Monday, August 29, 2011
Post Race TV Wrap-Up: Sprint Cup Series From Bristol
Hurricane Irene was coming up the East Coast while NFL preseason football games were being played around the country. The problem was that the hurricane coverage and the NFL games were both on ABC stations where NASCAR coverage was scheduled.
ESPN did a great job of showing the technology involved in cable TV and moving coverage in many areas from ABC to various ESPN cable networks. After some early issues, the complaints settled down as fans found the coverage. It really was a solid job of solving what could have been a big problem.
Once the telecast got underway, the pre-race trio appeared from a temporary infield location. It was much better than the Pit Studio that was parked outside the backstretch. Nicole Briscoe was with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty.
Wallace again supplied the excitement and has the credentials, but Daugherty provided little. There has to be a way to get some kind of focus on a subject that will allow him to add something more than the tired hype he has offered for years.
ESPN's Sprint Cup Series TV team was ready for action. It turned out to be a tough night. From the start the race was about fuel mileage and track position. Brad Keselowski had found a loophole in the pit road speeding lines and was gaining positions on every caution flag stop. It would be an important story.
Allen Bestwick had very little to work with. ESPN's cameras jumped from one random battle of two or three cars to the next. By the time Bestwick explained what viewers were watching and let Dale Jarrett or Andy Petree make a comment, it was time for another commercial break.
On a short track like Bristol, with green flag laps around fifteen seconds, going to commercial break is deadly. This absolutely killed the telecast. There was simply no opportunity to develop any story lines. There was no time.
The producer tried to use the infield pit studio crew for recaps and even inserted Tim Brewer several times, but the racing action that was being missed was just too hard to recapture. TV viewers just missed too much to get back in the groove.
Pit road was loud and the reporters were limited to calling stops and shouting comments under green. Once again, some left-over time allowed for an extended post-race that ran the pit reporters around for lots of post-race interviews.
The stories that many of the drivers told in post-race were ones that often were never told on the race telecast. It's now a familiar refrain. The cycle of a short segment of live racing and then an extended TV commercial once again meant that the actual issues that happened within the race would be explained on the weekday review shows.
Our live chat revolved around the troubles ESPN had trying to figure out what to show in the content segments between commercials. Sometimes following the leader, sometimes focusing on one car and sometimes jumping around randomly just was not getting it done for us as veteran fans.
Let's open this style of coverage topic up a little bit and add it to our usual post-race comments. To add your opinion to our discussion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your NASCAR TV thought with us.