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.


Ryan said...

Will Adam Alexander be in the pits for the Truck races on Speed over the TNT schedule?

Daly Planet Editor said...


I will have an official update on all the summer schedules, including Adam's, on Tuesday.

We will also update the changes on "RaceDay, Trackside and Victory Lane."


Anonymous said...

Yay, looking forward to Wally in the booth! He has always been my favorite, going back to the NBC days.

I only hope that Kyle doesn't run on and on, as he did last year. He has a habit of repeating himself, and talking over the others. It will be interesting to see how Adam fits in.

Anonymous said...

Any word about race buddy being iPad compatible?

Daly Planet Editor said...

I sent the Turner guys a note when you first asked about the iPad issue and will update it this week.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks to our friends at SPEED for a quick response to your question.

Krista Voda will be filling-in on pit road for Adam as he will have to miss three of the four Camping World Truck Series races that are being run during the TNT Cup schedule. She will also host the pre-race shows for those events.

Good question!

Anonymous said...

i can't wait!!!! After the Fox fiasco first half it will be hard to be disappointed!!!!

The only thing i would change is to put Shaheen in the booth instead of Alexander. I thought he earned it with his perfomance when filling in for the ars Webber.

adamtw1010 said...

It's a shame TNT doesn't get better ratings-they have some of the best races of the year and, in my opinion, the best talent on TV. Petty hasn't been up to par compared to ol' BP, but the rest of the TNT crew has performed exceedingly well the last several seasons. Pocono usually gives a good fuel mileage race at the end, Michigan gives good action throughout with fuel being an issue again. New Hampshire seems to bring great action. Daytona needs no help outside of Wide Open Coverage and Chicago has had its moments. Hopefully TNT lives up to their past even with all their new talents.

Rainy/Jimi/J.C. said...

In relation to last year, I anticipate TNT's coverage with glee. I do think its a shame that we haven't YET heard what happened to Bill Weber, who IMHO had finally found his groove and was more than tolerable, right before his tirade to a "higher-up", and subsequent release. KP will do ok if he can refrain from the new habit of his, i.e.; stuttering incessantly. The rest of the broadcast crew will be a WELCOME change from DeeDubya....Oh yes....BIG WELCOME change!!!!!

red said...

morning, jd. i have a recollection that czarniak did a racing blog last time she was in this role. do you know if she's planning something similiar this time around?

Spring Rubber said...

Scroll down to the last paragraph to read about where Weber wound up. I just read about it the other day; I sure didn't see THIS coming.

As for TNT, I've considered them far and away the best NASCAR broadcasters for the last several years now, and I sure hope that stays the same this year. Is the crew in the truck all the same this year? They're the ones who make it all possible, after all. Imagine if TNT were run by the Fox truck; it would be a complete disaster no matter who you put in the booth.

Daly Planet Editor said...


We spoke about that earlier this season when Michael wrote it.

I have left Weber alone as he is not a media personality on the NASCAR side any longer.

I wish Bill good luck in whatever he decides to do down the road.


Anonymous said...

I wish Double A well in his new endeavor. I think he, Herme Sadler and Rick Allen have a lot of potential for future growth. I like road racers like Dallenbach and Boris Said,but they have no relevance in Nascar. Frankly,Petty and McReynolds suffer from extreme over exposure. You can't seem to get away from McReynolds on anything related to Nascar. I'm glad the Fox stint is over. That team is really getting stale-same old stories,cliches,etc. Attendance and viewership is down and week in,week out, they pretend that no one has ever seen a Nascar race before. I wish the Fox crew would just shut up and let us listen to and watch the race. Let's see how TNT does. Hopefully we won't have to listen to Rusty Wallace. Its bad enough we have to endure his brother Kenny.

Anonymous said...

I've been looking forward to this for 13 races. You could do us all a favour. Just let TNT know, that we know, that they have Saving Grace, The Closer, Leverage, etc. OK?

MRM4 said...

I am ready for TNT to take over. It's too bad they have some of the worst races on the schedule.

I'm not a big fan of Lindsay Czarniak. There's something about her voice that annoys me. Must be her accent from wherever she's from along with her pitch. But at least we won't have the silly stuff like we have had from Meyers for 10 years.

Anonymous said...

What's curious to you is obvious to me about Wally. Lack of success in cup racing does not mean he doesn't have knowledge and understand what fans want to hear. He is excellent at this job and the FOX guys could watch him and learn. What's curious to me is why we keep getting overdoses of the Waltrip brothers.I'm looking forward to the TNT races.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:33AM,

Wally has no experience in the COT and my point is that he does have any other TV or media involvement in the sport other than these six races.

No problem, just pointing out the same thing that was a topic for debate last year. Things change.


Tom said...

Yeah, I tend to see Wally's lack of involvement as a big plus. We see how every announcer is somehow beholden to NASCAR and its' particular brand of kool-aide. Wally is the one guy that whatever else, I feel like he means what he is saying. Plus face it- knowledge of the sport is far more important to a broadcast than specifics about cars. Larry Mac's "knowledge" of the COT hasn't made him a great announcer this year. I am also looking forward to the races coming up. It may have been FOX, but by and large, I thought most of the races this season have been dogmeat. Pocono CAN get boring-but it sometimes can be pretty exciting....lets see!

Inverness, FL

Martin Vincent said...

Alert to Canadian viewers: the TNT broadcast are picked up by TSN, but for the first two races of TNT's run, it looks like TSN is going to be joining the coverage in progress. Both the Pocono and Michigan races will start on TSN at 2:00pm and don't seem to be scheduled as same-day delay. We'll have to catch the Speed Channel encore presentations on Wednesday to catch the beginning of those races.

Anonymous said...

You were wrong about Wally last year as well. As someone who only has been around racing 20 years or so, you may not realize Wally has been involved in racing his whole life. His father was heavily involved in the Indy car series when it was at it's high points. Racing is racing, and Wally understands it very well, especially what the people at home are interested in. Your point may be valid if he was not doing a good job, but he does far better than those he is now taking over for, who in theory should be good, but are not.DW, Larry and Hammond could learn from Wally.

Blue Duecer said...

So what does COT experience have to do with anything? I dont think DW or Hammond or 99.9% of any of the TV broadcast crews has COT experience so that point is irrelevant. It would be easier to make a list of those that do have experience in or working on the COT

Anonymous said...

jd also interesting that TNT has no 4th pit reporter -

RvNGrammy said...

Will Kyle be tweeting during the races the way he did last summer? That was fun. I am happy to have Kyle and Wally back in the living room and like Adam's coverage of the truck races. Hope he does as well for Cup. Thanks for the updates, JD!

Vicky D said...

Unfortunately, TNT has some of the most boring races but am looking forward to the broadcasts.

Sam said...

I've always liked Wally in the booth because he doesn't tow the Nascar line. He also pays attention to the race and isn't trying to sell us something.

KP's hopefully getting there broadcast wise. I'm a long time Kyle fan and hate not having him there racing for Adam still but at least he's involved in TV work. He's not perfect but he's also not trying to sell Toyota's and TV's and will say what he sees and feels usually. You can tell KP and WD have fun. That's makes me have fun and they almost make it feel like a bunch of guys sitting together watching a race.

I'm interested in Adam's PxP work. Again I'm just happy Faux is gone. They need a complete overhaul and not the one Chip Foose does.

Richard in N.C. said...

Like John Madden did after many years, it appears DW has outgrown his welcome with a segment of fans, but then he has had the bulk of the press against him from the outset of his FOX tenure. Despite Madden's notoriety, there were consistently declining ratings for the last 3 or 4 years of ABC Monday Night football, ending with it migrating down to EESPN.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 4:18PM,

Met Wally many times in his sports car days and know his family history.

I would very much disagree that racing is racing, as Rusty Wallace's painful IndyCar telecast experiences can confirm.

As a counterpart to Kyle Petty and a person who carries a bit of an irreverent attitude, Dallenbach works.

Unfortunately, two drivers in the booth are often just polite echoes of each other. I personally prefer the mix of driver and crew chief.

Either way, it should be fun to watch.


cdh said...

I really hope Adam Alexander can pull this off. And I love Lindsay Czarniak (compared to Jamie Little and Shannon Spake).

Anonymous said...

Whether it's Golf or Nascar racing, what frustates me is people who are unaccomplished at that sport in the booth passing judgement on those whose accomplishments far surpass theirs. Racing is not racing. Just look at the long list of Indy Car and F1 racers who struggled and/or failed at the Cup level. I'm old enough to remember the elder Dallenbach at Indy with his white cowboy hat. I don't object to people in the booth criticizing a particular move or incident. I just want to hear it from someone who really knows what their talking about.

red said...

jd said (in part):
Unfortunately, two drivers in the booth are often just polite echoes of each other.

in general, i agree with this statement. however, dallenbach/petty don't fit that description in my opinion. one of the reasons i enjoy those 2 in the booth is because they don't always agree, each brings a different perspective and neither talks about what a driver should do or should be thinking or how he -- a former racer -- ran the track with a car that no longer exists. (and, yes, dw: i AM talking about you!)

and i don't believe craven plus any other driver would be a case of "polite echoes," either.

Anonymous said...

Rusty Wallace is a poor choice to use as an example. Like DW, Rusty is just plain weak with his on air skills. They don't have smooth deliveries and do not have the knack for what the fan at home wants to hear. One of the first races in the booth, Kyle Petty told us how the second ignition box usually has a chip for a different RPM,and you can switch it during the race to see if it helps, now that's more info than DW and Larry have ever given me put together. The only point is, a good broadcaster is a good broadcaster , Wally and Kyle fit that criteria.