Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday TV/Media News And Notes

The big TV news this week was the final numbers coming from the Nielsen TV ratings folks about the Sunday race. NASCAR Chase races have been holding steady just below the 4.0 cable rating level for years now. Thanks to Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards that all changed.

"With a peak audience of 10.5 million when the checkered flag fell on champion Tony Stewart at 8:08 p.m. ET, ESPN’s telecast of the Ford 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway averaged 6.7 million viewers and earned a 4.6 household coverage rating (4.0 U.S. rating), according to the Nielsen Company. The viewership average broke ESPN’s previous record of 6.6 million viewers for the 2008 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Final figures do not include a rain delay from 4:45-6 p.m." That from ESPN's PR folks.

Pretty nice way to end a season full of the same old complaints about coverage during the ESPN telecasts. It seems a tad ironic that a two-man battle involving drivers racing with respect topped last year's effort that involved lots of TV hype and personal sniping among competitors.

The other big story is the Tuesday afternoon apology issued by Kurt Busch to Dr. Jerry Punch and the NASCAR on ESPN team. Click here to view the video of Kurt after his car's transmission failed early in the race and he was waiting to be interviewed on TV. Be aware that it contains profanity and is not suitable for youngsters.

"In my frustration with the loss of my transmission early in the race, I let my emotions get the better of me," said Busch. "I regret having done this and apologize to the sponsors of Penske Racing, to NASCAR, its fans, to the media and in particular, Dr. Jerry Punch."

Punch has been in tougher situations in the garage than having a driver throwing some poorly chosen profanities around for effect. ESPN acknowledged the apology and things will move on. Social media, in this case YouTube, once again playing a role in a NASCAR incident.

Speaking of ESPN, spokesman Andy Hall has confirmed that NASCAR Now will be returning next season. There are no details yet about in what format or timeslot, but it's clear after being pushed to mid-afternoon and having the later re-air cancelled the series needs some help. We will keep you posted.

Many fans asked why ESPN flew Tony Stewart to Bristol, CT on Monday and then did not have a final NASCAR Now show of the season. That is a great question. Instead, Stewart did some interviews on stick and ball shows and then hung a banner before departing. With three years left in the current NASCAR TV contract, perhaps someone at ESPN might make a note of this issue.

Here is a little DVR alert. The Sprint Cup Series race from Homestead re-airs on SPEED at noon ET on Wednesday in a three hour timeslot. That one is a keeper.

We are working with SPEED to find out future plans for the RaceHub program. It will continue next week at 6PM Monday through Thursday. Hopefully, there will be a holiday break and then it will pick right back up. Info on talent assignments was supposed to be out this week, but it looks right now like next week will be the time to find out who is going where.

The Camping World Truck Series schedule is finally out. There are only 22 races and both Richmond and IRP in Indy are not on the list. Rockingham will host a race and the series will wind-up in Homestead for a finale. Looks like a tough year for trucks coming up. We are waiting to see if Michael Waltrip's FOX duties will change SPEED's on-air truck series line-up for next year.

Click here for a great article by Karen Hogan on Bill France Jr. as he is an inductee for the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The late NASCAR chief was a colorful character who saw the sport through a period of amazing growth.

Tuesday night I participated in a podcast with Ken Fang of and Keith Thibault of talking about NASCAR TV. Click here for the link page, the podcast will appear at the top of the page when it is posted. Thanks to those two for inviting me.

We invite your comments on any of these topics. If you have a question about the NASCAR media or TV, ask it. We will try to get everything wrapped-up before the Thanksgiving break. Thanks for stopping by.


TLE said...

Has there been much said about who Kurt was flipping off coming into the pits? ESPN didn't mention if they did I missed it.

ChrisK said...

You might want to check the spelling on the headline for this post. :)

Daly Planet Editor said...

I am told Kurt saluted a support truck for the secret service that was parked in the garage area blocking access to his garage stall.

The truck moved, but Kurt was already by and went to another area in the garage.

He certainly had a memorable Sunday.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks Chris, let me know if you catch anything else. My copy editor is on vacation!

PammH said...

I luv reading the Nascar media on twitter saying-off season, what off-season?? My goodness, I've read that the Buach mother is a very nice person, but good grief, she & her husband are HORRIBLE parents, imo. Those boys should have been taken out to the woodshed repeatedly for whippings. They both feel TOO entitled to be giant aholes because things don't go their way. Unreal. Sad for all the folks losing their jobs in Nascar..:(

Jessica said...
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Jessica said...

A twitter search for #KurtBuschThanksgiving yields much fun and insight into how bored some already are with the off-season;)

Zetona said...

The ratings news is great, especially considering that there was a rain delay to bore viewers.

As for next year's schedules, as disappointing as it is that IRP has been dropped from the NNS and CWTS schedules, I am PUMPED that NASCAR will return to Rockingham next year. It's both the NNS and the trucks that are going, right? That's going to be AWESOME.

(Minor aside...the trucks didn't race at Richmond this year either, did they?)

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that maybe both Busch brothers need some Anger Management classes BEFORE the season starts next Feb!! That should be a stipulation from Nascar! LOL

Anonymous said...

Get out your checkbook Kurt,another
"secret fine"is comming your way.

sbaker17 said...

My guess is that ESPN will take full credit for the ratings gain based on their great production qualities, not on the fact that it was a tight points race that did not include Jimmy "JJ" Johnson

starrcade76 said...

Any talk about a correlation of the higher rating and the race ending in prime-time?

It has been a couple years now of the more standardized early start times. But the ratings did seem similar to a few years back when many races were scheduled to run into early evening.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Z, no NNS at the Rock, just trucks.

Starr, you are correct. The NFL late regional games were over and primetime numbers helped. Also, ESPN removed the hour of red flag coverage to help get a higher number.

larry said...

@PammH...Well Said! Horrible parents; horrible children.

They could have spent a little family time discussing courtesy and respect for others.

glenc1 said...

In a tip of the hat to Jimmy Spencer (or whoever at Speed came up with it), I'm going to call him 'Kurt Busch, all-around sweetheart' from now on. Actually we should get Ancient Racer to come up with something. Anyways, I did look at the Youtube. Geez. Dr Jerry deserves SO much more respect than that. Can you imagine what's going through the minds of those media guys Kurt called m-fs? I'm guessing he's like this all the time; no one appeared surprised. But they're making peanuts compared to him, and he treats them like that. I'll take 'aw shucks' Carl & 'vanilla' Jimmie any day for being more respectful to others. Maybe I'm reading too much between the lines, but I think the Captain is really po'd. This fine might come from him. It's pretty embarrassing to the organization and to Pennzoil. It's not the language alone but the lack of respect. A common theme for the Busch brothers.

As for the ratings, I wondered about that prime time thing, thanks for clearing that up. I do believe it was the situation causing the ratings and not the coverage, obviously. Still, I have to tell myself it's good for the sport and right now, getting sponsors is more important than ever. David Reutimann should not be sitting on his couch.

Zetona said...

Huh, I could've sworn I read an article yesterday saying the NNS cars were going to race at the Rock.

larry said...

Kurt and Kyle are NOT the center of the universe. Someone really needs to sit them down and explain that to them. Their parents failed in that respect and NASCAR has failed also. I hope Penske steps up to the task.

Unfortunately, I used to support several of his sponsors (not because of the busch brothers), but I will now avoid buying anything that is included in their sponsor lists. I have talked to several others who believe the same way and are also avoiding the purchase of anything that is related to those two scumbags.

They have already made more money than most mortals, so I don't think they would lose much if they were sat down for a season to think about respecting people who are responsible for their huge income.

Daly Planet Editor said...


You were close. It was K&N Series!

Wisconsin Steve said...

Speed should put Hermie Sadler in the booth for Truck races...he'd be less annoying than MW and a better analyst.

Good to hear that NN will be sure would be nice to see them move to the Hall of Fame.

As for the Busch family, it would be nice if people realized that the brothers are both adults (technically speaking) and stopped bashing their parents; if you didn't live in their house you don't know what you're talking about.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Thanks again for your blog, JD.

Anonymous said...

Until all this media hype I didn't even give a 2nd thought to Kurt's missing ESPN interview after the mechanical failure. The Busch bros are just 2 more drivers, and as mentioned, NOT the center of anything.

Tony Stewart, 2011 Sprint Cup Champion, is. :)

Have a great holiday season everyone!
Donna in FL

Anonymous said...

Steve, in principle I agree, but I think they've been like this since they were kids...when they were still living with mom & dad, Kyle was only 16 when he started in trucks. I believe there were stories about the old Vegas bull ring days and them not being popular with the other drivers. Kurt even said they were raised the 'same thought process' so wrecking each other was 'inevitable'. Kids who are taught respect usually stay that way, unless other influences take over.

I think the way Jack Roush spoke about Ricky Stenhouse's father speaks volumes.

sbaker17 said...

larry said...
Kurt and Kyle are NOT the center of the universe. snip

More like the planet Uranus :)

Dot said...

Did KuB feel the need to out a$$ his brother? Did he feel left out because the media was all over KyB after TX? Good grief. Dr Punch did not deserve that. At lease this year at the Bu Bros Thanksgiving, they can brag about their new record. Finishing out of the top ten and not being recognized at the banquet. A first for brothers. LOL

@Anon 10:32, KyB's parent(s) altered his birth cert so he would be "old" enough to race at the bullring. They got caught.

JD, so how many cams did BSPN use on Sunday? I counted one, showing Tony & Carl.

Have a happy & safe Thanksgiving JD & the Planeteers.

Anonymous said...

Dot, I had forgotten that story, and that shows you something about their character. Teach your kid to cheat. There was also some story about the 2 of them going back there as adults and wreaking havoc with guys running for points.

anon 10:32

AncientRacer said...

I am not too awfully sure I really like living in a world where everyone has a camera all the time. Just no place much at all left where you can be a genuine 24 carat horse's a** any longer and lord knows we all do it from time to time.

uncredentialed said...

Granted having such a dramatic title fight and lackluster NFL late-games helped a great deal, but this race was a clear example of how insane it was to go to earlier start times.

Sunday night primetime is when the largest percentage of people around the country are home, relaxed and watching TV. The twisted logic that fans come home from church around 1pm and that's when they watch racing never made any sense at all. Especially with this thing called time zones.

NASCAR caved to reporters who didn't want to work/travel late and to fans who complain for the sake of complaining.

GinaV24 said...

Ancient - LOL, I feel like that too.

Although you have to admit that making a habit of being a gold plated horse's patoot is pretty much guaranteed to get the wrong sort of attention.

So the secret service didn't arrest him for making terroristic threats! LOL

Good news about the ratings for NASCAR, but it's a shame it had very little to do with ESPN's coverage. NASCAR essentially got lucky - Duckboy could have wound up taking the title with only 1 win for the season - they'd have had to add a corallary to the Matt Kenseth Commemorative 1 win per season championship rule.

Roland said...

Caught your interview on Sports Media Journal. Great job representing the site and Nascar. Good interview.

West Coast Kenny said...


I agree with @sbaker17 and @uncreditialed.

re: @sbaker17, I think that having a Chase finale in which the winner was certain to be someone other than Jimmie Johnson had something to do with the ratings bump.

After JJ won the Kansas race and came to within 4 pts of the lead, I was cursing more or less gave up on the season. I didn't watch any of Charlotte, which is usually one of my favorite tracks and only sampled the end of Dega. It wasn't until the middle of the Texas race when I started to believe NASCAR was worth watching again. All season I had only been sampling the races and following your site, NASCAR Insiders, and SpinDoctor500 to keep up.

re: @uncredentialed, because of the rain delays, I agree that the end of the race fell perfectly in the sweet spot between the second NFL game on CBS (San Diego@Chicago or Tennessee@Atlanta) and the beginning of the Sunday Night Game.

No teams North and East of Atlanta in the big media markets of New York, Boston, Philly, and the greater Baltimore/DC were involved, so their fans were low-hanging fruit waiting to be picked.

Hope you get some rest in during the Silly Season, John.


Vicky D said...

How many times will Penske have to keep apologizing for Kurt Busch's outbursts? Personally, I'm surprised that KuB still has a job there.

Jimbacca said...

I've had a bad race. Then you lay it on me that my bad race may have impacted the 'closest chase in history'. Then you make me wait around instead of shooting the interview and playing it when the truck gets their head out of their rears.

Many of the non PR leachers, ie Stewart and real racers, would have done about the same. Maybe without the profanity. But thats a maybe.

AveryNH said...

My memory may be foggy but I recall laughing hysterically at baby busch flipping that truck the ol bird. And after watching the video of the 'interview' on YouTube I have even more respect for Doc Jerry Punch. Good for him for not putting up with Bucsh's two year old tantrums.

Roland said...
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Anonymous said...

Even though ESPN is putting a positive face/spin on the ratings, the numbers STINK!
Back when ESPN was a powerhouse in motorsports (SpeedWorld) a normal rating for cup was 5 or 5.5!

ESPN and NASCAR have to be BUMMED with this relative "blip" for a tied championship race. A 4.0 is terrible.

What a sad state of affairs

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon, ESPN carefully words every press release so it is factually accurate.

It's important to notice who in the NASCAR media takes that and simply repeats the same information and which media outlets take the time to examine the larger reality.

In fact, NASCAR TV ratings for the Chase have been in crisis for years. Last year's coverage of the Chase by ESPN was the worst sports television coverage in the history or ESPN in motorsports.

It's pretty much a sport in denial of TV reality and now aided by some high-dollar brand marketing folks. Get ready for an avalance of spin in 2012.