

Post race is always to short and leaves to much hanging in the balance. Did AJ emerge OK from the crash? How are the other drivers doing that were involved in the crash? Not one update. No I didn't tune into Sportscenter to find out. This should be apart of the standard broadcast not a sports highlight reel with whatever ESPN minion that's called in to work that day being forced to provide updates.

Overall the entire TV package for Nascar has been poor this year. Fox was over Waltrip'd, TNT with Alexander did not work out and ESPN has continued to make due with what they originally brought to the table. Major Overhauls are needed soon if race fans are going to continue to tune in on Sunday.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

TNT was the only bright spot this year.

Anonymous said...
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Tom said...

Target numbers to beat from 2009 at Talladega: 3.8 rating, viewed in 6.6 million homes.

The prediction should be obvious. The only question is how much lower the number will go.

Irony of ironies: The '09 rating was actually UP from the '08.

Lisa Hogan said...

Dega is my home track. Not being able to be there for this race was painful; but, ESPN had to twist the knife! I want to see the race and ESPN just can’t seem to grasp that concept.

I will repeat what I posted during the race:
I stopped commenting on Mr. Reid's performance when the needle on the meter moved into the sad zone.

I do not blame Tim Brewer for presenting the useless Tech Garage. I think he is doing what he is told to do. I hope he gets huge amounts of ESPN money for his time.

I enjoy Brad. He enjoys NASCAR, speaks the language, makes me laugh and is a welcome change from the somber tones of some of the other ESPN employees.

Bestwick does a great job of trying to keep viewers caught up when he has a chance. I guess that ESPN didn’t get the memo about a great PXP person sitting in that infield studio.

Other posters have already pointed out how ESPN doesn’t show viewers the race. I’m still waiting to hear why.

When the race is over, I am so frustrated with ESPN that I change the channel. I wait for SPEED Report and Victory Lane to see replays and interviews.

As always, thanks JD!

Deputy Hogan :)

GinaV24 said...

Fox used to be my favorite for the Cup broadcasts. They could be again if they would get back to covering the racing and stop all the silliness. ESPN can't seem to get out of their own way. TNT is the best of the 3, mainly because they have racebuddy and only have a few races.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed the way the race ended under caution and with the big wreck. I want the booth to just call the race and cut the ultra-hype which started Saturday with Mikey during the truck race. DJ,Andy and Evernham were good as was Punch. Reid gets in big trouble when he tries to interpret what he sees on the track(or TV Monitor). He just doesn't understand Nascar Racing. Kenny and Rusty Wallace were a turnoff during the day. Between the producers and Tim Brewer, something needs to give. Under green flag,Tim explains a taped grill. Here we are at the end of the season and we need to hear this? Do they explain a Field Goal during the Super Bowl?? Empty seats are common,but I didn't expect to see so many. Don't know why we needed to see the in- car shots for so long after the race instead of replays of the last few laps-very weird. Don't expect much to change for the next three races.

PammH said...

The coverage wasn't good today, esp since we had Speed's truck race from Sat to compare it to. Coming out of comml w/an incar camera shot is NOT the way to cover Dega. And Chase, Chase, Chase-call the race! Not showing the replays of the last wreck was just bad & no follow-up to AJ or who was even involved in the wreck??? Good grief..I did see other replays of the wreck on SC, but I know not alot of folks don't stick around. And so much for the mantra "if you run up front, you get TV Time." What a crock!!! They didn't even interview the top 5 finishers! Pathetic and a BIG FAT LIE! I'm proud to be part of the TV police & Pete Pistone can kiss my grits!!!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Eli Gold, he was on the radio broadcast. Probably because it was in Alabama.

It was wonderful to hear him again.

My wife would hear his voice and know a race was on. He should be calling races flag to flag.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...


Happy to get your observations on the TV coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Talladega on ESPN.

Please drop me a line at for other topics. Thanks.


Sally said...

I consider being called 'the TV police' by Pete Pistone a high compliment. Heaven knows, SOMEONE has to do it, since Nascar doesn't have enough interest in how their 'show' is presented to do say or do anything! I've frankly run out of ways to describe how disappointing ESPN's broadcast is. Words just can't describe how poorly they do their job these days. Obviously it's gotten so bad that even the die hard fans that usually post on this site have given it up as a lost cause.

longtimeracefan said...

The race today was one of the best of the season. It had everything a NASCAR fan would want, regardless of who your favorite driver/car/owner etc. finished.

The coverage was OK. Not perfect by any means, but far from unwatchable. The weak link again was Marty Reid.

The end was confusing to everyone, NASCAR and ESPN. It was an unusual situation that probably will not be duplicated.

I will certainly be watching the next three weeks to see how this season turns out. Not necessarily from a TV production stand point, which is so very subjective, but more importantly, from a fan's perspective, which hopefully be rewarded with an exciting finish at Homestead.

Anonymous said...

We always enjoy any race on ESPN.Allan Bestwick and the crew do a beautiful job and there is no Darrel Waltrip silliness like we hear on Fox.Keep up the good work boys;it's just super.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...


My views on the talladega telecast

It was horrible but how could i know I did not see it

I read somethings here that Marty had a false alarm on the big one INEXCUSABLE

Tight shots and split screen is inexcusable, ESPECIALLY AT TALLADEGA

And if thats not bad enough the big one ended the race and they MISSED IT ENTIRELY.

Now it was a competitive race too bad we the viewers did not get to see it.

Now we have a telecast in all HD, A VAST MAJORITY OF US DO NOT HAVE HD TV'S ESPN.

Officer Daly, ESPN is unbelievable, they give lip service to any changes for the better but nothing more.

I am not watching NASCAR anymore, they can make all the changes they want but I AM DONE.

If you need me, I'll be watching the Steelers.


Anonymous said...

just outta curiousity, I looked it up once. If I remember right, HD is in a third of homes (quite frankly, the number shocked me.) So it's not a vast majority without. Just a majority.

Marty Reid really does not seem to know or understand the rules of NASCAR. Neither do I (all the time) but it's not my job, it's his. That's just poor. You study, you learn, he had plenty of time.

I hate plate racing. I realize I'm in the minority for that one. The only excitement is waiting for the big one, but Marty's glee every time he thought it was happening was poor journalism. For 'dega this was an okay race. But from a TV standpoint, it was dreadful.

Anonymous said...

I think you all are wrong. Nobody, not even Allan Bestwick, could fix the pxp as it is currently being totally controlled by the truck. Punch and Reid both were doomed by the demand that they follow the camera, not the race. JD once mentioned that the ex-producer would never let AB be the pxp guy. I bet this is one of the reasons. Rule of life, the boss rules no matter how stupid he/she is.

I am one that quit posting during the race, just got tired of repeating myself every week. I started watching this race, enjoyed the anthem, got disgusted, fast forward to finish, got disgusted even more. espn could care less. nascar could care even more less. Thanks for the site Officer. MC

Anonymous said...
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Lou said...

TV Police. JD maybe this could be copyrighted by you. I am aware of who P.Pistone is and if I read a column of his once a month, thats alot. Glad to see he is one of the ten thousand page views a day, along w/the rest of us.

Anyway, I was listening to the race on the radio while driving home and picked up the race on TV to see the last half. No need to repeat the week in and week out stuff. But something I did notice was that I did not see the constant crawl along the bottom of the screen that I had posted about a few weeks or so ago. Another poster suggested to change screen zoom and it did work and only noticed some updates. And although i was not watching tv to much after the finish, I did leave espn on until about 1715hrs and on air talent were still talking about the race. Yes, I know its not the same as a post race show. But like you have said time and time again change is slow.

Daly Planet Editor said...


ESPN is still trying to work out the post-race SportsCenter.

It's a shotgun marriage of two elements that simply do not fit together. That is the stick-and-ball sports news and the motorsports news.

Ricky Craven is outstanding, but without Mike Massaro or Nicole Briscoe on the set with him he is rendered useless by the clueless SC talent. Today was a great example.

Simply by giving NASCAR the time and letting Allen Bestwick host this coverage from the race site all of this mess could be avoided.

Look for this to be yet another element that changes for next season.


Anonymous said...

Today's broadcast was just plain weird. Marty Reid was LOST. He called Earnhardt "Aaronheart" a few times. He was talking about something called a "pushing partner". At one point he even said that a driver "just pairsed on in there" - he was making up words!

I had little problem with the pictures, and I also have no problem with the story of the Chase. But the inability to do any actual play-by-play that makes sense was just utterly lacking. Very poor performance by Reid.

Anonymous said...

Horrendous finish. Again.

Let's face it, Nascar is run by people who are not very bright.

I watch 3-4 hours of race coverage, only to have it end with no one having any idea who the race or how.

Disgusting. Awful. Disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

I understand NASCAR having a hard time with the finish. First of all, they were not at the perfectly-straight and already-painted start-finish line - they were deep into a highly banked turn. Next, they took their time because they had to get it right. Do they want to just call one guy the winner quickly only to later have replays show that someone else won and that it affected the points championship? Maybe they wouldn't have waited so long if it was non-Chasers like Montoya and McMurray... but with every point counting, they had to get it right.

I have no problem with NASCAR taking their time to get it right. What I have a problem with is ESPN being unable to describe or even show the action clearly.

Anonymous said...

The leaders were side by side for the top 4 spots on the final lap of the race. Why in the world would ESPN be airing a camera on the pack when there is a battle for the lead?? I understand that they didn't replay it, but it sounds like Roland wanted to see the 43 flip live. Are you kidding me? The pack was 20 car lengths back at the S/F line and the leaders were in the middle of turn 1. Did I mention they were side by side?

As for the finish. It sounded from the booth banter that ESPN was waiting for NASCAR to determine a winner. I assume they could have shown the replays while waiting, but then they might have missed the reactions of the winners live and would have had to replay them. Dave, I'm pretty sure they did show Dinger getting out of the car.

As for the debris caution, at least they showed the debris. The pack was on the opposite end of the track from when the caution came out. I would not expect too many cameras were on 1 car in turn 4 as opposed to 40 cars in turn 2. JMHO.

I'm pretty impressed with Marty Reid's effort to make this telecast exciting even if sometimes it's forced or mis-placed. I will be disappointed if he makes the same mistakes next season. BTW, if you want real excitement, let Brad do Play by Play!

JD, what is the procedure by NASCAR to determine the leader on the last lap when this happens? I've heard them talk of scoring loops. Would that be why ESPN couldn't show us because they don't know where the loops are?

Overall, ESPN gets a B from me.

Bobby said...

Exactly about the finish. If it was Fox one (or all three) in the booth would have said "Trouble guys, the 43 on his roof. We'll have to go to replay to see who won, Artie, can you help us?"

With the questionable figure in the production truck gone, we could see major changes at ESPN next year.

It was 2003 at Talladega (NBC race) when Elliott Sadler had the nasty flip that Artie Kempner received a phone call while at the NFL game he was working. Kempner admitted for 15 minutes he tried to check on Sadler's condition since he was working an NFL game and only received the message in a voice mail.

The crash at the end was not the Big One. A Big One takes a minimum of seven cars.

ESPN seems to say "drop the quality of the broadcast since fewer people will watch on cable."

Anonymous said...

JD please allow me to be part of the TV Police as well. Pistone is one of the 'media' types who likes to tell Nascar fans what they should like or do. I'm sorry..if something I don't like that the current TV contractors do doesn't fit into his mold of what I should be watching I couldn't care less. TNT is the only one who does a decent job right now. ESPN mails it in. Today we had the second highest ever leaders at the s/f line and ESPN basically provided crickets chirping for coverage.

How do they not show that big wreck at the end of the race and not show all involved.

Crap coverage. I couldn't care less what Pete says.


Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:10PM,

Bestwick explained well into the post-race that on the final lap NASCAR uses video first and the scoring loops second. They want to determine who was where as close to the moment the caution came out as possible.

Hope that helps.


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

Something was just wrong with this race coverage. The sound was off, you could barely hear the announcers talking over the sound of the cars and they sounded wrong. Most of the camera shots appeared to be from the helicopters, as if ESPN didn't want to bother to land for this race. They couldn't keep the camera on one place long enough to make out what cars you were looking at (and this is me watching on a 50" HD). The every 8 lap commercial break routine that was not broken.

And then the details:

They could not show once the pit work being done on the 29 (3rd in points and the eventual winner). Instead it is an in car when they are under caution.

"The points as of now" only had 3 cars on it.

No idea what caused the tire down caution of Nemechek.

Then the great ending - The camera following the leader on the long shot as a big wreck happens, it didnt even waver. Then 5 minutes of dual screenm in car, not even a single shot of anyone else.

A four time champion saying he was blowing up in the pack and dropping back and they couldn't even bother to follow up with the crew chief?

And I seriously was considering yesterday morning of re-ordering the track pass scanner to make the race more enjoyable.

And my feelings:

I will never by an AMP drink - thanks "hallowdega". This joins the fact I will never eat an M&M again. Also that olympic runner who did steriods - not sure what her name is but will not be watching that show (think there is a re-run on tbs I can watch).

Anonymous said...

The thing that drives me crazy in these instances isn't really TV related, it's NASCAR's reluctance to let a race finish properly if there is an accident on the last lap.

If you aren't going to let them race to the checkered flag, which is what they really should do, then you need to let them race to the next scoring loop. And every scoring loop should be identified and marked on the track surface so the people at home and in the stands know where they are and the drivers know where they are.

Sitting and waiting for five minutes for any replay that might help the viewer understand who won was insane and really drops the overall score for what was actually a decent broadcast.

Remember folks, this was Reid's first time calling a Cup plate race as the full-time lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN. It's a big responsibility so I am sure he was on edge all day long. I didn't think he was exctidely waiting for the big one to happen, but rather anxious that it could happen at any time (hence the near missed call when McMurray got loose in traffic the one time).

When the caution comes out on the final lap and there is a side-by-side battle for the lead we don't want or need to see the in-car cameras focused on the drivers' helmets. We want to see each and every possible camera angle that show where each car is and every possible battle for position. That miss, unfortunately, takes a B-level broadcast and turns it into a D-level broadcast.

Mariemont Kiwanis said...

To me, the biggest issue is the booth. I think a better PxP announcer would solve mostly everything, because he could give direction to the entire show, including the producers.

Mike Joy is the best in the business. He manages to make qualifying exciting. And as I've said before, the big difference between ESPN and all the other broadcast teams as that everyone else (including DW) watches THE RACE not THE MONITOR. Plain and simple. I know more from listening to the Trackpass Scanner all race than I do the ESPN booth.

Zieke said...

It was nice to watch a good race at Dega, however, the production was less than well done. I don't believe the ESPN folks do much homework to do the broadcasts- they simply "wing it" which is quite obvious to most of us viewers. They don't seem to be able to handle the mere size of racetracks in their format, and the announcers, because of this, can't keep up. These things, in my opinion are the reasons ESPN has the probs. They are still better than Fox, but not up to TNT's standards. Captain Zieke of the Royal NASCAR police "over and out"

bevo said...

I didn't watch the race,ESPN broke me of that habit several weeks ago. The decline of Marty has to be the result of pressure from the producers. When he started his new role he was directing cameras to the action and prodding the production to keep up. I'm sure he was dressed down by the suits in Bristol.

As an aside I'm a regular listener to "Moving The Chains" on Sirius NFL Radio hosted by Tim Ryan and Pat Kerwan. Their approach is to get fans into the real nuts and bolts of football - coverage packages, offensive sets and how a play develops. Ryan's other gig is on FOX game coverage as an analyst. He consistently talks about his attempts to get the FOX producers to use other camera angles so viewers can get a view of a developing play so they can understand why a pass coverage gets blown or a simple run turns into a huge play.

This is basically the issue we have with NASCAR coverage. It points to the larger issue that tv producers are not interested in presenting a sporting event on it's own terms. The producers and directors are frustrated that their creativity isn't being used in film or tv dramas. A game or race has it's own built-in drama.

As for Petey I'll give him credit - giving JD and this blog the title of TV Police is the first original thought he has ever had.

Well played Petey, well played.

MIchael said...

I for one, (I know I'm in the minority), love the in car and bumper cams on the restrictor plate races.
I also loved when they let Bestwick call the race after spot breaks.
To not be showing replays of the finish while NASCAR was deciding the winner was a curious choice.
The montage of Harvick ranting at his crews over the last two years was priceless.

MRM4 said...

Too much over-the-top drama in anticipation of "The Big One" and waiting too long to show replays of the leaders as the caution came out on the last lap were the two big goofs from yesterday.

Anonymous said...

to me it sounded like the TV announcers didn't know the rules!!!! Maybe instead of 15 announcers on a one show, get some that know the rules! LARRY MAC would have knocked it out of the ball park!

Kevin said...

Very poorly covered race today. I'm usually one to support ESPN, but after missing virtually every incident throughout the day, I'm very frustrated. The worst was of course the end. All we had were two side by side shots of Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick's in-car views. No replays of the caution, just in-car shots. What the heck? We couldn't tell where they were driving with respect to the rest of the field. Finally they broke out of the in-cars to show Bowyer's burnout.

I agree, Reid has really struggled this year. He just doesn't do it for me. He's a step above Punch, who definitely does a great job in pit road. Put Bestwick in the booth to call the race. He would certainly do a better job than Reid.

Donna DeBoer said...

Is that sirens I hear?

1) Totally inexcusable not to have any live followup on a violent wreck, I don't care who it is, viewers want to know if drivers are ok or not. Period.

2) The contrast in coverage between SPEED Trucks (good) & ESPN Cup (bad) is unbelievable!! Any way the SPEED team could "accidentally" trap the ESPN team in the trailer so that SPEED would have to do all the races for the rest of the season?

3) Rivalry between media is almost more fun than between drivers. :)

Anonymous said...

you know, about the Allmindinger thing...back in 1998 the driver I was rooting for at the time was slightly injured, visably limping to the ambulance (it was on the last lap.) They never did a follow up then either. I believe it was CBS. Look, if they leave the air at the scheduled time it may not be *possible* to give an update. In the Allmindinger case, it sounds like they did leave early (I turned to football), and there was no need for that (plus they could have updated during the post race.)

But that is not always the case, so I can't agree that it is 'inexcusable'. What are they supposed to do, break into the next show to give an update on a driver we watched walk into an ambulance under his own power? That's overkill. They wouldn't do it for a football player either (and sometimes there's no update because they're waiting for xrays, etc).

The Loose Wheel said...

ESPN, man oh man they are struggling right now. Alan Bestwick is doing a fine job in his role but ESPN doesn't have their other ducks in a row. Marty Reid has done well this year I feel, but the production truck is giving him ZERO support. They capture the Denny Hamlin story after he is over a half lap down! I saw him falling back on pit command yet they miss it entirely. They say Waltrip SHOULD drop back when Denny is 10 seconds from being lapped?!?!?! It just seems like the booth is without question reading a script and twisting facts to fit it.

Kevin Harvick gets damage and they call it severe? That car was going to run fine after they taped it up, I figured that without question. But ESPN in an effort to create drama and stir their "plot" overblow it...

Tight shots? Really?! Where was the helicopter/blimp camera we saw for the truck race all day Saturday? That was an extremely useful shot and would have been even more useful at the end when trying to determine a finishing order!

They almost seemed disappointed they didn't have a 20 car pile up though didn't they?

Just a mess. It's why I can't bring myself to post during races anymore. Got enough going on during races with other things to be here and stress myself out for the same old same old by The World Wide Leader (in hype).

Anonymous said...

"Book 'em Danno - murder one!"
Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett in the original Hawaii Five-0

"Book 'em JD - murder one!"
Sentiment of most of the people who post on TDP in reference to ESPN and the way their broadcasts kill the enjoyment of NASCAR racing.

Aging NASCAR Fan said...

Boring race. Poor coverage. Shameless ESPN hoping for "the big one". This will not bring fans back.

I'm pulling for JJ now. Then more fans will realize the Chase is a joke.

Bob from OC said...

If they are handing out the award for the most 'Moronic statement' of the 2010 racing season, I think there should be 3 winners - Dale, Rusty and Brad. How do they get off saying that 'Michael Waltrip is not driving for points, so he should slow down enough so his 'Toyota Team Mate' Denny Hamlin can have a drafting partner to get back to the front.
I can see moving to the back of the pack to help, but going a lap down to do it?
All three should be 'taken to the shed' for that kind of suggestion!

rich said...

Just finished watching NHRA race which I had tivoed and ESPN uses the same stupid split screen there even the same surrounding grapics which to nothing but fill up the screen. Why have a big screen TV when they split the picture in two screens and then they don't make them half and half but about 30% and 25% with the rest of the screen filled with junk. WTH!

Anonymous said...

too bad the SPEED truck team didn't dress up as ESPN announcers and work yesterday's race.

Debby said...

Just got home from Talladega. Wow! What a race and the best was that MRN/Eli Gold called the race over the track system. We didn't miss a beat! Now I am watching the replay of the ESPN broadcast. Glad to see that TV mentioned how David Reutiman was the best in class as far as a drafting partner. The 17/31 pairing was a great team to watch. They executed the draft beautifully. Wondered if ESPN would cover the 43 wreck at the end or be worried about the 48 not winning. Many differences between being there with Eli Gold calling the race and ESPN. Will watch the remaining laps and compare as to how it played out in person. What an experience to go to Dega...

Daly Planet Editor said...

Lost a couple of comments due to a computer glitch. Please resend if yours did not appear. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

I was shocked at how bad the finish of yesterday's race was for ESPN. everyone sounded amateurish at best! I don't think anyone had a clue of the rules or what to do!
I remember in 2004 when jimmy spencer thought he won daytona in a truck race and headed to victory lane. SPEED showed the replays and matched it up with the caution lights going on the track. It showed bobby hamilton sr in the lead even though jimmy spencer crossed the line first to take the white before the caution. Phil Parsons was all over it and knew the rule that the last lap NASCAR goes to video replay to determine the winner, he explained it and then said that bobby hamilton will be going to victory lane when NASCAR sees this video.
the funny part of the night was ray dunlap interviewing jimmy spencer as he was being towed out of victory lane.
I mean, come's a network doing it right and I don't want to get too much on a SPEED soap box because I have my issues with them too. MIKEY NEEDS TO SHUT HIS TRAP!, but they know how to put on a broadcast really well. ESPN IF YOU READ THIS ...PLEASE TAKE NOTES!

Vicky D said...

Anon at 4:39 - what a brilliant idea! Maybe someone can remind the ESPN crew next year.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Taking your comments on the ESPN coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Talladega.


Unknown said...

Mr Editor -
TV Police? ...that fits well ...ESPN turning into a start and park ...really just showing up to fulfill a contract (i.e. - collect a check) ...race coverage absent from telecast, especially when the only coherent info comes from AB in the Infield Studio ...I was never a Steven Segal fan until his TV series, but am now's a thought, why not let him address the situation with ESPN - up close and personal? ...missed hearing Barney Hall on MRN, Dave Bagley (sp)did a yeoman's job with Joe Moore keeping things flowing ...what treat to hear Eli Gold ...impressed that his ego did not prevent him from taking the backstretch (turn 3) coverage, though he could have easily handled PXP.

Anonymous said...

Maybe not focusing on the big one was a good thing. Let's not make this race about the wrecks that could happen but rather about the racing that does go on on the track.

We're 34 races in to this season now, you'd think if anyone cared about what we or anyone else has to say about the broadcast something would have changed. But obviously no one does.

When does the time to stop complaining and accept what is come?

Just saying. Maybe it's getting old for a few people.

Ben in N.C. said...

It was Dave Moody in the booth. Bagley in turn 1. If I know Eli, he ASKED for inside of turn three. He did turn 4 quite often during the 90's at dega.