Saturday, July 4, 2009

Live Blogging The Wide Open TNT Coverage From Daytona

There are few NASCAR TV telecasts more anticipated than the summer Sprint Cup Series Daytona race on TNT. That is the rock group Buckcherry above, who will be performing a number during the TNT pre-race show.

This is the only time of the entire year where NASCAR TV coverage takes on the format used in the IRL for years. While TNT calls it Wide Open, what they are doing is blending the TV commercials into the telecast while continuing to show the racing action. In return for agreeing to this format, the sponsors get additional logos on the screen and some additional mentions by the announcers.

Last year was perhaps the best telecast, where fans missed almost no laps on the track during the entire race. The only commercials aired full-screen are the ones inserted by the local cable TV companies. All of the national ads from TNT are presented with the action continuing on the screen.

TNT has ninety minutes of pre-race programming. Marc Fein will host with Kyle Petty and Larry McReynolds opening the telecast from the TNT infield stage. Tony Stewart is the guest and TNT is taking your questions for Stewart at the website.

Wally Dallenbach will join Fein for the Countdown to Green show and focus on setting up the race. Once the race coverage gets underway, Dallenbach will be joined by Petty and Ralph Sheheen. This is the second TNT race for Sheheen in the play-by-play position. He will also call the final TNT event in Chicago.

Down on pit road will be Marty Snider, Lindsay Czarniak, Matt Yocum and SPEED's Adam Alexander. This is a big opportunity for Alexander, but many NASCAR fans thought that TNT would bring in veteran Wendy Venturini for that open slot.

With the double-file restarts, look for TV director Mike Wells to keep the cameras wide and watch for the racing action throughout the field. This has become a TNT trademark for the TV coverage and the reaction from fans has been very positive.

TNT also originates great triple-splits on the caution flag pit stops and has been super at tracking the cars as they race off pit road. That is certainly going to be an interesting part of the telecast as strategies unfold with the new restart rules.

RaceBuddy is again in operation for broadband computer users through the website free of charge. This feature has four additional cameras, team scanner audio and even a designated pit reporter. It also allows for messaging across several different services like Facebook and Twitter.

Speaking of Twitter, both Petty and Fein will continue to use this service during the race to interact with fans. TNT has really been pushing the new media technology this season and it has been working well.

This post will serve to host your comments about the TNT coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Daytona. 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 on this holiday weekend.

Live Blogging NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED From Daytona

TDP gets lots of comments about the two hour extravaganza that is NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED.

This week, the gang is in Daytona dodging thunderstorms and dealing with the summer Florida heat. Guests on today's show will include Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

John Roberts hosts this TV series and has been working hard to keep things organized for several years now. Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace began as happy panelists who offered off-beat opinions. Now, they have become characters who often play to the crowd and take themselves seriously.

In contrast to the antics of Spencer and Wallace are Hermie Sadler and Wendy Venturini. These two reporters have done an outstanding job this season of covering the garage and grid before each Sprint Cup Series event.

Venturini was originally all alone on this show and made the most of this TV exposure. At that time, RaceDay ran right up until thirty minutes before the race start time. Now, the show ends almost two hours before the races start.

Sadler was added and the problem of covering the big infield area was solved. This team offers good humor and solid reporting. In contrast, Spencer and Wallace have been struggling with their roles.

It should be interesting to see how things flow at Daytona. Spencer often pushes himself to talk about issues in the sport without keeping his own history in perspective. This season, Wallace takes every opportunity to speak directly to the camera in rather bizarre monologues.

The idea of RaceDay was to have fun, offer interviews and set-up the Cup race that was to come. When SPEED expanded the show to two hours in length, the production team had to come up with a lot of new content. Enter Rutledge Wood. His role has swung from class clown to feature reporter and back to goofball. One wonders when Wood will get an opportunity to play reporter and put his own personality into a feature.

It is hot in Daytona and two live hours should be a tough task. The threat of afternoon thunderstorms will only complicate matters for a show that takes place on an outdoor stage. RaceDay starts at 4:30PM ET on SPEED.

This post will serve to host your comments about RaceDay from Daytona. 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 enjoying this holiday weekend.

Happy Independence Day NASCAR Fans!

Nothing says freedom like Uncle Sam. Click on the picture to see it full-size.

OK, we are opening this post for your comments on Rutledge Wood as Uncle Sam. You can see him on NASCAR Smarts and RaceDay today on SPEED. He certainly does know how to make a splash on TV.

Click on the comments button below to add your opinion.