Sunday, September 23, 2012

Race Wrap: Sprint Cup Series From New Hampshire On ESPN

The Sprint Cup Series event in New Hampshire featured great weather and a good crowd in the stands. What it did not feature was racing.

Nicole Briscoe led Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty and Ray Evernham through a one-hour pre-race show. Wallace made some very interesting comments on various topics that were clearly greeted with mixed reactions by the other members of the panel. It made for an interesting show.

NASCAR moved the race start back by an hour to avoid the NFL early game starting at the same time. In the pre-race show, it seemed ironic that an edited feature focused on Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his enjoyment of NFL fantasy football. The extensive piece certainly highlighted the positive aspects of the NFL.

Allen Bestwick led Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree into the live race telecast from the TV booth. Bestwick once again worked from start to finish and made sure as much information as possible was passed along. Unfortunately, this flat track has traditionally not allowed for much passing and that was the case once again.

Jarrett and Petree were happy to offer comments, analysis and opinion but often there was a single-file parade. It did not help that one car dominated the vast majority of the event. The good news is that the pictures were pretty and the audio was outstanding. It was a day made for TV.

The bad news is that several cautions for debris came out and ESPN totally avoided showing the offending piece of trash or car part on the air. A late caution that bunched up the field was really a tough sell. Even Bestwick just avoided the topic. Just taking five seconds to show the safety truck picking up debris would send a message to TV viewers that things were being done for the right reasons.

In the end, the run to the flag was uneventful. Like many track position races, this one ended with a thud. The Chase teams dominated and the storylines continued to be about the championship run.

We welcome your opinion on the TV coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Comments may be moderated prior to posting. Thanks for stopping by.


Zetona said...

As long as the races continue to be this dull—seemingly all the passing the result of drivers letting faster cars past, not a single "legitimate" caution because the cars are so easy to save that you couldn't spin someone out if you wanted to, the race essentially over by lap 100 because no one could adjust their car enough to genuinely contend with Hamlin—the quality of the TV coverage won't matter. TV coverage won't be what attracts or drives away fans; that'll be the storylines and discussion points that come from the race itself and are discussed during the week. This week, there were none of those.

Buschseries61 said...

I watched from the green flag until bogus debris caution #1 on lap 129. I checked in twice briefly some time later. I thought ESPN did a great job balancing the Chasers and Outsiders. Bestwick really shifted the focus of ESPN, and I’m happy he’s up there making the most of the images and racing he’s given.

But I’m about to throw in the towel. The clean marketing department approved NASCAR is in full force, and it’s just not my thing. It comes down to how each person defines a race. Today’s race matched the dictionary version rather than the passionate version. 43 cars took the green flag and traveled around an oval 300 times. The cars were pretty equal, the tires didn’t wear, the drivers made few mistakes. Everyone was very courteous waving the faster cars by, doing it the ‘smart’ way. Everyone was serious and mindful of points.

But the dictionary definition of a race is not why millions of people tune in on a Sunday afternoon. It’s about the people behind the wheel. It’s about fighting for every spot. It’s about giving it your all. It’s about friendships and rivalries. It’s about making mistakes and being human. It’s about FUN!

What I just saw was 10 teams that have way more money than I do quitting before halfway in the top division of the sport. I saw NASCAR throw every single unscheduled caution for ‘debris’. I saw more passing on pit road than on the race track. How can ESPN be expected to make a merry-go-round exciting?

I grew up thinking NASCAR was a sport. Boy was I stupid.

Dennis said...

I only got to see the last half of the race but showing me a series of tight shots didn't compel my attention. I actually fell asleep. First time I managed to do that. Missed the final mystery caution. Really wish technology would get to the point where the viewer could select camera shots during the race.

Didn't remember Loudon being so boring. Was it always this bad or am I forgetting?

53 said...

I watched some of the merry go round between innings and
quarters. Got to see the debris caution just as the 88 was about to be lapped. What a FARCE! It's
no wonder that sponsors are leaving wrestling on wheels.
Another classic example of a track
that Cup cars shouldn't even be
racing at.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful afternoon. Glad I did not waste it on what nascar thinks I want. Do I need to again say I hate the chase? MC

Maverick24 said...

Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin.

That should about cover it.

I don't even have anything against Hamlin, but that was just disgusting.

Pathetic race and revolting coverage.

glenc1 said...

yes, Dennis, it's always been that boring. Improved sightly when they reconfigured but not much. Unfortunately, 53, it's the only race in NE. So it's not going away anytime soon.

I mostly listened to the TV (my team didn't play today so there was no conflict, but I wasn't interested in the Bills/Browns). I thought the crew was pretty good, but when someone has a car like that at a track like that, there's not much you can do. At least they did a lot of interviews at the end, although it was pretty much Chasers. Hey, and Allan actually mentioned Mike Olsen during the race, I was shocked!

Sally said...

Boring race. Pathetic coverage. Too much 'chase', not enough race. New hampshire just doesn't produce excitement. I'm done.

Anonymous said...

Unconfirmed debris caution will always follow green flag pit stops when there are 20 or so cars left on the lead lap. It's predictable this year...atleast a dozen times so far. ESPN....try deviating from the same script you've been using for 3 years now. Not a car with a mark on it today. Basically it was 300 laps of qualifying. Had to be one of the easiest races to televise this year. Just another day at the office for ESPN. Ho hum.

Anonymous said...

"Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin."


The debris cautions aren't even funny. If it isn't shown on TV it didn't happen. There's no way a camera could miss something on the track.

The last one had me wondering who was the bigger jerk. Nascar for faking it? ESPN for taking Nascars going along with it? Or me watching it?

Unfortunately, I'm picking me.

Jake said...

Well t'was another listless race and telecast with no big positives to speak of.Although this wasn't the worst we've seen,the continued refusal to give decent perspectives with the camera angles plus the heavy commercial load made the boring race more so.

Race Buddy was once again useless,which is disappointing because it was somewhat workable last week.As i said last week,i wish i could just be able to watch my driver and know what's going on rather than just standing there ticker watching.

But as long as Brian says everything's fine,why should we complain?That's all i can think of to say,nothing ever changes so we just have to go with it or give up.JD's comment in the comment section on the previous post was dead solid perfect.

PS can anyone tell me if BZF was even at any of these recent races(espicially the chase opener in chicago)?I admit i haven't watched much other than the actual races but i have heard nary a peep out of him or about him.

Anonymous said...

I slept late and joined the race on lap 23.Announcers were on the ball,camera work was almost excellent,but driver interviews
were almost blocked by race noise had to understand them.Typical F1 race.Didn't watch NASCRAP,SPEED CENTER,or V.L.Since W.T. hasn't
broadcast yet can't say if I'll watch it.

Sophia said...

I've given up. Did not even DVR the race.

Life is too short to keep griping on NASCAR only to have the broadcast continue to dis us. I've lost my mom, a childhood home and 5 days ago, sudden death of a friend.

I'll stick with the Reds on radio and tv. At least when I watch tv I have a wide camera view "to get perspective of the sport I am watching."

Sick of the "Chase" in news. I shall find other hobbies in place of NASCAR.

Sad to make me say that. I've Tony Stewart and Juan Pablo Montoya T shirts, TS hat and cool Home Depot jacket I still wear.

I LOVE Indycar and I guess TNT dropped the NASCAR broadcast ball cause Mike Wells works on Indycar now so did not enjoy them in 2012. Too bad obscure station like NBCSports Network carries Indycar; few folks get it.

I can read NASCAR gripes in a nutshell via twitter or here.

It still makes me sad to not watch NASCAR, but I don't miss getting honked off over being gypped over 3-4 hours of my life I won't get back.

Sayonara, NASCAR.

PS. Brian France? Thanks for RUINING the sport (Insert sarcasm, there)

GinaV24 said...

It was a beautiful fall day here in NJ. I had made the decision that I was not going to spend the entire afternoon in the house being annoyed at the TV coverage. Since Gordon was on the pole, I watched the beginning of the race - although I think starting the chase races after 2 p.m. is just plain STUPID! Then I went back to doing yard work and other fun outdoor things, coming back to check on how things were going either on twitter , trackpass or the TV - depending on whether or not ESPN was in commercial when I came inside.

From what I watched on TV, it was a tremendously boring race, so I am very glad that I didn't waste my beautiful Sunday.

Based on what I read on twitter, I didn't miss a thing AND I thought the sarcastic comments about the debris cautions were pretty hilarious. I was actually surprised that NASCAR didn't have one closer to the end to get a GWC finish and try and convince the fans that it was an exciting race after all. They will probably save that for Talladega and Martinsville to make a real mess of things and make their 10 race trophy deal a "game 7" moment.

Brian said...


You stole my thunder concerning the debris caution for the 88 at approximately lap 130. This has been going on for years, and all the TV partners comply by usually not showing the debris. I had DVRed the race and immediately turned it off and told my wife that I'm the stupid one for continuing to watch this charade. As I've said before, I really have no problem with ESPN, it's NASCAR that is the problem when they continually manipulate the races, especially for the 88.


Fed UP said...

I dunno...I kind of have to give the announcers a pass on the track coverage. Its not due to the incessant "where they stand in the chase right now, if it were to end" stuff...but due to the fact that its a boring race. There is no passing for the most part, the drivers play follow the leader, and the mysterious jacques du bries has shown up again. Eh.
NOt sure if I am going to watch it next weekend...may skip until Talledega, then catch the last 10 laps in HOmestead. Will i watch next year? Dunno..Maybe. Maybe not. I just miss Hockey.

GinaV24 said...

Brian won't show up at a track until Homestead. Then he'll give his state of the sport speech, which will be totally out of sync with anything that the rest of us have observed about the sport.

But the fans are the ones who don't understand and with the new "sanitized" NASCAR media, it won't matter anyway.

OSBORNK said...

Races like this one with coverage like it was presented is the perfect opportunity to record the race and do something productive while it is on. I fast forward through the race and only stop when there is some actual racing or excitement on the track. If I had this race on my DVR, I would "watch" it in about 15 minutes because the would be no reason to watch any part of the race because there was no racing or any excitement in the entire race.

I hate that I wasted my afternoon watching a glorified practice session. You can't fabricate excitement and the obviously fake debris cautions that helps specific drivers and bunch up the field make NASCAR look more and more like professional wrestling.

The rest of my viewing season will be determined by the weather and what is on other channels when the race is on. When you switch from a race to golf to watch something more exciting, something is wrong.

Paul Rivera said...

When Chase season comes, I'm watching football during the day and if I'm still up I watch the ESPN replay at night or if I'm home on Wednesday I watch the SPEED replay then.

I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Tom said...

What's really sad about all of this: The Nationwide and Truck series have seriously exciting championship battles going on (Sadler vs. Stenhouse in Nationwide and Buescher vs. Ty Dillon in Truck), and they're doing it WITHOUT a Chase!

Something to think about.

Anonymous said...

Where is the outrage among fans and the media regarding the blatant manipulation of a sporting event by throwing fake debris cautions. What a crock of #*&^

Colorado said...

New Hampshire needs to put banking in. This is pathetic. The Bahre family is in deep with NASCAR, so I don't see this track going away anytime soon... I see they piut out the schedule for next year (preliminarily), and once again they open with a yawnfest at Chicago. I agree with JD, all Chase races should be on Saturday night. Or dump the chase altogether (which is what I prefer) Last ten races should be:
Watkins Glen
Las Vegas
Daytona (night)
If anything, people will tune in for the curiousity of a new revamped schedule...

KudzuCarl said...

Went to my son's birthday party where they were watching football. Switched over to the race occasionally. Those brief looks plus the comments here and elsewhere mean I'll delete the race from the DVR without even watching it. Sad commentary on my favorite sport.

KudzuCarl said...

By the way, not that anyone asked, but here is my proposed Cup schedule: Every track gets one "regular season" race except Daytona and Charlotte, they get two each year. The ten chase races revolve among all the other tracks - giving them a second date every year or two. Any track that doesn't sell out their chase race gets dropped from the rotation next time around. This would give some variety and also reduce the schedule slightly.

Jake said...

Brian:One of my friends on twitter(I won't name names)( a fellow 88 fan)admitted she called in and asked NASCAR for the caution,so sorry about that.

On another note,highest number of lead changes in a race this year:34(2011 had 4 with at least 50).Combine that with lackluster coverage,and you have possibly the most boring season ever.

GinaV24 said...

Tom @12:55 a.m. -- wait a minute - you must be that fan that doesn't like the chase, you know the one that Brian France doesn't know exists.

Sounds as if we are all doing the same thing - see, BZF got his wish, he wanted the "casual fan" to be interested in the chase. The irony, which he totally misses, is that the result was the majority of the die hard fans have become casual or worse, disinterested.

Alex Jordan said...

The Junior NFL piece in the prerace show was weird. Just like Chicago, this race was boring. As Allen Bestwick said Danny Hamlin was the story of the race. ESPN didnt show any debris as all of the cautions except the first was were for debris and thats bad. Andy mentioned three wide at one point and we didnt see the three wide. Other than that the camera work was good. ESPN seem to focus on just the race and not the chase which surprised me.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR needs more fake debris cautions, not less. Long green flag runs are BORING when the field gets all strung out. The only thing I with they would do is come out and admit it, and announce how they go about it.

Anonymous said...

As was said:

Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin.

I switched to football and checked in occasionally. Just looked at the results and see I didn't miss a thing. I dvr'ed but just deleted it without watching. Probably will do the same the next 8 weeks.

Thank you.

Hotaru1787 said...

From what I've read here and the TDP1 stream, same ol' bore. Listened on PRN (but wasn't paying much attention).

NHMS is NOT one of my favorite tracks, and yesterday's rather drab showing did nothing to change that. Next week's Dover, so I'll listen to that one, but after that... not sure.

Lastly: They re-air the race around midnight. I guess if you have insomnia, this particular race will help! ;)

Anonymous said...

I'll be on vacation next week so I won't see the Dover race.

I'll be around for the Saturday night Charlotte race but most likely I'll only watch a little bit. Maybe the end.

Then I'm starting a part time job to suppliment my fulltime income, and accepted Sunday afternoon hours. So that means the race will be recorded, but I"ll just fast forward to the last 50 laps so I don't miss my Sunday night shows...besides I gotta get ready for Monday work. So that's it for NASCAR. You're not giving me enough to make the attempt to fit you into my life anymore.

I'm not even going to camp the Texas race weekend like I have the last few years, even after they spent a gazillion dollars to mail out fancy posters in hopes I'll buy a big season package like I did last year.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR is going to get what they want with a Toyota Championship, so they can justify their existence in the sport. If a Ford or a Chevy or Dodge wins, Brian will have egg on his face. This has nothing to do with Hamlin and his driving "abilities". It's all about the Benjamins, as they say. If Johnson wins another, you can drive the final stake right through the heart of the ratings and attandance.If Toyota wins a championship, it won't be about talent, but rather how NASCAR assisted them in getting what they want. Nothing wrong with getting what you want, only if you earn it. Not buy it. I work for a company that is owned by Koreans, and I can assure you that the Asian culture is HARD CORE when it comes to them winning at all costs. AT ALL COSTS.Sorry this post isn't about the coverage per se, but I had to call it the way millions of people see it...

OSBORNK said...

Gina: I think you got it right. Brian wanted the casual fan and he got his wish. However, he didn't gain any new fans. He simply turned the diehard and dedicated fans into casual fans. Many of us have gone from "can't miss a race" to "if there is nothing else going on".

Anonymous said...

Haven't posted for a while. Other than venting doesn't seem to be helping. So, I'm just venting.

For some reason (brain fade?) I didn't record HotPass. What a big mistake.

Forced to watch ESPN I thought I would go crazy. If this was the only venue available for the race on TV, I wouldn't be watching. I probably would try an listen on radio if it matched up with my plans for the day. If not, I would always have Twitter!

Definitely into the driver and not the racing. Could not believe the number of single, zoomed in shots. If there was a wide shot didn't last long enough to check out cars behind top few.

I used Twitter to get "real" info and caught up on some reading.

We are doomed. Which means NASCAR & most likely other forms of racing are doomed as well. They may think it is just the "old timers", but I have no idea why a "new/causal" fan would ever watch.

glenc1 said...

Colorado...Bahre sold the Speedway to SMI years ago. But it won't go away because it's the only New England track (well, the only one capable of running a Cup race). We can only hope Bruton actually might spend some more money on it to improve it. PLEASEEEEEE!

While I would like to mix up the tracks more, there is always the 'weather' factor. Not to mention, it's unlikely NASCAR is going to 'fire' its own ISC tracks (although they have taken the Rock away & Darlington down one.) I also like the idea of Saturday nights for practical purposes...but lest we forget, they say it kills business for small tracks, which are struggling as it is. I don't think any track could sell out a Chase race in this ecnonomy. Even Richmond & Bristol don't.

James said...

@ GINA V 24 11:54 AM

The unexpected consequence of the Chase has to be the fact that even Kyle Bucsh has taken to twitter to thank his crew fans and sponsors because the media no longer interviews him, along with all the other teams that have missed the chance. Curious how long it will be till the sponsors will only fund teams if they make it in and the effect that will have on the teams scrapping every dollar to make the "show". Is it possible that only the twelve will be on the track on race day?

MRM4 said...

Loudon is one of the most boring tracks on the schedule. And Sunday's race seemed to back that up. I watched some of the start and the end of it and that was about it.

GinaV24 said...

OsbornK, absolutely. Totally different vibe to NASCAR & a darn shame because it doesn't have to be this way.

I'm hoping that Racehub's big announcement is that Brian France has decided to go ruin some other sport. But probably not, he's got a real cushy gig doing this - hardly any work to do and the $ rolls in. I wonder how much longer that will last - considering sponsors are pulling out left and right - when will NASCAR start losing them? Will the TV offer this time be as big or will they be less interested because there are fewer eyes watching - which is their metric - that and advertising, whereas the tracks are about people in the seats.

somewhere here there IS a tipping point. I think many fans have already reached it, it will be interesting to see when the big money company's who are the NASCAR "official" whatever start pulling in their horns.

Ugh, I hadn't thought about the fact that Hamlin drives a Toyota! Worse and worse.

Lou said...

Hello JD,

Ya know, as I have posted many times before. And as a nascar fan and Dave Marcis and Robby Gordon (Yep real racers)fan over the last 35yrs. I can count on my fingers the last time I watched a full nascar cup race from start to finish the last two years. so tired of the BS I see on prerace shows. Almost have stopped watching them. I enjoy Kyle Petty, but it is wearing thin.

Sorry, forgot where I was. This is race wrap. Was there a race on Sunday. Guess I was enjoying the NFL and MLB Baltimore Orioles to much to notice.

From the few times I checked in to the race broadcast, Mr. Bestwick seemed to be the highlight.

Unless there is a better post, this will be my last of the season.

Yes,JD. still use a VCR and have yet to give in to a DVR. But as far as recording races, I am not missing much.

Will let the nascar fan council survey again know my opinion on the coverage of the sport.

And yes, I am attending Dover Sat and Sun. That seems like the only enjoyment I get from racing anymore.

Anonymous said...

With the exception of...

(Bonus points if you can guess the series, JD! ...Yep, you win!)

...the Truck series, this weekend was a malformed, mangled, misguided mess and media mockery.

If we're going to obsess over the Chase folks - why not similar in, say, the NW series? Danica Danica DANICA! - she got bumped out of the running by Nemechek and Brian Scott.

I don't see too much worship for them. It's a shame she isn't like Beetlejuice in the above regard; cause I'd love to know how - besides being female - the racing justifies the attention.

I will reiterate again my tinfoil hat theory that money and interview opportunities and the like are going on behind closed doors or in back of the garage..."Well, if you want Stenhouse to be available for about showcasing him this week? *wink*" and so forth.

Really seems to be no compelling reason otherwise - except perhaps applying Occam's Razor and assuming that people making megabucks doing this stuff know precisely squat and like shiny things. was just...boring. Frontstretch writer made a great case condemning the track as boring and explained why. He is right.

Preliminary coverage (quals, pracs) was nonexistent across the board - way to draw fans in..."You should be so lucky to get a race, boy!"

No scanner for NW..."Well, that's, y'" - any decent ham radio/computer guru could swing that on a middle class salary, and these jokers are making millions of dollars; can't duplicate the rig you're already using? Wait, that's right - they already are for Turner/Nascar's pay-to-listen programming. So the stuff is there.

RaceBuddy...I've known of more than a few pirate groups who can stream an episode of Star Trek off a server in Czechoslovakia or Shanghai with less issues.

I ended up using some browser addons to delete everything from the RB page except for the video feed and leaderboard. Ran a lot better then.

No, I don't want to FB/Twitter/read asinine comments live with a video feed already lagging from bad back-end engineering.

The race itself...I was impressed that at a few points they either capitulated to Bestwick or plain ol' common sense and showed racing in the field now and again.

Why they can't zoom out as a whole is totally beyond me; probably another tinfoil-follow-the-advertising-money bit. Or France not wanting his satellite track owning company to look bad as regards race population.

Narration was good.

Debris caution was laughable, and Hamlin himself went "WTF? This changes the outcome...why do they do this?!" - which, even not in the lead, is a valid point.

As a whole, TV broadcast is laughable, coordination is laughable, Nascar's money-grab behavior is laughable, and I can't help but feel for the people who loved racing, being themselves, banging and bumping, dragging over an air compressor to help another one, and complaining about generator exhaust on pit road.

2013 - new car or not - is up in the air. We're interested in the sport. We're not fanatics, to be mindlessly lead to the credit card reader, and eating Soylent Green and being told it's Angus Beef is laughable in the same vein.

KoHoSo said...

Even the thought of this being the final #TDP1 stream of the year could not hold my interest. I think I gave up about one-third of the way through the race. ESPN's tight, tight, tight, in-car, in-car, in-car camerawork was literally putting me to sleep. When combined with what is seemingly lackluster action on the track and the decisions being made by NASCAR's big-wigs, for me, this is pretty much unwatchable at this point. Not even Bestwick's fine work can save this sport for me as it is being run and presented today.

GinaV24 said...

James, I agree that the law of unintended consequences definitely kicked in with the TV people simply ignoring any driver not in the chase - JD has pointed that fact out before. The thing is that all drivers have fans and we don't change who we are cheering for simply because the driver isn't one of the chosen 12. As drivers are "eliminated" from contention, they will also fall off the coverage. I had said that I wouldn't watch the chase if Gordon didn't make it and I would have made good on that promise.

I would not be at all surprised to see sponsors putting a contingency into the contracts about making the chase, it already works that way depending on where a team finishes in the points.

Considering that TV only covers the 12, it might simply make sense to have them be the only ones racing. That might make it a bit more interesting. Since it's obvious that the chase isn't going away, since BZF is so in love with it, I think they should have their own points system to keep it close and make it harder to lose such a huge amount of points from race to race.

Anonymous said...

Well written