Tuesday, November 2, 2010
There's A New TV Sheriff In Town
Monday signaled the official start of the era of Patti Wheeler at SPEED TV. In the blink of an eye, a female executive took over both the programming and production departments of this now large and very important cable TV network.
Over the years, we have seen the original SpeedVision be purchased by FOX and moved from Stamford, CT to Charlotte, NC with the intent of becoming a full time NASCAR TV network. That never panned-out for a wide variety of reasons.
New to Charlotte, SPEED settled into a rented studio run by a religious group. Rented office space across the street made for a very interesting network dynamic. These days, SPEED has moved into a renovated facility near the Charlotte Motor Speedway that contains HD studios, production facilities and all the network staff.
Wheeler comes to SPEED as the agent of change representing David Hill, the well-known FOX Sports Chairman and avid NASCAR fan. It was Wheeler who introduced the Australian-born Hill to NASCAR, leading him around what was then her father Humpy's speedway in Charlotte.
Hill fell in love with stock car racing, thought it was under-valued and jumped in with both feet. The result was the establishment of TV personalities like Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond. FOX captured lots of Emmy Awards, helped the sport grow and became perhaps NASCAR's best TV partner in history.
Unfortunately, SPEED was then out of the reach of Hill. The network was controlled by a different division of FOX that ran the cable TV networks. While Hill could strongly express his opinions, the reality was that for many years he was not the executive in charge of SPEED. Now, all that has changed.
FOX Sports has a new young president who has inherited quite a legacy. 38 year-old Eric Shanks takes over the broadcast side of the business. His task is to grow the brands that Hill established for FOX Sports. In the meantime, Hill can turn his attention to changing the one entity that has escaped him. He is now in charge of SPEED.
Wheeler comes in under marching orders from Hill to get the ship in order. While network president Hunter Nickell continues in that position, make no mistake that Wheeler is going to be driving the bus in terms of who does what and how the network looks on the air.
The challenges of SPEED are well-known. On the weekends, NASCAR dominates but is mixed with other motorsports event coverage. The network has carved out a niche with Formula-1, MotoGP and sports car coverage. In addition, stand-alone events and specials like Barrett-Jackson auctions make for a nice mix.
The other shoe drops when Monday rolls around. Nickell's background is regional cable sports networks, so there has been no development of a national morning show. Instead, Sleep Number Bed and Ninja Kitchen System infomercials roll by. Weekday mornings on SPEED are a disaster.
However, it's Monday night at 8PM when the pain really hits for many fans. There is little doubt that one of Wheeler's first tasks is going to be getting the weekday primetime programming in order. Expanding the NASCAR brand into more Monday night programming is a no-brainer.
SPEED's bizarre "lifestyle programming" agenda has featured a towing company, a Texas roadhouse and endless arm-drop hype. This continues even as shows like the US version of Top Gear go to other networks. It's all very strange.
Wheeler's first project was Race Hub. Smartly expanded into an hour at 7PM ET Monday through Thursday, the first cornerstone is now in place to build a viable primetime line-up. Hopefully, one of Wheeler's immediate moves will be to return a West Coast 7PM airing of the program as SPEED originally promised.
SPEED has done a good job of embracing social media and Facebook even as the SPEED website continues to be a mess. Shows like RaceDay, Race Hub, The SPEED Report and others have been building a direct interactive relationship with the viewers.
It should be interesting to see who and what is left standing after an off-season that is destined to bring substantive change to a network that sorely needs it.
What would you like to see changed on SPEED for next season? What shows would you like to see created, expanded or cancelled? What are you missing during the week in your part of the country? Take a moment and offer a suggestion as SPEED begins the process of changing for 2011.
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Posted by Daly Planet Editor at 12:30 AM
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Honestly, I would love to see more weekday coverage of NON NASCAR motorsports. Between NN and HUB, there is enough "news" in that area. Perhaps another (at least one) edition of Wind Tunnel, A Speed Report-like show that covers everything during the week as well. Wouldn't mind seeing some more opinions offered throughout the week, maybe get Robin Miller as a regular commentator.
You are right JD, it is a mess most of the time, rarely do I even tune in until Sunday night anymore.
Racing! All kinds of racing. That's what I used to get when I tuned in for Speed. I don't watch "lifestyle programming" on any channel and Speed is no exception. Its just not my choice of programs to view, so I don't watch.
If RaceHub is an example of what she can bring to Speed programming, bring more. With Steve Byrnes as the host and expanded to one hour, this show has become a jewel and one of my "can't miss" programs. I hope that Speed continues RaceHub through the winter -- it was a bad mistake last year to just abruptly take all NASCAR programming off air at the end of the season.
I wish her the best of luck and hope that she brings good programming back to Speed for the race fans.
I hope that they don't mess with F1 programming. It is perfect just the way it is. They do a great job of calling a live race without being there. Sometimes they get upset with the far off director for calling the wrong shot.
I also enjoy Barrett Jackson but they are beginning to stretch it out too thin.
If Nascar is smart, next contract time they would just give all the race broadcasting to SPEED.
I like your line of questioning, Captain Daly.
Here’s some stream of consciousness—
First and foremost, make Raceday as good as Racehub. Get RID of Kenny Wallace and his ‘you fans’ condescending attitude. Let Wendy & Hermie keep doing what they’re doing. I miss Wendy’s one-on-one interviews (I forget what they were called.) I don’t know who would be good, but they should bring in a fresh face on the panel. Sadly, there might be some drivers available. I like Kyle P, he just needs better support. I actually like Rutledge, but whichever ‘comedian’ you use, make it brief. I think fans need to remember they’re trying to please everyone, and some people want humor. I can live with that. Less rehashing of the same stories, I’d like to see the drivers & crew talk about some personal stuff—we complain these guys are cardboard, yet we have no idea who they really are.
Programming—more shows like the old NBS 24/7 (I know it probably had low ratings, but maybe they can jazz them up a bit. Better lead in, maybe.) Reality but not with sensationalism. I like the features/shows they’ve done with radio chatter. Shop tours, maybe show us how they make some of the parts & pieces. I would like to see something like ‘Pit Bulls’ come back. More regional racing. Should go without saying but it doesn’t. I think if you build it right, the people will come. Bring back Humpy!!!!! And I think we all like the history shows. Why not get someone to interview some of these old timers—not just telling old stories, but about what they think of today. If not a show, then make it a feature on a show. I don’t mind bringing in some fluff for the sake of variety—like Chef Nicky, but he needs to make it more relevant (tailgating, camping…) Maybe a show where drivers try different jobs or sports. Personally I really like Test Drive—Tommy Kendall is a hoot; you’d think they could use him elsewhere. I still miss 101 Cars you must drive. That guy was funny; and it was well written.
Don’t mess with Racehub (well, maybe one thing.) I really enjoy most of what they do. The puzzle piece is Jimmy Spencer—sometimes he’s funny, sometimes he’s not. Last night, talking about Jim Hunter, I think that was the real Jimmy. Maybe if he tried toning it down, we’d find more value in him.
There are going to be a lot of ideas here. We could be our own focus group, lol.
Canceled: all "lifestyle" programming
Created: more live motorsports events, including coverage of ARCA, USAC, and other major national and regional short track events. A weekly "Thursday Night Thunder"-type series with live broadcasts from short tracks around the country covering a variety of forms of motorsports is sorely needed.
Hired: more people who truly have a passion for motorsports instead of people who have a pretty face or an agenda to push
Fired: anyone who has a conflict of interest, ie. someone covering an event in which they have a vested interest.
New policy implemented: if you are an on-air talent, you do not get to shill for any company you may have a business relationship with. Michael Waltrip, that means you.
I wish her luck, too. Having done the Full Monty at Talladega this past week I did not see any broadcasts or hear about the TV Police. Guess I missed some stuff. I can tell you this the crowd was the smallest I have ever seen, but everyone there was hardcore -- politicians would, I think, call it "the base". It is a sizable base, but it left the place feeling a bit more than empty. Too, the "debris" had been sitting there for some time according to comments heard over and over again during the Sunday night afterparty from people who were in a position to see them.
Can they please bring back racing of all types? What about the Nascar Canadian series? Speed used to carry that during the winter. There's enough dead air on Speed that they should be able to fill it with all types of racing.
Heck they used to show airplane races. If it's racing I'll usually watch it.
there was one long weekend I watched a truck race, NW race, Sports car race, F1 race, Cup race...and maybe there was an IRL race too. You can watch *too* much racing; I was burned out. It's like bowl season during football; if you start too early you don't even care when the big games roll around. So I would say you need some stuff to break it up with, there are plenty of opportunities (I didn't know they were showing informercials in the morning.) And I agree with Tom, I'd like to see Robin back. And I agree, F1 coverage is great.
I would like to see one show that discussed the state of nascar. For instance, the Robby Gordan affair this weekend. Has/will anybody cover this incident completely and what it says about how nascar is being run – see MadMikey’s Rant. nascar is to the point someone/something has to start holding them accountable for their actions! Have JD on as special guest reviewing the TV coverage. MC
One thing I always loved in the old days was the F1 race (tape delayed to Sunday evening), followed by the weekend's World Rally Championship. Every Sunday, my TV was locked on speed all night long. I know most folks don't follow WRC, but something about it just kept my attention, all night long. Those guys are just crazy! Not to mention the fans sitting right alongside the roads watching.
I would like them to continue their sports car and F1 coverage.
One of my favorite races to watch in the year is the 24 Hours of Daytona, so I wish they would go back to showing the FULL 24 hours, rather than just 16 hours because they cut out the best part of the race, the middle of the night.
I agree with most of the points made so far on this thread. In addition to revamping Race Day, I'd throw in Track Side which I find to be total fluff. Having refused to watch Kenny and Kyle, I too find myself missing Wendy and Herme who always can be counted on to do a great job.The Lifestyle stuff just has to go. I meant to comment when JD originally posted that Patti Wheeler had a new role at Speed. It was mentioned that Patti was married to Leo Hindrey (spelling?). There was a Leo Hindrey that was active in the racing world. He was CEO of Frontier Communications in upstate New York and for years sponsored "Frontier at the Glen". He used to compete in the endurance races at Daytona and Sebring and was a noted political fundraiser at the national level. I was wondering if there was a connection or a coincidence?
Hire more news oriented people. People who are trained journalists that understand how to gather the clues and figure out what is really going on. This will allow us to not get inacurrate news such as mechanics being asked to pack up there tools and leave RPM...
More of the technical side of the sport and I don't mean "this is push and this is loose". I want to know why the set up for the Spring Texas race won't work for the fall race. I want to know what is going on with the brakes when Kasey Kahne says other teams are using different brake fluid. All of this type of information is out there and all I get on my SPEED is stories about new paint schemes and sponsors.
I know sponsor exposure is important, but its not SPEED's responsibility to justify a $20 million dollar advertising campaign.
Oh, wait. One more thing, more Wind Tunnel. In my opinion the single best TV show on SPEED. Do not screw that up!
Make John Daly's day and have more Dave Despain on TV.
Anon 11:55 - I'm with you, I loved the world rally cup racing and man I miss it on speed! I would really like seeing it back on the programming
In my opinion, SPEED has taken a giant step by hiring Patti Wheeler. I witnessed her work with the World of Outlaws several years ago. She is professional and competent. Also, she reflects her father's ability to view motorsports with a global vision. I believe that Ms. Wheeler will have a positive influence overall at SPEED.
My programming wish list for SPEED:
1) The Camping World Truck Series is the only national NASCAR product that SPEED has in its broadcasting inventory. Support it beyond the excellent race day coverage. A one hour weekly program dedicated to the truck series would help build fan interest. ESPN provides nothing beyond limited coverage of race winners or the more spectacular accidents. NASCAR.com mostly ignores the trucks. More TV exposure would help the teams secure sponsorship and make the series stronger. That helps everyone, including SPEED.
SPEED should also provide the online support for their product with telemetry and a chat room, similar to NASCAR.com's support for the other series. Despite the entertaining race day coverage, SPEED has dropped the ball. They are ignoring the growth potential that the trucks can provide. A significant number of NASCAR fans are barely aware of this series.
2) As a long time fan of Sprint Car / World of Outlaw racing, I would love to see a weekly program similar to ESPN's fondly remembered "Dirt Track Wednesday". I would actually like to see an edited presentation of a WoO A Main race from one of the previous week's more interesting tracks, but I would settle for highlights. I include USAC wingless sprints in this category, even though they run on paved tracks. A highlight oriented program featuring sprint cars and modifieds would easily fill a one hour programming slot. Most tracks would be happy to provide highlight video clips and statistics to the network at low or no cost. It would be a relatively inexpensive program to produce. Ralph Shaheen would be the perfect host.
3) An additional hour of programming could be devoted to ARCA, the NASCAR Regional series and the various late model series. Again, television exposure would help drive interest and, perhaps, traffic at the more accessible and affordable local tracks. Many new NASCAR fans don't realize that the sport was born at those types of tracks. It would be an entertaining hour for many race fans.
None of the items on my wishlist should impact the coverage of the other legitimate racing series: Grand Prix, Grand AM etc. I would hope that any additional racing coverage would replace the phoney "reality lifestyle" programs.
Generally, SPEED should redesign their unwieldily and difficult-to-navigate website. There should be an easy to find featured section that supports the truck series, including practice, qualifying and race day telemetry. SPEED's website should be the go-to authority for news about their only national NASCAR product.
I also wish I were thirty years younger, There is not much chance of that, but the above wishlist is much more attainable.
I love Speed. But there can always be some tweaks.
Ive had an on again/off again relationship with Trackside over the years. For its first few seasons it was a can't miss show. I watched it every week. But in the past 3 or 4 years I haven't made it a weekly stop, and when I did It was mostly on in the background. I like the fact that it is fun, it is off the wall, it is a little bit goofy. But it seemed to get too goofy and irrevelant in the past few seasons. I mean absolutely no disrespect to Steve Byrnes, he is a great ambassador for our sport and did a great job on Trackside, but since Krista took over I have tuned in more on a regular basis. Its a little less goofy and more revelant, although she hasnt worked with DW yet. The reason I bring this up is because I think this show is being done right lately, and I would love to have it extended to 2 hours if time permits, or have a second show on saturday night. Not just for the fans watching at home, but the ones at the track. Ive been in the crowd for Raceday on numerous occasions. Raceday you dont get to enjoy in person, You cant stay long cause you have to get to your seats, and there are no drivers at the stage. Trackside would give the fans more of a opprotunity to see the drivers firsthand. I think it would be a win-win with more trackside.
As far as more primetime programming, there needs to be some reality shows. Id love to see re-runs of American Chopper, American Hot Rod, ect. I do not like the current reality shows like Pass Time or Dangerous Drives. Id love to see a show that follows the drivers around away from the racetrack, like the old 360 show did. They could also show tape delay races from other series that ran over the weekend.
Pinks All Out is an awesome event to go to. Went to the one At Zmax Dragway in April and it was an incredible show, but the TV show is lacking severely. Id overhaul the way they present this show. But definately keep it on the network, maybe bring the original Pinks Back.
There also seems to be a lot Barret-Jackson overkill. I love the live auctions, but the re-runs are needless and irrevelant.
Id love to see a simulcast of The Morning Drive on Sirius. They do need some sort of morning show. And show more old races! Love Nascar Classics! Also I LOVE the Racing Chef show. It could be better, Id like to see him cook with the fans in the campgrounds more. I dont watch it for the recipies, its more just something to mix up the monotany of nascar TV programming. Great Show. Please keep it around. Cancel Nascar Smarts. Nascar Performance is better now that its in Studio. Maybe show it in primetime during the week not saturday night.
Ok so people I would hire: Someone to do Friday Only Nascar TV. Mike Joy covers practice and quals during Nascar on FOX, but there really needs to be a guy dedicated to this job only. Rick Allen would be great, but he is off with the Trucks mostly.
Also hire some a new analyst for Raceday and Victory Lane. No I dont mean put Larry Mac or Jeff on the program. We need someone new, someone fresh. I love Kenny as a person but I, too have tired of the antics on Raceday.
Who I'd Fire: No one. Maybe reassign people, but I wouldnt fire anyone.
You lost me at the point where you said that FOX has perhaps been NASCAR's best TV partner. While ESPN and TNT are not perfect, FOX's coverage has done more to run off the non-Southern fanbase more than all of NASCAR's other problems combined.
As for SPEED, they need a true identity. Either they are a NASCAR channel, a racing channel that covers all forms of motorsports, or a speed-based lifestyle channel specializing in 'reality' shows and competitions. As of now, they try to be all three of those and fail miserably.
Remember Humpy Wheeler's brief sojourn into a show matching the older stars with new guys? They talked racing, and it was truly entertaining. I recall the one with Kurt Busch was a hoot.And any time Humpy Wheeler is talking racing (Ken Schrader too!) it's priceless.
Behind-the-scenes is always good, as long as it's not too scripted. 24/7 was an always-watch.
More lower tier racing would perk me up.Love the ARCA races.
Can't believe they didn't get Top Gear. Would fit perfectly with Speed.
You have to think back a little further. ESPN and NASCAR had a nasty falling out and all indications are that the process is currently repeating itself.
Turner is a blip in the summertime and a platform for network TV promotion.
FOX came into NASCAR at a critical time and used the down-home personalities you mentioned to get the sport up to a national level.
Unfortunately, they have not continued to keep up with the times and the current on-air menu is beyond stale.
Change comes quickly when it does come in TV, so it should be interesting to see what happens during the off-season.
About shows: I would very much like more modifieds and I would like more ARCA. Especially the mods because I am less familiar with them than any other type car, but the more I see them the more I like them.
As for personalities and shows built around them I'd love to see a Speed show built around Ricky Craven. Everyone here seems to love him and I do too. If he were to need a partner, I'd like to see him paired with Marcos Ambrose. Their personalities are a major reason, but they are also non-southerners (before you jump on me I am a southerner) and with exceptions like Mike Joy most current on-air big names are southern -- or try very hard to seem to be southern. A Mainer and a Tasmanian would be a nice departure, I think.
Mr Editor -
Fresh ideas from David Hill and Patti Wheeler may well create the penultimate racing channel fans will support ...many racing options available to program - ARCA, World of Outlaws, WRC (nuts to drive with nuts who are fans) and you do get hooked watching (spent many late nights, early mornings watching), Rolex, ALMS (Allen Bestwick's lost years even got me interested)and so on ...expect great things from Speed (Patti Wheeler certainly has the genes) ...look forward to many positive changes.
I agree with most of the ideas mentioned. I personally miss "Two Wheel Tuesday". Having had a long love affair with motorcycles, ATV's and dirtbikes, it was always nice to see programming directed at that genre of motorsports. While "American Thunder" got on my nerves with the whole Michelle Smith angle (I like a pretty woman as much as the next guy, but she was a bit over the top...no pun intended), it was neat to see some of the bikes and new parts/technology they often highlighted. Also, a news type show that was all things motorcycles/ATV's would be very refreshing and different. Race results, new models coming out, etc.
Thanks, J.D. I love the blog and appreciate your hard work.
My dream network would include at least one program with analysts who are NOT mouthpieces for Nascar. Persons who are not afraid for their jobs or their hard cards or their access to Nascar personnel. I'm tired of the shills who constantly proclaim that all is well with the sport, that every race is great and exciting, that the COT is the greatest invention since the muzzle (for Kenny Wallace, Darrell Waltrip and Rusty). I would love to see this network grow a set of brass ones and take on Nascar and their issues. It sure would have been great to see someone this past weekend taking on Helton and whomever, who had Robbie Gordon's truck towed because it had the name of and energy drink, other than Amp, painted on it's side. I would love for them to take on the issue of sponsorships and why Nascar feels the need to disallow so many potential sponsors because it might hurt the feelings of sponsors already in place. It would be great to see a program that would bring on drivers who had nasty incidents on the track the week before---let them duke it out on Monday evening. I want them to dump the T&A programs that do nothing to attract the ever-growing population of female race car fans. And finally, I want to see a network that maintains it's focus, whatever that may be.
Wouldn't mind seeing shows that follow dirvers around to see what their lives are like. Maybe they could do something like a new driver/team member every week???
I miss Two Wheel Tuesdays too Darren :( Greg had a great thing going that they just didn't develop into what it could have been :(
I'd love to see them go back to what made me fall in love with them to begin with. The theme days and real shows.
I used to watch a lot more SPEED than I do now. Like many, I got hooked on the Rally cars...had no idea anyone was THAT crazy! On most any night I could find some type of racing on SPEED. Now, other than the truck races, F1, and the occasional Hub, I don't bother. Either you're about racing of any sort, or you're just another 'reality' show. I would also be interested in more show that discuss racing of the Wind Tunnel or Pit Bulls genre. The possibilities are endless, and virtually untapped.
I missed the memo.
Are they thinking of Ditching the F1 races on SPEED???????????????
Those guys are the best on the air in the booth. For guys so far away they do a great job of keeping excitement up and yelling when the camera work is not great :) I'm not into F1 all the time but love these guys in the booth on their own.
Would hate to see them lose the gig :(
Somebody needs to get a spine and hire Robin Miller. Let him have a show about racing. There's enough NASCAR stuff on tv but then I've stopped watching most all the races and even NP!! so I'm burned out on the sport.
SPEED needs to ditch the lifestyle programming.
As far as trackside if it would be made so we don't have to listen to rowdy fans and see their goofy signs/faces on tv, I might tune in to that show next year. Doubt it.
I still miss Twin.
No one has suggested that SPEED is changing F-1 coverage.
you know, I liked the theme nights. I don't watch bikes, but if it was two wheel Tuesday, at least I knew that. I think it's a clever way to program.
Darcie, you'd better check out the rest of that story about Robby. Nothing to do with Helton. I am a Robby fan, but this was not the best judgement. Great publicity stunt though....
I usually only watch Nascar with the occasional other racing thrown in but I totally agree that all that reality programming needs to take a hike. Things like NBS 24/7, Beyond the Wheel, and Humpy's show etc for Nascar and perhaps other series would be a step in the right direction. I enjoyed TWIN and would love to see it come back but I am afraid that ship most likely has sailed. If Patti Wheeler is anything like her father we are in for some great TV.
yes Sally that's what hooked me too! Back in Cali I got off at 2 so as I was waiting for TN to start I started watching the Rally cars and really loved them.
I know Patti will do a great job at Speed. Hope she isn't muzzled too much. Altho noone always agrees with Robin Miller, he would be a fine addition to any race program. At least he tells it as he sees it, and that alone is worth the price of admission.
She needs to get rid of all people with the last name of Waltrip. They are nothing but blathering shills, with their huge egos at the forefront. Personally, I will watch nothing they are connected to.
" No one has suggested that SPEED is changing F-1 coverage."
May I ask, changing what about the F-1 coverage? I rarely watch F-1 races, but right now Speed covers qualifying, the race, and some practices for F-1, right? I'm not sure what should be changed in that regard, except maybe having a weekly hour-long show dedicated to Formula 1.
I don't want Speed to become an entirely NASCAR focused network. I definitely like seeing days like Friday's where nothing but NASCAR is on, but I also want to see all other types of real motorsports on Speed as well.
I also thoroughly enjoy the Barrett-Jackson show with Mike Joy and Bob Varsha, so I believe they should continue to show those weekends.
As others have said, having an evening dedicated to local series or dirt-track racing series would also be wonderful.
Again...no one is suggesting that SPEED is considering any changes to F-1 coverage.
I'd like to see SPEED bring back "Tradin' Paint". It was one of the few weekend racing shows I'd try to catch. And that show has Kyle Petty at his best - offering honest opinions.
When the contact is up, I'd like to see SPEED take over the Nationwide Series coverage. They have most of it anyway except for the race itself. Bring back some former broadcasters that have been missed to cover only that series.
Like many others, dump all "lifestyles" programming. They are a bore.
Show more racing through the week, particularly non-NASCAR racing. There are plenty of good asphalt and dirt series out there that could use a shot in the arm with some weeknight coverage. Something to show the greats in other types of racing or the future stars of the sport.
Bring Speed back to where Speedvision left off. Who remembers NASCAR "In-Car" on Speedvision? One Blimp shot with access to every in-car camera on the track. Yes, this was only when the races were on TNT but what fun it was to watch.
Totally NASCAR! Ms. Wheeler surely knows the show. Great show, low budget...the office trailer with Edit bays.
Who remembers NASCAR Monday's, Two Wheel Tuesday's. Water Wednesday's and Take flight Thursday's? Actually Thursday's had a same day taped Aviation news show....it was the test show for Speedvision News Race Day.
Simple, something for everyone with a slight lean towards NASCAR.
Simulcasting The Morning Drive is a great idea. Ditch Kenny Wallace. Ditch Pinks and Pass Time. Repeat Race Hub later in the evening. Expand Wind Tunnel. Give Jimmy Spencer and Robin Miller their own shows. Speed needs a daily Mike and Mike type of show, two guys that talk about all types of racing for a few hours. Get John Kernan back on the air somehow. Have a camera crew follow NASCAR fans for weekend, show them in traffic, getting to the track 6 hrs before a race and the things fans do up until race time. Follow a NASCAR transporter driver all week and show fans what those guys go thru week in week out.
More racing, including some occasional oddball stuff. (Anyone remember the swamp buggy races on TNN?).
More Windtunnel. More Robin Miller.
A half hour every week of Schrader, talking about the racing wherever he is.
I will admit the towing company series was pretty interesting.
No one employed by Speed should be wearing anyone else's logo while on-air as a host. Other logos only ok for those doing unpaid guest appearances.
Things I'd like to see:
The entire 24 hours of Daytona: Come on, the coveratge on Saturday ends just when it's getting good.
It would be great if Speed could get the US rights to Dakar and expand the coverage. A half hour a night on Versus doesn't cut it.
The old ESPN RPM 2Nite with John Kernan (hey a girl can wish can't she?)
Lotsa good ideas here, so I echo:
DROP: fake reality, lifestyle
ADD MORE: LIVE racing!!!
I think these networks, especially one such as SPEED, is missing the boat by NOT featuring smaller series. I used to watch the ASA Series religiously on TNN. The Hooters Pro Cup races filled that void. I know from working in the TV biz for over 26 years that broadcasting a race can be relatively inexpensive compared to NASCAR programs. We don't need all of the top-name "experts" nor dozens of cameras. A 200 or 300 asphalt Late Model race would be appealing. Dirt asphalt race are another option, but the races are never over 100 laps and you run the risk of dusty tracks which impair the viewing of the racing. I have NO interest in "Pinks" or other such nonsense on a "racing" network. Show the masses you are a TRUE racing network rather than another hub for NASCAR and I believe you'll be surprised.
I have a one-man local racing show that has been well received simply because 1: other stations don't cover local racing and 2: people are losing interest in NASCAR; myself included.
I'd love for Speed to do a Saturday night local racing show. You know how ESPN does a high school football/basketball game about once a week? Well, cover some of the NASCAR local series, and cover their bigger races in each state, spotlight up and coming drivers as well as long held rivalries. Maybe get the Modified series full schedule (both Southern and All-American).
As for Drag Racing, ADRL!!!!! IHRA is practically dead to me, ADRL is where it's at, and I'd love to see ADRL Live coverage, not an hour long recap of an event held 2 months ago. Do something similar to what ESPN does to NHRA.
Finally, bring back the Legends cars that they used to show. I loved watching those guys race, and many current drivers came from there.
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