Monday, October 31, 2011

Race Wrap: ESPN in Martinsville


The short-track in Martinsville, VA proved to be the undoing of ESPN this season. There are simply no words to describe how awful this telecast was once the race started. It defied description.

The pre-race show was solid and really worked well to set-up what everyone knew would be a tough day of bumping and banging. Rusty Wallace was absent due to the passing of his father on Saturday. Nicole Briscoe hosted with Dale Jarrett, Marty Smith and Brad Daugherty in the studio.

Marty Smith replayed an interview with Brad Keselowski and contributed to the topics on the pre-race show. His presence was refreshing and worked well with Jarrett. Wallace has been re-signed by ESPN through 2014. No word on Daugherty's future.

It was Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree in the TV booth. Jamie Little, Dave Burns, Mike Massaro and Jerry Punch were on pit road. Tim Brewer was in the Tech Garage.

Once the racing started it was made very clear that this race was going to be the tightest-framed and most awkward coverage in the five year history of ESPN since returning to NASCAR. The leaders were immediately framed when the green came out and the racing and incidents in the field were never seen.

It was replays that were used to explain to TV viewers time and time again what had actually happened on the track and pit road. The full-screen insertion of commercials for the first half of the race made it even more miserable. ESPN was caught in commercial when caution came out repeatedly.

ESPN has made it clear that this "hyper-tight" coverage is the way they are going to produce NASCAR races. In the body of this telecast, there were entire segments where the cameras never extended beyond showing two cars in the frame. The race recaps were presented with single car camera shots, despite the fact that the racing was under green.

To add insult to injury, the aerial camera was only used as the transition into commercial breaks. The low-angle speed shots were rarely used. Instead, the director zoomed-in on one or two cars at a time. Then, he shifted to one or two other cars as the announcers were instructed to talk about those drivers.

One key to the tension in this telecast between the broadcast booth and the producer and director in the TV truck were the frequent times when what was being discussed did not match what pictures were being shown. Bestwick would be yelling about the beating and banging at the back of the pack while the director zoomed-in on the leader of the race. After a moment of silence, Bestwick would be made to talk about the pictures. It was awful.

The restart with 27 laps to go saw ESPN shoot the leaders only and again miss a spin in the pack, this time involving Ryan Newman. It was a typical restart scenario for ESPN on this day. Zoom into the leader, then replay what happened that TV viewers never saw. Many fans seemed to be as frustrated as some of the drivers.

It's not rocket science to allow the cameras to show the cars racing on this short-track to the TV viewers. It's a track that has been covered on TV for a very long time by lots of different TV networks. Ultimately, it takes effort to make the kind of mess ESPN made Sunday.

The drivers offered a lot of action. The stories were unfolding at a hectic pace. It was a critical race in the Chase. There were multiple caution flags. Tempers were boiling. The TV response was single-car camera shots with forced storylines.

We invite your comments on this telecast. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below.

45 comments:

PammH said...

awful broadcast. Grade: F

Zetona said...

Martinsville deserves better. It produces the two best races of the season, with record-breaking numbers of lead changes, bumping and banging throughout, tempers flaring, and thrilling finishes--and all ESPN can do with such an amazing race is THAT.

CAnTNluvsNASCAR said...

I am thankful that NASCAR.com provides the Race Buddy coverage because I would have never seen the incidents and other excitement at the track today on ESPN. I had ESPN on the TV, Race Buddy on the PC, and Trackpass (for radio broadcast) on the tablet!!

AncientRacer said...

I have asked before aand I will ask it again (and probably again and again and again) how in the name of all that is holy can you blow coverage on a track the size of Martinsville (or Bristol)?

With your naked eye, and without moving your head you can see the whole track from where you are sitting if you are there.

There were, in the live comments, some great ones, but I will highlight two:

One Planteer (paraphrase) said, "why can't they put a camera up in each corner that can see the whole track and switch between them?"

And JD said (Paraphrase) "ESPN has been overproducing races since 2007"

Both true. Very True.

Please, somebody in Bristol, CT wake up!

(I will not hold my breath until you do, however)

Sally said...

It is simply incredible to me that ESPN can do such a terrivle job of televising a race that (appeared to) have more action on 1 half mile track than there has been all season long. It takes some real 'skill' to manage to focus on just one car at a time on such a short track, but they somehow managed to do just that. And, the director must just be waiting to tell cameras to pan away from obvious contact happening live so they can show it in replay. It is mind boggling that this can happen over and over. If Brian France thinks things are so rosy with their 'TV package', someone needs to duct tape him to a chair and make him sit through an entire race, from flag to flag to see just how totally boring television manages to make his 'product'.

Buschseries61 said...

I tried spelling 'ZOOM OUT' for ESPN in the live blog, but they didn't get it. Seems like they only learn though repetition.

So let's try this: BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD coverage.

I'm too frustrated to post other comments now.

Roland said...

The worst broadcast of the year, by far. It made TNT's Kentucky "enhanced audio" BS look awesome.

Coverage was super freakin hyper tight. They jumped from camera to camera on a whim with no flow what so ever.

Missed wreck after wreck due to the mega ultra super hyper tight style of camera work. Cars would spin in the back of the shot and they would pretend like nothing happened. Then act surprised when they cut to a shot of a wrecked car.

Dale Jarrett ended up doing AB's job at the end. DJ was clearly watching other parts of the track and called a number of wrecks and moments towards the end of the race.

Nascar Nonstop, well they werent joking with that name. Its nonstop commercials. They spend more time in Nonstop then they do live. And the box is about as small as it gets.

This was a truly epic race, one of the best of the year, but it will be marred in my mind by an awful television broadcast that was painful to watch.

Buschseries61 said...

Did ESPN interview Kenseth/Vickers/Keselowski yet? I've patiently been sitting through NASCAR Victory Lane for 20 minutes. Looks like I made the wrong choice.

BToS JD said...

ESPN's coverage of NASCAR is getting WORSE, not better.

This may be the worst TV coverage of a Martinsville race I have ever seen.

Once again, we see the ESPN culture reign supreme over common sense. ESPN controls the sports market and doesn't really give a damn what you or I think about it.

They get our money every month and love their millions of $$$$$$$$$$. Viewers be DAMNED!

rich said...

What a great race, too bad that ESPN chose not to broadcast it.
Absolutely the worst televised race in history.

Buschseries61 said...

NASCAR Victory Lane is a complete disaster. Fans that just watched the race don't want to sit through a complete recap. By the time SPEED has reached the winner's interview, ESPN SportsCenter is interviewing Tony Stewart a second time - with the same questions. This works delayed at 8PM, but not when competing live with ESPN.

jkeyeser said...

They must have been the same idiots in charge of the Hotpass broadcasts. Who does that anyway each race? They went the first half of the race without real-time stats. Occasionally they gave an update on where the driver started and was currently but no ticker or lap count. Then about 4 hours into the race, they decided to go black. the DirecTV logo, NFL for a couple of seconds and then back to the race. They need to get the trained monkeys out of there.

Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of The Chase and this Chase season has been the worst. It seemed to drag on forever. I actually dozed off in the middle of today's race. The race would have been better if Brian Vickers had retired from Cup a few races early. The booth was so-so. Many Planeteers worship Allen Bestwick. I think his performance is descent,but cetainly not up there with some of the announcing greats Like Ken Squier and Bob Jenkins. I suspect there are many fans today that never heard those two call a race! Tim Brewer said he's never seen a battery lying out on the race track. Heck,its happened a number of times in the last two seasons. It seemed that every time they went to commercial, there was a wreck. I can't tell you how many times I saw smoke or a veering car or a wreck in the background where the booth was oblivious to it. The irony of this racing season is that I watch less Nascar television as the season progresses. I watch none of the pre-race and post-race shows. Even Race Hub should be retitled to "Nascar Lifestyles!". Seriously, did anyone watch Race Hub last week? The only thing worth watching was Jimmy Spencer at the very end of the Tuesday and Thursday shows. Spencer is the only Nascar Talking Head that gives it to you straight. Tuesday night should be a howl with all the 'material' he has to work with from this weekend. We'll probably have to stock up on No-Doz for the upcoming Texas race. But hey, the Nascar shows will all hype the Martinsville weekend and show us 111 replays of Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton fighting at Texas last November. You watch....

ChrisK said...

I agree completely with JD's summary.

If it hadn't been Martinsville and a Chase race, I would have turned it off.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
ESPN missed another race ...direction inept and inexcusable once more ...a single camera atop press box could have show more true racing than production team chose to put on screen ...NASCAR seems impotent when it comes to influence credible presentation of its product ...and they wonder why seats are empty and fans aren't watching
Walter

52 yr. fa said...

I guess DirectTV was practicing
pulling the plug for next week.
As previously noted, live stats
were missing most of the race.
Three of the channels were blank near the end of the race. The in-car director for the 88 must have
slept some of the time. He would
set the view to Earnhardt's face and just leave it for a long time.
The total production today was
mind numbing!

Jojay said...

Since espn took over the race I have used the radio to see the races. Today I flipped over from watching the Steelers game to see about what was happening . Bad move as tv was not showing the retaliation miss - then it was shown in replay finally. Turned up the radio went back to football, never flipped back. I did however watch all of Victory Lane. I won't bother with the last 3 races, radio gives better pictures anyway. Shame bspn spent all that $$$ & refuses to show the sport in real time.

James said...

This was the disaster that proved NASCAR does not care what is broadcast as long as they get their fee. What was a great short track race, that was never shown! How can people be expected to continue to tollerate this travesty. I guess I'll have to listen to the radio and then wait for the weekly shows to see the action that was not broadcast.

As always, thanks for a place to vent!

Jonathan said...

that was bad!!! BAD BAD BAD ESPN is doing it on purpose plain and simple...

Anonymous said...

Until this year I thought ESPN ranked last among the 3 networks. But with the changes they have made, they are getting close to being my favorite. They did a great job at martinsville, they did the best they could to show all the incidents and keep up with the storylines of the leaders, the payback and the chase. They did a great job. The rest of you must of been watching with one eye closed or have no real passion for nascar because the coverage all year has been great. If you all dislike it so much, I am begging you to stop watching, PLEASE, you are bad for the sport and discrace to nascar.

Anonymous said...

iam just glad i was at the track great race live sorry everybody had to watch espn

RacingCountryGirl said...

I think the broadcast was terrible! They always seem to go to a commercial when a wreck happened on the track. The viewers only got to see the replay of many accidents and only a couple of cars racing. If not for listening to in car radio, and racebuddy. We wouldnt have know half of what was going on. I wish Nascar would get their own network, and tell all the others where they can go. I would be willing to pay more for their channel and let these other channels go. The announcers were mixed up on what they were suppose to be talking about as to what was being shown. I am very disappointed in ESPN as I have been for sometime now. NASCAR is a sport just like football, baseball, basketball etc. Try only showing the quarterback throwing the ball but not to who and if they catch it or not. Lets see how some more SPORTS fans would feel about the situation!

Kurt said...

I barely missed a race in 15 years,2 years ago I found myself watching less and less when ESPN broadcast the race. Now I don't even bother to tune in,I just don't need the aggravation on my only day off.
Do I miss it? Yes I do. But I can't bring myself to tune to ESPN thinking this will be the week they figure out how to broadcast a race.

Jonathan said...

Im glad were going to Texas next weekend I've had enough of Talladega and that was enough half mile racing for me enough 2 car tangos and then the beating and banging!! I wanna see a race and Texas will give me what I want wooo! Then Im off the Phoenix and Homestead will be awsome love it! Thank goodness were done with Martinsville 17,18 cautions is a snore fest for me

KoHoSo said...

A long comment approaches.

I am 46 years old and fortunate to have a memory that goes back fairly clearly to 1969. I have always been fascinated with both racing and television. I have been lucky enough to watch both go through great improvements in my lifetime so far. However, as far as the combination of two of my longest-running interests are concerned, it seems that there has been nothing but regression since the telecast contracts were consolidated beginning in 2001.

I simply cannot fathom how anybody believes that so many tight one or two car shots is entertaining. While I certainly do not count all of my acquaintances as being "everybody," I don't know anyone with a big HDTV that finds it compelling nor does it seem to gather great interest from those I know that are in their teens or 20's.

It is a shame as I believe the bulk of the Cup season is handled by two men that are among the best that have ever been put in front of the microphone in any sport. It is obvious that, at different times, both Joy and Bestwick have tried to steer a telecast in a more sensible direction only to be overruled by the agenda forced upon the truck to stick to a story line, focus on a few chosen drivers, or remain with pictures that supposedly work well in the new age of high definition television.

With the travesty that was ESPN's coverage of a race at one of the best tracks left on the Cup schedule, I am done watching NASCAR this season and maybe forever. I see no point in having something that is supposed to be fun be so aggravating. How can I care who wins this championship when I get to see so little of how it happens? I lambasted Fox at the end of their run this year that I felt I had been cheated out of seeing any of the races this year. ESPN has done the same, just without the extra added irritation of DW and Digger.

Just in case I don't come back, I want to thank all of the Planeteers for all of the great comments and laughs we have shared. As for JD...you have my highest thanks and respect for putting up with this for every race since 2007 especially since you know all too well how easily this could all be fixed. You are a stronger man than I, Mr. Daly.

Anonymous said...

Could it be an early sign of ESPN intentions NOT to bid on the next NASCAR contract?

They are buying up every stick and ball rights agreement out there, and made a HUGE cash commitment to NFL.

So, it is not s stretch to think that
ESPN would not "invest" in developing production talent in the truck for racing.

I'm just sayin......

Bray

SD80MAC said...

This is absolutely the worst ever race coverage ever by ESPN!!! Kudos to Alan Bestwick for trying, but the ESPN producers and directors blew it BIG TIME!!! I watched the race live on ESPN. A few hours later I listened to the race replay on SiriusXM Radio (coverage by MRN Radio). ESPN's close up tight coverage was like "Major Bowes Amateur Hour" compared to what I heard on SiriusXM / MRN!!!

I am not sure if it is the fact that ESPN's coverage really sucks, or if it is the fact that I just a few weeks ago got the ability to listen to races on SiriusXM, but I have to say that the MRN coverage is heads and shoulders above ESPN!!!

Knowing that the NASCAR TV coverage contracts will be renegotiated starting next year for coverage beginning in 2014, all I can say is that who ever gets the contract needs to hire Dave Moody for the lead booth announcer!!! His reporting is as exciting as it gets, in my opinion the best since Eli Gold was the lead announcer for the former TNN (now Spike) network! Dave Moody (@DGodfatherMoody on Twitter) is a "Turn Announcer" covering Turn 3 and the back stretch on MRN/SiriusXM.

It has been just a few weeks since I got SiriusXM radio in the house, but a long time since I listened to an entire race on radio. FWIW, I have not yet listened to an entire race covered by PRN on the SMI tracks (Charlotte, Bristol, Atlanta, Texas etc), but if they are anything remotely close to what MRN does, they will blow away ESPN's coverage!!!

As much as I like Alan Bestwick, he can only cover whatever the ESPN producers and directors give him. ESPN coverage is lousy amateur compared to what I hear on SiriusXM/MRN!!!

And to sum this up (not sure if I am prejudiced by the fact that I recently have got an option to listening to ESPN, or if radio coverage is really superior to ESPN TV coverage), but anyone who has not had a chance to listen to SiriusXM/MRN has not heard the best that there is! And for what is is worth, Claire B Lang (Twitter @ClaireBLang) on SiriusXM radio gets better post-race interviews than any of the TV channel reporters! It is difficult at best to listen to radio while watching TV even with ESPN audio muted, but at least I get to hear about what is really happening on the track! Radio and TV video is usually (OK, in just the few weeks I have had SiriusXM in the house) a half lap out of sync, but at this race at Martinsville, sometimes a whole lap ahead of TV, so I gave up trying and stuck with ESPN, then waited for the replay on SiriusXM/MRN.

larry said...

I DVRed the race but haven't looked at it yet. I will probably just delete it.

QUESTION FOR JD: If a neilsen family DVRs a race and then deletes it without viewing it, does it count as a view?

The racing has gotten so boring, I've stopped watching them live and seldom watch the entire race on DVR. And, of course, I ignore sponsors. And, FWIW, I avoid buying anything from the "Official sponsors" of nascar. I'm not boycotting, I'm just avoiding them.

Anonymous said...

Do you people just automatically agree with the author, no matter what he writes? Seems like it.

Anonymous said...

Here is an example of the coverage over the course of three runs between NASCAR breaks.

The 1st run we spent a couple of laps watching Jeff Gordon take the lead followed by another 10 or so laps of watching just Jeff Gordon with nobody else on the screen. Then we switched to another driver, I think Tony Stewart, for 10-15 laps with just him on the screen while they talked about Stewart, then a commercial.

When they got back we had a through the field of Chase drivers, showing only the car they were talking about at the time, showing two cars only if one happened to be close enough to the car they were focused on.

After the next commercial break they did another Through the Field of non-Chase drivers consisting of the same type of camera work.


No, I a not just saying this because the author wrote a bad review of the coverage as well, I rarely saw more than three cars consistently on the screen at any time during green flag racing.

glenc1 said...

no, anon 8:44...we actually watch the race and form our own opinions, what a shock.

I can't give a full review because I was also watching football. But every time I would look at the race, they were showing about two cars. I know it did not used to be this way; particularly at Martinsville, which has always been a favorite of mine. I could never tell what was going on. From what I saw, they never seemed to show the wide shots and were missing all the wrecks (live.) What anon 9:06 said seems about like the same thing I observed, even half paying attention. I want to go back now & look at one of my old race tapes to see what it used to be, although I know some of you have already done this.

Fed UP said...

Not having other outlets to compare to, I think ESPN did a great job with the race.

I saw some complaints about them leaving the show for commercials because somone one might cause a wreck? Some of these were the same people who were saying a few weeks ago, that anyone who cheers for a wreck, wasn't a racing fan? So, what is it going to be? You a fan of watching wrecking or watching a race? Seems like a few of you want to have your cake and eat it too.
I thought that ESPN did a great job on the short track. However, I also think that the next t.v. contract is going to be substancially less than what Nascar is hoping to get from the partners as well. And rightfully so.
All in all, I didn't have a problem with the broadcast race...I thought it was very good.
If you think that ESPN was bad this week, wait for the next two snooze fest races on the big tracks. Its going to be follow the leader, and two tires.

Anonymous said...

Oddly, even with crappy coverage, ESPN couldn't ruin the Martinsville race. It was still the best race this year.
This should be a lesson to NASCAR... a short track race can minimize other shortcomings.,

Vince said...

Well I was wrong. I thought it wasn't possible to screw up a race at Martinsville, but ESPN proved me wrong. On a track that always has action going on all over the track, ESPN managed to just focus on one or two cars at a time always at the front of the pack. It was like watching qualifying all over again. Focus on one or two cars and talk about them for a couple of laps and then move on to the next hyper tight shot of another car or two and talk about them for another couple of laps. Just like qualifying coverage.

AB would talk about action back in the pack and the Director in the truck would show us the leaders going single file. I don't know who the Director of the Martinsville race was, but he needs to go cover tennis or somthing. Anything but racing! This was by far and away ESPN's weakest effort of the year.

Grade F-

MRM4 said...

ESPN started out so good with the Brickyard, but have fallen off week after week. I'm not sure why they and the other networks think tight shots all the time are better. Tight shots from time to time are good, just not all the time.

The Mad Man said...

Did BSPN show a race or was it a highlight reel of a race? With as many ultra-tight shots, it was hard to tell. They somehow managed to miss a pit crew member getting hit on pit road who had to be taken to the hospital. But then, he didn't belong to a mega-team pit crew which might explain it. They also missed cars going to the garage and returning to the track outside of the normal start & parks and when they did mention them returning it was usually after a dozen laps or so later. And if you can't cover a 1/2-mile track decently, what's that say for the season finale at Homestead?

Since BSPN seems to be doing their best not to cover the races, much less cover them in a decent manner, it's a good indication they won't be back when their contract is up. Maybe the currently re-organizing NBC Sports will pick up the contract? They do a decent enough job on their IndyCar coverage. Maybe they can do the same for the Cup races?

And while this isn't about Sunday's race, did anyone happen to catch the Truck Series race on Speed? They tried the split screen coverage and managed to botch it. The smaller screen showing the actual race was so small it looked like a postage stamp on a 4x5-inch envelope. It was extremely difficult to see what was going on as they also were committed to the ultra-tight shots.

I'd have to give BSPN an "F" for the Cup race and Speed a "D+" for the Truck race.

Anonymous said...

Is ESPN's commitment to the tight framing, part of an effort to avoid showing the stands?
It appears that they make every effort to avoid showing anything that would let you see the crowd.If so that is probably with the blessing if not the request of Nascar.
Maybe we are placing the blame in the wrong place.

Dot said...

The only thing that saves me from watching the stellar coverage by BSPN is Twitter. You know more what's happening there than what you see on TV.

Did you guys know that Ken Schrader was in the race? The man is an icon of the sport and not one word was said about him. I did update his track position on Twitter for all the Ken Schrader lovers.

My hope for 2014 is that BSPN does not get the nascar contract. And, I hope whoever does get it,invites AB, AP and DJ to sign up.

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the washed up crew chief,we all know a car has brakes and a steering wheel

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

On positive note...I really liked Nicole in Countdown show. Much more natural. Good sense of humor. Also, really showed alot with Dan Wheldon tribute last week.

Anthem great. Every track should hire local college band or military and only have musical version.

Well, that's it for postive notes.

Watched HotPass until it went dark. Between glancing at window with ESPN, then turning to ESPN for last part of race, I totally agree with the all the comments.

The zooming in, one car shots will be the demise of NASCAR on TV.

I just don't get it. Even if you knew nothing about the sport, don't you think you would think people would want to see as many cars in a shot, for long enough to see some racing.

No flow in the booth or on pit road to keep us informed on strategies or issues with various drivers.

When NASCAR has contract negotiations they should mandate details for covering the race with penalties for not abiding. How they figure that out is their issue. Don't companies fire their advertising companies when their products are selling.

They should watch a race with some fans to get their input to what is wrong. Oh wait, they get that for free with JD. Gues they don't care.

GinaV24 said...

I was at the race. It took me 14 hrs from the time I left my house for me to GET to NC because of the weather in the area delaying travel everywhere.

But once I got there, it was a GREAT race. I am so glad I didn't give up on Saturday and go back home which would have left me to watch it on TV on Sunday. Based on the comments here, I would have thought it was a bad race. It wasn't.

It had to be one of THE best races I've seen all season.

The field RACED from the drop of the green flag all the way to the end and it was just plain fun to watch.

I'm really sorry, although not at all surprised, to hear that ESPN didn't cover it well. It was non-stop action.

NASCAR really needs to step up here and have serious talks with all the networks. There are a lot of people who have never been to a race and they sure won't become fans and think they need to spend the time and money needed to go if all they ever see is the drivel presented by the TV partners.

If you ever have the chance to go to Martinsville to see a race, I highly recommend it. By far my favorite track and it is worth the trip.

GinaV24 said...

Ancient - there is a camera up on the top of the stands between 3 and 4 - just by shooting from that camera alone they could show the whole track and the boom camera in turn 4 definitely catches the actions in the corners.

It's just plain bad production choices, not becauses they don't have the camera.

Stupid, stupid, stupid -- if NASCAR wants to attract more fans - maybe that's where I'm wrong anyway - maybe NASCAR just isn't interested any more.

Dennis said...

I could be way off but I'm sure I remember hearing years ago that some of the sponsors could actually get more camera coverage by paying the broadcaster.

It does seem very strange to me that we see so much coverage of the same cars week in week out even if they aren't doing well at all.

And, as always, the tight shots just kill the coverage.

Anonymous said...

I honestly feel that ESPN is doing this on purpose, either to lower the cost of the next contract or to get out altogether. What other explanation could there be for this? ESPN only cares about their stick and ball sports since they bring in the most money. Nascar (Cup and NW) is just a time filler for them around those sports.

Add in the fact that they don't show cars simply because they don't buy advertising and this is what you get for a broadcast. The same cars that buy the advertising get all the tv time and the fans lose again.

old97fan said...

The man love for the Hendrick drivers (except) Mark Martin continued at ESPN. Actually, I'm starting to change my opinion on that, I just think they pick popular drivers and only show them-just like playground politics, show them all the time, always blame the other guys when something goes wrong. The problem is, this isn't a playground, it's supposed to be a competition between 43 drivers who have even more sponsors. If I were a lot of the other sponsors I would start pulling ads if the network wants to discriminate against my driver.

I watched the national anthem and loved it. Nice not to see the latest flavor of the month rewrite and rearrange our national anthem. Watched the first third of the race and did something I've never done before. Turned it off. Loaded up my kids in the suburban-introduced them to a horse trainer I know and had a great stress free afternoon. Used to be mystified by my friends who walked away from racing. Now I get it and am not sure I will be coming back. 47 years old and 42 of them a racing fan. Seen a lot of racing-open wheel, stock, outlaw, cart, you name it with a few weird ones in between, even a little drag. I think I'm done and gonna learn more about horses, riding and draft. I haven't really left racing, it left me.