Thursday, September 8, 2011
Post-Race Comments: Sprint Cup Series On ESPN From Atlanta
ESPN moved the Infield Pit Studio and Tech Garage down the road, but most of the production team stayed for the Tuesday race coverage.
There was no pre-race show for this event. The highlight of pre-race activity was the Grand Marshal saying "Gentlemen, spark your engines!" That was a classic.
Allen Bestwick was in the TV booth with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. On pit road were Jamie Little, Dave Burns, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch.
The stripped-down telecast resulted in a show focused much more on the racing and less on the hype and 11 on-air voices we normally hear. Bestwick kept things on the right track through a rain delay and several awkward incidents on the track.
The TV team sat through one red flag for rain, but hung in there and brought the telecast home before 4PM ET. While the information offered from the booth was accurate, the telecast started with the same type of focus on the early race leaders and the lack of an overall perspective on the field.
Late in the race, ESPN stayed commercial free for a significant amount of time. The rumor was that the network was going to practice with side-by-side commercial breaks in the second half of the telecast, but that did not happen.
The finish coverage focused on the two leaders crossing the line, but never cut back to watch the others on the lead lap racing. Announcers tried to reference it and after the race the drivers talked about it, but once again fans watching on TV never saw it. Tony Stewart fans were not happy.
Post-race consisted of interviews of tired drivers by tired reporters. It was a surprise to see a feature on Jeff Gordon's record run in full after the race. It was a long and extended race weekend and perhaps all parties are just happy it's over.
We invite your comments on the TV coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Atlanta on ESPN. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below.