Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Wednesday TV/Media Links
Let's catch up on some of the NASCAR news and notes from the past few days:
ESPN just loves the fact that Kyle Busch got a speeding ticket on Tuesday. OK, so he got it for going 128mph in a 45mph zone, but it's just a ticket. OK, so he got it driving the little yellow number above, but it's just a ticket. OK, so he had an unidentified female with him at the time, but it's just a ticket.
Pardon The Interruption (PTI) led with that story and it showed up all over the ESPN network news shows. In a flash it was viral, even getting the sleazy star (click here) treatment from Harvey Levin and the TMZ Hollywood crowd.
In true JGR style, a quick apology came from Busch:
"Today I received a traffic citation in Iredell County. I was test driving a new sports car and I got carried away. I went beyond the speed I should have been going on a public road. I apologize to the public, my fans, sponsors, and race teams for my lack of judgment. I take responsibility for my actions and I can assure you that something like this will never happen again. I thank the Iredell County Sheriff's Department and all law enforcement for the hard work they do every day to protect the public and to enforce the laws in a fair and equitable manner."
It should be interesting to see how far this story spreads in the mainstream media. Both NASCAR Now and Race Hub have proven to be very fair when dealing with issues for drivers away from the racetrack.
Speaking of high-profile celebrities, the Charlotte Motor Speedway passed along the fact that Darius Rucker is going to be singing the National Anthem before the Coke 600 on Sunday. He is a University of South Carolina grad and a Charleston, SC native who is no stranger to pro sports and NASCAR. Great choice by the speedway.
Speaking of speedways, the ESPN gang had a conference call this week about the Indy 500. Sr. VP Jed Drake said the production will have 64 cameras, 12 in-car camera set-ups and the infamous "bat-cam" that is on a wire and runs the length of pit road overhead. There will be two super slo-mo cams aimed at the corners and the team will be pushing more team audio into the telecast. Finally, our favorite motorsports host Brent Musburger will again be joining the telecast team.
Speaking of hosts, Marty Reid will be working in Indy so once again Allen Bestwick gets the nod to call the Nationwide Series race on Saturday. He will have Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree alongside. Let's hope someone gets the bright idea to sneak Hall of Famer and ESPN veteran Ned Jarrett up to the broadcast booth during the telecast for a little air time.
On a sad note, Ray Evernham's father passed away on Sunday at the age of 80. Ray Sr. was a long-time racer and mechanic. The younger Evernham left his post at ESPN to work for Rick Hendrick this season and has kept a very low media profile. There was a rumor that SPEED was trying to get him into the fold but that apparently has not worked out. When Evernham was teamed with Ricky Craven, ESPN had a strong studio team that the network has never been able to match since Evernham's departure.
Folks have been asking about Michelle Bonner, the ESPN on-air talent who has been hosting NASCAR Now. Both Mike Massaro and Nicole Briscoe have been working out in the field on NASCAR telecasts. Briscoe again hosts the NNS pre-race show this weekend and Massaro is a pit reporter.
Bonner came to ESPN in 2005 after a two-year stint as a sports reporter and anchor for CNN. A Massachusetts native, Bonner is a Northeastern University grad and has been working on ESPNNEWS and SportsCenter during her time at ESPN. She has been filling-in for two years on NASCAR Now and is getting great reviews.
Ratings from the weekend were less than spectacular. Here is the official note from SPEED:
Coverage of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday scored an average household rating of 3.32 according to Nielsen Media Research, up 1% from last year’s 3.30. The race peaked at a 4.08 and averaged 3,993,000 viewers.
On Friday, coverage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race scored a .98, up 42% from last year’s rain-delayed .69 and that is the highest rating from Charlotte since 2008. Race coverage peaked at 1.30 HH rating and averaged more than one million viewers.
What SPEED is a little miffed about and the trio in the booth chose not to pass along is that the more than thirty-minute delay between races was due to the failure of the giant video board set-up for the introductions. The JHE Production Group eventually fixed the problem, but there was little doubt that some portion of the audience moved on during the delay.
Finally, there was a little breaking news on SportsCenter today. Anchor Linda Cohn reported that ESPN's Terry Blount has confirmed that Danica Patrick is making the switch to NASCAR on a full-time basis in 2012. Blount's information said Patrick will run the Nationwide Series for the championship next year and mix in some selected Sprint Cup Series events. In 2013, she would go Cup racing full-time.
Click here to see the video of the Danica story from ESPN's YouTube page. Blount did not have any details about the teams involved but said Patrick would bring her Go Daddy sponsorship with her to NASCAR.
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