Sunday, June 3, 2012
Last Chance For Romance
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.