Sunday, August 30, 2009

Your Turn: Nationwide Series From Montreal On ESPN2

We are going to continue our popular feature where fans offer comments on the TV coverage of NASCAR races immediately after the event.

Sunday afternoon brought the Nationwide Series on ESPN2 from Montreal. Dave Burns hosted the pre-race show with Shannon Spake and Jamie Little as the other two pit reporters. They set the field and reviewed the previous race, which was run partially in the rain.

Marty Reid was teamed with Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree for the call of the race. The event was interrupted by several awkward caution periods and a continual shuffle of positions and strategy.

The field was diverse with many international drivers mixing with some familiar road course ringers and a handful of Nationwide Series regulars. Both Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch were also in the race.

Before we offer our comments, please take a moment to pass along what you thought of the ESPN2 telecast. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking a moment to help us discuss the NASCAR TV scene.

Nudity Pushes NASCAR To The Back Burner

Well, it seemed to be a pretty good idea at the time. Former sports car veteran and current SPEED on-air talent Tommy Kendall would be hosting Wind Tunnel for the first time as Dave Despain continues his summer vacation.

Since Kendall is new to this role, getting him a top-notch guest to interview would be a very big plus. Well, some good things come in small packages, so SPEED lined-up the one and only Danica Patrick for the show.

Patrick is on the verge of re-signing with an IRL team in turmoil led by Michael Andretti. She is also rumored to be exploring her options to race part-time in a NASCAR series in 2010. Emails from fans have her in a Randy Moss truck, a JR Motorsports Nationwide Series car or even Tony Stewart's non-existent third team with Go Daddy as a sponsor.

Sunday night would have given Kendall a chance to talk about those topics and perhaps get Patrick to deny or confirm her plans for next season in several areas. Now, he has something else to talk about.

Click here for the Sports Biz story from Darren Rovell over at CNBC. We are using this link because it is one of the few that does not contain nudity. That's right, just when the stories about Patrick began to be themed around her driving, an old issue came to the surface again.

This time, the amazing story is that ESPN the Magazine is supposedly going to feature Patrick nude in its upcoming "Body Issue." This is a poorly disguised attempt by ESPN to cash in on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit franchise that makes millions for that publication.

The ESPN angle is that they will have both male and female athletes in different stages of know. The "hook" is that ESPN will not reveal which athletes are in the issues until buy it.

Print publications are a mess these days. Click here for the real goal of ESPN. That's right, if rumors are true there will be nude images of Patrick available on the magazine's Internet site in October. Sure, they will be tasteful. Sure, they will be professionally done. All of that makes little difference.

Patrick has the opportunity to advance her career into NASCAR in a tough economic time and with the IRL continuing to struggle. She has the exposure of the right kind in the media that has been focusing on her consistent finishes and curiosity about the world of stock car racing. Now, just toss that aside.

Just like Kyle Busch took a while to understand there is a reason you stand and talk to the TV reporters after a race, Patrick is going to have to grasp that in order to make it as a credible female in NASCAR, the clothes have to stay on.

The reason there is an invocation, a National Anthem and a fly-over at NASCAR events is because this All-American sport is aimed directly at the family. The driver's wives and children stand with them during the pre-race and hug them in Victory Lane.

Kendall is going to have to ask about this issue on Wind Tunnel or risk letting a caller do it. In our current society, the words "nude female" will top the words "NASCAR racing" in a Google search every time. If Patrick does not dip her toe in NASCAR, this issue is moot. She and the IRL can continue their very strange relationship.

Kendall's Wind Tunnel program on Sunday could get very interesting if he widens his discussion with Patrick to topics like her Go Daddy commercials and modeling projects. Especially if he lets viewers chime-in. Click here for the Wind Tunnel website where SPEED lets viewers interact with the show. The program airs live at 9PM ET on Sunday.

TDP welcomes your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Live Blogging The Nationwide Series From Montreal (2PM ET - ESPN2)

There should be an opportunity for a very interesting pre-race show from the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal today.

The field for this event normally contains some Canadian drivers, but this year the list is even more international. Familiar names like Max Papis, Patrick Carpentier and Jaques Villeneuve are in the field. Also racing Sunday are Jean Francois Dumoulin, Alex Tagliani and Antonio Perez.

On the American side, Jeffrey Earnhardt is back as is Brad's brother Brian Keselowski. Familiar road course ringers include Boris Said, Ron Fellows and Andy Lally. It should be a challenge for ESPN to get the fans up to speed on the line-up.

Marty Reid will call the play-by-play with Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree alongside. No real indication of why Randy LaJoie is not on the telecast and that is a shame. LaJoie is closely identified with this series and works very well with Wallace and Reid. LaJoie provides the fun with his comments and that will no doubt be missed on this telecast.

Dave Burns is on pit road with Jamie Little and Shannon Spake. Burns will probably be hosting the pre-race show as he has in the past for these stand-alone races. In many ways, having the host roaming pit road is more effective than three men in suits sitting in an infield studio.

This road course has seen its share of TV adventures. From the rain tire debacle to the Robby Gordon vs. Marcos Ambrose slam-fest, the track seems to make for tight tempers whatever the weather.

The challenge for ESPN's crew is to keep the leaders updated while searching for the best racing on the track. Unlike an oval where the director can keep one designated camera on the leaders at all times, a road course requires keeping track of multiple cars while continuing to cut cameras constantly.

The use of in-car cameras has been a huge issue since ESPN took over the Sprint Cup Series. It's almost as if the network has discovered this technology for the first time. In a recent race, the director actually cut to an in-car camera angle in the middle of a high speed crash on a superspeedway. Viewers saw nothing but smoke and blurred images.

In Montreal, the TV team will have a new challenge. The director must first show the cars and establish their position in the race and on the track before cutting in-car or the TV viewers will have no point of reference. This is not Watkins Glen, where familiar turns are easy to identify even from the in-car angle.

The weather is a 30% chance of showers with a high of 70 degrees. Looks like this may be a solid road course race for TV after all. The diversity of the field may lead to some outstanding racing and that is exactly what the Nationwide Series needs right now.

This post will serve to host your comments before, during and after the Montreal race on ESPN2. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Carl Edwards Crashes Heavily In Montreal Grand Am Warm-up

SPEED came on the air at 2PM with amazing footage of Carl Edwards crashing his Grand Am car on the warm-up lap of the Saturday race in Montreal.

The race is now delayed for the cleap-up as rain threatens the area. Edwards appeared to be uninjured, but as of 2:10PM had not yet been interviewed on TV.

We will open this short thread until we get all the details of the incident and confirm that Edwards is OK.

Update 1: Edwards is uninjured and advises that his tires were cold and he was aggressive on his warm up lap. SPEED replay shows left rear tire touch a painted line on the track under power and spin the car into a barrier.

Update 2: Race is now underway on SPEED on a dreary looking day in Montreal that may again involve rain. Great coverage from SPEED of all the events happening before and during the start.

Comment on this by clicking the comment button below. Thanks.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Live Blogging The Camping World Trucks From Chicagoland (8:30PM ET SPEED)

Krista Voda starts the show as the Camping World Truck Series gets to run under the lights at Chicagoland Speedway.

In this version of The Setup, Voda will look back at the Bristol race and also dig up two old truck races from Chicagoland. Her featured interview is with driver Terry Cook and reporter Ray Dunlap goes wakeboarding with driver TJ Bell.

Once the action gets underway, it will be Rick Allen on the play-by-play. Allen began the day with CWTS qualifying and then called the ARCA/REMAX race. He winds up the evening with the trucks.

Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip are the analysts for SPEED. Parsons supplies the knowledge, Waltrip supplies the enthusiasm. Fans are divided on Waltrip's presence in the booth, but there is no doubt the overall energy level is higher with Waltrip on the TV team.

Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander are handling the big pit road. This should be quite a night for them with lots of potential stories to update on and off pit road. There may be quite a bit of "starting and parking," so look for Allen to make a choice whether or not to deal with this issue.

The biggest shame of the truck series is that after the pre-race, Voda is not added to the pit road team. This would give SPEED a third pit road presence and the direct effect of that would be an increased flow of information to the viewers.

Right now, the CWTS is struggling to generate any excitement except for the top few trucks. The old days of groups of trucks fanning out and racing are mostly gone. The haves and the have-nots are easy to see on the track as the top teams usually start to lap trucks early in the race.

While Chicagoland is a nice facility, NASCAR is going to be rethinking why the CWTS is here. This series was born on the bullrings and may well serve the sport better on shorter and more directly competitive tracks. Should the Kyle Busch and Ron Hornaday's of the world pull away and make the show a two truck TV event, things may well change down the road.

SPEED's presentation of this series has no cutaway truck, no infield pit center and only two pit reporters. The focus is on the racing and the emphasis is on the teams. Hopefully, there will be enough competitive trucks tonight to keep everyone entertained.

This post will serve to host your comments about the CWTS on SPEED from the Chicagoland Speedway. To add your TV-related comment, just click on the comment button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Truck Series Qualifying And ARCA/REMAX Race From Chicagoland

SPEED's truck series trio of Rick Allen, Michael Waltrip and Phil Parsons are back at 5PM ET with coverage of the qualifying from Chicagoland. Immediately following that will be the ARCA/REMAX series race.

The truck field is good, but just how many are there to race on this big track and how many are there to make some money and go home without even using one set of tires remains to be seen.

While there is one dance going on at the front of the field, there is another dance in progress at the tail end. Trucks battle to see who can remain on the track just one lap longer than the next "start and parker."

Hopefully, the fact that the Chicagoland race is on a off-weekend may make it possible for more of the teams who towed up North to run the race. This is good TV exposure for teams on a weekend before the real college and pro football seasons begin.

Click here for the truck series entry list from Jayski. A very diverse line-up.

Rick Allen and Phil Parsons will continue on SPEED to call the ARCA race. This duo has been very effective in getting viewers the behind-the-scenes information about what NASCAR owners and teams are really behind some of the ARCA drivers this season.

TDP will be live blogging the Camping World Truck Series event that starts at 8:30PM with Krista Voda and the pre-race show. In the meantime, please leave your comments on the qualifying program and ARCA race on this post.

To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Last Deep Breath For NASCAR TV Crowd

It doesn't seem like all that long ago we were looking forward to the Fox coverage of the Daytona 500 and the first edition of RaceDay on SPEED.

Most of the NASCAR TV gang takes their last deep breath this weekend before the run to the finish line in Homestead. SPEED's truck series crew heads to Chicago for a one-day show while ESPN sends the "B team" to Montreal for a Nationwide Series event.

At this point in the season, the NASCAR TV trail has left Digger, Chris Myers and the Hollywood Hotel far behind. It has welcomed the Twittering Kyle Petty to the broadcast booth and made "shootout style" the two most hated words in the NASCAR vocabulary.

Over in the TV studio, Nicole Manske has held her own, Mike Massaro has made himself at home and Chad Knaus has emerged as the perfect foil for the outspoken Mr. Waltrip.

Meanwhile, John Roberts, Steve Byrnes and Larry McReynolds continue their on-air battle to see who really is the hardest working man in NASCAR TV. At this point of the season McReynolds continues to work as an analyst in the booth for SPEED, as the host of NASCAR Performance and as a panel member on Trackside. He seems to be leading the race.

Memories of the Bill Weber for Ralph Sheheen swap have faded, with Sheheen still being seen once and a while on The SPEED Report. Weber, not so much. The lingering TNT memory is the versatile RaceBuddy that once again showed just how much better racing can be with a live online presence.

Krista Voda has quietly moved through her roles as a NASCAR on Fox pit reporter, the truck series pre-race host and a co-anchor on the revamped SPEED Report. Last week, she even guest hosted Wind Tunnel. Is there anything she can't do where TV is concerned?

Surprise of the season has to be Adam Alexander. Solid as a truck series pit reporter, he has built the Sunday NASCAR in a Hurry show into a neat little package. Top it off with his strong performance on The SPEED Report and Alexander is having an outstanding year.

If you find "buttoned up" in the dictionary, there is probably going to be a picture of Allen Bestwick. This Red Sox loving Rhode Island native worked himself up from an ESPN pit reporter to once again stake his claim as a major NASCAR TV presence. On both NASCAR Now and when hosting live races from the Infield Pit Studio, Bestwick has just the kind of controlling but friendly presence that is often needed.

Speaking of control, Randy LaJoie this season has been fun both on the ESPN races and as a panelist on NASCAR Now. LaJoie made the combination of Rusty Wallace and Marty Reid work on the Nationwide Series telecasts. LaJoie continually kept Wallace loose and laughing by giving him on-air grief about the driving exploits of his son Steven. Unfortunately, LaJoie will not be in Montreal as Andy Petree will make that trip.

Fans may remember that last season around this time a lot of things began to happen. Once college and pro football began, the post-race press conferences left ESPNEWS. The Nationwide Series pre-race shows often disappeared and sometimes only a good open field tackle allowed a college football game to end just in time for the green flag. Let's hope the ESPN programming folks have a little more mercy on NASCAR fans this season.

If there is something that has grabbed your attention, either good or bad, about this NASCAR TV season feel free to tell us about it. Once things get back underway, there is going to be nothing but a media sprint to the finish line. Thanks for hanging in this season with us and sharing your views on this huge sports TV package.

To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You Tube Millionaire Takes A Pass On NASCAR

It was quite a friendly affair Sunday night on SPEED. Krista Voda hosted the Wind Tunnel program for the vacationing Dave Despain.

Joining her in the studio were SPEED's Bob Varsha and Ken Anderson, one half of the pair daring to start a Charlotte-based American Formula-1 team. Open wheel fans were buzzing because there was also going to be another guest on the program.

Chad Hurley, the co-founder of You Tube, joined the show via satellite from the West Coast. The secret was out. Hurley was joining the USF1 effort as the primary investor in the team. The money-man had been revealed.

He is still actively working for You Tube, but Hurley and his partner sold that company to Google back in 2006 for 1.65 billion dollars. Now, Hurley wants to combine his knowledge of online business with his Silicon Valley contacts to bring a new team dynamic to F-1. That dynamic involves social media interaction with the fans.

Click here for an excellent interview from with Hurley on his plans.

The whooshing sounds heard in both Daytona and Charlotte were the tens and maybe hundreds of millions of Hurley's dollars passing NASCAR by without even waving. While this funding could have produced a new and powerful sponsorship on the Sprint Cup Series level, there is something even more important that could have been accomplished with Hurley's assets and experience.

The power of this huge investment coupled with Hurley's understanding of the evolving world of online media could have finally released NASCAR from their crippling contract with the Turner Sports New Media Group. This is the company that operates and prohibits any use of online NASCAR content by other providers. Click here for the information on that agreement that runs through 2014.

The Turner Group is the reason SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 128 is not available on your computer or cell phone. They are the reason none of the thousands of hours of footage and TV programs sitting on the NASCAR Media Group's hard drive can be made available for streaming online.

There are no web-based NASCAR TV shows, no live online interviews from the drivers and no classic NASCAR shows available on TV network or program streaming websites. The stranglehold of Turner where online NASCAR content is concerned seems to be total and complete. Well, there is one exception.

Frustrated fans have been going to You Tube for years to find the NASCAR footage that keeps them connected to the sport. They go to watch handicam footage from fans in the stands as well as race highlights edited by amateurs and posted online.

Click here for highlights of the Sharpie 500 on the official You Tube NASCAR Media channel. Once the video begins, you will notice something rather strange. The only race highlights from NASCAR's own channel are still photos. NASCAR can't even use their own race footage online.

Amateurs and fans are the ones posting the hundreds of other videos of the Sharpie 500. They contain everything from the flyover to complete race reviews with voice-overs. You Tube is where NASCAR fans go for video.

Had Mr. Hurley come to NASCAR and bought out the Turner Media contract, it would have put a forward thinking new media veteran at the forefront of a sport desperately in need of an online and social media overhaul from top to bottom. Instead, it will be business as usual when the 2010 season rolls around where NASCAR's fractured online presence is concerned.

TDP welcomes your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for sharing your opinion with others on The Daly Planet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Alternate Version Of TWIN

Let's face it. Chad Knaus can offer more NASCAR information in five minutes than Michael Waltrip can offer in an hour. That's what crew chiefs do. There's no self-promotion and no goofing around. Just lots of data.

Knaus is now a TV veteran who stands-up for himself on the air and that changes This Week in NASCAR on SPEED every time he appears. It changes it for the better.

This week, Michael Waltrip opened the show with a rant about his Twitter account and how fans could message him as the show aired at 8PM. Seeing as the program was taped at 4PM, this was going to be interesting. Unfortunately, at 8:20PM Waltrip was Tweeting that he was still not home yet and probably needed time management classes. So much for that experiment.

Knaus was delivering information at lightning speed and it was apparent that he was still fired-up about the Bristol weekend. He offered analysis of the action on the track and then detailed his own team's ill-fated pitstop that took the #48 out of contention for the win.

"I think a track like Bristol is what separates the good spotters from the bad spotters," said Knaus. He followed-up with an explanation of how different the Bristol Motor Speedway is from any other track on the circuit and how the pressure on the spotters is extreme.

This yin-and-yang of Waltrip and Knaus makes this show work. The same thing cannot be said for Greg Biffle on this program. The two drivers simply do not click, while crew chief Knaus can look at Waltrip and understand his role on this TV series. Knaus gets it.

At 8:30PM, halfway through the show, there were no new Tweets from Waltrip. The Sprint Cup Series highlights had been done and the discussion of Kyle Busch had included Waltrip's opinion that the hot tempered Busch had turned over a new leaf and was going in a new direction.

"Not a lot of people know this, but he hugged me," said Waltrip while Byrnes and Knaus collapsed in laughter.

Unfortunately, TWIN chose not to include video highlights from the Whelen Modified race on Wednesday. The Camping World Trucks were included, along with a small soundbite from Ron Hornaday after he failed to win his 6th race in a row.

There were some problems in the Nationwide Series race involving a rookie driver, but TWIN moved quickly past the accident caused by this young man who took out the leader of the race. That leader just happened to be named Kyle Busch. This issue was buried by the media faster than Bill Weber's departure from TNT.

Knaus offered a great preview of the night race in Atlanta by referencing the fact that rain delays had forced teams to race there at night before. Waltrip made sure to promote ticket sales on the heels of Kenny Wallace offering on Twitter that Atlanta would be losing a race next season to make way for Kentucky on the schedule.

"Garage Pass" was a new feature unveiled this week on the program. On the subject of racing at Bristol, Knaus appreciated the new track surface and suggested it would grow on fans. Waltrip reminded viewers that Mark Martin's one thousandth start was a great example of exactly the type of racer Martin has been for many years. Tough, fair and once again he almost won.

This type of fast-paced conversation is something Allen Bestwick has done quite well on the Monday version of NASCAR Now for ESPN. TWIN's new feature finally got the panel out of the highlight grind and let them address topics in a rapid-fire manner. "See, that's breaking it down," said Byrnes when Knaus and Waltrip were done. Byrnes was right, this new feature worked.

Waltrip eventually sent some short Twitter messages around 8:50PM including one to country music star Blake Shelton that urged him to think with his dipstick. The personality differences between Waltrip and Knaus continue to make this combination work on TV. The Felix and Oscar of NASCAR make TV fun and that is exactly what a highlight show like this needs and what ESPN has never grasped.

TDP welcomes your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bristol: The TV Aftermath

Hundreds of comments. Tons of email. Endless Twitter messages. The two Bristol night races normally make for fantastic television viewing. Apparently, many NASCAR fans did not feel that way after this year's races were done.

Click here to read comments from fans about the Friday night Nationwide Series telecast on ESPN2. Click here to review the comments on the Saturday night Sprint Cup Series race on ESPN.

This is a very strange time to talk about NASCAR TV. It is the time of the season when ESPN is producing both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series events. The summer experience of TNT is over.

Click here to read a recent article from Phil Mushnick of the New York Post. The column is titled "ESPN Destroying Live Game Telecasts." It relates to the larger agenda of ESPN superimposing on live sports the agenda of the network, regardless of the impact on the TV viewers.

Mushnick explained in an email to TDP that he often hears from NASCAR fans in addition to his stick-and-ball regulars. The messages from fans on this TV topic were the same. The enjoyment of the telecast had been muted by a set of circumstances. It most often involved too many voices, too many graphics and too many promos from ESPN. The focus of the telecast was simply not the event.

Wednesday, Mike Joy and Dick Berggren teamed-up to televise a Whelen Modified Series event from Bristol on SPEED. The coverage was simple, effective and exciting. That was followed by a Camping World Truck Series race that was presented in the same manner.

These two races served as an interesting TV comparison once ESPN took to the very same track for the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series events. The difference was night and day.

Saturday night during the Sprint Cup Series race, ESPN shifted into full "Chase for the Championship" mode. Bright colors on the scoring ticker represented who was in, who was out and who could possibly be in the Chase. The "possibly be in" part seemed to be as defined by ESPN's team of mathematicians.

As detailed by the fans in the hundreds of comments, the ESPN telecasts from Bristol self-destructed once the racing began. Scripts are out the window when the green flag falls and this has proven to be the undoing of the TV production team. The battle is between what is actually happening and what the TV network "wants" to happen.

Unfortunately, ESPN is not delivering on their end of the Sprint Cup Series bargain, plain and simple. This portion of the NASCAR TV contract has not been fulfilled. The television coverage is substandard and embarrassing.

What Mushnick said about the Yankees vs. Red Sox game applies to NASCAR. "ESPN destroyed another telecast that viewers were eager to watch." Now, it's NASCAR's turn to admit this problem and fix it. There are two races left before the Chase telecasts begin on the ABC television network.

TDP welcomes your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Your Turn: Sprint Cup Series From Bristol, TN On ESPN

The very long night race from Bristol brought yet another new wrinkle to the TV coverage of the sport this season from ESPN. New green and yellow colors on the ticker were the tip of the iceberg as the TV focus shifted from the race to the Chase for the Championship.

ESPN ignored the festivities happening on the track during the one hour pre-race show to originate programming that contained repeats of features shown on other ESPN NASCAR shows. There were two agendas running side-by-side on this evening before the race.

Many fans emailed about the driver introductions that would contain musical selections picked by the drivers themselves. ESPN advised they could not show this portion of the festivities due to rights issues with the music.

Just like last season, ESPN described the single-lane Bristol of old during the pre-race show and talked about the bump-and-run. Other than the final lap, this is something that almost does not exist since the new track surface and configuration was revealed. The mandatory footage of old fights at Bristol was used again.

The pit reporters also struggled in the pre-race with the fact that this is the new Bristol track. Questions aimed at drivers about the old days were politely moved aside to reflect the modern reality of a two groove racetrack.

Jerry Punch called the race with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. This is a very different style of racing at Bristol and it gave Punch trouble last season as well. The side-by-side racing was tough to handle for the team and it became apparent quickly that the Chase and the leaders of the race were going to be Punch's focus.

The director inserted in-car cameras frequently. This removed the race perspective for the TV viewers and it was tough to get oriented. In-cars were often used when cars were running in tight quarters and fans missed a lot of the action that then had to be replayed from other camera angles.

Fans are now familiar with the announcing style of Punch. Details, stats and basic information is relayed while Jarrett and Petree try to create the excitement and often call out when something happens on the track. Punch has a measured monotone and rarely changes, except when reading an ESPN baseball promo or introducing a commercial.

Petree has been having a tough couple of races in his role as the strategy person in the booth. It started at Watkins Glen and continued through the Bristol event. His casual style and relaxed manner sometimes has a tough time fitting into the scripted world of the ESPN telecasts. He began this season as the voice of reason but has recently often become the voice of frustration.

Jarrett takes the high road in every situation because that is his style. When start-and-park car Dave Blaney caused an early incident, Jarrett said nothing about the reality of the situation. His patience and kindness has won him a lot of fans, but it might be time for Jarrett to step-up and take over when these telecasts are struggling.

Commercial breaks are always an issue at Bristol, but this telecast seemed to contain more than usual and the timing was sometimes rough. Lots of baseball promos dominated the night as there is no Cup race next weekend to promote.

This is an opportunity for you to offer an opinion on how you enjoyed the ESPN telecast of the night race from Bristol, TN. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below.

This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Your Turn: Nationwide Series From Bristol, TN On ESPN2

Update: 11PM Friday night - One of the saddest comments in three seasons of TDP.

ESPN, there is nothing left to say.

I've rolled with the many changes, good and bad, in NASCAR and TV coverage since the days of clips on Wide World with Jim McKay. I married a man whose love of NASCAR was the first attraction. I've driven 1300 miles to attend a race. I cried for weeks after Daytona '01.

Friends know to never call me or invite me during race time. I've gotten up at 4am to watch a race due to the time difference. And,I have spent a lot of money supporting car and race sponsors I see on TV.

I especially remember the great ESPN coverage of years past. I don't have a problem with change or "progress". But, you do have a problem.

For all the reasons cited on this website, expecially Punch and camera work, I'm done with ESPN.
It's just not fun anymore with ESPN coverage.


That is from a fan who has been with TDP since February of 2007 and NASCAR for decades. Additional fan comments can be viewed by clicking the comments button below. Here is the TDP original post-race story.

There certainly was some great racing on Friday night as the Nationwide Series took to the Bristol Motor Speedway. Whether or not that action translated to the TV is going to be the subject of your comments.

Jerry Punch called the action with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree alongside. On pit road were Jamie Little, Shannon Spake, Dave Burns and Vince Welch. Allen Bestwick, Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace were in the Infield Pit Center. Tim Brewer was in the Tech Garage.

Lots of caution flags were framed by ESPN against a backdrop of tight shots of cars racing each other. The in-race reporter was out early. Punch got excited when he said "shootout style" and introduced a commercial break.

Jarrett and Petree talked a lot, but seemed to miss a lot of the action on the track as if they were watching the TV monitors and not the track itself. Jamie Little pressed Brad Keselowski during pre-race to admit he signed with dice.

Lots of Steven Wallace TV coverage early and then he faded after multiple contact with other cars and the wall. It was a rather strange perspective on the racing and never featured any of the teams outside of the top ten.

If you took the time to watch, what did you see that you liked and disliked? What would you do to improve the telecast? Did you channel surf or watch the entire race? Please tell us if you used the radio and/or Internet during the telecast.

We appreciate your opinion. To add your comment to this post, just click the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for watching NASCAR on TV and then telling us about it.

Live Blogging The Sprint Cup Series From Bristol, TN (ESPN - 6:30PM ET)

The track is very happy that the Saturday night race is a sellout. One hundred and sixty thousand NASCAR fans are going to be making some noise as the Sprint Cup Series action unfolds.

ESPN has a one-hour pre-race version of NASCAR Countdown scheduled at 6:30PM. Allen Bestwick will be in the Infield Pit Studio with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. These programs have proven to be hit-or-miss this season. Bestwick has the goods to define priorities and host good conversations, but often the production team has other ideas.

This week, the drivers were asked by the speedway to pick a song that will be used during driver intros. Click here to see the full list courtesy of our friend and veteran reporter Dustin Long. Unfortunately, ESPN will not be able to show this because the network has to pay rights fees every time popular music is used on national TV.

Once the action gets underway it will be Jerry Punch calling the play-by-play. Friday night was rough for Punch who struggled with everything from accidents to updating teams outside the top five. This event is extremely fast-paced and the challenge for the on-air TV team never ends. Even under caution, there is a lot of information that fans are looking forward to having updated.

Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree will once again be alongside of Punch. These two have been polite and enjoyable, but tonight face a new challenge. Once Punch fades, it will be Jarrett who slides over into calling the race while Petree will provide the strategy updates.

It is impossible to insert Tim Brewer from the Tech Garage full-screen under green flag racing because the laps are so quick. Look for ESPN to present Brewer in a two video box effect. Hopefully, he will be put in the smaller size box so fans can continue to enjoy the action while Brewer talks tech.

The aerial views and high camera shots of this track at night are spectacular. On Friday night, ESPN chose to bypass the opportunity to use this video as bumpers into and out of commercial break. Perhaps, seeing as this event is a sellout, TV viewers will get to see one of the most unique sports venues in the nation tonight for more than just a couple of seconds.

The excessive use of in-car cameras live during the race ruined the Friday night Nationwide Series telecast. Bristol is so steeply banked and the laps are so fast that live in-cars just jar the TV viewer and completely lose any perspective that had been established. Where the in-cars have a value is on replays, especially with the use of the audio recorded during incidents. See if there is a shift tonight.

"Headlights, not tailpipes" was the motto used by the TV networks that have telecast racing from BMS over the years. The ultimate challenge is to continue to cut cameras and stay ahead of the action. TV viewers should be seeing the front of the cars coming at them, not the rear ends of the cars racing away.

There is no doubt that tempers may be tight tonight, especially with drivers who are forced out of the race due to incidents on the track. The ESPN pit reporting team of Jamie Little, Shannon Spake, Vince Welch and Dave Burns will be right in the middle of the action.

There is tremendous potential tonight for an outstanding TV broadcast. The fans, the track and the teams are all in place. It would be a great time for ESPN to deliver a telecast that could set the network up for the Chase for the Championship to come.

This post will serve to host your comments on the ESPN Sprint Cup Series telecast from Bristol, TN. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Thanks for taking time out of your Saturday night to join us at The Daly Planet.

NASCAR RaceDay On SPEED Comments

You asked for it, so here it is. In-progress comments on RaceDay, the two-hour program on SPEED.

John Roberts hosts with Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace alongside. Wendy Venturini and Hermie Sadler are the reporters. This week the Real Deal interview is with Junior Johnson.

Please focus your comments on the program and the content offered to the TV viewers. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below.

This is a family friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for dropping by, if this post works well, it will become fulltime for the rest of the season.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Live Blogging The Nationwide Series From Bristol, TN (ESPN2 - 7:30PM)

The "A team" returns to the Nationwide Series on Friday night for ESPN. All hands are on deck as the two Bristol night races hit the ESPN family of TV networks on consecutive nights.

Allen Bestwick will start the coverage with the NASCAR Countdown show from the Infield Pit Studio. He will be joined by Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty, both just back from their Wednesday trip to the White House and an audience with the President.

Wallace is deeply involved in the Nationwide Series and has been offering the best information for TV viewers on the series. Bestwick always gets his facts straight and Daugherty is a NASCAR cheerleader, so the pre-race should be solid.

Once the action starts, Jerry Punch will return to call the race after an absence. Last week, ESPN did not use a play-by-play announcer at Michigan. Marty Reid has been calling the races prior to that since ESPN started the Sprint Cup coverage.

Punch will be joined by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree in the booth. These two have been working well together this season and have become solid at jumping in and trying to add their own excitement to the race telecast when Punch lags behind.

On pit road will be the NASCAR on ESPN foursome that has been taking their lumps from the fans. Dave Burns, Vince Welch, Jamie Little and Shannon Spake are going to be dealing with some very loud conditions and cramped quarters.

As I mentioned last week, tempers are tight this time of the year and sometimes the pit reporters get the wrath of the drivers when they ask a "how do you feel about that" kind of question. ESPN struggled in the pits back in year one. It would be a shame if this weekend gets things pointed right back in the same direction.

At Bristol, TV viewers want to watch cars racing at them and not away from them. It take a lot of work from the director to continually cut the cameras in a pattern that make sense to the viewers. There has also been a tendency to keep the action low and not insert high camera shots to keep a perspective on the track.

Once the sun goes down, the pictures really get good and the action picks up. This track does not lend itself to in-car camera views live, but they are great for replays. The fixed "speed shots" also do not work well because the laps are just so fast. The simple challenge for the TV team in the production truck is to keep ahead of the action on the track.

This post will serve to host your comments about the Nationwide Series coverage on ESPN2. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and share your thoughts with other NASCAR fans.

Play-By-Play Announcer Returns For ESPN In Bristol, TN

Last week in Michigan, ESPN experimented with a live NASCAR Nationwide Series telecast that featured four analysts in the booth and no play-by-play announcer. The reviews were mixed, but ESPN was clear that this was a one time experiment. Click here to review the TDP reader comments.

Friday night the NASCAR on ESPN telecast returns to the normal format, but not with the popular Nationwide Series team of Marty Reid, Rusty Wallace and Randy LaJoie. Instead, the network will use Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree to call the race.

Wallace will be a member of the pre-race show along with Brad Daugherty and host Allen Bestwick from the Infield Pit Studio. While this has been a good move for Wallace on the Sprint Cup Series races, he has served the network quite well up in the booth for the Nationwide Series events.

Reid and LaJoie just love to give Wallace a hard time as certain events unfold on the track. The vast majority of the time, those events involve Rusty's son Steven or teammate Brendan Gaughan who make up the RWR Nationwide Series teams. Credit goes to Rusty who has been more than tough enough to take the ribbing and keep right on going, no matter how much his wallet had just been dented.

This on-air dynamic has been fun to watch as it is pushed along by the jovial personality of LaJoie. Reid is a professional who keeps the information flowing and lets the analysts do their jobs. This irreverent mix is perfect for the Nationwide Series as it continues to search for its own TV personality.

Reid, Wallace and LaJoie did not cower to the Carl and Kyle show in this series and pointed out the efforts of all the teams on the track as the racing unfolded. Reid was also the first announcer this season to be honest with the fans where the numerous start-and-park cars were concerned.

The challenge for Punch is to ramp-up his excitement level to match the anticipated hard racing on Friday night from the drop of the green flag. The new restart rules are going to be something to see at Bristol. As Mike Joy on the Whelen Modified and Rick Allen on the Camping World Truck Series races proved, this track generates excitement for TV viewers when the play-by-play announcer is on his game.

As usual on so many Fridays, it will be SPEED starting the action with Nationwide Series practice at 10:30AM. Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond will then stick around to call both sessions of Sprint Cup practice beginning at noon ET. That trio will top off the day with Nationwide Series qualifying at 4PM.

Before calling the Nationwide race, Punch and company will first handle Sprint Cup Series qualifying at 5:30PM on ESPN2. Nicole Manske will give the ESPN team a breather at 7PM as she hosts an edition of NASCAR Now from the other Bristol.

Bestwick then leads the ESPN2 team onto the air at 7:30PM with the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show and Punch takes over to call the action at 8PM. The actual green flag is scheduled for 8:13PM.

TDP will be live blogging this event and have a post up for your TV-related comments immediately after the race. In the meantime, please feel free to leave your opinion on the topics mentioned above.

This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Media Spreads President's NASCAR Message

NASCAR needed a little shot in the arm as the sport closes in on the playoffs. What better place to get that than with a rain-delayed visit to the White House.

It may have seemed to some like President Obama made a short speech, worked the rope line and then gave a quick live TV interview before going back to his real job. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Among the NASCAR group at the White House were some campers from the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Kyle Petty traveled with the group and documented their trip in words and pictures on Twitter.

The kids were brought directly into the White House and met with the President. Petty wrote: The Kids were amazing! The President spent REAL time with each one...don't care where you stand, THAT was cool...

The other participants took tours of the White House with Dale Jarrett remarking on how much he enjoyed his experience. Jimmie Johnson said the atmosphere was more laid back and he appreciated making real conversation with the President.

ESPN2's NASCAR Now pushed Dennis Leary guest hosting on Mike and Mike aside to get to the White House at 4:20PM live. That was about ten minutes earlier than the DVR's and VCR's of most working NASCAR fans were scheduled to begin recording.

The pictures showed the President working the rope line and greeting Darrell Waltrip and Rusty Wallace along the way. That certainly was an interesting dynamic to watch, but all parties seemed to have their priorities in order and Obama moved through the crowd.

Since the original schedule was off a bit, the President joined host Nicole Manske and ESPN NASCAR analyst Brad Daugherty before TV viewers heard his prepared remarks. This actually worked out well, as Daugherty and Manske allowed Obama to make his point very clearly. The following two answers really told the tale of NASCAR as far as the administration was concerned.

"NASCAR is a quintessential American sport," said the President. "I think that its fan base is now worldwide, but when you think about its roots, when you think about all the people who have such an attachment to the drivers, and when you think about the fact that right now the U.S. auto industry is going through a tough time, we wanted to make sure we highlight the fact that this is a great sport, is a great brand for not just NASCAR itself but also for America, and we thought it was a great opportunity to celebrate some champions."

Manske asked if the US automakers should remain committed to the sport. "I think that it’s about as good advertising as you can get," Obama answered. "If somebody’s excited about NASCAR, that means they’re excited about cars. And we want to make sure that people know what great American cars are, and obviously it’s understandable at a time when GM has gone through some tough times, that they may need to cut back sponsorships briefly, but over the long term, if we look 5-10 years out, I think they’re going to come back stronger than ever, and I think their association with NASCAR makes a great difference."

After the President departed, NASCAR Now played-back his prepared remarks. As with most visiting athletes, the President's staff had done a good job on his short speech. Obama asked Chad if he was pronouncing "Knaus" correctly and even took a moment in typical NASCAR style to thank the guys back at the shops who could not attend.

While pointing out Mike Helton and selected dignitaries in the crowd, it appeared that this was almost a relaxing moment away from the domestic and global issues for Obama. There were lots of jokes and laughter, including Carl Edwards refusing to divulge his conversation with the President to ESPN's reporter Marty Smith.

The next step is to get the President to a race. Richmond might be the easiest travel location but Chicagoland Speedway is right near Obama's favorite city and would certainly be a winner with the area fans.

All in all, a big win for ESPN and NASCAR on what is normally a slow day for news. NASCAR Now handled the live portions calmly after having the entire schedule changed at the last moment. The President's remarks were moved onto ESPNEWs and very quickly.

Shortly after the festivities were over, the Internet was filled with hundreds of domestic and international stories carrying the President's simple but effective message. The power of the global media was on display.

Click here for a replay of the video interview and an outstanding article by ESPN's Ed Hinton on the long relationship between NASCAR and the White House.

After you watch the show or see the video, we would welcome your comments on this topic. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Live Blogging Wednesday Night's NASCAR Doubleheader on SPEED

This should be a blast. First of all the Whelen Modifieds are the quickest things the Bristol Motor Speedway has ever seen. Mike Joy and Dick Berggren will call the action at 7PM for this race special.

The race was actually run at 6PM, so please let us all enjoy it as it unfolds on TV. This is a very different style of racing than most NASCAR fans have seen, so hopefully we can enjoy it as it happens on SPEED.

Krista Voda is up next with The Setup. This pre-race show for the Camping World Truck Series will focus on Ron Hornaday. One other story Voda will be reporting is an update on racing veteran Johnny Benson, injured in a Supermodified wreck a while back. Benson is in Bristol and will appear on the show.

Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip are next with the CWTS race. This trio has learned to work well together, especially when Waltrip leaves his sponsor-driven agenda back in his motorcoach. Allen can certainly crank up the excitement and this racetrack is the perfect place for that.

The truck field is sometimes a bit thin, but this week all different kinds of drivers have entered for the Wednesday race. It should be a very different challenge for Hornaday once the green flag falls.

This post will serve to host your comments on the NASCAR doubleheader tonight on SPEED. To add your TV-related comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

NASCAR At The White House Pictures

Victory Junction Camper Jeffrey joins some NASCAR stars.

Thanks to Getty Images, Kyle Petty and Mike Davis for the pictures from the White House today as President Obama hosted a NASCAR contingent.

Live Blogging "NASCAR Now" At The White House

Last year's Chase finalists were able to get that White House trip in after all. Due to some schedule conflicts, NASCAR also added some current and former drivers to round-out the starting line-up for this afternoon's photo op with President Obama.

This administration has been very comfortable interacting with sports TV networks. The President made his picks for the NCAA Basketball tournament on ESPN and then hosted the winning team at the White House. Yes, he got it right.

Now, a new sport that he is not very familiar with is walking in with a lot on the agenda. NASCAR is struggling with everything from ticket sales to TV ratings. Many of the top drivers are polished corporate spokesmen who lack the excitement that sports TV viewers crave.

While there are many pictures floating around of Jimmie Johnson and other past champions with President Bush, this is a new administration and a very new political dynamic for the sport. It should be interesting to review the Tweets, emails and stories that come from this group.

TDP will be live blogging the 4:30PM ET White House special one-hour edition of NASCAR Now on ESPN2. Nicole Manske is the host and President Obama will be live with Manske and ESPN's Brad Daugherty shortly after 5PM.

Please join us for your thoughts on the TV coverage. Political comments will be deleted, there are plenty of Internet sites for that content. We are just watching NASCAR TV unfold as usual. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks, this should be fun.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Midweek NASCAR TV Bonanza

What a wild Wednesday for both NASCAR fans and TV viewers. ESPN2 is offering coverage of the NASCAR trip to the White House while SPEED is offering a doubleheader from one of the best tracks on the circuit.

It will be a special time of 4:30PM when Nicole Manske leads ESPN2 onto the air with a special one-hour White House edition of NASCAR Now. A large group of NASCAR drivers and personalities are going to be meeting the President and getting the tour.

Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty will be participating while Marty Smith gets stuck reporting on the festivities. The President seems to be very sports-minded and it should be interesting to see the interaction with the group.

Update: Thanks to ESPN for the information that Manske and Daugherty will speak with the President live on NASCAR Now.

TDP will live blog this event for those of you who would like to express opinions and offer comments on the show. There have been several high-profile specials done by NASCAR Now over the past three seasons. Some have been wonderful and several have been disasters. This series has come a very long way and there is little doubt that ESPN will have things buttoned-up for this show.

Once everybody calms down, it will be time to go racing. SPEED made a great decision to carry the Whelen Modified race from Bristol, TN at 7PM ET. Even better news is that NASCAR on Fox's Mike Joy and Dick Berggren will call the race with Bob Dillner down on pit road. This is a very historic series with great action and colorful personalities. It should be fun to watch.

At 8PM, Krista Voda starts the Camping World Truck Series coverage with the pre-race show. This week, Voda will focus on Ron Hornaday and his challenge to continue his winning ways in the series. Crew chief Rick Ren will be featured as well. Voda will also follow up on the popular Johnny Benson and how he is doing after a tough wreck in a Supermodified car a while back.

At 8:30PM, the trucks take to the track for what should be a fascinating race. Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip will call the action. Down on pit road will be Adam Alexander and Ray Dunlap. A group of very diverse drivers have entered:

Max Papis is there in a special one-off Geico truck.
Short track aces Dennis Setzer and Butch Miller are entered.
TV favorite Kenny Schrader makes an appearance for Federated Auto Parts.
Kyle Busch is back in the Miccosukee truck for Billy Ballew.
Ryan Newman is driving for DeLana Harvick with Pringles as a sponsor.
Former Cup drivers Johnny Sauter and Aric Almirola are entered.
Brad Keselowski is driving a Chevy truck he owns with no sponsor listed.
SPEED's Hermie Sadler is driving a Victory Junction Gang sponsored truck.
Former ESPN announcer Stacy Compton is running and is very good at Bristol.

All in all, Wednesday has the potential to be a great day of NASCAR TV. TDP will be live blogging NASCAR Now at 4:30 and then the live races beginning at 7PM ET. Please join us if you would like to comment on the TV coverage.

We always invite you to comment on the topics discussed above. Just click on the comments button below to add your TV-related opinion. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Your Turn: "This Week In NASCAR" On SPEED

Before we get into the Chase portion of the season, we are going to ask for comments from those of you who watch This Week in NASCAR on SPEED.

This program is produced by the NASCAR Media Group and is recorded at the SPEED HD studios in Charlotte, NC. Steve Byrnes is the host and Michael Waltrip is the fulltime panelist. Chad Knaus and Greg Biffle alternate as the second panelist on the show. There are no reporters or guests on this series.

This program began life as Inside Winston Cup Racing and was produced for SpeedVision by Sunbelt Video. After several different hosts and names, it was revamped into its present form. The only consistent presence since the beginning has been Waltrip.

We are asking you today to consider the 2009 version of the show only. If you have watched the series this year, how have you liked it? What is it that you would suggest as an improvement and why do you want the change? Is there a feature that you particularly like? Finally, what announcers would you like to see remain on the program next season? Any other issues got your attention?

To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and help us with this topic.

What A Week For "NASCAR Now"

It was a spicy mix of panelists on the Monday edition of NASCAR Now. Boris Said, Ricky Craven and ESPN reporter Angelique Chenglis have mixed it up in the past and did so again this week.

Host Allen Bestwick is great at keeping the flow going and the pace crisp. From the start, all three panelists had different opinions on a variety of topics surrounding the Sprint Cup Series race from MIS.

Chengelis chastised crew chief Alan Gustafson for taking a fuel risk that ultimately cost Mark Martin a lot more than the race win. Said pointed to the fact that Gustafson's big picture should have been The Chase. Craven said the team was right to go for it, having won on fuel mileage in the past.

Said has come a long way this season and thinks before he talks. This has made his opinions a lot easier to swallow. He still maintains his own point of view and often differs with the journalists on the panel. Craven is still the top NASCAR studio analyst on TV and his comments are thoughtful and concise.

The Monday roundtable show has become the foundation from which the NASCAR Now franchise has flourished. During this time of the year, ESPN also adds a late night Sunday wrap-up show to the weekly series. Meanwhile, the weekday shows get a big jump-start this week with a trip to the White House.

After hosting the Tuesday show, Nicole Manske heads off to Washington DC for what may be the best promotion for The Chase that NASCAR has ever planned. President Obama will be meeting with a large group of present and former drivers and NASCAR personalities.

The ESPN contingent includes Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Marty Smith and Brad Daugherty. These festivities will result in a special one-hour edition of NASCAR Now at 4:30PM on Wednesday. Cable listings do not reflect this schedule change, so viewers who want to record the program may have to do so manually.

ESPN is quick to point out that this is the first regularly scheduled ESPN program to originate from the White House in the thirty year history of the company.

There should be plenty for Manske to discuss when she returns to the air at 5PM on Thursday from the ESPN2 studios. Wednesday night features Whelen Modified and Camping World Truck Series races from the other Bristol. Hopefully, NASCAR Now will open the doors and include highlights from what may be the best race of the year, the mods.

Friday, Manske continues her hosting duties and slips a quick half-hour show in at 7PM after Sprint Cup qualifying and before the Nationwide Series race. Depending on how long qualifying actually takes, Manske may be providing nothing more than a quick update. This show will have to be live.

The NASCAR Now week ends with a very long Saturday. The preview hour airs at a special time of 9AM. Ricky Craven will join Manske on the set while Angelique Chengelis and Marty Smith will report from Bristol, TN. While Craven and Manske head for brunch, ESPN will get ready for the big night race at 6:30PM.

After the race, that whole NASCAR Now gang will be joined by the ESPN announce team as they put together the late night wrap-up show scheduled to air at 9PM Pacific/12AM Eastern on Saturday night. This has proven to be a very good show for fans to record and contains lots of original interviews.

All in all, this is quite a week for NASCAR Now. The Monday show set a great tone, but it will be the White House visit that certainly has the potential to be memorable for a wide variety of reasons.

TDP welcomes your comments on these topics. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

NASCAR Banquet In Las Vegas Currently Invisible

Have some fun. Jump on the Internet and try to get information about the inaugural Sprint Cup Series banquet in Las Vegas. Click here for the Wynn Hotel website. That would be the place to start.

The fabulous hotel, shown above, was selected to host this historic event. There are golf packages, romantic retreats and spa packages available online, but no mention of the NASCAR banquet. Checking the December 4th banquet date will reveal that $296.50 will get any fan a room with a king-sized bed for one night. $346.50 if you want a room with a view. In Vegas, they call it a panorama.

Over at, the Sprint Cup Series banquet is also apparently undercover. There are no current stories detailing the new fan-friendly activities that were promised. There are no updates on schedules, logistics or well...anything.

Most fans know that is actually run by a Turner media company. Perhaps, the website will have the official NASCAR information. Click here for the page that contains the International Speedway Corp. travel options for fans. You will find that the 2009 Sprint Cup Series banquet is currently not among them.

One of the attractions of moving to Las Vegas was to use the famous Vegas Strip for fan activities. Click here for the story from in late April announcing the change of venue. Here is an excerpt:

Activities being planned for the days leading up to the awards ceremony include the return of the "Victory Lap" procession of the top 10 Cup Series drivers in their race cars, the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Media Luncheon, the Pit Stop Tour and the NASCAR Street Tour to include stock cars and mobile marketing units placed throughout the city.

"This is a great day for Las Vegas," said Chris Powell, president of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "Las Vegas has proven itself to be a great motorsports attraction, both for locals and for fans from around the country and the world. NASCAR's move to Las Vegas with the year-end awards ceremonies opens up many more opportunities to get the fans involved."

Unfortunately, Mr. Powell's own Las Vegas Motor Speedway website does not offer any updates, schedules or information for fans looking to travel to the area for the banquet weekend. Click here for the website link.

The big Las Vegas tourism website has a list of the major conventions and functions taking place all over town. Click here for the December 2009 list.

The bad news is that the Sprint Cup Series banquet is not even mentioned. The good news is that the Advanced Urology Coding and Billing Reimbursement Seminar is just down the street at the Westin Hotel. Those folks know how to party!

So, there are now less than four months to this first function in Las Vegas. No host has been announced, no entertainment acts have been added and no changes in the absolutely horrible banquet format have been made public.

There is no list of activities or functions available to fans that might include their favorite teams and drivers. No hotel suggestions, low cost travel arrangements or even group activities on the strip. Nothing.

Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz all sit there waiting for NASCAR fans. Imagine taking a Las Vegas weekend, mixing with the NASCAR stars and then coming back home to tell everyone all about it. Well, maybe not all about it.

The slogan is "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." The problem is we still don't even know what's happening. That's a tough way to get the party started.

TDP welcomes your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by, hope you are having a good week.

Monday Media Notes And Email

Here are some Monday topics that you have been asking (or yelling) about:

NASCAR Now: The Sunday night 10PM Pacific/1AM Eastern Sprint Cup Series wrap-up show was not on the DVR's and VCR's of NASCAR fans on Monday morning.

Instead, NHRA Drag Racing ran for the full hour. It was interesting to watch NASCAR promos and commercials in the program. This was the only Sunday night version of the series. Still working on how all this happened. Email if you have more info.

Knoxville Nationals: Event rained-out on Saturday night and ran on Sunday. Adam Alexander on the 7PM Sunday SPEED Report said that the track decided not to keep the TV for Sunday.

On Monday, SPEED Tweeted that Lucas Oil made the decision not to pay for Sunday TV coverage. At this point, what we know is that racing fans again are the losers in this mess.

As veteran fans know, this has happened before with the Knoxville Nationals and TDP was right in the middle of it. Many NASCAR drivers own Sprint Car teams and they were none too happy that one night of rain in Iowa would cause the entire TV crew to leave town.

Update: SPEED checks in to say that the weather forecast for Sunday was also for rain and the track made the decision for TV to leave. SPEED advises they were not involved in that decision making process.

Sprint Cup Series post-race: It is correct that ESPN's Jerry Punch did not direct viewers to SportsCenter or ESPNEWS before the MIS telecast left the air. That was a shame because NASCAR continued on the ESPN networks.

Boris Said appeared on SportsCenter with Ryan Burr right after the race for highlights and analysis. The announce team from MIS also appeared during this segment. All involved did a great job.

ESPNEWS covered the post-race extensively. The fact that the late night NASCAR Now did not air as scheduled really made this entire situation far worse for fans who tuned-out after the race.

This is just another issue in the continuing struggles of ESPN to get their arms around the sport. I understand many of you feel Brian Vickers was slighted and his winning interview was embarrassing. If you feel this way, then email ESPN and tell them about it. There are viewer response forms on the ESPN website.

Thanks for all the Tweets and emails, we will keep updating this post as more information on these topics rolls in. Add your comments below.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Your Turn: Michigan Sprint Cup Series Telecast On ESPN

Sunday afternoon ESPN offered a one hour pre-race show and then live coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Michigan. This is an opportunity to offer your opinion of the TV viewing experience.

It was Allen Bestwick, Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty and Ray Evernham beginning the coverage from the ESPN Infield Pit Studio. The group welcomed Rick Hendrick as a guest and also reviewed a lot of topics relating to the Sprint Cup Series.

Race coverage was anchored by Jerry Punch. He was joined in the announce booth by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. On pit road were Jamie Little, Shannon Spake, Dave Burns and Vince Welch.

The purpose of this post is to allow fans to offer their thoughts immediately after the ESPN telecast is over. We are not going to offer our opinion, which will eliminate TDP as an issue in the comments.

Your comments can be of any length, there is nothing to join and we do not need your email. You can be totally anonymous with your opinion. Just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Thanks for taking a moment to let us know what you thought of the ESPN telecast of the Sprint Cup Series race from Michigan.

Live Blogging The Sprint Cup Series Race From Michigan (ESPN - 1PM ET)

Allen Bestwick begins ESPN's Sprint Cup Series coverage from MIS with the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show at 1PM. Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty join Bestwick for this one hour program. Race coverage begins at 2PM, with the green flag falling at 2:16PM.

There are a lot of potential topics on the menu for this program. Saturday's Nationwide Series race ended with a bang both on and off the track. Race winner Brad Keselowski will be in the Sunday Sprint Cup Series event. So will Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers, the pair who led most of the race only to lose it on the final laps.

MIS is known as a fuel mileage track, but today the new NASCAR restart rules may add a twist to the single-file fuel runs. Pit stops will also be critical, both under caution and green flag conditions.

It will be Jerry Punch calling the action for ESPN with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree alongside. Jarrett and Petree handled the play-by-play for the Saturday Nationwide Series race as a part of ESPN's "Backseat Drivers" coverage. Punch struggles on big tracks like this where multiple storylines have to be juggled from the start.

This is the time of the year when tempers are tight in the Cup garage. The ESPN pit reporters are going to have to think before they speak to avoid the kind of moments that ESPN has recently experienced on pit road. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch are the reporters.

Three elements have pushed ESPN's NASCAR coverage in a strange direction. The ill-advised use of in-car cameras, the use of pre-recorded material under green and the strange belief that the playback of old team radio conversations is important.

In-car cameras remove the perspective of the TV viewer. They are awkward to use after restarts or when cars are racing in a group. Cutting to them because they are available seems to be the current practice. Higher and wider shots made TNT's summer coverage exciting. Frequent in-car camera shots are ruining ESPN's efforts.

Since ESPN's Sprint Cup coverage began, the network has been playing back "soundbites" from drivers who are seated in front of a video window. While the recorded material plays, the live race is shoved in the video box. Instantly, the excitement of the racing is gone while viewers listen to dated comments on various topics. Nothing sucks the intensity out of high-speed racing like this feature.

Many NASCAR fans use the technology available online to listen to their team's radio channel. TNT even offered a free audio feed during the summer races via RaceBuddy. ESPN records the radios and then stops the telecast to have a pit reporter introduce the audio clip about to be replayed. By the time all of this happens, the race has moved on. Either use it live or lose it.

Multiple storylines will continue at MIS. Teams racing for the win with nothing to lose, those racing to make The Chase and some trying to put on a good show simply to survive. Tires, fuel and strategy will be a key challenge for the TV team.

This post will serve to host your comments about the Sprint Cup Series telecast on ESPN. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet on this weekend.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Your Turn: "Backseat Drivers" Nationwide Series Telecast

Saturday afternoon ESPN2 presented a special edition of the Nationwide Series race from MIS. The telecast featured four ESPN analysts in the broadcast booth and no play-by-play announcer.

Allen Bestwick hosted the telecast and handled many of the TV duties from the infield. Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree took the lead and created most of the play-by-play coverage. Rusty Wallace was talkative and outspoken. Ray Evernham stayed in the background, but added his opinion on lots of topics.

The weather was good, the pictures and sound worked very well from the big oval. Coverage featured full-screen coverage of green flag pit stops, a focus on selected cars and less of a pit reporter presence than normal.

This is your opportunity to offer your review of the ESPN2 coverage of the Nationwide Series race. Please include your reaction to the "Backseat Drivers" format and your personal level of enjoyment of this telecast.

To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and share your opinions.

Live Blogging The Nationwide Series From MIS (ESPN2 - 3PM ET)

There have already been 22 Nationwide Series races on the ESPN family of TV networks. August is the heart of the NASCAR racing season. The primary TV team has been Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree along with ESPN's four pit reporters.

There have been some races where Rusty Wallace worked in the booth with Punch. Sometimes, the hilarious Randy LaJoie was added to the line-up when the series held a stand-alone race at a smaller track.

For the first time, TV veteran Marty Reid was brought in to call the Nationwide races down the stretch this year. Once ESPN took over the Sprint Cup Series, Punch was free from his Nationwide duties. Reid proved to be a major improvement.

This Saturday, ESPN will step away from the momentum Reid has built and change the telecast format completely. Promoted by the network as a "Backseat Drivers" telecast, this live race will have no play-by-play announcer.

Instead, the team of Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham and Andy Petree will be in the broadcast booth. The four analysts will make conversation among themselves while the race runs, relating stories about their past in racing.

The goal of ESPN is to let viewers hear the kind of spontaneous conversation and fun that the TV folks have when the cameras are off. Apparently, the ESPN VP of Motorsports has found that his announcers actually enjoy each other's company.

NASCAR fans know ESPN's telecasts as the most carefully scripted major sports coverage on national TV. Whether the network is setting up a driver for controversy or trying to cover a live race, the constant battle is between what ESPN wants to happen and what is actually happening. Script vs. reality has been ESPN's theme for three seasons.

Today's telecast may be a breath of fresh air. It may be a break from the embarrassing producing and ridiculous directing. What ESPN did to the Nationwide Series at Watkins Glen was amazing. Click here to review that disaster.

Everyone deserves a second chance. If the casual commentary is going to be mixed with coverage of the actual racing on the track, this telecast has a chance. If ESPN tries to force commentary into the coverage, NASCAR fans will run to the radio broadcast of the race as many do during ESPN's portion of the season.

Shannon Spake, Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch will be on pit road. It should be interesting for these four to mix their reporting with the conversational style coverage coming from the booth. Welch has shaken off his embarrassing moment with JPM, but Spake is still mired in "how do you feel about that" questions while Little goes in for the kill on every issue. Her current interviewing technique seems to involve the invasion of personal space.

Rusty Wallace may have summed it up best. "I'm excited about it," said Wallace."And when it's all said and done, it's either going to work or won't work and we'll see what happens.

This post will serve to host your comments specifically on the TV coverage of the Nationwide Series race from MIS on ESPN2. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dale Jarrett Moves Front And Center For ESPN

The Nationwide Series has been racing since February. Like the trucks on SPEED, the Nationwide Series enjoys a TV home on the ESPN networks during the season. All the way through Homestead in November, fans know where to go to watch Kyle and Carl take on the rest of the field.

This Saturday, ESPN2 is going to offer something TDP discussed earlier in the week. Click here for that column. The topic drew a lot of comments and emails. Instead of Marty Reid calling the race, ESPN will have four NASCAR analysts who will talk among themselves while the race is in progress.

Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham and Andy Petree are on the list. These three will be upstairs in the announce booth. Down in the Tech Garage will be Tim Brewer. Also on hand will be Allen Bestwick in the Infield Pit Center in his normal role of hosting the pre-race show and the telecast in general.

While all of those personalities are certainly going to play a key role in this TV experiment, there is little doubt who will be getting the most attention. Front and center on Saturday afternoon will be Dale Jarrett.

Working with the low-key Jerry Punch on the ESPN race telecasts forced Jarrett to develop his own play-by-play skills rather quickly. Someone had to provide the excitement and it was clearly not going to be Punch. Jarrett and his normal broadcast partner Petree have been forced to jump in when on-air silence is the only other option.

This season, ESPN assigned Reid to the Nationwide Series races down the stretch. He stepped in to relieve Punch of those duties. Although Reid made a great first impression in only a handful of events, he is taking this weekend off.

Even with Reid absent someone has to call the laps, the cars, and describe the action on the track. The mechanics of TV include transitioning to the pit reporters, to Brewer in the Tech Garage and to the frequent TV commercials. Indications are that Jarrett will carry the load.

As sports TV has become more flexible in the new media and Internet age, the traditional on-air roles have become blurred. Guys like Jarrett can move from the analyst position on a high-profile race to a studio role for Monday's NASCAR Now review show and then appear on the ESPNEWS network to discuss NASCAR topics in the news.

Perhaps, Jarrett and Evernham have proven to be the best when it comes to multiple roles for ESPN. Both have moved seamlessly through whatever tasks and assignments have been asked of them and yet continue to maintain a very distinct personality on the air.

In addition to the race analysis and general comments about NASCAR, both Jarrett and Evernham have been passionately outspoken about the current Sprint Cup Series car and the fact that changes continue to be needed for the overall good of the sport.

While Evernham has seen limited action this season in the broadcast booth at the tracks, Jarrett has been continuing his exposure as the featured face of NASCAR on ESPN across the board. Saturday, he will be asked to expand his experiences again and be the leader of the pack when it comes to coordinating the ongoing conversation among the four analysts and four pit road reporters.

While the Producer and Director may be talking in a lot of different ears during the live race, there is little doubt that a point person is going to emerge and that will be Jarrett. Like other top TV professionals, Jarrett took the time and invested the effort needed to learn his new role in front of the camera.

One of the top tennis announcers on TV works for ESPN and that is Cliff Drysdale. "Mr. Cliff" as he is called transitioned from the analyst side of the microphone to the host and play-by-play position over time. Drysdale is an excellent example of what may be in Jarrett's future.

One well-spoken individual with credibility in the sport and a good set of TV skills may be just what jumps off the page when Saturday's little TV experiment is done. My guess is that person is going to be Jarrett.

Bestwick begins the pre-race show on ESPN2 at 3PM and the "Backseat Drivers" special edition of the Nationwide Series race is next at 3:30PM. SPEED starts the day with Nationwide Series qualifying at 10:30AM and then both sessions of the final Sprint Cup practice at 12:30PM.

TDP will be live blogging the Nationwide Series telecast beginning at 2:30PM. Please join us. In the meantime, please feel free to leave us your opinion and prediction on Saturday's "Backseat Drivers" telecast. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below.

This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.