Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Trevormania: The TV Aftermath


The irony of the quick interview of Trevor Bayne by FOX's Krista Voda in Victory Lane was made clear once the race telecast was over. Actively or passively, Bayne subsequently appeared on more media outlets than any Daytona 500 winner in history. He was a media dream.

After handling the liveshots for various TV shows in Victory Lane once FOX was done, Bayne then worked his way through the Victory Lane show on SPEED and NASCAR Now on ESPN later Sunday night. By then, it was clear that the camera just loved this driver.

Monday morning saw the Daytona 500 highlights and soundbites from Bayne featured on cable news networks, local TV stations and ESPN's various channels. Still smiling, Bayne then handled the satellite interviews from Daytona USA as the 500 car was put on display.

The next stop was ESPN and a turn in the company car wash. That is the current term used to describe a person who is whisked through the media giant's TV, radio and online channels in one day and then spit out into the parking lot with a handshake.

Instead of a babbling mess, Bayne walked through the various ESPN programs with maturity and good humor. He delivered a positive message for NASCAR that sports TV viewers had not seen or heard in a long time. Here was a smart, young person who was excited about racing.

Rusty Wallace had some airplane issues and was unable to fly into Bristol for the big Monday one-hour NASCAR Now show. It might have been kismet. Instead, Bayne sat with just host Allen Bestwick and reporter Marty Smith for the entire hour.

This long-form program allowed Bayne to talk about all kinds of diverse issues. It clicked. The always structured Bestwick led him through the topics that race fans wanted to hear while Smith leaned back and brought some outstanding questions from the journalism side of the aisle.

Along the way, Bayne never faltered. He was never mean, never grouchy and never made an on-air joke at another's expense. In speaking with David Pearson by phone on the show, Bayne reported to him that he had followed Pearson's advice and simply tried to be careful in order to finish.

It should be noted here that for once ESPN's SportsCenter put together an outstanding edited feature on the race, Bayne's win and what it means for the sport. Brian Williams of the NBC Nightly News made his contribution with a very nice story on the impact of an outsider and fresh face taking one of the biggest prizes in the sport.

Despite the continuing lunacy of stick-and-ball curmudgeons on shows like Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption, ESPN in general handled the subject matter quite well and gave the Daytona 500 and NASCAR unprecedented exposure.

The polar opposite of Allen Bestwick is Steve Byrnes. Casual on the Race Hub set in Charlotte, Byrnes used his unique style to have fun with Bayne in an interview taped via satellite from Daytona USA. Bestwick keeps it professional, while Byrnes makes it personal.

Bayne again sold himself, the Wood Brothers, Ford and NASCAR with little effort. His enthusiasm and previous interactions with Byrnes made it clear to SPEED viewers that this was the type of star lurking in the Nationwide Series and looking for a future.

For the race telecast, FOX reported an 8.7 cable rating which translates to 15.6 million homes. That's only one point higher than last season, but there was some interesting data released. Some of Nielsen's top ten metered markets turned impressive numbers.

In Chicago, viewership was up 61%, in New York 32% and in Los Angeles 46%. Needless to say, those are some key markets for NASCAR with tracks and races in two of those cities. Another good tidbit was that ratings started higher from the green flag and then peaked for the finish. That means a whole lot of people stayed put.

NASCAR.com passes along the incredible number of 11.2 million pageviews on Sunday, with 3 million additional pageviews from mobile devices. There is little doubt that the upcoming focus on the sport's media outreach will center on an increased online presence that is user-friendly and driven by video and social media content.

Update: Wood Brothers will be in Phoenix and Bayne will run in both series. Thank you for the information.

For one rather glorious 24 hour period, NASCAR got the kind of national media spark that it cannot buy, create or command. It should be very interesting to see how FOX, ESPN and SPEED handle the transition of Bayne back into mediocrity and what each network does to try and keep the NASCAR ball rolling in the right direction.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

30 comments:

bevo said...

Let's tap the brakes here. It's a good story involving what seems to be a good guy but restrictor plate races are pretty much a crap shoot.

Too many times in sports there's a shooting star that's built up to be the next - fill in the blank - who is going to save their respective sport. The media loves to build up a story just so the cracks can show then tear it down.

Let the kid enjoy his moment without saddling him with the weight of saving NASCAR.

Tom~Tom said...

A well grounded breath of fresh air for a sport that could use it. Saw an interesting tweet from Jerry Remy in Boston, you may have missed:

Jerry_Remy Jerry Remy (RemDawg)
"We can't believe how many Daytona 500 fans are at Remy's right now. It's jam packed. You would think it was the Patriots in the Superbowl!"

Just think, Danica wasn't even in the race.

OSBORNK said...

This driver has done more for NASCAR than any driver has done in many years. He is a breath of fresh air with his personality and enthusiasm. They need to keep the good feelings going but it will not last long if they go back to business as usual. I think it is a good idea for Trevor to continue in the Nationwide series. There is no way he can possibly live up to the lofty expectations he would have in the Cup Series.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Junior fan, but was very excited when Trevor won. He seems like such a fine young man. How many 19 year old drivers (or even older ones) would spend part of their off-season on a mission trip in Mexico?

I probably saw most of every show he was on yesterday and you are right - he was splendid on all of them. He has the ability to be very successful and a personality that can help NASCAR keep fans instead of driving them away.

Mary in Richmond

GinaV24 said...

I enjoyed every minute of the coverage that they did of Trevor Bayne and the 500 win. I was impressed with the way Trevor handled himself and the media outlets handled it well, too -- they seemed to be enjoying being able to have something so fun and positive to talk about - that's what following racing used to be for me.

For one brief shining moment, it was there again.

MRM4 said...

JD, I believe the Wood Brothers are scheduled to race in Phoenix this weekend. Their plan all along was to race the first 5 races and now they've added the next two to run in the first 7 races.

I do some freelance writing in town and did a story on Trevor when he first got the ride with MWR two years ago. He was on vacation at the time when I called him and he returned my call a couple of days later. He is a wonderful kid, had a great attitude about life, and can flat drive a racecar. I can tell you that Knoxville had Trevor Bayne fever in a big way.

52 yr. fan said...

Great win for a great kid and team.
His genuiness was a breath of fresh air from what we usually hear from the corporate parrots who are guided by their PR folks.

Hope someone "hides the keys" to
Rusty's plane from now on.

Anonymous said...

Impressed with Trevor Bayne's handling of the media yesterday. Saw/heard bits of him on several shows - Mike and Mike, Sports Nation (not my type of show), Nascar Now, Race Hub. Did not see Sports Center piece. Also read several articles online.

Race Hub had Donnie Wingo and the Woods Brothers which are also part of the story.

Is Elliott Sadler a permanent addition to Race Hub? If so, just on Mondays or every day?

Back to Trevor - hope he has some solid adult "help" in handling all this attention and that he stays in the Nationwide series this year. At least in Phoenix he probably will still draw a big crowd. Saw ESPN ad this morning for the Nationwide race - it is already capitalizing on Bayne being in the Nationwide race (as it should).

The good part of all the media attention with Trevor - it was all positive. Not whining or complaining about someone or some thing.

Circumstances resulted in him being the winner. Even better was the feel good story of how the Wood Brothers have been perservering with Ford's help. How approporiate members of the Ford family were there.

With Brian Kes feel good story in the duel and the help offered to him by Everham, Discount Tire, Penske and others (and not finishing the 500 due to an accident not of his making), it was an enjoyable change of pace of the media stories.

Seeing that Front Row drivers earned over a million dollars, Gilliland over $800,000, and Bobby Labonte - a lot of underfunded (or at least lesser funded) teams had a big pay day which will help them in subsequent races.

I am hopeful the media will bring more drivers/teams into their coverage.

I'm still disappointed with how the coverage ended on Fox without interviewing Donnie Wingo or the Wood Brothers. Maybe I missed it, but I don't remember Wingo being interviewed during the race like a Knaus or Letare would have been in similar circumstances.

With Trevor working so well with Jeff Gordon in the duel, I'm surprised someone didn't do a little research on him before the 500 in the event he became a factor in someway. DW holding up a blank sheet of paper showing that is what he had on Bayne.

Fox at least lucked out on having David Pearson footage because of the throwback color scheme of Trevor's car.

I enjoy both Bestwick and Byrnes' style.

All and all, an enjoyable 500 and events leading up to it.


Marsha - Iowa

Anonymous said...

Trevor is a PR person's dream. Good looking, well spoken, intelligent young man, and it showed on the TV shows yesterday, as I'm sure it will in the public appearances. As for settling back into 'mediocrity'--well, the Roush NW cars can be pretty stellar, so we might see young Trevor back in Victory Lane this season. But I hope the networks don't go back to the Jimmie 24/7 show. We've had *enough* already.

But I would argue with one point--I think McMurray handled everything quite well last year as well, although his story was a different type, he certainly showed maturity & class. In fact, I think most of the winners in recent years were all very good reps for NASCAR. None of them were a 'babbling mess' in consequent interviews (not counting the immediate Victory Lane) although they may not have Trevor's rather 'innocent' personality. And BTW--since he had no 'expectations'...I think it was probably easier for him than an experienced veteran, to whom the trophy would bring out deeper emotion.

Anonymous said...

I was absolutly excited to see a new driver, Trevor Bayne, win a Cup race and especially the Daytona 500. Right up until I saw the winner of the Daytona 500 got ZERO points for their effort due to Nascar's new point system. Now it's a bitter win to me

dwight said...

What a jackpot for the media and the sport. How can anyone not like Trevor Bayne? While I am usually put off by the post-game “first I want to thank God for intervening for my team” comments, he comes across as so sincere on every level that it doesn't bother me. In fact, it occurred to me he is like “God's gift to NASCAR.” And surely he and the Wood brothers are a “match made in Heaven.”

He is a perfect counterpoint to the Bush brothers. Besides his aw-shucks manner, boyish good looks, he is loaded with talent. Even his parents are great. Instead of hanging around on pit road being their own spectacle, they had the good sense to watch from the stands, and pick up memorabilia while rushing to victory lane.

Anonymous said...

Didn't see much of the race because none of the gang wanted to listen to D.W. and his silly babbling. Caught the last 15 laps and really enjoyed seeing the kid win. Very disappointed to see Fox scramble off like they did.Good to see the post race interviews on Speed even tho they were far too long after the race.

Anonymous said...

I do not like it when the television network of record for the Sprint Cup race of the week beats the drivers and car owners to the plane after the races. And that is the only valid reason I can see for the post race show to be as short as it is.

The Mad Man said...

The 2 feel-good stories of Daytona were Trevor and Brian Keselowski. I'm glad Trevor won as he is really a breath of fresh air from the usual suspect spoiled brats, and temper-tantrum throwers which permeate NAPCAR's top level.

NAPCAR now finds themselves in a quandry. Their biggest race of the year was won by a Busch Series regular. He's only running Cup part time. He won't be in the play-offs and that further screws up NAPCAR's marketing plans unless NAPCAR plans to sponsor the Wood Brothers for the other 18 races they don't have sponsorship for.

Also, not to take anything away from Trevor, but remember a feel-good story a few years back called David Gilliland? Where is he now?

Hopefully Trevor remains the person he is right now and isn't corrupted by NAPCAR, their controlled media, PR people, or handlers. I wish him much success.

Buschseries61 said...

I agree with you bevo. After all, it's Daytona. No need to pressure him as the future of NASCAR after 2 starts.

NASCAR on Fox had to compete with the Olympics last season, which cost the sport many casual fans. It led to a noticeable dip in ratings the first 3 races. That was conveniently left out of the PR that glorified the gains in certain markets compared to last year.

Donna in FL said...

NASCAR sure needed this! With my drivers out of contention in a race I'll always have a sentimental spot for the Wood Brothers 21, the first car/make/team I ever rooted for in NASCAR (Pearson) I applauded their move last year to put promising prospect Trevor Bayne in their car & was equally thrilled to hear he had a ride with them this year, but I never in a million years thought it would pay off THIS big!! WHAT a great story!! I have no problem at all with TV media running Trevor ragged, he comes off very genuine & humbled by all the attention which he actually is. I was already planning on watching his performance in NNS & Cup closely this year, really glad to know I'll now have a lot of company :)

Anonymous said...

The Wood Bros. will have another race added,The All Star Race. Being
a race winner qulified them for that race. Go Trevor
Tks.JD Ron Il.

Anonymous said...

I saw all or most of the Trevor Bayne interviews; and I agree that he did a great job representing himself, his team, and the sport. The Bayne story is a fairytale that the media and fans can feel good about.

But to me, the more meaningful interviews were the ones with Len and Eddie Wood and Donnie Wingo. They are the heart and soul of NASCAR, and they show the dedication to the sport at this level. I got more "feel good" from hearing them than I did from listening to Bayne.

The shame of all this is that the media has consistently given us the Jimmie and Chad show sprinkled with "Kyle is the greatest driver ever" spots. Stories about the Wood Brothers and other small teams have been out there all the time but have been ignored. While we are saturated with coverage of the super teams, the rest are forgotten.

I don't ask that teams that run in the middle or at the back get equal coverage with front runners, but there are great stories back there. A little love and attention from the television media would do a lot for the sport. The fans would get a better understanding of the sport, and the media attention just might help get some additional sponsorship for struggling teams. And race coverage which included those teams further back would keep their fans interested instead of driving them away.

We can only stand so much of the hype surrounding a few big names. It's time for the broadcast media to get back to covering all the teams.

GinaV24 said...

Mad Man -- I thought about David G too. That's why I hope that no one rushes Bayne into being the "next big thing" before he is ready. He obviously has talent, but that needs to be nurtured, not slammed into the marketing machine.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this young man will be allowed to savor the moment and use good common sense to become a long term fixture in NASCAR, not just a flash in the pan. That would be a crying shame.

I am also in favor of hiding the keys to cRusty's plane. It was a really enjoyable NASCAR Now without him.

fbu1 said...

I thought that Trevor handled the post race interviews with poise and the proper amount of respect for the event. What really impressed me was his eloquent explanation to NN's Marty Smith and Alan Bestwick on how one can break up a competing race car tandem via the side draft. He spoke more like a 20 year veteran rather than a 20 year old young man. I wish him success in his future racing career, but if that fails for some reason, I think he has a future in the racing media.

Anonymous said...

Actually I think Racehub and NASCAR Now occasionally have done feature stories on the smaller teams. I think the bigger problem is on the race broadcast and the pre-race itself. How often have they interviewed, say, Travil Kvapil on a pre-race show? And heaven knows no one in the bottom 20 in points even get on TV unless they have a freakishly good run. Where they are not bad with it is qualifying--because they sort of *have* to mention each team as it qualifies, and for some that's the only time they get their stories out there.

But it would certainly help if they stopped overkilling us with the top 5 or 10 guys.

Anonymous said...

I don't think he'll be a flash in the pan, but I hope people don't expect him to light the sky right away either. Just let him come along like normal. The organizations that have hired him clearly saw some quality in his racing (Waltrip's NW operation, and then Roush snapped him up quickly.) I totally agree with Marsha that someone should have paid attention when he was running with Jeff Gordon all week. It was obvious he was fast. And yes, I was glad to see Donnie finally getting interviewed yesterday.

Sophia said...

Bevo

hear, hear to your comment. Just let the kid SAVOR the Victory w/o putting the pressure on his shoulders like Jr is forced to endure, to maybe SAVE NASCAR.

Just let Trevor be & stop the pontificating insanity....sigh

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the praise here being heaped on Trevor. Obviously, there's a risk that if he doesn't do well in the next few races that the media will start dumping on him. The endless Jimmie Johnson and Danica interviews will now be replaced with Trevor interviews until we scream for mercy! I suggest leaving the kid a little breathing room, have a little patience and hope for the best. I'm sure the management team at Nascar believes that they struck it rich!

MichiganCincy said...

This race is an anomaly and should be viewed in that way. For one race all that counted was winning. While I loved Trevor Bayne winning it all and thought he was fantastic in every interview, to me the best parts were the Wood Brothers interviews and Donnie Wingo. Those who have followed this sport, for more than the last decade can only be happy that a set of owners who made Nascar what it is today, and who should undoubtedly already be in the HOF, were given a second chance miracle. As a friend said to me, it was a "moment bridged", and so it was.
I am certainly glad Rusty Wallace wasn't there for the Nascar Now segment, and wish Marty Smith hadn't been either. I am not a fan of Mr. Smith who never misses a chance to make a Jr. reference or his alliance....eerrr friendship with Hendrick Motorsports. I would have preferred Dale Jarrett for his close ties to the Wood Brothers, but even through all of that, Trevor Bayne's genuineness shown through.
As a racing fan, but also a sports nut, loving not only Nascar, but college basketball and football and MLB, I have become disenchanted with much of espn, who now want to dictate what and who we should follow. The media outlet that introduced the world to all sports, all the time, has become the monster and is who I blame for much what has happened to our college sports of recent. Too many get their sports facts from these media outlets instead of actually reading and it becomes less about the athletes and more about the "show". I hope that when the new tv contracts come up, that Nascar will be taught that more isn't always better and certainly isn't quality.
For these precious few moments we could OD on Trevor Bayne with a smile on our faces....

Anonymous said...

Nice kid, great coverage. Let's hope the rest of the season goes half as well.

Roland said...

"It should be very interesting to see how FOX, ESPN and SPEED handle the transition of Bayne back into mediocrity"

Thats a little harsh you think? Hes done more in the 21 in 2 races than anyone since Morgan Shepard. Ease up on the kid. Hes not the favorite for Phoenix by no means but nobody picked him to win the 500 and he did. Trevor Bayne is not mediocre.

Chadderbox said...

I went to all the speedweeks races and watched them live from the Sprint Tower. Bayne had a great week. Jeff Gordon drafted with Bayne during the Duels and I thought that really said something right there. I was listening to my scanner at the track and at one point during the duels Gordon's crew chief asked him if wanted to continue drafting with the 21 and he said yes. Gordon drafting with a rookie. That caught my attention. Sunday, when Bayne pulled in victory lane with the 21 car it really didn't even have a scratch on it. He drove a perfect race.
Watching ESPN News after the race in my hotel room I thought the coverage of the highlights was improved from what I have seen in previous years on ESPN News. I actually watched the ESPN News coverage for close to an hour and a half as they continues to come back to the track and do updates on Bayne's upset victory. I had tuned in shortly after the race as I was in walking distance to my hotel room from the racetrack and got to my room shortly after 5pm. The coverage was very good. I was surprised.
I am back home from Daytona and watching the DVR - NN and Hub - this kid seems like a natural in front of the camera. He deserves it, he didn't get lucky. He kept the car out of trouble and won the Daytona 500.

dwight said...

David Gilliland did finish 3rd. It's a good thing that Bayne is running the Nationwide series not cup this year. Forcing Gilliland so quickly into cup after one win was no service to him.

Newracefan said...

I thought Trevor did an excellent job and just had a few thoughts. It is almost like Nascar has come full circle the winner in Daytona is a God fearing young man with a southern accent. My other thought was he probably wasn't out celebrating (insert alcohol consumption) all night before his trip to Bristol for the ESPN car wash.That always helps you keep a clear head.

I also wanted to add I met Trevor in Dover when he came to Jeff Gluck's Tweet up. He was a very nice and personable kid, stayed the entire time, talked to everyone and signed autographs. Didn't come with a PR person, didn't have any kind of agenda just wanted to meet the fans. I was giving him a hard time about leaving his crutches behind after he injured his foot in a crash earlier that weekend, shows what I know. I guess now that autographed ticket I have means a little more, I can prove I met him when he was unknown. I will also admit to screaming the last lap for him to win, good thing my son stepped out or he might have called 911.