Sunday, June 19, 2011

TV Police: Sprint Cup Series On TNT From Michigan


Nothing says Detroit horsepower like the 1975 Ford Gran Torino used in the Starsky & Hutch TV series. It was supposed to be a Chevy Camaro, but a last minute switch led to some quality exposure for the Ford brand.

David Starsky and Ken Hutchinson were two street-smart detectives who used "Zebra 3" on the radio. Huggy Bear and Capt. Dobey kept things interesting between car chases and a wide variety of stunts that mostly involved crashing non-Ford brand vehicles.

While there was not much crashing at MIS, the investigation into what went on is going to require high speeds. Once again, the only real battle on the track was for clean air and all the other passing was on pit road. Tensions were high on green flag stops.

TNT presented a clean and neat pre-race show. Solid interviews with Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards mixed with a nice Pride of NASCAR feature on AJ Foyt. Lindsay Czarniak is not a NASCAR person, but uses her TV skills to direct traffic and keep things flowing. This show was well-paced and loaded with information.

Adam Alexander has more a a conversational tone in the TNT booth as opposed to the excited style of Rick Allen on the truck series. Alexander meshes will with Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach, but the continuing perspective of having two drivers in the booth leaves a bit lacking perhaps.

Larry McReynolds used to contribute a lot more during the race itself, but this season he just seems to be pointing at the cutaway car and speaking with Czarniak during recaps. His perspective on race strategy is missed.

TNT has done a fine job of showing large groups of cars during the racing action and going very wide on the restarts. The scoring ticker is easy to read and runs at a nice pace. Pictures were not as nice as Pocono, but perhaps the overcast weather played a role.

Alexander and company hit a flat spot about two-thirds of the way through the race. Without Larry McReynolds to pump-up the group, the energy level plummeted. This was also the stretch that featured two minute plus commercials almost every five minutes. If not for RaceBuddy, it was kind of a challenge to stay focused.

The TNT pit reporters did their best to add drama and excitement to the final series of green flag pit stops. It was lucky that the race itself was able to crank-up the strategy issues with a late caution. The TNT pit reporters have been solid.

TNT went to a late commercial under green with 14 laps to go. They hid the lap counter when they returned. Then, a caution came out. TV commercial break luck was not good at the end of the race.

Once again it was a wideshot for the finish, but TNT cut to it late. At least the network has erased the memory of FOX and the "drama" of just the winner. Fuel mileage races are certainly not exciting, but there is usually a little bump of excitement at the end. We can be sure that MIS is going to be on the schedule forever.

The final moment for TNT was the decision to leave the air seven minutes early to play the same preview reel viewers saw last week for TNT shows. Lots of key interviews were not done. While RaceBuddy presented a post-race show, that left TV-only viewers out in the cold.

This post will serve to host your TV race recap comments on the TNT presentation of the Sprint Cup Series race from MIS. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop.

43 comments:

Roland said...

That was not a TNT quality broadcast. There were spots in the race where the booth was talking about 1 thing while the cameras showed another car. They were talking Denny Hamlin while showing Joey Logano, they were talking about a battle for the lead while the cameras showed the 39 ride around for 2 laps.

Adam doesn't mesh really well with Kyle and Wally. There was no play by play throughout the race. They mostly just talked. They just chatted about whatever they wanted to talk about. At least with this crew they talk about the race, not hall of fames or sponsors. Adam didnt really call the race. Kyle talked nonstop about Denny Hamlin for 3 straight laps at one point. Its not that I really have a problem with this strategy, but when theyre 4 wide on a restart get up and call it with some excitement. Dont scream just do your job.

Now to the commercials. They absolutely killed this race. They would go to a break, come back and wouldnt even stay long enough to put the ticker up so we knew what lap it was. When they came to the final restart and they said there was 5 laps to go I was shocked. I had no idea what lap it was. The commercials made it impossible to keep up with what was going on. I have never seen so many commercials in my life. That was absolutely uncalled for and insulting to the fans. I love TNT, but that sucked.

Buschseries61 said...

A below average day for TNT.

The excessive commercial interuption was the big problem that frustrated many, including myself. Without RaceBuddy, it's difficult to feel the flow of the race with a commercial every 5 laps.

The booth was another problem today. Adam Alexander is a skilled reporter, but continues to struggle with play-by-play. He lacks energy and focus where it is needed the most in long green flag runs. There has to be a strong lead announcer to drive the broadcast.

The three in the booth didn't mesh well. Petty tends to ramble more than last season. The closing chatter between Alexander & Petty seemed a little uncomfortable and awkward.

TNT left early yet again for no reason. I don't care if they want to save material for NASCAR.com. It seems rude to abandon NASCAR early to promote their own shows.

The pictures and camera shots were great, including the great shot of the finish. The pit reporters were strong, even stronger than the FOX team. The post-race interviews were outstanding, ESPN should take note. They present no agenda, ask simple questions, and the let drivers talk. The result is some memorable quotes. Ralph Sheheen stood out the most, he injected energy into the race when it was needed.

Sam said...

Way,way, way too much Juneyer coverage. No need to interview the 21st place finisher when he was a non factor today. Other than that solid coverage. But Adam did make a few mistakes.

Mike (Detroit) said...

That new alien show looks pretty good, :) Hope everyone had fun watchin the race, Ole Michigan weather held up good for a change.

OSBORNK said...

It might just be me but it seems like the enthusiasm has dropped in the broadcast booth as well as on the race track. Where has the excitement gone? The drivers, crew chiefs, commentators and pit reporters seem to just be doing their job and nothing more. I think the fans see it and it shows by their actions and the empty seats.

I felt the coverage of this race was a very average C and nothing more. They covered the race like C-Span covers congress.

Anonymous said...

I agree with much of what has already been posted. I'm not a fan of Petty, but I thought he made excellent points today regarding the technical aspects of what was happening on the track. Unfortunately, he occaisonally gets long winded taking minutes (many laps) to complete his thoughts. The commercials were a factor but the booth and production truck were often on different pages. They definitely weren't as good as they were at Pocono. Thanks JD for giving me a chance to voice my opinions.

Charlie said...

I spent 195 laps getting RaceBuddy to work. Had to remove IE 9 and go back to IE 8 to get it to work.

It would be nice if Nascar.com could setup a place you could go during the week to test RaceBuddy to see if you can run it on your computer.

This is a new computer I got last Monday and was very much looking forward to using RaceBuddy for the first time.

Anonymous said...

That was one of the worst races I have watched. More commercials than racing, commentors were awful and race boring. NASCAR better wake up. Very little racing anymoe

Also everyone needs to remember many NASCAR fans do not have access to online where most of the information is now. If all I had was tv, I would have stopped watching races long ago.

Sophia said...

I REALLY MISS Ralph S in the booth with Wally & Kyle.

MUCH better chemistry & chemistry can be everything in the race. I was busy enjoying the great wide angle shots (even tho picture quality was lacking as I mentioned earlier & JD alluded that it might be weather)

Not to harp on AA but he is not a good fit & I'd rather Larry Mac be used in the booth!!! or Ralph & AA on pit road.

TNT booth seemed more like "Genuine fun" in the booth before A joined them...nothing against Adam, I am sure he is a nice guy...but chemistry is either there or it is not.

Cannot predict or force it.

Austin said...

Absolutely terrible coverage by TNT, way too many commercials.

KoHoSo said...

I had already moved over to ABC to watch the IndyCar race at Milwaukee but it was still very disappointing to read that TNT bailed out early again just to promote itself. In a race where, right or wrong, many here and on Twitter were complaining about the amount of commercials...well, if I were NASCAR, I would be picking up the phone to TNT's headquarters to vehemently complain about not taking the opportunity to interview more drivers and fill up the promised time.

Overall, I still find it hard to complain about TNT when Fox and ESPN are so bad. Still, TNT's timing seemed to be off for most of the day and I agree that the whole broadcast went flat in the latter portions. Yes, MIS does not always bring us the most exciting racing but, then again, it is the job of the crew to liven things up and stay on top of things.

No, this was not the best TNT effort I have ever seen. Still, I have to admit that, after half a season's worth of abuse from Fox, I just can't get motivated to really go on the warpath against TNT.

Anonymous said...

Overall this was the worst race of the season, I was so excited for TNT's return, last week they did good but this week big F from me. There is no chemistry between these guys. They seemed to be contantly struggling to find something to say, which to a viewer means, this race is this boring. Less rambling and more focusing on the race. And please guys, learn which driver is in which car it is annoying when you are talking about one and showing another. As for the commercials UNBELIEVABLE, I was lost the entire last segment of the race, found myself sitting on twitter to get the info as it happened.

Anonymous said...

Too much commercials.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

Race=Dont know, dont care

Telecast=Dont know, dont care


JD you oughta do either Adam-12 or Hill Street Blues as your next TV police.

starrcade76 said...

If Fox had produced the broadcast today, I'd imagine the comments here would be full of people swearing off FOX and NASCAR......only to return the following week.

The guys in the booth seemed almost distracted at times, with frequent lulls between someone talking.

I think the commercial load makes it tough for the broadcasts to get into any rhythm. Somewhat like it is on drive-time radio. On there they have to hit weather, traffic, and news so often there isn't much of a chance for entertaining discussion inbetween. As can be the case with the commercials on TNT.

Anonymous said...

I will take the camera work over fox/espn, the booth over fox/espn, the pit reporters over fox/espn, etc. any day of the week. The only problems I had with this telecast were nascar's fault (race too long, cot, another fuel mileage run) and too many commercials. I still was able to sit down at the tv and enjoy the telecast of the "race". MC

AncientRacer said...

@ Charlie

There is something amiss with IE9. I do not know what, but I bought a magic jack thing and it said specifically not to use IE9. I had already put it in so I had to remove it and put back IE8 too.

-------------------

As for the race I was almost exclusive;y Racebuddy today and I liked it a lot. Was kind of like directing my own broadcast -- which pleased my not inconsiderable, and wholly unmodified by Ego, Id.

I agree with those who have said the pictures on the television machine were not as good as Pocono (that part of Pocono I was not sleeping through), but I will gladly take a decent race with poorer pictures (not FOX poor, mind) over a snoozer with great pictures.

Couple of people have said they thought the booth and nearly everyone was kind of subdued. I agree with that, too, but I thought it was me. I am happy to know others thought so as well.

So far TNT has done a much better job than FOX, and after the Speed pre-race I heard (blessedly) not a single word from or about Ole DW. I am, though, disappointed more use was not made of Larry Mac.

As for the Jr. interview I found him somewhat peevish. Not because they interviewed him (he is, after all, the fan favorite rehardless of how he performs) but because he had to go and poke at Mark whose greatest sin was he slid up the track -- something he essentially predicted he would do before the race when he said he had his car set up for an overcast day.

Overall better than FOX without Racebuddy. With Racebuddy a fine waste of time on a Sunday.

GinaV24 said...

Not a great race broadcast by TNT, but still head and shoulders above Fox. I prefer no agenda in the booth and the tv truck.

I'd also prefer Ralph S in the booth, instead of Adam and I agree that aimless talking about nothing should not take the place of PXP.

Michicag is always a bore IMO - thank goodness for racebuddy at least I could see more than one view AND not miss as much when TNT went to the really seriously overblown commercial load they insist on.

OSBORNK said...

Charlie: I have IE9 on my laptop and Racebuddy works fine. I installed Windows 7 Home Premium to replace the horrid Vista a couple of months ago.

FloridaMatt said...

@ Charlie & AncientRacer:

Two words: Google Chrome

rich said...

Sure, once again it was not perfect but it was watchable. Of course you have to find something to do during the long long and many many commercial breaks (thankfully we have racebuddy).
But in about a month we will be wishing for TNT's return once Walt Disney takes over.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

Gina

Michigan Hasn't always been a bore they have seen their share of competitive races.

Adam Wood said...

Michigan is a tough race and broadcast. Attendance of the race looked horrible. If it weren't for the manufacturers, I think Michigan would be on the chopping block for losing a race.

Commercials killed this race. Perfect demonstration race for the argument for side-by-side commercialism for the whole race, every race.

Fed UP said...

All in all, not a bad race. IMO, the lulls appeared when there was very little action on the track-or what was shown to us. Again, I think its not so much that the actual race is boring, but t.v. doesn't necessarily translate well with motor sports.
Michigan is a historic track, however, I'd like to see them add some banking and take out some of the track. My point is when driver's like driving a particular track, its time to change the track to something that they don't like. Make them work for it.
Wonder if they are going to check out denny's car to make sure that JGR isn't using unapproved parts?
Not a bad broadcast. I am not watching speed pre-race until dW is gone. Can't stand him.
I'd rather have two watkins glen, or a road america rather than sonoma. But at least TNT should make it better.

Zieke said...

Feel a little sorry for TNT having to do a boring Michigan race. You can't pass according to the drivers so once they get past a restart, the field gets way spread out. At least we didn't have to listen to Speed gush over Waltrip. How sickening was that?

longtimeracefan said...

Didn't watch the TNT broadcast. Didn't need to. Saw a very compelling RaceBuddy stream that kept me involved from pre-race to post-race. Followed @TheDalyPlant and @jeff_gluck twitter feeds and live chats. Saw things online that TV viewers did not. It's NASCAR 2.0 folks, get used to it, cheer it on. It's happening. Excellent, exciting day of NASCAR racing.

GWC Editor said...

I know its been said multiple times before but there was way to many commercials. I lost my noodles when they came back from break, showed the 11 almost turn his crew member into road kill, then go back to break. Every 5 laps it seemed like they went to commercial. I found myself very aggravated with them.

As for camera shots and the rest of the production... It was alright. Its nice to see which turn a car is in when the camera is focused in on it. Something I couldn't say about the Fox shots.

One tweet summarized it all up: "I felt like I was watching commercials interrupted by racing"

And @odsteve Senior VP NASCAR tweeted "Message recieved on commercials" Hopefully TNT learned that the fans arent enjoying watching commercials. One thing TNT can say though... They certainly are paying the bills fine.

Anonymous said...

I thought the broadcast was descent other than the amount of commercials. I still feel that Nascar needs to do something about this current race car because Its obvious that they can't pass at these big tracks. The old car always provided great racing on these big tracks so it gotta be this new car that's making the 1.5-2 mile tracks look bad.

MortonGroveDon said...

Always cracks me up when people cant wait for Fox to end and TNT to take over. When will the "cant wait for ESPN" to start. I saw the first 20 laps before work, figured I wouldnt miss much. MIS isnt what it used to be either.

glenc1 said...

It seems like every time we run at a track where the field gets spread out, people start complaining about how 'boring' it is. This is what a race on a long track IS, and always has been, it's not a short track. Races were sometimes won by lapping the *field* back in the day. Fans have gotten a little spoiled...I thought this was pretty good as Michigan races go, and I bet there were things we never saw. I have to believe the powers at be are always going to think they can only show cars in the top ten.

I do agree there was a little too much random chitchat. Kyle needs to stop 'justifying' his comments, he's being paid to give his opinion, he should stop apologizing for it. Generally I like what he has to say. And some people have said Wally is irrelevent because he isn't involved in racing anymore. Well, he must be doing his homework, because he keeps saying stuff that sounds like he does know what he's talking about--at least as much as DW.

I keep thinking 'would I like Adam more if we hadn't heard Ralph for those races.' I do agree, he could use some work. Sometimes it's like he just doesn't know what to say and does lack that 'Rick Allen' enthusiasm. If he loves racing it should come across.

Only other thing troubling me (aside from the endless ads) was the end--too many bumper cams on the last few laps that do not show perspective.

Anonymous said...

Adam Alexander is a snooze, the HD color was dull (maybe it was my cable, but the commercials were fine), and the announcers didn't follow up on a lot that was happening.
How is this group going to keep up with the more complex strategies next week at Sonoma?
Just a sad day all around with the blah racing, non-existent crowd and dull coverage.

Anonymous said...

Wally did make a number of factual points throughout the broadcast. As a matter of fact, he parroted the points word for word what was said in the pre race broadcasts. The intermediate length tracks are made for boredom. The cars get spread out because if you miss the set up, you fall back. Spread out racing means fewer cautions. Fewer cautions and you wind up with just a few cars on the lead lap. No mystery here. Happens all the time. I agree, for MIS, it wasn't as bad as it usually is.

The Mad Man said...

Since I was at my dad's we tuned in around Lap 120. My dad asked "Where are all the race cars? This is a race isn't it?". All we saw was Denny Hamlin on the screen until there were green flag pit stops. That was enough for my dad to say "Let's go have dinner and celebrate Father's Day". That was more exciting and interesting than the race was.

West Coast Diane said...

TNT is better than FOX.

However....

I have been using HotPass previously to watch races. I usually DVR the FOX/TNT race also in case my driver crashes out.

This weekend with the US Open on the same time, I made decision to DVR TNT instead of HP.

If it wasn't for Twitter, not sure I would have known what was going on. They seem to lose flow of the race and forget to follow up on points raised.

Example...unless I missed it. Larry Mac does piece on changing out sway bar on JJ's car. I don't believe after that I ever heard another comment about how it went, other than seeing he was 2 laps down on ticker. Found out thru Twitter that Chad chose not to take wave around when they got lucky dog. But nary a word on TV.

I was so bored...too many commercials too often. Wonder what @odsteve meant when he tweeted " heard you loud and clear on commercials".

I actually put DVR on first FF and watched race like that until I saw something that interested me.

Personally, we may be seeing the demise of a great sport. Maybe not now, or next year, but somewhere down the road.

I am losing my desire to spend hours watching something that isn't as enjoyable, exciting, and fun as it once seemed to be.

TV's desire to focus on a few drivers, even when it is mine, is maddening. Landon Cassill had an incredible finish...who knew, unless you watched ticker and checked the final standings.

John, wouldn't blame you for shutting down this blog. Time invested, troll aggravation, crap from TV folks when you tell the truth as well as the advent of other social media outlets to make opinions known are all valid points.

Haven't posted much, but always read. Will miss it, but totally understand.

OSBORNK said...

West Coast Diane said we might be seeing the demise of a great sport. I tend to somewhat agree. I read the Bristol, Va/Tn newspaper every day. Since Bristol is home to a major NASCAR track, the paper used to devote a lot of the sports pages to the NASCAR race of the week. It now has a few small articles during the week. This morning, the coverage of the Michigan race consisted of a picture on page 3 of Denny Hamlin crossing the finish line and a few short paragraphs about the race that took up maybe 1/6 of the page, including the picture.

NASCAR racing is no longer a priority locally. The excitement we used to feel in the air on the raceweeks at Bristol is no longer there.

Anonymous said...

With the news today that fox is looking to move races to speed as soon as next yr combined with tnt's usually uninspired broadcasts and espn well doin what espn does i can only come to this conclusion...........the tv deal while good for the sanctioning body has been a disaster. 3 groups who dont wanna work together is not a good thing.. The fox-nbc/turner deal was fantastic and had a great flow that led to record ratings......the big issue however was and is nascar and even the networks expecting those raings forever..

As for this weekends coverage.......meh i watch every race regardless cause im a fan but my god is tnt boring....dull booth dull pictures....maybe its a product of he races they do but im not a fan of turners race coverage

Marty said...

@OSBORNK I think that's more a product of the decline in newspapers. I do think enthusiasm for NASCAR has declined, but most papers have shrunk and sports has taken a hit. Unless it's a local team beat, papers are cutting back. Many papers have dropped golf, auto racing, tennis, etc. reporters leaving it to a few wire reports. Recaps of events isn't enough anymore, as team beat writers can at least give you some more insight.

I'm not sure what the attendance was at MIS but I think it was better than the last couple of years. They tore down a couple old grandstands in turn 4 which cut down the capacity a little bit. When ISC bought the place, they greatly overbuilt as has happened at many tracks. Dover is a great example of that. MIS races vary from the mundane to the exciting. There's been some terrific races at MIS but they are outranked by the less exciting. For a real small crowd, check out the Indy race in Milwaukee!

As far as the TV coverage, the ads were awful. Last week was great, and this week was brutal. The coverage was disjointed. Good luck next week.

Bruce Ciskie said...

Alexander is a hell of a good pit reporter, but he is almost as bad in the booth as Jerry Punch proved to be.

Brutal broadcast yesterday, and the fact it was a typical Michigan "string 'em out" race didn't help matters one iota.

At this point, the number of networks I feel I can trust to bring a consistently good race broadcast sits at 0. That's a horrific thing for NASCAR to deal with, especially when it doesn't seem like they're really dealing with it.

GinaV24 said...

SBTF, i agree, before the cot car, the races were better, but now all cars run the same speed and it is the same as at a lot of tracks.

on sunday, i felt the same way as I have watching a race on TV ever since the iroc car came into the series - bored now.

Racebuddy at least lets me see more of the race even if TV doesn't and even if TNT is commercial heavy, although no more than Fox or ESPN, I am not aggravated listening to Kyle and Wally during the broadcast. I can't say that when either Fox or ESPN are providing the coverage.

Jonathan said...

I thought the race was great I love Michigan from start to finish! I dont understand how people say that race was a bore.. now next week that will be a bore! How can you not like Michigan??? They were racing all over the race track 2,3 wide sometimes 20 laps into a run... It does get spread out somewhat but thats a part of racing. The ending was damn good Kenseth was driving it for all he had trying the bottom the top It was great! Anyways sorry for that rant but about the coverage TNT did a great job, they cover what Fox does not the racing! I say 4 out of 5 stars great job TNT! I do agree with those who say R S would be better in the booth but Adam is alright its all good plus you have race buddy what more does a Nascar fan want???? Im satisfied and then some and I sure as heck dont remember saying that after many Fox races this year lol

West Coast Diane said...

Jonathan...it's not about the racing, it's about the coverage. The coverage makes it boring. I like Wally & Kyle. Adam, not so much. Just need to utilize cameras through out the field, keep us updated on the whole field and get rid of the toys.

Anonymous said...

How about tnt giving there race ratings out?? Never released pocono numbers

Daly Planet Editor said...

No overnight ratings info for MIS was released on Monday by TNT.

Since TDP does not pay for the service, we do not have that info yet.

No emails returned on that topic.