Friday, April 30, 2010

Live Blogging Nationwide Series From Richmond (7PM - ESPN2)

Allen Bestwick returns to handle the play-by-play duties at Richmond. This is the first of five Nationwide Series races that Bestwick will call in 2010.

First on the air is Nicole Briscoe, who is hosting the pre-race show with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. Wallace will move up to the booth and join Bestwick and Andy Petree for the race.

Down on pit road are Dr. Jerry Punch, Mike Massaro and Dave Burns. Along with Marty Reid, Jamie Little and Vince Welch are in Kansas this weekend working on an IndyCar race for ABC.

Richmond is a snug little track that makes for great racing and sometimes lots of caution flags where the Nationwide Series is concerned. It will be nice to hear Bestwick back on the race call.

Richmond under the lights makes for good TV, but not really from the in-car cameras. The laps are short and the racing is intense, so it is easy for the director to miss a lot of action while trying to use the in-car cameras.

This post will serve to host your comments on the ESPN2 coverage of the Nationwide Series from Richmond. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by!

SPEED Warms-Up Richmond Crowd For ESPN

It's always interesting when SPEED and ESPN share a day of NASCAR racing. Friday at Richmond International Raceway, the networks are at it again. SPEED is set to offer seven hours of NASCAR programming before handing off to ESPN2 for the Nationwide Series race.

The big boys from NASCAR on FOX are up first. Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip start the day at 12PM ET with Sprint Cup Series practice. In between the sessions at 1:30PM Steve Byrnes hosts an episode of NASCAR Live.

Randy Pemberton is with Byrnes on the SPEED Stage while Hermie Sadler and Bob Dillner handle the reporting duties from the garage area. This program is usually very interesting as the interviews from crew chiefs and drivers can indicate in which direction a team is going as far as dialing-in the car.

The NASCAR on FOX team again handles the second session for the Cup Series. Byrnes comes back at 3:30PM with NASCAR Live while the Nationwide cars are being lined-up for qualifying. This is a weekend where both qualifying sessions are on SPEED.

It will be Kyle Petty and Randy Pemberton in the booth for Nationwide Series qualifying at 4PM with Joy. Normally, Hermie Sadler, Byrnes and Jeff Hammond handle this session. On this Friday, however, Hammond and Byrnes will be busy taping the Trackside program while Sadler will be trying to qualify his own car for the Nationwide Series race.

Joy's long Friday finally comes to a close as he hosts Sprint Cup Series qualifying at 5:30PM with Waltrip and McReynolds. This trio has a lot of fun with these telecasts. Perhaps this week, some of that fun might translate over to the NASCAR on FOX Saturday night race coverage. FOX needs some energy in the booth right now.

ESPN has some new faces in new places this weekend. Allen Bestwick has moved into the TV booth to call the race while Marty Reid handles an IndyCar telecast for ABC in Kansas. Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree will be the analysts.

Nicole Briscoe comes over from the NASCAR Now program to anchor the Nationwide Series pre-race show that begins at 7PM. That is a new pic of Briscoe above courtesy of ESPN. You can click on it to see it full-size.

With Jamie Little and Vince Welch also covering IndyCars, Mike Massaro will return to his old stomping grounds and anchor the pit road team alongside Dr. Jerry Punch and Dave Burns. Shannon Spake is up at ESPN handling the NASCAR Now duties this week.

This post will serve to host the comments of the daytime coverage on SPEED. There will be a new post up for the Nationwide Series race on ESPN2. To add your comment about SPEED's Friday TV from Richmond, 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 The Daly Planet.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NASCAR Media Group Wins Sports Emmy

Remember Inside the Headsets? That was the TV special from the All-Star race that basically took tons of footage and made a mini-movie of the event. Using video and audio gathered live, the NASCAR Media Group "turned around" the racing into a complete show by the very next day.

Well, the end result was pretty good. Here is the official information:

NASCAR Media Group, the creative, media, and production services company of NASCAR, has received an Emmy Award for “Inside the Headsets,” a television program which aired following the 25th annual NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race last May.

NASCAR Media Group and its broadcast partner SPEED were presented the award in the “Live Event Turnaround” category at the 31st Annual Sport Emmy Awards on April 26, 2010 at Lincoln Center in New York.

This is the third time in the past four years NASCAR Media Group has won the Emmy Award in the “Live Event Turnaround” category.

“Inside the Headsets,” which aired on SPEED on May 17, 2009, was one of the most ambitious programs capturing the full dimension of a major sporting event. NASCAR Media Group employed an additional 13 shooters to capture supplemental material and used four slow motion cameras.

With an eye on crew chiefs, in-car communications and unique camera angles, 184 tapes documented the all-star race. To meet a stringent time constraint of 30 minutes, the race was recorded live-to-tape with ancillary material added overnight. The program aired less than 24 hours following the conclusion of the race.

“ ‘Inside the Headsets’ embodies the best parts of an action movie and a sporting event,” said Jay Abraham, chief operating officer of NASCAR Media Group and vice president of new media and content for NASCAR. “Every important moment is captured, from the pre-race preparations and fly-over to post-race driver and crew chief interviews, fireworks and Victory Lane champagne showers.”

“All of us at NASCAR are very proud of our award-winning team working hard to produce world-class content from our new state-of-the-art facilities at the NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte,” said Paul Brooks, president of NASCAR Media Group. “We’ll continue to make the investments to bring NASCAR fans groundbreaking shows like 'Inside the Headsets.'”

Other NASCAR-related programming was also recognized at television’s most prestigious awards ceremony. FOX Sports won for Live Event Audio/Sound for its NASCAR broadcasts and HBO’s “24/7 Jimmie Johnson Race To Daytona” was recognized for Outstanding Sports Promotional Announcement – Episodic.

Give the NASCAR Media Group some credit. They have been doing a lot of the heavy lifting for SPEED where NASCAR is concerned for a long time. Although series like NASCAR Confidential and Beyond the Wheel are gone, there are new NMG shows now airing on SPEED.

Sounds of NASCAR is a dynamic thirty minutes that follows a NASCAR personality through a race weekend. The stories are not just focused on drivers and crew chiefs. From spotters to wives, it's fascinating to explore the real people behind the names many of us know so well.

Race in 60 is a simple but effective video recap of the Sprint Cup races without flash or hype. Missing a race is easy to do and Race in 60 is an easy way to catch up on what happened from green to checkers. SPEED normally replays this show several times each week.

We have been trying to open up the NASCAR TV doors and let fans understand how much work goes into a typical telecast or program. As mentioned above, 13 camera crews wound-up with 184 tapes to create a show that has only 22 minutes of content.

Seems like this time, someone other than the NASCAR fans noticed.

We welcome your comment 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. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

David Poole Remembered One Year Later

It's been one year since David Poole, the NASCAR writer for the Charlotte Observer, passed away after falling ill at home in Stanly County, NC. Poole was only 50 years old and had been covering the sport for some 13 years.

The NASCAR media has seen many changes since Poole's passing. The struggles of the print media and many newspapers downsizing in order to survive has meant less of a national profile for the sport. The rise of NASCAR on social media like Twitter and Facebook has been interesting, but not particularly meaningful or profitable.

It seems ironic that many remember Poole for strongly criticizing NASCAR over the Carl Edwards accident at Talladega that sent two spectators to the hospital. Click here to read that column in full. Sunday, NASCAR had perhaps the most exciting Sprint Cup Series race in a long time at the very same track after changes to the COT that included removing the rear wing.

Back in 2007, Poole encouraged me to start this blog. He liked the idea of focusing on the billion dollar NASCAR TV contract and the thousands of hours of annual TV programming that surrounds the sport. In the first couple of months, he also offered a little tough love along they way. That was part of his charm.

In the past twelve months, over one million visitors have stopped by The Daly Planet logging over three million pageviews. It seems that Poole was right. Some fans wanted a place to read about NASCAR TV and offer their opinions on the coverage of the sport.

Like many, I wish Poole was still around. The atmosphere at times this year has been very strange where discussing NASCAR on TV is concerned. Media doors open to me in the past have been firmly slammed shut. TDP opinions that do not contain the sport's new "positive message" philosophy have been attacked as anti-NASCAR. It has certainly been an interesting season so far.

So, on this day we take a moment to think about NASCAR and free speech. About the pivotal role television, radio and journalism played in bringing the sport to the national level. About how our new media world will influence it in the future.

Here are some story links talking about Poole's passing from one year ago:

Open Comments On The Passing Of David Poole - The Daly Planet

NASCAR Media Icon David Poole Passes Away - Yahoo! Sports From The Marbles

NASCAR Loses Its Most Authoritative Voice - Sports Illustrated

Charlotte Observer Motorsports Writer Dies At 50 -

We All Have A Little David Poole Inside - The Speed Freaks

Like Earnhardt, David Poole Mastered His Craft -

David Poole Leaves A Void, Professionally And Personally - NASCAR This Week

Click here for Poole's guest book of 422 comments.

As we move forward, perhaps you could take a moment to leave an opinion on Poole's passing one year later and your take on the NASCAR media scene. Just click the comments button below. Thank you.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Your Turn: NASCAR On FOX From Talladega

The weather was clear, the track was fast and the racing was intense.

Chris Myers started the day from the Hollywood Hotel with Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond. Slice of Pizzi returned, Digger was nowhere in sight and the DirecTV contest continued. Mike Joy called the race with Waltrip and Larry McReynolds.

From the start, Joy was more conversational with Waltrip and McReynolds than ever before this season. Just like ESPN last season, the commentary was more like three guys talking while watching a race on TV. It was very different.

FOX inserted a significant number of commercial breaks, promos and billboards into the race. Eventually, it seemed that the segments of racing grew shorter and shorter. In the last hour, the commercials directly affected the ability to view and follow the race.

Joy promised that one commercial would be the last, but then FOX continued to run multiple commercials during the remainder of the telecast. Joy was clearly embarrassed, but that was only one of the issues for FOX.

Waltrip and McReynolds continued the habit of speaking about whatever was on their minds. These topics included a lot of Alabama college football and Dale Earnhardt Junior. It certainly made for a rather scattered commentary at times.

The race had several late accidents, so the green/white/checker rule was in effect. One late accident included Jimmy Johnson and Greg Biffle. FOX tried to keep up with the action, but it was a struggle.

This post is your opportunity to tell us what you thought of the NASCAR on FOX telecast of the Sprint Cup Series race from Talladega. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Live Blogging Nationwide Series From Talladega (5:30PM - ESPN2)

The second half of the Sunday Talladega doubleheader is the Nationwide Series race.

It will be Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree in the booth. This is the trio that will be calling the Sprint Cup races later this season for ESPN, including the entire Chase for the Championship. Shannon Spake, Mike Massaro, Dave Burns and Dr. Jerry Punch will be on pit road.

ESPN is in hurry-up mode, so there is no Infield Pit Studio or Tech Garage. The call of the race will be the focus of the telecast. That might be perfect for this situation today.

NASCAR is trying to get this race in before darkness falls. There are no lights at Talladega and if the race does not get to halfway, the entire gang has to unpack and stay until Monday.

The Sprint Cup Series drivers racing in the Nationwide Series race certainly have an advantage, because they have already been on the track. However, they are also certainly drained from a very active race that saw lots of green flag racing.

ESPN needs to focus on the packs of cars and try to stay away from over-using the in-car cameras. The track is fast and these NW cars should put on a good show. Earlier in the day, the aerial shot was fantastic and provided a great perspective.

This post will serve to host your comments on the Nationwide Series race on ESPN2. 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 for hanging with us today.

Live Blogging Sprint Cup Series From Talladega (12PM - FOX)

Here we go with what may be the highest-rated Sprint Cup Series race of the season. The high banks of Talladega are calling and FOX is the network for the race.

Chris Myers opens the show with Jeff Hammond and Darrell Waltrip alongside. Myers is a mess this season. He plays the fool on FOX while being the sophisticated host on Showtime's Inside NASCAR. The recent rain delay he hosted was just awful.

Talladega is a race that calls for a cool head when things go bad. The speeds are approaching 200mph with the new spoiler package and Myers needs to set the right tone. The element of danger has returned and kidding because you care does not have a place here today.

Darrell Waltrip spilled the beans on Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving the #3 car in the Nationwide Series race in Daytona. Waltrip has a new Twitter account and he had been typing like a man possessed. The Earnhardt and RCR camps were none too happy with "ole DW." Should be interesting if he uses the pre-race show to apologize.

Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds are waiting in the TV booth for Waltrip to call the race. Joy has been decidedly low-key this season. At times, he seems almost uninterested. Whatever the reason, there has been a big change to the way the FOX play-by-play announcer calls a race.

Many fans have suggested that Joy is merely tired of Waltrip and McReynolds talking overtop of him. That may be the case, as both men have left their traditional analysts roles and routinely stop Joy as they offer random comments and emotional outbursts. Waltrip calling for Junior to win at Daytona is still fresh in the minds of many.

The best pit road reporters on TV will be fighting to get on the air once the green flag flies. Waltrip and McReynolds talk more than any other analysts on TV and the FOX pit reporters are often a lonely bunch. Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum, Dick Berggren and Krista Voda should have a very interesting day.

Look for the battle between wideshots and the excessive use of in-car cameras to be going full steam today. This race can be covered in a variety of ways by the TV Director, so what the FOX guys choose to show today will go a long way in either exciting or frustrating the viewers.

Weather is clear, there have been no TV problems reported and the crowd is huge. This has the potential to be the best and highest-rated Cup race of the season.

This post will serve to host your comments on the TV coverage of the race by FOX. To add your comments, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks and let's go racing.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday Activity Cancelled At Talladega

NASCAR has just announced that all activity at the Talladega Superspeedway has been cancelled. Lines of severe storms with tornado activity have been in the area and more are approaching.

You can use to view the radar for the Birmingham, AL area. Talladega is located off I-20 between Birmingham and Atlanta, GA.

The Sprint Cup Series race is now scheduled for 1PM ET and the Nationwide Series race will follow at approximately 4:30PM. We will add the adjusted TV schedule as the network releases the information.

Updated 10:15AM - Nationwide Series race has now been moved to ESPN on Sunday at approximately 4:30PM ET. (from's Bob Pockrass)

Updated 10:51AM - ESPN just advised they will air the NNS race at 5:30PM on ESPN2.

Updated 12:15PM - Threatening skies with weather in the area, but so far no severe weather over the speedway. Big storms have passed to the south with hail and high winds.

Thanks for stopping by and we hope for the best for those fans already at the track. You can add a comment by clicking on the comments button below.

Showtime Backlash Continues To Grow

We originally talked about this issue in January. The NASCAR Media Group had announced during the Charlotte media tour that it would be producing a brand new major TV series for the 2010 season.

It was only weeks earlier when SPEED had confirmed the cancellation of the long-running Monday night one-hour review program that had aired in several forms and with several titles. In 2009, it had been called This Week in NASCAR.

After several stops and starts, TWIN seemed to be picking up steam with the trio of Steve Byrnes, Michael Waltrip and Chad Knaus. The Monday show that began as Inside Winston Cup Racing on SpeedVision had ultimately come to revolve around Michael Waltrip. Now, it was time for Waltrip to take his act to a new home.

In a surprise move, Showtime was the destination for Waltrip and friends. Inside NASCAR was the new series and it featured Chris Myers as the host with Randy Pemberton and Brad Daugherty alongside Waltrip on the panel. It also featured a brand new element.

Here is an excerpt from a TDP column on that subject:

What is worse than producing a bad TV series that everyone watches? The answer is producing a great TV series that no one watches. Welcome to Inside NASCAR on Showtime.

It has been well documented that the Achilles Heel of this new series is not production, but distribution. There are almost 90 million cable TV homes in North America, but Showtime appears in less than 18 million of them. Showtime is a premium service designed for adults who enjoy entertainment programming.

The marketing arm of Showtime is second to none. The company knows how to promote and it involved all types of social media networking in the campaign surrounding Inside NASCAR. One of the most effective tools is the show's Facebook fan page.

In only a few short months, the Facebook site has over one hundred thousand fans. However, upon closer inspection it is clear that many of those fans don't have Showtime in their homes. So, what do they want? It's easy to scroll down the comments and answer that question. They want TWIN back on a non-premium cable network and they want it now.

After patiently starting up and explaining the show, the Facebook pot has started to boil. This is the latest post from the network's moderator:

This show was never on SPEED. It is not TWIN or any other old show. It is brand new as of February. People keep mentioning how we stole it or moved it, but it's an original series on Showtime. Can't we all just get along?

While Showtime is technically correct, the site of Waltrip sitting on a panel and cutting up while reviewing highlights and talking about racing is an all too familiar one. Many fans firmly believe Showtime and NASCAR are at fault.

Here are some recent fans comments from the Inside NASCAR Facebook page:

Elaine: Just another way for NASCAR to make money off their fans. Will not buy Showtime just to see this.

Patrick: I think it is highly stupid NASCAR once again is trying to steal money from the fans who pay everyone's salaries, SHAME ON YOU!

Karen: It's bad enough I pay extra to get SPEED and FX and TNT and ESPN. Not going to pay for Showtime for one program!

Terri: I am sure Showtime paid you (NASCAR) big bucks to carry it but my question to you is... when is money more important than the LOYAL fans that have supported NASCAR year after year?? Shame on NASCAR!

Rather than slowing down, the backlash and the number of critical comments seems to be growing. As the season continues and more storylines emerge, it's no wonder fans seem frustrated. This situation has been made even worse by the fact that SPEED replaced TWIN on Monday's with an amateur talent contest actually hosted by Waltrip.

Fans get the double whammy of having to subscribe to Showtime to see Inside NASCAR while everyone can see Waltrip introduce cloggers, magicians and singers in the very hour many seemed to cherish. Fast Track to Fame is certainly interesting television for a motorsports network.

So, here we sit with nothing resolved and lots of great TV being seen by almost no one. Fans have a point. They are not going to spend money and subscribe to a premium network for a one-hour weekly show. Showtime also has a point. The network paid the piper and now owns the program. It's a standoff.

Nothing is being hurt in this equation more than NASCAR. The sport could really use broad distribution of a quality mid-week TV series like this now more than ever. It seems ironic that the real bottom line in this equation is money. Showtime spent it and they want the fans to help them make it back.

Where do you stand on this issue as a fan? What side do you take? Is there really anyone to blame? We would appreciate 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.

Click here for a direct link to the Facebook fan page for Inside NASCAR on Showtime.

Rutledge Wood To Co-Host US Version Of "Top Gear"

It was one of those concepts in development, but now the Hollywood Reporter is confirming it. A US version of the wildly popular UK Top Gear TV series is coming to the History Channel as that network continues to revamp itself.

Click here to read the entire story. Here are some of the details:

History is teaming with BBC Worldwide Prods. to launch a U.S. version of the series this fall. The network has made a 10-episode commitment to “Gear,” which showcases all-things automotive — customization, stunts, reviews and auto-centric celebrity interviews.

History’s “Gear” will be hosted by comedian and “Rescue Me” co-star Adam Ferrara, stunt driver Tanner Foust and racing analyst Rutledge Wood.

“Top Gear” premiered in the U.K. in 1977, then relaunched in 2002 as a studio-based format. “Gear” is BBC Two’s most-watched program, and the brand has spun-off a magazine and road tour. NBC came close to doing a Stateside version in 2008.

Producers put considerable effort into casting the U.S. version, trying to find the right mix of hosts who would each bring a unique perspective yet mesh well together.

SPEED viewers are familiar with Tanner Foust as the host of the Supercars Exposed series. Click here for Foust's Facebook page that contains bio information and photos.

Adam Ferrara is a veteran comedian currently seen on TV in the Rescue Me series on FX. Click here to visit his official website.

The big surprise for many in this announcement may be Rutledge Wood. A veteran of five years at SPEED, Wood has been the clown and the fall guy for many network stunts. The irony is that when asked to handle NASCAR news reporting or serious hosting duties, he has come through with flying colors. Unfortunately, that is not his role on SPEED.

"Rutledge Wood is to entertainment as the root canal is to dentistry" says a poster in the forums. There is little doubt that SPEED's use of Wood has put him in the "love him or hate him" category for viewers.

Here is a little overview of Wood's background that he offered on the old SPEED website for fans:

I graduated from the University of Georgia in 2002 with a degree in Marketing. First job out of school was working for Country Music Television (CMT) driving a huge truck around the country with their "Most Wanted" tour. Loved the crowds, loved making people smile. Then I spent a year with Clear Channel Communications producing and co-hosting a daily talk show in Mid-West GA. I got up before daylight every day and interviewed interesting people. I sharpened my DJ and mic skills hosting a weekly Karaoke/Comedy show in Newnan,GA at a club called the Alamo. Loved the crowds and making people smile. I started working for SPEED in Feb. of 2005 on the Need for SPEED Road Tour. still love the crowds and making people smile!

There is little doubt that this may be the opportunity of a lifetime for Wood. He has shown his willingness on both SPEED and TNT to play the fool, to be the clown and to work in almost any kind of TV setting.

Those familiar with the UK version of Top Gear know that the banter between the hosts and the willingness of the on-air team to take risks and have fun is the centerpiece of the show. Wood may have just found his niche.

There will be more updated information on this series as it moves forward into production. TDP will follow this project and keep an eye on what NASCAR connections the US-based version of this series may have in store for viewers. Expect Wood to continue his role on SPEED for the time being.

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 The Daly Planet.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weather Story Looms As Friday TV Coverage Begins

It's a scenario that fans, teams and officials dread. While Friday signals the beginning of the TV coverage from Talladega, Saturday is on the minds of many.

Strong storms that have already produced severe weather across the Midwest are moving into the Southeast. Talladega is right in the path of this system.

When NASCAR gets together for a big weekend, there is a lot of equipment and manpower that is positioned at the track. Between the staff operating the facility, the crews working on the race cars and the large contingent of TV folks, there are a lot of people to take care of if severe weather threatens.

The Friday coverage begins at 11:30AM with Nationwide Series qualifying. This is another weekend where ESPN just covers the race, so SPEED will handle this session. Steve Byrnes, Jeff Hammond and Hermie Sadler have done a solid job again this season of covering a series where all the actual races are telecast by ESPN.

The Sprint Cup Series practice sessions are at 2 and 3:30PM ET. The NASCAR on FOX team will handle that coverage on SPEED with NASCAR Live programs before, between and after the two practices. There is usually a lot to talk about when practice is going on at Talladega.

5PM brings the ARCA race on SPEED with Rick Allen and Phil Parsons on the call. Wendy Venturini and Jim Tretow will handle pit road duties. This is always a time when lots of deep breaths are taken as many of the ARCA drivers are not very experienced with a speedway the size of Talladega.

The TV day ends with Trackside at 7:30 and another new Hall of Fame biography program at 8:30PM. This time, it is Bill France Jr. who is the subject of the show. This series from the NASCAR Media Group has been outstanding.

The weather today at the track is sunny skies with temps in the high 80's. As we mentioned earlier, all that will be changing quickly as the storm front approaches on Friday night. While the ARCA teams will be gone, that will still leave about eighty Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series teams at the track.

This post will host your comments about the Friday TV coverage from Talladega. To add your comment, 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 The Daly Planet.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Your Turn: Monday NASCAR Doubleheader From Texas

What a Monday of NASCAR TV. FOX got the day started with the Sprint Cup Series race. Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond stayed in the Hollywood Hotel although there was no pre-race show. Mike Joy, Larry McReynold and Darrell Waltrip were in the TV booth.

The telecast followed the formula that we have seen from FOX this season. Mike Joy was low-key with Larry McReynolds providing the excitement. Darrell Waltrip offered his opinions and sometimes needed a little help on the specifics.

There was no rain delay, but there was a major accident that caused a red flag. The action was typical of the Texas track, focusing on several laps of racing after restarts until the field gets strung-out. The Hendrick cars were featured for a large portion of the race and the FOX announcers spoke extensively about the Hendrick organization.

The FOX pit reporters were Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum, Dick Berggren and Krista Voda. After being on the air for several hours on Sunday, they had a full-length Cup race to do on Monday. FOX is the network that under utilizes the pit reporters and did again in this race.

The FOX telecast concluded with almost an hour of time left for post-race. FOX used about twenty minutes and left before 4:30PM ET. Most viewers reported local shows inserted by the FOX stations. No explanation was given when FOX did not fill the timeslot or at least remain on the air until the half-hour.

ESPN2 was next and blasted onto the air with the Nationwide Series race. Marty Reid, Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree were in the broadcast booth. Dr. Jerry Punch, Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch handled the pit road reporting duties.

Reid has changed the ESPN coverage and never let down his high energy style. Wallace is a bit awkward in this role, since he is an NNS owner, but held his own. Petree has been solid for ESPN since this TV package began in 2007.

The race was the normal parade of the Cup drivers vs. the Nationwide regulars. Credit ESPN for keeping the pictures wide and searching for the racing on the track. The pit road reporters provided recaps during the race and followed the pro-active style of the "new" NASCAR on ESPN team.

These two races began at 12 and ran through 7:30PM ET. There was about a 45 minute break between races for TV viewers and NASCAR fans. There were no technical problems, which is a big credit to the networks and the NASCAR Media Group who maintain the TV compound.

This post is your opportunity to offer your comments on both the FOX and ESPN coverage of the Monday doubleheader. 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 for hanging in there and stopping by The Daly Planet.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Live Blogging Nationwide Series From Texas (5PM - ESPN2)

Here we go with the second half of the Monday NASCAR doubleheader. The Nationwide Series is on ESPN2 at 5PM from the Texas Motor Speedway.

Marty Reid will call the race with Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree alongside. On pit road are Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch, Jamie Little and Dave Burns. Tim Brewer has packed the Tech Garage up and gone home.

This race is also in hurry-up mode, trying to get finished between 7 and 7:30PM when both SPEED and ESPN2 have TV shows scheduled to review the races.

The familiar scenario should be in place of Cup drivers vs. the Nationwide regulars. ESPN did a tremendous job of promoting the series during the rain delay on Saturday.

Hopefully, that momentum will translate into a telecast that chases the racing on the track and stays away from the bells and whistles. ESPN has been hit or miss with the directing lately, but very good with the commentary.

This post will serve to host your comments on the Nationwide Series coverage on ESPN2 from Texas. 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 taking the time to live blog with us today.

Live Blogging Sprint Cup Series Monday From Texas (12PM ET - FOX)

Here we go again. Rain delayed the race until Monday and the good news is that there is no precipitation falling at the track. Jet dryers are working to get things dry for the race start shortly after Noon ET.

This is hurry-up mode for NASCAR, so expect things to be different. There will be no long pre-race show and possibly no invocation or anthem heard on TV. NASCAR is trying to get two races in today and that should be a challenge.

Mike Joy returns to call the Sprint Cup Series action with Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds in the booth. Waltrip had a long day on Sunday in the Hollywood Hotel working on the air during the hours of rain delay programming.

Down on pit road are Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum, Krista Voda and Dick Berggren. Jeff Hammond and Chris Myers are in the Hollywood Hotel.

Texas should prove to be interesting on TV. The track is fast, but passing has been at a premium once the field gets stretched out. It should be the restarts and caution flag pitstops that provide the biggest scrambling of the field.

Staying wide enough to show the pack of cars jostling on the restarts has been a challenge for FOX this season. Cutting to tight shots and using in-car cameras long before things get strung out has resulted in many passes and incidents having to be seen on replays. Keeping it simple today is going to have big benefits.

Darrell Waltrip has once again has a long weekend. When he is tired, the result has been scattered commentary that often happens when he talks overtop of Joy and McReynolds. It's been a tough year for DW, it's almost like he is trying too hard.

Sometimes, these Monday races run very clean. This may be the case today as several of the Cup drivers are doing double-duty and racing in the Nationwide Series race that follows. If weather again threatens, all bets are off as the field may be racing hard to get to the halfway point.

This post will serve to host your comments on the Sprint Cup Series race from Texas on FOX. 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 hanging with us on this Monday for NASCAR racing.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Turner Sports Responds To FOX's Online Plans

Click here to review the story originally published on TDP Friday that referenced the plans by FOX Sports to provide a live online post-race show from the Texas Motor Speedway after the Sprint Cup Series race.

Basically, in trying to address the growing post-race TV issues, Fox executive Bill Brown indicated the network would use the website to stream additional post-race content.

On one hand, this made sense because FOX already had the production resources available to offer the coverage. On the other hand, the online rights to all NASCAR content have been owned by Turner Sports for a decade.

This is not a political debate, but a serious business issue involving millions of dollars in rights fees paid directly to NASCAR by Turner. NASCAR chose to "farm out" the online or interactive rights and now must live by that agreement. As the earlier story references, NASCAR recently extended that contract through 2014.

After the initial posturing, FOX released the following statement:

Unfortunately, due to contractual limitations that we had hoped to overcome, we're unable to extend post-race coverage on Since this would have been a commercial-free undertaking, our goal was simply to have all parties agree that this would only benefit NASCAR fans, but obviously that didn't happen.

While that may be nicely written, it obviously ignores a reality that many NASCAR fans have become familiar with over the last few seasons. The problems that exist between Turner Sports and FOX affect NASCAR fans on many levels.

There is no online streaming of the FOX Sprint Cup Series races. There are no interactive elements to the broadcasts. Turner's online application RaceBuddy was not added this season by FOX as expected.

In response to the FOX statement, Turner offered this media release:

NASCAR.COM continues to provide fans with the most access and comprehensive content and coverage of the sport, including free in-depth coverage every week of all the storylines going into and following each race.

NASCAR.COM has also consistently partnered with other media companies -- including Fox's sister network SPEED TV, to further enhance the offerings to NASCAR’s loyal fan base.

NASCAR.COM has proactively approached Fox over a period of time with a variety of collaborative online media options that unfortunately have been rejected.

So, there you have it. The simple story of one company that paid for ownership of certain rights and another that would like to use those rights for free. Lost in the mix is the reality that the entire issue is driven by the sale of those rights by NASCAR in the first place.

Right or wrong, there will be no live online post-race programs during the remaining FOX races. FOX alone controls the TV "off time" of the live races. Choosing when to end the post-race coverage is a decision made by the NASCAR on FOX management team. After this little scuffle, it should be interesting to see how FOX handles the post-race programming for the remainder of this TV package.

If you have an opinion on this issue, feel free to add it by clicking 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 The Daly Planet.

Online Post-Race Plans Raise Questions

On Thursday, veteran NASCAR reporter Jenna Fryer offered a post on the Yahoo! Sports website. Click here to read the full article.

Here are some excerpts that focus on the topic being discussed:

Fox will offer extended post-race coverage of NASCAR with an online program beginning this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The Overdrive on will begin immediately after the network ends its broadcast coverage of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.

“It’s something we should have been doing all along,” Bill Brown, senior producer for Fox Sports, told The Associated Press on Thursday night.

Brown said Fox will not set a hard time on how long The Overdrive will run since it will be dictated by storylines. “We definitely will have stories to talk about because this is a sport with 43 stories,” Brown said.

Click here to read "TV Viewers Get The Post-Race Blues." It was August of 2008 when TDP once again addressed the issue of NASCAR TV post-race problems.

Here is a brief excerpt from that column:

It is the lack of guaranteed post-race coverage that is driving fans crazy. NASCAR fans do not change their loyalty depending on where their favorite driver finished.

There is an entire story to tell that features teams that finished well outside of the top ten. There are issues between drivers, incidents during the race and questions asked during the live TV coverage that are still unresolved. The whole story is not being told once the race itself is over. There is no time.

Currently, there are on average four hours of pre-race programming offered by the NASCAR TV partners before each Sprint Cup Series race. While SPEED offers the one hour tape-delayed Victory Lane show on Sunday nights, there has been no live post-race TV show since the new NASCAR TV contract began in 2007.

What Brown described to Fryer sounds like an attractive scenario. Free from the time constraints of television, an online environment offers a great alternative for live content. Fox already has all the resources on-site to provide outstanding coverage. Unfortunately, there is still one key issue on the table.

While Fox holds the TV rights to its package of Sprint Cup Series races, the online or interactive rights to the very same races are held by Turner Sports located in Atlanta, GA. It was January of this year when TDP reported that Turner was optimistic on partnering with Fox and offering the popular online application called RaceBuddy for the Fox Sprint Cup Series races. It never happened.

Click here to read the official news release on the contract extension between Turner and NASCAR that allowed Turner to lock-up the online rights to the sport until the 2014 season. Basically, Fox has no legal way to offer live post-race NASCAR content of any kind online.

Despite the fact that Brown's online plans involve the NASCAR on Fox announce team, the website and races telecast by Fox, moving from broadcast TV to an Internet environment would violate Turner's current online contract.

A Turner Sports representative politely declined to comment on Fryer's story or the quotes from Fox's Brown. There really was no need for a statement. Turner has owned these interactive rights since 2000 and over the years has offered a variety of NASCAR programs and applications, including a live post-race show.

A Fox Sports representative was unable to provide any additional information on Brown's plans for Sunday. Perhaps, if the RaceBuddy deal had been done, Fox would have found itself in the position of already having an online platform that could serve to host a post-race show with little problem. Now any online effort would start from scratch.

Should Fox, Turner and NASCAR reach a solution that would allow for a live online post-race show, TDP will provide the updated information. In the meantime, it's up to the live NASCAR on Fox telecast and the 8PM Sunday night Victory Lane program on SPEED to provide the post-race coverage for fans.

We invite 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. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Postponed: Monday noon ET For Sprint Cup Race

The rain is falling, the day is gray and FOX has five hours to fill. This should be interesting!

Chris Myers starts the day from the Hollywood Hotel with Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond. This is a one hour pre-race show. Last week the emphasis was on the new DirecTV head-to-head bracket game that puts NASCAR into an NCAA hoop tourney style bracket. The secondary emphasis was on Subway and the launch of the new breakfast memo.

Myers is looking at a long day as track drying has not made a dent in the rain and the entire track is wet. Upstairs in the broadcast booth are Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds. Expect McReynolds to contribute to the rain delay and maybe even move from his broadcast booth location.

Luckily, the FOX pit reporters are the best in the business. Steve Byrnes, Dick Berggren, Matt Yocum and Krista Voda are going to be working very hard for several hours to offer the stories of the day other than the rain.

It should be interesting to see how long FOX remains on the air live before giving way to either the local affiliates or standby programming. The challenge is normally to try and encourage the TV audience to remain, but today is still a wash-out and none of the drivers are even in their firesuits.

This post will serve to host your comments on the NASCAR on FOX coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from the Texas Motor Speedway. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for stopping by!

Live Blogging RaceDay on SPEED From Texas

Well, RaceDay host John Roberts already relayed this morning that panelist Kenny Wallace was going to make some controversial statements on the show. Kyle Petty is sitting alongside of Wallace and enjoys adding his two cents into the mix.

It might be a fun show to watch and get your comments live as it happens. Just click the comments button below to add your TV-related comment about RaceDay on SPEED.

Wendy Venturini and Hermie Sadler are the reporters. They have a tough assignment today, as the drivers are in their motorhomes and not a thing is happening at the track except for jet dryers slowly circling.

This RaceDay will be different, because the Nationwide Series race was delayed and will be run either later tonight or on Monday. It should be interesting to see if RaceDay talks about this situation or interviews any of the Nationwide Series drivers.

Thanks again for stopping by, we will be live blogging the entire FOX and ESPN2 race telecasts later in the day.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Live Blogging Nationwide Series in Texas (3PM - ESPN2)

Update: NNS race postponed by rain. Rescheduled for Sunday night at 9PM ET, 8PM Central. Details to follow on the TV schedule.

The picture above is Nicole Briscoe's view out of the ESPN Infield Pit Studio. Briscoe is filling-in this weekend for the vacationing Allen Bestwick. She may be in for a very long day. Rain has already cancelled the Sprint Cup Series practice and the track is still wet.

Briscoe will be joined by Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty for the NNS pre-race show. With Dale Jarrett also on vacation, Wallace is scheduled to move up and call the race if it ever gets underway. He will be joined by Marty Reid and Andy Petree.

Luckily, Jerry Punch is back on pit road along with Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch. Rainy days like this really work the pit reporters and Punch is one of the best at conducting live interviews in these situations.

NASCAR tries to stick to the schedule and announces changes only when they are about to be put into place. Rumors today from the on-site media suggest that NASCAR is considering running this race on Sunday night after the Cup Series if rain forces a postponement today. Monday would be tough with a short week for many teams.

We will use this post to keep updated on the rain developments and possible track drying. We invite your comments as we all watch what ESPN2 decides to air during this timeslot. Just click on the comments button below to add your opinion. Thanks!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Huge Day of NASCAR TV Friday From TMS

The young man pictured above might find himself answering the same set of questions many times during the day on Friday. Kasey Kahne and the rest of the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series drivers are on the Texas Motor Speedway track all day long for practice and qualifying. That is, if Mother Nature cooperates.

The complete TV schedule is posted on the right side of the TDP mainpage. The start of the day should be interesting. ESPN2 has delayed the airing of Nationwide practice, so it overlaps with NASCAR Live on SPEED at noon ET. It is a rather unusual situation for NASCAR to have two programs from the same venue on the air at the same time.

The normal channel hopping happens as SPEED and ESPN2 swap between Cup and Nationwide coverage. Once the NASCAR activity is over, both networks go head-to-head once again at 6:30PM. Mike Massaro hosts NASCAR Now on ESPN2 while Steve Byrnes hosts Trackside on SPEED. Scott Speed and Paul Menard are the Trackside guests.

Capping the day is a doubleheader from SPEED. First, Rick Allen and Phil Parsons call the ARCA race from Texas. Then, a brand new series starts with the first NASCAR Hall of Fame Biography show featuring Bill France Sr. That certainly does seem like a logical place to start as SPEED ramps-up for the Hall opening this summer.

Let's use this post to offer comments on the Friday NASCAR and ARCA TV from ESPN2 and SPEED. 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!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kahne Saga Unfolds On TV And Twitter

Note: Keeping this post up for Thursday as details continue to come in. Was Marty Smith right or wrong in his first report? Did you see Kyle Petty or hear the Kasay Kahne phone call on SPEED's Race Hub? What do you think of the TV coverage of this entire story?

Few things right now can beat the speed of Twitter and the flexibility of cable TV news. Every day, Twitter carries news stories as they are breaking live. At the same time, the mainstream cable TV news networks use live pictures to tell stories from all over the world.

In NASCAR's little slice of the sports pie, both of those tools have once again come into play. It was ESPN's Marty Smith who broke the news on Tuesday that Kasey Kahne had signed a deal to drive for Hendrick Motorsports beginning in 2011.

Smith launched his scoop on Twitter with a link to the full story at the website. Shortly after that, ESPNEWS began to include the information in their breaking news crawl. Ultimately, Smith appeared on ESPN2's NASCAR Now Tuesday program to offer updates on the story in person.

Once Smith broke the news, Twitter users began to repeat the story and spread it to other users. This included reporters and bloggers who did not credit Smith, but used his information as their own almost instantly. Exclusivity on Twitter can often times be measured in seconds.

ESPN put together a dynamic Tuesday NASCAR Now program. It's quite clear that ESPN scrambled to put a lot of resources behind this story. Reporter David Newton and analyst Ricky Craven appeared on the show. Newton updated several stories, including how Kahne's current Cup owner feels about the star of the team leaving for greener pastures.

SPEED offered Race Hub on Tuesday, where co-host Steve Byrnes said SPEED had confirmed that Kahne was leaving. He never mentioned if they confirmed it via Smith's ESPN story. Race Hub made this a non-story, using Darrell Waltrip on the phone as the only interview in reference to this topic. Waltrip was not a good choice. The series has Kyle Petty to address this issue on Wednesday night at 7:30PM.

Late this morning, ESPN advised that they had no landed an interview with Kahne and Marty Smith would conduct it. The results would be seen on NASCAR Now at 6PM. It should be interesting to see if SPEED references this or if Petty's interview was recorded earlier in the day.

Ever since the story first broke, Twitter has been filled with a mix of reporters, bloggers and fans repeating the same information almost endlessly. It seems that with every upside to technology and information sharing there is also a downside.

We are going to open this post and get your comments while we continue to update any other media developments on this story. Click the comments button below to add your opinion of how this story is being covered on TV and online.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Madhouse" Ends With Fans Divided

The original reality series Madhouse on the History Channel has finished season one. Whether or not there is a season two depends on who you ask.

The 2009 summer racing series for the NASCAR Modifieds at Bowman Gray stadium in Winston Salem, NC was the subject of this TV project. What emerged from hundreds of hours of footage divided the fans and sparked a lot of conversation.

The TV formula was pretty simple. First, pick some drivers to profile. Then, mix staged reality footage recorded away from the track with the actual racing footage from the summer. The series also had a narrator to tie it all together in the form of a local radio DJ who read a script created by the producers.

After starting the season airing at 10PM on Sunday nights, the series was moved to 11PM where it remained to the end. It was a tip-off that things were perhaps not going so well in Madhouse land. The reason was pretty simple, the show was the exact same thing every week.

Click here for the official History Channel website about the series. Junior Miller, pictured above, hated everyone and was the villain. The Myers brothers were the good guys and the other drivers simply made up the supporting cast. Wives, diners, dogs and even rental trailers provided staged situations to create content. TV guys call that "scripted reality."

Click here to visit the Facebook fan site for Madhouse. There are a lot of fans of the show who enjoyed what they felt was a realistic portrayal of short track racing in the south.

Reviewing the Facebook comments over the past couple of months has revealed an interesting mix. Some fans follow the series like a story, watching the characters and the relationships between them on and off the track. Other viewers relate to it as a sports event, with the off-track content serving to build the on-track drama.

One running theme during the series was violence after the races. From the first episode to the last, the potential for a fight in the pits was always an important element. Here is a preview of the final episode from the History Channel Facebook moderator:

Starting to get geeked up for this weeks episode. The pot finally boils over! The Showstopper has taken all he can take and its time to open up a can of whoop ass! Who do you think Chris Fleming is going to put that hay-maker on? Think it lands? Who would you like to see that hammer dropped on?

Needless to say, the episode ended with a good pit brawl as previewed. The lingering issue is whether or not it happened because the TV cameras were there. There was a lot of jawing and nervously glancing at the camera crew right before the festivities. In fact, it was clever video editing that allowed Mr. Fleming to appear to suddenly charge his rival like an angry water buffalo.

The result was the stereotypical redneck fight with lots of wrestling and torn t-shirts. The brawl even featured a miscellaneous female who appeared from nowhere to get a swift kick in to the ribs into one of the participants.

It certainly was curious that the big fight featured two of the lesser TV characters. This left the door open for continuing tension between the Myers and Junior Miller for 2010. All of that brings us to the big question.

There has been official silence from The History Channel on a season two. On the network's own website chat, fans have offered that driver Burt Myers has said the series is not returning. Other postings included reports of Bowman Gray PR staff saying no TV this summer and the original TV production company saying they will not be back for year two. At this point, things do not look promising.

Madhouse was an interesting TV project that featured real racing. The production company and the network chose to create a reality formula that echoed lots of the other series now on the revamped History Channel. Ax Men, Pawn Stars and American Pickers continue to feature people who have unique interests, just like the drivers on Madhouse.

In real life, the racing begins again on April 24 at the stadium. Regardless of the TV issue, fans will pack Bowman Gray once again for some weekend fun at the races.

As we close out this topic, perhaps you could share with us your feelings about how you feel the sport and the personalities involved were portrayed in Madhouse. Make sure to tell us how you watched the series, if you stayed up to see it or recorded it to meet your own viewing schedule. If there are other elements you felt strongly about, feel free to raise those issues.

To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Your Turn: NASCAR On FOX From Phoenix

Note: At this time, we are leaving this post up as our primary discussion. There are some great comments and opinions below. Please add yours to the mix.

It was a very long night for both the TV crew and the fans. The new length of the Sprint Cup Series race from PIR was a bit tough to take. It certainly was a change.

Chris Myers unveiled a new version of the Hollywood Hotel. It featured sponsors and not much more. Gone was Slice of Pizzi and a featured driver interview. In was a long bracket selection show and several features on Subway serving breakfast.

The DirecTV Head-To-Head bracket competition was modeled after the NCAA and featured the NASCAR on FOX announcers awkwardly creating seeds for the drivers. NASCAR has absolutely nothing to do with head-to-head match-ups and the entire thing was poorly explained.

Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond provided the commentary in the pre-race. Waltrip chose Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win and Hammond was guarded in his comments about a favorite.

Mike Joy, Waltrip and Larry McReynolds provided the commentary during the live race. Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum, Krista Voda and Dick Berggren were the pit reporters.

The weather did not play a factor, other than the bugs in the desert. Pictures and audio were great. An early graphics error was caught and changed. There were no technical problems.

This is your opportunity after every Sprint Cup Series race to tell us how you liked the TV telecast. This is not a fan site. We are asking about the NASCAR on FOX presentation of the race from PIR.

We are a family-friendly site, so we would ask you to keep that in mind when posting. Thank you as always for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Live Blogging Sprint Cup Series from PIR (7PM - FOX)

The Major League Baseball season is upon us. While NASCAR is scheduled to start at 7PM, there are regional MLB games on FOX scheduled from 3 to 6PM. We will have to keep an eye on those games today.

Chris Myers is up first from the Hollywood Hotel. As we have previously mentioned, Myers is struggling to manage Darrell Waltrip this season. Jeff Hammond has been trying to help, but Waltrip continues to be all over the map.

Myers also seems to be embarrassed by the "Slice of Pizzi" segment he is forced to run as FOX promotes the "Cubed" online series. This has been a flop since the beginning and continues to take time away from information on the pre-race stories.

The green flag flies at 7:44PM, so this will be a thirty-minute version of the pre-race show. That should put a premium on the amount of junk that FOX can add to the NASCAR news and interviews. Lately, the junk factor has been high.

FOX has the best NASCAR pit reporters in the business, yet continues to leave them out in the cold. During both the pre-race and the race, Waltrip is the star of the show. Unfortunately, this does not allow the amount of information on stories of the day/race to be relayed to viewers. Today, there are lots of stories to report.

Last we saw Mike Joy, he looked and sounded tired. Who wouldn't be with the continual chattering of Waltrip and Larry McReynolds going on all race long? This season has been the absolute worst in terms of Waltrip and McReynolds talking over top of Joy while he is doing his job.

FOX needs to have a focused and exciting telecast as they gear-up to run out the network's string of Sprint Cup Series races. While Daytona was a disaster, PIR has the potential to be fantastic. From the Denny Hamlin injury to the continued feuding on the track, it should be an interesting night.

The challenge for the Director is to stay ahead of the action. We like to refer to it as "showing headlights and not taillights." Cars racing toward the camera and constantly coming forward make for a very different telecast that one camera following the same cars around the entire track. On Friday night, ESPN learned that the hard way.

This post will serve to host your comments on the NASCAR on FOX coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from PIR. 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 as always for taking the time to stop by!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Live Blogging Nationwide Series in Phoenix (9PM - ESPN2)

ESPN gets back into the Nationwide Series groove on Friday night after a tremendous effort last week in Nashville, TN.

Allen Bestwick starts the show from the Infield Pit Studio. He will be joined by Rusty Wallace since Brad Daugherty has the weekend off. Wallace will then move up to the broadcast booth.

Marty Reid will call the race with Andy Petree and Wallace. Dale Jarrett is also off this weekend. On pit road will be Shannon Spake, Jamie Little and Dave Burns. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch are also taking a long weekend. Tim Brewer will be in the Tech Garage.

The Nashville telecast featured Jarrett and Ricky Craven in the booth as the two analysts. Petree and Wallace are going to have their work cut out for them to equal the information and excitement of the Nashville effort.

Marty Reid was brought in this season to replace Jerry Punch in the play by play role and ESPN has enjoyed big benefits from this change. The twosome of Reid in the booth and Bestwick in the infield clicked from the start.

This week Reid will have to deal with the original duo of Wallace and Petree that ESPN chose to break up after only one season on the air together. Wallace was moved to the infield, while Petree got a new partner in Jarrett. It should be interesting to watch the on-air dynamic of the TV booth for this race.

Wallace is a Nationwide Series team owner and his team has been in the news. Son Steven Wallace is driving with several breaks in his foot courtesy of a wreck triggered in part by teammate Brendan Gaughan. The senior Wallace was not happy after the accident and should have some interesting reactions as his team cars head back on the track again.

This night race should feature some wonderful pictures as the PIR lighting is outstanding. Last week, the ESPN Director chose all the right shots with the exception of the closing few laps when he tried to show far too much and wound up missing a lot. PIR is a tough track to cut on TV with a weird shape and plenty of obstructions.

One story working for tonight is ESPN's Jamie Little reporting that Jon Wes Townley was fired from his RCR ride after a practice crash. The team is sponsored by Townley's father and his business. Other media reports dispute Little's claim.

This post will serve to host your comments on the ESPN2 telecast from PIR. 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 for stopping by.

Friday NASCAR TV Searches For Traction

ESPN2 and SPEED are both on the air from Phoenix International Raceway on Friday. SPEED starts the day with Nationwide Series practice at 11AM and ESPN2 ends it with the Nationwide Series race at 9:30PM ET.

While the Camping World and Nationwide Series raced last weekend, neither had practice or qualifying televised. NASCAR's TV partners were busy with other programming, so only the two races were shown. There was also very little of the weekend TV normally associated with the sport because the Sprint Cup Series was off. Put those pieces together and it seems like a long time ago that the full-day style of NASCAR TV coverage has been on the air.

Despite the fact that there is a long string of consecutive Sprint Cup Series weekends coming up, it kind of feels like the NASCAR on FOX coverage has lost momentum. The quirky scheduling and the poorly timed off-weeks really took the wind out of NASCAR's TV sails.

Luckily, it is all hands on deck for the 13 hours of live TV on Friday. The Nationwide Series practices, qualifies and races within that span of time. On the Cup side, practice and qualifying is on the menu. Along the way, ESPN even sneaks in a NASCAR Now show.

The two big features of the day are Sprint Cup qualifying and the Nationwide Series race. Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip are handling the Cup qualifying session on SPEED. Dale Jarrett is off this weekend, so Rusty Wallace steps into the TV booth for the Nationwide Series race on ESPN2 with Marty Reid and Andy Petree.

NASCAR needs a good strong day of TV topped off with an exciting race. This weekend really starts the long grind portion of the schedule. As a reminder of what is to come, the Phoenix weather calls for a high of 88 degrees and bright sun. There is no chance of rain.

We will use this post to comment on the PIR television coverage right up until the Nationwide Series race. SPEED and ESPN have very different ways of covering the sport, so channel hopping on Friday should be an interesting experience. The complete weekend NASCAR TV schedule is on the right side of the TDP main page.

To add your comment about the Friday NASCAR TV, 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 The Daly Planet.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"Totally NASCAR" Is Totally Confusing

Last we saw former ESPN and CBS reporter Jill Arrington, pictured above, she had left the sports TV business and settled down. She married a Hollywood movie agent, started a family and was happily living in Beverly Hills, CA.

Last we saw Totally NASCAR the show had fallen into disarray and been cancelled. After a run of four years, beginning in 2001, SPEED ended the show with the promise of something better. Veteran fans may remember the fiasco that followed. NASCAR Nation anyone?

Arrington first came to our attention as a sideline reporter for the Arena Football League on the revamped TNN. She moved onto the national scene and worked high profile assignments for CBS, FOX and even The Tennis Channel.

Meanwhile, Arrington also did sexy photoshoots and wound-up on FHM and Maxim's Top 100 Sexiest Women lists. She was Playboy's Sexiest SportsCaster back in 2001. All of this did not sit well with former USA Today TV writer Rudy Martzke. Click here to read his observations on Arrington.

That same year, a young man named Steve Byrnes took the helm of Totally NASCAR. In 2002, he was joined by a fresh face named Krista Voda. The weekday show aired first on FoxSportsNet and then reaired the same day on SPEED. It was a nice one-two punch for the sport.

Tiffany Arrington was a tough kid. The daughter of former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Rick Arrington, she headed for the University of Miami and majored in journalism. Along the way she played for the tennis team, was elected Orange Bowl princess and stayed active in an on-campus sorority.

It seems ironic that it was a FOX producer who told Arrington that Tiffany was not a name that was going to work in television sports. At that moment, Jill was born. It was a different FOX executive who recently decided that it was time for Arrington to get back on the air. The name of her new show would be a blast from the past. That's right, it was Totally NASCAR.

Over the last two months, FoxSportsNet has quietly added a new version of Totally NASCAR to the line-up. The program is currently distributed to over 80 million households. Compare that to the 17 million Showtime households that currently get the Inside NASCAR series. Arrington is once again being seen coast to coast.

This time, she is not prowling the sidelines for interviews. Instead, Arrington stands in a studio and reads a teleprompter. Inserted right behind her head this week was a huge Subway Fresh 600 race logo. To her left was an "old school" video box with moving animation elements. That wasn't the best part.

This on-air look was ultimately tied together with a superimposed background image of a wall of tan and orange bricks from the top of the screen to the bottom. It looked like Arrington could have been standing in the halftime line for the ladies room at the Rose Bowl.

This new weekly version of Totally NASCAR is filled with repurposed footage from SPEED. Arrington actually introduces chunks of programming taken straight from that network. SPEED logos were still in the corner of the screen when Totally NASCAR re-aired Greg Biffle's recent interview from Race Hub. It made absolutely no sense to see it again.

Mike Joy, Darrel Waltrip and Larry McReynolds provided a PIR preview piece for the show that was recorded in the FOX booth at Martinsville. Randy Pemberton was the brightspot of this week's program, speaking directly with Arrington from the Race Hub set at SPEED about NASCAR topics.

FSN Arizona reporter Jody Jackson was at the track and spoke with PIR president Bryan Sperber on the show. Jackson pushed the integrated agendas of FOX and PIR. That included the SPEED Cantina at the track and assuring fans that despite earlier start times, there would still be racing under the lights on FOX.

Arrington is not a NASCAR fan and it shows. Despite the amateur look of the show, the overall purpose seems to be simply to promote the FOX races and SPEED programs over the FSN regional networks.

I am told that Totally NASCAR is produced in Los Angeles. Why? FOX recently spent a pretty penny to build the SPEED HD Studios in Charlotte, NC. Ironically, not only is most of the repurposed content from SPEED, but most of it was produced at the new studios.

Bringing Totally NASCAR back to Charlotte would make a lot of sense. SPEED could extend its network brand across the FOX regional sports networks using someone directly associated with the sport. Arrington loses a lot in translation, despite her professionalism.

Right now, SPEED is rich in terms of on-air talent. Personalities like Byrnes, Voda and John Roberts all got their start when Totally NASCAR gave them a chance. It might be nice to let another hardworking TV personality and production team step-in and get this series back on the right track.

Have you seen Totally NASCAR this season? What do you think of the host and the format? Share your opinion with us by clicking 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 The Daly Planet.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

ESPN Pushes The NASCAR Reset Button

The Worldwide Leader had run out of options. After stepping back into the sport in 2007, ESPN had run up a long list of spectacular failures in almost all areas of NASCAR television for three straight seasons.

Studio shows, Nationwide Series races, NASCAR on SportsCenter, the Chase for the Championship, it didn't really matter. The NASCAR on ESPN effort had been one of the most significant sports television failures in the thirty year history of the company.

Names like Erik Kuselias, Brent Musburger, Tim Cowlishaw and Suzy Kolber only serve to make veteran fans shake their heads. Last season, things were in such disarray that ESPN actually telecast several races without anyone in the play-by-play role. Four color analysts just sat around talking. ESPN called it "Backseat Drivers." It was some of the most embarrassing NASCAR television coverage in history.

The darkest point in 2009 came during the Chase. The meltdown of Jerry Punch was complete. The pit reporters were lost. The Director alternated between the leader of the race and Jimmie Johnson. Tim Brewer continued to talk about shocks and tires as if TV viewers had just landed from Mars. The fans were screaming, NASCAR was screaming and the TV ratings were horrible.

From the start of this TV contract in 2007, the new ESPN motorsports programming and production executives had sought to mold NASCAR to ABC/Disney's own agenda. The production executive came from the X Games franchise, while the programming representative had been managing the BASS programming and ESPN Outdoors.

Music videos, fancy graphics and in-house announcers from other sports were imported to NASCAR. Disney movies, recording artists and other ESPN TV shows were featured in NASCAR programs. Who can forget live X Games interviews and promo's from the Infield Pit Studio with NASCAR racecars zooming by in the background at full speed.

The result of this approach was an immediate alienation of the fan base. NASCAR had been doing just fine without ESPN for a decade. Now, the network had returned and suddenly ESPN wanted to be the show. NASCAR often seemed to simply be in the way.

Ultimately, there was only one way to solve these problems. That was to look to the past. Before the angry split, NASCAR and ESPN had a rich history of cooperation and growth. This season, ESPN has slowly pushed itself back in time to rediscover the roots of that success. At the core of this effort are some familiar names and faces.

The lead voice on pit road now belongs to Dr. Jerry Punch. Back where he belongs, Punch sounds every bit like the excited and informed reporter that fans had come to know in the 1980's. Punch's return this season has raised the level of pit road reporting from the entire ESPN team. The fan reaction has been wonderful.

Cool and collected is the presence of Allen Bestwick on TV. After quietly moving up from pit road, Bestwick established himself as the island of calm in the middle of ESPN's NASCAR storm. Last season, Bestwick put this franchise on his back and did most of the heavy lifting. At times, his infield role seemed to be putting the pieces of a shattered telecast back together for the viewers. Now, that has all changed.

With Punch back on pit road and Bestwick anchoring from the infield, attention turned to the broadcast booth. When that door swung open, Marty Reid walked in. No one has had a bigger effect on ESPN's NASCAR coverage than Reid. Suddenly, the excitement is back and what is happening on the track is the focus of the telecast.

This alignment of Reid, Punch and Bestwick has served to cement a foundation that NASCAR on ESPN has never enjoyed until now. As a result, the supporting cast of characters has slowly come alive this season. These changes must be such a relief to many of them.

Dale Jarret is finally free to be an analyst with the burden of helping Punch call the race now lifted. The same is true for Andy Petree, who can finally focus on race strategy and information. This season will also see Rusty Wallace, Ricky Craven, Randy LaJoie and Ray Evernham make their way through the broadcast booth.

In a very smart move, ESPN will also put Dave Burns and Vince Welch at the helm of one Nationwide Series telecast to see what they can bring to the table in the play by play role. Speculation is that ESPN may split broadcast teams when the network begins to cover both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races.

For the first time in a long time, ESPN looks like it is putting all the pieces in place to rebuild the coverage of the sport. Reid returns in Phoenix on Friday night with Wallace and Petree alongside in the booth. After an outstanding effort in Nashville, ESPN could be poised to keep the momentum going in the desert.

We welcome 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 The Daly Planet.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter Sunday!

Some time for reflection and family before we return to our day-to-day lives. Hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Live Blogging Nationwide Series In Nashville, TN (ESPN - 3:30PM)

Saturday afternoon brings a Nationwide Series race to ESPN. The series is in Nashville, TN as part of a doubleheader weekend also featuring the Camping World Truck Series. The truck race took place on Friday night.

Allen Bestwick will kick-off the coverage with the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show from the Infield Pit Studio at 3:30PM ET. Joining Bestwick will be Dale Jarrett and Brad Daugherty. Rusty Wallace has the weekend off.

Jarrett will them move up to the broadcast booth. Marty Reid will be calling the race and with Andy Petree also off this weekend it will be Ricky Craven moving to the analyst position for the first time. The team on pit road will be Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch, Jamie Little and Dave Burns.

Reid has brought a new energy to the ESPN presentations. Jarrett has come alive and having Craven in the booth should bring yet another new wrinkle. Friday, the truck race quickly transformed into the high dollar teams pulling away from the mom and pop teams. It wound up being a boring affair.

Over the last two years, the Nationwide Series has also been a case of two different groups. The "regulars" slug it out trying to make a living while the teams connected with Sprint Cup Series owners or drivers run up front and rule the day.

Nashville has the potential to allow ESPN to tell the full story of the race or once again just concentrate on the Sprint Cup Series drivers who are "stepping down" to play in the Nationwide ranks.

This is a fast track and rain early on Saturday has washed most of the rubber off from the track surface. Weather may also play a part in the race itself. Either way, the Nationwide Series gets the spotlight on this weekend.

This post will serve to host your comments on the Nationwide Series coverage on ESPN. 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 drop by The Daly Planet.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Live Blogging Truck Series In Nashville On SPEED (7:30PM ET)

Live Blog: Due to the holiday weekend, there has been very little website traffic. Instead of a new post for the trucks Friday night, we will use this post for live blog comments on the TV coverage from SPEED. Thanks, everyone!

Coming off a great showing in Martinvsille, the Camping World Truck Series gets some primetime exposure on SPEED Friday night in Nashville. After almost eight straight hours of the Palm Beach Barrett-Jackson auto auction, the trucks get on the air at 7:30PM ET.

Krista Voda will host The Setup pre-race show with Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander reporting. At 8PM, coverage will move up to the broadcast booth for Rick Allen, Michael Waltrip and Phil Parsons to call the race.

It seems a bit ironic that as Darrell Waltrip continues to struggle on FOX with the Sprint Cup Series telecasts, his younger brother Michael has developed into a solid third member of the SPEED truck series TV team.

With the Waltrips, the real challenge often seems to be getting them to say less and allow others to contribute more. Michael got the message. Instead of talking over Parsons and letting his enthusiasm get in the way of Allen calling the race, the younger Waltrip has found his niche.

Working for Showtime this season may have helped. On the Inside NASCAR series, Waltrip has to dress like an adult and talk like one. These days, when Waltrip looks around on the studio set he sees Brad Daugherty, Randy Pemberton and Chris Myers staring right back at him.

In Martinsville, the truck series was produced for the fans. Stories were followed, racing was featured and the no-nonsense approach that has become a hallmark of this production team was on display. Point the cameras and let the drivers do the rest.

There is no "Ole DW" this weekend. No Hollywood Hotel, Slice of Pizzi or Digger. SPEED and ESPN share a weekend without the big boys and all their toys. That may be perfect timing.

Fans will get Rick Allen's energy on Friday night and then the veteran enthusiasm of ESPN's Marty Reid on Saturday. With Mike Joy taking a decidedly lower-key approach to this Sprint Cup Series season, it should be fun to have play-by-play announcers that can get things perking in a hurry on the air.

SPEED gets to follow-up on the Sauter vs. Hornaday incident, which suddenly seems to be all the rage among TV networks. As an added treat on Friday night, the CWTS field also features Steven Wallace, hard-nosed Donny Lia and Brad Keselowski. Once again, the trucks have the potential to be the best racing of the weekend.

TDP will be live blogging this race on Friday night. Please feel free to give us your comments right here on what you think of the CWTS coverage on SPEED this season. 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!