Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sprint Cup Series From Bristol On ABC

The media loves it when Kyle Busch starts talking and he has been talking this weekend in Bristol. He hates the track changes, refuses to admit Chase pressure and seems to be ready for some rough racing tonight.

The ESPN telecast crew will use ABC for the broadcast, which has caused some problems. First, there are six TV markets that will be carrying local NFL pre-season games. Secondly, TV markets in the Central time zone with local news will be preempting the pre-race show. Finally, the approaching Tropical Storm Isaac will get non-stop coverage on the ABC affiliate in Miami tonight.

The good news is that all six NFL conflict markets have alternate viewing options available. Also, none of the local stations airing news will miss the green flag. Finally, Miami viewers can turn to their ESPN cable channel and will find the ABC coverage of the race. For a full breakdown of this information, check the previous post on this blog. Thanks to ESPN for keeping us updated on this topic.

Nicole Briscoe gets Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty and Ray Evernham in the Infield Pit Studio for the NASCAR Countdown show. Rusty is clearly under pressure to ramp-up his intensity and has responded with some controversial statements. Brad remains a cheerleader, but Evernham has begun to insert his opinions into the telecasts. This pre-race show should be one to watch.

Allen Bestwick has Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree alongside as usual. Unfortunately, ESPN often framed only two or three cars on-camera when covering the Friday night Nationwide Series race. It was awful. On a tiny track like Bristol, staying wide and then moving in after an incident or to cover a pass is the right way to operate. It's fundamental. This style of production makes effective play by play almost impossible.

What Friday night viewers saw and heard was PXP man Marty Reid following the pictures on the TV monitor instead of looking out the window and calling the race. Reid could not locate cautions on the small track until he saw the pictures. There was an awkward delay when the caution lights came on and while ESPN searched for a replay of what had happened.

While Bestwick has his work cut out for him, the pit road gang is really in the worst environment possible. Hand signals will be the order of the day once the green flag flies. The noise in the Bristol infield is intense. Keep an eye on Jerry Punch, Mike Massaro, Vince Welch and Dave Burns as they try to provide info under green flag conditions.

ESPN paid the money and the network has the right to present the sport as they see fit. The battle is clearly between the HD-driven images being produced for the "younger set" and the need to provide perspective and information for those of us who are hardcore fans. It's been an ongoing conversation.

Keep your eye on how the restarts are presented. Wideshots that show the field vs. in-car cameras and tight zooms for dramatic effect is the battle. Pitstops under green should be presented in a split-screen video box, so that both the race and the pitstop can be seen. This is easy to do with the small track.

Ultimately, the chief complaint of this race is commercials under green. Lap after lap goes by as the two and three minute commercial pods roll slowly by hour after hour. Of all the tracks on the Sprint Cup Series circuit, Bristol makes the fans crazy when things happen during commercial and the TV coverage comes back to caution on the track. Look for that to happen tonight, as there are no split-screen commercials in the coverage.

The good thing is that the changes to the track have generated a buzz. The truck and Nationwide Series races have proven to be interesting, but no real conclusions of how the Sprint Cup Series cars will be affected could be drawn. Also, Danica Patrick is in the field and will no doubt be a topic of the TV coverage tonight.

As usual, we chat live on Twitter during the race by using the #TDP1 hashtag for TV comments. We invite you to join us. Comments will be updated on this post during the race and there will be a Race Wrap post after the race for your opinion on the coverage. Thanks as always for dropping by.


James said...

All season Danica has been compared to Jo Anna Long. Last night she started behind her and finished 9th, Jo Anna 29th, she also beat Sam Hornish, he has equal equiptment, pit crews and is also looking to go to Cup next year. I think she did well, tonight we will see how she progresses in a Cup car. Kyle is like a panther, just waiting to strike. The production at Bristol last night was a joke, the pictures, the same as usual, Marty was lost as usual, DJ, charming, Petre, informative. Loved the pit call by Logano in the early stages, had em all fooled but Andy, the only one to call it right. On a track with lap times of 16 seconds, one would wonder why the director does not go to side by side, it is the perfect place. The lack of aerial shots displays the mentality of the network, in car driver shots at Bristol, are we supposed to cheer as they grind their teeth? The world leader in replays, we might as well enjoy the night out and wait for the clips from Victory Lane. Not really exciting TV. The fans got what they wanted, let us see the result.

OSBORNK said...

I don't think Danica will be a big topic tonight. She is starting dead last and with her slow speeds, she will probably be lapped before the first commercial. She might be a topic if she stays on the track long enough to get in the way of others. This track does not work well for the timid and/or inexperienced.

53 yr. fan said...

The director was out of touch last
night. Three seconds of the leaders at the restarts then
pushing buttons no matter what the
subject. More over useage of the
in-car cameras leaving me totally

Anyone else think Brad K is starting to sound like Rusty?

Rachel said...

Right now, ABC is airing the Little League World Series as we speak. They are tied 15-15.

Anonymous said...

The ABC affiliate in Lafayette, Louisiana KATC TV-3 is airing NASCAR Countdown instead of their local news at 6:00 pm Central time.
The ABC affiliate WBRZ-2 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana aired NASCAR Countdown after the local news at 6:30 pm Central time

glenc1 said...

I was watching on CW on my basic cable...when I checked the ESPN race station on DISH, it says it's 'not available in my area'. If I didn't have cable (which they'd have no way to know), I'd be totally screwed. I hope they're getting calls. The local station says DISH does not include CW as part of its local channel line up.

Anonymous said...

WTF ABC!?! Showing a preseason football game instead of the race?

Buschseries61 said...

Well, the results of the track grinding are a mixed success. They are not fighting for the bottom as expected/desired. BUT, instead, everyone is fighting for the top lane, which has resulted in intense racing and damaged racecars that resembles the Bristol of old.

Although I still love/miss how awesome the cars would look entering & exiting the corners from the bottom lane, this is a big improvement from the old-new Bristol.

Allen, Andy & Dale have been great tonight. Maybe a stronger broadcast helps a race look better. I wonder how I would view the race if FOX was presenting it.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, missed another lead change. Way to go ESPN. You guys suck.

The Loose Wheel said...

DUDE!!!!! Alright we've missed TWO restarts so far.

Not to mention we just missed a wreck, didn't even get a full replay of said wreck, then missed the following restart. Are you kidding me ESPN?!?!?!

Yeah, this is terrible so far. Good race but ESPN is completely clueless. Also noticed multiple times that AB has been ahead of his production truck in cuing stuff.