Thursday, September 30, 2010
Update #2: Leaving this post up as both NASCAR Now, which was preempted on Wednesday and Race Hub will have updated RCR appeals coverage on Thursday.
There may be some gloom and doom in NASCAR land over the production and TV ratings of the two Chase races this season, but one part of the NASCAR TV landscape is thriving. Right now, a little good TV news goes a long way.
ESPN2's six day a week NASCAR Now and SPEED's four day a week Race Hub are both cranking along on eight cylinders. Tuesday night was a great example of how two TV series with completely different approaches to the same subject matter can co-exist.
Mike Massaro has been a workhorse for ESPN this season. Monday, he filled-in on the one hour show for Allen Bestwick. After the recent passing of his mother, Bestwick was attending to family matters after anchoring the Dover weekend from the track.
The NASCAR Now production team, pictured above, has been tinkering with the show and on Tuesday had Kasey Kahne in the studio. Although notoriously low-key with the media, Kahne mixed it up as a co-host with Massaro and actively took part in the entire program.
Dale Jarrett and TNT/SPEED's Kyle Petty were among the satellite liveshot guests and both interacted well with Kahne on a variety of topics. Massaro several times put Kahne on the spot about issues from the Hamlin and Harvick spat to his racing future next season. Kahne absolutely took every question head on and never missed a beat.
The feature of the program was Lead Reporter Marty Smith's interview with Denny Hamlin. Smith knows how to ask the right questions the right way and really got Hamlin to address a wide variety of topics with honest comments.
Smith, Nicole Briscoe, Angelique Chengelis and the multiple other contributors to this program make it a pleasure to watch. Ricky Craven is the best NASCAR studio analyst by far. ESPN has been struggling to find a re-air slot for NASCAR Now and often the 5PM original airing is the one and only time this program can be seen by fans.
Even as the sport is in the Chase for the Championship, the Monday and Tuesday shows this week did not re-air. Due to the fact that these programs cannot be made available online, it would seem that ESPN would make sure to show them again and promote the very races for which the network paid dearly to televise.
Update: Informed by ESPN this AM that the Wednesday 5PM NASCAR Now program has been cancelled due to scheduling conflicts. This is the day that the RCR appeal is being heard and cancelling this program is just a horrible decision.
Away from the suits and ties of ESPN is the casual style of SPEED. Since Steve Byrnes took over Race Hub, the series has the personality and credibility it needed. SPEED is still working to adapt the studio, but things have come a long way from the famous car couch and pinball machine.
Danielle Trotta has been a solid addition to the program as the fulltime reporter based in Charlotte, NC. Still a tough sell for some female fans, Trotta has been asking the right questions and working to solidify herself as not just another pretty face.
SPEED has also been working veteran Wendy Venturini back into the interview mix. Fans were miffed when Venturini's Real Deal segment was dumped from the RaceDay show so resources from the NASCAR Media Group could be used for a new NASCAR cooking series.
The strength of Race Hub is the ability to have guests drive a short distance to the studio. It didn't take NASCAR types long to grasp that with the big new SPEED studios, a driver could bring a show car or two along for the interview. Tuesday, that is exactly what Ryan Newman did.
Following a poignant interview with Jack Roush on Monday, Byrnes led Newman through topics from on-track anger to the upcoming birth of his daughter. Confirming that Thanksgiving was the due date, Newman talked candidly about his thoughts on fatherhood. Once again, Byrnes' experience in the sport made the interview click.
With an hour each day, Byrnes and the SPEED staff have begun to truly grasp that they have the ability to provide a valuable service to the sport with each program. Airing two hours after NASCAR Now, the challenge for Race Hub is to deal with breaking news and eventually live reporting from the field with Trotta.
While SPEED has backed off its original commitment to re-air Race Hub at midnight Eastern, the current 11PM Pacific timeslot is better than nothing. Eventually, as the program matures, it may also find a morning home just like SportsCenter on ESPN.
There may be some NASCAR TV problems to address this off-season, but the success of both these daily shows is a tribute to the hard work of the production staff and the commitment of ESPN and SPEED to keep NASCAR fans updated away from the track.
Perhaps you could share with us your views on these two shows. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sunday afternoon the NASCAR on ESPN team presented the second race in the 2010 Chase for the Championship. The Sprint Cup Series started the day on ESPN2 with a one hour pre-race show.
Allen Bestwick, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty appeared from the Infield Pit Studio. Bestwick interviewed Richard Childress and Mike Helton about the issues associated with the penalties handed down to the #33 team of Clint Bowyer.
Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree called the race in the TV booth. Down on pit road were Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch, Dave Burns and Jamie Little. Tim Brewer was in the Tech Garage.
The day was long due to the lack of real racing and the inability of the cars to pass each other on the track. The normal tight Dover racing never happened, but teams instead struggled with changes made by the pit crew on stops.
The TV pictures were fine and there were no technical problems. The race ended at 4:20PM ET with no red flag periods or extended cautions. There was weather in the area, but no rain halted the race at any point.
This post will host your TV-related race wrap-up comments. 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 stopping by The Daly Planet.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Since the Chase races have moved to ESPN, this is another week where the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show will be on ESPN2 due to NFL programming. Then, the race coverage will remain on ESPN through the end of the event.
Allen Bestwick will host from the Infield Pit Studio with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty alongside. These three will have an interesting hour to fill. The Harvick vs. Hamlin fireworks, the RCR penalties, the Dover race, the 2010 Chase and the race weather all have to be on the agenda. It should be interesting.
Marty Reid has been welcomed to NASCAR with some tough Sprint Cup Series races. These longer events have proven to be a challenge for this veteran motorsports play-by-play announcer. The fast and intense action of Dover with many caution periods and restarts should again be a challenge for Reid.
Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree have been a team on ESPN for several seasons. This year, they are again calling the practice, qualifying and races in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series. We'll see today just how much energy they bring to the table after working both series this weekend.
The regular crew of Jamie Little, Dave Burns, Vince Welch and Dr. Jerry Punch will be on pit road. Punch is by far the best of this bunch. Burns and Welch fly below the radar, but Little still has the habit of pushing things just a little too far.
Dover is one of the toughest tracks to cover for the TV team. Two bridges must be cut out of every single lap by the camera operators and the director. The accidents, often caused by blown tires, happen so fast it's almost pure luck to catch them.
In-car camera views must be quick because passing on this track takes place at the end of the straights and is always tricky. Overhead shots work well to show the two grooves and how tough it is to complete the pass once alongside. In the past, cautions have bred cautions even after a race full of long runs.
This post will serve to host your comments on the ESPN coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Dover. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind while posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
The Camping World Trucks are in Las Vegas for a show that has no TV coverage other than the actual race. There was no practice, qualifying or pre-race show.
Rick Allen will call the race with Michael Waltrip and Phil Parsons alongside. Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander are reporting from pit road. This is an opportunity for a lot of new faces to try and get some attention in this stand-alone race.
Las Vegas is a fast, big track with a reputation for being tough to pass. SPEED has veteran director Mike Wells working tonight, as the usual truck series director Roger Vincent is working on the Barrett Jackson auto auction.
Wells likes to follow the stories and show the racing, so he should fit right in with the SPEED bunch. There might only be a handful of truly fast trucks, but it should be a good show to watch.
This post will host your comments on the CWTS coverage by SPEED from Las Vegas, NV. To add your TV-related comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
This week the Nationwide Series is at the Monster Mile in Dover, DE. Danica Patrick is back and there are many Sprint Cup Series drivers crossing-over to race.
Once again there is a college football game starting at noon ET. These events normally run about three and a half hours. The NASCAR Countdown pre-race show is scheduled for 3PM ET, the race coverage at 3:30PM.
There is no way to adequately express the frustration with ESPN and NASCAR on this topic. This is ESPN purposefully scheduling NASCAR in a timeslot in which no other programming is scheduled. Only NASCAR is played for the fool. The sport that won't object to being placed in a timeslot that, in reality, does not exist.
Allen Bestwick is the NASCAR Countdown host with Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace alongside. Tim Brewer will be in the tech garage. Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch, Jamie Little and Dave Burns will be the pit road reporters.
At this time of the season, ESPN falls into the trap of celebrity worship with the focus of the pre-race show on the Sprint Cup Series drivers. While some Nationwide Series regulars were shown in the qualifying show, these drivers tend to fade into the background when the race coverage comes around.
We have been critical of ESPN for using only one set of announcers on the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races from the same track. This scenario unfolds again as Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree are calling both races, practice sessions and qualifying.
These announcers and this production team clearly have as their priority the Sprint Cup Series. The result is a casual walk through the Nationwide Series races with a constant running theme of showing Sprint Cup Series drivers and a skewed sense of priorities. Nationwide teams and sponsors need TV time right now to survive.
The ironic twist in this coverage is that from February through September, ESPN's focus is on the Nationwide Series. Suddenly, it is relegated to a second-tier level when the network's Sprint Cup Series coverage begins. The scheduling during college football season is a confirmation of that fact.
Dover is a fast and challenging track for the TV crew. Two bridges over the track must be eliminated through the camera operators and the director cutting around them on each and every lap. The pit area is tight and the track has a tendency to push all accidents to the bottom very quickly.
There will be lots of traffic for the race leaders and that may well prove to play a role in the race outcome. Red flags are not uncommon and late arriving cars have plowed into accidents due to the limited sight line and fast speeds.
This post will serve to host your comments on the ESPN2 coverage of the NNS 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.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
This is the second year of VERSUS carrying a series called Quest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. That show airs at 7PM ET on Wednesdays and runs through the Chase. This year, however, something is hiding right behind that program.
NASCAR - Next Generation was one of those shows that just popped-up on the radar without fanfare or promotion. The brief media release said the show would look at some young drivers coming up through the ranks with a desire to reach the Sprint Cup Series ranks.
Lorin Ranier is the person who appears on-camera to talk about the pursuit of this dream by youngsters across the country and around the world. Ranier, who is shown above, is a veteran spotter in NASCAR but in this series focuses on his other interest of bringing along young drivers.
They key to the program is that almost none of these lower tier races are televised. Seeing the kids in carts, Bandolero's, Legends and sprints makes for interesting TV when mixed with Ranier's candid comments. It's truly behind the scenes with the next generation.
Over the next four weeks, these shows will take a shot at profiling some of the up and coming drivers. Seeing the challenges of youngsters taking to the track while still obeying their parents and trying to get homework done is a nice change of pace.
The NASCAR Media Group produced the show, so it has the high-end glossy style of editing that is the trademark of that organization. VERSUS is in year two of televising the Quest for the Cup series, but NASCAR - Next Generation is brand new.
Some of the drivers featured over the next month include Logan Ruffin, Jessica Brunelli, Marc Davis and Cole Whitt. Those names may be familiar to some who have watched various other attempts by NASCAR to get some additional TV exposure for the next generation of drivers.
It's going to be fun to watch the remaining episodes of NASCAR - Next Generation and see just who is out there waiting in the wings to become the next big name driver in the sport. Perhaps, we can have some more original NASCAR programming on VERSUS if the reaction to these two series is positive.
If you watched the show, please let us know what you thought. 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.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Here is what the two NASCAR TV shows will be talking about tonight. This from NASCAR:
"Clint Bowyer docked 150 driver pts, Richard Childress docked 150 owner points, crew chief Shane Wilson fined $150K and suspended for 6 weeks."
NASCAR Now on ESPN2 has changed the line-up. Mike Massaro is hosting with Ryan McGee, Ray Evernham and Marty Smith all talking about this issue.
We are waiting to see who Steve Byrnes will bring into the studio tonight for NASCAR Race Hub at 7PM on SPEED.
Update from Marty Smith: No. 33 Car Chief Chad Haney also suspended for the next 6 Sprint Cup races, according to NASCAR press release.
This post will start comments on the TV coverage of this topic. More added continually. We welcome your comments.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Here are some updates from the TV and media world as the NASCAR week gets rolling:
VERSUS begins the second season of Quest for the Sprint Cup on Wednesday at 7PM ET. This series runs for the duration of the Chase and features a behind-the-scenes look at each week's race from the cameras of the NASCAR Media Group. It's a shame that VERSUS is airing this up against Race Hub on SPEED.
This year, NASCAR and VERSUS also announced a second TV series. A five part show called NASCAR - Next Generation will take a look at familiar theme.
Here is the official information:
NASCAR-Next Generation is a five-part series which details the grueling process and sacrifices that are made to become a future star in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. The show will feature drivers such as Logan Ruffin, Jessica Brunelli, Marc Davis and Cole Whitt. The premiere episode will illustrate the many different racing levels found across America and examines how the drivers from these series hone their skills in the hopes to compete in NASCAR's premier series.
With BET's Changing Lanes already on the air, you have to wonder if NASCAR is just taking advantage of the fact that VERSUS seems to be a network interested in more NASCAR TV product. The Modifieds have been covered on VERSUS for weeks with Jack Arute, Jimmy Spencer and others providing commentary.
You know it's Chase time when the big names suddenly appear on the NASCAR daily TV shows. Mike Helton will be on Tuesday's NASCAR Now on ESPN2 with host Mike Massaro. Over on SPEED, Rick Hendrick will be interviewed by Wendy Venturini at the NASCAR Hall of Fame for Race Hub.
Brian Vickers appeared healthy and in good spirits Monday night as he was a panelist on ESPN2's NASCAR Now. Once again tinkering with a good thing, the network has been adding drivers to the panel recently. While Vickers is well spoken, his chair should have been filled by a journalist like Ryan McGee or Marty Smith. That would have been the best compliment for Ricky Craven and Ray Evernham.
One regular missing from that program is Randy LaJoie. Reinstated fully by NASCAR, ESPN has yet to even release a statement on LaJoie's status with the network. He should have been brought back for the Chase and the heart of the Nationwide Series season.
Wednesday is the last day of SPEED's Race Hub this week due to another Barrett Jackson auction on Thursday. Fortunately, SPEED intends to close the week out with a bang. Coming off a memorable race in New Hampshire, Tony Stewart will head into the SPEED studios for the first time.
Steve Byrnes has conducted some memorable interviews this season since taking over as series host and this one may be right up there on the list. Greg Biffle will also be in the studio for the hour and the combination of those three could be fun to watch. This program has come a long way from thirty minutes of NASCAR hype.
Finally, a couple of TV reminders. The K&N Series race from New Hampshire airs on SPEED at noon ET on Thursday in a one hour timeslot. Denny Hamlin is in the "ESPN blender" on Thursday and winds-up his Bristol, CT tour with NASCAR Now at 5PM. There is a Camping World Truck race this Saturday night from Las Vegas, but due to the auction there is no other coverage. Air time is 9PM ET on SPEED.
That wraps-up media notes, please feel free to leave a comment on any of the topics mentioned 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. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Monday, September 20, 2010
With the NFL season underway, the NASCAR pre-race show was moved to ESPN2. After the NFL coverage was over, the race began on ESPN.
It was Allen Bestwick hosting from the Infield Pit Studio with Ray Evernham, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. The show did not contain the kind of long pre-recorded features seen in the last three pre-race shows. That allowed the analysts to offer more opinions and the pit reporters to do more interviews.
Marty Reid called the race with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree from the TV booth. Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch, Jamie Little and Dave Burns were the pit reporters. Tim Brewer was in the Tech Garage.
The Chase was the theme of the race telecast from the start and overshadowed the actual race. Mixing coverage of the Chase and the race has proven to be a tough task for ESPN.
The actual racing on the track was typical short track action with the battles for position causing accidents in the corners. The weather was great and there were no technical problems from the TV crew.
This post will let you offer your TV wrap-up comment on the ESPN coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Loudon. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
ESPN begins the stretch of the Sprint Cup Series season that has posed the biggest challenge for the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Now that the NFL is in season, the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show is moved to ESPN2. Then, the live race coverage will begin at 1PM over on ESPN.
The first race of the chase is today at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Allen Bestwick will host the pre-race show with Ray Evernham, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty from the Infield Pit Studio.
It should be interesting to see what topics other than the Chase ESPN chooses to present. This is the time of the year where drivers outside of the Chase suddenly fall off the TV radar. Brad Keselowski is on the pole today and non-Chase teams normally begin to make changes at this time of the year.
Calling the race today is Marty Reid. These longer Sprint Cup Series races are new for Reid, who has a history in NHRA and IndyCar events. Reid often seems to talk just to fill air time, rather than let the action unfold and keep the facts coming for the fans.
Joining Reid will be Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. These two have been working in the politically correct mode which seems to be the NASCAR theme for this season. Comments have been polite, but perhaps not exactly reflecting the action and the intensity of the racing.
Tim Brewer will be in the Tech Garage. Dr. Jerry Punch, Jamie Little, Vince Welch and Dave Burns will be the pit road reporters. Pit stops may well be the key to this race, so the TV challenge is to document them under both green and caution flag conditions.
ESPN is going to roll-out some graphics and technology that was used last year to analyze pit stops. Each crew member will be timed on every movement and the results will be used to figure out who did a good job and who caused the problems. This should be interesting to watch.
Loudon is a classic flat track where tempers start to rise as the cars fight for position coming off the corners. Taking the low line often results in contact in the corner and a mess on the racetrack. Using low angle cameras is the way to keep the feeling of speed in the telecast and not just follow the leaders from the high cams in the tower.
This post will serve to host your comments on the Sprint Cup Series race from NHMS on ESPN. 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.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Well, things continue to change in the world of SPEED. That was apparent on Saturday during the all-day coverage from NHMS. Sunday morning brings RaceDay and perhaps even more changes in format, coverage or on-air presentation.
Darrell Waltrip and Rutledge Wood are not involved in the program this week. Update: Interesting to see Wood in a pre-recorded feature after being told he was not in the show. Perhaps, he is not physically there? Hmm....The regular cast of John Roberts, Kyle Petty, Kenny Wallace, Wendy Venturini and Hermie Sadler will handle the on-air duties.
A little birdie tipped us off that the opening might be a little different this week. That's saying a lot, as RaceDay over the years has presented some very interesting concepts for the show open. Some have been great and some not very memorable.
The late season NASCAR hype is in full swing. SPEED's truck series announcers told fans about the great race on Saturday even as two Sprint Cup Series stars stunk up the show. The pit road reporters gushed about the fantastic action even as they avoided asking the real questions in the post-race show. Yep, it's that time of year.
NASCAR Now precedes RaceDay on Sunday at 9AM on ESPN2. Nicole Briscoe is anchoring from the studio with Ricky Craven alongside. Reporters Marty Smith and Angelique Chengelis will be reporting from New Hampshire.
ESPN might have some struggles in production of the races, but NASCAR Now has been a straight-shooting program all season long. Gone are the days of hype and confusion. The Sunday morning NASCAR Now show is tied to a post-race review show in the same way that SPEED's RaceDay is tied to Victory Lane.
While the presentations may be different, it's always interesting to see which stories make which network programs before and after the races. RaceDay has been hit and miss this season on the panel but solid in the reporting. Unlike the ESPN show, RaceDay relies mostly on live interviews and has played to that strength for years.
Every race weekend, fans email me asking why Kenny Wallace has to yell all the time. Specifically, they feel Wallace talks down to the fans and tells them what they should be thinking rather than just presenting his opinion. Wallace has been struggling this season with Kyle Petty in the next chair and it should be interesting to see how Wallace presents himself on this first Chase weekend.
NASCAR has been hammering home a philosophy to the radio and TV gang that you are either with us or against us. Trying to convince the broadcasters to play a role in shaping the image of the sport has been a bitter pill to swallow and may in fact be in the process of backfiring. The world is different now. Twitter, bloggers, Facebook and countless other instant communication options make "faking it" a losing proposition.
SPEED has always been the marshmallow in this mix before the weekday Race Hub show started. This year, Steve Byrnes has been exploring topics the network would never touch in the past. Now with Race Hub on the air, it puts John Roberts in a very different light as the RaceDay and Victory Lane host.
Ultimately, this Sunday's RaceDay comes down to Roberts' ability to handle all the different pressures that are being directed at him and simply focus on directing traffic. If Roberts continues his habit of trying to have the last word on every topic, it could be a long two hours of live TV.
This post will serve to host your comments on NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website. Please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
There is a nice little doubleheader on SPEED Saturday afternoon. The Whelen Modifieds and the Camping World Trucks are racing back-to-back at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
NASCAR on FOX's Mike Joy is returning to call the Modified race with Dick Berggren. Bob Dillner will handle the pit road reporting duties. These races have turned out to be a great product for TV.
SPEED will be time-shifting the Modified race to make sure that it will be over in time for the Camping World Truck Series feature event. The actual race will start at 12:45PM, but the SPEED program will not begin until 1PM.
The CWTS is an interesting mix of unsponsored drivers trying to get noticed, truck series regulars trying to make a living and Sprint Cup Series drivers simply racing to win. Hopefully, the number of start and park trucks will be low this week.
Krista Voda will host The Setup pre-race show with Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander reporting. Rick Allen will call the race with Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip. Kyle Busch driving a KBM truck is on the pole with a very fast lap.
Loudon works very well for SPEED. The network's veteran truck series TV team enjoys keeping the focus on the racing without gizmos and gadgets. The small number of announcers makes the telecast easy to watch. Hopefully, the trucks will cooperate with some good battles on this difficult flat track.
This post will serve to host your comments on the SPEED coverage of the Whelen Mods and the Camping World Truck Series from New Hampshire. To add your TV-related comments, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Here we go with a day of practice and qualifying from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The week is a strange one, with the Chase drivers doing lots of public appearances and the weather in New Hampshire refusing to cooperate.
Rainy and cold was the forecast for Friday as the TV coverage started at 11:30AM ET on ESPN2. The complete TV schedule is on the left side of this page.
ESPN has the "A Team" on these races of Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Reid has been challenged to handle practice and qualifying coverage for the Sprint Cup Series in his first season in the play-by-play role. NASCAR is a different animal than the NHRA and IndyCar, which is where Reid has been stationed for ESPN these past few seasons.
At SPEED the very familiar Camping World Truck Series TV team is back. Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip are joined by Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander on pit road. This small crew gets a lot accomplished and their ties to the truck series run deep.
The day ends with Nicole Briscoe hosting NASCAR Now from ESPN2's Bristol, CT studios. Then, another episode of Riding Shotgun with Kyle Busch airs. The reactions to this show have ranged from very positive to completely negative. Busch's fiancee certainly steals the spotlight.
Finally, Trackside on SPEED comes along with a rare appearance by a truck series driver. Todd Bodine joins Greg Biffle on the guest list. Bodine takes no prisoners and his disgust with the antics of Kyle Busch in several races this season have been well documented. It should be interesting to see if Bodine lets it fly on this topic or if NASCAR has stepped in to help him "craft" his message.
This topic will serve to host your comment on the Friday NASCAR TV coverage. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
It's going to be an interesting day from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Friday. ESPN2 and SPEED are going to be flipping coverage back and forth depending on whether the Sprint Cup Series cars or the Camping World trucks are on the track.
The day ends with an interesting TV tripleheader of shows. Nicole Briscoe hosts NASCAR Now, then the saga of Kyle and Samantha continues on Kyle Busch: Riding Shotgun . Finally, Krista Voda returns to host Trackside with Todd Bodine as a guest. That is Todd above about to be interviewed by Glinda, the Good Witch.
There is no love lost between Bodine and Kyle Busch. Darrell Waltrip already suggested earlier this week that Bodine's live TV comments might bring a strong reaction from Busch, including his own special guest TV appearance.
The complete NASCAR TV schedule is on the left side of this page.
We will crank-up the live comments at 11AM and run throughout the day. Join us when you can to catch up on all the items from NHMS. You can also follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/thedalyplanet anytime. Thanks!
Wednesday the line-up of personalities on SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 128 was amazing. Chase drivers mixed with TV personalities, crew chiefs, owners and a host of other great guests.
As the sport heads into the Chase, this week is the big media push to get the word out about the first race in Loudon, NH. Here is just a partial list of some folks who appeared on SiriusXM Wednesday:
Steve Addington, Brad Daugherty, Gil Martin, Bob Osborne, Darrell Waltrip, Matt Kenseth, Greg Erwin, Tony Stewart, Todd Berrier, Jeff Gordon, Dave Rogers, Shane Wilson, Denny Hamlin, Rusty Wallace, Jack Roush, Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards. The list goes on and on.
For those fortunate enough to have SiriusXM in their vehicles, the day was memorable. For those fortunate enough to be able to access the SiriusXM satellite signal at home or in the workplace, it was just as memorable. The problem is that millions of NASCAR fans are not on that fortunate list.
The picture above is of the SiriusXM online app for cell phones. There is also a program for streaming the SiriusXM signal online for desktops, laptops, iPads and other devices. What all of this wonderful technology has in common is that none of it can deliver Channel 128. NASCAR audio cannot be streamed online.
Turner Sports Interactive holds the total online rights to NASCAR in a contract that has years to run. Turner wants payment from SiriusXM before any signal, including Channel 128, is used online. Needless to say, SiriusXM just avoided bankruptcy recently with a bail-out from a top media executive. Cash is the last thing Sirius has lying around.
Once again this year, as the NASCAR season gets ready to head into the playoffs, there will be no solution to this problem. Nothing has changed.
Off Season Priority: Online Streaming Of SiriusXM Channel 128 was a TDP column in December of 2009. Click here to read the post which has references and some good reader comments. Here is the opening paragraph.
After the television disaster that was the 2009 Chase for the Championship, it's very clear that solutions for bringing fans back to the sport in 2010 have to include more options than just TV.
This season ESPN has proven the issues affecting the 2009 coverage are continuing despite some new faces in new places. The current ESPN production philosophy of focusing on a handful of stars for the short segments of racing between commercials just does not work in Sprint Cup Series coverage.
While Sprint has a phone app called NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile, the program features scanner chatter on races and some online text links to SPEED and the NASCAR.com website. Sirius is the only outlet that provides fulltime weekday radio support for the sport.
Sirius, Turner and NASCAR are all representing their own interests as business folks do, but there has to come a time when those parties realize that the ship may be taking on water. Between the NFL, the economy and the wide variety of other TV and online sports options, NASCAR is just not the same product it was five years ago.
Distributing this viable and important Sirius signal through modern technology to as many fans as possible simply has to be a priority at this time. Let's hope someone with character does the right thing and breaks-up this stalemate soon.
We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The first two episodes of Kyle Busch: Riding Shotgun aired back-to-back on ESPN2 Tuesday afternoon. The original airing of episode number one was preempted by US Open tennis on Monday.
This series just popped-up on the TV radar screen last week. In a media release, both ESPN and the NASCAR Media Group said a lot of polite things about the sport and each other. What they never explained is where this project originated and why it came about. This is the extent of what fans were told.
"A new and highly innovative five-part television series featuring NASCAR star Kyle Busch will air on ESPN2 to help kick off ESPN’s live coverage of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship," said the ESPN media release.
"Whether the fans love him or he’s not one of their favorites, this program will present Kyle and his personality in an intriguing manner that will get their attention, just like his driving on the racetrack," said ESPN exec Julie Sobieski.
"Kyle has a very busy schedule that week and we’ll be shooting one day and airing the next, something very rarely even contemplated in today’s television industry. We appreciate the opportunity and access that Kyle and his team have provided for us," said Jay Abraham, head of the NASCAR Media Group.
Episode one opened with Busch in his motorhome at the track. He was exercising with his fiancee, Samantha Sarcinella. She was telling him what to do and he complied while rolling his eyes. It seemed Busch was a good sport when it came to following directions from this young lady.
Footage from Richmond highlighted Busch in his pink firesuit as he caught grief from Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart for his attire. Sarcinella joined Busch again before the Nationwide Series race, sitting on the pit box . After a top ten finish, Sarcinella and Busch planned their honeymoon online and then browsed through engagement photos. Sarcinella lead the way.
The race highlights from Richmond morphed into the Chasers chatting post-race. Busch expressed an issue with Denny Hamlin to car owner Joe Gibbs, joked around during the photos in Victory Lane and ended the night asleep on the plane next to Sarcinella.
This first show ended with an opportunity for Sarcinella to be featured in her bikini out on the lake with Busch and friends boating. Busch got to do a little wakeboarding, Sarcinella got to do a lot of posing.
Episode two opened with Sarcinella playing to the camera while organizing clothes for a trip to New York. Busch then signed merchandise, made awkward conversation in the JGR shop and finally did a photo shoot where not one word was exchanged between himself and Hamlin.
Sarcinella was then at Kyle Busch Motorsports as she put logos on the charity truck while talking about various topics. SPEED fan favorite Rick Ren was forced to make even more awkward conversation with Busch while supposedly talking about KBM topics.
Busch finally lit up when given the brief opportunity to recap his Bristol, TN weekend as he hosted a crew dinner. He seems sincere in his understanding that it takes a team to help his racing efforts, unlike the infamous "old Kyle Busch."
Viewers were introduced to Busch's 1969 Chevy Camaro which had been fully restored. Clearly a car guy, Busch enjoyed telling the story of its origin. During this segment, Sarcinella from out of the blue offered that she did a bikini photo shoot with another one of Busch's cars.
Sarincella said she lay across the hood for the photo above shot by Charlotte area photographer Kevin Justice. What an interesting way to end a NASCAR TV show on ESPN2.
I certainly don't begrudge Sarcinella one moment of the opportunity to be on national television in a feature program series. The issue is that this project was intended to promote the Chase. Busch never expressed to the viewers his opinions about the sport, about the Chase or really about anything. Like it or not, the focus was on Sarcinella.
The remainder of this mini-series is going to chronicle Busch as he travels to promote the Chase through various media appearances. Ultimately, he will wind-up at ESPN on Thursday along with Stewart and Gordon for a full day of media work.
Perhaps, the hastily thrown together nature of this project resulted in the NASCAR Media Group creating a little bit of entertainment television to get things underway.
This is a very important week for the sport and ESPN got it off to an awkward start with the preemption of NASCAR Now and episode one of the Riding Shotgun series on Monday evening.
Hopefully, both parties will get back on track as the Chasers will be on the ESPN networks all week trying to drum up publicity for the final ten races while Riding Shotgun attempts to profile the most dynamic personality in the sport this season.
Did you watch these two episodes? We invite you to leave your opinion on the programs. To add your comment, just click on the comment button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.
Bonus: Click here for a playback of the original Double Shot Of My Baby's Love by the Swinging Medallions from 1966. For those of you not familiar, that is a record player. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
After several weeks of being punted to the night shift, ESPN2's NASCAR Now program was set to return with a bang on Monday at a special time of 7PM.
Not only was host Allen Bestwick ready to lead Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree and Ray Evernham through a review of the weekend in Richmond, but it was also time for the Chase for the Championship.
Bestwick had an expert panel who could offer a preview of the Chase from a unique perspective. They were the men who would actually be calling the final ten Sprint Cup Series races. You just can't get much better than that.
This week, there would also be icing on the TV cake. The NASCAR Media Group and ESPN had teamed-up for a special series that would follow NASCAR Now at 8PM. The NMG cameras followed Kyle Busch during the Richmond weekend and then did what is called a "quick turn around" to put a show together.
This is one thing the NMG guys are known for, getting timely shows together and delivering a fantastic finished product. Lots of hard work in both Richmond and Charlotte went into this debut episode.
Unfortunately, the bad luck of NASCAR Now this season struck again. The CBS coverage of the rain-delayed US Open tennis tournament stretched beyond the network's broadcast window. Suddenly, ESPN was about to get the men's US Open final live. The chosen network when things dried out and play started was ESPN2.
At 7PM instead of NASCAR Now, SportsCenter appeared on ESPN2. Rather than simply bridging a small gap to live tennis, the program ran for 53 minutes. During that time, two pre-recorded NASCAR reports ran, one featuring the NASCAR Now studio cast.
As usual, NASCAR was out of place among the stick and ball frenzy of ESPN this time of the year. At the conclusion of one NASCAR package on the Chase, the SportsCenter anchor said sarcastically to his partner, "Oh, I've been waiting all year for that!" The two then broke out in laughter.
SportsCenter had already been on ESPN2 since 5PM ET, the normal time for NASCAR Now. Even after two full hours ESPN stuck with the stick and ball theme instead of inserting the NASCAR program at the proper time. Had tennis begun live before 8PM, either an ESPN announcer or Dick Enberg working the event could have easily explained the transition.
After joining tennis live at 53 minutes after the hour, it was apparent that the players were still warming up. Once the 8PM hour hit, the referee called the players onto the court and the action began. Not one ball was in the air prior to 8PM ET.
NASCAR Now aired correctly in the West Coast slot at 12AM with episode #1 of the Kyle Busch show following. NASCAR Now is the cornerstone of NASCAR on ESPN and Allen Bestwick has brought it to a level equal to any studio show on the ESPN networks.
ESPN2 has changed the Tuesday program schedule to air both the first and second episodes of the Kyle Busch special series. At 5:30PM following NASCAR Now, the first episode will air. At 6PM, episode number two will debut. That is going to require some DVR work, as SportsNation is currently on the TV listings in that timeslot.
Despite the reality of the on-air logistics, there is certainly a heightened perception this season that NASCAR is taking a backseat to other sports on ESPN. College football has already caused havoc, NASCAR Now has been preempted for weeks and now the big Monday show is gone for no apparent reason.
Throw in the lackluster coverage and energy from Richmond and NASCAR on ESPN is once again a tough sell. That's a shame as there are so many talented people involved in the various productions and the Chase is wide open this year. Nicole Briscoe hosts NASCAR Now this week with various Chasers in the studio as guests.
The complete NASCAR TV schedule for the week is on the left side of the page. Announcers and guests will be added as they are confirmed with the networks.
We want your comments on the topic discussed 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. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Monday, September 13, 2010
What a night! College football covered portions of the pre-race show and then the race turned into a parade of commercials from start to finish.
Allen Bestwick had only a short time to get comments from Ray Evernham, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty from the Infield Pit Studio. Tim Brewer was in the Tech Garage.
It was the "A Team" of Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree who called the race from the TV booth. Down on pit road were Dr. Jerry Punch, Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch.
The race started on time with all the TV markets except one on time for the start. ABC was into commercial before lap 8 and this was the theme of the night. At the track, the crowd all waved American flags on laps 9 and 11 in a tribute to the fallen US citizens of the terrorist attacks. Despite the fact that the TV guys knew about it, they went to commercial.
The rest of the telecast featured only one rain delay. There were no technical issues and the pictures and sound were solid.
Update: Fans of Marcos Ambrose and other top ten drivers filled my email after the checkered flag. ESPN's director chose to show only Denny Hamlin finish the race and showed no other lead lap cars finish. This despite the fact that drivers were racing not only for the finish of the race, but for place in the Chase for the Championship.
This post is our opportunity for you to offer a post-race wrap-up of the ESPN on ABC coverage of the Sprint Cup Series from Richmond. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
NASCAR follows college football on ABC Saturday night. The telecast is scheduled to begin at 7PM with thirty minutes of pre-race show.
Allen Bestwick will have a full house tonight. Ray Evernham, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty are all in the Infield Pit Studio for the pre-race, the event and the post-race coverage. Evernham is a breath of fresh air and he works well with Wallace. Unfortunately, Daugherty is relegated to his cheerleader role in this scenario.
Marty Reid will be calling the race with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree alongside. These three did not have a very good Friday night calling the Nationwide Series race. They had a long day on the air handling multiple sessions and that showed with the lack of energy on the NNS race telecast.
Tim Brewer will be in the Tech Garage. His performances have become cult classics as he reviews mostly the same information he has offered since 2007. Dr. Jerry Punch, Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch are the pit road reporters.
ESPN has a formula that maddened fans on Friday night. Each segment of the race begins with wide shots and an overview of the race. Then, the director slowly zooms the cameras in just like FOX until only one or two cars is being shown on the TV screen at a time.
The telecasts for the viewers ultimately become a series of random cuts between pictures of two cars racing for position. ESPN had confirmed that this style will continue by now showing two video boxes on the screen, even at short tracks like Richmond.
What do each of the two video boxes have in them? That's right, a tight camera shot of two cars racing for position. Fundamentally, it's embarrassing that ESPN cannot adopt a NASCAR production strategy that makes sense for the fans watching at home.
There are a lot of other viewing options tonight, including top of the line sports. It's going to be very important as NASCAR moves into the Chase to harness some momentum tonight and carry it down the stretch as the sport begins to compete head-to-head with the NFL on Sunday afternoons.
This post will allow you to voice your opinion on the ABC coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Richmond. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Here we go with what could be one of the best Nationwide Series of the season. A wide variety of drivers are set to go at it under the lights at the Richmond International Raceway.
Allen Bestwick will host the pre-race show with Ray Evernham, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. Marty Reid will call the race with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree alongside. Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch, Dave Burns and Jamie Little are the pit reporters. Tim Brewer is in the Tech Garage.
Richmond is classic short track racing. The packs of cars battle and run side-by-side constantly. It's up to the director to keep the best action in the camera frame while the producer uses the announcers to tell the entire story of the race.
This track can have red flag periods due to the track being blocked. Cautions usually breed cautions and the TV crew will be chasing the hectic action on pit road both under green and caution.
This post will serve to host your comments on the Nationwide Series action from Richmond on ESPN2. 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 stopping by!
Here we go with an all-day affair from Richmond International Raceway on ESPN2. The complete schedule of the day is posted on the left side of this page.
Allen Bestwick, Ray Evernham, Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace are the Infield Studio staff. Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree are up in the TV booth. Dr. Jerry Punch, Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch are the pit reporters.
Practice and qualifying is going to be broken up with two NASCAR Now programs. It should be interesting to see how ESPN chooses to lay this day out on the air.
This post will serve to host your comments on the ESPN2 coverage from RIR beginning at noon ET and running through 7PM. There will be a new live blog up for the NNS race tonight. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Here are some items from the week of interest to NASCAR fans:
Darrell Waltrip returns to SPEED this weekend as he joins the Trackside crew on Friday night for a one hour show that airs at 11PM ET. Krista Voda will be the show host. Marcos Ambrose and Martin Truex Jr. will be the guests.
Elliott Sadler steps aside to make room for DW. This is the only SPEED program for Waltrip this weekend, Kyle Petty is working Race Day and Victory Lane with Kenny Wallace.
SPEED's Randy Pemberton is going to have a memorable Thursday. This was his most recent Facebook posting:
OK, Surgery at 7:30 am on Thursday. Spinal fusion of S1-L5-L4. Rods, screws, the whole nine yards.without it I can't walk 25 yards without kneeling down. Can't wait! A few days in the hospital n home. It's not a slam dunk so, if you feel inclined, a little prayer tonight could be the difference! Thanks all....
Good luck to Randy on his surgery and recovery. Hope to see him back on SPEED soon.
Ray Evernham joins the ESPN team this weekend for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races. He will be in the Infield Pit Studio with Allen Bestwick, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty.
Update: Thanks to all the readers who passed along the information that Dover was in fact the first race after the 9-11 attacks. SPEED was just a bit off in the media release. The feature will be on how NASCAR regrouped after that fateful day. Thanks again.
Thursday, the final edition of Race Hub on SPEED this week, will feature a Tony Stewart interview and Hermie Sadler will update activity from the Richmond International Raceway. Pretty stellar job by Steve Byrnes of taking this series and making it his own over the past several weeks.
Unlike last weekend, ESPN2 has all the practice and qualifying coverage on Friday. The breaks between sessions will be filled with "NASCAR Now" programs, but with the Nationwide Series race that night it is going to be a very long day for Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree.
There will be more channel flipping for fans this Saturday as the Sprint Cup Series race is once again on ABC. Mike Massaro and Ricky Craven will offer the 9AM preview edition of NASCAR Now on ESPN2. Race Day on SPEED hits the air at 5PM and the ABC pre-race show begins at 7PM ET.
The ABC schedule has 11PM to 11:30PM scheduled as a post-race show. The wrap-up edition of NASCAR Now on ESPN2 airs at 12:30AM ET. To make matters even more complicated, SPEED is going to try Victory Lane at 11:30PM. The TV schedules could get very interesting should the race go just a little bit long.
Any additional TV or media updates will be posted right here. Check back for updates. In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment on any of the topics listed above. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
About a month ago, we wrote about the news that NASCAR had secretly fined driver Denny Hamlin for comments he made on Twitter. It was AP reporter Jenna Fryer who broke the story. The amount of the fine was substantial and NASCAR presented Hamlin with a log of his offensive Twitter comments.
The interesting thing is that in this case the fans got to see the evidence. Hamlin was one of many drivers from all three series who got hooked on Twitter and used it effectively in several different ways.
This week, the Sprint Cup Series is headed for perhaps the biggest race of the season in Richmond, VA. There are multiple storylines playing out in the sport as the final race before The Chase for the Championship gets set to run under the lights on ABC in primetime.
Twitter is interesting. It costs nothing to join, is easy to use on any online device and has become the breaking news source for almost any topic worldwide. NASCAR uses Twitter every day to offer official news and updates. On the weekends, live race tweets chronicle every Cup, Nationwide and truck series race.
In this "have at it boys" season, NASCAR actively encouraged the drivers to speak their minds and deal with issues on the track among themselves. It sometimes takes a very thick skin to be a Sprint Cup Series driver in 2010.
There has been a whole lot of talking going on among the drivers that is dutifully reported by the media corps, the NASCAR TV partners and the radio networks. But, now there is one place where almost no talking is going on. That place is Twitter.
Click here to read "Did NASCAR Crush Social Media" from the August 4 edition of TDP. The story was updated on August 9 with comments on the topic from Hamlin.
NASCAR fans on Twitter had access to all of Hamlin's tweets. Many looked back and saw a very different situation than the one NASCAR determined needed 50 thousand dollars to resolve. In this case, it appeared that the thinnest skin belonged to NASCAR.
Here are some fan comments on the topic:
"The reason I finally got a Twitter account this summer was to be able to hear directly from the drivers. It was cool. But now all we get is just plain silence." (from Vince)
"NASCAR moves one step closer to pro wrestling than pro sports. It's less and less about the competition and more and more about the show and about rivalries. Stick and ball teams and leagues have "you can't badmouth us" rules too but they don't make it rain in the top of the 8th or throw towels on the court with 20 seconds to go." (from Tripp)
"I remember reading Denny's tweets that night and even gave my thoughts on it to him and to Gluck at the time. I didn't see anything at the time where I really thought Denny said anything out of line or that hadn't been said by other drivers and by fans over the last few years about the late cautions." (from PJ)
Hamlin's online conversation with SBNation blogger Jeff Gluck on the topic of "mystery debris" caution flags was apparently the key issue for NASCAR. It's ironic that other drivers, team owners and NASCAR personalities at the time were also actively engaged in tweeting on that same topic.
One well-known Sprint Cup Series owner with a long history in TV engaged in an extended Twitter debate where he defended NASCAR's right to make the race more exciting by purposefully throwing a caution flag. He called it a "TV timeout." To even have this discussion, the assumption by all was that "Jacque Debris" had visited once again.
At a time when NASCAR is looking for new fans, Twitter has over 145 million users around the world. Twitter is viewed over 180 million times per month and is signing up more than 250 thousand new users every day. In the US, Twitter has over 20 million users and many of them are directly in NASCAR's target audience.
Hamlin's fine and NASCAR's strong words about policing social media have effectively ended the Twitter participation of many drivers, crew chiefs and owners. Now, public relations staffers offer official stories and pictures from teams while journalists chat with fans. Some drivers offer happy talk while linking to merchandise offers and sponsor sites.
The Twitter universe is huge, growing by the day and becoming the most effective way to transmit information in a timely fashion to a targeted audience. In much the same way that NASCAR's drug policy used to be based on "reasonable suspicion," the sanctioning body has not defined for personalities within the sport a social media line that should not be crossed.
It's time for NASCAR to re-open the door and tap into the fastest growing global communications technology. Instead of direct conversations with fans around the world, the NASCAR drivers stumble into Richmond in the middle of a social media blackout.
Where Twitter is concerned, "have at it boys" failed miserably. Perhaps, one simple and clearly stated official policy would assist in bringing back the rapidly growing interaction between fans and NASCAR personalities that ground to a halt in spectacular fashion.
We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Monday should have been a huge day for ESPN's NASCAR Now. Host Allen Bestwick has worked very hard to put together a 5PM Monday hour of solid NASCAR TV. Normally, Bestwick and three panelists review the weekend, preview the upcoming races and talk with a NASCAR newsmaker.
This Monday, ESPN2's time-shifted coverage of the NHRA US Nationals was scheduled until 6PM. Instead of airing NASCAR Now at that time, SportsCenter crossed over from ESPN and took the 6PM timeslot. SportsCenter then jumped over to ESPNEWS at 7PM and ran for three additional hours.
Once again this week, the Tuesday through Thursday 5PM editions of NASCAR Now have been preempted. The US Open tennis tournament also pushed NASCAR Now off the air last week. Tennis has not been kind to the series this summer.
ESPN switched most of it's Sprint Cup Series races from ABC to ESPN in order to deliver a more focused audience, be more flexible with time issues and keep NASCAR content on cable.
ESPN2 is home to the only "support programming" that NASCAR gets on the ESPN family of networks. The single TV series that has aired in support of the sport since 2007 is NASCAR Now. There are no other regularly scheduled NASCAR programs on the ESPN networks.
In 2006, ESPN became the major TV rights holder for NASCAR in a multi-year contract that exceeded a billion dollars. ESPN was back and NASCAR was elated. Just last week, NASCAR media executive Paul Brooks spoke to reporter Dustin Long from Landmark Newspapers.
Brooks told Long that the cross-over promotion on ESPN programs will really help the TV ratings for the actual Sprint Cup Series races. "They're turning the dial up at a time when we need it most," Brooks said of ESPN. "We've worked pretty hard with ESPN to get this to a pretty good place. We're anxious to see the results of this."
Well, Brooks is going to have to stay up late to see his results. The Tuesday through Thursday NASCAR Now shows air at midnight Eastern Time or later with no re-airs. The Monday show was cancelled.
After racing since February, this is the week leading up to the final race before The Chase for the Championship. The entire point of ESPN returning to the Sprint Cup Series was to provide a comprehensive multi-network media platform for NASCAR content.
Once again preempting the original airing of ESPN's daily NASCAR TV news program at this critical time does not seem to fall in line with "turning up the dial."
We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Marty Reid is getting his first taste of the NASCAR TV telecasts that have to handle multiple storylines. The race, The Chase and the bubble boys dominated this telecast of the Sprint Cup Series race from Atlanta.
Allen Bestwick started things off with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty from the Infield Pit Studio. College football caused this show to come on a couple of minutes later than scheduled. Tim Brewer was in the Tech Garage.
Once again, the pre-race show featured pre-recorded packages that had been used earlier on the week on NASCAR Now and other ESPN TV outlets, including ABC. Erin Andrews may have some promotional value on other channels, but in a pre-race show for a very important race re-airing her laps with Dale Jarrett was an interesting choice.
Marty Reid is handling his first season of Sprint Cup Series races for ESPN. This has proven to be a challenge. Reid is used to calling the action, but juggling the various themes that ESPN throws his way has been rough. In this race, Kyle Busch was the early theme and then Greg Biffle took the attention.
Points as they run right now is a term that some fans hate. ESPN thumped TV viewers over the head with the Chase and the points until the real racing began with about 40 laps remaining. Suddenly, it was never mentioned again.
Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree have been working together for several seasons. They have been through many difficult times with the NASCAR on ESPN team. This is their best season ever matched with Reid in the booth and Bestwick hosting from the infield.
Jamie Little, Dave Burns, Dr. Jerry Punch and Mike Massaro were the pit reporters. They tried several times to interview crew chiefs during the race, but mostly ran into the stone cold wall of silence when it came to decision making and updates.
There were no technical problems, no weather issue and the sound was outstanding from the race. Coverage was the normal ESPN style of moving from one small group of cars to another. Commercial timing was tough with several cautions and key passes for position happening while the network was away.his post is you opportunity to offer your own TV wrap-up of the ESPN coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Atlanta. 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 as always for taking the time to stop by.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
This holiday edition of the Sprint Cup Series race from Atlanta Motor Speedway is ready to roll under the lights tonight.
Allen Bestwick starts the coverage with Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace from the Infield Pit Studio. Tim Brewer is in the Tech Garage. This is a short pre-race show so the pace should be fast. Expect ESPN to focus on the Chase and the guys on the bubble.
Marty Reid, Andy Petree and Dale Jarrett are going to call the race from the TV booth. On pit road are Dr. Jerry Punch, Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Mike Massaro.
This high-speed track has been the cause of much frustration in the garage. Tires fade away quickly and may be the story of the race. The field stretches out quickly and clean air is important for passing. Quick pit stops are crucial.
ESPN repeated a frustrating scenario on Saturday night during the Nationwide Series race. Rarely was the aerial camera used and the director continued the pattern of slowly zooming in with the cameras during each segment until only two cars were being featured. The actual racing on the track was often lost.
Races this time of year are critical and only good fundamental TV coverage by ESPN tonight is going to hold the attention of fans who have lots of other sports TV options.
This post will serve to host your comments on the ESPN coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from Atlanta. To add your TV-related comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
College football season is here and the Nationwide Series is the only appearance of NASCAR on ESPN2 today. SPEED handled the practice and qualifying coverage from the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The ESPN2 football game kicked-off at 3:30PM and the NNS pre-race is scheduled for 6:30PM. This has not gone well in the past for NASCAR on ESPN2. It will be Allen Bestwick, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty manning the Infield Pit Studio today. Tim Brewer will be in the Tech Garage.
Bestwick is one of the best in the TV business at dealing with adversity and changing circumstances. He may get his wish depending on how the football game pans out toward the end. Many times over the last three seasons, the pre-race show has been completely preempted by football.
Once things finally get underway, it will be Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree calling the action from the TV booth. Dr. Jerry Punch, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Dave Burns will cover the action from pit road.
This race looks like it will be dominated once again by the cross-over Sprint Cup Series drivers. Look for them to be the focus during the pre-race and the race coverage. ESPN loves stars and the Cup guys are happy to step-up.
Coverage at Atlanta is a challenge. The big track spreads out the field quickly and the accidents are fast and big. In-car cameras anywhere but the backstretch used live are a big risk to missing key action. Aerial shots are wonderful at the facility.
This post will serve to host your comments on the ESPN2 coverage of the Nationwide Series from Atlanta. 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.
Update: Sometimes, things happen on TV that just make you shake your head. John Roberts had one of those momenents at AMS today during NASCAR Live.
Mike Joy and John Roberts will be hosting SPEED's coverage of Saturday activities from the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Joy will handle on the track action and Roberts will host the SPEED Stage programs.
The complete schedule for the day is located on the right side of the TDP page. Joy will team with Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds while Roberts will have Hermie Sadler alongside. Reporters today will include Wendy Venturini, Matt Yocum and Bob Dillner.
Atlanta is proving to be very abrasive to tires in practice and the story of the day may be again about Goodyear. At this time of the season, the focus also changes to The Chase and the hype about who is in and who is out. Expect this to be the theme for ESPN this weekend.
It will be nice to see Mike Joy back on TV and not forced into the FOX scenario of letting Darrell Waltrip dominate the telecasts. Joy is the top NASCAR TV pro and he certainly can make daytime practice and qualifying coverage interesting to fans on this challenging day. Lots of other sports and TV options are out there, SPEED really has to deliver to keep viewers.
This post will serve to host your comments on the day shift coverage by SPEED from Atlanta. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. We will be live blogging the Nationwide Series race tonight on a new post. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Everyone is on vacation! Friday night the weekend begins with the Camping World Trucks at the Kentucky Speedway.
Krista Voda hosts the pre-race with Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander as the reporters. Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip will call the race on SPEED.
Kentucky Speedway is fast and the trucks should quickly split into to groups. Those who can stay on the lead lap and those who are destined to get lapped a lot. This is a very diverse field tonight and it should be interesting to notice how many "start and parkers" are going to crank it up.
The speedway makes good TV pictures at night, but it is yet to be seen how many cameras SPEED will have available tonight. The CWTS TV team is well-known to most fans. The show is straightforward and makes sense to fans.
This post will host your comments on the TV coverage of the trucks from Kentucky. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
Here are some notes heading into the NASCAR tripleheader weekend:
Don't forget that Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip are calling a Camping World Truck Series race from Kentucky Speedway Friday night on SPEED. Qualifying at 6PM, pre-race show with Krista Voda at 7:30PM and live race coverage at 8PM ET.
Because of the truck race, there is no Trackside on SPEED this Friday night. It can't move to Saturday because the Nationwide Series race is also at night.
Mike Joy is back in the SPEED TV booth on Saturday calling practice and qualifying for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series from Atlanta, GA. He will be joined by the usual suspects in Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond. John Roberts will be hosting the NASCAR Live shows between sessions.
College football has started, so this is the first weekend where the Nationwide Series pre-race show on ESPN2 at 6:30PM is three hours after kick-off of a game. Needless to say, be ready to see it joined in progress. Another football game is scheduled for 10PM immediately after the race is supposed to be over.
Nicole Briscoe and Ricky Craven are handling the NASCAR Now weekend studio shows on ESPN2. Shannon Spake and David Newton will be reporting from the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Show times on our TV listings on the left side of the page.
ESPN is once again having the TV team double-up this weekend. Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree will call both the Saturday Nationwide and the Sunday Sprint Cup Series events. Allen Bestwick, Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace will be riding it out in the Infield Pit Studio. Yes, Tim Brewer and the Tech Garage will also be there!
On Thursday's edition of Race Hub, Bob Dillner said testing would be returning to the Daytona International Speedway this year. With new pavement, there had to be something done and open testing for teams in all three series seems to be the solution. Thatsracin.com reporter Jim Utter passed along that he heard January 17 - 21 are the tentative dates.
There is a new list of events available for fans in Las Vegas during the banquet weekend in the post-season. Click here for the scenedaily.com page link for the details. Hopefully, some more sponsor-driven events will be added.
There is no daytime NASCAR TV coverage on Friday. We will be live blogging the truck race Friday night, please join us then. In the meantime, please feel free to leave your comments on the topics above. Thanks for stopping by.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Update: Going to leave this post up to host your comments on the first episode of the show. Some folks put it on the DVR and will be watching it later. I liked the personalities of the kids and the fact that viewers got to see the parents. I did not like the choice of a voice-over announcer or the hyped drama of the heat races. I will be back next week and watch the next episode.
The NASCAR Media Group, BET network and former DEI president Max Seigel are partnering to bring a new series to TV. Changing Lanes is one of those infamous "docu-series" that allows producers to walk both sides of the street.
Part real story and part scripted competition, Changing Lanes is sure to be controversial to some. Click here to watch the official video preview.
Here is the basic premise from a recent press release:
The series kicks off at NASCAR's Drive for Diversity Combine where 30 drivers gather to showcase their on-track skills as well as their ability to conduct themselves professionally in various settings. Those that perform well continue in the competition, undergo further on- and off-track evaluations and subsequent eliminations until there are only four contestants remaining. The final group will join Revolution Racing and compete in the 2010 K&N Series as well as partake in a 50-lap head-to-head race. The winner will get the opportunity to qualify for the Toyota All-Star Showdown in Irwindale, CA.
Click here for a link to Dave Kallman of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discussing this ten episode series. Kallman makes several very good points. The mix between the real world and "docu-drama" content edited for TV might work well in entertainment, but motorsports is a bit different.
Over at commonsensemedia.org, the website gives the series high marks in several different categories. Click here to see the review. "The series offers positive messages and role models for tweens and up," says the article.
Meanwhile, over at The New York Post the Changing Lanes headline says "NASCAR: It's not just white guys." In yet another major market publication out of touch with the sport, the Post pushes the redneck stereotype while using Danica Patrick and Wendell Scott as the best NASCAR minority examples.
The rapper Ludacris, whose real name is Chris Bridges, provides the narration for Changing Lanes. Bridges is no stranger to media controversy and is certainly an curious choice. He has walked a fine line between mainstream media acceptance and public criticism for profanity, misogyny and racism in his song lyrics. Those critics have included Oprah Winfrey and President Barack Obama.
BET as the destination for this series is also interesting. SPEED sits as the de facto motorsports cable TV network right now and certainly could use some new Monday night NASCAR-related shows. There simply is not much of a cross-over between the current NASCAR TV partners and BET. That makes promotion in existing NASCAR programming for Changing Lanes tough to do.
Seigel had a rough ride in NASCAR after coming to DEI with lots of dreams and ambitions to integrate current music and entertainment celebrities into the sport through his personal connections in the industry. Now, those same connections have resulted in a reality-style TV series that will certainly open some eyes among the existing fan base.
The MaxSeigel.com website calls Seigel "one of the most influential executives in the entertainment and sports industries." This time, Seigel is walking in backed by an established production company in the NASCAR Media Group. His product is airing on a well-known TV network in BET and NASCAR has given him the official stamp of approval for his effort.
Changing Lanes is going to be a fascinating television experiment to watch. The series debuts Wednesday at 8PM Eastern/7PM Central Time on BET.
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010
It's that time of the year again. Time for our annual discussion about the impact of college football on NASCAR's number two series. The Nationwide Series was called an "unpolished jewel" by ESPN president George Bodenheimer back in 2006.
Since that time, ESPN has used the February through August coverage of the Nationwide Series to maintain the network's presence in the sport. Once college football begins, the series takes on an all too familiar position. On September weekends at ESPN, the Nationwide Series becomes the redheaded stepchild.
This week's race is from the Atlanta Motor Speedway. There is a live college football game scheduled at 3:30PM ET on ESPN2 Saturday. Three hours later, the Nationwide Series pre-race show begins on the same network. Rarely have we seen football games end in a three hour "window" over the past couple of seasons.
The actual race coverage begins at 7PM and is scheduled for three hours. At 10PM, Cincinnati and Fresno State will be ready for kick-off of ESPN's late college football game. Once again, the Nationwide Series is the meat in a college football sandwich.
At 2:30PM on Saturday, Mike Joy and the SPEED TV team will cover Nationwide Series qualifying. There is no TV coverage of practice. SPEED will handle the Nationwide Series programming and news coverage right up until the pre-race show. That's the only way to get it on the air.
Infield Studio host Allen Bestwick is all too familiar with having ESPN2 viewers join the pre-race show in progress. While some may argue that the race is the key, that's not really true this time of year. Nationwide Series sponsors need exposure and telling the stories and updating the news during the pre-race show is key to meeting that goal.
At the end of 2008, some homes that carried the ESPN Classic network switched that channel to ESPNU, the college sports network. On many systems, ESPN Classic is now part of a pay tier or simply unavailable. This network was the emergency valve for Nationwide races when college football was interfering with coverage. No longer.
As the familiar college football scenario begins to emerge, ESPN responds by trying to shift attention to the Sprint Cup Series. The resulting Chase overkill proved to be a mess last season. The Nationwide Series simply slipped away as an afterthought.
There are several more years to run on the current ESPN contract with NASCAR for Nationwide Series coverage. NASCAR content can't move to ESPN3.com due to online rights issues. ESPN has no plan to launch a third general sports channel and moving the final three months of Nationwide Series races to SPEED is not an option.
So, buckle up and get ready for three months of a bumpy ride on ESPN2. Saturdays dedicated wall-to-wall at ESPN for college football will come momentarily to a screeching halt while the Nationwide Series drivers run a race. Then, in the blink of an eye NASCAR is gone and ESPN returns to the network's bread and butter of college football.
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