Thursday, August 4, 2011

The TV Curse Of The Final Mile


The "final mile" in sports television is special. The race down the stretch of the Kentucky Derby. The last batter in the 9th inning of a one-run baseball game. That crucial putt on the 18th hole to win the golf tournament. Sports TV loves the game, but lives for fantastic endings.

Sunday at the Brickyard 400 folks were asked to tune-in to ESPN for a one hour pre-race show. The race then started and ran for about three hours. It was a typical Indy race with little passing, critical pit stops and lots of jostling on restarts.

Ultimately, the drama of the race came down to the final mile. Jeff Gordon had blazed by a group of slowing cars creeping toward the finish line at reduced speed while saving fuel. What was unfolding on the track were two dynamic stories. One about who would win and another about who would finish.

In the end, ESPN chose to show only who would win. The cameras followed Menard down the frontstretch, zoomed into the flagstand and then the director kept the focus on Menard's crew, relatives and in-car cameras.

ESPN's opinion of the Brickyard 400 is that it is the Indy 500 for NASCAR. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's just race 20 of 36 in a season that began in February.

The real stories of the race were unfolding throughout the lead lap cars. Top drivers and teams were locked in a pitched battle for Chase contention that was now down to the last lap. With many teams running on fumes, it was going to be a battle for survival and a scramble to the end. NASCAR's precious points were on the line.

After asking fans of all the drivers to watch for hours, ESPN failed to serve any of them except the Menard followers. The network actually made the decision not to pay-off the stories the ESPN telecast team had been excitedly describing during the final laps.

With few caution periods in the event, ESPN then spent plenty of time interviewing drivers that TV viewers had never seen finish the race. Many of those interviews were actually the first time fans learned where their driver had finished and how he got there.

Perhaps the most ironic part of this issue is that the ESPN producer made the decision not to replay the finish of the lead lap cars at any time in the extensive post-race show. Even as drivers spoke about the final lap drama, ESPN would not acknowledge it's shortcoming by letting viewers see the footage.

As we have said several times in the past five seasons when this issue has arisen, NASCAR fans do not change their driver allegiance during the race. Fans wearing Stewart, Edwards or Earnhardt t-shirts and hats want to know what happened to their driver in the last mile after watching for hours.

The second and final point on this topic is fundamental. The race is not over when the winner takes the checkered flag. On a large track like Indy or a short track like Bristol, there are stories continuing to take place as the lead lap cars race to the line.

No driver stopped racing on the final lap simply because Menard had won. That statement even sounds absurd. Yet, that is exactly what ESPN chose to relay to fans at the finish. Here is your winner, there is nothing else to cover.

Sure, ESPN paid the money and they can do what they like with the telecasts. Sure, ESPN only echoed the "classic" finish line camera move of the Indy 500. Sure, Menard winning was a good story. Sure, ESPN loves sports drama and fans just have to deal with it.

But across the country, fans of the drivers not shown finishing are about to make that big decision. Now with a bad NASCAR taste in their mouth, the NFL football jersey hanging in the closet starts calling. It's a familiar refrain.

We are your hometown team. We stop play for commercials. We always show replays. We never leave you lacking information. ESPN never even showed your driver finish. If he doesn't make the Chase, you'll never see him anyway. Come on over.

Last year ESPN got walloped as the Chase began. Viewers left in record numbers and did not return. This year was supposed to be different. Bestwick in the booth, change in the air.

My favorite driver was also not shown finishing the race. I had no idea what happened on the last lap. Today, I looked at the price of The NFL Red Zone on my cable TV system. Every game, every crucial play, all the information.

I just wonder how many other NASCAR fans are trying to make the same decision.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for stopping by.

51 comments:

Buschseries61 said...

Bestwick worked hard to keep track of who had fuel & who didn't - except the pictures on the screen failed to complete that story. Can you imagine TNT showing only Ryan Newman win at New Hampshire while multiple cars behind are coasting out of fuel or down a tire?

That picture is the answer. That shot would have been the perfect angle to see the field finish at Indy. All the dead space in the upper corner of the screen could have a small box with the smiling dad/wife/owner/crew chief/celebrating crew/in-car shot of the celebrating driver.

The viewers see the field finish live & get a peak at the emotions and drama live at the same time. We can see the crew jump in the air & zoomed in shot of the flagman full screen later as the bumpers leading into commercial in the post-race.

Adam Wood said...

This is crazy, but perhaps ESPN doesn't show the finishers outside the winner and such so you'll stay, watch the post-race coverage, and keep their ratings mark up after the race.

Also, I recall seeing the scoring at the top of the screen show the drivers as they crossed the line. Sure, it's just a graphic, but it's something.

Sally said...

When the booth spent so much time setting up the fuel mileage issue, the pictures failed to follow up on it. Who ran out of gas? Where did they finish? Did someone get nipped at the line for a crucial extra point? How about the wild card possibles? If all the cars race to the finish line, I expect to see at least the lead lap cars cross it. Even a side by side shot would have worked. It may not be a 'deal breaker', but it certainly was a disappointment after EXPN giving us what was probably their best broadcast in years.

allisong said...

Sorry, but I can't disagree with you more about this. If you want to say you'd simply prefer they show the cars crossing the line, that's fine, but I don't buy the argument that fans following a driver wouldn't know where he finished unless they see an actual car crossing the line. Maybe if they just turned on the TV on the final lap, but not if they've been watching, even intermittantly, throughout the race. It's insulting to race fans' intelligence, IMO.

OSBORNK said...

I'm not a fan of fuel mileage races but when there is one, I want to see who makes it, who drifts across the finish line and who came up short. We saw the race and the post and we still don't know. If ESPN insists on only showing the winner crossing the finish line, they could at least show the field finishing in a replay.

It's a shame a really good telecast was finished so poorly.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Allisong,

It's insulting to say you want TV to show the finish of the race? It's not about knowing where your driver finished, it's about TV choosing not to show how he got there.

JD

Darcie said...

allisong, do you even watch races? The placement of drivers can vary greatly on the last lap, and rushing to the finish line to beat one or two cars always happens then. It's not like they freeze the field once the winner crosses the line. Everyone is racing for position on the last lap, numerous things happen on that lap and the race to the line. Especially on a fuel mileage race, your favorite driver could have taken the chance and not stopped for gas, and on that last lap, he, and many other drivers could run out of gas and drop in the race standings. That situation, along with last lap crashes, can greatly change the field. My favorite driver has had a lot of end of race situations where he dropped from a top five finish to something back in the pack. So, it's not something that's stupid or unneeded. Change in position for a lot of drivers happen once the winner crosses the finish line. Not to mention a lot of drama.

GinaV24 said...

I'm with you on this wholeheartedly. At NH, Gordon was running 4th and wound up finishing 11th because he had a tire going down.

If I hadn't had my computer on with trackpass, I'd have had no idea what was happening to him because the camera was only following the leader. I know it was TNT, not ESPN, but the point is the same. I want to know where MY driver finished.

At Indy, Gordon was charging to the front, I was really hoping Menard was going to run out of gas and I would get to see my favorite kiss the bricks, but that didn't work out.

I had watched the race all day long and I didn't get to see my driver cross the finish line in 2nd, not even in replay and I was a little ticked.

As you pointed out, NASCAR fans don't have a home team, we have a favorite driver and it doesn't change - unless you're one of the casual fans.

ESPN is on its last chance with me. The decision to use Allen for PXP was big and it worked very well for this first race. However, they have to decide how to present NASCAR to its avid fans, not just assume that those fans will stay if they don't cover the actual race.

Football is a big deal and last year, I was so bored with ESPN's coverage that I did spend more time watching the games than the chase. Show me the race and I might stay, waste my time with concocted storylines and "only the chase" and I probably won't.

GinaV24 said...

Allisong, I want to know how the field finishes and not just by watching the ticker or finding out on Nascar.com afterward.

If I'm going to spend 4 hrs of my day, I want an immediate payoff especially when there were so many possibilities in that last lap.

Roland said...

I dont blame Fox or ESPN for showing the winner cross the line. I mean after all, he is the winner, he is the story. A drop down thing that shows the finishing order live as it happens is good enough. They dont show your driver during the race why would you expect them to do it at the finish? Heres a compromise, split screen. One on the winner, one on the finish line, and the drop down thing. I think that would be sufficient.

allisong said...

JD and Darcie - I've watched probably every race run since 1998, and I am a diehard fan of one driver. In that span of time he has won and he has finished laps down, and everywhere in between.

Closing in on the finish, I am well aware of where he is running. If he's in a close battle with someone for a position, I realize that unless it is either for the win, or for a crucial chase spot, I may not see it. And I'm fine with that.

JD, if it's not about where your driver finished, then why all the post race comments about how "only one car finished the race" or "fans still don't know where their favorite driver finished?"

Vince said...

Once again this proves that the guys in the truck directing the race are stick and ball guys. In this season of fuel mileage races where the drivers are back pedaling and saving fuel all race, you can bet the one lap they are all going to be racing their asses of is the last lap or two. Yet ESPN in their arrogance continues to just show us the lead car on the last lap and ignores the rest of the action on the track.

When I go to a race in person, I do not, repeat, do not just focus on the lead car on the last lap. There is always furious racing going on back in the pack for every position and watching the lead lap cars race to the checkers is some of the best racing of the day. ESPN refuses to show us this. Why? Arrogance to do it "their way" or just stupidity?

That's ok ESPN. Once football season starts I and many others will be abandoning you in droves to watch the NFL where at least we get to see all the action with a limited number of commercials. Keep showing the races your way and the viewing numbers for the Chase for Chumps will be down even further this year.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Roland and Allisong,

The truck series TV always shows the lead lap finishers. Eventually, FOX moved to the current format of showing the same after going through their "drama" phase.

The winner of a Sprint Cup Series race under the current Chase format is not THE story, he is merely A story. Often, the most dramatic moments happen as lead lap cars battle to the line.

With the current points format, every single point matters. That is why TV should be even more aware of what is happening with the race to the finish of the lead lap cars.

JD

w17scott said...

Other than the race winner, there are 42 teams, hundreds of companies doling out sponsorship money, thousands of employees and families relying on sponsorship dollars and just plain race fans relying on ESPN for comprehensive coverage of NASCAR events ...this point is overlooked time and again ...what would it take, 30-60 seconds to show the all race participants finish the race? ...simply put, lack of respect for those involved

allisong said...

JD, I agree that every point matters. I follow my driver's points closely. I'm even one of those who has defended the "points as of now" drop down that is so hated around here.

But my main point is that it does not bother me in the least if I don't see all the cars cross, and I'm fairly certain I'm not the only one who feels that way. You are entitled to your opinion, as is everyone who comments here. I'd just like a little recognition that the opinions of the blog owner and regular commenters are not UNIVERSALLY held.

KoHoSo said...

Because we are focusing on this one issue I am going to repeat something I said in the most recent TV Police comments.

At a track as big as IMS where over 30 cars were still on the lead lap, I can understand why ESPN did not show the finish of ever single car. That would have been a very lengthy wait in TV terms for everybody to come around and take the checkered flag.

However, that does not excuse ESPN for not showing at least some of the other cars finishing and especially not putting up a graphic of the finishing order in a timely manner.

As I remember, I watched over half of the post-race coverage which was a time period of about 15 minutes. At that point, I still had no idea who had finished where outside of the top six.

I also again say that I hope AB has noticed comments on this subject and he will influence the producer and director to make a change.

Finally...I am usually not one that gets into the NASCAR vs. NFL type of stuff. However, these days where money is so tight, people are making hard decisions about what they spend in both money and free time. With many complaints about NASCAR's product whether it be the media issues we discuss here or the on-track product, it would behoove -- yes, behoove :-D -- the folks in Daytona Beach to start pushing hard to smooth over the complaints. Otherwise, they might see all of their claimed gains in the ratings go right down the toilet as they get yet another butt-whuppin' when races run up against the NFL (not that I ever expect racing to top football, but the series could at least hold its own if the right changes ar made).

Keith said...

I have to agree that it is nice to be able to see the cars finish the race, however I also agree with the comment that at a track where the leaders are turning 50 second lap times, keeping the camera on the start finish line for 60 seconds or more would have been weird.

That doesn't mean that at least the top ten should have been shown, but if someone's favorite driver was in 30th position and it was going to require the viewers to wait 65 seconds so we could see a backmarker cross the line, I'm not sure that is a good idea.

Keeping the camera on the S/F line for that long is a lot to ask. However, the top ten would have been reasonable.

I don't believe that TNT showed every car crossing the S/F line and Infenion. That would be the equivalent of Indy.

Anonymous said...

What part of "I didn't see my driver finish the race" do you people not understand? I watched three hours of a race on a weekend day to not see my driver finish the race. ESPN wasted three hours of an off day for me, with no choice on my part. Not even a replay. NFL, here I come.

Roland said...

JD I respectfully disagree. In this era of the wild card, winning is all that matters. When the chase starts then its all about points. ESPN didnt show JR, Tony, or Denny cross the line because of their points implications. They showed the winner of the race, Paul Menard. A win that had major chase implications too I might add.

Split screen with winner/jubilant crew in one shot, finish line in another, and a drop down finishing order as the cars cross the line. I think thats the best way to go. Win Win for everyone

John in Chico said...

OK, so when does a race officially end? Is it when the checkered flag waves over the first place car or is it when the last car on the lead lap passses under the checker.
Stick and ball has one looser and one winner per event. We have a winner and finishers, not loosers.
I'm sure there is a hard and fast answer but I would think the race ends when the last placed car on the lead lap gets the flag. That can be 45 seconds on a big track, longer on a road corse.
I don't know when TV is supposed to look away from the finish line but I prefer to watch the other "finishers" race to the flag rather than wives, girlfriends or crew members jumping around,
a few of the finishers anyway.
With that said ESPN did a great job and the vibe was like having friends watching with us. Great job in the booth and the entire telecast.

Matt said...

I have to agree with Roland and Allisong on this one. Of all the things I get upset about when it comes to TV coverage, this just isn't one of em. The only time I expect or want to see all cars cross the finish line is at a short track, a plate track or a GWC. I don't need to sit and watch for a minute and a half as 30 cars stagger across the line, especially if we have a first time winner or if there is drama that may be developing after a race (i.e, Joey Coulter v. Ky Busch).

Now would it be great if they used a split screen with one camera on the S/F line and one of the winner? Sure, I won't argue with that. But if not, I'm really not going to let it ruin my enjoyment or overall opinion of the telecast.

Oh, and before anyone thinks my driver is one who wins all the time, my driver has won 1 race in the last 3 or 4 years and has a few top 10s a season, so that has no impact on my opinion.

Bruce Ciskie said...

I like the split screen idea. Typically, I'd be in John's camp, but that's when someone who wins a lot (i.e. JJ, JG, Carl, Kyle, Happy, etc.) wins the race.

When Paul Menard wins the race, I think it's fine to do what ESPN did. I get why it upsets a lot of fans, but I've struggled for years to pick a favorite driver. I just want to see the race. When Menard wins, THAT'S the story. Same when Regan Smith wins. Or anyone else who rarely wins or has never won.

That's not a shot at the other 42 in the race. It's the reality. Seeing Menard's crew act like they've never won a Sprint Cup race together before was pretty cool. Seeing Johnson's pit crew act like that isn't the same.

Zetona said...

Frankly, this cannot be as big of an issue as you make it out to be, or it would appear in the comments sections of other sites. More fans comment on NASCAR.com or Youtube than do here, and when they do criticize the TV coverage it is usually to bash ESPN's awful commentary or TNT's commercials. I just looked at the NASCAR.com forums, where the most prominent TV-related topic criticized TNT and praised DW specifically.

On the other hand, clearly there's an adverse response on the subject or JD wouldn't be writing this. JD, what sort of reactions did you get from fans upset by the Indy finish?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Let's say there were 20 horses in the Kentucky Derby. TV viewers saw the field turn for home and then only saw the winner finish the race.

Reaction shots included the owner, trainer and jockey. After the race, jockeys were interviewed but the field was never shown finishing.

The reaction would be swift. Here we are with top teams on the final lap after three hours and this type of coverage is being excused.

Just a simple TV failure in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Horses dont finish 50 seconds apart

allisong said...

OK, this comment is probably never going to see the light of day on this blog, but I have to ask anyway.

To those of you who think this is a big deal, and it absolutely ruins your enjoyment of the race, was this an issue for you prior to 2007? Be honest with yourselves, is all I ask. And yes, they were showing only the winner probably from the first race on FOX in 2001.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon, see the picture on this post? That's racing going on as the leader finishes. We never saw it on TV.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

Vince

I Could not have said it better myself.

ESPN needs to show the race like the viewers are fans.

The decision to keep showing only the leader the race is one of 3 factors.
1) The Producers & Directors are arrogant
2) The Producers & Directors are stupid
3) The Producers & Directors just don't get it

We all spent 3-4 hours of racing and we expect to see more than 1 car finish the race.

We don't need to see the pit crew celebrate or wives and/or girlfriends cry. We get to see all of this in victory lane.

On a personal note your arrogance about this subject is really starting to tick us off. Your ratings will fall further and NASCAR will fall further than it already has.

JD thank you very much for this site it has been a must read for me and has been good to participate for about 2 years.

Anonymous said...

Allisong,Your loyalty to ESPN and NA$CAR is noted, but your argument for their failures does not make sense. You should want to see your favorite driver throughout the race, and at the finish. Otherwise, why would they be your favorite.

Anonymous said...

It is so typical to complain and no matter what tv does or does not do, there will be numerous complaints because that is human nature. Right or wrong, what does it matter? If you are watching and keep an eye on the scroll as to where the drivers are, then you get a good idea of where and how everyone finishes. Once a race is over, it is over and we are either elated or down because of where our favorite driver finished. I think it was okay that they show the finish differently at Indy because of tradition from what I have read. And to see the joy and emotions of those with the team was special in my eyes. Sometimes at a long track just seeing cars slowly come to the line and the scroll on hold while waiting for the other finishers is a bore, even when our favorite may be 23rd or lower. We knew where Jeff G was and if one was really watching the race, then one should have an idea as to who the top finishers were.

I am not saying anyone is wrong in their opinions or they are right, just saying to each his own and remember, to complain is only human. And if we were the producers, etc could we do any better? We would have complaints about our way of showing it also.

allisong said...

Anon @ 3:11 - It just doesn't bother me. Most races I listen to the team scanner while watching on TV. On good days (i.e. running up front), I'll see the car more. On bad days, I might have to follow his race via the ticker. Believe me, I'd rather watch a race via the ticker than listen to DW blather on anyway.

As the late David Poole used to say, if you want to see your favorite driver more, tell him to run up front.

Vince said...

Allisong, Roland et al, I'm wondering if you have ever been to a race in person? If so, do you just watch the leader go across the finish line and that's it? I've been to hundreds of races and I have never, ever seen anybody just watch the leader cross the finish line and that's it. Your arguement does not hold water with real race fans.

Mïk said...

I don't comment often, but I MUST pipe-in now. A lot of the above is true, the directors and producers need to do a lot of things. but the ONE thing they need to do is to Go back to the broadcasts of 'Gentleman Ned', who was a consummate analyst, and study how a race SHOULD be broadcast.

Many of you'all are looking through rose-colored lens at these race broadcasts and asking for the impossible. NASCAR doesn't need to change the racing, the broadcasters need to change the coverage.

The lack of sponsors is a direct result of TV only showing 'the story', the cars they highlighted in pre-race. they need to get around the track more, and more fluently. there's racing everywhere, and we'd love to see it.

The TV crews need to integrate their shows. Quit showing one thing while the booth is talking about another. And, fer Pete's sake, when ya do a sound segment where the booth stops talking, DON'T use all your bumpercams, wallcams, dashcams, nostrilcams, and the like, get a wide shot that shows the race so we can follow the race while the booth guys are doing lines and taking a pee.

Basically, TV needs to remeber that a race is between two or more racers, that showing a car, even if it's a favored sponsor, is NOT showing what we want to see.

glenc1 said...

just rolling in with my 2 cents. It's not a huge issue for me, even when it's my driver, but it would seem like a no brainer to use a split screen. I don't expect them to show *every* car crossing the finish line. I think each track would be a bit different and it would depend on the circumstances (if a wreck happens, which is known to occur, or if cars are running out of gas...) If there's a 'story' involved, I think they have to go there. But on a big track, where it'll take a long time for everyone to get in, that would seem like overkill if you waited for the 37th car to cross the line. Watkins Glen and Talledega are not Churchill Downs (I guess it would be more of a Charlotte...) And NASCAR could have 40 cars, say, instead of the 20 horses, who mostly tend to run closer together...unless it's a plate track & they've had the big one already.

I guess I consider it a 'good judgement' call for a producer. Show what's reasonable to having them cross the line, but there should always be a list coming down as they cross. You shouldn't have to wait til a recap five minutes later to know where everyone finished, even if it's not shown. And it's not just about 'my driver'. I want to know where drivers I *haven't* been following finish too so I don't buy the 'you should know where your driver finished' attitude. It's pretty difficult to keep track of everyone's positions, especially if there's been an 'incident' or fuel mileage issues.

Joe said...

Vince said...
Allisong, Roland et al, I'm wondering if you have ever been to a race in person? If so, do you just watch the leader go across the finish line and that's it? I've been to hundreds of races and I have never, ever seen anybody just watch the leader cross the finish line and that's it. Your arguement does not hold water with real race fans.

August 4, 2011 3:47 PM

And you have never been to Indy...Only a selective few get to see who crosses the finish line....

Buschseries61 said...

Well, there may not be a shot of the flagman at the finish this weekend. A truck hauler managed to destroy the flag stand today.

Joe said...

When it is a fuel race.....do you want to stay at the finish line or pan back to the cars slowing and running out in turns 3 & 4? I like when they show what is going on behind the finish line when this happens.

Ir42nate2bhere said...

i saw JD tweet about this after the race on Sunday, and though it never bothered me, i know it's one of his pet peeves. So this week i watched the end of 3 race replays on Speed, ARCA and trucks from Lucas Oil, and a motorcycle race from Silverstone. Speed chooses to show all the finishers from a wide camera in turn one, and to be honest unless you know all your cars or trucks well, they are just racers crossing the finish, no idea if it is for spots, or a lapped car or truck crossing with another car or truck. The European produced bike race showed the winner, followed him a bit, the cut back to a race for 3rd or 4th quickly, then returned to winner. Not sure what my moral to the story is,but i will say unlike horse races, where the camera is focused across the start finish line for results( and even they don't show all 20 Derby horses when they cross), seeing the finish is a nice if you show it, but the ticker is the way to find results. I'm also a bit old school in that all those reporters that we love to follow on twitter will get all the stories that need to be told, so read and watch their products for the stories.
Now if you decide to campaign against the race ticker always disappearing on a replay, and can make it run like the bottom line ticker, always on, I'm all for that

Roland said...

@Vince Ive been to over 20 races in my lifetime. I care about who wins. I follow the battle for the lead at the end. Im not looking at a battle for 20th. Im not saying that not showing everyone finished is a bad idea. Im suggesting that after the first 4 or 5 cross the line lets do a split screen. I think thats a fair compromise for all parties involved. You cant expect a producer to keep a camera on the start/finish line for 50 seconds. A split screen would help this issue. Again its a compromise. Personally I think the drop down finishing results gives me all I need. Thats just me. Im more interested in the battle for the win than for 25th IMO

Roland said...

Glenc1 summed up my opinion on this better than I could lol. Spot on

jerry said...

It's a non issue for me. Just something else for people to complain about.

allisong said...

Vince, I have indeed been to several races in person, and when I go, I follow the race as I do at home - primarily concentrating on my driver's day. That's not to say I'm completely uninterested in how others finish. Watching a pack of cars coming to the line in person, while it's a thrilling sight to see and one I recommend to every race fan, it's not useful without a scoreboard or ticker to determine where someone finished.

Watching the post-race results run-down sometimes I do find myself pleasantly surprised by someone's good finish, but do I feel cheated that they didn't show him actually crossing the start/finish line? Nope.

I'm not saying they SHOULDN'T show the field crossing the line, but if they don't, I don't consider it a federal offense.

Ken-Michigan said...

First of all, I attended the Indy race and viewed the race once I got home on DVR.

During the closing laps, I can honestly say that everyone I was sitting around were focused on the shrinking lead between the 27 and 24 cars. That was the story of the closing laps. I didnt see anyone else worried about other cars. We were all waiting to see if the 27 would run out of fuel. First place was all that mattered at the end of the day, we didnt give a crap if someone running 8th, 15th, or 21st was going to run out of fuel, fans were focused on the lead cars.

The broadcast was fantastic on ESPN and I'm surprised that some folks try to STILL find something to bitch about concerning the race and the finish.

Over the last few years that I have followed The Daly Planet, this issue (the ending shots of a race) has been brought up time and time again. Seriously....bringing up again ?

The story of the finish was about Menard and Gordon. First time winner. Fuel issue. Longtime sponsor finally seeing his company AND HIS SON win at a major NASCAR event.

If someone from Texas was expecting the director to lock down a camera on the finish line for Bobby Labonte to finish 17th... it isn't going to happen. There isnt a network director or producer thats going to show everyone on the lead lap cross the finish line when the STORY of the race was up front with the 27 and 24.

If YOUR driver wasn't on TV for the final lap, chances are he sucked on Sunday. Wait for the ticker, wait for a graphic or better yet, since youre on your computer, go to a site with race results.....OR.....

Support the sport & BUY A TICKET !

Congrats to ESPN on a fine production.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Ken, do you know who came in third? I don't think he sucked and he is perhaps the story of the season.

We all have different views on topics. I start a discussion by stating mine and then take comments. That is the weekday format of this blog.

My opinion is that not showing the lead lap cars finish is wrong. That's my opinion.

You are absolutely welcome to disagree, but make sure you understand that I am not going to be intimidated by TV producers who believe creating "drama" at the finish of a race appeals to hardcore fans.

JD

Billy said...

JD, you write some pretty captivating stuff about an aspect of the sport that I would not even pay attention to had it not been for your insight. All that said, I must (rarely) disagree with you. I much rather would see the reaction of the crew that may have just punched their ticket to the Chase, or the father who financed some of the best drivers in the world to win at a track that meant so much to him only to have his own son be the one that delivers him a kiss on the bricks. That to me is far more captivating and memorable than actually watching my driver finish in the teens. I will be talking about Slugger's strategy and Menard's first win a lot longer than I will about that time my driver finished 12th (I actually already forgot where he finished to be honest).

Buddynoel said...

I don't know why people need to worship ESPN as some sort of holy grail, but I found their coverage to be only average, maybe as good as the old CBS Sports broadcasts at best. When TBS was covering the race, I was able to use three HDTVs and watch the race with NINE simultaneous camera shots and still keep track of the leaders on my laptop. I only had to sit through that goofy Coca-Cola ad every once in a while, otherwise the whole race was commercial free. I don't get why people think ESPN's one camera shot is even remotely adequate. Those of you that didn't take advantage of this need to pull out your user manuals and have your kids tell you how it is done. Watching ESPN is like stepping back into the 90s. Maybe the network will soon learn how to use the internet.

Anonymous said...

"Those of you that didn't take advantage of this need to pull out your user manuals and have your kids tell you how it is done. "

Buddynoel....I have no desire to watch a race in such a fashion, nor could I afford it. Perhaps you need a little lesson in reality for a lot of people. It isn't always not knowing 'how'.

Bruce Ciskie said...

SPEED replayed the Pocono Cup race from last summer, the one ESPN did. Biffle won by like an hour or something (it was actually close to four seconds). They zoomed in on Biffle a bit, then went back to the finish line to catch most -- if not all -- of the top ten cars. I stopped paying attention at that point, but I think only then did they go to the pit crew celebration shot.

My point? It seems ESPN is usually pretty good about showing all the lead cars cross the line, based on my memory. I get John's argument, but I think something like this should be judged more on a case-by-case basis than he does.

In this case, ESPN made a choice to follow the leader. Sunday, if a veteran wins, or if he wins by as much as Biffle did last year, they may make a completely different choice.

I don't really have a problem with that. I'm not someone who watches a race to see where someone finishes. I watch it to see who wins. I know there are a lot of fans like me, whether they have a favorite driver or not ... and that's okay. It doesn't devalue or discredit John's opinion, which was well-written as usual.

Anonymous said...

I have never in my 5+ decades of television watching ever seen ESPN do anything that I thought was 'fantastic'. Ever.

glenc1 said...

Roland, you just said it more directly, lol. Now if we could just get them to listen.

Steve S said...

Well, one thing no one mentioned is the way this race finished playing out. You can say that if your driver ended up 24th he must have sucked that day but some of the leaders that had to make a stop for fuel and took 2 or 4 tires as opposed to those that stopped late for only a splash, had the running order shuffled and it was not clear who was running where. Coupled with the fact that besides Menard and Gordo they didn't show or talk about the others for the last 5 or 10 laps. Edwards ran back aroung 20th all day but ended up 10th or so and JJ who lead a good amount ended up in the 20's some where, and that had a big reversal in how the points ended for the day. The whole thing about your driver must have sucked all day to finish back there is wrong for this race, it was more like your driver must have been lucky to finish up front, for the most part (except for the 24 & 17), as the results didn't tell the story of who RAN WELL, only who managed to stay ABOVE MINIMUM SPEED for a bunch of laps in a RACE.

Then it took forever until they showed the point standings. I could care about how many times they had to tell everyone to get ready to bend over and kiss something. I want to know the results and the points when the race is over.