Saturday, July 9, 2011
TV Police: Sprint Cup Series From Kentucky Speedway On TNT
There was trouble in horse country. Kentucky Speedway had one story unfolding outside the track and another inside. It's going to take someone a little bit different to sort-out the real issues.
Adrian Monk used to be a policeman. Now, after some tough times he works as a private detective. The key issue is that he sees things very differently than most folks. That is going to be very important when we discuss the Sprint Cup Series race on TNT from Kentucky Speedway.
Perhaps, someone with his perspective can talk about two things happening at the same time over many hours both with incredible twists and turns. That was the situation in Kentucky on Saturday.
Lindsay Czarniak led Kyle Petty and Larry McReynolds though the pre-race show. Tony Stewart was the on-set guest and Terry Labonte was the Pride of NASCAR feature. It was a very normal show, except for the passing references from Czarniak to the issues with fans still in traffic and trying to get into the race.
Adam Alexander, Petty and Wally Dallenbach Jr. knew they were going to have a very different kind of night in the TV booth. They were right. TNT called it "enhanced audio" and it featured the announcers taking long breaks and letting the fans listen to elements like pit stops and restarts. It certainly has been done before.
This absence forced pit reporters to offer info well after the stops and the booth talent to go back and try to review how some teams got into different positions during the announcer silence. It was very different.
The pit reporters were Chris Neville, Matt Yocum, Marty Snider and Ralph Sheheen. This veteran team, including NASCAR rookie Neville, offered solid info when allowed and sometimes sounded rather frustrated at having live pit stop calls taken away.
The new approach by TNT clearly sacrificed some information during the race, but TNT settled down with 25 to go and handled the rest of the race in normal style. As many suggested, the track proved to be a rather calm single-file racing affair dependent on track position and fuel mileage.
The big issue that is certainly going to continue until the early morning hours on Sunday is the traffic. Fans reported being trapped in traffic headed into the speedway for over six hours as it creeped along. TNT pit reporter Ralph Sheheen, perhaps out of frustration, tweeted that fans were still trying to come into the track with only 90 laps left in the race.
This issue was broached only by Bruton Smith on SPEED's RaceDay. He complained about the state roads. It was never treated as a story or updated amid the hype for this first Sprint Cup Series race. After the transition to TNT, it was mentioned in the pre-race and then really never followed-up during the race.
Now, due to social media, the fans trapped in traffic were able to relay the problems via Twitter and Facebook. They took pictures, detailed the awful situation and told NASCAR reporters about the developing situation. That information never made it to the TV coverage.
Adding insult to injury, TNT missed the late Clint Bowyer spin due to a Sprint in-program sponsor plug that featured the in-car cameras that had been shoved down TV viewers throat's from the green flag. It was a rough night in TV land.
We welcome your comments on the TNT coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Kentucky Speedway. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below.