Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Barrett-Jackson And NASCAR Collide
It's a scenario that has been frustrating for SPEED viewers for some time now. Classic car fans wonder why the Palm Beach Barrett-Jackson auto auction is interrupted for, of all things, stock cars. Meanwhile, NASCAR fans realize there is a lot going on at the Texas Motor Speedway that will not be seen on Thursday.
There is no NASCAR Live program with John Roberts and company to set-up the Thursday on-track activities from TMS. Thursday's first Nationwide Series two-hour practice will also be without TV coverage.
Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds will be on SPEED with the Sprint Cup Series practice at 5PM ET. This session will be followed at 7PM with a one-hour edition of RaceHub hosted by Steve Byrnes from the SPEED studios in Charlotte, NC.
Byrnes will be on the air while the Nationwide Series cars practice at the speedway. There will be a 90 minute session without TV coverage.
The auction goes on the air Thursday at noon ET on SPEED and runs for five hours. After the break for NASCAR, it resumes at 8PM and goes live for three more hours. It's pretty easy for SPEED to point the finger at ESPN2, the official network of the Nationwide Series. Up in Bristol, it's a familiar scenario. No room at the TV inn.
On Thursday, ESPN2 has a mix of talk shows, men's college hockey and the infamous Baseball Tonight franchise program during the two Nationwide Series live practice sessions at TMS. In case you didn't know it, Major League Baseball is sacred at ESPN no matter how early in the season it is right now.
Ultimately, what is missing for hardcore NASCAR fans is three and a half hours of Nationwide Series practice and several NASCAR Live news shows. Meanwhile, classic car fans want to know what is going on in Palm Beach during the three hours of NASCAR coverage.
Maybe someday, both sides will be able to be served by the kind of online motorsports coverage that both ESPN and SPEED have recently been experimenting with quite successfully.
At a time when some of the Nationwide Series teams are just limping along financially from race-to-race, it certainly would be nice to have some live online coverage available for fans. This webcast could be like SPEED's recent online F-1 effort, no announcers and just the natural sound coming from both the track and garage.
One key issue of the Barrett-Jackson coverage is that a bunch of the cars parading by will be missed by fans who are at work on Thursday. Perhaps, assembling an online highlight show of the afternoon session that could be played on demand or webcast during the NASCAR break would serve to update those just arriving home and getting ready for the primetime action.
The time is right for SPEED to flex it's muscles and for NASCAR to solve some of the streaming issues associated with the sport. That's a ton of exposure lost for those Nationwide Series teams that they will never get back. The technology exists, so why not encourage SPEED to continue to grow the online offerings.
Let's use this post to offer opinions on the coverage of both programs Thursday. There is certainly an element of motorsports blended into the auction offerings. There is also an inherent element of risk anytime the NASCAR teams take to the Texas Motor Speedway, even for practice.
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