Saturday, October 16, 2010
The NASCAR on ESPN team had a long day yesterday and tonight they end the on-track coverage from the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The pre-race show begins at 7PM on ABC.
Allen Bestwick has Ray Evernham, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty in the Infield Pit Studio. Yesterday, it was tough for these four to get airtime with the active racing on the track and all the unfolding stories.
Tim Brewer continues in the Tech Garage. Lately, Brewer has been quickly updating things that go wrong on the track. The problem is, he is often the one who is proven wrong when the driver or crew chief is interviewed. Brewer is in a tough spot, but perhaps suggesting what may be wrong as opposed to telling viewers might make more sense.
Dr. Jerry Punch, Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch are the pit road reporters. It is always interesting to see the personal on-air dynamics between these four and the drivers they are assigned to cover. Little and Welch are "in your face" style reporters while Punch and Burns are more low-key.
Embattled Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree are playing on a very big stage tonight. First, this is a home game for the sport and second the telecast is on ABC up against a key MLB playoff game on FOX and college football on ESPN.
"Sell it" is a term heard in TV when producers try to encourage the on-air talent to get excited about the sport they are covering and relay that excitement to the viewers. In the middle of a ratings slump and up against stiff competition, tonight the entire NASCAR on ESPN gang is going to have to "sell it."
Saturday night, the ESPN director continually cut to tight shots and missed action or incidents on the track. He missed key moments on pit road and even used an in-car camera shot on the final lap. In terms of directing a live TV sports event after four years of covering the sport, it was dismal.
If ESPN decides to present this event with the same style of coverage that leaves viewers in the dark to the stories and racing on the track, it is going to be the end of the Chase for many. Wideshots under the lights on TV from CMS are some of the most spectacular in the business.
Everything is right there waiting for the TV team. Good stories, a great track and a nice night for action in primetime. What ESPN chooses to do with those pieces of the NASCAR puzzle will be something we will watch and discuss right here tonight.
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Note: There is a Brian France press conference at 2:30PM ET on Saturday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. We will live blog it on Twitter and then provide a wrap-up of any and all media-related topics discussed right here and on our Facebook fan page.
Update #2: Looks like fuel injection and a new fuel blend is coming to NASCAR. Will update details after the press conference. More info is available on Jayski right now. Sunoco Green E15 is the new fuel, 15% domestic ethanol. Starts in Daytona in 2011.
Update #1: Wendy Venturini passes along that Randy Pemberton will be taking her place today on SPEED's RaceDay show. Venturini's husband experienced a death in the family and they are out of town today.
The live blog for NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED, NASCAR Countdown on ABC and the live race telecast will open at 4:30PM ET Saturday. Join us!