Sunday, September 11, 2011

Post-Race: Sprint Cup Series From Richmond On ABC

It was a wild night in Richmond. From start to finish, the stories were almost unbelievable at times. It was up to the NASCAR on ESPN team to cover them for ABC.

Nicole Briscoe hosted a pre-race show that did not air in areas where the ABC local stations chose news or local programming. Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace manned the Infield Pit Studio with Briscoe. The pre-race show was themed around the Chase.

Richmond International Raceway did a great job of putting together a 9/11 tribute. Unfortunately, things did not turn out as planned once the race started. An accident during the tribute on laps 9-11 made things a bit awkward.

Allen Bestwick led Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree through a race telecast that featured an incredible number of cautions and incidents in the early going. At times, it seemed that the TV team was overwhelmed by just how many top teams were involved.

Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, Dave Burns and Vince Welch were on pit road. The information was flowing fast and furious, but often it was not perhaps what was being reported by other media members or teams via social media. Once again, ESPN was caught in a bit of an information gap.

The coverage for the last several years has emphasized the tight shots of two cars at a time as they race for position. This race, even on a short track, featured the same. Gone were the wideshots and the aerial views. The perspective on each segment of racing being shown was quickly lost.

ABC kept in all the scoring tickers as if it was an ESPN telecast. At times, there were four lines of graphics on the screen. It was interesting to see just how much of a focus on other sports the network kept during the race telecast.

The closing lap featured the winner, but again the director chose to cut away to a shot of the winning driver's wife. None of the other races to the flag were covered. In this event, there were many stories other than the winner. It was Chase time.

Once the race was over and went to commercial, many ABC stations across the country chose to leave and begin their local news telecast. My home station in West Palm Beach, FL was one of them. As if nothing happened, the local news just began.

This meant that fans who had watched the telecast for four hours were denied any post-race coverage of the final race to set the Chase. It was a huge mistake. ESPN does not control the ABC local stations and tonight was a great example of that issue. It might be time to move the night races over to cable for 2012.

The RIR team offered a one-hour version of NASCAR Now at midnight ET. That helped to ease the pain for those of us who saw none of the live post-race show.

What did you think of the ESPN on ABC coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Richmond, VA?

To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Milton said...

They didnt replay some incidents enough or in a bad angle. In the first kasey kahne incident didnt gordon tag him. also what or why did paul menard spin for the last caution

AncientRacer said...

Oh, good. No "Police" but this will do.

I thought the pictures were not good. Alan Bestwick did a great call and without him I should have been quite lost, but the pictures were cramped. Hard for me to read track positions. I did like the blimp shots, however -- though most were too distant.

Maybe that is because I listened while in Canada for the summer to the radio. That could be it, of course. Because on the Radio the pictures are in my head.

Was a fine race, though. As was last nights.

Worst thing about tonights race on the track was Mr. Gordon forgot to release his Parking Brake on the final restart or KYBU would have won (yes, Gina V/24 THAT Mr. Gordon).

it is good to be home.

Spring Rubber said...

Yeah, it's pretty bad when you have a better mental image of the race while listening to the radio. The constant tight shots need to go. I know it became all the rage a few years ago when the networks wanted to emphasize the quality of their HD shots, but can't we move on from that mentality?

At least Allen Bestwick tries his best to verbally keep us informed of the race better than any TV lap-by-lap announcer out there.

Anonymous said...

It was an interesting race to say the least, even if I kept flipping to MSNBC for their interesting documentaries on 9/11 on the commercials. The first 100 laps, I thought it would be the last car on track to win the race.

I had a feeling there would be a yellow on laps 9 thru 11. It happened alot in 2001 when Dale died. Lap 3 for the first few weeks was always ran under caution, somehow. You could tell DJ and Andy wanted to say what was going on, and probably looked at Allen to direct them. It was kinda awkward, but they said what they needed to say, uncertain if they were suppose to talk, then AB gathered it up quickly for the silent tribute.

Kudos to NASCAR for the tributes and Richmond for the great prerace ceremonies.

ABC needs to PULL BACK CAMERAS!!!!! The switch board operator was quick to go away from the accidents, and it seemed like DJ was pointing out the wrecks before AB caught them.

And why does ABC need a bottom line? I get it is ESPN on ABC, but come on, take out the bottom line. You did that at Bristol without the scroll, and for all of the ESPN races, even Atlanta and Watkins Glen! Who says football will control that come Sundays now, and the bottom line is here to stay. I know I found myself a few times yelling to take it off! It was ok to tell us about the Minnesota coach and give us an update on it on the line, but take the bottom line off during racing UNLESS THERE IS BREAKING NEWS!!!!

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
Although shown on ABC, it was the ESPN production team that once more dropped the ball. RIR's open, small track layout lends itself to the best aerial shots on the circuit, yet we saw none. ESPN was never able to transmit the excitement of the raceing action. The ESPN production team again impaceted viewer understanding of the racing action in a negative manner. Try as they might, the booth trio was at a loss to keep up with, let alone stay ahead of the racing. Paul Sawyer's dream of the Action Track came to life as he envisioned. RIR once more showed why it is often said to be the 'favorite track' of most, if not all NASCAR drivers. And it draws high praise from the open-wheelers of the modified and IndyCar ranks, too. Come on ESPN, show respect for the fans - present the professional, informative and entertaining broadcastyou are capable of, yet fail to deliver. The bells, whistles and production tools are at your disposal - use them. I have no doubt that NASCAR greats like Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly, Lee Petty and Dale Earnhardt smiled down on RIR last night at the sight of the 'rubbin's racing' and 'frammin and bammin' that was the routine of NASCAR's past. Memories of the half-mile dirt track that was Fairgrounds Raceway on that site came flooding back. From the country crossroads and city sidewalks, the stars and cars of NASCAR delivered on the promise expected at the true Action Track. Shame, shame, shame ESPN, you missed another great race.

Sally said...

Poor AB. He spent all night trying to keep viewers informed of all the chaos on the track with little or no help from the pictures. When I have to spend an entire race squinting at the crawler (after I figure out which of the multiple options was actually about the race), to get information on what is happeneing beyond the top few cars, it isn't much fun to watch. Maybe things will get easier for ESPN for the final 10 races, since they obviously plan to cover only the 'chasers'. Last night, many drivers moved up and down several times, but we were left hanging as to why. Those are the sort of details that make a race interesting. I hope at least one of the networks will figure that out one of these days.

Anonymous said...

Why does my HDTV have to look like a web browser when I tune to an ESPN channel? Who thinks this is a feature? I don't.

GinaV24 said...

I thought the coverage was inadequate. Poor camera work and the "live sound" audio made it impossible to hear the PXP so after being annoyed with it for awhile, I muted the TV and followed the action using trackpass & twitter to keep up.

Now we will get ESPN's full court press for following the chase and while that should be part of the story, the main focus should be the actual race. I don't expect to get it.

Ancient -- glad to see you back.

GinaV24 said...

Ancient -- ugh,yes, don't remind me! I couldn't believe that happened.

Roland said...

The race was one we will remember for years to come. That was without a doubt the best race of the year. Unfortunately the coverage was lacking.

First thing was that they ran the same music for features on 3 drivers in the pre race. That was super annoying. Be creative for once.

It didnt matter to me if the laps 9-11 were under caution or green, but It was extremely disrespectful that the bottom line ticker was not removed during this tribute. The ticker on the top was removed. Very classless move by Espn.

Next they started running program alerts for a game thats not even scheduled to be on that channel. People tuned to ABC to watch the cup race, not the game. The game was on Espn. Dont tell your race viewers to ditch the race and watch the game. Thats so stupid on so many levels.

Then after about 100 laps they finally showed a points update, however it added a 4th line of information to the screen and they left it up for several laps. Very annoying. A drop down graphic was much better because it showed more that 3 drivers. The points updates throughout the night were incredibly lacking. Never knew what was going on.

On the final caution Paul Menard spun, no replay.

At the end of the race they didnt tell us who was in the chase and who was out till several minutes after the race ended. They also never showed the points after the race, only showed the reset chase points.

Kudos however for giving us 35 minutes of post race. Thank you. And thank you to WLOS Asheville for staying. Its a low blow to Nascar that other local stations wouldnt stay. They would have stayed if it was a college football game no doubt.

Anonymous said...

Overall, I wasn't impressed with DJ,AB and Andy in either race this weekend. On the short tracks, everyone needs to be on their game. They need crisp narrative with the production truck showing tape to match the words. They really dropped the ball on 'vital statistics'--- who's lap times are significantly faster/slower,who's fuel stops are out of sync,who's on 2 or 4 tires 15 minutes after the pit stops when we've forgotten who took what.Occaisonally they mentioned it,but not enough to shape a story line. I'm also sick and tired of the 'blame shuffle'. When theres a suspicious wreck, they place blame,then reverse themselves,then say it was just hard racing. If you don't have the cajones to tell it like it was (and any idiot watching on more than a six inch screen can see) then don't say anything. Then just tell the viwers that you'll show footage from various camera angles and let the audience draw their own conclusions. Maybe I'm wrong,but I got the impression that Brad had to fall back for Junior to get in the Chase. I'd love to have heard the radio traffic at the end of the race for the #2 and #88 cars. Lol. Rember 9-11.

SnowdogBob said...

I tried really hard to watch the race last night. I normally work while a race is on (and listen on Sirius) just looking up to watch the replay if something interesting happens. But I love Richmond, have been to races there, sat in the snow to watch a Busch race there what must be 20 yrs ago. But this was a smaller more intimate sport then, maybe it's just been too long...maybe this ESPN presentation is working for people younger or newer to the sport than myself. But I just couldn't enjoy the race as broadcast. I thought AB was fine and the racing looked like it was good but the broadcast isn't something i'll likely listen to or watch again this year.

Back to Sirius/MRN/PRN and the occasional "See what happened for myself" on TiVo later.

For someone who follows NASCAR closely all week the actual race itself is the lowpoint of the week (and not the Can't Miss event it should be)

dwight said...

I would have liked to see the celebration in victory circle and the other post race coverage instead of the local crime report when the race was over.

Anonymous said...

I could not hear the announcers. When I could hear them the lead announcer was laughing. I eventually laughed too, at the coverage. I turned the sound off and just watched. Horrible coverage.

Tex said...

Any one hear what that IDIOT Kurt Bush said and did in the media center after the race? You owe it to yourself to look it up.

And then there's ESPN. I still can't see what caused the 27 car to spin.

Black helicopter says it was an RCR team order.

Guess we'll never know.

Alan Bestwick is the saving grace for ESPN. He try's hard to keep that ship afloat.

On to Chicagoland.

Wisconsin Steve said...

It was nice to see them focus on the race and let the Chase be a background story, they hadn't done that in previous years.

Anonymous said...

Audio nad background noise was terrible last night.

OSBORNK said...

I'm sure it was a great race. Unfortunately, they didn't show us the race or let us hear the booth. It was like the people in the truck had never broadcast anything. The sound guy, the director and the camera operators all fell down on the job. That should not happen any time but especially when showing a race that is so important to the rest of the season.

Anonymous said...

Just a side note to the Nationwide Coverage on Friday nite: I thought that Rusty and Brad D's attempt to make an issue out of last weeks Justin Algier and Reed Sorensons incident was way overplayed. Justin rarely makes a mistake and causes accidents while Ol Steven runs over or thru or self destructs weekly with those situations rarely being addressed. Just thought it was much ado about nuthin.

Jonathan said...

Im sorry but I dont see why they call that place racing perfection... Richmond has to be my worst favorite track. Thank goodness there at Chicagoland next weekend

Broadcast stunk like no other, reminded me of Fox at times.

scarletandmaize said...

We can only hope ESPN is not part of the next NASCAR TV contract.

kang said...

The time interval disappeared at lap 170.It would return at lap 335.Perhaps Rusty or Brad could throw the switch for that particular feature.

Mule said...

I'm so done with BSPN's non coverage of Nascar events and the "so called" Chase hasn't even started yet.
AB was a welcomed pxp change in the booth but the moron's in the truck leave him hanging time and again. One would think they might have learned from their mistakes at Bristol and Richmond was even worse. All they know to key in on is controversy because the racing sux.
Nascar hit such a home run when they spec'ed out the COT, they decided to copy it for NNS cars. Now they have 2 series where the cars won't turn and their exclusive partner Goodyear can't build a tire with enough grip and staying power to promote good racing.
At a time where Nascar needs all the help it can get, their media partners fiddle with scheduling on NN & RaceHub then throw a new bimbo in the mix. Just when you thought Nacsar coverage couldn't get any worse, they shoot themselves in the foot again.
BZF should consider himself lucky that Big Bill isn't around anymore. If he was he'd drag his grandson out behind the woodshed and wear his a$$ out. In 10 short years how you go from all time high's in popularity to scraping the bottom of the barrel amazes me. It isn't simply the economy. Man I miss the Nascar of old.

Bobby said...

Moving the races outright to cable affects the revenue of the ESPN Broadcast Network affiliates. Often the revenue stream is a must with the loss of numerous shows since 2005, that their revenue matters or nobody will be an affiliate. It could also affect if they have local news.

The Mad Man said...

Was there a race Saturday night? It was hard to tell with so many ultra-tight shots and the constant use of the in-car, roof, and rear cameras.

I guess now that the Chase for the Chumps has begun, we'll only be shown the same 12 cars they've been showing all season long occasionally interrupted for a vehicle or two wrecking or a team that's paid "mention money" to get on the air.

Gotta love the guys in the truck when Bestwick gives the lead-in to commercial speech and then they don't go to commercial. Such professional work there BSPN! The World Leader in Commercials!

Fed UP said...

Thought it was a good race and the broadcast did a pretty good job. Were they spectacular? No. Were they as bad as FOX? Heck no. Hard to get a storyline going when others are going OFF the playbook, meaning the drivers. Would loved to have seen Brad K displace JR or smoke in the chase standings where he could have used his wins. I must say that with the potential wild cards spots, it was probably the best racing that I have seen since they repaved Bristol. Unfortunately, my local channel and the speed channel did not show much of anything after the race. I did get some news however. But that's not the fault of Espn, that falls under local control. Wish they could replay the whole speed show more than once. As for moving the races to cable to not conflict with about ending the season earlier, by the 2nd weekend of october?

old97fan said...

The broadcast stunk to high heaven. They took a great race and tried their best to ruin it. I can only reason that what little talent is left at ESPN was working at a football game and the third string was running the race broadcast. I think this is actually a network problem at ESPN, they are quickly becoming a caricature (sp?) of the network they used to be, some of their football broadcasts are just as bad and seem to be infecting some of the other networks. A side note, I've always liked Alan Bestwick-still do in spite of some of his obvious biasis. But it is a sad day in racing when he is considered the top of the heap in talent for play by play relatively speaking. It shows how far the bar has lowered in the last twenty years for racing play by play. His best talent (at least on tv) is moderating a team, not play by play.