Friday, February 18, 2011

Trucks Ready To Steal TV Spotlight

While the Sprint Cup Series still has the established superstars and the Nationwide Series boasts dynamite new cars, this weekend it just might be the Camping World Trucks stealing the TV spotlight in Daytona.

Throughout practice sessions and now after the Gatorade Duels, it's become apparent that the Sprint Cup Series is going to look like well, click here for a wonderful video of the chain races at Bowman Gray Stadium. Two cars, forever locked, until something bad happens. Motorsports ballet if you will.

We also saw a bunch of the Sprint Cup guys cross-over and do the same thing in the Nationwide Series cars. They were even switching partners in practice just to find out how the bumpers of the different manufacturers lined-up. The Nationwide Series race could also be a story of the best two-car drafters having a big advantage.

Meanwhile, over in truck land there is a whole lot of shaking going on. A ton of good drivers did not make the race, including Mike Skinner, Rick Crawford and Tayler Malsam. Ultimately, the starting grid for the race is an incredible mix of motorsports personalities.

While Austin Dillon capturing the pole might be expected, Ricky Carmichael and 18 year-old Johanna Long, pictured above, sneaking into the top five certainly was not. Experienced drivers like Kyle Busch, Elliott Sadler and Aric Almirola will be racing with Jeffrey Earnhardt, Miguel Paludo and Craig Goess Jr.

Even good old Michael Waltrip decided to take a ride in this one. He is joined by hard-charging Johnny Sauter and truck series veteran Todd Bodine. There is no lack of speed in the field and none of the start-and-park chaos that dogged this series in 2010.

SPEED knows it suddenly has an opportunity to outshine ESPN and FOX. Instead of a cult classic, this may well be the season that the trucks move up the ladder in terms of respect among the competitors and the NASCAR media. In addition to the new faces, there is a neat twist in the series coverage.

Ford Trucks is the company that has made arrangements to sponsor TruckBuddy for every single race this season. That means at the free four-box live video application with sound, scoring and social media chat will be ready to roll.

This is the first of NASCAR's three national touring series to offer an online video companion for all the races. While this does not have all the bells and whistles of the RaceBuddy app used on TNT's Sprint Cup Series races, that's not an issue.

The truck series has always been different and prided itself on that. New faces have come while others have gone as drivers on different career paths converged in this interesting form of racing. The one constant along the way has been TV coverage.

SPEED picked-up the entire series in the last TV contract and got off to a slow start. The race coverage developed into a strong presentation, but the network offered absolutely no support programming in terms of a weekly show. Fans got the pre-race, the race and a nice goodbye until next time.

This year, SPEED has come slamming out of the gate with a mature Race Hub program backed by additional live shows from the tracks. Steve Byrnes and company have made sure to provide the truck series with a lot of exposure it has been lacking.

All of a sudden, a series that in one race featured over 20 trucks starting and parking of 36 total now looks very different. Live TV coverage for practice, qualifying and the races. RaceBuddy for every single race free to fans online worldwide. Support programming in the form of Race Hub four days a week and added TV in the form of NASCAR Live from the tracks., Jayski and SPEED's website have all been beefing up coverage of the trucks and that is only going to help a fan base increasingly using online resources to follow racing. Throw in Twitter and Facebook pages for the drivers, teams and sponsors and suddenly the Camping World folks look pretty smart for sticking with this series.

Krista Voda hosts The Setup pre-race show at 7PM ET Friday night to start the coverage. With Adam Alexander moving to the new SPEED Center show on weekends, it will be Hermie Sadler pairing with Ray Dunlap in the truck series pits this season. Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Darrell Waltrip will call the Daytona race since Michael is racing.

We will live blog this race, but in the meantime feel free to add your comments on the series, the new media and the 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 taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


fbu1 said...

Thanks to Ford Trucks for sponsoring RaceBuddy. Otherwise, one would have to mine information about the Camping World Trucks in the remote corners of the more prominent websites. As of 2 AM on Friday morning, there is no mention of the trucks on the front page of NASCAR.Com or Fox Sports' Nascar page. ESPN does carry a trucks news item that lists the top ten qualifiers, but not the whole field.

Pathetic! They act like they're ashamed that the CWTS is in the house.

z'hills fan said...

I've been a fan of the trucks since 94 when Reutimann started in them. I really enjoy them and follow them as much as I do the cup series, in fact if David wasn't in cup i'd follow the trucks altogether.

Sally said...

To me, the best part of Mikey being in the truck race means he won't be in the booth babbling.

Todd Crane said...

JD I can't wait till the truck race tonight. After watching the Twin Gatoraide 150's I think NASCAR has already ruined the Daytona 500 before it stars!

Anonymous said...

Well, if the people producing the truck telecast are the same who did the twins yeaterday, I'll watch reruns of Law and Order.
Yesterday coverage was a disgrace

OSBORNK said...

We have to hope that Mikey does not fall out of the race early and come to the booth and start babbling. You can bet he will talking at every opportunity while he is in the truck. That's better than him babbling nonstop.

Chadderbox said...

I will be at the race live tonight and I will try and comment on what I am seeing live.
Looking forward to seeing what Elliot Sadler can do tonight. Rick Crawford, former winner of this event, as well as Cole Whitt, Tayler Malsam and Mike Skinner did not qualify for the race.
When I got back to my hotel room last evening after the Duels I watched the replays on Speed. I was rather disappointed with the overall coverage of the races. Having sat through both races live I have to admit that the 2nd race was much better than the first, at least live in person it was. But, watching back to the tv replay the booth seemed like they were just struggling to get in a groove and it seemed to me DW was taking over the whole thing. I think the caboose racing has everybody confused right now. I am confused and I was sitting in the grandstands watching it happen live.
Right now this is what we have on track and there is no changing it (at least this year). I can't blame Nascar for paving the track. I can't blame the drivers for wanting to go faster. Maybe after the pavement gets a few years on it the racing will change again.

Anonymous said...

I have become a great fan of the truck races. Some weekends, it is the best racing on TV. I love the mix of drivers and all of the possibilites for a win. The coverage has usually been great (especially if the Waltrip in the booth is gagged for at least part of the race). I think this series provides the gold standard for race coverage as it now exists.

Anonymous said...

JD, I enjoy your site more than any other and look forward to it. Thank you.

As for the truck race, I am looking forward to it. Hopefully, it will be good and Mikey will run the whole thing and they won't zero in on just him. That will keep him out of the booth. As Todd said, they have ruined the 500 already. Maybe, just maybe the trucks and Nationwide races will be just that - races.

GA Red

Anonymous said...

Can't wait it's going to be awesome! <3 Hate that Alli, Tayler, the Principal & Rick missed the show :(

Mike (Detroit) said...

Sally I was thinking the same thing. You know they will have a hookup to Mikey's truck big time, and we'll be hearing from him every chance they can get. It would not surprise me at all, if they tried talking to Mikey during green flag runs. Cut to NAPA commercial, watch Mikey get weird, cut back to truck race. Tonights truck race will most likely be the best racing we'll see this weekend. Should be fun. The price to pay for all the fun will be seeing that NAPA commercial 25 times. We could do shots evertime the commercial is run.

Ken-Michigan said...

For this weekend's "2 car tango" coverage, I've been thinking. Trying to put myself in the Director chair for the 500.

In defense of the Dir/Producer, this 2 car draft scenario is brand new to those in the TV truck, just as it is to the drivers in the race. It must have been much easier to cover the race when they had 30 cars all bunched up in a draft.

So, for week one, I'm willing to give the FOX truck a break. Wider shots is going to be best to the viewers at home for the bulk of the race. But those shots doesn't give the home viewer the sense of "speed". So they still need to sprinkle in those robotic speed shots, but shouldn't overdue it.

I'm really surprised that FOX hasn't incorporated the much used NFL "sky/cable cam" that hovers over the field. With light towers and tall grandstands to hang the cables from, that cable cam could capture a wider shot, above the action....better than a blimp shot...and i think most of us like the blimp shots.

I realize that the amount of cable to run would be more than an NFL stadium, but if the technology is there, use it.

(2 of these cable cams would be needed for a track like Daytona)

But these aerial cable cams would really be awesome at smaller tracks too. (not just Indy)

0042ID said...

Remember when you do those shots to, "get the good stuff".

Anonymous said...

This will be the series to watch this season. The diversity with veterans and rookies will be fun to watch. Indepedent teams like Long & Seig can still compete with Germain & KHI.

SPEED coverage of the series was strong last season. As long as the focus stays on the racing, their 2011 coverage will set the standard for others to follow.

Vicky D said...

JP had a great interview with DP after her qualifying. A lot of respect between both of them. JP is where he should be!

GinaV24 said...

Cool, I'm looking forward to the truck race tonight! Esp with the addition of truckbuddy for coverage -- thank you, Ford trucks!

Goodie, mikey is in the race, that way maybe I can enjoy the broadcast without it being hijacked by his motormouth.

I can't honestly say I'm looking forward to the 500.

LOL, the veri word is cynizing. I've been called cynical before but I've never tried cynizing!

mike said...

Look out faux has got the thermal cam now. Looking forward to the truck race because i think i am going to be sad on sunday.