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.