Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Post-Race Comments: Sprint Cup Series From Watkins Glen On ESPN

Rain delayed the Sprint Cup Series race on ESPN from Watkins Glen until Monday morning.

On this delayed coverage, ESPN does not have the Infield Pit Studio and Tech Garage. The telecast was simply the trio in the TV booth and the pit road reporters.

Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree called the race. On pit road were Dr. Jerry Punch, Shannon Spake, Vince Welch and Dave Burns.

The race coverage was straightforward and basic. The early laps featured a wet track and foggy conditions. Once the fog lifted, the real racing started after the halfway mark when the race was official.

ESPN stayed focused on the battles and stories within the field. There were few distractions as the sequence of green flag pit stops and lead changes was the order of the day.

A crash involving Kurt Busch featured ESPN using an in-car angle of the accident, including the impact on the driver. The producer waited until Kurt was out of the car and walking around to show this angle. Busch was also interviewed.

Denny Hamlin had a hard crash while coverage was in commercial break. Hamlin's accident was replayed numerous times and a follow-up interview was done.

The final lap of the race featured a large crash in the back of the field that involved at least one car rolling over. ESPN stayed with live coverage of the race for the lead until the caution flag was displayed.

Replays documented how the final lap accident occurred. This was one of the hardest road course crashes involving multiple cars in years. ESPN interviewed the winner of the race and also the drivers involved in the accident.

A skirmish in the pits involving Boris Said was also documented. ESPN remained live on-site and provided very complete post-race coverage.

This post will serve to host your comments on the ESPN coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Watkins Glen. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for stopping by.


West Coast Diane said...

No fuss no muss! Every race should be telecast this way.

Not going to nitpick on some things that could have been better. The usual suspects.

Post race...outstanding!!

Thanks ESPN...keep working on it.

Anonymous said...

as I stated on the other blog - this "Have at em Boys" has gone to the next level. Fist fights at a residence or supermarket? Boris should lose his hard card. It went too far. Perhaps The Biff also went too far also but he didnt make any dumb comments that we know of.

Roadgeek Adam said...

Yes, Boris took it way too far in my opinion, but this seems like a rivalry gotten majorly out of hand. At list Boris and Greg will be at different tracks next week.

Anonymous said...

I have complete confidence in AB calling the race and in keeping me informed but I still get very frustrated when they use the bumper cams that show me basically nothing. As usual I found myself yelling at the tv every time they do this.

Anonymous said...

"Seems like everybody , drivers, commentators, are piling on Boris. I don't see how Boris did anything wrong. "

Boris raced rough at the Glen last year and caused problems.

Daly Planet Editor said...

This is not a thread about Boris. Please direct your comments to the TV coverage provided by ESPN.


Roadgeek Adam said...

As for the ESPN telecast, that was one hell of a race to disect, I can't blame Allen for handling three different things at once. The cameramen had their work cut out for them on Lap 92.

Zetona said...

It felt like there were way too many commercials, and they all fell at the wrong time. ESPN missed several pit stops, lead changes and Hamlin's wreck because of commercials, and it didn't help that they often came back from breaks with an in-car shot or a Sprint promo. They also focused almost exclusively on the front few cars for long stretches early in the race, which made everything a bit hard to follow.

They improved a lot by the end of the race, though. The post-race was excellent; lots of interviews and replays.

Anonymous said...

Race coverage is far better with AB leading the way. I only wish it hadn't taken ESPN so long to put him where he belongs.

The Monday broadcast was better because it had fewer ESPN talking heads trying to justify their salaries. ESPN needs to cut back on the number of on-air personalities. AB does such a good job keeping things up do date that the other infield crew contributes nothing. I would be happy to see the cutaway car disappear as well. I would much prefer to see just the three man crew in the booth and some good pit reporters.

I lost all respect for Boris Said a few years back after he was involved in an incident with Marcos Ambrose on a road course. In an appearance on NASCAR now, Ambrose first appeared wearing a Said-head wig and a "let's put this behind us and move on" attitude. Said responded with a belligerent attitude and the indication that he was going to repay Ambrose. I thought Ambrose had done nothing wrong in the first place. Ambrose was apparently surprised by Said's attitude and removed the Said-head wig.

At this point in his career, Said is only a road course ringer who gets to drive second rate cars. He drives very aggressively trying to overcome the car's limitations and doesn't worry about points. Some fans may like that, but I don't. The result is a violent crash that destroys two cars and damages numerous others. This is all so Said can improve one position while racing in mid-pack.

I like to see close racing. I hate to see violent crashes, destroyed cars, and drivers being interviewed to see if they are OK.

Anonymous said...

My only compliant was that it seemed like an eternity for ESPN to get to the Tony Stewart replay. I'm not a fan of Stewart, but I was curious to see what happened to him.

Kudos to ESPN for getting the complete story on Said/Bifle.

Anonymous said...

To the editor - Sorry about continuing the Boris thread. I did not see your comment before I submitted my comment.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
Tough situation to be faced with, but AB and Team handled it professionally ...production crew brought out best of race ...after all, it is a road course requiring multiple shots w/o radio's corner-by-corber coverage ...as you can vouch JD, nothing to spice up a live broadcast like colorful characters and unedited comments ...overall an enjoyable telecast ...ESPN thanks for the continual improvement

NorCalFan said...

IMO the road course races the last 2-3 years have become "must see" Nascar TV. The majority of drivers are so much better navigating the track than they were 10 years ago when these road races were just "throw aways". That plus today's cars are on a more level playing field. Unlike yesteryear, there are more than just a handful of drivers that are considered threats to win at these tracks. There's no more a need for "road course ringers".

If it wasn't for a few ill-timed commercials, I thought today's production was very good. Alan must have been doing something right, because I only looked at Pit Command's Leaderboard during commercials to see if a caution had come out during the break. It used to be I watched the race by analyzing data on the computer because the PxP either couldn't or wouldn't keep up with the action on the track. Today I was actually able to watch and listen to the race on TV. I thought those days were long gone.

I especially enjoyed the generous number of driver post-race interviews (including JGordon who finished outside the top 10). Boris Said's interview was obviously in the heat of the moment; only wished we could have had a comment from Biffle. I'm sure Nascar's "boys have at it" does not include physical altercations at a driver's home. Wonder if Biffle's next move is hiring a bodyguard?

I do hope safer barriers are installed in turns 1 and 2. Those were some very hard hits today. It hurt me to watch the replays. Truly a testiment to the safety of the cars and driver equipment.

West Coast Diane said...

PS...saw comment on live blog about DISH leaving SC's on guide. Well Directv didn't, so I missed first 20 minutes of race. (Overslept...we watched IndyCar til after midnight cuz we watched the golf first). Not sure when Directv changed guide but last night it was all SC's and this AM it was Nascar Racing. Very aggravating.

Next time need to just do a manual record for for 4 or 5 hours.

John in Chico said...

Yea, I was yelling and waving my arms about when they got stuck with a bumper cam but this was an outstanding broadcast.
ESPN followed through with just about all if not all the story lines.
Good job ESPN, maybe because of the lack of all the toys used to dress up something that doesn't need dressing up.

James said...

I believe that this race proved how overproduced the weekly telecasts have become. I see no reason to have an infield booth, if the three people in the main booth are competent, and this show did exactly that! I really enjoyed this race, the booth kept pace and the information was passed onto us like it should be. The length of the race was perfect. The camera work was better and overall it is getting smoother each week. Congrats ESPN

As always thanks for a place to vent, JD

OSBORNK said...

Today's telecast shows that less can be more. We got more and better race coverage because the extra toys and talking heads were not there. They could save a lot of money and increase ratings by giving us the race as it happens. I was very pleased with today's coverage and I'm not a fan of road courses.

SnowdogBob said...

Simpler is better, the Glen is a track i've been to in person multiple times so just from the camera shots I know instantly what turn we're in (so maybe that's an advantage I have here versus Sonoma where i'm sometimes lost). I rnjoyed the broadcast and didn't even notice that it was simplified until reading this site after the fact (just knew i found it good coverage). I'm also enjoying Rusty back in the ESPN Studios for postrace (better than letting sportscenter anchors handle the postrace) maybe he needs to move to Connecticut.

My only complaint is minor in grand scheme of things, and maybe I missed it. But I didn't hear any criticism of the track by the commentators. The last lap crash looked a LOT to me like the crash Jeff Gordon recently had at Watkins Glen. After that awful crash I had heard and read that Watkins Glen addressed the safety concerns. We're VERY luck that David didn't go windshield first into that guardrail and blaming Boris is only deflecting blame from a track that needs to take a LOT of the blame. And since so many people only get their coverage from TV (though maybe not in this monday coverage case) i think it's up to the broadcast to put heat on the track owner.

Would also like to hear the broadcasters have called Denny on blaming the brakes. Seemed to me he had it floored when his wheels were turning faster than the ground was going by. That looked like either a stuck accelerator or he pulled an Old Lady and had his foot on wrong pedal. Hard for the paved runoff to slow you when car is accelerating.

But overall:
Marcos: A+
Brad: A+
WGI: Fail

TexasRaceLady said...

"KISS"--- never has that been so true. No Tech Garage, no babbling bobble heads in the Infield Studio. Just 3 guys who know racing talking about the race! Simple.

Some of the camera work/shots were dismaying, but over all, considering the foggy conditions, pretty well done.

Sophia said...

WG needs SAFER barriers put in many places & those old outdated fences need to be fix. VERY disturbing the races & the replays.

Both David's were particularly upsetting. Just caught part of the race but liked the lack of bells and whistles. Glad they got to interview them both before the broadcast ended, too. Both will be very sore.

Oh and get RID of the splitter, it's a horrible design flaw... And at oval tracks, get rid of the grass, until then, which can mess up the splitters & ruin a car.

I do not enjoy seeing sod getting thrown up in the air when the splitter cuts it.

Can't believe the walls haven't been improved before now, really.I enjoy Watkins Glen but not the bad wrecks.

Jonathan said...

I was very impressed with todays broadcast! Great job ESPN heck they ever caught the back end of the nasty crash on the final lap! Great camera work! This was much better coverage then last weeks... and INDY I didnt watch on tv so I say ESPN keep the focus simple like today and things will flow

Sally said...

I can'r believe Ricky Craven just said that drivers should 'give consideration' for drivers trying for the 'chase'. I thought everyone was expected to race as hard as possible for the best finish they can get. THIS is one of the biggest reasons I hate the crapshoot!
Sorry. just had to get that off my chest.

I really appreciatede ESPN's stripped down coverage of the race today. It just proved how little we need multiple 'talking heads', and how much time is taken away from covering the race by trying to give them all face time. With the visibility at the start, it began a little rocky, but thought all in all they managed to stay up with all the action happening on the track. Good on ya, ESPN. Allan really makes a difference.

Buschseries61 said...

Really good job by ESPN today. Not many complaints about the booth or production truck. We saw the racing at the front, middle, & back of the pack. The camerashots were wide and offered great perspective of the track and weather.

The pit reporters were great today and completed one of the best post-race shows of the season. Awesome job by Ryan McGee with the Boris Said interview.

I echo everything James said about the infield studio. Instead of feeling that the broadcast lacked something, it seemed like the useless distractions were gone.

Ken-Michigan said...

ESPN provided the finest Post Race coverage of any network in recent memory.

If viewers are expected to sit through a 3 to 4 hour event, viewers deserve post race coverage that touches on the stories that surrounded that event. Today ESPN did that. It was noticeable and appreciated.

Other networks have gotten into the habit of "throwing in the towel" on post race coverage. ESPN took it to the next level following Watkins Glen.

Bestwick is in a class by himself in the booth. Truly knows how to control the ship, plus provides information that goes beyond that of any other broadcaster.

Great job A.B. !!

Roland said...

I caught the race on "DVR theater". The race itself was completely epic. It was a nice clean good hard race till the end then it went insane. That was epic. Great race. Fantastic

Coverage..Well it was bare bones. No useless pit studio. Coulda done without Brewer explaining what a grill does. I FF through everything I didnt wanna watch. Commercials, cautions, pit stops I didnt care about, race rundowns. Best way to watch a race. Knocked that bad boy out in an hour and a half. If I didnt have to spend the whole day avoiding the internet Id do this more often.

Thankfully ESPN had replays of everything. They tend to miss big crashes.

Big problem was camera work. Zoomed in on 1 car in each shot. I never ever moan about camera work but zoom out a little its not gonna kill you.

Boris's interview was probably the best in a very long time.

Tracy D said...

I planned on keeping the race on in the background while I worked, but I ended up watching more than working! Good coverage. Good post race interviews. Dare I say I enjoyed watching a race on ESPN?
I can't believe I just wrote that.

rich said...

Keep It Simple Stupid has never been truer that in broadcasting a race and today we were treated to a great race. Thanks ESPN.
PS. save some bucks and do all the races this way.

Anonymous said...

ESPN: Good job! one of your best in a long time.
Keep it simple like the old days.
Best thing about today was no infield pit studio and Rusty was in Bristol.

Adam said...

I liked this because it was straightforward.

Let's just say ESPN > FOX so far this year.

NorCalFan said...

I didn't realize Nascar Now was broadcast earlier than normal today but right after the race I checked the DirectTV schedule and it showed it would be on ESPN2again at 10pm Pacific time so I set the DVR. Just sat down to watch it and what did ESPN decide to show instead--today's race all over again. DVRing Nascar Now on ESPN is a total crapshoot. Guess that's why I DVR Speed's Race Hub--it's broadcast is dependable. I wonder why ESPN even bothers producing a show that's treated like the red-headed stepchild. They certainly don't do themselves any favors when it comes to attracting an audience.

Don said...

I have no complaints about this race. Would have liked to see MORE bumper cams for a change, but that's a minor point.

The Glen's guardrails have been improved many times since the Sixties. I thought they did the job well. Nobody was hurt. This is a road course you can't just surround the place with SAFER barriers like an oval. Kurt Busch's crash was much like McDuffie's and he came out of it OK.

Hamlin is real lucky those guardrails are that good. He froze. You could see the puff when the car broke and it happened a good distance from the turn. All four brakes are plumbed individually and he would have only lost one. Additionally, even if his power steering belt broke, the car is still able to turn. I've raced many road courses. When something breaks you do everything from hitting head on. He should have spun the car, ground against another car or turned enough for a glancing blow. He should have hit the shutoff and made evasive maneuvers and he's lucky he's OK

Anonymous said...

I agree with much of what has been posted. This Cup race was handled similar to how the NNS and Truck races are handled. No frills and sticking to the basics. AB, DJ and Andy have a more laid back delivery then some teams in the booth who think they have to mimic a Hockey broadcast (He S-C-O-R-E-S!). The Nascar road races are often maligned, but almost always provide some of the hardest and most exciting races on the tour. I live close to the Glen, raced there many times and can predict that I'll be quickly reading about plans to make "improvements" at the track. The placement of many of those guardrails is just insane (we used to refer to those blue guard rails as .."the blue bush.."). Those guard rails go back to roughly 1972. What a delight not to have to endure Brewer and the pre-race trio in the booth. Espn, are you listening????

Anonymous said...

I watched it last night on DVR since I tapes SportsCenter. It was nice to see. WG is one of my favorites since I have driven it and attended last summer. It was a nice stripped down broadcast and you could see a lot of cars. They do tend to change angles too often. Let the whole field (or most) run by a corner and then switch (unless a battle is going on).

In car works for road coarse, IMHO. At least that's how I'm used to seeing it from the driver's seat. ;) If you have never rushed up the esses, you truly cannot appreciate what they were talking about that the driver's can't see. It's straight up the hill with only the flaggers to guide you. Can't imagine in a pack of cars like that. The overheads were awesome for the left hander onto the back straight. Watching the cars drift at the top of that hill....wow. I wonder if that's going on during the club days? :)

Top notch race and broadcast.

GinaV24 said...

I watched the beginning of the race live (since I wound up being able to stay home after all) and caught the end of the race on DVR when I got back into the house.

I thought ESPN did a very good job with the coverage. Allen calls it like he sees it and I didn't miss that there wasn't any of the pre race stuff at all.

I thought Dale Jarrett's expression after hearing Said's interview that he'd find Biffle somewhere and give him a beating was priceless.

I'm not a biffle or ragan fan but since Boris has proven himself to be a wrecking ball on the road courses in the past, I'm not particularly willing to give him a pass when he says that Ragan should have given him more room.

Good coverage of all the action.

glenc1 said...

I will have to wait til the replay to make comments on the coverage, but it sure sounds like they did it well; glad it was a good race for TV. I saw in the morning that the Pit studio was lowered (it blocks the view of Victory Lane, which is not very nice...) I also watched some of the rain delay coverage; that was mostly enjoyable except for Rusty's babbling. BTW, the crowd was a lot smaller Monday but you can understand, a lot of people just can't get out of work on a whim. They did allow general admission tickets into the Fronstretch, but they were told to 'yield' to any regular ticket holders and just move to where it was empty. Sunday it was jammed...we actually thought it appeared there were more people than usual. They opened a new camping area so that may have been it.

FYI, reading through some of the comments from the race blog...the fog thing is not about the *spotters* seeing the track--it's about the officials seeing the track; safety issue. It was very odd, it blew in & out within about 10 minutes so luckily they did not have to call a caution for it. Around '99 or '00 they had to delay a Busch North race for fog.

I don't know what they showed of the anthems--Ron Fellows' son did the Canadian and he was very good for not being a professional.

Just an FYI on the armco--I agree on the SAFERS, but keep in mind, I assume they'd have to start from scratch as there is no concrete barrier to attach it to. So it will be an expensive and huge endeavor to put it in. I would figure out the areas with the biggest hits (like turn 1) and start there.

As a fan--I would not want to watch a race in the pouring rain (such as the wreckfest in Montreal) but if they can figure out a safe way to use tires when it's just a light rain I would not oppose that, but it has to be actual racing, not just riding around til the rain stops. NASCAR does owe the fans a good race product; not just to be able to 'fit it in'.

Fed UP said...

Enjoyed the race presentation very much, even though I did miss the first 22 laps.

I really like ESPN this year. Bestwick, along with DJ and Petrie, have great chemistry. Instead of talking over each other, like those clowns on Fox, they compliment each other.

As soon as race was over, had to change channels. Missed all the action. But, Im sure that the interviews were great.

Can't wait to see how ESPN presents Michigan this weekend. Onward.

Anonymous said...

Watched live Mon am, read thru comments here, re-ran DVR. Not too shabby for a change - "less is more" Post race was much better than usual. Still need more wide shots. Not a fan of watching drivers getting their bell rung on in-car camera... Good to see a deserving, grateful and gracious winner. Also good to see some fellas walk away from vicious hits. Safer Barriers anyone?

MRM4 said...

I watched it at work with a choppy feed, so I can't say too much about the telecast. Just like last year, I really like the low camera angle showing the cars going through the S'es. It showed the speed and movement of the cars in that section.

Post-race was excellent.

old97fan said...

Sundays rain out coverage was ok, probably should have either went to alternative programming or have something in the can for such occasions but it'll pass. Was sick Monday and missed all but the green white checker. Can't comment on the rest of the race but their coverage of the finish was kind of spastic and then the recap of the finish was even stranger. The recap of the race was one of the worst I have ever seen, especially with the amount of time they were trying to fill to the top of the hour. It was so chopped up, and Bestwicks race rundown was so choppy, I had to go online to actually understand what happened to Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and some of the other drivers.

Can't rate the rest of the race, but the finish was a B- and the recap ungradeable.

Did anyone catch the IRL afterward. Rusty was also over there as well as some of the other personnel/pit reporters. Does this mean there is the chance some of these people might be moved away from the Nascar Horde of TV personalities?

As an interesting aside. There has been a lot of frustrations with some of the journalistic integrity we have seen of the broadcast coverage of Nascar/facts not reported in a timely fashion or actions not really questioned over Nascar decisions Also, Barnhardts crew made one of the worst calls I've ever seen then, publicly admitted it was a mistake and gave the best fix for the finish. I don't know if this was because of the integrity of IRL or the fact that the journalism was actually getting more facts to the public (drivers begging not to go back to green, owners doing so also)(Barnhart admitted on air his crew was telling him the exact opposite on track conditions and that the concerns never made it to them) instead of covering for the race organization. This might be a good discussion during a slow week about coverage of Nascar in general and the too chummy relationship of the networks with Nascar, especially some of the on-air personalities.

Anonymous said...

No Rusty Wallace and no waste of time cutting to a brake down of what a shock or brake rotor looks like. If you eliminate both of those every week I might watch again!

Anonymous said...

This was a great broadcast. Less is definitely better. They don't need all the talking heads (to repeat what many others called them), just the booth and pit reporters. I hope someone at ESPN reads this blog and comments. I still don't like the in cars or bumper cams. The post race interviews and time spent were great also. I think if ESPN took a poll comparing it to their other broadcasts they would get terrific positive response.

Thanks JD, for giving us this chance to express our feelings.

GA Red

AllisonJ said...

That was one of the best race broadcasts, and races, in NASCAR history. More road courses, please.