Sunday, June 12, 2011

TV Police: Sprint Cup Series From Pocono On TNT

It's going to take someone with a very good sense of humor to figure out the TNT coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Pocono. Detective Dwight Hendricks loves Memphis, his mother and singing the blues. He also uses his positive attitude to get through tough situations. Pocono was tough.

The TNT team broke-out all the bells and whistles for this race. RaceBuddy was online and for the first time available on iPad and iPhone. The TV commentary track was offered online along with four in-car cameras, two battle cams and a lot more. They would need it all.

The race unfolded after a foggy morning with the one hour Countdown to Green show. Lindsay Czarniak hosted Kyle Petty and Larry McReynolds from the TNT infield rig in the windy and cool weather. The show featured opinions, interviews and a feature on the late crew chief Harry Hyde.

TNT's pit reporters started strong with Ralph Sheheen, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum and newcomer Chris Neville covering the stories and interviewing before the green flag. TNT uses the pit reporters a lot more than FOX.

Adam Alexander is in season two of his job as play-by-play announcer for the TNT races. Petty and Wally Dallenbach join Alexander for the telecasts. Pocono is a huge challenge for the PXP person due to the long green flag runs and the relative lack of passing.

Ultimately, the only way to make Pocono interesting is to continually update all the race strategies and go through the field. TNT does not use the "hyper-tight" coverage philosophy of FOX and the result was a very different looking telecast. Wideshots for perspective were mixed with close-ups that were selected for a reason.

The telecast viewed with RaceBuddy made for compelling video, especially with the fact that RaceBuddy continued without commercial breaks. Watching the telecast alone told the classic story of Pocono. Engine woes, big speeds and little passing.

TNT does "through the field" rundowns that give fans information on drivers and teams that have perhaps not been up front or in the TV coverage. It's a nice touch and a welcome addition after the reality of FOX and the lack of available information from those telecasts.

The upper-screen scoring ticker for TNT still has the team colors and numbers, but the names of the drivers can be clearly seen in black and white, literally. The ticker moves at a quick clip and additional graphics are often added to it, expanding the available information.

TNT runs a lot more split-screens, but seems unable to put McReynolds in that effect when he is updating on-camera during the race. It's more important than ever to keep green flag racing on the TV screen, so perhaps McReynolds might find himself sharing the screen for the remaining five races.

After leaving the race due to engine failure, Carl Edwards joined Czarniak and McReynolds in the tiny TNT studio used when rain is pending. Edwards even brought his failed engine part and had a brief conversation that detailed his issues. Then, Edwards stayed and continued to comment during the telecast.

As usual with Pocono, the racing action picked up late in the race. TNT continued to keep the focus on the racing action with Petty taking the lead on the race commentary. In this first race of the TNT package, McReynolds had a much smaller role and was not in the mix on strategy issues.

This post will serve to host your comments on the TNT coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Pocono Raceway. To add your TV-related comments, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for stopping by.


adamtw1010 said...

I loved how TNT brought Carl Edwards into the studio. He offered some great insight to the race.

I also liked the showing of the top 7 or so finishers across the Start-Finish line.

I think TNT saw the comments against FOX and has set out to not make the same mistakes. Great work.

Now I'm going to watch the last 10 laps of the Formula 1 race on FOX.

Buschseries61 said...

The on-track action was a complete bore, but TNT made the most of it.

Unlike FOX, there were no roles or foci in the booth. Wally and Kyle would give and take. If they didn't know something, they used the pit reporters - like they should. Chris Neville did a great job on pit road compared to Phil Parsons. The through the field segments were great and the viewers at home knew what was going on.

RaceBuddy was a fantastic tool to use all race long. Thanks to Turner & Coca Cola for making it happen. Hopefully this program can continue through the ESPN portion of the season.

PammH said...

Wow!! I feel like I just watched a RACE, not just qualifying. The booth meshed well together & CALLED the race! And showed more than one car crossing the finish line. I could only watch RB so much, it kept locking up on me. My grade-compared to what we have endured so far..A++++.

KoHoSo said...

I might have said something similar last year, but I feel the same way.

This was like having been out in the hot, windy Mojave Desert all day and then, finally, when you think you're about to pass out, being able to walk into a nice, friendly, air conditioned bar to sit on a comfortable chair and have a refreshing beverage.

I am so glad to finally be rid of the hot air of Fox and DW. Pocono isn't the most exciting race to watch, but it was a pleasure to be given educated commentary, camera angles, and information. I actually know what went on in this race!

Yes, there are some things I could nitpick about but I just don't feel like it. I'm too happy.

I just wonder how much more the rating on Fox would go up if they also produced such a competent race telecast?

KudzuCarl said...

I didn't start watching until the halfway point, but loved what I saw. New and better camera angles, intelligent and impartial commentary, and racing all through the lineup, not just at the front. Great job TNT. Great job, and thank you.

Vicky D said...

I thought the TNT crew did a great job with Ponoco. I also enjoyed the interview with Carl. All in all, found this race much better to watch than the previous ones with Fox.

GinaV24 said...

Wow, TNT has it ALL over Fox and ESPN. They actually broadcast the race - no agenda, just following the action and updating the field. They even used their pit reporters! It was amazing. I had racebuddy up (thank you turner by the way) but I used it more during commercials so I could keep following the action when they were away.

I didn't need to mute my tv because I didn't want to listen to the booth. The only fly in the ointment for me was the decision to use a full screen for larry mac's car info - they could have used a split screen IMO.
TNT is stuck with some of the worst races on the schedule, but they do the most with their coverage.

Very happy with this coverage - wish Fox and ESPN would get a clue.

Anonymous said...

ESPN Also used Edwards during Post Race.
My Question is: Why would they rush off air for a Filler TNT Preview Show?

Daly Planet Editor said...

I'm in contact with the TNT PR guys and will try to get an answer about why they left early.

We have had this problem in the past with TNT, even after a really good telecast.

The guys who run the network are not the guys who run sports. Keep that in mind.

Anonymous said...

Certainly not the most exciting of races but the coverage is still soooooo much better than Fox. In some ways it's hard to pin point the exact reasons why but at the end of the race I realize I didn't yell at the TV even once. I'm constantly yelling at the TV during the Fox telecasts when they switch to in car cams and gopher cams at inappropriate times. TNT just comes across as being a more professional telecast.

Buschseries61 said...

My brother came in to watch the post race after golfing, only to watch a series of TNT show promos. Not even a tv show, previews of tv shows. What a terrible decision on TNT's part.

Quadrangle said...

I'm sorry but this race only gets a C at best, and that's generous because Lindsay Czarniak is the best host in NASCAR TV.

The whole telecast was just brutal from the start - not much different than FOX at all.

Let's see...

- Using in-car cameras where you can't see the track for multiple laps in a row (Bowyer and Stewart)

- Cutting to commercial while showing a smoking car (Newman)

- Coming back from commercial and showing Carl Edwards in the studio full screen during GREEN FLAG racing for close to three minutes!

- Leaving the air 25 minutes early!

Also, at one point Dallenbach said Montoya would lose his lead when he pitted even though he had already pitted!

Plus, Kyle really isn't that different than DW (although I think Kyle does know a lot more). It seems like every time Wally says something Kyle pipes in with "Let me tell you this..." and adds his own story.

Plus, for all of the flack Myers gets for his idiot routine, can Kyle go more than one hour without saying "I'm not that smart"?

Honestly, I am not saying FOX or ESPN are better, but this race telecast was seriously flawed even though it was on a different channel.

Anonymous said...

That was so enjoyable. I was able to sit down, turn on just the tv, and watch a race. The pit reporters were great. Replacing Mr. Parson(?) was a good move. I could read the ticker. The camera work did not jump around every half second. The booth was most concerned with calling the race. Man, I just enjoyed it and to repeat someone else, it was so refreshing! MC

Roland said...

This is the best Ive felt after a broadcast all year. What a refreshing change. Thats the first Cup race I haven't muted and listend to the radio coverage since Charlotte last October. I used racebuddy during commercials so I never saw 1 commercial today. All that combined made this race a little less boring than a normal Pocono.

High marks to Adam for doing a good job today. He was solid and wasn't as lost as he was last year. And big ups to Chris Neville also he did a great job.

The only complaint I have is with the ticker. When they have stats like "biggest movers" drop down it blocks out a big part of the screen. Didnt notice it that much with SD in the past but with HD it was really distracting, but Ill take that over a freakin pizza hut box blocking half the screen on a restart any day.

Good Job TNT!

Spring Rubber said...

It's so nice to see actual coverage of NASCAR again, even if it's only for six races. TNT knows how to actually let the race speak for itself, and they actually allow the viewer to see what's going on. I only saw part of the race today, but you could immediately tell the difference; the camera angles were good, the booth was good, and the overall production and direction of the broadcast was good.

I'm sick of Fox pushing their agenda on us viewers and preventing us from enjoying NASCAR like we used to. I'm glad TNT still respects NASCAR and cares that the fans want to see the race rather than the "stories" that Fox manufactures. It's a shame that TNT only has five more races. Unfortunately, the ratings that TNT gets every year isn't really indicative of what they deserve. The other two networks have done so much damage to the reputation of NASCAR that it's turned a lot of fans away, IMO. I wish the other networks would respect NASCAR the way TNT does.

red said...

first off, disclaimers: i am a big fan of how TNT has historically covered their share of the season and the strong team that presents the racing.
second: i intensely dislike sitting at long pond, trying to watch the race. bad viewing areas abound & it's not my favorite track.

that being said: i never had the tv on today: i used RaceBuddy exclusively and fell back in love with our sport! i can't thank, TNT and Coke enough for making this afternoon a very pleasant experience after a long, depressing start to the season!

-> enjoyed listening to the booth, infield & pit folks today. dallenbach & petty added solid information & insight to the broadcast, throwing it to larry mac &/or the pit reporters when questions arose. they rarely stepped on each other verbally & actually had discussions that involved a give and take of opinion and information. alexander did a solid job as well: tough race to call, especially on a misty, foggy day when the backstretch all but disappears, but he did a good job.

-> RaceBuddy is astounding this year! i need someone to explain how the 360 camera works because it has to be an amazing technology: it permits every viewer to get an individually chosen, full 360 view from atop a pit box! just outrageous!

-> the 10 screens offer almost too much information, although i personally pretty much ignored the in-car cameras & my driver was one of the chosen ones. the battle cameras, pit road and mosaics were terrific & the backstretch cam let me see something i've never seen live at that track: cars racing on the backstretch!

-> even the silence from the booth when they went to commercial was welcome because the ambient sound from the track filled in -- although i do miss jim noble!

-> the RaceBuddy leaderboard was accurate and easy to navigate so i could keep an eye on lap times, one of my favorite pieces on info to have during any race.

-> nice touch by TNT to have edwards in the booth as the race was running. not my favorite driver but he has a great tv presence & is clearly setting himself up for a strong career choice after he finishes racing.

my only downside was that it staggered at random times, including during the last 15 or so laps but it wasn't enough to make me go inside and claim the tv to watch. (did i mention i was sitting outside with my laptop all race? something i've not been able to do for too long!)

so, a solid "A" for everyone involved in the broadcast, except the actual production truck. sorry, gang: i didn't get to watch any of your work but it sounds as if you did a terrific job! so i'm gonna give you an "A" by proxy!

last note: i spent all my time on RaceBuddy & twitter so i never had a chance to join everyone on TDP. i missed you but i was simply enjoying the racing too much today to divert myself!

Buschseries61 said...

@ Quadrangle - I agree with you on Petty. I'm not sure how to word it, the best I can come up with is he seemed more composed when he started in 2007-2008. Like you said, he knows a lot more than DW, so it was a minor issue for me.

I do like that he focuses on the race and not 1979. Also, he reaches out to the pit reporters and co-announcers for answers instead of reading drivers minds, chaning his own mind or making things up.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Show & Tell with Cousin Carl.That was fun :)

I watched most of it via RaceBuddy so don't have much to say on the camera angles/incar/etc. But they did seem to provide some good info :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, TNT, for your TV race coverage. It was such a pleasure to actually enjoy watching NASCAR again.

You showed respect for racing and the fans with your camera shot choices, relevant commentary, no gimmicks, ignoring agendas and egos, and showing the final lap.

You clearly get it....

I also enjoyed Racebuddy. I wish we could have Racebuddy for the races you don't cover as that is when we so badly need it.

It's nice to be looking forward to Michigan.


AncientRacer said...

Because I like wide shots so I get a feel for the field, and hate one-car qualifying shots during a race I liked this race except that it was Pocono. It is an interesting;y shaped track, but, to be honest I got to around lap 20 and the next thing I knew I woke up with about 20 laps to go.

Much better than Fox, though. Pocono by Fox, well, I might have only made it to lap 10 and still be sleeping.

Happy that Jeff won.

rich said...

Wow, what a breath of fresh air this broadcast was. Was it perfect? No. Wat it enjoyable? Yes, yes, yes.
Only a few gripes. Would like to see a complete pitstop of a car even if it is in triple box format. A couple of times when a team was having trouble in the pits they cut away to show another car.
They need to use Larry Mac better. He can be very knowledgeable even if he slaughters the english language.
Postrace was a disappointment. Why did they leave early.
But still I feel like I watched a race. Thank you TNT

Daly Planet Editor said...

I spoke with the TNT PR guys after the race.

They said that the idea is to conduct a round of interviews of the top finishers and the winner.

After that, any additional post race will be done on at the RaceBuddy site.

I don't agree with this, especially if the time is scheduled for NASCAR but they said that is not an issue for them.

The point is that TNT did the race, conducted the right interviews after the event and then moved all the additional to the site for lots more content.

In the New World Order, I still think that leaves out those fans not able to watch online and since the time frame assigned for NASCAR was not done, I think they should have stayed.

Well, I appreciate the quick response and we will see what happens on the next race telecast!


sbaker17 said...

Despite the fact that Pocono can be quite boring, that was a fun telecast for me to watch. I enjoy the banter between Dallenbach & Petty. Of course, any telecast without an announcer with the last name that begins with 'Wal'is a treat for me.

Anonymous said...

I could not believe RaceBuddy, have viewed with the trucks & 1 time with NW, no comparison. I was like, Oh my.... look at this, ooh... did you check this...., even got a second of the 360. Red, pretty well nailed it.

The difference my computer is on a desk and is slow as frozen snot!! I'd like to put mine outside sometimes, too. LOL

Thank You NASCAR, TNT & RaceBuddy.

OH___ YEAH___, got to believe TNT ruffled more than a few feathers by leaving early, guessing ranks up there pretty high, by not covering the opportunity to interview, some that could use the coverage. Lovingnascar

MRM4 said...

TNT did not have a lot to work with as it was a boring race. I will say they did a good job of keeping things somewhat interesting with their commentary.

The camera work was the biggest difference between Fox and TNT. Seeing more than one or two cars in one shot was refreshing.

Larry Mac excels in his role as the expert crew chief. I still haven't figured out why Fox decided to reduce his insight this year. Many wondered about him no longer doing his "pull those belts tight". I can tell you he did it during Wednesday night's Prelude race.

My only complaint that I can think of was quick changing of camera shots on several occasions. For instance, they'd have one angle of a battle, switch to the in-car to show the pass (too late I might add), and then switch to another angle all within a couple of seconds. I suspect that will get better.

Anonymous said...

TNT did their usuall good job and we expect they will keep it up for the next five races. Just wish they could be with us for the rest of the season, but at least we are rid of Fox and will not hear any more stupid boogities and other Walltrip nonsense. The race today just shows us how much better Nascar racing can be when it is presented in a professional manner.

Anonymous said...

I watched a rogue feed online; seemed like 8 mins of commercials & 2-3 mins of racing! However, TNT had great camera work, I enjoy Kyle Petty, thought Carl Edwards did very well while he was in the booth...will try to figure out Race Buddy next week. I'm pretty techno-MEEK! It was soooo nice to hear a race without DW's "stuff". It might be time to just give him his own weekly show & get him out of the announcer's booth.

Anonymous said...

i dont get all the love for tnt...i found it to be sloppy with misinformation in the broadcast. They just said things that were totally not clearly seen at all. Got better towards the end though...but wasnt impressed, maybe better racing will help that...o wait michigan is next...just another sleeper.

Mule said...

It's a shame TNT has the races in their allotted period for coverage. Pocono, Sanoma, Michigan. Michigan, like Atlanta, used to have some good races before the COT. Now it's all strung out fuel mileage races.
I'm looking forward to Kentucky, Daytona, & Louden. But then, with the 2 car thing at Daytona, TNT might have another challenge to make it a good show.
They do quite a good job on the races and it is a refreshing change. Aside from ducking out early on the time slot.
I just can't seem to make my mind up that it is really great. It definitely appears better and the on screen personalities don't wear on you like FOX & ESPN. We get so little exposure to TNT's broadcasts, I wonder how I'd feel about it if we had them for 12-15 races. They just have a crummy slot of races. The extra provided via the internet is A+++.
I'll take it compared to what we've been getting. It makes you think, gets people talking and that makes the world go round.

larry said...

I had the TV on and every time I looked, I thought it was very good coverage. They actually showed racing! Several cars were in the picture!

Unfortunately, NASCAR and Fox and espn have killed my interest in their "racing entertainment". I just don't care any more and that really burns me.

Ever since they imposed the "top-35 rule" and excluded some of my favorite drivers and drove sponsors out of the sport, I have continually lost interest and I don't know if I can ever rekindle that fanaticism. I have followed NASCAR since the 1940s, but the top-35 rule killed my interest.

Anonymous said...

With regard to your question -> RaceBuddy is astounding this year! i need someone to explain how the 360 camera works because it has to be an amazing technology: it permits every viewer to get an individually chosen, full 360 view from atop a pit box! just outrageous!

The 360 technology is the patented creation of a Pittsburgh Company named EyeSee 360

Its going to change the face of televised sports. Unlike every other technology that is similar, EYESEE 360 is a single, unstitched image gathered by a single optic.

If this company ever goes public, I am investing.

Bray Kroter

w9966 said...

Great job TNT! Adam,Wally, and Kyle and the whole team present, educate, and teach not only the race but the sport and what makes it work. Not bookity, bookity!

Any new viewer would be left interested in learniing more and watching future races, This is what the sport needs.

Anonymous said...

I really felt good after this race for the first time this season, lack of FOX effect. I've read all of the comments here and there are so many good points I agree with about TNT being SOOOOO much better than FOX in so many ways. I wish the FOX people in charge would read all of these comments as they really apply. I would pay money if DW would read these comments and understand his need to change his approach, although I know he's too arrogant to do that. In his mind he's the best broadcaster ever and needs no improvement. FOX, this is how to use Larry, replace him in the booth with someone smart, articulate, and witty like Wally or Kyle.

Anonymous said...

My only gripe with TNT was their inability to show the running order on TV after the green flag stops that occcurred somewhere around lap 95. It wasn't until after the caution on lap 112 that we finally got to see the running order.
To me that's a major mistake on their part. We went almost 30 minutes without knowing the running order (beyond the top ten as they left pitroad).
We had no idea who was a lap down and may take the wave around, how many cars were on the lead lap, etc. There should never be more than 10 minutes where the running order isn't flashing across the top screen.
The commentators eventually told us who the lucky dog was and who took the wave-arounds but why should someone watching the race have to spend 30 minutes lost as to the running order.
Otherwise I'll give them a thumbs up.

MRM4 said...

One thing I'd like to see changed and this more a network philosophy than it is a production philosophy and that's framing the picture and the graphics for a 16:9 screen instead of a 4:3 screen.

After seeing the first part of the season on Fox and then switching to TNT, it looked very odd to see the left side of the graphics be several inches to the left of the screen instead of next to the edge like on Fox and SPEED. ESPN still does the same thing.

I know people with 4:3 TV sets complain about the black bars above and below their picture. But those of us with a widescreen TV hate seeing a big part of our screen go to waste. I know all networks will change someday, just wish it was much sooner than years from now.

James said...

Since the Daytona Speed Weeks I have been very vocal about the race coverage, I just watched the replay of Sundays race from Pocono, I ask this, What have we been watching? TNT covered this event like it is supposed to be covered! The camera shots that covered roof cams, followed up with track side shots that enhanced the roof cam, the race had a flow about it. How can this race be covered so much more like what a fan at the track would be following!

Absolutly loved the way the camera followed the 29 / 18 action! Thats racin, Whomever is responsible, FOX take note, this is how it is done correctely. Thank you so much, from a dedicated fan!

Anonymous said...

Hey Fox!!!!! This is how you're supposed to broadcast a NASCAR race. Despite the fact that it was a other boring race, and a race that needs to be cut down to 300 laps, TNT still did a very good job. I like the in booth crew as they appear to have good chemistry.

Zieke said...

Isn't it amazing how much better a race broadcast can be without a loudmouth trying to take over in the announce booth? Thank you TNT. I actually enjoyed a somewhat boring race from Pocono.

Joe said...

TNT was excellent. Great use of the pit reporters and love the through the field segment. Having Carl Edwards was great. They should have a driver that gets out of the race early every race. Love Wally and Kyle a lot. One problem I have, I was expected 25 more minutes of coverage, possibly a preview of Michigan, but they LEFT THE AIR EARLY. I give an A though. No plus because they left the air early.

red said...

@bray: thanks for the info! heading to see what i can learn about them from the internet.
i am, i admit, unreasonably impressed but it was sensational!

Andy D said...

Just read an article by DW on the FoxSports website. It ostensibly to congratulate Jeff Gordon and to establish his place as one of the best.

Except he couldn't write a paragraph without talking about himself. Like this one:
The pairing of Jeff Gordon and crew chief Ray Evernham will go down in NASCAR history as one of the greatest driver/crew chief combos our sport ever witnessed. They made a perfect pair, a lot like Jeff Hammond and I did.

When will this guy just shut up! We really need to get this self-absorbed twit out of the booth.

OSBORNK said...

I had to watch the race without the benefit of the internet yesterday due to lightning damage to my provider's equipment. Thank goodness it was on TNT. They did an excellent job with a terribly poor race. A poor telecast and a poor race would have caused me to turn the racket off immediately. The fact that I did watch it to the end says a lot for TNT.

Fed UP said...

TNT gave very good RACE coverage..not the entertainmnet schtick that Fox likes to dole out.

The announcers were professional and unabiased in their coverage. Great use of the pit reporters, and I loved the shots of the the whole field.

That being said, Pocono is still WAY TO LONG...but if they keep TNT covering Pocono, I can stand it.

this week..i'll remember to watch racebuddy. Thanks rock!

Anonymous said...

What was up with Wally in the pre show making his pick for the race? Mr Stat guy himself or like a computer I think he called himself. Who was off screen yelling the stats to him? If you claim to be that involved in statistics, maybe you should memorize them for the broadcast.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:14PM,

Wally was trying to be funny and it failed. He was pretending that the TV guys talking to him in his earpiece were giving him the information.

Nice try, but it looked idiotic on-camera.


Anonymous said...

I don't want to have to multi-task with different media to be informed and enjoy a race. I watched the old TV broadcasts for many years and enjoyed them, and I can't understand why Fox and ESPN can't present races as well as they used to do.

TNT presented a coherent broadcast that allowed me to understand and enjoy the race. I don't mind Pocono as a track, and the whole experience was a great way to spend the afternoon.

Kyle and Wallie are my favorite commentators. I enjoy spending an afternoon with them, unlike some others who mainly annoy me to the point of anger.

THANKS to TNT for a good broadcast. They are head and shoulders above ESPN and Fox.

Anonymous said...

RACEBUDDY!! All you need!!

Anonymous said...

I loved how TNT brought Carl Edwards into the studio.

You all better get used to Carl. Clearly this guy is going to be the next DW -- driver who when he retires goes straight to the booth.

KoHoSo said...

Anonymous 12:40...

I too was highly impressed with how smooth and insightful Carl was especially doing what he did with no preparation...and I say that as somebody that is by no means an Edwards fan. The only problem is that we've got a long way to go before Carl retires, two or three more seasons of DW, and goodness knows how many more of Marty "Coffin in the Nail" Reid.

Also...if we want Carl in the booth in the future, I wonder if he would be really interested in that. He seems to have a lot of other interests outside of the sport (his recording studio comes to mind).

It is nice to think about, though. After all, I was not a big Benny Parsons fan when he raced but I sure loved him in the booth.

bowlalpo said...

Re Wally's pick-to-win gaffe...I think it was a play on Bill Weber's "you don't have to look it up because we already did" statistics at the end of his CTG shows. Sadly, like Weber, the person who looked it up for Wally didn't give Wally the memo.