Saturday, September 12, 2009

Your Turn: Sprint Cup Series From Richmond On ABC

This was the first of eleven Sprint Cup Series races that will be carried on ABC and produced by the NASCAR on ESPN team.

Allen Bestwick opened the show after a delay due to the Notre Dame vs. Michigan live college football game. Bestwick had Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty in the Infield Pit Center. They focused on the Chase contenders in this program.

Jerry Punch called the race with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree up in the broadcast booth. This was a long weekend on the air for all three men and it sounded that way.

Punch followed his format of reporting from the booth while asking questions and reporting facts about the race and the teams. The actual play-by-play provided for the race was minimal, the tone was calm.

Petree and Jarrett worked hard, calling out the accidents and trying to stay with the pictures on the screen. The total focus was the Chase, while the racing in the middle of the pack and the cars outside the top ten were not featured on TV. At times, both Petree and Jarrett sounded flustered.

Bestwick interjected himself into the telecast several times to offer updates and lead the pit reporters through the field on a review of the race. Wallace and Daugherty also added excitement when they were allowed to talk during the race.

ESPN often covered green flag racing with played-back elements like drivers interviews and even a Rusty Wallace at Richmond tribute. There was no reset before green flag restarts. The focus was on the Chase.

This is your opportunity to offer your comments on the race telecast. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly telecast, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Live Blogging The Sprint Cup Series From Richmond (ABC - 7PM ET)

From the first race in Daytona we have now arrived at the final Sprint Cup Series race before the playoffs begin. This is a huge night for the NASCAR on ESPN production team. The tension in the TV compound, pictured above, is big.

Allen Bestwick will set the tone with the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show. There is a live college football game on ABC prior to the NASCAR telecast. Hopefully, things will happen as scheduled, but Bestwick is the best at dealing with live sports TV in a NASCAR setting.

This week it will be only Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty joining Bestwick in the Infield Pit Studio. Wallace continues to be outspoken and opinionated, while Daugherty has been put into the role of cheerleader and nothing more. The infield team is always good for a quick shot of enthusiasm during the event, but the three announcers upstairs are the ones really feeling the pressure.

There are going to be a lot of eyes on Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Friday night, Jarrett appeared to be tired during the Nationwide Series race after a long day on the air. It was Petree who stepped up and took the lead during the telecast.

On this night, the atmosphere is going to be electric. Translating that level of excitement to the millions of TV viewers is the challenge for ESPN. Jerry Punch is the person who has been chosen to do just that and it is his third season in the play-by-play position. This telecast needs to work, it's that simple.

Jarrett has been the anchor in the booth for two "Backseat Driver" telecasts of Nationwide Series races that had no play-by-play announcer. While this concept was interesting, it has also resulted in Jarrett becoming unclear on his role. Sometimes, he jumps in and supplies the excitement when Punch has faded. On other races, he waits until he is asked a question to respond. Hopefully, both Petree and Jarrett will step-up and lead the way during this telecast.

On pit road will be Shannon Spake, Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch. This group is going to be dealing with some emotional drivers and crew chiefs during the race. It should be interesting to watch this dynamic unfold.

On TV, Richmond is a challenge. Cutting cameras to stay ahead of the cars and let them race toward the camera makes all the difference. Getting behind leaves viewers watching cars racing away from them all night long. This is easy to do as the laps grind by. Richmond features great aerial shots, a super low camera on the backstretch and great pictures of glowing brake rotors.

The graphics tonight are either going to be informative or simply drive viewers crazy. Everyone knows the Chase is going to be set by this race, so the ESPN team has the challenge of deciding how many times that is going to be mentioned in the race.

Throw in a little rain delay and some extended caution flags and it could be a very long night.

This post is going to serve to host your comments about the Sprint Cup Series race from Richmond on ABC. 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 again for dropping by tonight.

Special "RaceDay" From Richmond On SPEED

Several times a year, SPEED expands RaceDay and brings in a second panel of experts for conversation and discussion. Richmond is one of those times.

As usual, the main panel will consist of host John Roberts with Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace. On this day, Steve Byrnes will host a second panel. His analysts will be Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond.

This program has lots to talk about and Wendy Venturini and Hermie Sadler should get a good workout as the reporters. The Real Deal this week is Brian Vickers, who will also be the Sunday night guest on Wind Tunnel at 9PM on SPEED.

Roberts and Byrnes are both very good at directing TV traffic. They certainly will have their hands full with all of the opinions flying from these five analysts.

Rutledge Wood is also on this program and it should be interesting to see how much of the pre-race concert by the All American Rejects the network chooses to televise.

Since this is such a big race and a key program for RaceDay, we will offer this post to get your reactions during and after the show. We are looking for your opinion on how the TV program worked for you. What did you expect and what did you get?

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 helping is with this effort and for taking the time to stop by.

Live Blogging The Camping World Trucks From Gateway (2PM ET - SPEED)

Kim Lopez will control the chaos from the flag stand, but first Krista Voda needs thirty minutes to handle The Setup.

This week Voda will review the Championship fight, offer a feature on the dynamic Angie Skinner and discuss the career progress of driver Timothy Peters. Adam Alexander and Ray Dunlap will join Voda with interviews and news.

Once the green flag flies, Johnny Benson will once again be joining Rick Allen and Phil Parsons in the broadcast booth for SPEED. Michael Waltrip is in Richmond attending to Sprint Cup Series business.

Benson has been slowly getting the hang of this live TV thing and his insights have added to the broadcast. Parsons is easy to work with and Allen has his play-by-play role well defined.

Hopefully, the vast majority of the trucks at Gateway are there to race. As the field in this series starts to thin out, there is certainly a huge gap between the top trucks and those struggling to just keep running the schedule.

Gateway is the right size track for this series and hopefully the action will continue to be fun to watch. The TV challenge is to keep cutting the cameras as the trucks run lap after lap. There is no doubt that Allen can keep up with the action on the track, the challenge is for the TV director.

This post will serve to host your comments on the Camping World Truck Series race from Gateway on SPEED. To add your TV-related comments, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks again for stopping by.

Is Your ABC Station Carrying The Pre-Race Show?

Note: Please check your TV listings. If your local ABC station is going to preempt the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show scheduled for 7PM to run local news, please take a moment to tell us what the station is and where you live.

We are looking for the call letters, KTLA or WCBC...and the market it serves. Thanks!