Sunday, June 20, 2010

Live Blogging Sprint Cup Series In Sonoma, CA (2PM ET - SPEED)

It's road course time as the Sprint Cup Series travels to Sonoma, CA for an event at the Infineon Raceway.

Lindsay Czarniak hosts the pre-race Countdown to Green show with Kyle Petty and Larry McReynolds on the TNT infield stage. Jimmie Johnson is the guest interview. Parnelli Jones is the subject of the Pride of NASCAR feature. Wally's World features a course description.

Adam Alexander returns to call this race, his first road course event in this role. Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach will be alongside. On pit road will be Matt Yocum, Marty Snider, Ralph Sheheen and Phil Parsons.

This event can be interesting or incredibly boring. Either way, the TV crew has to work hard to follow the racing action on the track and the strategy stories unfolding on pit road.

The elevation changes make the track tough for TV, but a good rhythm from the director can make the laps fun to watch. Aerial shots are great on this track and low-angle speed shots are actually great under green flag conditions.

There are often cars out on very different fuel strategies. This is also the track where pitting just before a caution comes out can change the entire race for one team. It's a road course.

This post will serve to host your comments on the TNT coverage of the Sprint Cup Series from Infineon Raceway. To add your TV-related comments, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday TV Notes

Here is a quick snapshot of the NASCAR TV topics for Sunday as the Sprint Cup Series races at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA:

Darrell Waltrip returns at 12PM ET on SPEED's RaceDay program. This week Hermie Sadler will be sitting on the SPEED Stage as series regular Kenny Wallace was racing in Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon. John Roberts will host the show with Wendy Venturini reporting.

TNT's pre-race show called Countdown to Green has really pushed RaceDay to drop the goofy antics and ratchet things up a notch. It seems ironic that RaceDay regular Kyle Petty is featured on the outstanding TNT program. Last week's show was perhaps the best Sprint Cup Series pre-race show in years.

This Sunday, TNT will offer Lindsay Czarniak, Petty and Larry McReynolds on the "infield rig" once again. The Pride of NASCAR feature is on Parnelli Jones, a racing legend. Petty's Ponytail Express will feature a visit to chef Guy Fieri's restaurant Johnny Garlic's in Santa Rosa, CA.

Several years ago, we called out TNT when they offered poorly shot and edited episodes of the Wally's World feature. Some genius decided to record all six at Pocono Raceway and then tell TV viewers it was other tracks.

These days, TNT and Wally's World has come a long way. Now, the features are shot in the off season using a green screen that superimposes Wally Dallenbach Jr. in all kinds of unique and often humorous settings. TNT advises that this week Dallenbach will be all over the Sonoma track offering his unique version of a course description.

Each week the TNT crew asks one Sprint Cup Series driver to join them during the pre-race and this week it will be Jimmie Johnson. Having an interesting season to date, Johnson may well be looking to get things back on track in his home state.

After the race, TNT will once again be crossing over to to webcast an extended post-race show. Last week, the network left TNT some 25 minutes before the scheduled end of the TV timeslot. Plenty of drivers were not interviewed and plenty of stories from the race were never told. It should be interesting to see how things go at Sonoma.

ESPN does not return with the Sunday night version of NASCAR Now until the network takes over the Sprint Cup Series coverage in late July. Instead, it will be the familiar three hour block of motorsports on SPEED beginning at 7PM ET.

The Speed Report is currently the best motorsports program on television. This Sunday, Leigh Diffey and Rick Allen are hosting. Diffey is coming off a fabulous performance calling the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Allen works well in this scripted studio format and has become a big asset to the network in this role.

Jeff Hammond makes an appearance on Victory Lane at 8PM. John Roberts hosts the show and Hermie Sadler will be the second panel member. Last week, Hammond was outstanding on this program while Kenny Wallace struggled. Hammond seems to thrive on being put in live situations and making conversation. With Kenny Wallace away, it should be interesting to watch this trio in action.

Finally, Don Hawk is a name that evokes strong reactions from many in the NASCAR community. The former president of DEI is now an executive with Bruton Smith's Speedway Motorsports Inc. Hawk is the featured interview at 9PM with host Dave Despain on Wind Tunnel.

It's been reported that SMI is about to make changes to the Sprint Cup Series scheduled dates at the SMI tracks. The issue is that no one seems to know what those changes are. Despain's conversation with Hawk on that issue and others should be one to watch.

TDP will live blog the Sonoma race at 2PM ET. You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook by clicking the links on the main page. We welcome your comments on the topics above. Just click the comments button to add your opinion.

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