Monday, May 31, 2010

TNT Begins 2010 Sprint Cup Series Coverage

This season TNT arrives on the NASCAR scene with new faces, lots of online technology and a million dollar challenge. As you might have surmised, the network is pulling out all the stops to get fans back to the TV for what has traditionally been a tough summer stretch.

Click here to review the big TNT story. In what amounts to a pleasant surprise, the network selected veteran SPEED reporter Adam Alexander to provide the play-by-play coverage this season. Pit reporter Ralph Sheheen stepped-in last year after the network parted ways with announcer Bill Weber.

Sheheen will be returning to his pit reporter role along with Matt Yocum and Marty Snider. One personality not returning to pit road is Lindsay Czarniak, who is pictured above. TNT's own Marc Fein is now working on other assignments for the network, so Czarniak will move to the host position on the famous TNT infield stage.

Czarniak will anchor from "the rig" with Kyle Petty and Larry McReynolds for the pre-race show. This year that program will be one hour long. TNT's mobile stage is built around a one-piece commercial truck frame and drives from race to race. The stage can rotate 360 degrees and elevate another seven feet above the frame of the truck. With one push of a button, the entire crew can find themselves 26 feet above the ground.

Petty will move up to the booth with Alexander and returning veteran Wally Dallenbach Jr. for the races. There is no personality on the TNT team with a more curious presence than Dallenbach. A sports car racer who moved to NASCAR in 1991, Dallenbach had no Sprint Cup Series wins in ten seasons when he turned to TV in 2001 after failing to find sponsorship to race. His only remaining connection to NASCAR is TNT's six race package.

While TNT will again offer its "wide open" coverage at Daytona, the highlight for many technology-starved NASCAR fans is RaceBuddy. Pictured above is the Broadcast Slate 3000 integrated production system. This piece of equipment is located in the TV compound. It takes the camera feeds from the TV truck and converts them into an online video stream that provides the multiple sources for RaceBuddy.

The website offers the RaceBuddy application free for all six TNT races. In addition to the multiple video and audio feeds which fans control, there is another bonus. RaceBuddy users have their own pit reporter. Jim Noble, a PRN veteran, will work the TNT races and interact directly with RaceBuddy users both on-camera and through live social media chat.

Every season TNT selects a music theme and this year "TNT" from AC/DC made the cut. This classic tune will serve as what is called the "primary music bed." That means it will be heard on the opening of the races, the music "bumps" into commercials and on the race promo's in other programming.

Finally, TNT has a nice little contest brewing on the website that does not feature NCAA basketball brackets. Because there are official rules, here is the TNT explanation:

Fans will have the chance to select the drivers they think will be the top 10 finishers in each TNT race. Should a fan correctly select the top ten finishing drivers in their proper finishing order, the fan could win up to $1 million (if more than one fan selects the correct finishing lineup, they will equally share the million dollar prize). The game will open for upcoming races on the Wednesday after each previous raceday and will not close until 25% of the present week’s race is complete, allowing participants to change their line-ups for a portion of the race. Fans have six chances to win as they can pick the top 10 finishers for all six of TNT’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.

It should be fun to watch the TNT races as the network comes in with new faces in new places and lots of interactive technology for fans. We will also be following the fan challenge to see if someone can walk off with a million dollars. The first telecast is next Sunday, June 6 at 12PM ET from Pocono, PA.

Your Turn: 2010 NASCAR On FOX Races

The Sprint Cup Series coverage from Charlotte wrapped-up the 2010 season for the NASCAR on FOX gang. This is the tenth year FOX has covered the sport.

Chris Myers anchored from the Hollywood Hotel. Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond joined him. There was no Slice of Pizzi feature.

Mike Joy handled the play-by-play with Waltrip and Jeff Hammond. On pit road were Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum, Krista Voda and Dick Berggren.

FOX used the formula featured this season that uses very tight camera shots of one or two cars mixed with in-car cameras and some low angle speed-shots. Several times the announcers were asking for coverage of an incident and the director was slow to respond. This included on-track accidents and pit road incidents.

The pictures and sound were fine. FOX has been super this year from a technical standpoint. Graphic look was fine and there were no music issues. Digger was not used and there were no long movie promo's played over the action.

On this post we are asking for your comments on the Charlotte race and the FOX season in general. There has been quite a discussion on this topic since February and this is a good time for a summary.

To add your comments on the NASCAR on FOX topic, 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.

Remembering Those Who Served

The world is a difficult and dangerous place. So often, we take for granted the freedom that we enjoy here at home. On this Memorial Day, we take time to honor those who paid the ultimate price in defense of our county, beliefs and way of life.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Live Blogging Sprint Cup Series In Charlotte (5PM - FOX)

The second half of the motorsports doubleheader is next with the Sprint Cup Series racing in Charlotte. This is the last race for the NASCAR on FOX team.

Chris Myers will start the coverage from the Hollywood Hotel. Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond will be alongside. It is a one-hour version of the pre-race show. This has been one of the parts of the FOX coverage that has struggled. So often, the real stories of the race are not told and the hype, promo and sponsor agendas are put before the NASCAR news.

It should be interesting to see what content FOX chooses to include today. There are NASCAR stories like the Gibbs team feud, the Memorial Day festivities involving the military and the FOX agendas of promoting other sports programming.

Mike Joy will end his TV run with this telecast, but Darrell Waltrip will join SPEED's RaceDay show and Larry McReynolds will move to the infield for the TNT races. Waltrip will fill-in for Kyle Petty over the next six events.

FOX has the strongest team of pit reporters. Steve Byrnes, Krista Voda, Dick Berggren and Matt Yocum have been once again underused this season. Instead of being a big part of the overall telecast, Waltrip and McReynolds have again been featured.

If the FOX director begins this telecast with tight shots of one or two cars, the viewers will head for the exits. 600 miles needs a presentation that makes sense for five hours. That is not random shots of cars while the announcers play catch-up.

No one knows what will unfold in Charlotte between potential weather issues, feuding teammates and COT's with aero issues. The role of TV is to tell the stories as they unfold and let the TV viewers experience the race as if they are at the track.

Good luck to all of the NASCAR on FOX team with their final telecast of the season.

This post will serve to host your comments about the NASCAR on FOX coverage of the Sprint Cup Series from Charlotte. 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. Thank you for stopping by!

NASCAR's Conflicting Media Morality Issues

This week, emails arrived on two very different topics. First, the folks at Showtime were promoting the fact that Richard Petty was going to be the featured guest on Inside NASCAR. They also wanted to make sure and remind us that the scanner audio used on the show was uncensored.

Secondly, the Charlotte Motor Speedway announced the line-up of dignitaries for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday. The invocation before the race will be delivered by none other than Dr. James Dobson, pictured above. Dobson is the founder of the non-profit Focus on the Family organization. He was called "the nation's most influential evangelical leader" by Time magazine.

Shortly after Showtime posted a video "teaser" of Petty's exclusive Inside NASCAR interview online, the fan anger started again. It centers around the fact that NASCAR fans must subscribe to Showtime just to see this one TV series. There are some rather compelling reasons to discuss that topic.

Dobson fits into the conservative slice of the NASCAR pie, but pushes the envelope with his hardline views on issues like child discipline, religious tolerance and homosexuality. Dobson attracts religious controversy like a magnet.

Inside NASCAR was the first time a TV series was produced by the NASCAR Media Group for a premium network. "Partnering with a brand such as Showtime for a high-end weekly NASCAR magazine news show in primetime is big news for our fans going into a brand new season," said NMG executive Jay Abraham back in January.

Among the other Showtime series is The Secret Diary of a Call Girl that follows the adventures of a high-priced London escort. A reality show called The Real L Word is new this season. It documents the lives of successful lesbians who live in the Los Angeles area. Series like Dexter, the Tudors and Californication are quite familiar to Showtime viewers for a lot more than just catchy titles.

Asking fans to sign-up for Showtime just to see Inside NASCAR avoids the entire issue of adult-oriented programs, including those based on homosexual themes, being on the very same channel. You can't order Inside NASCAR without Family Business being delivered as well.

Dobson also co-founded the Family Research Council back in the 1980's with a man named George Rekers. Many considered Rekers, Dobson and a Colorado pastor named Ted Haggard to be the leading anti-gay activists in the country for years. Then, things changed. Click here to read an article about Rekers and a recent vacation.

It was back in 2006 when the married Haggard admitted to a multi-year homosexual relationship with a male prostitute. He then resigned as the national leader of the evangelical movement. Rekers also resigned but denies he is gay, despite the fact that his vacation companion was hired through a website featuring gay escorts. Haggard now says he is "cured" of his homosexuality and is growing a new Christian ministry in Colorado with his wife.

Showtime's email reminder to the media after last weekend's race was that moments like Kyle Busch calling Denny Hamlin a motherf***er over the team radio could be heard on the Wednesday Inside NASCAR show.

Chris Myers, Brad Daugherty, Randy Pemberton and Michael Waltrip may be the faces on camera, but uncensored scanner traffic is now an important part of the program. Profanity on cable TV to promote stock car racing. That's a new concept.

Smack dab in the middle of this muddled morality mess sits NASCAR.

Dobson in Charlotte surrounded by military heroes on Memorial Day weekend while leading NASCAR fans in prayer on national TV is a de facto stamp of approval by the sport for his teachings and beliefs.

Kyle Busch's profanity-laced tirade and other adult language from teams and drivers is now routinely heard in a TV series being produced by NASCAR at the Hall of Fame studios in Charlotte, NC.

Inside NASCAR is on a TV network that also currently features Zack and Miri Make a Porno, The 2010 Adult Video News Awards and Busty Cops Go Hawaiian.

The late Rev. Hal Marchman used to end the Daytona 500 invocation with the words "Shalom and Amen." Although Marchman was a Baptist, he often said that he tried to accommodate all faiths. "I don't ever pray a Baptist prayer or a Catholic prayer -- we're all God's children," Marchman said.

It should be interesting to hear Dobson's invocation on Sunday and then watch Inside NASCAR on Wednesday. Unless Dobson chooses to spice things up quite a bit, he does not stand a chance of making Showtime's NASCAR highlights.

We welcome your comments on the topics above. 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.

Live Blogging Indy 500 (12PM - ABC)

Every year we live blog the Indy 500 because there is simply nothing else like it. Over the past several years the event has seen its ups and downs, but this year the race has come roaring back into the global spotlight.

ABC goes on the air at 12PM ET with a fast-paced one hour pre-race show. Unlike NASCAR, this program is actively coordinated with IndyCar and contains several elements including live driver introductions.

Here is what ESPN put out to the media about the coverage:

Brent Musburger hosts the telecast, while Marty Reid will call the race with analysis by former IZOD IndyCar Series star Scott Goodyear and 1998 Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever. Reporting from the pits will be Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch.

ESPN will use 59 cameras to televise the race fully in high definition, including a 360-degree rotating onboard camera mounted behind the driver on multiple cars. Unique views will be provided by Track Cam, a high definition camera running on a cable over pit road and the frontstretch that can move at more than 80 mph. All 33 cars will carry GPS boxes for the Sportvision RaceFX system to provide telemetry and pointers to help identify the cars for viewers. And ESPN will use a radio replay system that can record, playback and edit radios from any of the 33 drivers.

The one-hour pre-race show will include interviews with many of the 33 starting drivers as well as special features, including a look at the up-and-down past year of polesitter and defending race winner Helio Castroneves, from beating tax evasion charges to winning Indy to becoming a father. Ryan Hunter-Reay is featured in an ESPN Sports Science piece comparing driving an IndyCar to flying a fighter jet and drivers who have and have not won at Indy talk about the Blueprint for Success at the famous track. ABC Good Morning America host Robin Roberts, the pace car driver for the Indy 500, conducted a unique sit-down interview with Danica Patrick that will appear both on GMA and in the pre-race show and another feature looks back on ABC’s 46 years at Indy with on-camera interviews with some of the iconic announcers who were part of the history. The telecast also will include a Memorial Day tribute salute to veterans.

ESPN International’s networks and syndication of the Indy 500 will reach more than 252 million households. In addition, U.S. troops serving overseas and on Navy vessels around the world will watch via a broadcast agreement between ESPN and the American Forces Network, bringing the total to 213 countries and territories.

How about that for an attention-getter? ESPN's NASCAR team plays a prominent role in this special live event. Punch returning to Indy for the first time in many years is a great story. Marty Reid has also been putting in solid work on the NASCAR trail and he is tuned-up for this one.

Indy is a mix of strategy, luck and skill. Racing is done on the straightaways and simple mistakes can cause disaster in the corners. Translating this to TV has always been a challenge. Wideshots down the straights have served to be the most efficient camera angle for decades. Restarts in this series often tell the tale.

This post will serve to host your comments about the ABC coverage of the Indy 500. 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.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Live Blogging Nationwide Series in Charlotte (2PM ET - ABC)

This Memorial Day weekend is busy for motorsports. ABC will televise both the Indy 500 and today's race.

Nicole Briscoe will host the pre-race and anchor from the Infield Pit Center for the NASCAR on ESPN gang in Charlotte. She will be joined by Dale Jarrett and Brad Daugherty. I am told that there may be a special guest as well. The telecast starts at 2PM ET.

Dale Jarrett will be moving up to the broadcast booth where he will be joining Allen Bestwick and Andy Petree. Marty Smith is in Indy working that race on Sunday.

Also in Indy are Jerry Punch, Jamie Little and Vince Welch. That puts Mike Massaro, Shannon Spake and Dave Burns on pit road for the Charlotte Nationwide Series race. Yes, Tim Brewer will also be on-site in the Tech Garage.

ESPN has come along way and this weekend has the potential to be electric. Stories are unfolding in this series as the Sprint Cup drivers are going to be racing in front of the hometown crowd in cars that are intended only to win. No point battles, just racing for the top spot in front of family and friends.

The weather is good, the camera placement is outstanding and SPEED has already shown the Nationwide cars are flying on the track this weekend. This should be fun.

This post will host your comments about the ABC/ESPN coverage of the Nationwide Series from Charlotte. 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 for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thursday On SPEED Means All Day TV

This is the week where the action on the track starts Thursday. The Charlotte Motor Speedway is quiet on Friday while the World of Outlaws races Sprint Cars across the street at the dirt track.

SPEED starts Thursday day at 2PM with Mike Joy and Nationwide Series practice. The duo of Hermie Sadler and Jeff Hammond has been fun to listen to this this season as they called these sessions. Sadler has come a long way since he first began his part-time TV career and Hammond did a stellar job on the Hall of Fame show in a reporter category.

3:30PM brings the NASCAR on FOX team as they enter the final weekend of coverage for that network in 2010. This season, it will only be Mike Joy who takes a break after the Charlotte weekend. Darrell Waltrip is replacing Kyle Petty for the six RaceDay shows on SPEED this summer while Petty works for TNT.

As most NASCAR fans know, Larry McReynolds is one of the hardest working guys on TV. He continues with SPEED hosting NASCAR Performance and appearing on the Trackside program. McReynolds will once again be with the TNT team from the infield appearing on the pre-race show and providing race strategy and a crew chief perspective.

Sadler and Hammond are back at 5PM for final Nationwide Series practice before Joy and his team return with the featured TV of the night. Sprint Cup Series qualifying from under the lights at CMS begins at 7PM ET.

There is no Race Hub on SPEED Thursday, but there is a late night version of NASCAR Now airing at 1:30AM Eastern, 10:30PM Pacific time.

Here are some other TV/media notes:

Eric Shanks, a 38 year-old TV veteran and current VP at DirecTV has been named the new president of FOX Sports. Ed Goren, the 65 year-old former president, will move up to the Vice Chairman role and help Chairman David Hill with larger projects. Many remember Shanks as being the originator of the NFL Red Zone on DirecTV. He also worked at FOX and CBS in sports production roles.

Driver Tim Brown was on Sirius Wednesday and said that SPEED was going to be airing the Madhouse TV series that was seen on The History Channel. SPEED responded to TDP with the information that some talks have been ongoing with History, but at this time there has been no agreement reached and there is nothing to report.

TNT recently announced a new million dollar challenge that will take place over the network's six races. Coordinated through the website, viewers can take a guess at the top ten finishing drivers in each race and if anyone matches all ten there is a million dollar prize waiting for them. Not a bad contest for the slow and traditionally rather sleepy TNT races.

Friday's TV will feature the big Speed Street celebration in downtown Charlotte. This is where Trackside has visited for years. That show airs at 7PM and leads into the big World of Outlaws race also on SPEED. The downtown Charlotte venue is memorable for Elliott Sadler's stage dive and for the panel getting rather tongue-tied with the appearance of singer Kellie Pickler.

Happy to take your comments on these topics below. 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 stopping by.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday Media Notes (Updated)

As we approach the holiday weekend, here are some topics and notes that folks have been asking about:

Update #1: SPEED tells us that Casey Mears is going to be the featured guest on Race Hub tonight at 7:30PM. He will update info on the health of his friend Brian Vickers and also talk about his feelings at getting the Red Bull ride because of the Vickers health issue. Steve Byrnes hosts tonight's show.

Update #2: David Caraviello from passes along an amazing motorsports story. Formula 1 is returning to the United States and this time, it's coming to Texas. Click here to read the entire story. Here is an excerpt:

Formula One World Championship Limited and Formula One Administration Limited (together, the F1 Commercial Rights Holder) and Full Throttle Productions, LP, promoter of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™, announce that a historic agreement has been reached for Austin, Texas to serve as the host city of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ for years 2012 through 2021.

Brent Musburger will return to host the Indy 500. Jerry Punch also returns to anchor the pit road coverage for the first time in many years. Marty Reid calls the race with Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever alongside. Vince Welch, Rick DeBruhl and Jamie Little round-out the pit road team. 59 cameras, including the cable cam that runs down the frontstretch at 80mph and is great for restarts.

Because Marty Reid is in Indy, Allen Bestwick will step-in and call the Nationwide Series race on Saturday with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Nicole Briscoe will host the pre-race with Jarrett and Brad Daugherty. Dave Burns, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will handle the pit road reporting duties.

The popular NASCAR Now program is not on at 5PM this week. French Open tennis coverage pushes the original airing back to 10PM Pacific, 1AM Eastern Time. Mike Massaro is hosting the late night show.

SPEED's Race Hub has returned to thirty minutes in length. The network is still working on a new Monday night line-up as well as deciding if Race Hub should be one hour in length. We should know more shortly.

The Hall of Fame coverage was a huge hit. Controlled and well organized, we have had many emails asking if the same production team will now be involved in the Sprint Cup Series banquet. We will keep you posted.

More updates added throughout the day, open for your comments as always.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hall Of Fame Induction Changes Sport Forever

There are few first-time things left in NASCAR. The sport is in a familiar groove that pushes the athletes to repeat rather than innovate. The monkey business and the colorful characters are gone. Now the questions are how many races won, how many championships and how many millions of dollars have been made.

Over the past four seasons, the NASCAR TV contract has left a huge hole in the sport. Gone were the retrospective TV shows that fans remember from the TNN and old ESPN days. The sight of gray-haired men telling tall tales was replaced with flashy video editing, young corporate spokesmen and lots of sponsor hype.

As media technology evolved, it focused us on the future and left the NASCAR past a mess of videotape cases, reels of film and graying still pictures. The legacy of the sport was scattered throughout North America. It lived in boxes in the attic, film canisters in the basement and photo albums covered in dust.

The movement to establish a NASCAR Hall of Fame came long before tough economic times hit the country. It came on a heels of the lucrative TV contract and high hopes for continued growth. Today, it seems like that decision may have served an even higher purpose.

Charlotte, NC was the right place for the building. Cooperating with the downtown development folks was the right thing to do. Companies and major events can now look at the Queen City with a new eye toward conventions, trade shows and technology. The ability to take a business group to the Hall of Fame may seal many a deal.

While a flashy building and a new office tower is nice, the character of the Hall would be defined by the very people who built the sport in the first place. Without the active participation of the NASCAR pioneers, the entire project was doomed to failure.

When the call went out from historian Buz McKim, the NASCAR pioneers answered. Suddenly, things that had been destined to remain private forever emerged to a most public reception. From out of the barns, basements and attics of America emerged the cornerstone of a sport that had become larger than anyone had ever imagined.

McKim and his staff were three years in the process. Vintage pictures, amateur movies and early videotaped interviews were part of the process. Away from the track, a big slice of the NASCAR pie involves radio and television.

It was the original power of live TV pictures that changed the sport forever. From Daytona race coverage on CBS to the first cable TV exposure on ESPN, TNN and TBS there was no doubt that the electronic media was going to be the vehicle that delivered the sport to a broader audience.

Ultimately, radio and television will again play an active role in the sport through activities at the Hall. It will be the interactive exhibits that continue to tell the story of the origins or organized stock car racing. It will be the TV shows, radio broadcasts and specials produced about the Hall that will get the message out.

The picture above is Mike Massaro and Rusty Wallace as ESPN's NASCAR Now show originated from the Hall on Sunday morning. SPEED will be on the air 12PM ET through 4PM with the arrival of the inductees, the induction ceremony and a review of the activities.

We will use this post for your comments on the TV coverage of the Hall of Fame inductions. 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 taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Live Blogging The All-Star Night From CMS (7PM - SPEED)

This is the only night where Sprint Cup Series cars race on SPEED. The network carried the Gatorade Duels in February, but the All-Star race is the big deal.

Since this is not on FOX, it will be Krista Voda hosting the telecast from the Hollywood Hotel with Jeff Hammond and Darrell Waltrip. Once things get underway, Waltrip will join Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds in the broadcast booth for the coverage.

One big challenge of the evening is keeping viewers informed of the format and the schedule of the various events. So many things are very different in this win or crash style of format.

Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum and Dr. Dick Berggren are covering pit road and will have the tall task of trying to explain the wildly varied strategies that teams use in this event. Pit road has always been a very interesting place on this night.

Joy has been dealing with a very emotional Waltrip this season on TV. From his amazing outburst at Daytona during the final laps through his flip-flops on issues concerning race winners and strategy, Waltrip seems to be trying to please everyone. That just does not work on TV.

On this night, action happens quickly and there are usually several stories in progress at once. It will be tough to continue to use the very tight single and double car shots mixed with in-car cams that has become the NASCAR on FOX trademark.

Voda's star is on the rise with SPEED and FOX. Her performance tonight on a very big stage may go a long way toward determining what her future brings. The FOX head honcho David Hill is now also in charge at SPEED. It should be interesting to see if Voda eventually heads onto having a presence in other high-profile events on FOX.

This post will serve to host your comments on the All-Star coverage on SPEED. 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 dropping by.

Live Blogging "NASCAR RaceDay" On SPEED

We have the three hour version of RaceDay on SPEED today. John Roberts leads the on-air team with Kenny Wallace and Kyle Petty on his panel. Hermie Sadler and Wendy Venturini are the infield reporters. In this extended show, other SPEED personalities including Jimmy Spencer will appear.

This is a big deal for SPEED today. The All-Star race is really the highest profile event on the network. While SPEED also televises the Gatorade Duels in February, the All-Star race is the network's only Sprint Cup Series race.

This post will serve to host your comments about RaceDay during the show. 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.

"NASCAR Now" At The Hall Of Fame

Just going to take a minute to tip the cap to ESPN2's NASCAR Now TV series. This show has come a long way in four years and has now reached an entirely new level.

Mike Massaro hosted with Ricky Craven and Greg Biffle alongside from the Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC. Marty Smith and Shannon Spake were the reporters. Many other NASCAR on ESPN personalities were featured in soundbites on various topics throughout the show.

The program featured a tremendous amount of features and updates on topics from the All-Star race to the Hall of Fame inductions. Ryan McGee profiled Richard Petty as ESPN wrapped-up the inductee features.

A new weekend series is profiling interesting NASCAR fans. This weekend, deaf NASCAR fans at the track were profiled in a feature that focused on Ann Howell-Davis. Click here to see her Facebook page. This was just the type of inspiring and informative feature that NASCAR needs to get fans back to the sport.

If you watched this show, leave us a comment. Thanks to NASCAR's Ramsey Poston for the image.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Truck Series Finally On SPEED

Tonight was supposed to bring the Camping World Truck Series race on SPEED as the big conclusion to an All-Star day. Instead, rain interrupted the final cars of the Sprint Cup qualifying and has delayed the truck race.

Update #2 - Krista Vode on the air with the pre-race at 9:30PM, so expect trucks racing around 10PM live on SPEED from CMS.

We will continue to post updates, but as of 7PM ET we are told the rain is coming down harder then before. Sorry folks, stay tuned to SPEED for schedule updates.

Update #1 - Now told the rain has stopped and the jet dryers are working the track. Should be 9:30PM ET at least before the track is dry.

SPEED's Favorite NASCAR TV Friday

The new SPEED studios are right down the street from the Charlotte Motor Speedway. On this Friday, the Nationwide Series cars are packed away and the spotlight is shining on the only motorsports cable TV network in North America.

9AM ET starts the day with CWTS practice. SPEED is on the air until 11:30PM when Trackside ends the 14.5 hours of continuous NASCAR programming.

This day at CMS is notorious for getting off schedule and having weird circumstances happen. This is especially true for the Sprint Showdown and All-Star qualifying session scheduled for 5PM. There are always twists and turns at CMS, even without the presence of Humpy Wheeler. Instead, it will be Bruton Smith's son Marcus, pictured above, who will be running the show at the track.

We are going to open this post for your TV-related comments as the day rolls on. Any news updates or changes to the schedule will also be posted here. Feel free to comment on SPEED's Friday offerings by clicking the comments button below.

You can follow live updates on Twitter at or search The Daly Planet on Facebook for our fan page with exclusive pics. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

TV Special Tonight: 8PM ET On SPEED

The program titled Storytellers tonight on SPEED at 8PM ET is live coverage of the Hall of Fame dinner from Charlotte, NC.

You might recognize the young man in the middle of the picture above. His name is Mike Joy. He will be hosting the telecast with Larry McReynolds. Randy Pemberton and Steve Byrnes are handling the arrivals and red carpet interviews with the various NASCAR personalities.

Krista Voda will be handling the onstage introductions, including a presentation from NASCAR Chairman Brian France. Allen Bestwick will be chatting with NASCAR personalities including Jim Hunter and Tom Higgins.

This first time event is only going to happen once. It should be fun to watch. The program will re-air at 11PM Pacific Time. Thanks to SPEED for the coverage.

Chris Myers: When Sports And Politics Collide

We have always tried to remain focused on the TV and media personalities within the sport as they engage in NASCAR-related issues. Normally, that is easy because most of them are working fulltime in NASCAR and traveling all season.

Chris Myers is the ten-year host of the Hollywood Hotel. He was there in the glory days of "DW and Hammond" and he has experienced the current struggles of the NASCAR on FOX team with tough TV ratings and reviews.

Over the last two decades, Myers has proven himself to be a versatile broadcaster, interviewer and host. This year, Myers began working on Inside NASCAR for Showtime. That is the program that features Brad Daugherty, Randy Pemberton and Michael Waltrip in a weekly roundtable discussion. The reviews have been good.

Myers recently filled-in for Dan Patrick on his radio show. This program is also available through online streaming, which expands the audience well beyond the traditional radio consumers. The Dan Patrick Show is officially carried on FOX Sports Radio stations.

Before we link to what Myers said that caused a stir, here is the statement from Myers' boss Ed Goren about the issue. Goren is the president of FOX Sports.

"There will be internal discussions even though it didn't occur on our (TV) network," Goren said. "I don't think it's appropriate for any sportscaster to be discussing politics, religion, etc. And that point is made in every one of our seminars from NASCAR to football." (from

Basically, what Goren is saying is that in some high-profile sports media roles it is a lot smarter to stick to sports topics. This is especially true when working on a sports-themed TV or radio program. Political issues are a whole different slice of the media pie. Certainly, a slice that can move the discussion in a very different direction in a hurry.

Here are three links on the topic. One from a leading sports blog, one from the website that got Goren on the phone and one from a local New Orleans media member.

Chris Myers Not A Fan Of Katrina Victims or Lazy Immigrants: 5/17 from

There Will Be Internal Discussion with Myers: 5/19 from

Hey, Chris Myers - I Got Your Rooftop Right Here: 5/18 from

In framing his comments about recent flood relief efforts in Tennessee, Myers stepped outside of his role for FOX as a sports host and related his personal political views on a variety of subjects. All of this quickly opened a familiar door.

On one hand, Myers has the right to believe and say whatever he wants. On the other hand, those offended by his words and views can now associate FOX Sports, the Dan Patrick Show and even NASCAR on FOX with this issue. That is what Goren related in his remarks above. There is a correct time and place for everything.

Needless to say, TDP got all kinds of email from all kinds of folks. Those who are upset by this incident and those who want to confirm Myers' words as being totally correct both have access to the Internet. This hornet's nest of politics was stirred-up on a sports radio show by a FOX and Showtime employee filling-in for a friend.

Perhaps, next time Myers will pay just a little more attention in those FOX seminars. This time, he got neither the time or the place correct.

We welcome your comment on this issue. We are not asking for your political views, but your opinion on Myers mixing sports and politics while guest hosting a popular sports radio show. To add your media-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Is Tape-Delayed On SPEED

Update: Please use this post to offer your opinions of the Pit Crew Challenge on SPEED.

The Sprint Pit Crew Challenge tonight in Charlotte has three times to remember. The early behind-the-scenes activity began at 4:30PM. The doors opened to the public for the competition at 7PM. Finally, the same day tape-delayed TV show aired on SPEED at 9PM.

This situation may be familiar to some, as this was discussed last year with all the same questions being asked. The actual competition is made for the fans in the stands, not for TV. In order to get a TV program that makes sense for viewers, SPEED and the NASCAR Media Group have to re-organize and edit some portions as well as add some production elements.

SPEED and FOX have familiar faces working on the program in front and behind the camera. The end result has gotten better every year and this season is seems that all systems are go for another good show.

Please leave us a comment on the program. Thanks to Dustin Long from Landmark Newspapers provide the picture.

Hall Of Fame Inductee Pictures

Recently, some pictures of several of the Hall of Fame inductees were posted on the TDP Facebook page. In order not to exclude those readers who do not use Facebook, here are those pictures. We hope to add some more during the week. Click directly on the pictures to see them full-size. Right click to save.

If you have any comments on the pictures or stories about the personalities, click the comments button below to share them. Thanks as always.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Race Hub" Discovers The Power Of The Hour

Ever since SPEED rolled-out the weekday program called Race Hub, it has been fun to watch the series try to find its footing on the slippery slope of NASCAR TV news.

Back in 2007, ESPN introduced NASCAR Now with disastrous results. The network had to step-in rather quickly and try to figure out how to solve the credibility and knowledge gaps that existed between the "Bristol gang" and the NASCAR community in North Carolina.

Click here to read a TDP column from May of 2007 that describes the first day that big time change came to the NASCAR Now set. After months of chaos, one of those NASCAR TV types showed up to host the show. Only he wasn't from North Carolina, he was from Rhode Island. His name was Allen Bestwick.

Here are some excerpts from that column:

After an endless moving disaster of "NASCAR illiterate" hosts since February, one of the most respected NASCAR broadcasters was in Bristol, CT. Reporters Marty Smith and Terry Blount did the best they could to hide the smirks on their faces, but they knew well in advance that there was a new sheriff in town.

It may have been the first time for many ESPN staffers that they experienced a true NASCAR broadcaster hosting "their" show. If there was ever a moment when the glaring difference between "those who know" NASCAR and "those who ESPN says know" NASCAR was front-and-center, this was it. Can you imagine if ESPN used Bestwick on the one hour NASCAR Now Monday show? That would make any fan smile.

Needless to say, the rest is history. ESPN did use Bestwick for the Monday show, asked veteran Mike Massaro to host fulltime and hired Nicole Briscoe away from SPEED where she was in the middle of her own on-air disaster. Today, NASCAR Now is the flagship show for ESPN's coverage of the sport.

As we watch SPEED try to get organized, it's easy to understand what Race Hub has to offer. As real estate folks always say it's location, location, location. Most of the NASCAR shops are just a short drive away from the SPEED studios. As this show has grown, studio guests have become a centerpiece.

The network is still gun-shy and continues to use two co-hosts for a thirty minute pre-recorded show. This week, SPEED extended the weekday programs to one hour. Monday, TV viewers found out just how powerful that can be.

Race Hub was finally loaded with a mix of personalities, features and news. In one-hour form, this could be a franchise series for SPEED.

Steve Byrnes is clearly the right host for this program. A studio veteran, Byrnes has been making his living on the road but has a long history of hosting indoor series. This unscripted environment plays to his strength. Monday showed once again his ability to keep a sense of humor about the sport even while asking the tough questions.

A good balance of multiple guests, edited features, race highlights and in-studio analysis set a tone that SPEED viewers just don't get on any other program. Jeff Hammond was in the studio Monday and again reminded us of just how much more he has to offer than his current Hollywood Hotel role. Hammond and Byrnes are a great pair on TV and it showed.

The hour format also allows for soft features and historical reminders. What better time to roll-out this extended format than during the Hall of Fame induction week. Reminding viewers of the past is an important part of understanding how NASCAR got to the point of national interest and global distribution.

A one-hour Race Hub show is also an important vehicle for SPEED to promote programming, race schedules and NASCAR charities. JD Gibbs was a Monday guest and at the conclusion of his interview plugged his special charity event. Is there anything more poignant than a father holding a celebration because his child has beaten Leukemia? Click here for the link.

ESPN and SPEED's programs can easily co-exist because they are two completely different approaches to the same sport. The buttoned-up suits and ties of the NASCAR Now panel on the immaculate HD set are a far cry from Kyle Busch sitting at the Hub Pub in sneakers and jeans. Both programs get their message across, just in very different styles.

Race Hub will continue to be one hour this week at 7PM ET and 8PM Pacific for the West Coast re-air. Steve Byrnes returns to host on Tuesday with Rick Allen. John Roberts reports from the Hall of Fame. Ryan Newman and Alan Gustafson are the guests.

If you have watched Race Hub, let us know what you think of the series. To add your comment on this topic, 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, May 16, 2010

Your Turn: NASCAR On FOX From Dover

TV comments on the race coverage from Dover on Sunday afternoon:

Network: FOX
Pre-race: Chris Myers, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond
PXP: Mike Joy
Analysts: Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip
Pit Reporters: Steve Byrnes, Krista Voda, Matt Yocum, Dick Berggren

CLOSED: Live Blogging Sprint Cup Series From Dover (12PM - FOX)

Update: I closed this live blog at halfway because I could not take another two hours of watching the TV coverage from NASCAR on FOX. Thanks to the fans who stopped by, although most of them had left long before I closed the chat. This was the worst TV coverage of a NASCAR race in the four years of the current TV contract.

Here we go with a fast-paced race from the Monster Mile in Dover, DE. There are only two Sprint Cup Series points races remaining for the NASCAR on FOX gang this season.

Chris Myers hosts the pre-race show from the Hollywood Hotel. Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond are alongside of Myers. This is a full one-hour show, so it may have some extended interviews and features. The rumor is that David Hill, the top FOX Sports executive, is moving to change the format of the pre-race show.

Mike Joy has seemed tired this season. There might be some great reasons why. Larry McReynolds and Waltrip have dominated Joy during the exciting portions of the racing. In the past, Joy made memorable calls that lived on in highlights for years. Now, it's they hysterical screams of Waltrip and McReynolds that mark excitement on the track, including the final laps.

In response, Joy has seemed at times more like ESPN's Jerry Punch during his ill-fated time in the booth. The excitement level is definitely down and the domination of Waltrip shows no sign of slacking anytime soon.

On pit road are the best reporters in the sport. Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum, Dick Berggren and Krista Voda represent a lot of NASCAR experience. The emphasis of the telecasts, particularly in the later stages of the race, has not included these four talented individuals.

This is a big week for FOX because of Director Artie Kempner. His annual charity golf tournament supporting Autism research was this week and featured TV personalities, drivers and supporters of the cause. Hopefully, there will be a recap of this event on the program.

Dover is a grind for television networks. The laps are relatively fast, the camera angles are very different and there are two obstructions over the track. The low-angle cameras that pick up the cars coming off the turns are frequently in use. Keeping the corner in the camera shot is important, as most of the action takes place through the corners.

FOX has already announced that they will be doing an extended post-race show over on the SPEED network. Not really sure how that is going over with the SPEED gang, who will be taping the Victory Lane post-race show in the background while FOX is live.

This post will serve to host your comments on the NASCAR on FOX coverage of the Sprint Cup Series from Dover. 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 taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

David Hill Continues To Shake Things Up At FOX And SPEED

It was January when Chase Carey, the President of News Corp, decided to make some TV moves. One name mentioned in the subsequent press release was very familiar to many NASCAR fans. That was David Hill from FOX Sports, who is pictured above.

Here was the official information:

In a move designed to better align the company’s creative leadership, News Corporation Deputy Chairman, President and Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey and Fox Networks Group (FNG) Chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra today announced a restructuring of the company’s entertainment and sports television operations.

Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX) and FX Networks, (FX and the Fox Movie Channel) will now be overseen by Peter Rice, Chairman, Entertainment for the Fox Networks Group.

All sports operations, including FOX Sports, the company’s 19 regional sports networks, The Fox Soccer Channel, SPEED, Fox Sports en Espanol and FUEL TV will be under the supervision of David Hill, Chairman and CEO, FOX Sports, as will the company’s joint venture sports businesses STATS, LLC. and Big Ten Network.

Reading between the lines, Carey's intentions were very clear. Hill was being tapped to shape the future of the US sports arm of News Corp. In the past, Hill had control of FOX Sports but companies like SPEED, FoxSportsNet, FUEL TV and the regional sports networks were run by another executive. Now, Hill was in charge of everything that FOX owned related to TV sports.

The changes made since then by Hill at SPEED have been substantial. One peek at the wreckage of Monday night's NASCAR TV line-up can attest to that. Over at FSN, the new Totally NASCAR show with Jill Arrington is finally getting the NASCAR news to the regional sports networks. No easy task with RSN's in all four time zones.

This week, Dover will bring some Hill-inspired TV wrinkles that NASCAR fans should be watching for on Sunday. First, there is supposed to be a new emphasis on more news and interview content in the pre-race show. Second, FOX has announced in advance that the NASCAR on FOX gang will swing over to the SPEED network and host an extended live post-race show. This could get interesting.

Since Daytona, the Hollywood Hotel has been nothing short of a train wreck. The Slice of Pizzi segment was meant as a promo for the Cubed online program. Instead, right from the start, it has been a disaster. Maybe on an entertainment network, it has a place. But, in the pre-race show with NASCAR fans who want information, it's lost.

It should be interesting to see if Hill gives another Slice of Pizzi segment the green light with only two races left in this TV package. Click here to see Pizzi with Mark Martin.

Chris Myers, Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond have been together for a long time. This season, the NASCAR on FOX pre-race show often appears to be more of a dysfunctional family than three seasoned TV veterans. Waltrip now talks over top of anyone at any time for any reason. Myers' jokes are old and embarrassing.

Hammond is desperate to get a word in edgewise and seems to enjoy the moments after Waltrip has departed for the broadcast booth. TV viewers have seen Hammond on SPEED's Race Hub show and live Nationwide Series qualifying and practice sessions. It's very clear that he has a lot more to offer than he is being allowed to show on FOX. Click here for a recent pre-race segment.

Perhaps, some of these Hollywood Hotel issues may sort themselves out when Myers and Hammond are put in charge of the live post-race show over on SPEED. Using the NASCAR on FOX pit reporters and pushing Bob Dillner from SPEED aside, Hill has challenged his NASCAR team to present what fans often miss. That is the aftermath of a race.

The stories do not end after the winner interview on live TV. That has been one of the biggest knocks on the new NASCAR TV package since it began in 2007. FOX, TNT and ABC provided very little post-race when getting to the next TV program was an issue. Click here to read about TNT's legendary early exit from MIS in 2007 for a vampire movie.

Hill has no problems trying new things on TV, even if fans may often disagree. Pushing a live post-race show to another network after a Sprint Cup Series race is an idea that may grow beyond just FOX. TNT has plenty of resources available after a race and may be watching to see just how things go after Dover. Viewers may remember that TNT and SPEED have worked together in the past.

As an added note, we expect to see more changes at SPEED next week starting with the expansion of Race Hub to one hour in length. That experiment should be fun to watch, as will the All-Star race and the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. All of them now being produced to Hill's wishes.

Some new things at SPEED have not worked out. Jimmy Spencer's What's the Deal show is gone, Fast Track to Fame is probably going to end shortly and the Monday edition of NASCAR in a Hurry is also off the schedule.

The big rumor is that major TV changes at SPEED will be unveiled next week when lots of media are in Charlotte for racing and the Hall of Fame ceremony. We know something is going to happen, because there are timeslots to be filled and a long way to go in this NASCAR season.

We will live blog the Sprint Cup Series race and the post-race show on SPEED. In the meantime, please feel free to leave us your comments on the topics mentioned above. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Live Blogging Nationwide Series From Dover (2PM - ABC)

The ESPN/ABC NASCAR TV team is on a roll. This weekend, Dale Jarrett returns while Rusty Wallace and Dr. Jerry Punch have the weekend off.

It will be 2PM ET when Allen Bestwick brings ABC on-air with the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show. Jarrett and Brad Daugherty will join Bestwick. The pre-race show this week is thirty minutes long.

Jarrett moves up to the TV booth and joins Marty Reid and Andy Petree for the call of the race. Reid has been having fun this season and his style had allowed Jarrett and Petree to come alive. Dover is a grind and it will be a good test of this trio. These are the three guys ESPN has picked to take the Sprint Cup Series through the final seventeen races of the season, including the Chase for the Championship.

On pit road are Vince Welch, Jamie Little and Dave Burns. Shannon Spake is off and super-sub Mike Massaro is back in Bristol, CT to host the Sunday NASCAR Now program. The Dover pits are one of the loudest on the circuit and it should be a challenge for those three to keep the field updated in terms of pit strategy.

ESPN has really turned a corner in terms of announcing. The remaining challenge is the camera selections while the race is under green. In-car cameras and tight shots remain the temptation for the director. It is vitally important at Dover to keep the turns in the camera shots even as the leaders run down the straights. As veteran TDP fans remember, Dover has bridge obstructions that the TV director must cut around on every single lap.

ABC has scheduled the broadcast to run until 5PM ET with an hour of additional sports programming behind the event. There should be no problem in terms of scheduling. As in the past, the Seattle, WA local ABC station is not carrying the pre-race show. Instead, a four-year old episode of Hannah Montana is on the air. This has been an issue on Saturday races for four seasons now in Seattle.

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

Friday, May 14, 2010

Truck Series Comments From Dover (8PM - SPEED)

Well, this certainly is not a live blog as the CWTS race from Dover is playing back at 8PM on SPEED. The race ran live at 5PM ET. Normally, the third featured race at a track would be run at night on Friday, but Dover has no lights. Instead, the race is held for TV viewers until later in the evening.

SPEED's CWTS crew is on hand for this event. Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip are in the TV booth. Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander are on pit road. Krista Voda handles the pre-race show.

Trucks at Dover are fun to watch. This series works well on this track and it's nice for the Dover weekend to have three feature races. The flipside is the obvious. No lights make NASCAR run the CWTS race on Friday afternoon and show it on TV later that night. Times have changed and tape-delaying live professional sports is not really the thing to do.

The SPEED presentation of the trucks on TV is well known. No bells and whistles, just cameras following the action and announcers trying to tell the entire story. This scenario has worked quite well for the network and the fans for years.

Let's use this post to host your comments about the CWTS on SPEED tonight. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Friday From Dover: Tighten Your Seatbelts (Updated: Brian Vickers Info)

What an interesting day we are going to have Friday from the Monster Mile. There are breaking news stories, weather issues, and TV personality comments. On the track two series are qualifying, three are practicing and one is racing.

Brian Vickers was a story on both NASCAR TV shows Thursday. Vickers is out and Casey Mears in in the Red Bull #83 Sprint Cup Series car this weekend. It was disclosed that Vickers began to feel ill in Washington, DC during the week and has been hospitalized. The Red Bull team will update the Vickers situation on Friday morning. Look for this information on NASCAR Live that airs on SPEED at 9:30AM ET.

Update 10:30AM ET: Here is the link to the Brant James story on Brian Vickers and his health issues. Click here for the story.

Weather is again going to play a role in a NASCAR weekend. While the high on Friday will be in the lower 80's, there is a 40% chance of thunderstorms during the afternoon hours. Currently, Sprint Cup Series qualifying on SPEED is at 3PM and the truck race will be run at 5PM. As most fans know, NASCAR and SPEED delay showing that race until 8PM ET.

Showtime sends us clips of the Inside NASCAR TV series each week. Thursday, they sent along a clip of Michael Waltrip, Brad Daugherty and Chris Myers. Daugherty and Myers quickly became props as Waltrip stole the show with his words. In one segment, he addressed the next inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and shared his answer on whether or not Dale Earnhardt Jr. would win a race this season.

Click here to view the Inside NASCAR segment. Thanks again to our friends at Showtime.

Fans have also been asking for the official race information forwarded from the tracks to the media. Here is some from Dover for the truck race:

Honor Guard: Fort Drum, N.Y. U.S. Army Color Guard
Welcoming remarks: Denis McGlynn, president & CEO, Dover Motorsports, Inc.
Honorary Starter: Heather Lehman, Miss Delaware 2009
Grand Marshal: Bobby Allison, 1983 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and a seven-time Dover winner
Chaplain: Pastor Bill Roberts, New Life Family Worship Center in Camden, Del.
National anthem: Corp. Matthew Barlow, Georgetown, Del. police department
Flyover: Two U.S. Coast Guard Mighty MH-65C Dolphin helicopter, Coast Guard Air Station in Atlantic City, N.J.

Again, the Dover racetrack does not have lights. The truck race is run at 5PM and carried live on the radio and Sirius 128. Unfortunately, the powers that be made the decision to hold the race for TV and tape delay it until 8PM ET. That allows for the biggest possible audience, but perhaps those fans who are not at work would like to see the race live. It's an issue that gets visited every season. So far, without any change.

One final note. Our friends at FOX and SPEED have been kind enough to respond to your requests to be informed of the post-race plans on Sunday after the Sprint Cup Series race. The NASCAR on FOX crew will be switching to SPEED after the event for a live extended post-race show. That should be around 5PM ET. This does not take the place of Victory Lane on SPEED. That show will air at 8PM as scheduled. Thanks to those two TV networks for the heads-up.

We will use this post to host your comments on the topics above and also the daytime TV coverage from Dover on both SPEED and ESPN2. The complete TV schedule for the weekend is on the right side of this page. To add your comment, just click on the comment 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.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Brian Vickers Out For Dover

Expect "NASCAR Now" and "Race Hub" to feature the breaking story of Brian Vickers missing the Dover race with an undisclosed illness. Click here to a link for the story on this topic.

Tape-Delayed Dover Truck Race An Issue Again

It's a conversation we have had before, but now some things have changed. The Camping World Truck Series race from Dover happens at 5PM on Friday. SPEED tape delays the race and airs it at 8PM ET that night.

The issues are pretty easy to understand, but that does not stop the debate over delaying the race for TV. Dover has no lights, so running the race live at 8PM is not possible. NASCAR and SPEED want the greatest possible exposure for the race, so they hold it until primetime on Friday.

So, what has changed? The answer is pretty simple. Social media is a tidal wave of information that comes at NASCAR fans who choose to participate. Twitter will have live updates, Facebook will have pictures and updates. Internet websites and blogs will have wrap-up information posted before the race airs on SPEED.

What most emails and tweets from fans are asking is why SPEED will not air the race live at 5PM and then simply re-air it at 8PM. The answer from SPEED is simple. Television is their business. You can only see CWTS races on SPEED. In order to get the widest possible audience, they are going to air it at 8PM.

Both sides of the issue make sense and have valid points. This is a good opportunity to let us know your views. Are you a hardcore fan who wants the TV broadcast to be live like the radio and online coverage? Maybe you can understand that SPEED is a business and wants the biggest number of eyeballs on the first airing of this event.

How about giving us your opinion on this topic? 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.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday NASCAR TV Updates

Here are the Wednesday TV/media updates posted as they come in:

SPEED has adjusted the Monday line-up again for next week. Here is the program schedule for May 17:

7:00PM - NASCAR Race Hub: No host announced, but the show will be one hour in length.
8:00PM - NASCAR Hall of Fame Biography Series: Dale Earnhardt Sr. is profiled.
9:00PM - Fast Track to Fame: Amateur talent show hosted by Michael Waltrip.
10:00PM - The Racing Chef: Chef Nicky whips up recipes with NASCAR guests.
10:30PM - Sounds of NASCAR: Great show profiling one personality or team on a race weekend.

What this means is Spencer's show What's the Deal is gone and also the Monday version of NASCAR in a Hurry seems to be a casualty of the changes at SPEED. More info when it comes out.

Meanwhile, we have reached out to about their choice of a single raw camera feed and the microphone on the stage as the Hall of Fame opening ceremony webcast on Tuesday morning. and SPEED are partners. SPEED was on site and produced a full three hour outstanding TV program. No response yet from Turner, the company that owns and operates the website.

Reminder that tonight's NASCAR Now on ESPN2 at 5PM has Dr. Jerry Punch's sit down with Larry Pearson, who is pictured above. Discussion centers on Pearson's accident in Bristol in the charity race and the challenges he has faced since that time. Punch is the perfect person to deal with this subject. Mike Massaro is hosting.

Update: ESPN also reminds me Kyle Petty will be a NASCAR Now Wednesday guest on the anniversary of his son's tragic death. Kyle's charity motorcycle ride ended on Sunday as well.

Tonight's Race Hub on SPEED has Travis Kvapil and Denny Hamlin as guests. Rick Allen hosts at 7:30PM ET. Show re-airs 8:30PM Pacific Time.

We have also confirmed that Race Hub will be expanding to one hour in length for next week, but SPEED has not yet informed us if this will be permanent. Expanding at least the Monday show to one hour would be a great idea. It has been apparent since February that thirty minutes is not enough time for all the information, interviews and guests that SPEED can get from their new studio that is right in NASCAR's backyard.

More items will be added to this post as the day rolls on!

To leave your comment on these topic, just click the comment button below. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday TV/Media Notes

It has been a whirlwind week already on the NASCAR TV and media scene. Here are some news, notes and updates on topics that may be of interesting to you this week:

The Hall of Fame TV begins on Tuesday morning at 9AM ET on SPEED. Three hours of live programming will cover the official opening of this new facility in downtown Charlotte, NC. Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds will anchor the telecast. Steve Byrnes, Krista Voda and Jeff Hammond will be interviewing the NASCAR personalities on hand. Ken Squier and Kyle Petty will be offering commentary. The entire show will re-air at 9PM ET as well.

ESPN2 will have a presence in Charlotte and offer an expanded one-hour NASCAR Now program on Tuesday at 5PM hosted by Mike Massaro. On Wednesday's show, Dr. Jerry Punch will be feautured in an in-depth interview with Larry Pearson. Punch will talk with Pearson about his recovery from injuries suffered in a charity race at Bristol, TN.

Viewers may have noticed the changes in the Monday night line-up on SPEED. Jimmy Spencer's What's the Deal show has been cancelled. After Race Hub, SPEED inserted an hour of PINKS All Out before returning to other shows with NASCAR connections. This is a very clear signal that more changes will be coming as SPEED continues to recover from the ill-timed cancellation of This Week in NASCAR.

Big network news this week was the upcoming launch of SPEED2. With all the different motorsports programming available from around the world, SPEED has decided to put together an online broadband channel that sounds a lot like the old SpeedVision. Touring cars, FIA series, FIM motorcycles, rallys and endurance races are going to be featured. The other use of this channel will be to stream live news events and media announcements. This is going to be an "authenticated broadband channel." What the means simply is that you must already be a SPEED subscriber to access it online. There will be more on this topic next week as the details emerge.

The Sprint Cup Series coverage on FOX from Darlington saw a slight increase in the TV ratings. Here is that info from Jayski: NASCAR on FOX had a 3.9/8 overnight rating Saturday night for racing from Darlington Raceway for the Showtime Southern 500, an 8% increase over last year's 3.6/7 for the same race. The Sprint Cup race ran second for the night to ABC's NBA Playoff game.

Finally, the Inside NASCAR on Showtime gang will be focusing on the Hall of Fame for the Wednesday 10PM ET show. This program is actually taped at the NASCAR Media Group studios in the Hall of Fame building complex. Chris Myers hosts with Brad Daugherty, Randy Pemberton and Michael Waltrip on the panel.

Let's use this post for your comments on this topic, including the Hall of Fame ceremonies. 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, May 9, 2010

Your Turn: NASCAR On FOX From Darlington

Well, it certainly was a long day's journey into night. The Sprint Cup Series night race at Darlington kicked-off with the Hollywood Hotel at 7PM and ran for more than four hours on FOX.

Chris Myers started the telecast with a 30 minute pre-race show. Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond joined him for updates, news and comments. Mike Joy took over the call of the race with Waltrip and Larry McReynolds. Krista Voda, Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum and Dick Berggren were the pit road reporters.

The Cup Series did not experience the tire blowout problems that plagued the Friday night Nationwide Series race on ESPN2. Instead, the racing was good with passing into the corners and at the end of the straights.

FOX started with energy and focus. Mike Joy was energetic and called the action on the track. After using a lot of cameras and following the action, the familiar FOX routine returned. Tight shots of one or two cars mixed with in-car cameras became the order of the day. Late in the race, FOX showed us that the DirecTV blimp was above the track. This perspective was rarely used and really missed.

The best pit reporters on TV were used sparingly with no field rundowns and regular updates. Instead, FOX took a page from ESPN and used endless in-car radio replays.

This is just a post to let you offer a race recap of the TV coverage from your perspective. To add your opinion on the NASCAR on FOX telecast, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Live Blogging Sprint Cup Series in Darlington (7PM - FOX)

The night race in Darlington this year should be outstanding. Chris Myers will start the day from the Hollywood Hotel with Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond. This pre-race show is only thirty minutes long. The green flag is 7:44PM ET.

Mike Joy will call the race with Waltrip and Larry McReynolds. On pit road are Krista Voda, Dick Berggren, Matt Yocum and Steve Byrnes.

Darlington is a track where the speeds have continued to climb, well beyond what the track was designed to accommodate. This means the action is always happening very quickly. Bottom line, it is tough to cover on TV.

Aerial shots are great, as well as the famous speed shots of the cars running right up against the outside SAFER barrier. Good directors keep the cars coming around the corner in the camera shot and stay wide while the leaders run down the straight. This lets the viewers watch the race for the lead and monitor the corners, where the action usually happens.

Pit road is going to be key at Darlington as never before. Tire strategy may come into play at a track where teams were formerly forced to take four every single time. Kyle Busch said earlier on TV that teams may take two tires in order to pass on pit road.

FOX had a tough outing last week, but Darlington may be just the place to recover. Issues last week included using in-car cameras while missing the action and the lack of updates before restarts. The big issue, as it has been this entire season, is the incredible amount of commercial breaks in the races.

This post will host your comments on the FOX coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Darlington. 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. Thank you for taking the time to live blog the race with us tonight.

Live Blogging "NASCAR RaceDay" (SPEED - 5PM)

There has been an added focus on the RaceDay program recently. Darrell Waltrip announced that he was going to be joining the show, replacing Kyle Petty during the six summer TNT races.

This season Jimmy Spencer was removed from the panel and replaced by Petty. That left John Roberts and Kenny Wallace as the remaining original members. The show's two reporters, Hermie Sadler and Wendy Venturini, are also back. Rutledge Wood sometimes makes appearances depending on his assignments for the weekend.

Petty has changed the dynamic of the program with his plain-spoken style and his willingness to address any kind of topic. This has pushed Kenny Wallace to up his game. The old antics of the Wallace and Spencer duo are no longer the "in thing."

Venturini has teamed with Sadler to offer a very effective news presence for the program from inside the track. Recently, a new camera position was added that features these two standing behind a podium-style table. My feeling is that this takes away from the very feel of the original program that put TV viewers where they could not go. That being the the NASCAR garage and starting grid.

John Roberts has gotten a lot of attention this season with his dramatic change in hair color from brown to gray. Roberts advises that he is fine and just decided to stop coloring his hair for TV. Roberts has a smile on his face this season simply because he does not have to clean-up for Spencer anymore. No longer do apologies have to be made on a regular basis. Roberts certainly had plenty of practice at that.

RaceDay expanded to the two-hour format years ago, but that was based on adding prepared features like Venturini's Real Deal to the mix. This season, that feature was dropped and RaceDay is using more NASCAR Media Group features that have lots of neat editing, but little personality.

Sometimes, it looks odd to switch between the outside set with those panelists and the inside set where Sadler and Venturini stand awkwardly behind the fake table. This has been especially tough when conversations are flowing between the five primary on-air personalities.

In just a short while, TNT will begin to offer a ninety-minute pre-race show that will overlap RaceDay. Ironically, it will be Kyle Petty providing the competition. Without featuring Venturini and Sadler out among the drivers and fans for the entire show, RaceDay may have to rely on Waltrip and Wallace to keep viewers tuned into SPEED.

We are going to be live blogging RaceDay from Darlington. If this post gets a good response, we will consider doing this more often. To add your TV-related comment, just click on the comments button below. The live Sprint Cup Series blog will go up as RaceDay ends. Thanks for stopping by The Daly Planet.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Live Blogging Nationwide Series in Darlington (ESPN2 - 7PM)

This should be a good one! Darlington under the lights should make for some great racing and some super TV pictures.

Allen Bestwick starts ESPN2 off from the Infield Pit Studio with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. Wallace then moves upstairs to call the race with Marty Reid and Andy Petree. Dale Jarrett is off this weekend.

On pit road are Dr. Jerry Punch, Dave Burns and Jamie Little. This should be a very challenging race for the pit road reporters with the potential for a high number of accidents and cars out of the race. Watch and see who ESPN decides to speak with when this happens. Cup drivers only?

Darlington makes great video from up high or down low. The low-angle stationary speed shots are just as dramatic as the high cameras that follow the action. Once again, this is a track where it is tough to use the in-car cameras live.

This post will serve to host your comments about the Nationwide Series coverage from Darlington on ESPN2. 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 joining us tonight in the live chat.

Friday Day Shift: Open TV Blog

The Friday coverage from Darlington starts at 11:30AM and runs through midnight Eastern Time. SPEED and ESPN2 combine efforts with ESPN2 starting Nationwide Series pre-race coverage at 7PM. Marty Smith, Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree will call the race.

The entire weekend NASCAR TV schedule, including announcers and guests, is posted on the main page of this website on the right side.

Before we get to the live race blog on Friday night, let's use this post to get at some NASCAR TV and media issues that you all seem to feel strongly about. There has been lots of email and comments in recent weeks from fans.

Here are some popular topics:

Jimmy Spencer's show on SPEED called Whats the Deal has been cancelled. There is currently no news on Spencer's future plans with SPEED or any other network.

SPEED confirmed that Darrell Waltrip will be working on select Camping World Truck Series races this season. Rumor is that he will replace his younger brother Michael on those weekends and work with Rick Allen and Phil Parsons. There are currently no plans for Mike Joy to be involved in those telecasts.

Speaking of Darrell Waltrip, a while back he confirmed that he will be partnering with Kenny Wallace and John Roberts on TV. DW will sit in for Kyle Petty on SPEED's RaceDay show while Kyle is off being an analyst for the six TNT races. No official word yet on DW and the Victory Lane program.

Director Roger Goodman (Emmy Awards, Super Bowl halftime) has been brought in by David Hill at FOX to coordinate the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony telecast on SPEED. This could be the highest profile event SPEED has ever produced.

Fast Track to Fame ends the first run of shows on June 7th. Waiting on word from SPEED as to whether this amateur talent show will return for another run during the summer months.

A while back, we asked if the Monday Race Hub show on SPEED could be an hour long, instead of thirty minutes. Rumor now is that all of the Monday through Thursday Race Hub shows will be expanded to an hour. Confirmation should come next week. This is a big decision for SPEED. Lots of work and cost.

Dale Jarrett has the weekend off, so Rusty Wallace will be in the Nationwide Series TV booth for ESPN2 with Marty Reid and Andy Petree. This has not been the best place for Rusty. He thrives in the infield expressing his views, not analyzing replays.

Dr. Jerry Punch has made a very smooth transition back to pit road for ESPN. Punch has quietly been rebuilding his on-air reputation and the drivers seem to really enjoy speaking with him before, during and after the races. Good results from a good move.

FOX again said they made the decision to switch to SPEED for an expanded post-race show on the fly. With another night race on tap Saturday, FOX is in a tough position. AMA Supercross from Las Vegas will be on SPEED during the time the Sprint Cup Series race should end. Expect the SPEED phones to light up with two-wheel fans if NASCAR is inserted on Saturday night.

Comment on any of these TV topics, or introduce one of your own. We expect adult behavior and language at all times. Let's clear the air of issues before the big Darlington weekend begins.

To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

NASCAR On FOX Limps Into Darlington

This past weekend, ESPN delivered a solid Nationwide Series telecast from Richmond International Raceway on Friday night. Then, SPEED delivered a great Camping World Truck Series telecast from Kansas Speedway on Sunday afternoon. In between the two, there was another race on TV.

After failing to profile the disabled soldier for whom the race was named during the pre-race show, FOX then struggled though what should have been a simple telecast on a short track that the network had visited many times before.

Here are the TV results from Sports Business Daily:

Overnight ratings for the Sprint Cup Series race from Richmond dropped from last year's already subpar level. FOX drew a 3.4 overnight for the race on Saturday night, down 8% from last year (3.7) and down 19% from 2008.

This marks the lowest overnight rating ever for this race on broadcast television.

Additionally, the 3.4 is tied as the second-lowest overnight ever for a NASCAR race on FOX, ahead of only last year's Subway Fresh Fit 500 (3.3).

Once the race was underway, the first round of green flag pitstops put NASCAR in an interesting position. Only nine cars were on the lead lap. Our friend Phil Allaway over at did a good job of describing what happened next on TV:

Jimmie Johnson, running in ninth, was fighting with leader Kyle Busch to stay on the lead lap. Just as Busch got a fender in front of Johnson, the caution came out for debris. No one ever found that debris and showed it to us. Now, it could be assumed that there was none, meaning that the whole yellow was a sham. Maybe there was some, but they never found it. I don’t know how many cameras FOX had at Richmond last weekend, but they probably should have been able to pick up something. Or, at the very least, notify the audience that they could not find the debris.

Allaway went on to reference two other popular topics. Those were the continual focus on the race leaders and the extensive use of in-car cameras. Fans stopped by after the race and left these comments:

Again we were "treated" to a very poor mixture of camera shots giving neither the experienced racing viewers or the NASCAR newbies in my home Saturday night a full sense of what was happening during the race. (KoHoSo)

I could not follow what was going on whatsoever. Confused broadcast, confusing the fans. Sure, I can read that tracker at the top and miss the action that should be on TV. But they never explained what was going on to make those movements happen. (JohnP)

Fox refused to establish any kind of flow or provide context for what the cameras were showing. They must have a bingo caller in charge of switching cameras, surely no one with any broadcast experience could do that bad of a job. (bevo)

I always look forward to the short track races, and Richmond is one of the best. Last night, I had no clue as to what was actually taking place on the track. The in car cams and isolated shots of one car running alone gave no insight as to how the race was developing. No full field rundowns, no explanations of why so many cars had gone laps down so was a mess. It made me realize why my interest in NASCAR has been waning the past couple years. If I can't watch on TV and get caught up in the excitement, there's not much point in watching. (Sally)

Toward the end of the race, FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip offered several different versions of what he thought would happen and who would win. Waltrip and Larry McReynolds have been set free this season to talk overtop of TV veteran Mike Joy. Once again in Richmond, three voices tried to call the action down the stretch.

After being called out by several mainstream journalists for poor post-race coverage, FOX has twice made a last minute switch to the SPEED cable network for additional programming. That was again the case in Richmond.

We have been told this decision is made on the fly according to the circumstances of the race. This Saturday in Darlington brings yet another night race. It seems a bit ironic that SPEED is on location taping the Victory Lane show for a delayed Sunday broadcast while the SPEED network is used by FOX for the live post-race show.

After years of asking, we will repeat the question. On the Saturday night Sprint Cup Series races, why not do Victory Lane live after the race for the full hour and then replay it Sunday in the scheduled timeslot? Fans can simply change channels whenever the race ends and SPEED will get a solid TV rating.

The format for Darlington is the same as last week. A two-hour RaceDay show on SPEED at 5PM, followed by a thirty minute pre-race show on FOX and then the live race. This Saturday SPEED has an AMA Supercross Special on at 10PM for several hours. It will be interesting to see if the powers at FOX decide to cut into this high-profile program with the live NASCAR post-race show.

TV news updates: SPEED has no comment, but it looks like Jimmy Spencer's What's the Deal show seen on Monday nights has been cancelled. Also, it has been confirmed that Darrell Waltrip will join NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED for the six summer races televised by TNT. Kyle Petty will be gone to the TNT booth as a race analyst.

Please join us on Saturday night for the live TV blog. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter with continually updated content anytime. We also 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. Thank you.