Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dover Truck Race Should Be Televised Live

The emails, tweets and Facebook questions always begin on Monday of this week. NASCAR fans checking the Dover schedule find that the Camping World Truck Series race scheduled for 7:30PM Friday night is not live. The actual TV term is same-day delay.

In real life, the driver introductions are at 4:20PM and the actual race gets underway at 4:45PM ET. If it seems strange to start a race at that time, there is an easy answer as to why. The Dover track has no lights.

In order to get a tripleheader weekend in the books, the trucks have to race in the daylight rather than double-up with the Nationwide Series on Saturday afternoon. It's been this way for several years now.

Twenty years ago, delaying live events had some power and made some sense. Access was limited and news reports were not seen until the next day. The original idea was that time-shifting events like the Dover race would put it in primetime and make for good TV viewing. This Friday, what is going to happen is chaos.

By the time the trucks roll on SPEED shortly after 8PM, every fan who cares can check the many NASCAR websites and read the results and the story of the race. In the instant world of Twitter, the entire race will be live-tweeted by not only the teams, but NASCAR itself. Results will be on the various Facebook team pages moments after the event is over.

This is the first season that the RaceBuddy online application has been offered for all the truck series races. Well, offered for all but one. Delaying the Dover race wipes-out this online component that features multiple video angles and live social media chat.

The biggest problem NASCAR and SPEED are going to have is the carry-over from last Saturday night's Darlington Sprint Cup Series race. Both Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are in the truck race this Friday. That is a photo sent by Harvick via Twitter of the final prep being done on his race truck. Note the primary sponsor.

With both drivers now on probation in the Sprint Cup Series, the door seems to be open for some potential carry-over in a series in which neither driver is running for the championship. While Dover is not known as a payback track becase of its high speeds and narrow groove, stranger things have happened.

The solution for all of this is simple. Air the truck race live and then re-air it at 8PM as scheduled. Folks who can see it live or via RaceBuddy will do so and those coming home from work after 6PM ET can catch the re-air. The same commercials go in both, so the advertising dollars are not the issue.

There absolutely was a place and time for this practice. Those days are long gone. For years now, NASCAR fans have been use to ten or more hours of live Friday coverage on SPEED and ESPN2 of practice and qualifying from tracks nationwide.

In this social media age of instant communication and news, the Busch vs. Harvick storyline is going to again raise the issue of why this event is not live on SPEED. The simple answer is, it should be.

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.


PammH said...

Rateings will suck for sure! Like you said, anyone interested will know the results. Unless there is a HUGE Harvick/Shrub ballywho, no one will watch. Nascar is sooo behind the times it's unreal.

Charlie said...

I agree, it should be shown live.

JD if they do not show it live and I make sure I stay away from knowing the results, will you have this blog for the Truck Race. If you do, it would be nice if those on the blog did not tell the results of the race until the race is over but you have no control over that.

Jonathan said...

we go through this every year lol I have no problem with it, it is only the truck race and it will be on tv what 2 or 3 hour dely?? Big deal just dont look for the info on the internet if you dont wanna know. now if they didnt play if for a day or 2 that would be bad! But thats just my take it on

Spencer said...

another reason why it needs to be televised live is because it starts on tv when my brother graduation is, while i'm free when it starts in real life so i can't watch it

and also to add to the KH and KB part, look at what the date is

Roland said...

I agree completely. Preach it JD

Anonymous said...

I wish they'd add lights. Have heard for years that the AFB was the reason but Dover Downs has lights & Vegas has lights.

But my ritual has been to listen to the radio via Trackpass & then watch on TV. But I don't know if I'll do that this year. I'll still listen but since it's 99.99% certain that the usual suspect will win not sure I'll watch. I'll see where I am on my shows & depending I may have it for background noise & to still see my Sammy bumps.

Anonymous said...

WHY??????? SPEED WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!!!!!! WHY??????????? this makes no sense at all. who makes these decisions JD? your idea seems to make logical sense. show it live and then later for the people who can't see it because of work. I just took a look at SPEED's on air schedule.
430pm - the 10
5pm - NASCAR K&N pro series
6pm - re-air truck qualifying
7pm - trackside
are you kidding me!!!!! I've heard SPEED call themselves the motorsports authority in promos .... I might go back and check that! if you are the authority start acting like it!
SPEED really missed a great opportunity to showcase their trucks series and get some viewers who may have turned in just for Kyle vs Kevin.
any chance this could change last minute? nobody watches races after they know the results! SPEED its 2011...not 1911!

micheal said...

ALL CUP TRACKS SHOULD HAVE LIGHTS! They have plenty of our money to do so! Mo excuses!

majorshouse said...

I would rather miss some of the practice and see the race and then they can re-broadcast it. This makes absolutely no sense at all, I am not even sure I even care about the KNN race, but could care less about watching practice and usually watch it if there is nothing else i want to watch.

Vicky D said...

The best Nascar racing by far, and it's tape delayed. And to me Nascar's probation is a joke anyway. I am truly disappointed with this but like you said, JD, this has been done several years now. Oh well, there's 2 upset racin' fans in this house!

Anonymous said...

Harvick is screwed if he uses the pit crew he had Saturday night! Every time I see a replay of his pit crew TRYING to run up pit lane, I laugh. I don't think they've recovered yet from their wind sprints! Harvick needs to fire his 'conditioning' coach. Those guys look like they've never run in their lives. On a serious note, WHY does why does Nascar and the networks do these things? Maybe it's a good thing the Truck race will be "delayed" and have reduced viewership. The fact that two drivers are on Super-Secret Probation won't stop the announcers from trying to manufacture controversy where none might exist. You really missed out if you didn't see Jimmie Spencer's segment on the Hub last night. He showed at least a half dozen incidents of Harvick losing it. Spence said he could put together a one hour segment of Happy's run-ins. It really was hilarious. The more replays I see, the sillier those guys look. The other contradiction is all the concern about the car that rolled 25 feet before hitting the pit wall. The #29 car was all the way up pit road where they come off the track. The only people on that section of pit road were a couple of Harvick's crew gasping for breath. The real danger to the pit crews is during the races where cars are whizzing by while they do their work. They should be commended for how well they do under the circumstances.

glenc1 said...

Frankly, it's not that big a deal to me personally. If I was home (I'll be in Dover) I would just not check the internet and watch it like it was live. However, I will say that their *reason* is what doesn't make sense. Obviously there's no real purpose in delaying it except they think prime time gets better ratings. Race fans, particularly truck fans, will find it no matter when it is on. If there was some important event opposite or something, I could get that. But just for ratings--I find it hard to believe it would make that much difference.

Bruce Ciskie said...

Great work, John. It took the NBC/Olympics conglomerate a while to emerge from the dark ages and realize that the internet has changed the way sports are presented.

If you're not airing it live, you're probably wasting your time. That doesn't mean you can't run delayed broadcasts of live events, but you have to air them live before you do anything else, or you're doing your audience a real disservice.

Fantasy Nascar Geeker said...

The awkward start time due to no lights is to blame, you can't place all the blame on SPEED. A 4:45 EST green flag on a Friday is the worst possible time to start a race. Eastern Time Zone people will be getting home at 5:30 at best and with the shorter truck races, miss a fairly significant portion of the race. Central Time Zone viewers would miss it live almost entirely.

I agree that it should be shown live, you can get all the early race story-lines from twitter until you're able to find a TV set, an an 8:30 EST replay is perfect for those who don't follow the net and want to watch it as it was live.

An 8:30 EST start, 5:30 PST is a good time slot to be in. It's when casual fans are accustomed to say "Hey I wonder if the Truck series is racing tonight?" and flip onto SPEED. So the question is, do you turn off more fans who come home and find out the live race is half-way over, or do you anger more fans by showing it on tape-delay only?

Regardless, blame Dover for not having lights and scheduling all 3 series into a facility that can't hold all 3 series. The reasoning behind the trucks on Friday is so they can pack up their haulers and get out Friday night and the Nationwide haulers can come in late Friday night after the trucks are cleared out. A perfect situation would be for Dover to give up space somewhere on its grounds to have all 3 series parked on Saturday, running the Nationwide and Trucks as a double header.

OSBORNK said...

Watching a same day delayed event is like eating leftovers. It's not as good as fresh but it's OK if there is nothing better available. It's like using a DVR and watching it later. It's good only if you can avoid finding out about the results before you see it.

I wonder about the value of a delayed race to the advertisers. Is it as valuable to them when it is shown live before prime time or is it more value warmed over in prime time?

Anonymous said...

Most fans in the Pacific time zone are still at work so the time works good for us. For the people who "must" use their twitter or constantly check whatever, just cut them off during that time and you won't know the results.

Harvick and Busch are on probation in all 3 series, aren't they? So what do you think is gonna happen between them? Nothing----


Anonymous said...

Same rules should apply for qualifying as well. I don't like the tape delayed version SPEED shows, as I like to complement the TV broadcast with data provides.

hotaru-hockeymaiden87 said...

Anon 2:11AM- My brother said pretty much the same thing when I checked the guide.

At least I can listen to it during that slow time of the day (provided the station in Daytona Beach plays it live)

allisong said...

JD - minor quibble with your probation statement...According to Kerry Tharp on SIRIUS yesterday, Harvick & Busch are on probation for any and all NASCAR sanctioned events they enter until the date indicated, not just the Cup races.

Anonymous said...

Just to let everyone know I live up here in Delaware and have worked at all the horse tracks here and I have been told first hand that all Nascar has to do is ask and the speedway will put up lights but they won't spend the money not to never use them.

Anonymous said...

If the grandstands are empty, then why should it be on TV?

I'm sorry, because I know the racing in the truck series can be awesome, but it is not only a minor league outfit, but a struggling minor league outfit. The last few races have not even had enough fans to pay the hot dog vendors their hourly wage.

The race doesn't deserve to be on TV until there is actual fan demand, and right now there is next to none.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
Sorry that NCWTS will not be shown live ...many will watch at 8 pm on tape delay or replay it live!

Anonymous said...

@Fantasy NASCAR Geeker - you are wrong - the Dover infield hold all three series. Cup and Nationwide have garages and the trucks park in a field. Nationwide will already be in on Friday.

Brian said...

Was disappointed that the race isn't being shown live. There's no point in watching a replay after the race has already happened. I won't be watching it. Instead, I'll be out at my local track for some Friday night racing. Perfect chance to go.

Anonymous said...

If this was 2002, I'd understand SPEED's reasoning. But like you said, social media has changed so much.

If NASCAR and the tv partners put money and egos aside, the solution that makes the most sense would be to have the broadcast streamed live on SPEED's website or and replayed that night on SPEED.

Dot said...

Before making my comment, I checked to see if Weed was in the race. He is. I don't care now if I see it or not. He'll steal the show as always. Kyle Busch and the Camping World Truck Series.

A more fitting penalty for both Weed and Kevin Harvick (I think it was unfair KH got penalized) would've been if nascar forbade them from running the truck race. Even though they do own the trucks. We know how they love to race. The fine is peanuts to them.

Anonymous said...

Dover has always been 2nd on my list after Martinsville to get lights there. I've asked several times over the years & the AFB doesn't have a problem with it. Why does NASCAR?

PS LMAO at those who won't watch the Truck race because they assume an 18 win. NOTHING, repeat NOTHING is assumed in a race. That he wins so much is a testament not only to Kyle skill but to his team at track & shop. His OWN team, let me add.

Ian Schrader said...

I see both sides of this argument. Most folks have a better chance to watch in prime time anyway, especially west coast fans.I think a delayed race is the perfect opportunity for Truck Buddy. I could at least keep up live on my PC at work.

KoHoSo said...

I look at the problem this way...ultimately, it is NASCAR's fault that they continue to schedule an event that cannot be shown live.

While many Planeteers might not use services like Twitter and Facebook, I guess that NASCAR has not considered what a huge hassle it is to either have a separate non-NASCAR/news account in such services or, even worse, to temporarily un-follow anybody that posts NASCAR-related news. In today's world where things like Twitter and Facebook are used just as much for legitimate communication as they are for silly things like FarmVille and celebrity gossip...well, it is yet another piece of evidence that the folks running NASCAR are either still clueless about the online world or unwilling to conform to it. Either way, that is much to their detriment and that is regardless of whether or not the trucks are a top-tier series.

w17scott said...

Here we go again SPEED is taking big network lessons the race live ...tape-delay will draw new viewers and many of those who would watch the race live ...get with it NASCAR, you provide the product, your broadcast partners should uphold their end of the deal and air the races as they happen!

Ken-Michigan said...

Makes no difference to me.

Since the beginning of the season, I have DVR'd all NASCAR on SPEED programs.

I no longer watch LIVE and I no longer watch commercials.

SPEED seems to have a problem having commercial break audio much louder than the program itself. Therefore, I don't watch promos or any commercial sponsors.

I love my DVR !