Monday, March 12, 2012

Las Vegas: NASCAR On FOX TV Comments

The stage was set once the cars began to string-out on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway track. This race has been all about clear air, gas mileage and pit strategy for years.

The NASCAR on FOX pre-race team continued indoors this season. Chris Myers and the Waltrip brothers now have a format set that is very different from the Jeff Hammond days.

Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds discussed a lot of topics during the race. Two of them not discussed were passing under green and incidents due to racing on the track. This race looked a lot like practice on TV and there were certainly reasons why.

FOX has a philosophy of showing one or two cars at a time on the screen. They have done this for years. Only the big pack at Daytona pushed the cameras wider. At Las Vegas, the in-car cameras were frequently used on restarts which were the only laps that could have provided actual side-by-side racing on-screen.

Hammond was out and about, but his reports were inserted under green and often distracted from the racing. He was used frequently and sometimes seemed to be working to get into the coverage rather than offering some information that was on target for the situation in the race itself. This roving reporter is a new concept for the FOX coverage.

The network has the best corps of pit reporters on TV. After early use, these four professionals faded away as the voices in the booth dominated the telecast. FOX put the emphasis on Darrell Waltrip several years ago. Joy's role is to facilitate, not excite and that continued.

FOX inserted side-by-side commercials well after 5PM, which marked the final hour of scheduled coverage. This concept has been embraced and promoted by ESPN, but seems to be hit or miss with FOX.

There was a flurry of excitement in the closing laps, but it did not feature the kind of racing fans enjoy. The wideshot at the finish allowed the top ten cars to be seen crossing the line. FOX stayed past the scheduled off-time to conduct post-race interviews.

Every NASCAR TV network has the perfect right to present the sport as they choose. The FOX presentation is similar to last season. Tight shots mixed with extensive Waltrip commentary from the booth and a heavy commercial load.

This post is your opportunity to offer your opinion on the TV coverage. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. Thank you once again for stopping by The Daly Planet.


Roland said...

Broadcast was pretty good til halfway. Then the full screen replays and other full screen useless crap took over. Commercials were ill timed and the worst part is coming back from commercial we have more promos and stuff, so we would only get to see a few green flag laps at a time.

I went to PRN for my commentary and they did their usual superb job. It sure was nice to not have to listen to any Waltrips.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
FOX continues to provide a sub-par telecast, but NASCAR is paid well for the rights ...PRN was a good listen ...surprised to hear Randy Lajoie and Wendy Venturini - they added to the broadcast ...production team never got away from two-car shots long enough to tell the story ...apparently the Waltrips call the shots and the shoddiness comes through

AncientRacer said...

All I can say about this weekend is what my Grampy used to say about football on TV (Back in the Dark ages of NCAA on ABC and AFL and NFL on CBS & NBC):

"Its a shame when you have a better College Game on Saturday than a Pro Game on Sunday."

Thanks for Twitter, JD. It is frustrating but kinda fun.

GinaV24 said...

awful broadcast. I muted the tv and followed via trackpass and twitter.

too many commercials, waltrips and close in shots. This isn't a race broadcast, its an infomercial and a bad one at that.

Buschseries61 said...

I thought it was alright. I missed the first 50 laps coming home from lunch, but considering it was Las Vegas, I wasn't really rushing to get home.

Boring racing is hard for any network to cover. FOX did the best it could. I didn't really mind the booth chatter, at least they stick to NASCAR and avoid raving about other sports like the ESPN booth continues to do on a weekly basis. But the times FOX had just one car on the screen, it did appear like a practice session.

As for Hammond, your take on it is similar to mine. It's a hit or miss role for him that works great in the right situation, but forced when there is nothing new to offer.

My only major criticism of the broadcast was the ticker that chopped half the field the last 75 laps. Sometimes FOX recognized 22 cars on the track, at the end there were just ten. Every driver has a fan base, if the driver is still running, he belongs on the ticker.

AncientRacer said...

Please let me add this: I believe it was on Jalopnik where I read how NASCAR fans are the "Most Information Hungry" of any Sports Fans anywhere except for, perhaps, baseball.

That is a point well taken especially in the Twitter Age, but it left out one detail, and having a person who works for me monitoring Twitter traffic (Volume) for the past three weeks I can tell NASCAR and Planeteers this. Because we are not baseball or football where games are played far and wide at this time or that; because we are concentrated in one stadium with one game with every team every week on the field and competing during one time period -- well --- we raise hell with Twitter's capacity.

This is something the profit centers will not be loathe to notice.

Folks, we ain't small; nor are we the redheaded stepchild.

We are, actually, a Mighty Thingy. :) @Ancient_Racer

OSBORNK said...

I don't understand why Fox pays a lot of money for rights to broadcast a race and then not do it. For about 95% of the race they had the scroll across the top with no interval and they only showed one or two cars at a time. If your driver was shown in 10th place, you had no way of knowing how far behind he was. He could be 3 seconds or 30 seconds behind. The gadgets, war stories and general booth babble took up as much of the race broadcast time as the commercials did. That left only a little bit of time for them to show us the one or two car shots they call racing. If they are going to show so little of the race, I don't understand why they do it at all. I've had to endure DW since before he was called JAWS and I think I have suffered enough.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...


Who sang the National Anthem

Daly Planet Editor said...

Pia Toscano sang the anthem.

Anonymous said...

@ancient racer.... Yes we probably are the most information hungry. In every other sport, there is really only one ball in motion at a time. Racing has 86, unless Danica is out there.

Seriously though, the tv can talk about a guy and show the racing. I dont need to see a close up of a 3 sec ahead leader only to abandon actual racing in the pack, When I'm at the track I can listen to MRN/PRN and watch whatever I want. I can multitask.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

Sorry I asked here JD

Don't do twitter nor do i plan to

And dont watch races on TV anymore

Sally said...

Standard Fox broadcast of racing at a standard 1 1/2 mile track. Flurries of racing on restarts followed by lots of chatter and not much racing. Not much beyond the few cars that Fox chose to cover. Lack of intervals on the crawler make it impossible to know if your driver is closing on cars or falling back. Heaven knows we won't find out from the booth. Same old, same old.

Zetona said...

I don't know how to spice up the racing on 1.5-mile tracks. It's really gone downhill recently except at Atlanta and Homestead. Hopefully the 2013 car will at least be slightly better about aero push.

As for the broadcast, FOX got DAMN LUCKY that Kurt crashed seconds after they went to break with 13 laps to go, because otherwise we would have missed 4-5 crucial late-race laps. Not quite as bad as when ESPN went to a full-screen commercial with 11 to go at Dover a few years back, but close. Seriously though, how can you make the final commercial-free segment of the race shorter than the time between the green flag and the first commercial break? At least we haven't seen Digger for TWO STRAIGHT RACES!!!1

The coverage was at its worst on restarts, the sole moments of tight groups of cars running side-by-side, when FOX totally ignored the racing in the back of the pack with its in-car shots.

Buschseries61 said...

FOX has been getting slammed on some other sites, mainly for the excessive commercials. It's an interesting discussion.

Maybe since the floodgates opened for side-by-side commercials, fans have developed a smaller tolerance for full screen commercials.

Maybe the level of advertising in the sport has reached the point of excess. Logos are everywhere and anywhere they can fit at the track, on the cars and crew, on the corners of the tv screen and product placement on the broadcast. Fans are basically watching a commercial concert that is interrupted by more commercials. Besides the S&P cars, what more is left to sell? The asphalt?

sbaker17 said...

Same boring coverage of a 1 1/2 mile race. Camera zooms in on one or two cars, announcers go blah, blah, blah, then cut to a commercial. The only thing I gained by watching today was while viewing the prerace I was reminded that I needed to pick up 2 bags of compost for my garden.

AveryNH said...

Today was the first day Ive willfully stopped watching a cup race. I couldnt take how bad it was so i watched the celtics and the lakers. There were so many ads and only two cars ever on screen at a time. It made for an awful broadcast. If its gonna be like this for the next ten races then count me out till Michigan in June. I think I'll give the radio a try tho for Bristol next week.

Anonymous said...

Not a great broadcast, but it was such a bad race I'm not sure what they could have done. I feel sorry for the people who make an entire weekend about going live to the track only to see cars 1.5 seconds apart after 1.5 laps. So boring!!!!

The Loose Wheel said...

Was. Not. Impressed.

FOX had far too many commercial breaks and seemingly all season their breaks have been ill-timed. Once a caution flew the very second after they went to break. We missed caution flag stops entirely and had to settle for a replay. While in the big scheme of how the race played out, it was not a big deal, the fact that they refuse to interrupt commercial breaks the way they did only a few years ago is a bad sign. You went to break, aired the entire break, then came back for 2 minutes only to go back to another break. Something seems wrong with that to me. Also, a break with 13 laps to go? Even as a side-by side it does no good with horrendous camera work. Others have already mentioned single car shots. FOX is too tight and uses far too many "speed" shots which makes following the race difficult. I don't even care that they don't talk about that many drivers anymore, I just want them to leave the camera wide enough and do less camera switches so I can try to follow someone. Hopes and wishes though I guess.

As for the cutting of the ticker towards the end of the race, I am less bothered by that then most. The full field ticker comes back every few scrolls. ESPN used to have the ghost running order showing only the top 10 for a majority of their races and I really never minded it.

Just feeling like our old friend stricklinfan and giving up hope that things will improve.

The one thing I did notice, not a single driver got interviewed until after the race. That is without question the most disappointing thing I have ever witnessed.

Anonymous said...

I thought that Sunday's race was one of their worst. It was very disjointed. They'd go to commercial and come back to a caution flag. Too many poorly timed commercials. There were a bunch of "debris cautions". They never showed debris. Then when it was announced that the caution was a debris caution, the three announcers would start talking fast about something else or toss to Hammond for more "smoke". When they'd go to a wide shot, just when you could recognize who was in the shot, they'd jump to something else. Whoever was in control of the tracker at the top of the screen should be shot!!!! Absolute stupidity. If you were interested in the top 10 or 20, you were all set. Mike Joy says some of the dumbest things. Travis's car erupts in a cloud of smoke, you can see the oil hit Kyle's windshield as he hits the wall. They show Travis's car in the garage and states that the beauty of the EFI system is that we can use the comuter in the system to see if the engine blew???!? Unbelievable. The broadcast team on-air thinks THEY are celebrities and that silence while broadcasting the race is unacceptable. I want them to shut up, let us watch and LISTEN to the race and help clarify situations that develop on the track. I've long thought that the producers/directors have no idea what Nascar racing is about. Their product Sunday was a joke.

sue said...

I thought it was your typical 1.5 mile track race. Car in front gets a big lead and the rest follow. The end was exciting for this Stewart fan as Johnson tried his best to catch up.

I understand the reason for all the commercials but still don't like it. Thankfully we saw the race while the commercial was running.

I don't think the 2 Waltrips together are working in the pre race show. Something seems amiss with DW and Mikey just doesn't seem to fit.

I too didn't quite understand the ticker. Does fox know that there are more than 20 teams on track.

Well on to Bristol. The complaints about the commercials should be deafening on this blog next week.

Anonymous said...

This a follow-on post to my comments at 4:07 am. The only other sport I watch on TV is the NFL Playoffs/ Super Bowl. ALL the TV crews broadcasting Cup races could learn a lot by watching the Super Bowl broadcast. It was clear, concise and objective. You didn't hear trivia, war stories or about some diner up the street 30 years ago that was frequented by famous drivers. A million things happen and for the most part, the booth and pit reporters are MIA.

Bobby O said...

I watched golf again.

Switched to the race (on mute) when golf had a commercial.

Funny that golf is more exciting than racing because of the horrible tv coverage. Actually, amazing!

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

They should never do tight shots. And few in car and bumper cams.

For sure they should never do them on restarts!

When we get back home I may just find a station on my iPhone (we don't have a local station for the races) and listen while doing stuff around the house.

The booth/Hotel seem intent on trying to manufacture excitement by raising their voices and talking fast.

Those of us who are "just" race fans and not into the flash and hype are fighting a losing battle.

TEX said...

Why is Mikey able to mention his sponsor during any part of the telecast?
Yesterday during a race break he made it a point to call Clint Bowyers sponsor out loud when discussing the gamble his crew chief made to stay out under caution and move up several spots in the race.

He then mentions the other driver that did the same thing and his name was Brad Keselowski.
Not the Miller Lite Doge team and crew.

Mikey is a clown.

DW is about as's Toyota this and Toyota that...

Zieke said...

JD, I know this no surprise to the usual followers, but the Waltrips have ruined NASCAR racing for me. I find myself turning over to the broadcast when I think there will be a few laps remaining, and watching golf and hockey the rest of the time. How sad. Krista is such a great addition to pit road, but not utilized nearly enough. The pxp guy and Larry Mac would be plenty of announcing in the booth, which would free up more time for pit road reports. Please try it FOX!!!

MRM4 said...

I read some comments by fans on message boards that attended the race and said it was a pretty good race. You'd never know it by the Fox broadcast.

Their use of side-by-side is a waste of time. They're waiting too late to use it.

Pit reporters were nowhere to be found during the second half of the race.

Showing a pass for the lead after it's happened is a big fail. Apparently the director isn't paying close enough attention to what's going on. Then they have to go back and show the pass on replay.

Garry said...

Buschseries61: Careful what you say, the asphalt companies might be calling FOX right

Anonymous said...

I have no idea why the networks can't jump back from commercial when the caution waves.. I really don't think anyone would mind if they went right back to commercial a minute later. That alone would make the broadcast somewhat better.

The ticker messed with me some at the end as well.

I wish they would trade wider shots for DW. He's becoming not needed. The whole thing appears to be a joke to him. A wider camera shot was used on occasion but even with my 20/20 vision I could barely focus on the cars before they jumped to a different shot. It also doesn't help that the wider shots Fox does use seem to be head on shots. That's definitely a reason it's harder to see the cara

Anonymous said...

I thought cutting the ticker was absolutely absurd. Not everyones driver is on the lead lap. With 5 to go they only started showing the top 10. A horrible idea and another reason I can't wait until June

Charlie Spencer said...

I'll try one more time:

Broadcasters, the only times there should be a single car in the shot are when it is in a pit box or in Victory Lane. If it's on the track, it should be shown in relationship to the cars around it. Otherwise you're just broadcasting wallpaper.

Please let me know what part of this concept you keep having trouble understanding.

bowlalpo said...

I am not a robot but I seem to have the same opinion every time. There's no way I could watch a whole race without Hotpass. Thank you DirecTV (even though my rate went up $4 last month without a warning memo).

It was funny to hear the Hotel make up drama by saying there were angry hand gestures between the 88 and 55 after their backstretch contact. As I looked at it via HP, all Dale Jr. did was motion the 55 up beside him under caution to make sure there was no tire rub. I saw Jr. give the "OK" hand signal out the window to assure Mark Martin that he had no rub. I know neither guy was thrilled to collide, but am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

Does anybody at Fox really listen to these valid complaints? I don't think so because its still the same old, same old. Remove the Waltrip brothers, just horrible self promoting loudmouths, its has turned into a huge informerical for selling stuff, cannot take it anymore, I will not buy your product because its on TV..get it??? We don't need it shoved in our face. Ticker? What ticker. There are many more race cars on the track then two, try showing. Cautions? What for??? Way Way too many commericals, I actually was among many who just couldn't take it anymore, boring racing, everything annoying, went shopping during the race.

RWar24 said...

It's pretty bad when a race is 267 laps and you feel like you seen about 50 laps of it because of the coverage. I'll never understand how you're supposed to get hooked into a race when you're going to commercial after 10 laps. Especially this time of year with all the college basketball games that are on. The one set of pit stops were shown via replay. Sad really. Nascar doesn't help the cause either late in the race. You have delay throwing a caution on a spin, then you run like 3 extra laps for some unknown reason under caution. So instead of 7 or 8 laps to the finish, you have 4 laps. It's maddening.

ptschett said...

I had the TV at half-volume and PRN at half-volume, and it was like there were two different events occurring the same place at the same time. 10-15 laps after a restart it seemed like the Fox cameras were finding one car by itself to show and sticking with it though it wasn't under any threat, while PRN was almost always finding a battle for position to report on somewhere. It's to the point that I'm not sure whether my dislike of 1.5-mile cookie-cutter tri-oval tracks is from their actually not having interesting racing, or just from the TV crews not doing what needs to be done to keep their presentation interesting.

Jonathan said...

i watched from start to finish... It was a great race, and Fox did an ok job, could of been much better but it is what it is I guess. Not bad but yeah show me some more racing I did feel like I was watching practice at times like JD said. Still dont understand why Fox is the only station to do Crank It Up I LOVE that segment

MortonGroveDon said...

I found myself switching over to ESPN2 to watch NHRA. At the time I was watching they were showing qualifying for ProStockBike. It was refreshing to hear announcers talk about guys that arent going to get into the elimination rounds. Does Fox talk about guys running from 20 back, NO, unless they are one of the Waltrip's chosen ones. I expect to see one car shots next week at Bristol too, which is so useless at that little track. Did anyone else notice how they found a way to get Mikey's Daytona runs in,,,even at a 1 1/2 miler???? another typical Fox race coverage..yawnnnnn

AllisonJ said...

The argument that commercials pay the bills is lame.

Commercials pay the bloated salaries of all of the top players in the game. $1M/year? That's rookie pay. You gotta make ten times that.

We get commercials inside of commercials inside of commercials, with bits of racing in between.

Yeah, NASCAR's greed has ruined the sport for many, many fans.

To which they would answer, "we got a diecast for that".