Sunday, June 3, 2012

Last Chance For Romance

It was 1978 when the song "Last Dance" was released on the "Thank God It's Friday" movie soundtrack. It was sung by the queen of disco, the late Donna Summer. The song won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and peaked at #3 on the Billboard Top 100.

In the song, Summer knows this is the last song of the night and her last chance:

Last dance, last chance for love.
Yes, it's my last chance for romance, tonight.

I need you, by me. Beside me, to guide me.
Cause when I'm bad I'm so so bad.

So, let's dance the last dance.
Let's dance the last dance.
Let's dance the last dance tonight.

Sunday afternoon the NASCAR on FOX team will take to the air from Dover International Speedway. No matter how good the telecast, the racing or the finish one thing is certain. This is the last dance for the FOX gang in 2012 and change is on the horizon.

It's been a decade of NASCAR for FOX Sports. The network came along when NASCAR needed a shot in the arm and delivered it. Larger than life personalities like "Ole DW" and "Larry Mac" mixed with "Hollywood Hammond" to become household names. Chris Myers served as the straight man in the infield while Mike Joy directed traffic in the TV booth.

Along the way, things changed. FOX began it's TV run with the passing of Dale Earnhardt Sr. in Daytona. Since that time the sport has meandered through good times and bad. The cars have changed, most of the drivers have changed and the Sprint Cup Series now races for a whole different kind of chase.

The FOX gang has aged before our eyes. The original excitement has given way to conversation and stories, perhaps as much a function of middle age as anything else. Agendas are plentiful and carried out with no apologies. FOX knows that come hell or high water it has two more seasons of Sprint Cup Series telecasts signed, sealed and delivered.

The fly in the ointment this season has been social media. NASCAR fans on Facebook and Twitter number in the millions and make their voices heard on topics relating to the FOX telecasts on a regular basis. Now, instead of a wall between the broadcasters and the consumers, there is a direct pathway for those consumers to make their voices heard.

Most individual members of the NASCAR on FOX team are regular Twitter users, many of them updating daily on both their TV and personal activities as they travel the racing trail. It's been an experience that has paid dividends and also come at a price. Sometimes, that price has been steep.

The FOX TV formula for years has been the same. The only change this season was the move of Jeff Hammond into the field as a roving reporter and the introduction of Michael Waltrip into the Hollywood Hotel. This left three announcers in the TV booth, one roving reporter, a host and analyst in the infield and four pit reporters. Ten voices in all.

The pictures remain the same. Other than Talladega's pack racing, FOX continues to move quickly to framing two cars in the camera shots as soon as possible after restarts. In-car camera are used frequently, despite the fact that seeing the actual racing on the track is often sacrificed. FOX makes an effort to replay in-car angles of drivers in accidents.

The Digger nonsense is long gone, but the various sponsored features now dominate the telecast. As we have seen over the years a segment of racing is followed by a commercial break. The most difficult task is to then reset the scene for TV viewers after the commercial is done. This often involves changes in position, cars out of the race, cars waved around and the order of a restart.

The senior management at FOX Sports has changed. The new executives in charge have made no bones about the fact they are looking at changing SPEED into a mainstream cable sports network in 2015 after the current NASCAR TV contract expires.

Dick Berggren has recently confirmed that this will be his final year as a pit reporter for FOX. Darrell Waltrip is now 65 years old. Negotiations on the new TV contract were supposed to be finalized this summer. Instead, they have yet to begin. It's certainly an interesting time as the FOX portion of the season draws to a close.

This is your opportunity to offer an opinion on the 2012 NASCAR on FOX season as the network prepares for it's own last dance. The brothers Waltrip, the lack of RaceBuddy, the side by side commercials and the pictures selected to show to TV viewers have all been hot topics this season.

Dover is a fitting end to the FOX portion of the season. Drivers pound it out on a concrete track with the casino in the background and the horse racing track in the infield. Surrounded by wagering FOX watches for the final time and gets ready for the hand-off to TNT for the summer.

Did you get what you wanted from NASCAR on FOX this season? Did you use other media while you watched the FOX telecast? Did you appreciate the analysis of the Waltrips? How would you rate the pit reporters? How about an opinion on Jeff Hammond in his first season as the roving reporter?

Happy to have your opinion on these and any other NASCAR on FOX topics you may want to discuss. Comments may be moderated prior to posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.


E-Ticket said...

Did we really believe this would end any other way than how it started? Fox during its first Speedweeks holding the starting lineup graphics cars hostage for money to show the sponsor names?? How could it not end anyway other than badly? DW doing Toyota adds, MW being a Toyota owner, how could this go wrong???

Buschseries61 said...

Daytona and Talladega were the only two 2012 FOX broadcasts I would call great. The rest fell in some sort of range from meh to awful.

This season FOX really lost the trackside energy that defined the broadcasts a decade ago. The sounds of the cars, the fans in the stands and campgrounds, wide shots that show off the beauty of the tracks were all limited or just missing this season. The magic of attending a race was sucked away displayed on a tv screen.

It turned into a talk show sponsored by the flavor of the week. Every week, Darrell would veer the broadcast off course with a story about himself, the stories running though the driver's minds, and moments of unbelievable cheerleading. Michael Waltrip would only add into the egotism as Joy and McReynolds just followed along. I get this is how Darrell is, he's called Jaws for a reason, and he should be himself. But his personality has tired its welcome. It worked in the early years of FOX, as he just stepped out of the car, and his stories about himself could still relate to that era of the sport. But now he just comes off as out of touch and out of control. It's as if the FOX booth is now told to act like entertainers instead of people paid to communicate to the fans what they can't sense watching miles away on tv.

The pit reporters were again the highlight of the FOX team. Steve Byrnes remains at the top with his always on target presentation of information and excellent questioning. Dick Berggren will be missed, but I think he is leaving at the right time, he's covered multiple periods in the sport with mastery. I now see the bigger picture with Jeff Hammond, and hope he quits this silly roving reporter gig and takes over as a full time pit reporter.

Finally, Chris Myers deserves credit for pulling through the entire year after losing his son. I thought he handled his role perfectly this season.

Although I really won't miss FOX after this season, I will miss Mike Joy sending it down to Speedway Illustrated's Dick Berggren.

Anonymous said...

Easy grade - F-. When the broadcast is so bad I just cannot watch, what other grade is there? To improve that grade would be so easy. Cut the number of camera jumps by at least a fourth. Wide camera shots. No cams unless it adds value to an incident. Booth calls the race. Get rid of DW, he just cannot change from who he is. MC

Anonymous said...

Even if the camera work won't improve, anything is a step up from the cheerleader Waltrip brothers.

I am sick and tired of DW; Michael may have had a chance with some of us had DW not preceded him. So we are inclined to despise both of them when they're on TV, and especially together. I mute it, I know a lot of others do to.

Were it not for the DVR delay, I would listen to MRN at the same time.

Darryl offers no more analysis than I do when I am sitting at home. He should put on a cheerleader skirt and pick up a set of pom-poms, because that is all he does.

"Isn't this exiting!!!" (as he interrupts Mike Joy)

"Bogity bogity bogity lets go Memorial Day raacing boys" (fill in the event of this tired overused 'catch phrase'")

"Wow, did you see that? They almost wrecked!" (No DW, we didn't-FOX was iso'ed on the #48)

And on and on.

Someone should assemble a montage of his inane remarks from just one race to highlight how awful what he says is.

No wonder Cale Yarborough was so annoyed by him.

Joj said...

How would I rate Fox? F - & next weekend I will watch the race only since it is the 1 thing (supposedly) Waltrip free.

I'm sorry Doctor Dirt is going, it should be the Waltrips. Shilling conflicted interest pair of 'em, need to just go & take Boogity & plant it with the rat.

Fox does not care about showing the race - so why should I waste this weekend trying to watch the badly directed, over scripted, hyper tight, show anything but the racing under green, Cup Race on Fox?

Strike up the band - Fox last dance can not end soon enough.

Cause when its bad- its bad & this year it was BAD.

Turn out the lights

Dennis said...

Anonymous (3rd commentor at 4:53am) summed my thoughts quite well.

The broadcast has become unwatchable. Endless isolation shots. If they won't show the racing, why would I want to bother tuning in any longer?

Fed UP said...

I heard from people that were actually at races that it they were pretty decent. The problem is that Fox FAILED TO SHOW IT.

DW and JJ who basically told the fans that we were to stupid to know what good racing is...hey boys, how about SHOWING us the good racing? And since when did they put a t.v. monitor into the 48 car?

I won't miss fox at all. I'm all Waltripped out. Unfortunately, DW will still be around on raceday. On the plus side, I don't watch it anymore.

I keep telling you why Fox sucks so much....they are trying to get Nascar cheap for the next time. Contract negotiations and all.

This year, it was beyond bad.

Michael said...

Production/Directing: Abysmal

Full Screen Commercials: A joke

Darrell Waltrip: seems lost this year, hope it's not health related; has issues paying attention as he constantly repeats what others said right before him, makes nothing but awful predictions

Michael Waltrip: no business on air as active owner; We would go nuts if Hendrick, Childress or Roush was an on-air contributor. Why not the same outrage for Waltrip?

Jeff Hammond: enjoy him in the booth and hotel, roaving reporter role has been a HUGE FLOP

Chris Myers: much improved, glad he's not playing the role of the fool anymore

Mike Joy & Larry McReynolds: good

Anonymous said...

Kudos to both Chris Myers and Dick Berggren, I'm sure both both are future inductees for that new NASCAR HoF media award.

And the 18-34 demographic in my house- and now some in their own apartments- love the job FOX does and love the Waltrips.

I love my DVR.

Tracy D said...

Joj, had to laugh at the "plant it with the rat" line.

You hit it on the head with "when it's bad...". We couldn't watch Fox this year. Ran the DVR, would fast forward through the gazillion ads, and thank our lucky stars for MRN so we could piece together what had happened on the track.

I'd like to hear names for alternative broadcasters. Who should be in the booth? I admire Ricky Craven's work, but is he as removed from racing as DW? What about Ward Burton? Bill Elliott? What new dynamic would shake things up? BTW, not a fan of Matt Clark. Don't know why, he just hits me wrong.

James said...

I'll be happy to never watch a FOX tv show again. If I never see the face or hear the voice of a Waltrip again it won't be too soon. NASCAR, it was once nice knowing you. Brian, you and David, along with Disney, have ended it for me. Thanks a lot guys.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

To borrow a phrase:

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

Anonymous said...

Ditto to all the statements above. All I know is after next week I'll be dancing like a fool and singing, "Free at last, Thank God Almighty I'm Free At Last".

No matter how bad TNT and ESPN is, I'll consider it an up-grade. It's a pity that 2 people named Waltrip can absolutely destroy the enjoyment of so many people who have been a fan of this sport for so many years. I'm 77 and watched DW do his schick his entire career. I didn't like him, but his mouth wasn't on fulltime like it is now. Now from the drop of the flag and the BBB nonsense begins until the end of the race, my stomach churns. Add he and Michael in the Hollywood Hotel prerace, and it's more than I can stand.

Add the ridiculous camera work, the nonstop talk about "backintheday", and watching NASCAR has become a lost weekend.

~PattyKay said...

I see some harsh comments preceding me, and at one time or another, I suspect I have made them all. The very first race broadcast by FOX, they chose to leave Daytona in favor of News, while the fans waited over an hour to hear the news that we had lost the best and most beloved driver we had. A truly race oriented broadcast would have remained with the story at hand, the death of a Legend!

Please excuse me if I say that a Decade of FOX makes me physically ill. Do I use other media during a FOX broadcast? MRN and PRN are my mainstays. I have a mute button and I know how to use it.

Without going into any of the tech stuff that others have described, when I listen to a race (since one cannot actually "watch" a race on FOX), I want to hear about the race, not about how DW or Larry Mac or anyone else "woulda done it." Hang it up! No one cares.

I WILL miss Dr. Dick Berggren, immensely, and I will miss Mike Joy as well. How that good man has stood ten years of the debacle that is FOX amazes me. Farewell to both of those fine gentlemen, and may your lives be filled with good fortunes to come.

The move to remove Jeff Hammond from any meaningful part in the broadcast was a bad move, and to change Trackside from the only meaningful part of the weekend to some hyped-up kiddie show was the death knell. RIP Trackside.

I am a person of mild manner, and the word "Hate" is not in my dictionary, nor is it within the scope of my personality. I don't feel capable of expressing such a strong emotion, but I have to admit that the Brothers Waltrip bring me as close as I've ever been. Never have two people been so very full of themselves yet somehow managed to secure jobs in public broadcasting. Whoever had the idea that hiring DW would be a good thing was sadly mistaken, and whoever had the harebrained thought that adding a second dose of Waltrip in Michael, had to be completely round the bend and back again.

Farewell, adieu, adios and good-bye FOX. Don't let the door hit ya on the way out.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
NASCAR on Fox - grade F
Mike Joy has forsaken his role as play-by-play announcer to guide coverage of the racing action ...DW showing his age and the massive ego that led Cale to accurately slap the 'Jaws' moniker on him ...Mikey has no place as an analyst on a Spring Cup broadcast while an active owner ...Larry Mac has lost the cahones to offer insight, instead agreeing with DW while trying to disagree ...Hammond, it's been good to know ye ...Chris Myers overcame heartbreak to perform professionally in a confined space ...pit road reporters not relied upon or used effectively ...production down the drain when 41 cars are consistently ignored each and every race summary, NASCAR on Fox showed utter disrespect all season-long for fans, new and old ...God rest the souls of those SPEED and TNT personalities who will be cast aside or 'molded' into the NASCAR or Fox image for the sake of FOX Sports egos

Anonymous said...

As I expected, Fox was just frikkin awful again this season. Its impossible to watch without the Mute at hand. Larry Mac is the only one in the booth I can barely listen to. Dr Dick is the only one in the pits worth a damn and will be sorely missed. The pit reporters do a terrible job of following up on technical problems during the race. The primary reason for that is that they know nothing about the technical aspects of a race car. The flow of the race gets lost in all the mindless chatter. The clowns in the booth all think they are celebrities out to advance their careers. We desparately need new blood. The producers/directors know nothing about racing the way they cut in/out of the action(?) on the track. I only use my big TV to watch the race and usually Mute out most of the Fox broadcasts. I don't expect things to improve much as we continue the season with the other Networks, but hope springs eternal!

Anonymous said...

Why does FOX think they need a storyline for every broadcast. You would think 43 cars going 150-200mph could generate their own story. The reason the Daytona 500 was so good is because the story on the track took over the show from the FOX scripted stuff. WE WATCH RACING BECAUSE WE LIKE TO SEE CARS GOING VERY FAST AND THE CRAZY MEN AND WOMEN WHO DRIVE THEM SO FAST. DJ and Mikey cheering for Mikey's drivers is like the late 60's, when the whole country was forced to watch the Yankee game of the week no matter which game we wanted to see. I realize advertising is the reason TV exists to put on sports events, but somewhere in there you have to show the sports event. FOX producers should be ready to interrupt the commercials when something that changes the character of the race happens on a commercial break. They need to remember that if the viewer doesn't get to see the exiting plays, they won't sit around watching the boring stuff and endless commercial breaks. Auto racing is by far the hardest sport to broadcast, because the venues are huge, there are 43 teams to cover at once, many strategies are being played out at the same time, and you can't take prearranged timeouts for TV commercials because the object is who gets there first. Nothing that matters to the racing is ever seen or done in the broadcasting booth. Nobody is going to get it right all the time. More pit and track side reporters, more cameras, more production people and less time spent showing announcers in the damned booth, please!

KoHoSo said...

Did you get what you wanted from NASCAR on FOX this season?

No. Once again, I feel like a whole half of a season was stolen from me because Fox never gave any overall perspective on the racing.

Did you use other media while you watched the FOX telecast?

Yes. In fact, for most races I used only other media because watching Fox's coverage was useless for anything other than seeing a tight-shot parade.

Did you appreciate the analysis of the Waltrips?

No. Neither of the Waltrips provide true analysis on a consistent basis. DW constantly contradicts himself and babbles on incessantly preventing Mike Joy from properly setting the scene and informing the viewers. Mikey's goober act wore thin long ago and his credibility is zero as he cannot be trusted to be impartial. Both are also such constant and overbearing shills for their various corporate partners that it is impossible for any half-thinking person to take anything they say seriously.

How would you rate the pit reporters?

I agree with what seems to be probably 99% of the people that comment on this blog -- Fox has the finest overall pit reporting crew of any racing series and that will continue to be true even after Berggren leaves. It is so frustrating to see them be so underused leaving so many stories unreported.

How about an opinion on Jeff Hammond in his first season as the roving reporter?

Judging by the races I watched (which was not all of them), this is another poor use of talent on the part of Fox. When separated from DW and Chris Myers when in his goober mode, Hammond has the ability to bring good information and insights to the table. Of the segments I saw, most were right on the border of being Brewer-like.

I would like to comment on one more piece from JD's article.

The FOX gang has aged before our eyes. The original excitement has given way to conversation and stories, perhaps as much a function of middle age as anything else.

This is a point where I have somewhat disagreed with JD in the past and will do so again. I think the problem is more with the direction given to the talent and the personalities involved. After all, Bob, Ned, and Benny were not spring chickens and always conducted themselves in a professional manner. Not everybody starts to become a parody of themselves as they age such as John Madden did. In my opinion, the Fox crew has not become bad because of age but, instead, because of an intentional push by the producers to have DW and other foolishness be the stars of the show instead of the racing.

tommy1946 said...

Maybe I'll try to watch the races after Fox "coverage" is over. I'm so disheartened with the TV Sprint Cup product that I just can't stand it! Then, the support series have had the Cup guys raiding their races for a few dollars which has seriously affected the quality of that product. NASCAR needs a Bill France back! Poor old Bill has got to be rolling in his grave. See you at the local tracks!

OSBORNK said...

I was just listening to an interview on SIRIUS with a Fox guy named Artie a few minutes ago. He was explaining why they choose the shots they choose to broadcast and compared it to football. He said they follow the ball when they do football and they concentrate on the lead car in racing because that is the car with the football. He also said if they choose to show racing in the pack, they choose the battles between well known drivers rather then the battles of lesser known drivers that may be better or closer to the front. He said that is what fans want and their object is to grow the sport. When he was finished, the talking heads on SIRIUS went on and on about how great Fox does the race telecasts and how it is far better than it has ever been. They suggested that all you have to do is replay an old race to realize how much better we have it than back in the old days.

The Mad Man said...

What was once race coverage now looks like a corporate highlight reel for a couple of teams and one manufacturer. The irrevelant Owensboro stories, the constant shilling, and the myopic coverage has reduced the races to nothing that can truly be identified as a race. The action on the track is rarely shown, the trick camera shots don't show the actual racing, and the overall camera coverage makes folks wonder if there is actually a race going on because tey can't follow the real racing that's going on. To give NASCAR on Faux an F- is being generous only because there's no grade lower.

If they truly want to improve the race coverage, then show us the racing. Can the Waltrip brothers and bring in somebody who doesn't have an ax to grind and isn't a cheerleader or shill. DW has gotten long in the tooth and worn out his welcome. His brother's constant shilling and cheerleading for his team and their manufacturer shows true bias and lack of professionalism. Larry Mac may have been good back in the day but he's not familiar enough with the COT to be relevant. There are some recently retired drivers and crew chiefs who are familiar with what's going on with the cars who could replace the current clowns of Faux.

But as somebody noted earlier, Faux is trying to go cheap and by sabotaging their own broadcasts to get poor ratings, they'll have the grounds to pay less when the talks start.

GinaV24 said...

Did you get what you wanted from NASCAR on FOX this season?

Not at all. I was disappointed in the style of camerawork and the lack of actual information that I got from the booth. When Fox began this venture in 2001, it was exciting and fresh and I followed every minute of coverage that I could either live or by recording it. In 2012, it is no longer “must see tv”, but has become, how can I avoid this?

DW can be an interesting and informative person. I’ve seen him do it. Unfortunately he is no longer doing that every week from the booth. Adding Michael Waltrip as an additional analyst is too much for me. An active owner commenting – sorry, I don’t find him amusing and neither of them are impartial or professional.

Did you use other media while you watched the FOX telecast?

Yes, I use trackpass and twitter for the most part, since I get far better information from those 2 sources about what is happening in the race than I do from TV. I find that I very seldom look at the tv now and since it’s on mute, it’s become a waste of electricity.

Did you appreciate the analysis of the Waltrips?

What analysis? Both these people are bought and paid for and there is no impartial analysis.

How would you rate the pit reporters?

I will miss Dick Berggeron very much, he has always been professional and I wish him the best as he leaves Fox. Steve Byrne is also an incredible person and is so knowledgeable. It is a shame that Fox does so little with their pit reporters.

How about an opinion on Jeff Hammond in his first season as the roving reporter?

I’m a big fan of Hammond, but I’d rather see him in a different role. I though he provided a lot more information when he was with Chris Meyer than this way, but since mouthy Mikey has to be in the booth instead – well, ugh! Fox isn’t using this man to his best advantage and it does him NO good at all to be the unfortunate person whose spot takes up the entire screen during green flag racing!

Anonymous said...

Buschseries61 said it very well as did some others. Thank you.

We don't get to see any racing because it is a show and all about who can out brag or out sell the other. I do like Mike Joy but he is not allowed to really call the show. It has become an endless Toyota commercial with lots of self promotion (Waltrips)and agendas being thrown in for the most part. As far as demographics go they are slowly being brainwashed into believing this stuff from them.

To be fair, once in a while we do get something good from one of them which makes it a bit better.

Like Anonymous at 7:46 am said:

"Darryl offers no more analysis than I do when I am sitting at home. He should put on a cheerleader skirt and pick up a set of pom-poms, because that is all he does."

Thank you
GA Red

bowlalpo said...

I can only give a half-analysis since I watch the races via Dale Jr. Hotpass. But when I do pay attention to the Fox box, I can't see the racing. I know the cars, as-built, can't race each other at the front, but there has to be action at the back.

I've known for 12 seasons that Fox exists in NASCAR mostly to pay off sponsors, mixed in with focusing on the race leaders. But year(s) ago, Fox would cover mid-pack battles (albeit battles with sponsor ties). I would even chuckle when DW said "meanwhile, back at the ranch..." when the camera went back to the leader. I don't think DW has used that phrase at all this season, because not even the mid-pack battles interest them.

I try to be fair, because I can sense how hard the Fox crew works at the track, but when Fox blatantly, purposely used the side-by-side at Charlotte as a double-barrel advertisement, that told me that Fox does not care for its audience, only for those for whom it shills.

But to keep things in perspective, I want to thank Artie Kempner and wish him good luck in his Autism awareness golf tournament in DE today. There are more important things than asking for a perfect telecast.

Anonymous said...

You know it's bad when I turn on the TV, mute it, and pull up MRN on my phone. The race-calling and action on the TV don't sync, but dammit, it's better than listening to the commentary on the TV!

AncientRacer said...

Here is my 2012 highlight reel for the FOX portion of the season:

1. JPM v The Jet Dryer
2. The Monday Night Daytona 500
3. Hammond in the Truck showing crew members each assigned to watch two cars.
4."Needy Fans"
5. Hammond (again) on top of the Charlotte Big Screen (unintended symbolism).
6. The indescribable misery of being Jeff Gordon
7. Junior winning a race.
8. Smoke's recovery on pit road.
9. L'affaire du C-Pillar
10. JD taking a TV Break.

Anonymous said...

I read a lot of internet stuff about NASCAR and finally decided I had to post a comment. Frankly I am sick of all the whining about how bad the network coverage is. If it is so bad why are you watching and whining week after week? Get a new hobby PLEASE!!You can't put all the blame on the networks for trying different ways to make the on air product more appealing when the on track product just isn't what it used to be.If you can't sell the steak then sell the sizzle is the old sales adage. Why do you think there are so many promo's that just show crash sequences? How exciting do you think it would be to a potential fan to watch a promo of cars parading around a mile and a half track single file? So when the racing isn't as exciting they at least have the ability to build around stories and conversation to try and retain interest. You think its easy trying to build fan interest at tracks like Pocono where you can fall asleep in the grandstands by lap 50? Then I challenge to try and do better. As far as commentators and the constant DW bashing, you can say what you will but that man has given a lot to this sport and whether you agree with his commentating or not, there is no question where his heart is. The innvocation he gave before the 600 was pretty moving and heartfelt in my opinion, just like what he does behinf the camera every week is heartfelt and passionate. I was never a big Waltrip fan back in the day, but I'd rather see the excitement and passion of a hall of famer on TV every week than some network shill that is more worried about the number zeroes follwing the first digit on his contract who would just as soon cover water polo for the right price. The so called fans who may eventually force these networks to replace people like Waltrip because of all their negativity better be careful they don't get what they wish for because replacing people who love this sport with "talent" that wouldn't know a lug nut from a gas can is what you will end up with. Then you'll really have something to moan about.

Anonymous said...

I have started listening to the race on the internet while I do other things. I also DVR the race so I can go back and see some of the more exciting action that I heard on MRN or PRN. I challenge one of the networks to sinc up their camera work with the "radio" guys and see what happens. That would be awesome. I cannot stand to listen to the Fox crew and I get really bored just watching the lead car go 'round and 'round. We are interested in other drivers beside JJ, JR and Danica. Bobby Labonte winning the fan proves it. Yes, I know he was second to JR, but he did beat out a lot of "young guns". Listen to us NASCAR we don't like your changes. We like our stock car racing like it was in the 80's and 90's.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:08
"that man has given a lot to this sport"??? That man has sucked the very life out of NASCAR. He was a windbag when he drove, and he's twice the windbag now. Think! What exactly has 'that man' done for NASCAR? He uses the sport to promote himself. There is nobody in the sport who has profited more than him. He sticks his nose into every situation in order to promote himself. If he wants to help NASCAR, he should submit his resignation.

glenc1 said...

From what I can see, Darrell mostly took and didn't give much back except for MRO, but regardless, being religious (or even being an all around good guy if you think he is) does not make you a good TV analyst. He has had his good moments over the years, but seems to have deteriorated for some time now. Artie Kempner being a good guy doesn't mean he knows how to cover races, either. The fact that he started with a football analogy shows you the problem right there--it is *not* like a stick & ball sport.

Anon 11:48-- Byrnes, Berggren and Yocum have covered races for *decades*--they know plenty about cars. Why they're not following up is because the *producer* doesn't think it's important enough for them to do that. They seem to be called upon less & less. I hope Dick's leaving brings Hammond back into the fold.

PattyKay has said my feelings as well as anyone. So glad it'll be over. The only thing I wish TNT had done was bring Ralph Shaheen back. He was good. But that's a review for another day.

Garry said...

Again, I go back to the K & N Race from Richmond. That race, and ANY race from TNN should be the way it is shown on t.v. Mike Joy should just b**** slap Darrell across the face, and tell him to shut up. Play by play should be just that: PLAY BY PLAY. Watch any of the Stanley Cup Final games this week. Trust me, they know what they are doing, and the arena is sold out, and the ratings are up. Well, it also helps that the product is great. And the fights are down from last year. Real hockey fans don't watch for the "wrecks" either, JJ. Scripted story lines have no place in racing. Ever. See Danica at Daytona in February. Let's see what TNT brings to the table. FOX: Good riddence. Take your dog and pony show with you. I wish I could tell the same to JJ, Newman, Truex, and Pemberton to go away as well, but, stuck with them I guess.

diane said...

To me one of the big problems with Nascar coverage is too many people. ESPN is guilty of this as well. 2 or 3 people max. It works well for the motorcycle racing, sports car racing and F1.

Sally said...

All I can say is that, after many years of never missing a muniute of racing, I now don't care. I've watched tapes of the 'old' races to see if I was just 'misremembering' how exciting I used to find the racing. I'm not. With a lot less equipment, TV used to be able to convery the excitement as if I was actually at the track, watching the race. I'll grant that the races themselves seem to be less 'challenging', but if Fox can't find something at a race to generate interest and excitement, they don't deserve to have to telecasts. When I attend a race, I don't just watch the cars at the front (those 'with the ball'). I follow many cars to see how the race is unfolding. Fox doesn't give me that. I get mini coverage of a mini race. Which has led to my mini interest these days.

GinaV24 said...

OsbornK - and in a nutshell, that is why I no longer pay for a subscription to Sirius radio. I realized that everything they had to say was the total opposite of how I felt and I just couldn't listen to NASCAR radio any longer so I didn't renew my subscription.

Kevin said...

Can somebody post a link to an article that documents how Fox is purposely tanking the ratings to get a better deal in the future?

I wonder how generational issues play into the perception of broadcasting on this blog? Grumbling comes from folks who remember the ESPN broadcasts of the 1990s.

This audience didn't like Dr. Jerry Punch, was happy when Marty Reid took over, then didn't like him and were happy when Alan Bestwick took over. Once he joined ESPN, it seems like folks here turned more on Fox and DW.

I'm not saying all of this is or is not justified ... in two weeks, there will be frustration with Kyle Petty, Pocono, and folks will wonder how Wally Dallenbach is still relevant to NASCAR. In eight weeks, we have to wonder who the target will be on ESPN, now that Mr. Bestwick assumes another year on play-by-play.

My opinion is that FOX grades out as a "C+" ... I was at the Phoenix race this year, the competition was better than it seems to be on television, but not a lot better. Fox doesn't have a lot to work with, and that, in my opinion, magnifies the issues that folks out here struggle with. Wide shots of single-file cars would leave folks grumbling about single-file cars.

And if you think NASCAR has problems, NFL Live on ESPN is currently hosting a spelling bee between former NFL players, as part of an extended promo for their coverage of the National Spelling Bee.

Anonymous said...

Will you people quit watching when fox continues past 2014??? I sure hope so.......the biggest problem this blog has is it's given it's readers this idea that a few hundred = all 6+mill who watch week to week......I say to all of you please stop watching nascar, it isn't goin back to the 3 camera 1985 espn setup ever again

William said...

Not to be sarcastic or facetious but honestly I thought last Sunday was Fox's last day and was looking forward to a change, however small it would be, this weekend with TNT. I was looking forward to the fake pit road guy that walks across the race track during the race and attaches the TNT logo to the screen, or in race promos for the Closer (or whatever show took its place since I last watched TNT the week before last years Brickyard race on ESPN). (Edit: Or the fake pylon inn the middle of the track woith each restart). And of course I was looking forward to a different voice telling me the same thing that I didnt know about downforce, loose, tight, pushing, plowing, pulling, sliding or how did Ward Burton put it, "Plowing like a 3 legged Goat" (I think that was it).

Last weekend I was thinking it would be a good idea for Nascar to have someone in the stands with a T Shirt cannon and shoot debris on the track every 20 laps. I know, but a guy can dream.

Yesterday my son saw on a news report a soccer game between Brazil and the USA and he asked how they had the animated screens at the edge of the fields and why they didnt get broken when the ball hit them. I explained they are green screens and had an epiphany, why don't they pain the walls / safer barriers green and then the TV broadcasters can sell animated ads on themduring the race?

MortonGroveDon said...

W17Scott@11:22 pretty much said everything like I would of. Did anyone at Fox realize, (and I dont know the percentage of commercials he appears in) that Mikey's voice seemed to be everywhere. In place of Larry commenting when DW would blather on, Mikey was on mike. Those midrace breaks (live commercials), there he is again....Everytime a Toyota was al.... It almost seems like the Waltrip brothers had the only baseball left in the neighborhood, and everyone else let them play just so they could. Poor job Fox.

Bobby O said...

Anon 5:08

Really the problem is not us few complainers....

It's all of the fans that just left never saying a word or voicing their opinion.

glenc1 said...

anon & Kevin...personally, I was not a big fan until 1997. I never watched a '3 camera setup' in 1985, and I only had four years of ESPN, all of which were Ned & Benny, whom I believed at the time were excessively sucking up to NASCAR (much as I miss them now....) I have had friends/relatives ask me why they had the cartoon gopher and what's up with the joker saying 'boogity' every week and they don't even know who he is. Just saying...don't paint us all with the same brush; we come from all walks of life. The argument about not watching doesn't work when you realize we don't have many options for race visuals. Personally I mute the TV and will do so again when FOX comes back next year.

papaserge said...

I think I might I have typed this a month or so back in a previous comment, but this year's Fox coverage made ESPN 2007 look like the current/Speedworld-era ESPN. It's brutal, just non-stop talking and shilling. By Talladega, I was using MRN's web stream for audio to compliment Fox's pictures. I didn't have to wait for a KFC plug before the latest news came "hot off the wire." MRN's sponsored segments were actually informative and didn't take away from the race.

I'm glad Berggren is leaving, he's been sharp for so long both as a booth analyst and in the pits. He's too good for the Fox baloney. I'm really looking forward to his next TV project, if he decides to launch another one.

While it is an obvious conflict of interest, Michael Waltrip is a solid analyst when he's not talking about a MWR car or a Toyota. Unlike Darrell, Mikey doesn't need to rely on his shtick to get his point across.

Chris Myers has been great this year, especially when you consider everything he's gone through. I'd like to see him take a role on SPEED programming -- he'd be a slice of fresh air that network desperately needs.

As for the rest of the negatives, I'd just be repeating what so many others have already said on this post. I'd give Fox/SPEED a D for this portion of the schedule, and it's a generous one.

Looking forward to six weeks of TNT, even though I think Adam Alexander makes Jerry Punch's play-by-play run sound like Ken Squier at points.

Zieke said...

I wonder if the Waldrips read this blog. Of course they are "legends in their own minds" so all of the rest of us are just plain uneducated. But thanks to you regular posters for setting them straight. I will say we do possess strength in numbers. Glad I will be able to turn up the race broadcast volume for the rest of the season.

Lisa Hogan said...

JD, if this is a duplicate post please delete. Internet problems.

Since I watch all races delayed via my DVR, I don't use another source for race info during the race.

SPEED is owned by Fox; yet, it is able to broadcast great coverage of the Truck races.

I don't have a Fox problem. I have an "Artie problem". As long as he is in charge, it doesn't matter who is in the booth, they will do as he says.

As long as Artie is in charge, we will have a broadcast with silly camera shots trying to win awards and race coverage based on football.

E-Ticket said...

Imagine this, I can't tell you who the announcers where for the Superbowl this past year, I remember the game and how much fun it was to watch we get to see every play. I can't remember what network it was on..

During the Talladega race DW used the word Whooppee on TV as cars where bumping around 4 wide going into turn one.. He really has given so much to this sport.. Just ask Tobasco because he sure as hell didn't them.

Mikey, DW and even Rusty need to move on, NASCAR sponsorship has become the quickest vehicle for flyby night sponsors in the past 10 years. How many have been taken by these names promoting products and we believed they would never steer us wrong. Extenze, Car Repair Warranties the list goes on...

Funny thing is Larry Mac as done a great job this year, if you could hear a word he said. I used to love Mikey and all his aww shucks sponsor mentions but he is an owner now and I am thinking he has jumped the shark that DW is trying to sell us..

Zetona said...

The one thing that's always irked me slightly about this blog is that many of us gripe about DW and Mikey without giving concrete examples of their supposed biases. I rarely notice them; maybe it's because I tune them out. Therefore, this Sunday, should I have the time, I will catalogue as many statements by the Waltrips as I can and relay them back to you. It might settle the matter in my mind at least, and hopefully in someone else's.

The Loose Wheel said...

I felt FOX was just slightly above humongous fail. Talladega was a brief ray of hope in an otherwise bleak tunnel. Mike Joy for the last few years has really just lost control of the broadcast. As has been said on many posts, DW is just allowed to run wrecklessly over Joy in many situations and it more often than not is uncalled for. DW 5 years ago had value. He was seeing things in the booth that cameras missed. He was enhancing the show. Now he dominates it. He seems eager to add his two cents to everything.

Mikey has had moments, honestly if he keeps his MWR hype in check, he adds an interesting perspective. Felt Hammond was greatly under-used. Hollywood has shown an ability to be quite charismatic and insightful when he isn't being over-used in the tech center showing us the same old same old, but when you send him randomly and seemingly aimlessly around and he has to report during a green flag....He just seems out of place.

Pit road has always been a solid place for this crew. I do wish we had more pit road and garage interviews though.

Production/camera work. Horrendous. Too much tight shots, not enough wide shots.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully FOX and Nascar will rid the booth of one Michael Waltrip next year. How nascar and the other team owners would put up with having a bias Toyota team owner and himself being in all his sponsors commercials broadcast the races also is mind boggling. We don't need another Kim Kardashian "All me all the time fame hog in Nascar. Put him back with all the other owners back on his pit box where he belongs!!!!!!!!!!! The less he is seen and heard the better off for the broadcast and the fans who have to watch Fox.

Anonymous said...

Zetona - 11:01 - One thing I can specifically attribute to DWaltrip is the week after the Talledega race when he said he didn't know what Keselowski did or how he did it to win the race from KyBusch - Keselowski told us in the victory lane celebration exactly what he did, how he did it, and how he came up with the idea - and I saw variations of that conversation several times over the week after the race. This to me is a perfect example of how far removed from reality DW really is.


Zetona said...

MtnVwJay—I could just as easily say that's a testament to how innovative that move was, that it left even a legend of the sport lost for words—or did DW say even in midweek after the race that he had no idea what Kez had done? Even then, I could say that's just expressing the enormity of his surprise at the move.

tex2888 said...

wow i cannot believe all the negitivity. abc and tnt they are so much worse. commercial every two minutes and they don't come back and tell you why there is a caution. i am not saying fox is amazing but the second half of watch is so irritating i sometimes just quit watching the race that day. i have been watching for over 15 yrs and i will take fox over the others.

AncientRacer said...


Aside from the fact he is always, always, always talking/interrupting (Proving, as one poster noted, Cale was spot on in naming him "Jaws") what specifically bugs me is the "Boogity" bit. It is worn out, and he should have gotten a clue about that when Larry Mac stopped providing him with his lead in to it.

This fact, and it is a fact, "Boogity" is worn out is emblematic of the larger point: DW is worn out. He has overstayed. It happens to everyone who appears before the public and in broadcasting. Sooner or later (and in broadcasting it tends to be sooner) the act goes stale.

If DW were smart he would see this, but as has been the case with many, many other performers over time he, and his ego, cannot. Further, given that Cup racing is a monopoly event in the sense that there is one per week and only one per week the effect is amplified. Its not like if I cannot stand a John Madden I can watch another game on another channel with another color man.

If he would give it a rest dollars to donuts people would start to miss him. As it stands people, without going to great lengths, cannot avoid him

red said...

just this:

I am passionate about our sport but I have stopped watching it on tv. I listen on radio, grab RaceBuddy when I can, and follow on Twitter.

Is this because of FOX's coverage? Yes.

Is it likely to change anything?

So, I'll wait for each new team to give it a shot but I recognize now that I can enjoy my sport without all the irritation of "The Show."

Mary said...

I suppose the Fox coverage is really doing me a favour in helping to wean me off Nascar. Unfortunately in a couple of years we will return to live in the UK where we will be unable to afford the huge sums charged for satellite TV.

Dannyboy said...

As we have seen in past seasons, by the time Turner and ESPN have had their rounds, viewers will be begging for FOX to return. As bad as some dislike FOX's coverage (and they irk me with their tight 2-car shots and lack of wide group racing) and the commentators, the rest of the broadcast partners have STILL not gotten a clue as to how to make it exciting. Mark my words.

Anonymous said...

First of all it isn't as bad as many of these comments make it out to be and I never cease to be amazed at how internet forums breed negativity from a few voices that try to convince everyone they are the voice of all .

People should be more grateful for free sports coverage as you will miss it when you have to pay more for all of it and it won't be cheap. . Those sponsors and commercials keep money in your pocket

I don't think all the blame can be put on Fox when the racing goes single file and long green the broadcasters do attempt to find ways to spice things up and that may seem commercial . Or resorting in car and tight shots to provide some sense of speed and action

A lot of what gets said here in these comments is stuff that just isn't true or based on knowledge just some very uninformed opinions and griping .

The cup races are too long and too many 1.5 mile + tracks, the points system takes away from the racing because the money is in winning the championship . The All Star race is an example of how much fun Cup racing can be to watch now if it were on a mile that would be even better . This is nothing to do with how the TV coverage is done.

DW may well have worn out his welcome and I do agree that Michael either needs to be an owner or a broadcaster not both. He is actually pretty good on the truck broadcasts.

I do think Fox could benefit from some new voices that know and love the sport but aren't necessarily "retired or former " anything . Marty Smith, Tony Rizzuti, come to mind there may be others . Being a former driver or crew chief doesn't always translate to being a good commentator . Certainly Mike Joy proves that as he is the best of the field and has always been an announcer .

Fox is the best an puts the most into broadcasts of all the partners in money , time and technology.

Yes sometimes the Fox Sports brand and identity can take over and color the broadcast

Some people are never happy or thankful for what they have and they tend to be the most vocal especially on the web

See how much you like it when most of the cable packages require you to pay more to get TNT or ESPN which is coming . Fox is free and ABC is steering most of the races to ESPN and eventually to ESPN 2 or beyond

Speed Channel has been lost for years and maybe the best thing that could happen would be to balance it out with other sports and still have a strong motorsports presence and not be constantly trying to make something out of nothing with stupid reality shows and school bus racing brought to you by Lucas Oil.