Monday, December 19, 2011

NASCAR Returns To SPEED With Daytona Testing (Updated)

This week we expect an interim president to be named for SPEED. Hunter Nickell will be leaving as the network chief next week. No matter who takes on the task, this transition is going to be tough because Daytona is right around the corner.

It will be Thursday, January 12 when NASCAR coverage returns to SPEED. Testing at Daytona will once again be mixed with a fan fest and details about that can be seen at the Daytona International Speedway website.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday SPEED will cover the afternoon sessions beginning at 1PM ET and running until 5PM. There is also a morning session that begins at 9AM if you might be attending in person.

For those of you familiar with Daytona testing, the story this year is going to be very different. NASCAR is working very hard to break-up the two-car tandem drafting at this track with rules changes of all kinds. From radiators to radios, it's become very clear that NASCAR wants the "lovebug racing" to vanish.

That makes this year's coverage on SPEED important. Twitter and Facebook can send pictures and reactions to the testing, but only SPEED can offer HD video from a TV network perspective. Fans want to know what is going on with this series.

As everyone knows these days, social media has made the timeline of activities like testing run in almost real time. Team reps, drivers, the speedway and the sponsors will all be passing along information as it happens as the teams get ready for another ten month grind.

There are several items to discuss with SPEED's planned coverage. It will be interesting to see if the on-site TV reporters in the garage are tweeting information and posting to SPEED's Facebook page while the announcers in the booth talk about what is happening on the track. This practice might become the norm next season.

Secondly, SPEED will not restart the RaceHub program on January 12 with the testing coverage. The current network schedule puts a re-air of testing running from 6 to 8PM and then nothing NASCAR related in primetime.

So, instead of talking about some of the biggest changes in the sport as NASCAR tries to redefine this type of restrictor plate racing, SPEED viewers will be seeing Pimp My Ride, the now famous tow-truck show Wrecked and American Trucker to wrap-up primetime.

On Saturday, the schedule has the testing re-air at 7:30PM but no other NASCAR programming of any kind that night. This is the final day of this test session.

It seems that SPEED is trapped between a rock and a hard place these days where NASCAR is concerned. The network programming is trying to serve several masters with different agendas and failing miserably at all of them.

As we mentioned in an earlier post the network's head of programming and production, Patti Wheeler, also chose to leave SPEED at the end of the 2011 NASCAR season. It's been a rough couple of months for the Charlotte, NC based company.

The current posted programming schedule for the network only goes through January 15. In a world where schedules are often six months ahead, this puts SPEED in a position of having four weeks of mostly older re-run programs out for the public to see. RaceHub is not on the list.

Update Monday 10AM: SPEED passes along that live online streaming of the 9AM test sessions each day can be seen at the website. Nice addition.

We will update the specific information in terms of announcers, format and additional online information like timing and scoring after the Christmas break. Take a deep breath this week, because it all will be starting again before you know it.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


tom said...

why are they messing with racehub putting the other %&*^$ on instead.
Will race hub be back fully or are the messing with it altogather

Buschseries61 said...

Thanks for the info JD. At least SPEED is covering testing instead of more reruns.

Tex said...

Anyword on wheather Daytona will have their roof mounted web cam on line again this year during testing?
If so, lets hope we can get a couple more shots of the action around the track or garage not just 500 feet away.

Also, is the afternoon testing going to be carried live on SPEED?

I recall a couple years ago SPEED had a 30 minute wrap up show each day of testing and then ran all 3 30 minutes shows on Sunday in case you didnt get to record or see the 3 wrap up shows.

GinaV24 said...

by the time Speed gets this on the air, most of the information will already be out there via twitter and blogs.

NASCAR should get out of the daggone way - every time they make a rule they just make the racing worse.

Bill said...

Thanks for the updates, JD.

"Lovebug racing"? Did you coin that one?

This whole disarray at SPEED is so aggravating, with one of the busiest off-seasons in recent memory. The smaller radiator and air intake location are going to make Daytona testing critical for the teams, but at least they will be covering some of it.

OK, so SPEED isn't making FOX the money they hoped for. So sell the damn channel to someone who actually cares about motorsports!

JD, I have a question: does SPEED share cameras and operators and audio with the network covering the race? Then SPEED just gets a mult-feed to their own truck? I can see SPEED sharing stuff with FOX, but there must be tension when TNT and ESPN cover races?

What I'm getting at is if SPEED has to lug all their own gear and crew to every race, then that gets really expensive, and SPEED certainly doesn't have enough high dollar TV sponsors to foot that massive bill.

However, if they get to share or even pay rent on use of the host studio's truck, then all SPEED would have to do is load up Johnny, Wendy and the gang, and it's off to the races!

Daly Planet Editor said...


I believe "RaceHub" will be back and will pass the news along when it is confirmed.

Tex, will have live streaming of the 9AM sessions.


The NASCAR Media Group controls the TV compound at every Sprint Cup Series race. The various networks arrange well in advance the equipment and personnel resources they need. It is a combination of "shared resources" and those specific to each network.


Buschseries61 said...

Lots of new news today with the announcement of a new SPEED president and rumors of NASCAR buying back their internet rights from Turner. Hope you enjoyed that relaxed deep breath while it lasted, JD.

Anonymous said...

Howdy, Y'all complain about lack of coverage when there is nothing going on. It is the off season! NASCAR will be covered when it is happening and then you will complain about the way it is covered. All I need is live coverage from the track on the weekend of a Cup race. If Happy Hour is tape delayed, I'm OK with that. There is so much " Fluff " out there on a daily basis that is not needed anyway, I don't miss it and I'm a die-hard NASCAR fan. Give me good coverage of the race weekend! I don't need the rest!

Anonymous said...

“Moving forward, every program at Speed has to be of the same high quality you’d find on Fox Sports, and Scott [Ackerson] can make that happen,” Fox Sports Media Group Chairman David Hill said.

...and so says the delusional Aussie.

Does Mr. Hill actually think that programs like Truck U, World of Outlaws racing, Monster Jam, etc. will be revamped to have the "quality you'd find on Fox Sports"?

After this period fails, at least he can only blame himself (and his yes-man troops).

PammH said...

Even w/new folks, I've pretty much given up on Speed. Twitter & FB are far superior as to getting fans the updates they need. Even Sirius/XM is better than Speed at this time of year.

Anonymous said...

"Howdy, Y'all complain about lack of coverage when there is nothing going on. It is the off season! NASCAR will be covered when it is happening and then you will complain about the way it is covered. All I need is live coverage from the track on the weekend of a Cup race. If Happy Hour is tape delayed, I'm OK with that. There is so much " Fluff " out there on a daily basis that is not needed anyway, I don't miss it and I'm a die-hard NASCAR fan. Give me good coverage of the race weekend! I don't need the rest!"

Haha! You funny!

Roland said...

Very pleased that more of the coverage will be on TV this year instead of internet.

Russ said...

Interesting to see that Nascar is trying to buy back the digital rights from Turner, rather than just letting the contract lapse. As I understand it, if they chose not to renew the contract than they regain control of those rights.
Must be an issue of some urgency to them.

Bobby said...

Speed has to be, for all intensive purposes, ready to start 2012 the first full week of the year, and the first few weeks will be two-wheel weekends, as live motorcycle racing (Monster Energy Supercross) starts January 7 for the first of ten live broadcasts. Might Speed Center start January 7 with a Supercross edition with some NASCAR information before the 10 PM ET drop of the gates for Angel Stadium?

Major motorsport stories may be held up until the first major motorsport event of the year on that SX Saturday. The likely full analysis will be needed on that show -- INDYCAR's 2012 schedule, held up by issues in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy, the Penske Sprint Cup #22, the sponsorship issues at Roush and its satellite teams, and other major news, will likely be announced the first week of the new year that Speed will likely have to do make the SX Edition Speed Center longer and not Supercross-oriented.

Anonymous said...

speed is going to be on the air & internet for over 7 hours for 3 days in a row... and you guys are complaining about there not being another hour to follow that? who in the world would actually watch all of that anyways? and race hub comes back the 4th week of jan.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 1:51PM,

You just take what you are given? Not me. You want me to be a loyal NASCAR fan?

No other sports just "stops" the media coverage when the games stop.

NASCAR is locked into a 1980's mindset when it comes to "deadline media" and it has cost the sport plenty.

No NASCAR TV network, not even 1 weekly show updating the off-season chaos/news and no RaceHub or primetime TV during testing.

Not my idea of forward thinking at all. Happy to have your comment.


Anonymous said...

but there's no game stopping, it's not a game, it's not even practice... it's testing. and it's 7+ hours of coverage a day. and that's not enough?

Daly Planet Editor said...

You're twisting my words to make your point.

The mentality that somehow NASCAR TV coverage is dependent on races makes little sense for SPEED.

That network has no Sprint Cup Series points races and no Nationwide Series races.

Establishing a position as the news source for not only NASCAR (RaceHub) but all of motorsports (SPEED Center) does not mean a complete stoppage of that coverage once the races stop.

Social media and online news continues at full speed and this flow of information has made the lack of TV coverage on SPEED stand out since it ended.

Covering testing under the new rules in Daytona as NASCAR tried to break up the tandem style racing is going to be a big story.

Fans work during the day and not taking the time to recap the on-track and off-track news after 7PM Eastern is a mistake.

It's not time for SPEED to try and justify not doing more for NASCAR, it's time for SPEED to do everything it can before another TV player comes along and gets in the game.