Monday, October 17, 2011

Race Wrap: ABC In Charlotte

Long night under the lights from the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mike Massaro opened the show from the Infield Pit Studio and then worked as a pit reporter during the actual race.

Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty were left alone to contribute during a race that saw the kind of "tough to pass" dynamic fans are familiar with on 1.5 mile tracks. The racing quickly sorted out and stayed mostly single-file.

It was Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree in the TV booth to call the race. Massaro, Dr. Jerry Punch, Dave Burns and Shannon Spake worked pit road. Vince Welch and Jamie Little were off in Las Vegas for the Indy Car race.

The ESPN TV team produced a product that featured the style of coverage they have used for five years. Tight shots and moving from single or two-car camera shots under green once the field sorted out.

Racing featured long green flag runs which put TV into the position of showing multiple green flag pit stops. The big side by side video box worked really well once again. This effect is outstanding, it is a shame it cannot be used for the ESPN Nonstop coverage.

The big moment of the night was the accident featuring Jimmie Johnson. ESPN replayed his in-car camera shortly after Johnson was seen limping to the ambulance. This is certainly a video clip that will be replayed on the ESPN networks over the next few days.

The ABC telecast featured a lower-third scoring graphic that is used by the ESPN networks. It remained for the vast majority of the night. ESPN Nonstop was used for the second half of the race, but in this format ABC local station breaks were shown full-screen. There was no RaceBuddy and no Watch ESPN app for this event.

ESPN's format is well-known, the personalities are familiar and the style of racing that they have to cover is now a big part of the sport. We welcome your comments on this telecast. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.


jerry said...

booth was solid
Pit lane was solid

The rest needs a ton of work.

Anonymous said...

i give it a c could have been better

jimm57 said...

For what is normally an exciting night race at Charlotte, ESPN/ABC gave us a poor and boring presentation. The booth was bored and tired, but the pit crews did a decent job following the action in the pits. Camera work was'nt all that bad, did'nt over use the bumper cams, and occasionally showed some decent wide shots, but the racing was strung out at times and they jumped from car to car giving a disjointed race to follow.

Once the laps got closer to the finish, the action picked up and it was a blast to watch. The post race was OK, however it was short despite ending within the time aloted.

Thanks for the blog JD! See ya'll next week.

OSBORNK said...

I only saw the last 25% of the race because I chose a live concert over the "beat the time in" part of the race. I had three problems with the telecast in the last part of the race. The sounds of the race drowned out the booth and it was very difficult to hear what they were saying. I felt the side by side commercials were useless because the race was shown so small that you couldn't tell what was going on. Finally, they didn't show the action on the track but they showed whatever they wanted without regard to what was important.

Buschseries61 said...

From green to checkered, ESPN did not chase the stories. Long green flag runs bored the director and left the weight of the broadcast on Bestwick. Bestwick had to make sense of the single car shots and stretch the conversation to keep the booth, infield and pit reporters involved.

As the laps clicked by, Bestwick had more burdens to carry. ESPN had no story and no wrecks with less than 75 to go. A series of cautions shortly after saved Bestwick from having to apologize for the lack of passing.

When Jimmie Johnson crashed with less than 30 laps to go, NASCAR and ESPN rejoiced. NASCAR will most likely have a new champion, and ESPN now has a great SportsCenter headline. It was amazing how well ESPN covered every detail in Johnson's wreck. When the story works in their favor, they don't mail it in.

Petree, Jarrett, & the pit reporters did a good job tonight and should not be denied the credit they deserve covering this difficult race.

Buschseries61 said...

I forgot to add, Bestwick was MVP of the night for keeping the ESPN broadcast afloat. Dr. Punch and Reid would have crumbled under the same circumstances.

KoHoSo said...

I'm not sure that ESPN really had much to show us in this race as, aside from restarts and pit stops, it sure seemed like a mostly single-file parade (something AB admitted at one point). Frankly, I tuned out quite often to watch college football games and relied on Twitter to tell me if something of interest was happening at Charlotte.

Then again, I think back to the days of ESPN's v1.0 NASCAR coverage and seem to recall how they found stories and angles to keep people interested during a stinker of a race.

I don't know...even with the huge improvement of putting AB in the PxP role, ESPN is still missing the spark it had in days of yore and that is aggravating the many on-track issues I have these days with the sport.

Roland said...

I listened to PRN with the TV muted so I didnt get the full effect. Souded in the live blog like AB was having a rough night. AB on a rough night is better than Marty on a good night.

My biggest complaint is that in the 2nd half of the race the ticker rarely showed the intervals. I didnt know Brad was a lap down till after the race ended. And they never showed the points as of now beyond 6th.

Thats all I got. To quote my favorite band the Foo Fighters "done, done, on to the next one"

Vicky D said...

I felt like the booth was one step behind the race. The chase guys got a whole lot more air time than the non-chase even though they were up front longer.

terri said...

When Nascar gives the booth a terrible show to cover, what you get is terrible coverage. Then add dSPN's poor production and what you get is a snoozer.

Bestwick once again is the star of the show. I don't know how he does it, but he at least keeps some flow to the broadcast.

Very glad to see Mike Massaro finally get his due, after how many years of standing on the heli-pads waiting for one last tidbit from tired drivers.

And not broadcast-related: extremely glad that JJ is okay, as that was one terrible crash. But to hear people cheering when he crashed and reading the blog full of vitriol towards him sickens me.

Sally said...

Apparently the guys in the TV truck can only relate to qualifying type coverage. Single car shots work for that, not for the race. If you can't go find the drama, wherever it may be, you aren't doing your job. Whether the new car routinely produces parades rather than racing, it is the job of the network to make it interesting. They seem incapable of doing so. It certainly appears that they are trying to 'devalue' the 'product' so they can justify paying less to carry it. I think it's working.

AncientRacer said...

CMS is one of the tracks where I have walked about and looked from every fixed camera position. Next to Bristol it has IMO the best ones. The burden is clearly on the truck to make use of the images at CMS and once again the truck largely failed me. As much as I like KYBU (and I do) watching him out for a Saturday evening drive 2 seconds ahead of the field is dumb. This especially after paying only modest attention to his march through the field that culminated in the whiz bang pit stop which put him in position to go to P1. In a race dominated by the iron hand of parity his moving forward was a superb piece of work, but I got to see little of it. Shame on the truck.

Shame on the truck, too, for not paying really any in-race attention to Marcos Ambrose. He had a terrific run and it was clear in his post race interview he left chips on the table out of deference to the chasers.

I agree that AB was on top of things in the booth as much as he could given the Truck's video choices and I thought DJ was value added. Petree not so much -- though he did not detract. He just did not add.

I could call race boring, but I will not. It was however a Parity Parade for the most part. I was happy, though, I only detected one gratuitous "debris" caution -- pulled, I suspected, for the benefit of Biff.

There were some good bits, though. The camera was right there (oddly given how many times this kind of thing is missed) when Boom Went The Weasley (a scary moment; essentially the same hit that Sr. took). The the truck also got it right showing Voldemort slinking away into the night -- his facial expression was priceless. Then there was the Cousin Carl and KYBU "conversation." Hmmmm. IMO Carl was beginning his Talledega head games on Kyle as the big track is a place, even with the rule changes, where having friends is important.

In sum: It was worth my time. It could have been better, and I wish (though I know Speed did the best it could with the mororcyle event being live) there had been time for a full blown "Victory Lane".


52 yr. fan said...

There was racing going on around the track as described by the PRN
announcers. Problem was ABC choose to show tight shots on single cars or the dizzing zoom in then quickly out. The Hot Pass with radio coverage gives a more vivid audio but leaves the video much lacking.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
Production values continue to expose ineptitude of director/producer team ...ESPN'S ongoing disrespect and disregard for all performers (43 teams at the track and thousands behind the scenes), who make the show what it is, becomes more obvious each week ...just tell the story, don't write the script ESPN least finish line coverage is improved ...suggestion: put some buttons in front of AB so actual racing will be seen by viewers, not only fans at the track

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand all the love for Bestwick. He seems like the nicest guy in the world, and his enthusiasm is bottomless.... But he really isn't any better than Jerry Punch in the lead role. Time and again, he simply said the car number of name of the driver again and again. "there's the 99 of Carl edwards coming up on the 18 of Kyle busch." ugh.

My complaint with Bestwick is the same as my complaint with the previous ESPN annoucers: they make an exciting sport dull. At this point in the season, I'm pretty sure EVERYONE watching knows Kyle busch drives the 18. It doesn't need to be said more than once, let alone 100 times.

Anonymous said...

I watched the first thirty minutes and then switched to baseball. While I had the baseball game on with the volume very low, I got caught up on a couple of my t.v. shows by watching them online. I did watch the last twenty laps of the race. The races are just so boring now.

GinaV24 said...

I was at the race. There was NO racing to see during the first 260 plus laps. I almost fell asleep in my seat to the drone of the cars.

In some ways I was sorry that I had paid $ for the ticket instead of simply napping through the TV broadcast on my couch.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't able to see the entire race so I hope you'll forgive any errors.

A Parity Parade is about the way I would describe this race. If it was boring... and I think it was, you can blame it on that... along with the long green flag runs that strung out the field. Nothing ESPN/ABC could do about that. That's NASCAR's doing. They got exactly the product they've been working towards.

Maybe it was mentioned during the broadcast but I had to see the paper this morning to learn that Junior's pit crew had left a wheel loose for the second time in the chase.

To me, that's a pretty significant story. I know a lot of you don't give a rip about Jr but a couple of years ago, Jimmie's whole pit crew got swapped after screwing up.

So, yeah... I missed Race Buddy, hated all the local commercials and thought some of the "excitement" was definitely manufactured. Like when DJ was excitedly talking about how a driver had moved all the way up... one whole spot from where he started. zzzzzzzzzzzz

debi said...

I was at the race, a real snoozer, left me looking for things to do. Did cheer when Jimmie crashed, only because Jimmie was out of the race. Would never cheer because a driver was possibly hurt. I held my breath to see him get out of the car safely and hope there are no residual effects from the accident. Haven't had a chance to watch the broadcast yet but from what I've read here maybe I shouldn't bother.

Kind of glad I have to work this Sunday and miss 'Dega. The broadcasts get pretty one-sided this time of year! Hoping it's a new Sprint Cup champion instead of someone who has won it before. We need something like that to get this sport exciting again!!!

Jonathan said...

I thought the race was a good one, the ending was OUTSTANDING! Great pass at the end by Kenseth! That was a classic pass for the win! Gina I have a question at the start of the race the place looked close to a sell out even my mom who was watching said wow that place looks jammed packed with so many people but towards the end of race the place looks dead like everyone leaves.... Do that many people leave during the race? I know people always leave early but Charlotte to me at least seems to be the worst. Gina did that many people leave or is there a lot of stuff to do during the race i dont get it. All that time and money invested and you dont see the ending dosent make sense to me

all and all a solid B- good telecast better than last weekend

Zieke said...

Gina; Again you hit the nail on the head. 500 miles is not going to be very exciting until the last 50 or so laps when it is time to go. The drivers see no need to race really hard until that time. Which is why I discontinued going to races, mostly when the cars all got to be the same. Makes it real hard for almost any announcer to make an interesting broadcast of it.

Vicky D said...

I think the booth still concentrates on the chase drivers way too much. Although I was happy that we didn't see every boring nanosecond of KyBusch passing every car when he started in back. I was happy with my guy winning too. Roll on 'dega.

rickw82 said...

ESPN has fallen so far in its coverage, I would rather watch the Direct Hot Pass and tune on the radio. The only bright spot is AB. Someone in ESPN was smart enough to listen to the fans. We wanted someone who CARED and know NASCAR, that is AB. They need to follow his lead and advice on the racing, not some director who is "stuck" in what they think we should see. We need and want wider field coverage and stop the canned directed questions. Can anyone at ESPN/ABC ask a question or intreview with using the words "How does" and obviously?