Sunday, April 17, 2011
There is an elephant in the room. Racing at Talladega this weekend is a tag-team affair. A single car racing alone or a big pack of cars racing together cannot compete. Only two cars, running tightly together, will produce the fastest lap speeds. The picture above is the view from the NASCAR on FOX broadcast booth of the finish line.
The challenge for FOX is clearly to put this item out front to the fans and TV viewers quickly. This is not racing. FOX knows it, NASCAR knows it and the fans know it. It has to be sold as competition by FOX even though drivers have been saying all weekend long this event is nothing more than an exercise in two-car drafting.
Chris Myers, Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond are up first from the outdoor infield stage. This week, it is located at the end of pit road. Waltrip will move up with Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds to call the race. On pit road are Steve Byrnes, Krista Voda, Matt Yocum and Dick Berggren.
There is no opportunity for change, so Joy has to get used to offering information in groups. There will be no leader, but a two-car team leading the race. There will be no individual passes, but one two-car team passing another. The scoring ticker at the top of the screen is meaningless.
FOX director Artie Kempner has been in love with in-car cameras this season. In this race, the roof cam of the pushing car has been the favored view. The bumper cams are not going to show anything but another bumper for the entire event. It should be interesting to see how Kempner cuts this event.
The stories of pit road will include teams coming in together under green and who is going to be forced together when the race restarts after pitstops under caution. The pit road reporters are going to have to frame their comments in a completely different manner.
Accidents have been a big part of this new drafting tactic. The second car simply cannot see ahead and as a result there have been numerous incidents of the first car being spun or even running into cars ahead as the closing rate is so high. Any way you cut it, this is going to be an interesting telecast from start to finish.
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