Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sunday's TV Challenge Is Kyle Busch Overload

This theme may be familiar to veteran fans who sat through last season's controversy surrounding Darrell Waltrip and his unabashed feelings for driver Kyle Busch.

Once again this season, the younger Busch brother is going to be front-and-center on the Sunday Fox TV coverage. Busch made a tremendous comeback on Saturday from an ailing transmission to win the Camping World Truck Series race in the closing laps.

While Sunday's pre-race show from the Hollywood Hotel is scripted, things are likely to change once the race coverage gets underway at 2PM. Names like Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson are just not making news.

Mark Martin may be on the pole, but all eyes will be on Kyle Busch once the race gets underway. This season, Busch and Earnhardt may be the only two drivers that Fox will regularly update when they are outside of the top fifteen.

Last week the NASCAR on Fox team in the booth talked a lot. Unfortunately, they spent the vast majority of the race talking about the cars in the top five. The best pit road reporters in TV were used sparingly and offered only occasional updates on the rest of the field. In these tough economic times, it would be smart of Fox to provide more than just the scrolling ticker to tell the tale of the full field.

NASCAR VP Robin Pemberton this week addressed an issue that has been ignored by TV for years. This season, "start and park" teams have become a part of all three national series. Pemberton spoke about the teams who focus on qualifying to simply make the race, race for a single fuel run and then retire for the cash.

This Sunday will be a good opportunity for Fox to address the impact of these teams on the sport and how they are forcing good teams who want to run the entire race to go home. Perhaps, the RaceDay on SPEED crew might address this issue as well.

Digger will be back with a pre-race cartoon and the normal in-race animation. This is a high-speed dangerous track, so hopefully fans will only see Digger during the happy moments that do not affect the race directly.

TV Notes:
Fox has decided to jump on the Twitter bandwagon with NASCAR content. The Twitter tag for updated information is NASCAR on Fox.

Kudos to ESPN for dumping the ESPN-only promos from NASCAR Now and actively promoting the CWTS race on Saturday, including the info that it was on SPEED.

It is Championship Week on the ESPN TV networks. Unfortunately, NASCAR gets pushed to the back burner. The popular Monday "roundtable" version of NASCAR Now is not airing until 1AM Tuesday morning due to the abundance of college sports. Although that is 10PM on the West Coast, it is the big East Coast audience that will miss the show. Ricky Craven, Mike Wallace and Ray Evernham join host Allen Bestwick on the Monday show.

No, Chad Knaus will not be on This Week in NASCAR on Monday at 8PM on SPEED. Greg Biffle will join Michael Waltrip and host Steve Byrnes. One feature will profile Greg and his father.

Please join TDP as we live blog the Sprint Cup Series race at 1:30PM Sunday on Fox.

TDP welcomes comments from readers. Just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please bear that in mind when posting. Comments may be moderated prior to being added to the site.

Thanks again and happy posting.

Live Blogging: Camping World Truck Series In Atlanta

Krista Voda leads the troops back on the air from the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The TV production team for the Camping World Truck Series has been the most consistent and fan-friendly group for many years.

The Set-Up pre-race show airs at 1:30PM with the race coverage starting thirty minutes later. The NASCAR on Fox crew produced the last CWTS event, so the SPEED team is just now getting back into action since their Daytona debut.

Rick Allen will call the race with Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip alongside. Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander will cover pit road. There are lots of stories to go along with this event, including some drivers who will be racing at Atlanta for the first time.

Tires played a role during practice and the teams are worried about the same type of wear problems they have been plagued with in the past at this track. Several top teams continue to be unsponsored and are fighting for their lives to get TV time and stay in the top ten of the season standings.

The CWTS TV presentation is stripped of any bells and whistles. There is no Hollywood Hotel or infield pit studio during the event. The focus of the broadcast is on the drivers and teams once the green flag flies. As you may have noted, there are only two reporters on pit road.

This is going to be a dangerous event and that is a theme running through the garage area. The diversity of the drivers in the field and the inexperience of many running on one of the fastest tracks in NASCAR has everyone on edge. It will not only be the drivers who are "up on the wheel" for this entire event.

This post will serve to host the in-progress comments during the CWTS event. Just click the comments button below to join the TV-related discussion. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Comments may be moderated before they are placed on the site.

Thanks again and welcome back to the CWTS TV team from SPEED.