Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day Two: Post-Race TV Comments

It was tough from the start and ended with a whimper. FOX came on the air after two hours of RaceDay on SPEED and one hour of NASCAR Now on ESPN2. Even with a three hour lead-in, the reality of racing on this wide track was clear.

The Waltrip brothers started the day with another pre-race show where opinions were being expressed only from a driver's perspective. There is a reason that the TV networks normally have a former crew chief on the panel. The Waltrip brothers simply don't mesh in the infield like they did in the TV booth for SPEED last year. It should be interesting to see if something changes soon.

Mike Joy tried his best to make something from nothing, but the TV pictures did not help. On a wide track with little racing but high speeds, FOX did not use in-cars or focus on technology or even tell stories. They just made it miserable.

Lap after lap of nothing from the TV crew but boring pictures of strung-out cars. Little sense of the building rain drama, no crew chief interviews and nothing to pump-up the telecast for TV viewers.

The energy level of the overall TV crew was low from the start and that is not the way it has been in the past for FOX. This race used to be all about the promotion of movie and TV stars and the best opportunity for FOX to show-off its West Coast presence. None of that was in place on this telecast.

Fundamentals like passes for the lead, pitstops and even the red flag being displayed were missed. As the cars came around under the caution for rain, Tony Stewart's fake out move was thankfully caught by Mike Joy as it happened. Once again, FOX showed us the important moments of this race through replays.

Jeff Hammond was once again a square peg in a round hole. His roving reporter cut-ins are taking away from the pit reporters and in this race even covered a key pass for the lead. There is simply no way to insert him under green and not take away from the live telecast. The producers have not figured out how to make him fit.

There just isn't a lot to say about this race on TV. Perhaps you can help by giving us your opinion of this effort by the NASCAR on FOX team. In the end, Dick Berggren interviewed Tony Stewart and the day was done.

To add your opinion to this conversation, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Erik said...

Blah. That is about all I can say about the broadcast.

Dennis said...

I feel like a traitor to the sport I love but I'm glad the race was cut short although I was watching the 88 with interest. It was a boring race covered in a boring manner.

RaceBuddy made it more bearable yesterday.

OSBORNK said...

The attitude of everyone seem like they just wanted the rain to hold off long enough to get the misery over and go home. There was no enthusiasm from anyone and a general feeling that nobody wanted to be there. I pity the people that spent a lot of time and money to attend a race that was more a chore for the participants rather than something they wanted to do.

iworkhere said...

Too bad it ended like that.
However the radar still looks bad and it may be an all night rain.
DW and MW have added some excitement to the pre race show but Fox still needs to do some re-tooling to make it pop!
Hammond's role has gone from sidekick to useless in the field.
His drop in's just add more to interrupt the action with boring information.
Makes me sometimes wish we had Digger back instead of Hammond.
His previous role as "tool man Jeff" was somewhat better as he had all the toys for show and tell to support his shortcomings of knowledge and sub par delivery.
Now that the motor sports props are gone his lack of talent is apparent.
Seems Fox is slowly driving him to the back of the pack as an announcer that is running on eight cylinders and has had his better days.

Joj said...

A 100 or so lap race at Fontana is not a bad thing. Since they refuse to move it out of monsoon season - Can NASCAR shorten it permanently?
I do not watch pre race so I have no idea if its good bad or indifferent.

Buschseries61 said...

Terrible. Did anything even happen today?

Yesterday, ESPN was hunting for the racing. Today, FOX was content switching around to different in-car cameras.

Yesterday, Allen Bestwick focused the broadcast on the race. Today, the entire FOX team rotated around Darrell Waltrip. Darrell told jokes, shared some stories, and played driver psychologist. Everyone just went along with it.

I noticed Joy follows the director's pictures, while the director follows Waltrip's words - it's a sad pattern. The only way the fans could get into the race was turning on the radio. You could count the significant events of the race FOX showed live on one hand. FOX didn't need a RaceBreak, what did they need a break from?

I'm glad I will be in Europe next weekend. I hate I'm missing Martinsville, but FOX is too awful to watch right now.

Anonymous said...

osbornk, my thoughts EXACTLY

Dot said...

I agree with Joj, 100 laps at Fontana is a good thing. LOL JD, I loved the tweet you RT'd about the race being called for illness due to fans being sick of watching.

One complaint I have about the Fontana race is, the way they make it sound like LA and Torrance (Toyota's headquarters) are right down the street. This is insulting to fans who live in the area or even those who don't. We all know better. These cities are MILES away and seem more so because of traffic. Yet, every year they say the same thing.

The race coverage (can we call it that?) on fox is just as bad as BSPN. Miss everything and have to replay it. I guess there is no hope for us. For those not on Twitter, get an account. You learn so much more reading about the race than what is shown on TV.

William said...

One word - Netflix

Anonymous said...

FOX did a good job. It was not a easy race to cover with the rain coming and no caution periods to regroup.

The one thing that is known is that who ever writes these blogs is anti FOX and thinks they know everything, but if they did they would really have a job for a network and wouldnt be sitting around writing this blog.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Ray Dunlap from SPEED just suggested on Twitter than rather than repaving the Auto Club Speedway track is should be dug up and a 3/4 mile copy of the Richmond International Raceway should be installed.


Sally said...

Let's see...a nice wide, multi groove track...and you don't like the racing? Isn't that what you loved about the new Bristol? No time wasted running caution laps, no problem finding room to pass other cars. I'm sorry, but there is not much that resembles racing at this track, and Fox certainly doesn' do anything to make it even interesting. The Waltrips are a joke. Poor Hammond is wandering around trying to find something relevant to say...and is then drowned out by cars racing past him. There is just nothing about this race or broadcast that was better than a 'D'.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog but I'm coming to the realization that the internet demo of NASCAR fans can never be satisfied. They're always complaining--"Daytona is boring, Bristol's boring, no drivers are wrecking/getting killed, FOX stinks, TNT stinks, ESPN stinks, Brian France stinks, Mike Helton stinks. Go Junior/Danica!" It's funny that the same people I have watched NASCAR with all my life still love it. And by the Bristol-haters, there is nothing wrong with Bristol. Either get over it, or find another sport because Bristol will not change.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
The day's saving grace was the F1 replay ...as for FOX, their ineptitude continues to astound this 50-yr+ fan ...once more the Waltrips mindless comments are disrespectful to anyone with an expectation of knowledgeable analysis ...thanks to MRN for covering the race that the FOX broadcast team missed

Anonymous said...

A few bad races at Bristol, and track owners are talking about spending millions to fix it.

Another abomination at Fontana and people are happy the race is over.

Why, oh why, is this track on the schedule. Id rather sit through three consecutive weeks at Pocono than one more "race" at ACS.

GinaV24 said...

Caliboring has never impressed me on TV - today was no exception.

Awful and a complete waste of electricity to tune in.

GinaV24 said...

Anon 7:15 - I don't know of any fans who are on this blog who are watching the sport because drivers are "wrecking or getting killed".

However, this race fan sure would like to see some actual racing - passing for the lead - side by side racing - things like that. I'd like it even more if the TV broadcast partners would SHOW me the action on the track, rather than just yakking about nothing all the time.

Glad to know that you and your friends still enjoy watching the sport in its current incarnation. I remember tv broadcasts from 2001 - and they were fun - not this BS that we see now.

Anonymous said...

We always enjoy Nascar racing no matter which track they are at. But I must say we always mute the sound and listen to the radio commentary.The radio people are up on what is going on and are professional in their presentation.Pre race shows on Speed were a pleasure to watch a few years ago before Fox added the Waltrip nonsense,but now they are simply terrible.

Dot said...

I agree with what GinaV24 wrote, I don't watch to see wrecks or drivers get killed either.

The biggest problem with the TV coverage are the scripts both BSPN and fox uses. The script must dictate only those in the top 12 in points (or Danica) to be shown or talked about. I've read here about those "not in the script" mixing it up with the others "not in the script" from fans who attended the races. Is there some TV law that says B team drivers can't be on TV? My driver is Marcos Ambrose and I always say he must wear an invisibility cloak, he's rarely shown or talked about. Of course, unless he's in a wreck or spins. It must kill the script writers when that happens.

I believe if TV showed more action whoever it is, it may make the fan at home want go to a race. Another way to get fans to go, at least in the west, is for nascar not to schedule 3 races (LV,PHX & Fontana)in the same month. I did see a lot of CA license plates at LVMS.

Zetona said...

DW brought out the "Vortex Theory" around lap 95, and Mike Joy supported him with another ridiculous statement about it being confirmed with anecdotal evidence. Come on! This is what's called enabling! Don't call out DW for making an absurd statement, and he'll continue making them. This is why we're seeing less of DW the experienced, knowledgeable analyst and more of DW the know-it-all jester.

Also, next year's Fontana race should be on the infield road course. Don't change its place in the schedule. Bring rain tires. It would be awesome.

Rambo M. said...

Watched the F1 rerun, which was a real barn burner (as is every F1 race when it pours). Didn't care whether we missed anything in Cali-bore-nia, and neither did FOX it appears. How positively savvy of them (snort).

If they're going to play by ESPN's textbook and just phone in everything between Daytona and Charlotte, it's going to be a loooooong, painful row to hoe until TNT's turn.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully, this race was shortened. Perhaps, we'll be so lucky at Pocono. 16-18 strung out cars on the lead lap was predictable. Fox was fortunate to have three leaders you could get into one tight shot. The booth is a mess. Mikey and Hammond are just misfits. DW and Mike Joy are just insulting with the nonsense they spew non-stop. What happened to the little chart you'd see after a pit stop showing who took 2 vs 4 tires and position change? The lap tracker was again, just goofy.

AncientRacer said...

Well, I guess I will not bother to watch the recording.

I will say it was a good time in St. Petersburg yesterday. Just happened to be there late last week and decided to stay the weekend. I'm happy I did.

I also want to echo that I do not think fans watch for wrecks and stuff, but it is part of the sport. I do think they watch to see races not qualifying or practice laps and races are multileveled affairs NOT done well with preconceived storylines or an obsessive focus on whomever is leading.

With the comment that Mike Joy had to be the one to catch a head fake from Stewart that was shown in replays just about says it all for me.

I am not a robot.

Vicky D said...

I felt the NW race was much more exciting and we were able to actually see some racing. This track is famous for strung out racing and yesterday's was really something. Maybe Martinsville broadcast will be better . . . .
I am not a robot.

Anonymous said...

This is probably the second to last time Fontana will host a race. Californians are apathetic about every thing. Look at the mess with the NFL teams, NBA, teams, and especially the MLB teams. No one cares. I certainly don't either. To the poster earlier that rants about all of us blogging as if we know it all, and why don't we work for the network? Because in order to work for the networks, you can only have an 8th grade education.....

Roland said...

After such a good race and broadcast saturday, sunday was a huge letdown. ESPN pretty much took FOX to school this weekend on how to broadcast a race at this track.

FOX has been awful about ill timed commercials and on screen uselessness. The Waltrips are just too much. I can not wait until TNT takes over.

Debbie said...

I have always felt the racing at this track is lackluster at best. So to make it at least interesting one would need to rely on the broadcasters. May I suggest a mute button on DW? He was a good driver; I rooted for him. As a tv "analyst" or color commentator he is really lacking. It seems as the whole broadcast evolves around him and what he wants to tell us that day. This is so demeaning to Mike Joy, he consumate professional. I believe that DW is the root to the problems at FOX. Back to muting the tv and monitoring twitter, the scanner on nascar.com and firing up the radio broadcast.

Bob from OC Cal said...

JD - In regards to Ray Dunlap's comment about tearing the ACS up and duplicating Richmond, I agree and said the exact same thing to my Son when we were sitting in the stands there yesterday.
I will say that the return of Indy Racing is a good thing for ACS as they put on a great show.

P.S. I have been attending races at ACS since it opened.

Anonymous said...

This is why I do not listen to the broadcast. I have it on mute and listen to MRN. Can not stand the Waltrips , so I don't listen to them.

Jayhawk said...

During the yellow flag for rain, Larry Mac said that "I'll tell you one guy who had decided not to pit was Jeff Gordon. He had made up his mind to stay out, and he did." Yes, Larry, he did stay out, because he was not on the lead lap and was not allowed to pit. "Making up his mind" had nothing to do with it.

Before the second pit stop Tony Stewart had closed to about one car length of Kyle Busch. When Busch finished his stop they showed him exiting and then followed him on the track, focused so cloesly on his car that you could not tell where Tony was. He was certainly not still within a car length, but where was he? Unknown, and not mentioned. They did not even tell us if he was still in second place. Several laps later the crawler showed that he was 1.97 seconds back. He lost almost two full seconds during the pit stop and they neither mentioned it or used camera angles that showed it.

Anonymous said...

Fox worked really hard at keeping the camera angles away from showing the grand stands,and as a earlier poster said,the whole broadcast crew was in hurry up mode to get to halfway,and get out of there.

Anonymous said...

Personally I thought the race itself was VERY entertaining. Tony Stewart was able to drive from 9th to 1st without the aid of a caution. There were *9* GREEN FLAG Lead changes without the aid of a caution. (FYI they only ran 129 laps yesterday and 500 last week at bristol with only 13 Lead changes.)

Jeff Gordon's drive to the front from 21st-4th was very entertaining and even when he had the 2 pit road mishaps Fox was on top of it.

Even when it did start raining the drama didnt stop. The 14 faked out the 11 & 48. I honestly thought 14 was coming when they showed it. It was also interesting to see the late drama with the 48.

IDK what you people want...cars on fire doing jumps over the finish line with brian france in a speedo in V-Lane? Name a more entertaining sporting event all weekend!

I still wish the telecast would zoom out more & do more PxP calls but the race was entertaining.

Dot said...

I don't know if Jayski read what I wrote, but his site today shows which drivers have had the most or least coverage in 2012. It's on the 2012 Comml Breakdown page.

@Bob from OC Cal, I'm curious, were there drivers mixing it up in the back? We only got to see three cars running in the front.

Anonymous said...

The bad news? There is no way that this race could match the fabulous F1 race that was held Sunday.

The good news? Even this snorefest was more exciting than Sunday's Indy race.

Final score 1 excellent race, one mediocre and one awful.

Inpassing I listened to the European feed for the F1 race not those mental munchkins on speed.

Dannyboy said...

"...rather than repaving Auto Club Speedway, track should be dug up and a 3/4 mile copy of Richmond should be installed."

Or PIR, or Nazareth, or The Rock - ANYTHING but what's there now or a mile and a half cookie cutter. FOX is not entirely to blame: The only thing more boring than watching it on TV is watching Fontana in person! The first (and only) time I went, we left with 10 to go. That place is a race-fan nightmare. Perris 1/2-mile dirt (not far from Fontana) puts on a show so good my wife would go back again :)

Michael Stoffel said...

I see the boys didn't have the nards to call out RCR for S & P'ing!

Beforehand over on the Indy race, our old friend Marty Reid was having a heck of time identifying who was in any car Sunday.

Buschseries61 said...

Anon 11:31 -

1. 9 Green flag lead changes is misleading. A lot of the 'changes' were the cycle of pit stops. There were only 2 lead changes on the track, the 11 & 18 lap 2, and the 14 passing the 18 lap 85.

2. FOX barely covered Jeff Gordon's march until he cracked the top 10. Then when he had his pit road problem, all three booth boys were unclear what his penalty would be.

3. FOX tried to hype the #14 faking out the #11 into the pits, but the replay showed Hamlin was completely committed regardless of what Stewart did. All drivers involved denied the FOX theory.

MRM4 said...

Constantly missing passes for the lead and showing them under replay is inexcusable.

Did Digger get his pink slip? The cameras are still used, but the animation has been MIA since Daytona?

Anonymous said...

Jeff Hammond must be brought back into the Hollywood Hotel in order for the broadcast to work properly. The only square peg trying to fit into the round hole is one Michael Waltrip, current leadman in the rain shortened M.W.R. & M.W.R. sponsors INFOMERCIAL. All Waltrip all the time it seems. Sorry Fox, it's not that we don't like change but it's suppose to be for the better........

Anonymous said...


lets be real tho the 5 drivers that led for those lead changes all had potentionally the winning car. Esp gordon & johnson since they both led at one point after halfway. they werent just fluke leaders.

Im pretty sure gordon cracked the top-10 around lap 20 anyway. you cant expect them to single out every car in the field for half a lap. the first 5 on any race is pretty intense to begin with.

Bob from OC Cal said...

Dot (11:30) -
I'm curious, were there drivers mixing it up in the back? We only got to see three cars running in the front.

Yes, there was some 'mixing it up' going on in the middle and back of the pack. There was actually a pack of about 6 to 8 cars that seemed to be having fun trading places back and forth. The thing is, they never seemed to move forward!

hotlaps said...

Boring! The Three Stooges giving the "Start your engines" routine and two more Stooges (MW & DW) broadcasting the borefest. Fox, please put some real announcers in the booth...knowledgeble, unbiased people who care and understand racing who will deliver it to me knowing that this is NOT my first race!

Charlie Spencer said...

What I don't get is how the N'wide series was able to provide an entertaining race Saturday while the only excitement in the Cup race were the rain strategies.

tommy1946 said...

After 5 minutes of the Waltrip show, I watched the rest of the race on MRN streaming audio. Occasionally, I checked the leaderboard on NASCAR.com.

Anonymous said...

Ray Dunlap was dead on.
California is a terrible
INDY car track.

They were not built for Nascar.

Build a 3/4 mile short track like Richmond and the fans will come.

TV ratings will go up and tickets will sell like hot cakes.

Remember Penske built that place.
Where does is heart lie?


Anonymous said...

Everytime I woke up there was a commercial on. That's right. I slept through the whole thing.

Zieke said...

Good 'ol California. Boring race but the rain did it's just thing and ended it early. I turned over from golf just when the rain was 6 miles away so thankfully the Waltrips did not annoy me too much. Attendance didn't look too good either with a tarp over so many seats.

tonybct said...

I never used to miss a race, no matter who was broadcasting it, yesterday, just worked the clicker,between American Picker reruns, Chopped reruns, and the race, hate to say it, but I think reruns were better, although happy that Smoke won it,just don't want to hear the Waltwits anymore, or Myers

drh277 said...

Auto Club TV Ratings posted: Opposite heavy competition from the NCAA Tournament on CBS and PGA Golf on NBC, NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing on FOX averaged a 3.4/7 Sunday for the Auto Club 400 from Auto Club Speedway which was cut short by rain. That's down -17% from last year's 4.1/9 for the same race which ran in its entirety. Season-to-date, NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing on FOX is averaging a 4.9/10 in the meters, off -9% from last year's average of a 5.4/12.(3-26-2012)

Dot said...

@ Bob in OC Cal, thanks. Even if they couldn't pass each other, it had to be more fun watching them than the 3 cars playing follow the leader in the front. Except, when KyB had to race Juablo and Tony got the lead.

Let's hope M'ville is a much better race.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

Michael Stoffel....the 33 didn't S&P. He over rev'd engine and it blew! The telling thing is you didn't know this, because I don't recall the booth telling us. I saw it on Twitter.

My step daughter was at the race. She texted that "there was 'great racing' until the rain".

Have to say, several times I heard Mike Joy & DW mention some battles on the track that weren't on the screen. Or something on the screen was unfolding, they were commenting and the camera jumps to a new shot.

Still....painful to watch. I'll repeat; don't begin to understand how you guys watch the race live! Would never make it, or have to be doing something else...working crosswords, reading book/magazine at same time...lol!

PS...is it just me, or do the Waltrip's, especially Michael seem to talk fast and loud most of the time? As if that will make things more exciting??? Kind of like Brad D on ESPN.

Anonymous said...

It sure would be nice if Fox read these comments. Seems maybe they might be because some here are saying that people will complain no matter what..sorry not true coverage was horrible, they never seem to capture the race no matter what they do, Waltrips don't even get me started. I really would like to know why this year the NNS races have been entertaining and every Sprint race has been a snore?