Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day Two: Bristol TV Coverage

Rain stayed away and the Sprint Cup Series race on FOX started as scheduled. That was the good news.

Chris Myers started the show with Darrell and Michael Waltrip in the Hollywood Hotel. Driver intro's at Bristol were ignored until some replays were added late in the show. This has always been the case as the music being used for driver intro's would require FOX to pay royalty fees if used on TV.

The Waltrips clearly do not have the same chemistry in the infield that they displayed when calling several races last season on SPEED. The perspective of a crew chief like Jeff Hammond is fundamentally missed as instead two drivers from different eras express basically the same opinions.

Myers has finally dropped the "goofball" act and is directing on-air traffic like the TV pro he actually is in real life. He has his hands full with the freestyle ramblings of Darrell and the breathless excitement of Michael. So far, Myers has kept things in check.

When Darrell moves to the TV booth, he used to be able to free himself from Hammond and become the show. Now, he competes with Hammond in his roving reporter role and also has to deal with the spontaneous comments from Michael in the infield. It has proven to be a challenge.

Hammond takes time away from the pit reporters and his updates add content, but are not as focused and topical as what the pit reporters could offer. In the end, less information about the actual drivers in the race as it is happening is passed along to fans.

The big topic of our online live discussion during the race was FOX choosing to use "hyper-tight" coverage to only show one or two cars at a time in the segments. The network would focus on a battle or two, update the information and go to commercial. Several times, the caution flag waved and FOX chose to stay in commercial break.

Replays are the lifeblood of the FOX coverage. The tight shots mean that most of the issues and incidents that happen during the races are missed. It's just the nature of the coverage. That was again the case as replays updated almost everything since the live pictures were focused on a chosen car or battle.

Aerial shots of BMS and the wideshots from the tower that show the entire track were never used under green. FOX is locked into the philosophy of covering NASCAR just as tightly as they do with baseball and football. It is a choice.

Ratings were down for the last race, but nothing within this coverage changed. Even on a tiny track like Bristol replays under green were run full-screen and FOX often casually stepped aside from racing coverage for a wide variety of sponsored and special features. This even happened late in the race.

A double video box was used with 50 laps to go that framed two different battles. On this tiny track, it made no sense. Simply by zooming a camera out, both battles and the other racing could be shown with no technical gizmo's involved. The older style of opening up and letting fans see it all is long gone.

The network rolled-out the side-by-side commercial coverage at 3:45PM. Using this format for the entire race would have made for an entirely different fan experience. The irony is that FOX continued to cut cameras tight within the tiny video box in the side-by-side screen.

Mike Joy tried hard to generate excitement late in the race, but instead of racing action it was fuel mileage that was the issue. While the track and the racing has changed, it is the duty of the TV network to work hard to adapt to those changes and use the cars at speed to sell the race to viewers.

Ultimately, FOX had a nice little flurry of activity in the final 20 laps. The network used the standard finish line shot to show viewers the lead lap cars crossing the line and it was over.

Note: Thanks to Brad Keselowski's cell phone camera and Twitter account for the picture of Krista Voda calling him out of the car for his winner TV interview.

This post is for your post-race comments on the TV coverage. Please leave the track reconfiguration for other blogs. We are looking for your opinion on the TV coverage from start to finish. Thank you as always for taking the time to pass along your comments.


OSBORNK said...

The Fox broadcast didn't show the race at all. It showed one or two cars all day long and MWR cars got a lot of undeserved attention. I'm sick of Fox and sicker of the Waltrips.

Anonymous said...

Fox needs to use some wider shots - especially on a short track like Bristol. Why no follow-up on the Tony Stewart and #33 caution? I'm dead tired of the 2 Waltrips - can only listen to one at a time, thank you.

Steven Pruett said...

I think Fox is still best in class even though Waltrip's can be overbearing and insensitive that anyone else races .

Fox is very receptive to input from fans and what fans want to see and are not afraid to let NASCAR know it.

Anonymous said...

Bad commercial timing from FOX since every caution came out during the break. The coverage could have been improved by immediately cutting the commercials to show the caution, like what was done in the past.

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe, but I thought the coverage of today's race was even worse than last week's. The race starts, they go to commercial and there's a huge wreck. Split screen? Nope. They replay the wreck a few times and cut to a string of commercials that seemed to last 5 minutes and kill the excitement of what just happened. I watched much of the race with the volume turned down. When I saw something interesting, I turned up the volume. Usually, in less then a minute of listening to DW and Joy, I'd lower the volume. I learned so much from Mike Joy today. He taught me that the inside groove was the shortest way around BMS. Really? When I turned the volume up, DW kept voicing his concern for Vickers "conditioning". These guys need to listen to themselves sometime. Way too many commercials killing any broadcast momentum. And of course, the idiot in control of the lap tracker at the top of the screen chose to ignore all the comments at TDP last week about it. They cut it off at 15. Then they didn't show the interval. Then they didn't show who was more then a lap dow. I could go on, but my head hurts. Oh well, next week should be a REAL yawner out West. Bet the grandstands will be half empty like they were today.

Zetona said...

Kyle Petty's comments on Victory Lane are spot on. This was a great race, with a battle for the lead that lasted at least half the race. It shows what Bristol's become that that late caution ruined what might have been a great finish, as it took away the lapped cars and let Kez get a huge jump on the restart.

The TV coverage—at least the camera angles—started out very brightly, I thought, with plenty of shots with at least 4-5 cars in the frame, lots of use of cameras situated high above the track, and plenty of dropping back through the field to find the racing. The first caution during commercial was the only real issue through the first 150-200 laps, but then the coverage began to zoom in on the (albeit best in NASCAR in quite some time) battle for the lead, so much so that they missed the third-place battle going 3-wide.

The second half saw more tight shots, in-car cams, ill-timed commercial breaks, and focus only on the lead battle at the expense of all other racing on the track. We saw the nadir with the final caution, where they didn't cut out of commercial even during what could have been crucial pit stops, and never gave a complete rundown of the pit strategies at play. Then for the final run, it was all about the top 2, even though the battle was over, largely ignoring the scrum for 5th place on back.

In short, if FOX covers the rest of their races like they did the first 150 laps today, with fewer commercial breaks if at all possible, they can really turn their season around.

Wasn't there some controversy a few seasons back over FOX showing a limited ticker at the end of races? Didn't they stop doing that very quickly?

GinaV24 said...

TV coverage gets an F. Small track, they could easily show the entire thing from a blimp shot, instead we get in cars and close up shots and I've OD'd on the Waltrips.

this tv coverage is not worth the $ I pay for electricity or to cable.

Rambo M. said...

Pitifully boring race, even worse FOX broadcast. It's as if their producers run off a checklist of bad happenings to inflict on viewers before going off the air. They truly have no understanding nor give-a-damn about what they are doing.

The fall race is lucky it's at night, because we have better things to be doing than watching the spring race henceforth.

And how about that atrocious crowd? I kid you not, it is comparable to the Busch race we attended there in 1999. Progress!

Dennis said...

The tight camera shots continued to frustrate. I'm really tempted to turn off the set which, if you knew me, would be hard to believe. I've been a fan since the 70's and it's really getting to the point where it's more frustrating than entertaining.

Noticed a lot of empty seats today.

Dannyboy said...

"MWR cars got a lot of undeserved attention"? Hah! So tell me how having three out of the top five makes for "undeserved attention" (snork)?

I totally agree we need more wide shots and overheads, which look especially cool at Bristol. As for mentioning others, I didn't even watch half the race coverage and I heard MW say BK "deserves to be" full of himself, I heard him talking up Matt, Tony, Jeff G, Jr. & Burton.

Look, I get that some ppl don't like the Waltrips - that goes back longer than many of us have been watching NASCAR, but to me FOX has their target set on growing the viewership, and if there are fewer than 100 drivers who are good enough to race Cup, there are far fewer out there that have the TV skills AND the racing credentials to represent the sport better.

BTW did anybody notice at the (painfully awkward) driver intros on SPEED that Joe Nemechek's sponsor name was bleeped?

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
AS has become the norm, a FOX production team has allowed personalities to overshadow racing ...Bristol is where aerial and wide shots show the actual racing ...too, there came a point at which I knew I'd been on Twitter too long when DW tweeted ...the story was told on goPRN.com and the pictures were shown on HotPas - the saving grace

sbaker17 said...

On NASCAR RaceDay, I made it thru about 4 seconds of K. Wallace, and then changed the channel.
The guy is a pompous buffoon.
I missed (or did not miss) the FOX prerace due to the Waltrip duet.
Two items chased me away from the race broadcast itself:
The hyper-tight camera work virtually killed any reason to watch. And the “WOW” factor:
Wide Open Waltrip.
Their contributions to the telecast most always contain “I” in their comments.
What particularly irked me was showing M. Waltrip’s cars and letting him comment.
To quote Roberto Duran: “NO MAS”

Anonymous said...

All I can say is, coverage was great on PRN AND Hotpass. Not having to listen or see the Waltrip
s, Glorious!!!

Buschseries61 said...

Can’t believe ESPN’s B-rated presentation was the best of the weekend after this D-rated presentation by FOX.

The coverage started out pretty good. The clarity of the picture was beautiful to watch. The Overlord of Cautions has not worked out an agreement with FOX, so, as usual, the first caution was under commercial. But still, I loved the wide shots of good racing throughout the field in this segment. This stretch ended with RaceBreak #1, which is a useless segment to advertise a company and allow Michael Waltrip to open his mouth when his enthusiasm levels overflow capacity. Ken Schrader caused caution #2, but the AT&T promo had to be finished before FOX showed us what we missed.

After commercial, the field went back to green flag racing that eventually settled down into a 200+ lap green flag run. The behind the scenes FOX team got bored quickly and soon fell into the routine of following the leader, doing a filler segment, focusing in on individual cars, and leaving for commercial. I didn't get Jeff Hammond's inaudible report on Brad Keselowski in this segment, standing as close to the cars as possible. He really didn't find a home today. From lap 125-225 FOX presented tight shots of people driving cars around on concrete for no purpose. These guys are moving full speed for some reason, right? There was no development of the stories that emerged from the race. AJ Allmendinger fell from the lead to a horrible race car about to be lapped. FOX noticed his trouble right before he pitted, then left for commercial when he had enough and turned for pit road. Lord knows what they did, what the problem was and if it got better. If FOX is not going to follow the stories, why are they here?

Shortly after a nice job covering pit stops was the despised FOX mid-race report. The FOX crew takes center stage, speculating on the race going on in the background over DW's shoulder. To ensure the crew has full attention, the producer threw in some music to drown out the sound of the race. When the broadcasters could finally look out the window...WOW, a battle for the lead!

Eventually, the third caution of the day came out for David Stremme, and the best racing began. Keselowski and Kenseth were fighting hard for the lead, to the point that Keselowski got to the inside of Kenseth. Viewers all saw the pass coming soon, but FOX cut to a full-screen commercial with 55 minutes left in the broadcast window. When they returned, new leader.

Thankfully, side by side commercials finally started 10 minutes later. But that couldn't even save FOX. Heading to commercial with 22 to go, the caution came out according to Mike Joy, but the 15 laps/commercial pattern took precedence and his commentary was cut. In the little box we saw some cars come down pit road as Clint Bowyer sang karaoke. The camera cut from the bumper cam of a pitting car to a shot of the leaders coasting behind the pace car. Apparently all but the first 4 pitted, but nobody watching tv saw the stops. This is why the sport is dying.

FOX ended the broadcast in a positive light, with a nice shot of everyone finishing and plenty of interviews in the post race. But the agenda of the post race was to shove THE NEW BRISTOL IS BETTER!!! into the face of the viewers. I didn't think so. Maybe it is, who knows since the viewers missed a lot of the racing they may have seen.

Rockin Rich said...

Two Comments, one coverage related, and one race incident related.

TV Coverage:
I was disappointed that FOX chose to cut away to a commercial with just 23 laps left in a short track race. But, I have seen this type of commercial management already this year so I wasn't really surprised. However, I was just blown away that the T. Stewart wreck, (OK, just a wall scrape, but a caution causing one), was captured as it happened, and THEY WENT TO COMMERCIAL ANYWAY!!! What LOSERS!! Yeah, I know, I am yelling. But, what disrespect for us fans watching a very exciting race finish. Disrespect for the viewers is absolutely what that was!

Race incident related:
Matt Kenseth is clearly caught jumping the restart. No penalty. He apparently came very close to doing it again on the last restart, but no replay was shown this time.

Two questions:
- Think NA$CAR intervened, and told them Don't Do That Again??
- Think Brad Keselowski just got hit with yet another "double secret" penalty for his outspokenness about fuel injection last year?

Ned Jarrett, (and Benny Parsons), where are you when we need you?

I don't know what one would call this kind of TV presentation, but I sure wouldn't call it journalism! Or "fair and balanced" race management.


Rockin Rich said...

Well flip!!

I just spent 25 minutes keying a lengthy comment to then have it wiped out by logging into my Google account afterward!

Net points:
- Total disrespect for viewers by going to commercial with 23 laps left, AND despite just capturing T. Stewart's caution causing wreck. We all saw that a potentially race changing even was occurring, yet the go ahead to commercial anyway. Disgraceful!

- Think Brad Keselowski got hit with a second helping of the "double secret" penalty he got last year for speaking out about fuel injection? Kenseth's clearly "caught on tape" restart violation was not penalized. And, when he apparently came very close to doing it again on the last restart, no video was shown. Suppose that the Control Booth was told by NA$CAR "Don't Do That Again"?

PhoenixHotZonie said...

We are looking for your opinion on the TV coverage from start to finish

***DW overtalks(bombs) Mike Joy & Larry Mac with ego nontalk too often.

***DW commentary is only for the moment on the tv. No consistency in cause and event through the broadcast. Often his words leave me ROTFL. ...Gimme two weeks and Chad Knaus and I'll win at Bristol. On brother, at least MW said no way.

***JD spot on with adult "Myers has finally dropped the "goofball" act and is directing on-air traffic like the TV pro he actually is in real life."

***"Again" JD...Hammond takes time away from the pit reporters and his updates add content, but are not as focused and topical as what the pit reporters could offer. In the end, less information about the actual drivers in the race as it is happening is passed along to fans.

***Bob Dilner(On Speed NASCAR Victory Lane said the skirt not the pipes cut 24's tire. Where was the pit reports on this.

***Brad K this was not the best Bristol as you say, contrary to what fans may think. Yeah, sit in the stands or watch on tv.

***An electronic device(iphone) should not be allowed by NASCAR. Hey, other & previous owners never had disregard for rules or exploited the crp out of them.

***The racing was...but you only asked about the broadcast.

Sally said...

Judging by the sparsity of the 'crowd' in the stands, it would seem that not as many fans agree with JD, Kyle Petty and Brad K that the racing at Bristol is 'better than ever'. When I went to my first race there in 2001 you couldn't even see the hills behind turns 3 and 4 for all the campers. Fox covered this race the way they cover every other track (tight shots and concentrating on the front), which seems appropriate, since Bristol racing is no longer unique, but like almost every other track on the circuit. Thank goodness Chris Myers has shown up as the professional we all knew he was. So much happened to so many cars that we never heard about. Isn't that what the broadcast is supposed to do, inform the viewers?

tonybct said...

I usually love the racing at Bristol, new,old, doesn't matter,but honestly, Fox just takes all the fun out of it, I find it hard to believe that the Foxies get many positive comments, about the Waltwit bros.,unable to listen to MRN presently, so must suffer with this tiring I, me, mine, act all the time, forcing me to flip back and forth to race, Can't stand it!

adamtw1010 said...

This race was a complete disaster for all involved. Attendance was bad, so was the racing, and so was the broadcast. No way NASCAR beat the NCAA Tournament games on CBS in the ratings-I admit to fliping over to those games a few times.

I think it was 2005 when some changes to Charlotte Motor Speedway resulted in a tire disaster that led to the complete resurfacing of the track. This reconfigure destroyed the racing at Bristol. I for one would be willing to setup a fund to get the necessary finances to raise the banking to 36 degrees and make the track one-groove again. I miss the bumping-and-banging.

Michael said...

Biggest problem is commercials. The 3 biggest highlights of the race were ALL missed:

1. the huge crash
2. Jeff Gordon - Dale Jr. crash
3. pass for the win

Beginning to wonder why I bother watching the live Fox broadcast when Sportscenter provides the same thing - TAPED HIGHLIGHTS!

Anonymous said...

NASCAR said the attendance was 102,000. This fits in with their normal 25% overstatement. I thought the stands were clearly less than half full. In years past, I went to a couple of "sold out" races there and was apparently surrounded by a lot of invisible people. It's sad when there are so many empty seats but it would be even sadder if you paid all of that money and got a substandard product.

Daly Planet Editor said...


I grew up in NASCAR when many tracks were not spectacular and did not host great racing every time.

We often had the leader of the race a lap or more ahead of the field. We sometimes had two or three cars that were head and shoulders above the rest.

My point is that the TV network is not there to be catered to by NASCAR. They are an active part of telling the story and FOX is a bust.

Best pit reporters in the biz, rarely use them. Best PXP guy in the biz, he now is DW's set-up man. Best TV equipment in the field, director shows us two cars, in-car cams and BS for three hours.

Each track, redesigned or not, has a reality to it that cannot be changed. While the lazy FOX team was showing us funny videos, endless commercials and more DW stories I was listening to a crackerjack race on PRN radio.

Life is what you make it. I don't think this telecast by FOX showed those of us watching on TV even 25% of what actually happened in this race once the green flag flew.


glenc1 said...

JD, I actually think the racing is better than in the past and we're not seeing it. I think people don't remember that this is what racing typically was, racing, not wrecking, and it looked a lot like what I see on the local short tracks. I don't think it's better to hit someone to pass them than it is to struggle to pass them running side by side. I get that some people enjoyed the wrecking, I just wasn't one of them. I thought the beginning of the race was okay. Too many in car shots & close ups & what not, but better than some weeks. They seemed to miss *every* wreck. Once I realized they were ever going to mention what was going on with my driver, I turned on MRN. Actually I think it was when Darrell 'knew' what the teams were thinking/doing. I know I've got a thing about that, but it just drives me crazy. Up to that point I totally agree with the awkwardness of Mikey & of Hammond, it's just not working (and I really like Hammond, ordinarily).

About the attendance...I still think it has a lot to do with the economy, not the racing. People are just spending carefully, it effects other sports too.

Rockin Rich...I've been there & done that...argggggggghhhhhh...

Bobby O said...


I know it would be a big financial risk but:

Has anyone ever thought of doing races on a ppv or pay channel with no commercials?

Commercials seem to be one of the biggest complaints!


Daly Planet Editor said...

Yes, Bobby there have been attempts at doing races on PPV.

It was in the pre-Internet days and Dave Despain was the host of the coverage. It was a disaster.

Instead of putting the entire event on PPV, what would make sense in the future is to offer NASCAR fans options on how to view races, shows and highlights.

Since NASCAR is taking over NASCAR.com and all the digital and Internet rights to the sport starting on January 1st, I would hope we would see shifts in viewing options very soon.


Scott W said...

One Waltrip, is one too many. Two Waltrips is just awful, FOX Broadcast D-, would have given an F, but thats just mean.

Loose a Bristol race and a Pocano race and add Road America, and give take a weekend off.

Sorry NASCAR, you not making fans want to watch or attend with all the same cars painted diiferently on the track. #IROC

Roland said...

I was at the race and let me tell you, it was incredibly boring from lap 50 til about 50 to go. I cant imagine how boring it must have been at home. The battle between Keselowski and Kenseth though, now that was some good stuff.

In TV news, I had pit passes so I met Matt Yocum and Danielle Trotta. They were recording their interviews like 2 hours before the broadcast. I passed Matt Clark and his entourage a couple of times, dude is a diva when not on camera.

Bobby O said...

So JD, what kind of options are we talking about?

Just new tech stuff like internet?
Not sure that would eliminate the commercials.

What about (I know blasphemy) HBO, Showtime, or something like that?

You know where I'm going!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Bobby, I will be happy to talk about those things as they develop over the next several months.

We already have RaceBuddy, free scanners, radio streamed online and social media.

The only thing missing in the package is video options to see the race without commercials for a fee online and/or use additional cameras not seen on a sponsored RaceBuddy for access to a specific driver.

The problem right now is that in the existing TV contract FOX has the right to say no to RaceBuddy or any other online application and they continue to do so. They paid hundreds of millions of dollars, so they drive the bus.

Much more on this down the road.


Anonymous said...

We quit watching the race after we saw that a major wreck happened during a commercial break, and FOX didn't leave the commercial to show us the action. We were also frustrated with the lack of wide shots of the track. The radio provided better coverage of the race than TV!!!! We used to enjoy Mike Joy, the Waltrips, Jeff Hammond, Wendy Venturini, et al., but they are sadly misused, and the whole broadcast comes across as sophomoric or unprofessional. These people know racing--set them free from being FOX/NASCAR cheerleaders!

Anonymous said...

Steven Pruett said...

I think Fox is still best in class even though Waltrip's can be overbearing and insensitive that anyone else races .

Fox is very receptive to input from fans and what fans want to see and are not afraid to let NASCAR know it.

Wow Mr Pruett:
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but seriously, can you name a SINGLE INSTANCE where FOX has listened to 'what fans want'?

I submit: Digger. Still alive. Still hated.

larry said...

I didn't watch the race. I listened on PRN. Sounded like an exciting race. I got home to see the last 15 laps or so. Congrats to Keselowski.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

As I said in a previou race post we are in our motorhome and only have small SD TV's (they are HD, but alas our Sat dish isn't). So we already are in a hole when trying to watch a race.

With that said, if it wasn't for Twitter not sure I could make it through an entire race.

We watch on DVR, so we don't have to put up with the commercials. However, you tell how many there are by how long you have to fast forward. How do you watch live??

I just back up my timeline on my iPhone and follow along. The wealth of information is unbelievable. The amount of informaton that the booth misses...unbelievable.

There are times I like the Waltrips, although maybe not together..lol. I read both their books. They were both excellent. Where are those two men on TV?

In Darrell's book he talks about after some of the races on FOX, David Hill says...I'm paraphrasing..."we keep talking about what happens, we need to talk about why". Funny...they really don't do either.

When we return home in a few weeks it will be back to HotPass or give listening live on radio a try.

I am also surprised that the race/tv folks don't get the low attendance. Sure maybe some don't go because they liked the previous type of racing. However, do they ever add up what it costs to make the trip and buy the tickets.

MRM4 said...

The beginning of the race was well-done. Lots of wide shots and showing the action in midpack. Once the long green flag run kicked in, the same tight shows and little information began.

I had a few people debate with me on Twitter about the racing not being any good. My response was how do we know the racing wasn't any good because Fox wasn't showing us much of anything.

You can tell the production crew was bored with the action since they replayed the Kahne wreck 25-30 times. Meanwhile, action was missed live on the track.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane referenced some comments attributed to Fox's David Hill. If true, as I suspect they are, then it reinforces what I've always believed about Nascar Television. And that is that things are the way they are, because the Powers that be WANT them that way. We as fans groan as we watch/listen to these pathetic productions as TV Execs are high fiving each other over their latest offerings. Trot them out on live television and let them take questions from the fan base. I'd pay to see that.

AncientRacer said...

Saturday OSBORNK sed:

live about 50 miles from Bristol and my daughter lives down I-81 just beyond Bristol. I drove to her house yesterday afternoon expecting the usual heavy race week traffic. It was not there. The traffic was just slightly higher than a normal Friday and the hugh number of RVs heading to Bristol was just a trickle. The local TV stations are not showing the usual crowds on newscasts as they have in the past. The weather forecast is for very warm weather with a moderate chance of rain showers. I suspect the attendance will be lower than expected.

I though, Hmmmmmm.

SUNDAY Family & Neighbors over. I did not see but bits & pieces of race on TV, but ad radio on tho I agree with Kyle Petty who sed on Victory Lane Bristol was "Good short track racing and with the leaders challenging it was appropriate to use tighter shots." Caveat: Bristol is tiny.

My Verdict:

I was STUNNED at the emptiness of the seats. OSBORNK was spot on.

Kyle Petty reads The Planet.

That is all :)

Bill Hicks said...

Halfway through I switched to Netflix. Hate to say it but cant wait for football to start.

Anonymous said...

It occurs to me that we never have ever seen a good race at Bristol, that is if we use the Jeff Burton definition of a good race. You never could sense the closing rate very well so I'm not sure you can lay the blame solely on the TV producer. Maybe it's the angle and length of the track, the speed of the cars but you can't "see" the racing, only the wreckin. It was only the anticipation of the chrome horn and the mangled sheet metal that got people going. Sorry you drivers and teams, but that's the truth. The view from behind the wheel is different than if you're way up in those high seats or watching via a TV camera mounted who knows where. If the racing is better than what TV is presenting then why aren't people showing up to see it with their own eyes? Can't all be about the economy and I doubt attendance will improve with the economy either. The solution is going to be going back to wrecking. Maybe TV can find new camera angles to cover the race. Fly some wires across the track to get the cameras closer. Change spoilers and tires. Turn it into the Twitter 500 and make the drivers stop and Tweet every 100 laps. Heck I dunno, but for criminy sake do something to shake up Bristol because it's in real danger of fading away into obscurity.

Anonymous said...

Just an average race not really exciting but not too bad. However the Selling of MWR and Toyota by the brothers was over the top for me. I really like Mikey, he is great for the sport, DW is worse that DickieV he hasn't seen a cliche he won't use over and over then contradicts himself. Fox and Hypertight needs to go away. I let the Fan Council know about my issues on my survey today..If it wasn't for Twitter we would all be lost, how many times where they in commercial and the caution came out. Fox how about telling us when the side by side starts because most of the time it never does..

OSBORNK said...

I listened to the NASCAR channel on Sirius radio this morning as I was driving around shopping for tires. If NASCAR really believes the propaganda they were spewing out this morning, they are in for a rude awakening as the ratings and attendance continue to drop. According to the talking heads on the radio this morning, the racing yesterday at Bristol was the best racing of the year (us poor folks watching on TV have no way of knowing) and the drop in attendance is totally the fault of the Hotel and Motel operators for overcharging for their rooms. They backed up their logic by saying that the racing is great because there were 155,000 people for the night race (really?). Don't we still have the same Hotels and Motels in August? They hint that we fans are just stupid and don't know good racing when we see it (Fox didn't let us see it). They talked about tracks dropping ticket prices drastically but they neglect to mention that it does not include Bristol. The cheapest ticket from the Speedway is $90 in the nosebleed section in the Wallace tower to $137 in the Earnhardt terrace.

Dot said...

I'm on Twitter during the races. Yesterday as I was typing a tweet, I looked at the TV and saw Kenseth & Kez. A few tweets later, I looked at the TV again and still saw Kenseth & Kez. Two minutes of them not even passing each other? No wonder the race was so boring on TV.

Regarding the commls. I understand why they can't break in during some of them. But, why oh why can't they break in while showing the Sprint or other nascar related ones?

JD, is it possible when the new TV contract is negotiated that nascar can put in a "We're going to break in your comml if something happens on the track" clause? I know I'd be more inclined to use that sponsors' products/services if this were to happen.

sue said...

Seems we have some trolls.

Bad enough that Michael Waltrip is in the Hollywood Hotel but Fox thought that wasn't enough when they decided towards the end of the race to add him to the conversation between Larry Darryl and Mike.

Shame about all the empty seats. This used to be a track that always sold out. This was a destination track but with the economy and gas prices folks are just staying home.

FEd UP said...

Didn't watch it...caught the highlights and from what is being said on here, didn't miss much.

Congrats to Brad on his win, however. I'll catch it on the replay this week.

Have a great day, planeteers!

glenc1 said...

Regarding the night race vs the day...the spring race is early, and the weather as we know is iffy. The night race is on an August evening, usually pleasant, and night racing is just shinier & prettier to look at. My guess is, people used to have season tickets & now they're choosing one instead of doing both. They may have a point about the hotels, though, I stopped going to Richmond for that reason even before the economy tanked--we used to be able to find bargains, and then it stopped. I even had a hotel call me to say that the rate I got online they would not be able to honor after I made it--I told them no thanks & cancelled. You'd think they'd get realistic about things being different now.

I see it looks like the overnight ratings are fairly even. But seeing those stands should be a wakeup call to someone.

Anonymous said...

Um..... the reason Fox didn't show aerial shots is because the stands were so empty! Let's call a spade a spade. It was an embarrassment. What made it worse is that, as you sort of pointed out, the TV guys were trying to generate some excitement as well as making excuses for the boring races we get a BMS now.

Anonymous said...

FYI they did use areriel shots breifly to point out the top-3 cars

Daly Planet Editor said...

I understand the point you are trying to make, but this has been the FOX style for NASCAR races regardless of the amount of fans in the stands.

"Hyper-tight" is a TV term that describes the ability of a TV network to force viewers to watch what it selects as content and not the actual racing on the track.

Simply by listening to the radio you could see the FOX production agenda and the clear ability of TV to do what it pleases.


Zetona said...

Anon 7:21: I haven't seen Digger since the Daytona 500. He may finally be gone.

OSBORNK said...

Zetona--I think they must have traded in Digger for Mickey. If so, it makes me miss Digger.

Sally said...

JD, I too grew up with races where the leader was lap(s) ahead. They managed to find racing going on somewhere on the track in spite of that. Many people seem to think that having close racing for the lead for 5 or 10 laps at the end of a race makes it 'great'. Sorry, but Bristol didn't used to be that way. Why do you think they sold such a huge venue out for so many years? The 'clean air' phenomenon even applies to Bristol now. The Fox coverage certainly doesn't do anything to enhance the experience. The whole racing experience seems to be but a shadow of it's former self.

MortonGroveDon said...

I watched the first 50 laps or so....before my 1:15 tee time...How many times did they show that first wreck. I stopped at least5 times....DW analyzed that wreck to no end..... Gee a wreck at Bristol. Then the inevitable " its too early to start this stuff boys" line. Some ol' same ol' Fox..no need to bring it up again. If Chicago had a decent MRN station maybe I would took a radio with me. A weekend without the Waltrips is like a weekend...without a root canal...

Anonymous said...

Fox needs to clean the announcers booth completely out. I've never seen such a mess as Fox is now with both Waltrip's on the air. I mean it's got so sickening that I didn't bother to watch but the first 20 laps, and the last 20 laps. I mean don't Fox know that their ratings are already in the tank, and sinking more and more every week.
I enjoyed the NCAA and golf more than listening to Mike Joy and his stooges. It's just pathetic, and the coverage that Fox offers is just as bad. ESPN could kick their butts any day of the week!

Anonymous said...

I am disgusted by FOX putting the owner of three cars in the race on TV to call the race. I like two of Mikey's drivers, but I hate Michael Waltrip as a race announcer! Why not let Jack Roush call the race, for crying out loud. Mikey won maybe four races in his entire career. He doesn't even have a track the track record, other than having done the most commercials acting like a driver. Get him out of the booth, FOX!

Charlie said...

I watched both races this last weekend. If these two races were the first time I ever saw Nascar I would not watch or go to a Nascar race. Tight camera shots don't get it.
I have been trying to think of an example of what tight shots do to a race and how it doesn't show much and the only thing I can think of right now is a hockey game. The camera is on and a tight shot shows you the goalie and the net and that is it. When a goal is made or comes close you get to see the action and a goal is what decides the winner. Now if you had never seen hockey before and watched the tight shot of the goalie and net and you figured this is how it is, would you go to a hockey game.
A major reason their are less fans at the tracks is the Television coverage. If all you saw were two cars or a single car on a track going round and round with not a car insight in front of or behind, would you go to a real race.

Television coverage has a lot to do with getting people to a track and seeing the real thing. If the races on Tv are presented as a bore why would anyone think being at the track would be any different.

RPM said...

I caught the race Sunday while on vacation in Las Vegas. (Yeah, I was a week late going to Vegas) One thing that really stood out to me was DW cheerleading Brian Vickers right up until Vickers lost the lead, then his observation suddenly was Brian is out of shape and isn't in shape to handle a Sprint Cup race.

Anyone want to remind me where Vickers finished?

Zetona said...

@RPM I thought DW's comments on Vickers' fitness made sense at the time, but looking back, he had a much longer time out for his heart problem and didn't report any fitness problems then. The big problem is that DW doesn't meet with much disagreement in the booth, even when he's wrong. If he was called out for being wrong every once in a while, I guarantee the quality of his analysis would improve markedly.

Joj said...

Watched at a family members home.
That means I had no way to use Twitter or my computer. No computer means no info. Mikey has a real interest - Did anyone else hear his 3 cars placed in the top 5? Endlessly.
DW is a hot mess, more contradictions than a politician . Hyper tight coverage is a waste of Fox resources & my time & yes my time is more important.

In the spirit of "its not mean if its true" this "race coverage" gets a solid F- .
If anyone in any TV professional capacity thought it was good TV they should be forced to watch the mess start to finish with all commercials intact & the sound on.

Anonymous said...

Monday night we were again treated to Elliott Sadler as Race Hub co-host. During the broadcast, Byrnsey, as Danielle calls him, blurted out that his wife does/did public relations for Sadler. Just another example of what a Club Nascar media is.

James said...

I see Bruton is thinking of changing the track after this past weekends events. If he bought a string of hotels/motels and charged a reasonable price for a race weekends room, seats, and a hot dog, IMHO, he would be spending his money the right way.

The Waltrip booth, is just what a poor understanding the powers that be wanted.

After last years fiasco at Kentucky, I am glad to see the payback, the "real fans' have a long memory.

starrcade76 said...

It is fun watching the races unfold with the thought in mind of how people will overreact on here. I mean react.

The criticism of the Waltrip's on here isn't to be unexpected. It would be like going on a Conservative blog and expecting to read good stuff about Obama.

I feel Fox still does the best job of the 3 TV partners. Is it perfect? No.

I'd rather the TV stay in commercials when a wreck happens. It seemed like when NBC would break in years ago, the coverage felt like it was a wreck. You would just see a bunch of smoke and the cameras trying to chase the cars. Plus the announcers were unprepared for coming back on so quickly. Just get through the commercials and come back and show what happened in a clean organized fashion.

Fox seemed to show plenty of shots where you could see the half-full stands. Or were they half-empty?

Daly Planet Editor said...


I don't understand. Are you saying this blog and I have a bias against the Waltrips?

I speak directly with both of then on Twitter and interact with the SPEED and FOX PR staff about NASCAR on a daily basis.

I flatly reject any suggestion that either myself or some sort of "reader gang" is biased toward any NASCAR on-air personality.

From the start, all we want is real information, analysis and opinion.


ddsbstrb said...

John....Boy, this had to be one of the most boring races Fox has ever delivered to us. I never saw so many ads come at such critical parts of the race.

Of course, as usual, those Waltrip Boys added even more frustration to the broadcast. Seems like it was a "vehicle" for more self-promoting for Toyota, TRD and especially MWR.

Let's see, after the CA-race, this week-end if the Fox Media are still drinking that Waltrip-Kook-Aid and backslappin' each other, once every sentence!

Thank God for Race View and a "mute-button"!

Great to read all of your, great comments, after the story. This is one of the best columns about each weekly broadcast.

starrcade76 said...


My criticism is more about the comment section where readers state they have hated the Waltrip's for years and then go on to give their critique. To me I don't see those comments as unbiased or objective, with that mindset going into reviewing each race.

And then when someone looks at all the reader comments as a whole, it paints a picture that everyone hates Darrell and Michael, and they are the downfall of the sport. When many of those readers would be disliking them no matter what they did.

Anonymous said...

"Hate" is a strong word. I've followed this blog for years and I don't 'hate' anyone. Personally, I can't stand to listen to the Waltrip or the Wallace brothers and refuse to do so. It wasn't always that way. They drove me to feel these way through their words and actions. I've been a Nascar fan for at least 30 years and built the race cars I drove during a prior life. I opine here like many others as a race fan trying to improve the quality of the Nascar fan viewing experience. I comment on the positive as well as the negative, although I must admit that there hasn't been much to applaud lately. Just one person's opinion.....

Anonymous said...

The Hub reported last night that the camera guy next to Krista Voda at the top of this post is her husband. I was kidding earlier when I said we were "treated" to Sadler as a co-host. I can think of 20 drivers from BMS I'd prefer to listen to for an hour last night. Just one person's opinion.

Anonymous said...

When I want to see cars run into each other, I go to an amusement park and watch the bumper cars. When I want to see crashes, I go to a demolition derby or a figure 8 race. When I want to see fighting, I can watch boxing, cage fighting or wrestling. When I want to see racing, I look to NASCAR. I apparently am one of the minority of people who prefer the new Bristol configuration because it produces racing rather than crashing and fighting.

Fans, including myself, complain about the high cost of racing and the absence of sponsors. When owners watch their cars worth hundreds of thousands of dollars being turned into colorful junk, up goes the cost of racing. Is it any wonder new teams have trouble getting started and other teams choose to start and park?

I watched very little of the Bristol race; not because I didn't like the racing, but because Fox refused to show it to me. Many different TV crews in the past have created professional and entertaing broadcasts, so I know it can be done. I just don't understand why Fox continues to insist on sticking to their little circus. I live in hope that they will eventually come to their senses and produce enjoyable races. Other than that, I am resigned to hoping for better broadcasters on the next TV contract.

I am one of MW's severest critics, but I don't hate him. I don't wish him misfortune or evil. I saw his crash at Bristol many years back, one of the worst crashes I ever saw. I really didn't think he could survive it. I'm glad he did and went on to continue his career. I respect him for his persistence and his successes as a driver and owner.

But that does not mean I can tolerate him as a broadcaster. I do not watch truck races because of him, and I reduced my time watching cup races even further because of him. If ANYONE works in the public eye, he/she has to be prepared for professional criticism. DW seems to have a love affair with himself and anyone who likes him. But if either Waltrip brother or anyone else can't take the criticism, they better find another job that isn't in the public eye.

Anonymous said...

The broadcast was terrible as usual, and the Waltrip huksters made it even worse. In all fairness, the race was incredibly boring, much like all the NA$CAR races anymore.

Anonymous said...

I've been listening on the MRN and muting the volume so I don't have to hear the Waltrip huksters. Jaws was bad enough, but with the addition of his brother POS, I can't even listen anymore.

Charlie Spencer said...

Anon @ 3:26, I agree regarding Bristol. I had seats there for years, recently dropping them for economic reasons and NOT because of the changes in the track. I prefer the new surface. I spend money to watch green flag racing, not wreck-induced caution flag parades. I want to see as many cars as possible on the track, not 25% of the field in the garage. I've e-mailed Bruton and told him so.

Even my 'not a race fan' wife agrees that TV doesn't do justice to being there. I never 'got it' until a friend took me to the Rock almost twenty years ago.