Monday, October 11, 2010

Your Turn: Sprint Cup Series From Fontana On ESPN

The wind was blowing, the sun was shining and the Sprint Cup Series was racing at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on ESPN. As pictured above, Sharon Stone was out to wave the green flag and Kenny Loggins sang the anthem.

Allen Bestwick started the day from the Infield Pit Studio with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. These three discussed extensively the Kyle Busch vs. David Reutimann scrap from the previous week. There was a feature on Jimmie Johnson at his annual fund raising efforts in the area.

ESPN repeated a feature on Greg Biffle that had been used earlier in the week and strangely avoided the Danica Patrick accident from the day before.

Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree were in the TV booth. This is Reid's first time in the NASCAR booth for the Chase and it's clearly been a learning experience. Jarrett and Petree have been adjusting to the style of Reid which is very different from the previous seasons of Jerry Punch.

Sometimes, it seems that Jarrett would like to be involved in the play-by-play call of the race, as he jumps in from time to time with bursts of excitement. Reid was caught several times working off the TV monitors in the booth when looking out the front window would have shown him the reason for the caution on the track.

Dr. Jerry Punch is an ER doctor, but it was Allen Bestwick who offered the medical update on injured USAC driver Shane Hmiel and Dave Burns who updated the fact that #31 crew chief Todd Berrier had been transported to the hospital before the race.

Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch were the remaining pit reporters. Burns got clobbered on pit road before the race while talking to Jeff Gordon by another camera crew. It was just one of those moments for Burns, who normally flies under the radar.

Race coverage consisted of ESPN alternating between using wideshots with in-car cameras early, then tight shots for entire segments and finally the insertion of the double video boxes toward the latter part of the race. The boxes were then dumped with about 40 laps to go and appeared again briefly with less than 20 laps in the race.

ESPN had no technical problems and made great pictures. The race featured some segments of good racing and some that were rather boring. There were no tire problems and only minor incidents that brought out the caution.

The TV coverage had good stories to follow as mechanical troubles affected several of the favorites and speeding penalties sent some cars to the tail of the longest line. The race ended inside of the scheduled timeslot and featured one final crucial pitstop.

This post is your opportunity to offer a race wrap-up of the ESPN TV coverage. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by.


OSBORNK said...

This was the best Fontana race I have seen even with the poor performance by ESPN. The booth was out to lunch all day but they still surpassed clueless Tim.

AncientRacer said...

Well, I picked up three penalties today from JD but I finished running.

Better broadcast (pictures) than in quite awhile. I was pleased with that. I was also pleased that there were less "as they run" comments.

Not so pleased with what happened to KyBu and the other chasers who had bad days. Still hate the chase, though. Bad hate it I do.

I was also pleased with the company here. So was my GF. She has told me repeatedly to "find somebody who cares" about racing and now I have.

Kudos to Smoke, but JJ is pulling away. Just like we wrote the script last January.

See y'all later!

Vicky D said...

Boy, the SC show is all about JJ ONLY finishing 3rd. I thought MR did a pretty good job, I felt he really tried however DJ is the weak link there in the booth. That debris caution at the end will be talked about this week after listening to Bowyer's interview after the race. Roush had a really bad day.

Daly Planet Editor said...

From Clint Bowyer post-race press conference via SBNation's Jeff Gluck:

Bowyer says "Good question" when asked by a reporter if #nascar was trying to make a point by throwing debris caution while he's leading.

Anonymous said...

Usually espn doesn't ignore the race winner till Homestead. Starting early just like silly season.

Camera shots were better, cars across finish line... the 5 or was it 6 wide was a great camera shot. Maybe I'm being nice cuz Tony finally won at Cali.

The booth still needs work, and alot of it. I'm a firm believer that 2 booth folk for NNS, and 2 Different booth folk for NSCS is the way to go. espn could save money with fewer talking heads & get better coverage.
And Cup wouldn't have exhausted announce team on air for the race. Save more money - kill the tech center & TB off.

Southern Conservative said...

Same old problem. Way too many commercials and way too long. Thank goodness for MRN Network and the ability to keep up with the race. How can you miss a restart with an ESPN commercial?

Anonymous said...

I totally enjoyed the racing they boys were doing it. They need to race like this more often.

Wisconsin Steve said...

I agree with OSBORNK; the race was terrific (especially for California).

I thought Brad and Rusty had great broadcasts today. The booth wasn't great but its much better than it used to be.

I was disappointed when SportsCenter started because Ryan Burr wasn't there, but I thought that Dari guy did a good job. He didn't disrespect the sport and his questions were alright.

One last thing: the decision to make this race a 400 mile event was a very good one. I think TV would benefit from more 400 and 300 milers.

sue said...

Was expecting the usual boring Fontana racing. Not this time. Don't know if it was the telecast or the racing but ESPN kept showing the 4 and sometimes 5 wide racing.

Anonymous said...

Overall I thought it was a good race for Fontana. Only complaint I would have is how about interview all the top finishers whether they are chasers or not and since when do they interview the 9th place winner and not four and fifth place winners. Much better race.

Jonathan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jonathan said...

Steve I agree with you this was a perfect 400 mile race! everyone is on the wheel that much more..

I was never a fan of shorter races but today was proof 100 less miles isnt always a bad thing.... Nascar is my life so I was always saying the more the better but just like drugs or booze less is more

Daly Planet Editor said...

Happy to have your comments on the race Jon, not happy to have you telling others what to do, think or say.

Anonymous said...

As with so many Sprint races-WAY too long! Rusty was extra-obnoxious today. I like Brad,but he adds little. I thought DJ and Andy did a decent job of covering the race.Marty Reid is just totally useless. I liked the Chase when it first came on the scene,but now I hate it. Too much can go wrong in ten races. Actually,you don't need BIG problems to take you out of contention. Just speed in the pits or drive over an air hose can cost you big time. I'd go back where they run 36 races on all kinds of tracks and the points leader wins the Championship.

Labbie said...

I think I had the perect ESPN race experience today.

Fell asleep soon after Cuzzin Carl was pushed in to the pits; woke up with two laps to go.

Jonathan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jonathan said...

But whatever I've seen a lot worse on here and wasnt deleted just cause I dont side with you dont delete my posts unless I swear or something.... I thought we were free to say whats on are minds

All good though no worries bro

Anonymous said...

I came in with 59 laps to go. I was pleasantly surprised by the difference in the camera shots. I was able to watch a race and not 2 cars or 1 car running on asphalt for the majority of the race. I fast forwarded through the commercials, so I do not know how they affected the viewing – they did miss that restart though. The finish line shot was also good. Dropping to 400 laps was an excellent move to help make the viewing experience more enjoyable also. The booth focusing more on the race and not the chase was also enjoyable. For these reasons, I will be more inclined to watch next week.

Now for three items that would greatly improve the viewing experience: 1) Dump the in-car cameras – so what if you make money off of them, do the right thing. 2) The tail is wagging the dog – let Marty call the race from looking out the window at the race and let the truck follow him. Him narrating from the monitor is so amateurish. 3) I have nothing against these guys, but they need to go – BradD, RustyW, TimB and his tech center. MC

Jonathan said...

anyways since I cant speak my mind I will again leave my rating on this race I give it an A-

Espn great job the past 2 races your starting to go in the right direction!!!! Keep it up

sorry if anyone took me the wrong way I for the record will never tell anyone what to think say do move or whatever

Anonymous said...

Jonathan...I wouldn't take it personally. Many of us have been deleted from time to time because we care about what we say and emotions take over. But sometimes you say things that would indicate you question the sanity of everyone who doesn't love the Chase, or racing at a certain track, or whatever. Sometimes I agree with you, but you need to imagine yourself in the other person's shoes. How you would feel if someone is commenting on your blog post. Just a bit of advice as I value some of your viewpoint. Try and see yourself as others see you, and try to see other people's point of view and why they feel that way. I think you can.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Terri said...

Not too bad coverage. I liked the wide camera angle coming off the turns onto the straightaways. Do that every lap!

Didn't like the camera would be on three-wide racing, and the booth would even be commenting on it, then the director would switch the camera back up front before the three-wide was done. Weak.

But overall....better. Not by much, though. Of course, the racing on the track was non-stop, too, and I think that helped.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Jon, there are a lot of adults on this blog with many years of NASCAR experience as fans.

Just use your views and opinions to make your point. Everyone has an opinion and they are all just as valuable as yours...whether you agree with them or not.


sbaker17 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

1) Why can't NASCAR time the flyover of jets to the end of the National Anthem? It seems like EVERY other sport can do this, but this is the fourth week in a row that the planes have entered too early. I realize they sing live, but still, they should be able to time this right.

2) Can anyone tell me what was different between Clint Bowyer's phantom caution comments after the race and Denny Hamlin's phantom caution comments that resulted in a "secret" $50,000 fine? Seriously... if NASCAR doesn't fine Bowyer for suggesting the late caution was a bogus one designed purely to make the race more enjoyable, then they are being wholly inconsistent. If they're gonna fine the 11, they have to fine the 31.

3) Marty Reid was playing Jerry Punch's numbers-drivers game all day. There are times when all he can say is "There's the 16 of Greg Biffle, and right behind him is the 18 of Kyle Busch, and there below is the 20 car of Joey Logano" etc etc etc. It is just so lame. Can you imagine an NFL announcer who all he can do is name numbers and player names without actually saying anything productive about what those numbers are actually doing on the competition surface? Seriously, Marty Reid is LAME.

AncientRacer said...


Since NASCAR is your life you will understand this. JD is our BZF (no offense, please, JD). This is his blog. He makes ALL the rules. I may not agree with all his rulings, but I consider myself a guest. If a ruling goes against me or my opinion or verbiage so be it. I have free speech and I have a choice. It is up to me to decide whether I will participate in spite of an adverse ruling or not.

I fully and confidently expect to be zapped again. I do not go looking for it, but as Anon 8:48 said sometimes I get carried away or I am inartful or I am too-clever-by-half in what I may write.

Listen, please, to the voice of the "Mayor," Jeff Burton who observed recently, "This [NASCAR racing] is a game. It's supposed to be fun."

Tomorrow morning, indeed this evening, today's race is over and rapidly fading into the irrelevant past. Onward and upward to the Nirvana of next week!

Except that is, for Brian Duh Clueless. He has to go. Just has to. Really. I am not kidding.

'Nuff sed.

Daly Planet Editor said...

sbaker17, if you only knew who that really was posting that hate it would boggle your mind.

I vow to go to a sign-up for next season if I survive this one.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:34PM,

That is why I posted Clint's comments. He made them in the TV interview very clearly.

Should be interesting to see what happens. Did you notice ESPN ran from his statement like a frightened rabbit?

Either this is a sport or it's a show, it cannot be both.


TexasRaceLady said...

At times, the camera work would blow me away with the wide shots of the 4 and 5 wide racing. Fantastic.

Then, the ADHD would kick in and it's back to single cars, maybe 2. I would get lost because there was no reference point.

I wanted Marty Reid to succeed as PxP. But he just can't seem to shake the "watch the monitor not the race" syndrome.

I will say that this was one of ESPN's better efforts.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

Heres to the old days NASCAR:

Sleepless hours and dreamless nights and far aways
Oooh Wishing You Were here
Heaven knows and lord it shows when I'm away
Oooh Wishing You Were Here

AncientRacer said...


That is Chicago is it not?

LVI56 said...

As I said on the FB page, I was at the race it it was the best I've ever attended. Good to see that the coverage wasn't a total flop, really happy to see that ESPN caught the 4 and 5 wide racing we saw. Also the best crowd I've ever seen at the track, nice size and even better response. Poor Kyle Busch, blew a motor and the crowd exploded in cheers.
400 miles is perfect, lots of great action, not too much of a boring green flag run. Very reasonable timing from start to finish.

Someone mentioned a bogus caution...I paid attention, each debris caution had a safety truck go pick something up. Every now and then a strong breeze would blow through and get some paper and plastic out on the track.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...


You are correct

Anonymous said...

Only watched the first third of the race. Pretty good racing for a Fontana race, cutting the race 100 miles helped.

The camerashots were great on a restart, then zoomed in tighter and tighter. The use of in-car cameras were also a problem. They served no purpose and led to missed incidents.

Brewer the obvious & his toys need to vanish in 2011. If there is a mechanical problem, let the reporter interview the driver first before jumping to conclusions. If further explaination is needed, Andy or Ray could easily comment on a grapic. No need to haul around another trailer all over the country.

The booth needs order right now. I could not tolerate Andy & Marty talking over each other in such an unprofessional manner. Now Marty still has plenty to learn about the sport, but he is the lead announcer and Dale & Andy need to accept that. Marty gets excited, Dale & Andy are dull. All 3 missed a spin on the track until it appeared on the monitor. Marty overloads on the stats, Dale starts play-by-play, Marty takes over again while Andy just starts talking over him. What a headache.

Today was an improvement over the past few weeks.

Anonymous said...

LVI56---the issue was that Bowyer said the debris had been there for the whole run. They used it when it was convenient for them. But the race did seem quite good otherwise.

We could hear the cheers when Kyle blew up. Kinda funny for me, not so much for Kyle fans.

Anonymous said...

Amazing that you could notice the fans cheering for Kyle Busch's motor blowing up when there were probably only 15,000 people there.

I realize that Fontana is a lousy facility, in an awful part of California (nowhere near the Hollywood landmarks ESPN promoted), and that the racing at Fontana is notoriously bad... but you have to look at that abysmal "crowd" and ask yourself: Does NASCAR even notice? I mean, I know they noticed enough to thankfully strip Fontana of two dates a year, but did they notice that in the middle of the "closest Chase ever" that no one even bothered to show up?

I'm sure they'll just blame "the economy" or "the playoffs"... but let's be honest: The Chase is a dud - both on TV and in terms of drawing attendance. Wake up, NASCAR!

adamtw1010 said...

Not a bad performance today by ESPN. They have had a hit-and-miss season, and I might put this in the hit category. Perhaps the shorter distance this time helped.

bknotts said...

Great race. Awful coverage.

One example: The 78 team was having a great day, running in the top 15 in the first part of the race. Then, they were penalized for speeding and went a lap down.

None of this was ever relayed to the viewers.

The only coverage given to the 78 was after they got a lucky dog, and then took two tires to get up front.

This is typical of ESPN coverage. Fox is not as bad at completely ignoring interesting developments on the track in favor of the "script."

LVI56 said...

15,000? You must have been watching the Nationwide race, because the Cup race was packed. I saw the estimates were 70,000 (about 75% capacity), but I'd say it was upwards of 90% capacity.

Sally said...

This was actually a pretty good race for the California track. ESPN did a better than usual job covering it when they remembered that wide shots are much better keeping fans informed than all the in car shots or focusing on 1 or 2 cars running in isolation. The Brewer segments are just insulting, and usually useless. My biggest problem is that I realized that I just don't care about the race in general. Whether it's the COT, the 'Chase', the wave around rule, top 35, whatever. There are several drivers in the top 12 that I like, but with the 10 race 'readjustment' in points, it has made the final 10 races irrelevant to me. I don't think that ESPN spending much of their time covering the 'chasers' contributes much to my interest, either. All in all, a better job than usual for ESPN, but they have set the bar so low it's hard to be impressed.

Todd Crane said...

wow, I must have missed seeing that the grandstands were pleasntly full. Maybe I was watching a different race., and what a race it was. I did notice, FYI, that in the pre-race show, they went the first 11.5 minutes before commercials...not in the race. It's not how many commercials, it's how many "breaks" they take. But I have to say, it was probably the best that Marty has done, although not the best if Bestwick would have called the race.

Unknown said...

I will watch a replay of the race later on and decide for myself, how the ESPN telecast was. But down here in Auatralia, the Bathurst 1000 which our equal to the Daytona 500. The TV network there timeshifted the race so whilst the green flag was shown live, by the time that the race was finished, the telecast was 30 minutes behind in real time due to pausing the race while they fit in a tonne of commericals. Lets hope ESPN/FOX/TNT do not do that. I can put up with bumper cams, Tim Brewer and constant chase-focus. However if they start timeshifting the racing for commericals, it will be the worse thing that they could do.

Blue Duecer said...

I thought ESPN did a good job this weekend, the camera angles and shots were the best of the year. I am thinking it was bc we had a different producer this weekend. The crowd looked large on TV and the racing was the best at Cali in years.

Eric said...

RE: "3) Marty Reid was playing Jerry Punch's numbers-drivers game all day. There are times when all he can say is "There's the 16 of Greg Biffle, and right behind him is the 18 of Kyle Busch, and there below is the 20 car of Joey Logano" etc etc etc. It is just so lame. Can you imagine an NFL announcer who all he can do is name numbers and player names without actually saying anything productive about what those numbers are actually doing on the competition surface? Seriously, Marty Reid is LAME."
Im sure he does that to identify each car when multiple cars are in screen shots.

In football its apparent which person is on which team when they have the same color jersey and the names and numbers clearly visible. A lot harder for newer fans to keep up with the names and paint schemes for 43 drivers.

As for the crowd it looked to be average attendance for fontana in the past 3 years

Anonymous said...

I agree that it'll be interesting to see what,if anything, Nascar does to Bowyer for his "debris" comments. Wasn't it Jeff Burton who said that Sprint Cup racing is a "show"? I feel that if you want racing,go to a local track or watch the Trucks or Nationwide series. Tim Brewer has done a much better job lately. That is until this last weekend. Without the benefit of facts,he proclaimed in several situations, what the exact cause of engine failures was. Nonsense. He cited possible causes,but without the specifics,he couldn't say with certainty what the causes were. Brewer said that Biffle dropped a valve. Biffle said the bottom end let go. See what I mean? I've built enough racing engines to know that yo have to have all the facts to place blame. That is, unless your name is Tim Brewer!

Anonymous said...

Ever since NASCAR consolidated the television rights to the Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series it has given race fans reason to critique - some might say complain - the broadcasts. The changes that were made were significant and immediate. There were many more voices to be heard, camera angles added and graphics added to the screen. Many of the changes worked but many more detracted from the broadcasts and continue to do so today.

In light of Marty Reid's wonderful interview with Yahoo! Sports, rather than just saying the broadcasts stink, I thought it would be good to look into what works and what doesn't.

First, it's impossible to talk about the broadcasts without someone bringing up the amount of commercials. As someone who has watched NASCAR since 1979 I can say I am used to commercials breaking up the broadcasts and it's not that big of an issue to me. However, as a race fan, I also think it's abominable to have a commercial break within the first 20 laps of a race and the last 20 laps of a race. So for me, it's not the amount of commercials, it's the timing of them. During caution flags the networks should move as much of their commercial inventory as possible. Back-to-back breaks do occur frequently, but that should equate to longer stretches of uninterrupted racing and that's not always the result. NASCAR is powerless over this at the moment - or at least seems to be - so maybe in their next round of television rights negotiations they need to insist on certain standards for the networks to meet when it comes to commercial breaks. Or maybe they could even be so bold as to redefine the coverage of the sport and make it like a soccer broadcast with no commercial breaks per se, but the advertisers pay to present specific segments of the coverage and have their logos put on the screen during play. I, like most viewers, understand the need for advertisers to help cover the costs of the broadcasts but would like to see a little more sensitivity from the producers in the way those advertisers break up the coverage of the sport.

Now, on to the actual broadcasts.

The biggest issue that needs to be addressed immediately are the voices that tell the story. By and large, the play-by-play voices for Fox (Mike Joy), TNT (Adam Alexander), and ESPN (Marty Reid) do a good and admirable job of telling the story. Each has their own style which makes their broadcasts different from the rest.

As for color commentary, Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach (TNT) set the gold standard to which the others should aspire to. They don't speak over each other, have a complete grasp on the sport, speak with proper grammar and are lighthearted but don't mind calling someone out when needed. Andy Petree and Dale Jarrett (ESPN) are a close second; both have great credentials, provide excellent info and their long personal history together equates to great on-air chemsitry. Bringing up the tail is the tired duo of Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds (Fox). No one can ever argue against eithers' credentials on the track, however their body of work in the booth probably does more damage to the sport than all the goodwill they generated as competitors. Waltrip's tired "boogity boogity boogity" cry at the start of each race turned viewers off from the time he first said it. McReynolds' complete butchering of the English language turns off everyone who ever graduated from high school with even the lowest allowable grade point average. Add to the fact that those two think they are the reason viewers are watching and their rampant on-air ego as a result and it makes the Fox broadcasts almost unwatchable.

Ritchie said...

I thought that the coverage was good.

Great race length. Made for a much more comfortable afternoon - 500 miles should only be for Daytona and Talladega.

I thought the booth did a good job. There were some breakdowns every so often, but nothing that I felt took away from the race.

I couldn't believe that Tim Brewer brought up harmonics in the tech garage. I'm an engineer and I have a tough time with harmonics, I don't think that the average viewer can comprehend what harmonics is. Actually, I'm not sure Tim Brewer really knows what harmonics is...

Anonymous said...

about the attendance--from the local news in Fontana, "As in the past, the grandstands appeared to be only half full, although the official attendance figure was announced at 70,000".

Capacity is 91,000, so it must have been somewhere between 45 and 70, my guess is, and they generally over-estimate. Still, with California being hit very hard economically, that's not bad. It's enough to justify one race, which is what they're going to get. And the fans who were there got a good one.

The viewers at home, not quite so much; but better than some we've had to endure. Missing a restart, especially when they tend to create excitement, was not good. Some wide open shots, but still too much in car/bumper cam. And too much Tim Brewer. I wasn't surprised they ignored the Clint Bowyer debris comments--while they work for ESPN, they know NASCAR still has enough clout to get them fired. That's been my biggest complaint since the 90's. No honesty. You watch the NFL, and they'll spend time analyzing a play and decide the ref was wrong, and they're not afraid to say so. Or a player or coach acts like an idiot and they call them out. Heck, Fox is apparently paying Mike Pereira to tell them whether he thinks the refs are right or wrong.

I don't blame the analysts, I blame NASCAR for creating that environment.

anon 7:22--sometimes drivers are in a hurry to leave, especially if they want to catch a plane, etc. ESPN can't be responsible for catching up with everyone. And I might add, Jojaye, Tony was doing his burn outs and cruising around for quite a while there; it took him a while to get to VL, so I don't think they were ignoring him. Just saying. It's normal for them to interview a few people before the race winner is ready to get out of his car.

Newracefan said...

I was less aggravated this weekend, perhaps a combination of better camera work and a larger bumper from when I attended the cup race. My pet peeves have always been camera work and resetting the field. There seemed to be less jumping around and in-car camera shots since my family noticed I was screaming less this time. Usually comment each time a pass switched to a car camera and I can't tell WTH happens. Resetting the field was not at it's best but in general I feel that JP has improved the game of all the Pit Reporters.
JD I get why you thought JP should have done the medical stuff but based on the limited info they were given he may not have wanted to speculate on anything and in that case it really doesn't matter who tells us. It's kind of a touchy thing for those of us in the medical profession, need all the facts before we open our mouths too wide especially on TV. Marty doesn't bother me but I think he does what he is told which is to look at the monitor unfortunately we all (most anyway) want him to look out the window. There's a fine line there and he hasn't found it yet. I actually wonder if because they are trying to call both races there is just too much stuff to find out and/or remember we can't get the right flow of information and calling the race.

GinaV24 said...

Better camera work than there has been in a while. They were actually using wide and long shots that allowed the fans at home to see the action. This is a big track and the cameras did show us the action on the track, sometimes using 2 screens, so that was good.

The bad: the booth. They just seemed out to lunch a lot of time. Having better camera work means I didn't have to take their word for what was going on at the track. Marty seems to be having a lot of trouble with the longer races and doing double-duty with Nationwide and Cup.

I still think there are simply TOO MANY people involved. 3 people in the infield and then 3 more to call the race. Use the ARCA race as a way to do it -- sometimes less really is more.

The chase still leaves me cold and uncaring. Marty said in his interview that he didn't "understand" NASCAR fans disinterest in Johnson's achievment. Maybe that is because it isn't the same thing as winning 5 in a row under full season conditions. That would be something to respect. 10 races, sorry, not so much. IMO, the season ended at Richmond and Harvick is the winner.

LOL -- veri word is "rational".

GinaV24 said...

I heard Bowyer's comments at the end of the race and have to admit that my first thought was that Nascar will get him for that.

So much for driver's being able to voice their opinions. But anything that isn't NASCAR sweetness and light is verboten!

Voice Pro said...

I'm becoming increasingly less happy with the way V. Welch interviews. Perhaps it's this way all the time, but the past handful of interviews I've seen him do have all started quite negatively and, although the questions need to asked, I would prefer to hear him start with a positive to engage the driver – good grief they just worked their rears off and then the jolly opportunity to be interviewed by a somber'ish reporter who begins by pointing out the worst! GEEZ

Anonymous said...

If there were 45,000 people at that race, I will eat my hat. I'm not blind. All you have to do is fire up the DVR and look at the long shots of the empty stands (less than 50% guaranteed) during the anthem and call to start engines and you will see what I mean. Easily the smallest crowd they have races in front of all year.

You cannot just blame the California economy. Especially when other CA sports are drawing great crowds. Even the lowly 49ers (one of the worst teams in the NFL) is averaging over 69,000/week - and believe me, it isn't any cheaper to attend that event than a race. In fact, places like Fontana have heavily discounted TONS of tickets and they still can't sell them.

But back to the original point: This is "the Chase". If anything, the final 10 races should be capacity crowds... it's the playoffs, right? We as fans are supposed to be jumping out of our socks with excitement over this bogus format they've created. So, where are the crowds? My goodness, even D-O-V-E-R was more than 1/3 empty. You can reprint the bogus 70,000 number all you want - but that is PR spin. I would put the crowd a 25,000-35,000 maximum. Easily 60% of the stands were empty. Even the stands at the start-finish line (the most densely seated area) had huge sections of empty seats.

Anonymous said...

I thought Marty did a better job. I agree with Vicky D that DJ is the weak link. I sure wish they would show what he means when he has now on 2 different race broadcasts said someone will get black flagged for jumping the start. One was McMurray a few races ago and I don't know who he was talking about at Fontana. But obviously that Nascar rule is no longer in play? It was good that we got to see more racing and less of the one car only on the track. But we still saw too much of that. Also hate the in car camera stuff. And the Tim Brewer segments. However, overall, I hate to see Fox back next spring with DW's ego after this coming Wednesday....

I would say coverage was at a B-

GA Red

glenc1 said...

I think what bugs me most is the infield studio fluff. I mean, cars are on the track racing or in the pits having pit stops, and we're listening to Rusty & Brad go on about stuff that we all know. They're nice guys, but really, that time could be better spent actually *showing* what's going on, even if it's replays of things we missed. It's fine for football during halftime, but it does not work for racing. As for the booth--I think Marty, Andy & Dale can be good announcers, but they don't seem to be bringing out the best in each other. Sometimes we see flashes of it. Other times there's dead silence where no one seems to know what to say, or talking over each other.

Marylee in Richmond said...

Groaned and did laundry when Marty said "we'll be back in a few minutes". In a sport like this, WAY too much can happen "in a few minutes".
JD, agree with you about monitors vs looking out the window. If Marty says once more "we'll try to find out what happened to X, or to bring out the caution" I'll scream loud enough to be heard in Charlotte. I know a lot of people don't like DW, but he often said "wreck in turn 3". Never knew if was voice in his ear, or hos own eyesight, but at least you knew SOMEONE was watching what was happening.

Chadderbox said...

C+ Grade - Showed small signs of improvement - IMHO.

I truly felt there were some small improvements with the ESPN coverage yesterday. I watched on DVR in the early evening.

I thought the camera work was a tad better than the previous 2 months. They seemed to stay with the action a little longer giving wider shots of the racing for longer periods. I can sum it up by saying less ADHD this week.

I thought ESPN did a better job following the action as apposed to going in to a scripted mode. There was action on the track and for the most part stuck with it while it was happening.

There was less "points as of now" this week too. I thought that was refreshing.

One problem that happens every week did happen a couple times and that is the booth being out of sync with what we are seeing on screen. Happened a few times yesterday and its confusing.

The race coverage I felt was somewhat improved.

I would love to see them go with a less is more approach. I felt they did a little of that yesterday and it was refreshing. Less bells and whistles and more following the STORY ON THE TRACK.

Palmetto said...

I'm with those who feel Tim Brewer isn't bringing anything to the party. After the first couple of races he ran out of fresh material. Yes, dropping a valve will kill an engine; we get it. This week we got it TWICE.

Oh, and JD? Go for that sign-up next season. I'm not a regular but from what I've read, none of those who are would object.

Allison J said...

Kudos to ESPN's audio ... hearing the crowd cheer when Kyle's engine blew ... priceless.

red said...

observationss and suggestion for changes from the race blog:

when 2 cars are racing side by side, switching to one car's in-car camera destroys the perspective of the challenge. a better camera angle would be an overhead or a wide angle that shows us both cars in the same image and stays with them until the pass is completed or the challenger falls back into line.

when choosing to use 2 windows to split the action, the race always be in the larger of the 2 windows as whatever else is happening (i.e. pitstops) should take second place to the actual race.

and when using 2 screens to show pitstops, show some of the actual racing on the track instead of just following the leader, running by himself, for several laps.

3 pitstops in the split screens and the entire pit road in one big screen isn't successful for me. this long shot doesn't add to the understanding of what's happening, even with the position arrows pointing out where each of the split-screen drivers is pitting.

observation: the last 20 or so laps were much more interesting because of the consistent use of wide shots and focusing on the actual racing. using these camera angles comes closer to re-creating the feel of watching the race at the track more than in-car or side-cams do.

hope that's specific enough. as i said eariler: i know the constituency that espn is marketing to and it isn't me, the fan. but i'll continue to offer specific observations AND suggestions for improvement.

14_Patti_14 said...

You can't rely on the TV to determine how full the grandstands were. I was there and it was surprisingly full.

Now I know that there was a shot of the stands right as driver intros had started and no one was in the stands. Once the race got to getting starting everyone showed up. So don't go saying we don't deserve a race, we struggle to make it here in CA in the first place and we'd appreciate it if other Nascar fans would respect that CA has been one of the hardest hit economies in this country. So if we have to give a little and not go to one race a year that's what has to be done.

I'm sorry, it just bothers me that people who have no idea run their mouths about this.

Sophia said...

Sophia said...

watched the last 75 laps. Some shots were FABULOUS..wide camera angles as the cars were COMING AT US and you could see the leaders, mid pack and way in the back.! You could see the long lines of cars zooming towards us from our living room. At one point, my room mate even said "That's a really cool shot".

Then they would BLEEP it up by going to in car cam for 15 seconds and junk up the whole &^%$#@! deal. At one time Jr or JJ or somebody was getting loose and they went to either in car cam or split screen of different cars!

Also saw Tony Stewart enter pits then camera left him to go to partial Brady bunch camera and I never did know how long HIS pit stop lasted? Guess they haven't fixed that problem either in the months I gave up watching.

sigh..same old same old. I was rooting for Tony to win (or JPM when he was leading)

The camera work was a little improved but somebody MUST LEARN the ratings are TANKING.

If you want racing fans to enjoy the race show the entire groups of cars COMING AT US.

I don't want to see passes from in car cams.

I don't want to see bumper cams.

How about SOMEBODY PAYING FOR A WIDE SHOT CAM & put it in the scoring ticker line?

Hell I'm sick of the COLORS in the ticker line. YELLOW? It's distracting.

But I was feeling puny & exhausted so thought I might enjoy this race on the 52 inch tv for a change so I did.

If somebody can get these melon heads in the booth to SHOW THE RACE cars coming at us, or even wide shots as they pass us, into turns, without PUNCHING up the IN CAR CAM (the NOISE flow is annoying as well as the visual you clueless DIRECTORS) the race would be much more fun to watch!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you play around with toys/in car cam buttons/bumper cams YOU ANNOY the views who can go to NFL and see GREAT CAMERA WORK.The end. Stadiums are packed for NFL & MLB playoffs. Who needs to be aggravated by HORRID CAMERA work when you can be annoyed by horrible NFL/MLB officiating/umpires :) but hey the pictures are great from the stadiums!! I can see a Tweeps condo in Cincinnati on the tv so that's more fun that being HONKED off from NASCAR shoddy camera work.

Tom said...

Sandee Pangle,
I lost respect for V. Welch two years ago at Pocono when he had the gall to ask Juan Pablo Montoya about "angry words" that Kasey Kahne allegedly said to him from the tap that ended up doing NO HARM to either driver.
JPM's response was short and beautiful.

"He came over and apologized," Montoya said of Kahne.
Watching Montoya's body language, I could tell he wanted to either punch Welch in the face or push him out of the way.

It's typical to the ESPN "storyline."

Donna DeBoer said...

Really enjoyed this race & thought attendance looked very good. Better ESPN coverage. Keep it going.

Kids say, bye bye Tim Brewer. Now even they are sick of having stuff explained ad nauseum.