Saturday, June 27, 2009

Live Blogging The Camping World Trucks On SPEED From Memphis, TN

Slipping in between the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series from New Hampshire are the Camping World trucks. 5:30PM is the time for Krista Voda and the pre-race show on SPEED called The Setup.

Voda will use Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander as reporters during this half-hour show. It is no secret that the trucks are having a very rough season and this stand-alone race promises to feature some new faces and teams.

There has been talk of everything from a spec engine to a change in the venues that the series services. Veteran fans may remember that the trucks originally raced at many smaller tracks and the profile of the series was tough racing on bull-rings.

Now, the move to the bigger tracks and the expanded schedule may have proven to be to much for the current dollars in the sport. Returning to the roots of truck racing for 2010 might not be a bad idea. Some shows with the NASCAR regional racing series would bring a new racing dynamic to the sport.

Rick Allen and Phil Parsons are going to call the race for SPEED. Michael Waltrip was threatening to fly down to Memphis from his New Hampshire location, but at last report he still did not have a ride. Allen and Parsons are the official voices of this series and continue to get it right on a regular basis.

Look for the top teams to emerge, but also for the truck drivers to make the most of not having the Cup Series drivers in the field. Memphis is a good size for TV and the action is usually very good.

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

Live Blogging The Nationwide Series On ABC From Loudon, NH

Allen Bestwick starts the racing day on ABC at 2:30PM ET with NASCAR Countdown. Loudon, NH is the venue for the Nationwide Series this weekend and the race is a flat-track sprint.

Bestwick is joined this week by Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty from the Infield Pit Studio. Wallace is back to the infield-only this week because Dale Jarrett returns to the broadcast booth.

Jarrett is joined by Marty Reid and Andy Petree for this telecast. This will be a good indicator of just how this crew will handle the Sprint Cup Series when it comes to ESPN and ABC in July. Loudon is a key venue for The Chase.

Pictures and sound should be outstanding and indications are that there is going to be a very good crowd on-hand. TV viewers should look for the continuing issue of triple-split video on caution flag pit stops. This is going to be crucial as much of the passing is going to take place while cars leave pit road. ESPN has been having trouble keeping the triple-split in place for the entire stop until all the cars are racing to the pit exit line.

Reid should be in fine form with Jarrett back in the booth. Jarrett has been great this season and Reid has the veteran ability to provide the kind of excitement that some of the ESPN telecasts have been lacking. Jarrett returning might be exactly what the ESPN team needs right now to get the momentum going for July.

ESPN will not be able to focus on the normal script of Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards vs. the Nationwide regulars this Saturday. Lots of Sprint Cup Series drivers are crossing-over for this race and several flat-track specialists are also in the event.

It should be interesting to see what stories Bestwick introduces as possible race scenarios and then how Reid and company continue those storylines. Look for whether the ESPN crew interviews the drivers who have fallen out of the race. This has been a tough issue for the network this season.

Also important to watch are the stories that are unplanned. A driver coming up through the field, a favorite with a bad pit stop and a battle for position not in the top five are things that fans want to see that sometimes do not make it to the TV set.

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

SPEED Steps-Up For Whelen Mods

SPEED and NASCAR made a very welcome announcement today. Now, if you do not have tickets for this event, it can be seen on TV. Great for all concerned. That is a picture of Kasey Kahne participating in the Mod test at Bristol that started the buzz about this inaugural event. Here is the info from NASCAR:

The UNOH Perfect Storm at Bristol, a 150-lap combination race between the two NASCAR Modified divisions, will mark the first appearance for both the Whelen and Whelen Southern Modified Tours at the “World’s Fastest Half Mile” in Bristol, Tenn. The UNOH Perfect Storm at Bristol is set to go green at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, August 18 and SPEED will broadcast the event on a 45-minute tape-delay beginning at 7 p.m.

“With a heritage as NASCAR’s oldest division, the Modifieds have long had some of the most passionate fans in the sport, and we are excited to provide the loyal fan base with an opportunity to follow all of the action,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR managing director of racing operations. “We appreciate the support of Whelen Engineering, the University of Northwestern Ohio and SPEED in helping to bring the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours to a national television audience.”

Also announced today, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s New Hampshire 100, which will be contested on Saturday, September 19 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, will be broadcast by SPEED on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 3 p.m.

Exposing this series and other regional touring races on SPEED would be a great idea. TDP welcomes your comments on this topic.

Carl Edwards' Excellent Drag Racing Promo

ESPN2's NASCAR Now is in its third season and going strong. Well, strong except for one completely embarrassing high-profile problem. Nothing drove this issue home like Carl Edwards' recent NASCAR Now appearance.

Edwards was Mike Massaro's in-studio guest on Thursday. Massaro conducted the normal driver interview segment, but then Edwards was allowed to flex a little TV muscle and participate during the entire show.

Marty Smith's door-to-door segment featured an Edwards opinion and then Ed Hinton came along to make small talk with the Cup driver. But, the most jaw-dropping part of the program took only fifteen seconds.

Late in the show, Edwards read the NASCAR Now promo page for the upcoming motorsports weekend on TV. In a very professional voice, Edwards read the promo for the Nationwide Series race on ABC and the Camping World Truck Series race on SPEED. Then, a magical TV moment happened.

Edwards read the final promo for the featured Sunday race. Amazingly, the veteran NASCAR driver was promoting the NHRA drag race on ESPN2 Sunday night.

That's right, NHRA drag racing was the featured Sunday TV race on NASCAR Now with Sprint Cup Series driver Edwards in the studio reading the copy.

Incredibly, NASCAR Now has avoided promoting every single Sprint Cup Series points race in 2009. TV viewers have seen IRL promos and NHRA promos, but none for NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series.

The reason given to TDP for this, believe it or not, is television.

ESPN demanded promotion of the ESPN Nationwide Series events in the live Fox and TNT Sprint Cup Series races. In return, ESPN would then promote the start time and TV network of those Sprint Cup Series races on NASCAR Now.

In other words, ESPN was using the only daily NASCAR TV show as leverage.

Fox is now gone and TNT is about to step away from the Sprint Cup Series for another season. Those two TV networks don't care about NASCAR Now or ESPN's promo demands. Neither of them even blinked.

Once again, the only folks being used as pawns in this game are TV viewers and NASCAR fans. In a couple of weeks, ESPN will inherit a sport struggling with lower TV ratings, declining attendance and a much lower national media profile.

All of this boils down to just one question. Will five months of a complete lack of on-air promotion by NASCAR Now help or hurt ESPN's own Sprint Cup Series TV ratings? We should know the answer shortly.

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.