Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wheeler Saga Will Affect SPEED On Thursday

One day after the bombshell dropped that Humpy Wheeler was "retiring" from LMS, it is going to be a very interesting Thursday on SPEED.

That NASCAR TV partner has a full line-up of live programming from LMS, beginning with a one hour version of NASCAR Live at Noon Eastern Time. John Roberts will be hosting the show, with Bob Dillner and Hermie Sadler reporting from the garage area. This will be the first time SPEED has been on-the-air since the announcement and fans can expect a very big recap of the situation. No doubt SPEED will be interviewing some key people involved and getting reactions from others.

On the track at 1PM will be the Nationwide Series for practice. This live session will be hosted by Steve Byrnes with Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond alongside. Down in the garage will be Krista Voda and Dick Berggren. Reactions from these five NASCAR TV veterans to the Wheeler news should be very interesting.

Another version of NASCAR Live is on at 2:30PM. Roberts returns to host with Dillner reporting. This time they will be joined by Randy Pemberton. It should be worth the wait to hear the veteran Pemberton chime-in on the Wheeler subject. Pemberton has never been one to shy away from speaking his mind and is a good guest on Tradin' Paint.

Next up is Sprint Cup practice at 3PM. This will be the first time that viewers will see Mike Joy and Darrell Waltrip on-the-air since the Wheeler press conference. It should be interesting to see how they approach this subject, and if it becomes the real focus of this televised practice session. Larry McReynolds, Krista Voda and Matt Yocum round-out the TV crew for this telecast.

There will be a break in the live action at 4:30PM that SPEED will fill with a re-air of the last NASCAR Confidential show. Then, the network will return live with Go or Go Home at 5:30PM. The usual on-air crew of John Roberts, Bob Dillner and Hermie Sadler will handle this show that looks at the teams outside the Top 35.

At 6PM it will be "happy hour" for the Nationwide Series. This final practice will be covered by Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond. Handling the reporting duties from the garage will be Krista Voda and Dick Berggren.

Capping-off the NASCAR TV day will be Sprint Cup qualifying at 7PM. The full NASCAR on Fox on-air crew will be returning for this live session. Mike Joy will be handling the play-by-play duties with Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds as the analysts. Reporting will be Dick Berggren and Matt Yocum.

For the qualifying session the Hollywood Hotel will be closed. Instead, it will be Steve Byrnes and Jeff Hammond down at the cut-a-way car so Hammond has access to all the various examples of topics that will be talked about at LMS. Bumpstops, crab walking cars, splitters and springs are sure to be on the agenda.

SPEED will no doubt play a big part in relaying the lastest in the on-going headline story of one of the most well-known personalities in NASCAR suddenly leaving the sport. The challenge of integrating the coverage of the on-track activities with the off-track bombshell of Wheeler's departure should be fascinating to watch.

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Truck And All-Star Ratings Up For SPEED

Here is the scoop from SPEED about the increase in viewers for the NCTS race and the All-Star festivities.

SPEED scored its highest rating in network history, earning a Nielsen Media Research mark of 3.74 (2,701,000 households), up six percent from last year’s 3.53 (2,480,000 Households), making it the No. 1 network in basic cable during its coverage of Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race XXIV. The event, in its second of eight seasons on SPEED, peaked at 4.75 (3,430,000 households) and drew a network record four million viewers.

“We are jacked up about seeing record ratings for the second consecutive year, and we are very aware that it is a total team effort that delivered these results,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “Everyone at SPEED, everyone at Sprint, everyone at JHE Production Group, everyone at NASCAR, everyone at Lowe’s Motor Speedway puts maximum effort into this event and it shows. That said, we all will continue to set the bar higher each season, settling for nothing less than the coolest NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race experience possible.”

SPEED pre- and post-race programming also delivered larger audiences in 2008 as Nielsen Ratings for both NASCAR RaceDay Built by the Home Depot and NASCAR Victory Lane were up from 2007. NASCAR Victory Lane jumped 20 percent from a 1.03 (721,000 households) to a record 1.28 (926,000 households) and NASCAR RaceDay has been up double digits from 2007 all season long.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race from Lowe’s Motor Speedway scored an average Nielsen Household Rating of 1.13 (817,000 households), a 41-percent increase over the 2007 event, which scored a .80 (563,000 households). The race peaked at 1.54 (1,112,000 households).

An average of 1.1 million viewers watched the race, the most ever for the Charlotte event. Nielsen ratings for NCTS races on SPEED in 2008 are up 18 percent from 2007.

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