Sunday, July 15, 2012

NASCAR On TNT Ends In New Hampshire

The TNT summer series ends Sunday in New Hampshire. It's been an amazing run this year for all the wrong reasons. Many fans have made it clear they will be happy to see the network depart.

Adam Alexander once again hosts both the pre-race show and then calls the race. Kyle Petty also appears on both programs. Wally Dallenbach Jr. joins Petty in the booth while Larry McReynolds appears on the pre-race show and then remains in the infield.

The bright spot for this coverage has been the pit reporters. Marty Snider has been under the weather and did not travel to New Hampshire. He passed along that he is doing much better and expects to recover quickly. So, TNT will go with Matt Yocum, Ralph Sheheen and Chris Neville to cover pit road for this race.

A casual atmosphere might be the new and cool thing in sports TV, but for covering a live NASCAR race it just does not work. Both ESPN and SPEED use traditional play by play men in Allen Bestwick and Rick Allen to call the racing action. Alexander has spent the summer doing just the opposite.

Dallenbach is so far removed from the sport he is irrelevant. Despite his personality, his limited NASCAR experience was long ago he brings little to the telecasts. With two drivers in the booth, Dallenbach spends the entire telecast either agreeing with or disagreeing with Petty. Despite the fact that a former crew chief sits in the infield, this booth chemistry just does not click.

The subject of much media coverage this summer has been the commercials. Despite the fact that amount did not increase, the long green flag runs and the awareness of fans through social media has changed the landscape. No longer are fans willing to miss one-third of the racing while staring at the same commercials over and over again for three hours. That was made clear after the Kentucky Speedway disaster featuring the brawling Kentucky Fried Chicken family.

The buzz in TV town is that TNT may not return for 2013. There are two more seasons left on the existing NASCAR TV contract but FOX has been making lots of noise about wanting additional races. The six TNT races are the only ones possibly in question. Turner Sports has just sold back to NASCAR all the sport's digital rights, including operating the website and controlling all the online audio and video footage.

Should TNT care to sell the remaining two seasons of summer coverage to FOX, it could walk away with a pretty penny and end all ties with the sport. Over the years, TNT never carried any of the qualifying or practice sessions. There has never been a NASCAR weekly show on the network. It just might be the right time to walk away.

This season will also find negotiations being done on the sport's TV coverage starting in 2015. Without the digital connections, there is little reason to expect that TNT will be a part of that new package.

It is unfortunate that the network's 2012 coverage will go out with a thud. New Hampshire is a track position race that focuses on pit stops and fuel mileage. Combined with the casual style of the TV booth, this one could be memorable for all the wrong reasons. Goodbye TNT, it certainly was interesting.

This post will serve to host your pre-race and race comments. There will be a new post up for your opinion after the race telecast is done. We live chat on Twitter during the race using the #TDP1 hashtag. Please join us. Comments here may be moderated prior to posting. Thank you for stopping by.


Colorado said...

I really hope NBC gets the rights to the 6 races in question. I just finished watching "Trainwreckday" on Speed. DW is irrelevant, and Kenny Wallace shouts at you. The unbelievable part of it was the respect that Tony Stewart and "GASP" Roger Penske showed him. To me, he appears to be a clown, who rambles on as much as the clueless DW. Penske putting him in a car? I can just hear the radio traffic: "Kenny, how does the car feel coming out of 4?" "Well the late great Dale Earnhardt Sr, once told me: Herm, the car is loose coming out of 4". The name dropping is plain stupid. My hope in the foreseeable future is that NBC gets the rights, and also takes over the Raceday program format. Get rid of the circus, put DW out to pasture, or put him down, get some energy in the booth, and hire the NHL camera crew to televise the races. Adam Alexander is good as a daily show host, but not in the booth. Here is my plan: Mike Joy hired away from FOX, with Larry Mac ONLY in the booth. Ralph Sheheen, Dave Burns, Marty Snider on pit road.No gimmicks, no toilet paper,no putting the fans down, and just SHOW THE DAMN RACE. Here endeth the lesson.

Buschseries61 said...

It would be sad to see TNT leave after this season, but it makes sense to have just 2 networks spilt the tv schedule.

I have great memories of TNT being the best tv partner for years. The loss of Benny Parsons was tough, but it gave TNT a great asset in Kyle Petty. His use of twitter in the broadcasts began the snowball of social media that is at its prime today. TNT got the commercial business into the 21st century with Daytona Wide Open Coverage, which is slowly pushing the other networks to use side-by-side commercials. TNT also gave us RaceBuddy, a great tool that I still love to use when the tv broadcast isn't very good.

Turner's downfall was the lack of $bucks deluxe$. They had only 6 races, and were stuck with a schedule filled with mostly fuel milage races. I guess the signs were out there TNT might be parting with NASCAR when Marty Snider & Wally Dallenbach became part of the IndyCar broadcasts on NBC Sports Net. The rest of the crew all have a home at SPEED (for now anyway). I have to wonder if TNT saw their limited options with NASCAR - it explains why TNT borrowed people opposed to training their own talent.

Turner also struggled with Every re-design became cluttered again and called for another re-design. TNT was an innovator in many ways, but online it was part of a blockade that prevented from moving into the social media frenzy.

I certainly hope TNT stays around through 2014 for NASCAR's sake. TNT has indirectly pressured the other networks to improve their broadcasts. Will either FOX or ESPN take the initiative TNT took during this tv contract? Can fans take more of FOX's buffoonery? This season FOX was nothing but stubborn to criticism of their 'entertainment' television that abandoned the principles of a quality race broadcast.

This will be interesting...

Tony said...

I sure hope this is the end of TNT. 25 laps will be done after this break, 10 of which we didn't see. Absolutely pathetic.

Anonymous said...

would be a shame if TNT left and Daytona wide open coverage also left.

on the race today its more of we interrupt this commercial break for a few laps of racing.

Buschseries61 said...

Every time Ralph reports I get a flashback to ESPN a few years ago. Remember Allen Bestwick's energetic rundowns followed by more dull commentary by Dr. Punch? Same deal here.

Buschseries61 said...

The untold story of the race is the number of S&P's. We had 12 yesterday in the Nationwide race and we have 9 so far today. (49, 79, 23, 98, 36, 87, 26, 13, 30) Never thought it would get this bad in Cup.

Buschseries61 said...

TNT is following the right guy - Kyle Busch. Dallenbach and Petty are doing the best they can with the lack of action. TNT needs a race, and a play-by-play guy that can make the most out of junk.

Finally, through the field!

Buschseries61 said...

At least TNT is addressing the weather.

For some reason David Ragan is behind the wall, but TNT won't tell us.

It's getting very hard to be positive when they give nothing back in their telecasts.

Buschseries61 said...

Doing work to stay awake watching the race. Talk about rock bottom.

Buschseries61 said...


ThinkingBrian said...

Goodbye TNT, hello ESPN in two weeks at the Brickyard 400, I can't wait for that weekend.

But a quick note, maybe since TNT can't seem to get it together except on pit road, maybe should just not do its final two years of its contract and either give it to NBC or FOX. Just a thought.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for your post-race comments on TNT from New Hampshire.