Sunday, July 17, 2011

TV Police: Sprint Cup Series From New Hampshire On TNT

Spenser was a real New Englander. A former Boston cop turned private eye, he lived a unique lifestyle that centered around the search for truth. Hawk was his sidekick who had his back when times got tough. They were real men, made no excuses and got to the bottom of things by doing what they had to do.

It was TNT's final race for 2011. This is year five of the "Summer six pack" on the network. Since the start of the coverage, some fans have loved the TNT style and some fans have hated the coverage from top to bottom.

Lindsay Czarniak hosted the pre-race show with Kyle Petty and Larry McReynolds. The program featured a solid interview with Kurt Busch on the TNT set and a well-produced feature on former driver/owner Cotton Owens.

Adam Alexander called the race with Wally Dallenbach Jr. and Petty in the TV booth. On pit road was Matt Yocum, Chris Neville, Marty Snider and Ralph Sheheen. These veterans have done a good job, although NASCAR rookie Neville has been earning his stripes dealing with angry drivers.

Larry McReynolds was moved to the cutaway car several times for updates during the race. Unfortunately, almost every single time something significant happened on the track. In the end, McReynolds wound-up looking foolish not only for the fundamental issue he was discussing, but for the coverage missing the action on the track.

Alexander has a casual style that resembles a reporter more than a true play-by-play announcer. But, his information is solid and he has no problem directing traffic. It just seems that he does not blend well with Petty and Dallenbach in the booth. It just feels awkward on the air.

Petty is a known commodity due to his regular TV work with SPEED, but Dallenbach is always a wild card as he is not connected to the sport except for these six races. Some enjoy his irreverent style, while others suggest his knowledge as an analyst is outdated.

TNT has brought the normal NASCAR TV struggles with commercial breaks and NHMS was no exception. Viewers have come to understand that this heavy level of commercial integration is now part and parcel of the sport.

The positive aspect was that the TNT races brought RaceBuddy with them. This online app will not be in use for the ESPN races and that is going to be a tough transition for fans. RaceBuddy gives TV viewers a workable alternative to continue watching the live racing during a commercial break.

The flat track of New Hampshire resulted in some early incidents before the race settled down into another fuel mileage contest. A late penalty on Dale Earnhardt Jr. upset many fans and TNT did not really follow-up on the specific pit violation.

The finish was without excitement and totally dominated by fuel. It was a tough way to close out the final NASCAR on TNT race for a network that lives on drama.

This post will serve to host your TV race wrap-up comments for the TNT coverage of the Sprint Cup Series from New Hampshire Motor Speedway. To add your TV-related comment, just click on the comment button below.


Roland said...

I go back to Tony Gibson's interview before the race where he said "we have to win today". Good win for a driver who earned it.

Well, its hard to judge the coverage when your just watching the pictures and listening to PRN. It was head and shoulders above the Kentucky coverage. I thought the coverage was decent. The commercial overload wasnt as bad at last week. They did struggle with not relaying information on drivers. And full screen replays during green flag racing still makes me mad. Overall still better than the coverage were going to get in the next 4 months. See ya next weekend.

Sophia said...

Didn't listen much but had tv on and the camera work seemed better than the trainwreck of in car cams "enhanced sound junk" of last week.

Great shot of camera work at the finish line & the drop down graphics! but as usual, TNT rushed off the air which was a bummer . . .

KoHoSo said...

I've seen better form TNT and I've seen worse. Poor follow-up on important and contending drivers was the most notable of the bad side of things for me today.

I just want it understood...I'm not asking TNT (or the other two) to tell every little thing about every single car. There is just so much time during a race wasted with useless babble that I don't see why we can't get updates on drivers that have suddenly gained or lost a ton of track position.

Anyway...I am coming to the sad realization that not even TNT is going to be a yearly oasis from the utter epic fail that is Fox and ESPN...and that my tolerance for the Mickey Mouse gang is probably not going to make it through the end of the season unless there are major improvements with their coverage.

Buschseries61 said...

I only saw the final 60 laps, but it was much better than the Kentucky experiment.

Thanks to TNT for RaceBuddy and Wide Open Daytona coverage. TNT is the only network not afraid of change. The Kentucky audio was a miss, but everybody learned and moved on. Thanks to TNT for constantly providing great shots at the finish and solid coverage with 'through the field'.

JD, I agree with you on the awkward interaction between Alexander & his partners in the booth. Alexander's parting speech kinda left out the obvious, Dallenbach was quick to remind him. These guys need some work if nothing changes next summer.

Kyle Steffen said...

NO POST RACE!!!! REALLY???? When you said they were off air in ten minutes I thought they would try and get as many driver interviews in as possible. That was not the case and it was disappointing.

GinaV24 said...

TNT is still the best of the 3 TV partners, even when they don't do a great job. At least they usually cover things without the bias that is so obvious with Fox and ESPN.

They started out really great for the first 2 races but slowly missed the boat during the middle 5 Daytona is an anomaly because they use the side by side commercial coverage and its a RP track. The coverage for KY was awful. I thought they did a better job today - at least I didn't have a major meltdown at the TV coverage, but I did channel surf away during the commercials. I just refuse to watch this many commercials on any of the stations.

Adam Alexander just isn't a PXP guy, not as bad as Marty Reid will be, but he doesn't excite me with calling the race and TNT is the place where a real PXP person could have a role.

I will miss racebuddy. It is absolutely the best thing going to follow a race broadcast. With ESPN taking over, I don't know that I'll be watching the races on TV much, I'll probably just use my computer, this blog and twitter to follow the races.

Sally said...

It's difficult for me to judge the TNT coverage, since race Buddy makes a HUGE difference. I'm not limited by what TV producers 'allow' me to see of the race, and I can keep track of the entire picture. If for no other reason, TNT is head and shoulders above any other coverage. Thank you.

RvNGrammy said...

Heard Kurt Busch was pushed across the finish line. True? And possibly others? True? Where is the coverage?

GinaV24 said...

Yep no follow up with the post race at all. Gotta get to the all important movie Varsity Blues! Can't miss a minute.

Anonymous said...

TNTs rush to get off the air to some movie rerun has been a constant blemish on its NASCAR coverage.
ESPN, for all its many faults, at least gives a decent post-race Sportscenter after their race coverage. Hopefully the addition of Lindsay Czarniak will improve the post-race coverage even further.

Anonymous said...

Driver 48...driver___...
How does this guy (AA) have a job in communications?
And I'm a KuBu fan, but even I know your teammate can't push you on the last lap.

James said...

Well after being told in the pre race that Bruton Smith "profusely appologized" during his press conference which was an absolute lie by Wendy, I lost interest. Kyle Petty mumbled his way through the Cotton Owens pride of NASCAR piece. Larry Mac gave us a diction lesson as to the pronunciation of the driver of the Miller ride. The race was run and again in the last 30 laps we were treated to a lenghty commercial from TNT for the second week in a row. What turned into a fuel milage race was as boring as one could stand to watch and the booth did little to keep our interests. I thought TNT started out so well and then just gave up the last two races. I wonder when NASCAR will finally tell these networks if they can not do justice to the"show" do not bid on the rights. Lots of luck on all that. I guess we need to suck it up and get ready for the ESPN debacle, sure to be had till seasons end!

Adam Wood said...

As soon as the checkered flag flew I went to the World Cup Final, but as for the race I think it was a solid broadcast. Effective coverage and showing of everything that was important for the race broadcast. I think the booth could have been a little more exciting, but overall a far better broadcast I'm looking forward to with ESPNothing.

Tracy D said...

I have to admit, the loud background noise on TNT made their coverage impossible for us to hear Kyle Petty et al. All we got was mumble, mumble, roar, roar, mumble, mumble. Very annoying.
Glad to see TNT go.

Anonymous said...

Ughhhhh here comes ESPN for 18 weeks.

Anonymous said...

Goodbye TNT. Thank you for your coverage. I hope I am still around for your coverage next year. For the first time, while watching the nationwide race, I got really sad. Hardly anybody in the stands, the tv coverage was poor, the racing was poor, not a full field, start and park, sponsors leaving, coverage only of the cup drivers, idiot nascar rulings (such as having a champion that is actually in what? maybe fifth place?) Cup drivers driving out nationwide drivers, the list goes on and on. Thank goodness nascar is on top of all this. I would hate to see where we would be without their wonderful guidance. Thank goodness nascar listened to the fans and gave us the chase, the cot, fuel milage racing, commercials, commercials, commercials. As always, thank you JD. MC

Flooflox said...

I don't believe Kurt got a push until after he'd crossed the finish line. You could see Brad coasting up behind him waiting for that moment.

I felt the shot selection was much better than last week. Sometimes the announcers were hard to hear over the engine sound.

I like Wally's style. I think Adam is out of his depth though I have nothing against him. I'd prefer to hear Alan Bestwick call the races.

Anonymous said...

We enjoyed TNTs run this year.Having just come off a terrible run with Fox,anything is an improvment.Nice to be able to listen to the guys in the booth. Fox seems to want to go along with the same old nonsense from DW so we think even ESPN will be better than that.

Anonymous said...

I thought TNT's first race coverage was very good but that each race thereafter got worse and worse.Yesterday was the first race this season I didn't watch in its entirety. I turned it off for probably 40% of the race, not because of the race, but I just couldn't stand listening to the three guys in the booth. AA will probably never make it. He has no idea what's really happening out on the track. I've been exposed to Wally way before he dabbled in Nascar racing. His father was also a formidable Indy car racer before joining the CART management team. Wally and Petty just talk too much. Things happen so fast on a one mile track. Two guys can't have a five minute conversation about some trivial point. I could tolerate Petty if he just crisped up his delivery. Lindsay has been flat during the pre race for the last few shows. WAY too many commercials kill the momentum and the bums rush to everyone as the Network scrambles to get off the air leaves one lacking. Sadly, not much will probably be different when ESPN/ABC takes over.

AllisonJ said...

It must have been "bring your kid to work day" in the TNT audio booth for the last six Sundays. A complete and utter joke. Music and track noise up 9dB over 0, voices -9dB under 0. Thank God for PRN.

Seriously, does anyone at TNT watch/listen their own stuff? They're actually worse than Versus.

Les said...

"The finish was without excitement"

We caught a half-second glimpse of what looked like a very exciting finish, with seemingly half the field running out of gas in turn 4.

I would have loved to see what happened there, but the TV crew was already on their way to the airport.

red said...

for the record: i'm a nascar fan who is also a passionate soccer fan. so i watched all the world cup pre-match programming and then the match on tv with RaceBuddy on the lap top. after all. a world cup final is one game in four years and we still have racing over the next many weekends.

for me, the very best part of TNT's time covering nascar is having access to RaceBuddy and if I could watch every race that way, i would. many thanks to TNT for not only continuing, but expanding, the technology and providing me with an authentic alternative to being linked to a tv during race weekend.

i'm not sure how i'll deal with the balance of the season. my driver's doing better than in previous years, there's some real competition for the championship but i just can't seem to get fired up anymore about watching nascar on tv. i suspect it's the result of too many seasons of horrendous broadcasts from the media partners.

one comment about women's world cup and nascar: most of my nascar twitter buddies have been great about respecting another sport. but a couple of our media seemed surprisingly arrogant about soccer and the athletes who participate. it's a bit like the way non-nascar fans dismiss our sport and i'm not gonna lie: it was very hurtful yesterday to read those comments. i would have thought that having been on the receiving end of people disparaging one's sport would have created some tolerance (if not respect) for the athletes involved in another. i'm fine with folks not liking soccer, i've even come to expect that. but to dismiss the performance of the athletes and the passion of the fans was uncalled for and arrogant.

so, it's a good moment that we have the trucks and nationwide next weekend because i'm thinking at least one of those two broadcasts will be solid.

robbiejr said...

TNT spent 44% of the race showing commercials. That seems like a lot to me. Like I said during the live chat, TNT's new motto should be "TNT...we know commercials".

West Coast Diane said...

Red said: "...i just can't seem to get fired up anymore about watching nascar on tv. i suspect it's the result of too many seasons of horrendous broadcasts from the media partners".

Red, totally agree with that statement. Like someone else said, maybe, for me, it is age. If you watched practice, quals, race day shows & race, that is just too many hours invested for too many weeks.

Thank God for the DVR.

We watched the British Open everyday (on DVR) so I checked on practice thru Twitter & Jayski. Quals I FF'd in about 15 minutes.

I don't watch prerace shows unless I see something mentioned on Twitter or TDP. I totally can't take Kenny Wallace anymore.

Regarding the race. We watched the Open in 2 sittings, over coffee in am and dinner in PM. So late afternoon I watched the race on HotPass using FF during the follow the leader single file racing. Watched restarts until things got strung out. Got through the race in 1 1/2 hours. My husband comes in for updates, then watches maybe the last 10 or 20 laps. About all he can take.

For the umpteenth time. Please reduce the number of people in the "booths". Two or three in announce booth and maybe 1 or 2 to do periodic race recaps for late joiners or to give announce booth a break. Pre race shows 30 minutes, except maybe Daytona 500 since it is beginning of season.

NASCAR, please shorten races except for Daytona 500, Coke 600. Ok to have some "major" events, but rest of races should be 300 to 400 max. How about heat races for quals, TV would probably get more viewers. Same for shorter races.

All broadcasts should provide a Race Buddy app to enhance viewing for those wishing to watch live.

I never would have believed I would have stopped watching or listening to MLB, NFL & NBA. But I did.

NASCAR is getting pretty close to joining those other sports.

bowlalpo said...

I watched via DVR, which I've only had for a month. But in that month my viewing happiness quotient has increased exponentially, and now I watch just about everything via DVR. Not even RaceBuddy would have gotten me to sit through the myriad dances of the 3G Flash Mob moron, even looking at him through one eye.

One big suggestion...NASCAR needs to use a little F1 TV-graphic technology, such as showing 8-or-10 at a time instead of a slow crawl. ('Don't know what three letters of the drivers' names they'd use, though!)

More importantly, they need to (and I can't see how hard it would be to) add a "Race Control" graphic as they have in F1 to inform the audience of penalties.

This would have helped with the 88's penalty yesterday and would also satisfy fans of lesser teams when they get penalized, when normally the P x P man would almost never mention a speeding penalty for a backmarker.

After cautions, just before the green, there ought to be some graphic with a complete pit summary (who got 2 tires, gas only, who stayed out), along with the lucky dog and wave-arounds. The pit exit graphic isn't enough. I know that this is done now on a partial basis, but at least make a complete list of the lead lap cars and even maybe those vying for the next lucky dog.

Palmetto said...

bowlalpo, I saw such a graphic this weekend, although I don't remember which race; it wasn't the Trucks. It showed who had the 'free pass', how many cars took the 'wave around', cars on the lead lap, and at least one other stat. It was as unexpected as Fox's unannounced 'side by side' experiment, and just as welcome.

Anonymous said...

RaceBuddy Overall = A
Commentary = B-
Commercials = C- factoring in Daytona WideOpen which is an A

Pre Race = B+
Post Race TV = C
Post Race on RaceBuddy = B

Marylee in Richmond said...

I know this is sort of late, but.... Don't know if RobbieJR's statistic of 44% commercials is correct, but it seemed that way to me. AND, not commercials on products, but commercials on other TNT shows! And, every time they came back to the action [well, for the 30 minutes or so I was able to watch], there had been an event and were under caution!
I like this group of guys in the booth, but am totally turned off by the poor visual COVERAGE of the actual racing. AND, how often there isn't even a "crawl" to show who is where on the track.