Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Race Wrap: NASCAR On TNT From Pocono
Adam Alexander hosted the pre-race show with Kyle Petty and Larry McReynolds. TNT made a decision not to hire a host to replace Lindsay Czarniak, who departed for ESPN SportsCenter duties after last season.
The plus side is TNT spent less money, but the downside will come when there is a rain delay or long red flag. The only person remaining in the infield is Larry McReynolds standing by his cut-a-way car. As these six races roll by we may see a TV veteran like Ralph Sheheen moved from pit road to the infield host position if something like this happens. Luckily, the weather was great and there were no long delays.
The one hour pre-race show featured a segment with Jimmie Johnson, Bill Elliott and Ned Jarrett talking about NASCAR topics. Rather than just one interviewer, there were several TNT folks involved. It took time away from Elliott and Jarrett, two personalities who are not heard from much on the TV side.
Needless to say, there was an ill-timed and pre-recorded promo for the Lizard Lick Towing TV series that airs on Turner sister network TruTV. This scripted reality show exists on the deception that any of the content or characters are real. TNT executives call it "actuality TV."
Alexander was paired again this season with Petty and Wally Dallenbach Jr. in the booth. It's a crew that likes to offer opinion, but is sometimes slow to jump on activity or incidents on the track. All three seem to sometimes be looking at the TV monitor and not "out the window."
Chris Neville returned as a pit road reporter along with veterans Ralph Sheheen, Matt Yocum and Marty Snider. TNT uses pit reporters much more than FOX and that was certainly true in this telecast. There was a little delay in explaining the early speeding penalties, but finally Sheheen went to the NASCAR hauler and got a map of the new timing lines.
TNT produces a wider race and keeps a broader perspective than FOX. The tone in the booth focuses on the race and there are few personal stories from Petty. McReynolds was actively involved throughout the telecast and continued his best role as a strategist.
A series of late cautions allowed some drama to build, but TNT strangely chose to play a dated Denny Hamlin soundbite with only seven laps to go and the race under green. Alexander should have been calling the play by play and building the drama. The final laps looked great, but lacked the excitement that Alexander should have been providing. This race ended with a thud from the announcers.
TNT also offers the RaceBuddy application online and does an extended post-race online at the NASCAR.com website. There are no side by side commercials until the Daytona race and the Wide Open coverage. There were no technical problems.
We invite your comments on the TNT coverage of the Sprint Cup Series from Pocono. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.