Thursday, May 1, 2008

In-Progress At Richmond: Cup Practice And Qualifying For Both Series

SPEED is going to wrap the NASCAR programming into a nice little "block" on Friday afternoon before the real fun begins with the Nationwide Series race.

Here is the line-up of shows and hosts that we will be discussing:

NASCAR Live at 1PM Eastern Time will be hosted by John Roberts and will feature Bob Dillner reporting from the garage area. This should be an interesting program as Roberts will have to explain how things are going to work later in the evening.

Sprint Cup Final practice at 1:30PM will bring the NASCAR on Fox gang back. Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds will be upstairs in the announce booth. Down on pit road will be Dick Berggren, Krista Voda and Matt Yocum. The Hollywood Hotel will be open for this program and will contain Steve Byrnes and Jeff Hammond. Practice actually will take place live at 11AM, so this ninety minutes of content will be "time-shifted" and made to fit the on-air TV format.

Go or Go Home at 3:30PM will feature a return of John Roberts and Bob Dillner.

Nationwide Qualifying at 4PM will have Steve Byrnes hosting with Jeff Hammond alongside. Down on pit road will be Krista Voda and Matt Yocum.

Sprint Cup Qualifying at 5:30PM will bring back Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds. Down on pit road will be Matt Yocum and Dick Berggren.

NASCAR Live at 7PM will be a new show created to serve as the SPEED pre-race show for the Nationwide Series race. John Roberts will host with Randy Pemberton and Bob Dillner reporting.

This post will serve to host all the TV-related comments during the long day of NASCAR TV programming before the big race.

There will be a new post up for the Nationwide Series race at 6:30PM, one hour before the event. To learn more about this race and the TV chaos that it caused, scroll down to the read all about it.

Please note that Trackside on SPEED will follow the live race, and both Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch will join Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds, Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond at the SPEED Stage.

Please give us your feedback on these SPEED programs. To add your comment, just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page. The verification sign-in is back due to some automated spam programs that attacked the site. It will be lifted for the race and the forum will be moderated. Thanks.

Historic TV Simulcast Calms Angry Fans

Thursday was a very interesting day in the history of NASCAR TV.

What began with an on-air scheduling problem for ESPN2 has resulted in a series of moves that can only be described as amazing.

The Internet posts began to appear early on Thursday detailing the fact that ESPN now had an NBA playoff game on Friday night. It had to be aired nationally. With the ESPN network busy with other events, ESPN2 was going to be the only option. That was going to cause a problem.

The result was a decision by ESPN executives to move the Nationwide Series race at the Richmond International Raceway on Friday night from ESPN2 to the ESPN Classic Network.

This TV network served on many occasions in 2007 to handle NASCAR product when the two main ESPN networks were live with other sports events. The results for NASCAR were not good. The network is non-HD and has very limited distribution on a digital tier that often requires additional monthly cable fees.

It was shortly after this decision was announced that emails began to pour into The Daly Planet that NASCAR was not happy. A highly-rated and much anticipated night race at RIR was going to be moved to a relatively small cable TV network whether NASCAR liked it or not. What other options were there?

That answer came just a bit later in the form of a mind-bending announcement from NASCAR and the TV networks involved. Veteran NASCAR fans might want to sit down.

Simply put, SPEED Channel will simulcast the entire ESPN production of the Nationwide Series race from Richmond.

“SPEED is happy to lend a hand to NASCAR and one of our fellow NASCAR television partners,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “It’s a great way for SPEED and ESPN to come together to best serve the race fan.”

So, that means the Friday night race will be on both ESPN Classic and SPEED live for the fans with ESPN announcers and commercials. That's right, it will be Marty Reid, Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree. The NASCAR on ESPN gang will be live on SPEED.

Shortly after that email, things began to shake on the Internet front. As most fans know, Turner Interactive in Atlanta, GA is the company that runs and has done so for years. is ESPN's video streaming website that serves almost every kind of sport and is one of the newest projects for the family of ESPN new media.

On Friday night, both and will "stream" the live broadcast of the Nationwide Series race for free to Internet users. This makes the race available live on two TV networks and two Internet websites.

Incredibly, that was not the end of this issue. ESPN then made sure to say that after the NBA game is over, ESPN2 will either join the rest of the race live or will immediately begin a full-length replay of the race if it has ended.

So, let's try to sum this one up. The Friday Nationwide Series race from Richmond got "bumped" to ESPN Classic. We knew this early on Thursday.

Several hours later, the same race is going to be live on SPEED Channel,,, ESPN Classic and ESPN2 when the NBA game is over. In the late stages of the race, the Nationwide Series could be airing live on three national cable TV networks simultaneously.

Update: SPEED will not carry the 7PM NASCAR Countdown show, so that thirty minute program will be appearing on ESPN Classic and only. Instead, SPEED will originate a half hour version of NASCAR Live. SPEED will then join the ESPN crew at 7:30PM for the entire race.

As we mentioned earlier, this certainly has been an interesting moment in NASCAR TV history. The reality of it will not really hit home until fans tune into SPEED to find Marty Reid and his ESPN2 microphone flag and graphics. It should be interesting to see what SPEED chooses to scroll on the bottom of the screen during the race.

If you have any suggestions for SPEED, please feel free to pass them along below.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page. Thank you for stopping by.