Thursday, December 29, 2011

Kasey Kahne's Social Media Moment

Tuesday afternoon Kasey Kahne used his cell phone to talk about his trip to the supermarket. He tweeted to his 99 thousand followers his surprise at seeing a woman breastfeeding in the store. Then, things went very wrong.

Social media applications like Twitter work best for celebrities when they are promoting something specific, interacting favorably with fans or sharing something fans can't get elsewhere like news or pictures.

Twitter takes on a very different role when celebrities put emotion ahead of thought and share opinions on topics outside of their normal world. Kahne's tweets came out of the blue, but appeared to be a frank and honest expression of his emotions at the time.

Unfortunately, while his words were honest they perhaps were being sent to precisely the wrong audience. Kahne's female followers were at first confused, asking if he was being serious. Some suggested that a person had taken his phone and was sending these messages to get him in trouble.

In fact, the words were from Kahne and things went off the tracks pretty quickly. Sometimes, these social media issues can be contained and fade away. But when you put a personality like Kahne together with a hot button issue like public breastfeeding, there is little doubt it's going to snowball.

As we have seen before, when certain parts of the media latch onto a story it takes flight. Here are some examples:

NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne goes ballistic on Twitter after seeing woman breastfeeding in supermarket reads the New York Daily News headline.

NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne slams breastfeeding mother in grocery store on Twitter is from The Daily Telegraph in Syndney, Australia.

NASCAR’s Kasey Kahne goes on Twitter rant after seeing woman breastfeeding said

Every good story needs a "hook." That is the part of the story that grabs the attention of the reader. In this case, the angry tweets on Tuesday afternoon, complete with profanity, came at Kahne so fast he lost control and responded to one insult by calling the Twitter user a "dumb bitch."

Deana (KnittingRad) from North Minneapolis had her 15 minutes of fame as the object of Kahne's tweet. In fact, she uses the Twitter snippet above as the avatar (picture) on her Twitter account now. She calls it her badge of honor.

Kanhe followed up on Wednesday with an apology. "I wanted to apologize for saying what I said to you yesterday. It was out of line," he posted on Twitter. Deana said she was over it and we should all move on. That's not really how it works these days.

There is little doubt that some public relations professionals were dispatched to this situation rather quickly. The interesting solution to the uproar was the use of another social media platform, Facebook, to try for a solution.

This was posted on Kahne's Facebook page late Wednesday afternoon:

"I understand that my comments regarding breastfeeding posted on Twitter were offensive to some people. For that, I apologize. It was in no way my intention to offend any mother who chooses to breastfeed her child, or, for that matter, anyone who supports breast feeding children. I want to make that clear."

"In all honestly, I was surprised by what I saw in a grocery store. I shared that reaction with my fans on Twitter. It obviously wasn’t the correct approach, and, after reading your feedback, I now have a better understanding of why my posts upset some of you."

"My comments were not directed at the mother’s right to breastfeed. They were just a reaction to the location of that choice, and the fashion in which it was executed on that occasion."

"I respect the mother’s right to feed her child whenever and wherever she pleases."

Click here to see this post on Kahne's Facebook page and the comments that came along with it. Kahne has 123 thousand Facebook fans but this post could, in theory, be read by millions of Facebook users.

It's interesting to watch the news cycle of today. A tweet from a cell phone leads to outraged responses and ramps-up to profanity involving a very public figure. Select news outlets latch onto the story and try to add-in a catchy headline to attract readers. Ultimately, some PR folks use Facebook as a platform for a public apology and the last opportunity for direct feedback via comments.

All of this happened over basically a 24 hour span. Kanhe is heading to the friendly confines of Tulsa and the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds for the indoor Chili Bowl midget races from January 10 to 14. Then, his normal NASCAR activities start to heat up as the Daytona 500 looms on the horizon.

A good apology goes a long way with the public and stories like this one don't usually have long "legs" as they say in the media. As the NASCAR season approaches, the best advice is the simplest in the world of social media.

Think...then tweet.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your media-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Facebook Timeline Set To Affect NASCAR

It's always controversial when Facebook rolls out another redesign of the pages that many of us use for both personal and professional conversations and information. That is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg above in the middle of doing media interviews for the new Facebook format called Timeline.

"Timeline is Facebook’s most radical profile makeover yet," says the Harvard Independent. Timeline has been called a visual scrapbook, an online filing cabinet and even a life tracker. What it certainly will be is controversial.

NASCAR has 2.4 million friends, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has 1.2 million and Jimmie Johnson just over a half million. It's fair to say that many NASCAR fans get their information from and interact with drivers, racetracks and sponsors on Facebook.

Click here for the official Facebook page explaining Timeline. Todd Wasserman for reports that Facebook is concentrating on changing the individual pages first and has yet to release a Timeline date for brands, fan pages and the other commercial aspects of the service.

Despite not being able to use the new format yet, brands like Mountain Dew are already in the mix. The company is supplying free page elements for the new Timeline format on its current Facebook page. Mountain Dew has over 6 million Facebook friends.

You can see in the demo that once Timeline is across the board, live apps can be placed right on the page. The repercussions for services like SiriusXM, MRN and others seeking to expand their NASCAR reach online will be significant.

This will also give a big boost to NASCAR's own brand marketing folks who will be charged with developing easy to use apps for things like timing and scoring, news and results. NASCAR can be put right on anyone's page.

Facebook is fully mobile and the Timeline app will also appear on Android and iPhones. The entire thing is completely portable as long as technology allows it to be. Facebook will see to that.

The reach of this service is amazing. NASCAR has yet to scratch the surface of Facebook and continues to be light years behind in modern social media applications. One big reason for this is the continuing roadblock of having Turner Sports controlling the online NASCAR content across the board.

Next season should be a transition year as the Sports Business Journal reported last week that NASCAR is actively negotiating to buy back its digital rights and should be fully in charge of all online content, applications and streaming for 2013.

If you have switched your Facebook page to the new Timeline format, we would love to hear some feedback from you. It seems that this change is almost entirely geared toward individuals. What happens to racetracks, sponsors and teams when the other pages move to this format is going to be fascinating.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Go Daddy Internet Ship Listing To Port

It's a highly charged political atmosphere these days in the media and the online world is no exception. The "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) was introduced by West Texas Republican Congressman Lamar Smith back in October.

Click here for a primer from on SOPA and the broad-reaching effect it would have on almost every part of the current online environment.

Go Daddy CEO Warren Adelman came out in support of SOPA, a move that motivated a website and triggered the movement of over 21 thousand domain names out of Go Daddy before Christmas. Click here for that story.

While the current total of around 40 thousand domains departing is not even a blip on the 40 million or so domains registered on Go Daddy, there is one stat that does make a difference. Part of the key to the company is the continuing registration of new domains and that may be the most affected.

This Thursday, December 29, has been named "Dump Go Daddy Day" by those fronting the movement. Click here for an article from that sums up some of the issues facing the company in terms of dealing with this growing backlash.

Go Daddy has several different press releases out now, the first one is the original strong support for SOPA and the most recent states: "We’ve listened to our customers. Go Daddy is no longer supporting the SOPA legislation."

Needless to say, all of this bad media could not come at a worse time for Go Daddy, a company about to embark on two very different high-profile national TV and media projects. The first is the airing of two more "cutting edge" commercials during the Super Bowl.

The picture above was released on Twitter by Bob Parsons, the former president of the company and now its Executive Chairman. That is Parsons grinning with Danica Patrick, Jillian Michaels and the new mystery Go Daddy girl during the Super Bowl ad shoot. The picture was removed from Twitter only minutes later.

The idea is to get Super Bowl viewers to see the ads and then move directly onto the Internet and visit the Go Daddy website. Ultimately, the business plan is to have those viewers return when they need to register a domain name. It's a simple equation.

The second big project is entering Patrick in the Daytona 500. It might be nice that she left IndyCar and is running full time in the Nationwide Series, but the story of January and February is the ability of a female racer to enter and possibly win the biggest NASCAR race of the year.

To many people Patrick is the face of Go Daddy and the TV exposure from her tongue-in-cheek sexist commercials is no doubt going to draw a new audience to NASCAR this season. At Daytona, Patrick will have Greg Zipadelli as her crew chief and Stewart-Haas Racing providing her car and crew.

The type of issue Go Daddy is facing with SOPA can snowball, as one such issue recently did for Netflix. An error in judgement and the subsequent poor handling of the effects of that error in the media can lead to very real results.

Here are some additional media sources on this topic:

SOPA Supporters Facing Boycotts from CBS News

Has Go Daddy's Elephant Killing CEO Finally Gone Too Far? from Gawker Media

Go Daddy CEO "We're Not Cynical Folks" from

Go Daddy's Reversal A Win For Customer Pressure from PC World

Go Daddy is going to be creating a new relationship with the NASCAR fan base once Patrick hits the track for Sprint Cup Series testing in just over two weeks. How Patrick manages her personal brand in the middle of this latest online controversy should be fun to watch.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday Recap: Here's What We Know

It's been a whirlwind of NASCAR TV and media news for the last month. Here is a little reset of what we know and some of the things coming up.

SPEED is back on the air with NASCAR from Daytona on January 12. Three days of Sprint Cup Series testing will feature a morning and afternoon session. The 9AM activity will be carried only on the website. The 1PM session will be live on SPEED.

The network is still working on final on-air talent line-ups, but Darrell Waltrip has already said he will be there for all three days. That kind of sets the tone.

On Sunday, January 22, SPEED will carry live the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremonies featuring Mr. Waltrip and the other inductees.

NASCAR RaceHub on SPEED returns the following Monday, January 23. Steve Byrnes will again be at the helm and the show has been scheduled for 6PM ET. The West Coast re-air details have yet to be announced, but look for 11PM again as the time.

SPEED closes out January with live coverage of the Rolex 24 from Daytona on the 28th. We will pass the on-air announcer line-ups along when we get them.

No word from ESPN on the role of Marty Reid for next season or any changes in the NASCAR announcer line-ups. A network spokesman told TDP that NASCAR Now will be returning in 2012 but there were no specifics provided.

While the Sports Business Journal reported that NASCAR will be buying back its digital (online) rights from Turner Sports, that deal is expected to be completed in 2012 and start with the 2013 season. Right now, nothing will change in terms of SiriusXM's NASCAR channel not being streamed online or NASCAR races being available on the Internet.

There you have it, just a snippet of the things going on right now as we work toward 2012 and a big reset of the NASCAR season. Sponsorship issues are dominating behind the scenes right now and it continues to be a very tough landscape to try and find dollars for racing.

Feel free to leave a comment of ask a question on these topics. Just click the comments button below. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas To The Planeteers!

Finishing year five of The Daly Planet with great friends, interesting conversation and some fascinating media stories. Along the way, we have assembled a diverse group of NASCAR fans of all ages, races and nationalities. We have regular readers in Canada, the UK, South America and Australia.

The idea of this blog was to throw a different topic up into the air every day and get opinions on it from anyone who offered. Now thousands of posts, millions of pageviews and countless debates later we are taking a moment for Christmas with family.

Thanks again for continuing to stop by and hopefully your holiday was blessed with friends, family and some well deserved relaxation.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Twas The Night Before Tweetmas

'Twas the night before Tweetmas and all over my phone, not a creature was stirring, not even @TheOrangeCone.

@keselowski and @AJDinger were snug in their beds, while visions of tandem-racing danced in their heads. @Danica in her @GoDaddy t-shirt and I in my @SpeedFreaks cap had just settled in for a @NationwideNNS nap.

When from the #FanZone there arose such a clatter, I ran to @Twitter to see what was the matter. Then to @DirecTV I flew like a flash, clicked on @SPEED but there was nothing but trash!

The glow of my trusty @Sprint EVO phone, gave the luster of #MuscoLighting to objects that shone. When, what to my squinting eyes should appear, but a @safetykleen truck and eight very healthy reindeer.

The driver had a cigar so thick, I knew right away that it wasn't St. Nick. More rapid than @AllWaltrip, his orders they came and he whistled and shouted and called them all by name.

Now Herman! Now Matty! Now Byrnsie and Rick! On Hermie! On X-ray! On Ralph and Dr. Dick! To the top of the ratings, to the top of the heap! Now dash away quick because I need some sleep!

And then, in a twinkling, I heard out the door lots of laughing and yelling that made quite the roar. As I drew in my head and was turning around, through the front door he came right in with a bound.

He was dressed @SPEED casual despite all the racket and his clothes were neat, even the @Mens_Wearhouse suit jacket. A bundle of SWAG he had flung on his back and he looked like @TheChrisMadigan when opening his pack.

His eyes were glazed, his stare not too clear. He smelled like a combo of @Macanudos and @CoorsBeer. His sizable smirk made quite the glint, but the hair on his head had a questionable tint.

The stump of his cigar he held tight in his teeth and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a round face and a little round belly that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He spoke not a word but went straight to his work, put a gift in my stocking then stood up with a jerk. He laughed like a madman and made for the door, his task was complete, there was nothing more.

As he jumped in the truck, he let out a howl. What I found in my own crying towel. But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight.

Merry Tweetmass to all and to all a good night!

Your NASCAR TV Christmas Wish

Not everyone can have their own Rusty Wallace tree ornament. So, for those of you who are still in the Christmas spirit we have a little challenge.

If you had one wish to change any part of the NASCAR TV world, what would it be?

This sport is huge on television. All three pro series, qualifying sessions and even practice is shown live. ESPN has over 25 NASCAR TV personalities, FOX and SPEED have even more and TNT still hasn't replaced Lindsay Czarniak.

There have been animated rodents, colored draft trackers and some of the worst musical selections on the planet in the live race telecasts. One network has ten announcers for one race and yet another tops that with eleven.

Let's not forget the battle of the Tech Garage vs the TNT cutaway car vs. Jeff Hammond pointing at stuff. We also have Infield Pit Studios, a Hollywood Hotel and a rotating infield rig.

We have six lines of graphics on the screen at the same time, colors so weird you can't read the driver names and fake pylons inserted on pit road. We see only two cars in the race and after four hours, we only see one finish.

We have ladies married to NASCAR guys, fellows who own NASCAR teams and pit reporters who might really rather be at an IndyCar race. We have Nationwide Series drivers as studio analysts for Sprint Cup Series races and TV roundtables featuring drivers who were actually in the race being discussed.

Across the ten months and thousands of hours of television there has got to be something that you really want to change and have a good reason for changing it. Let us know what that is by clicking the comments button below.

Thanks for stopping by The Daly Planet in the off-season!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday: TV/Media Question And Answer Session

It's been a whirlwind off-season for the NASCAR TV and media folks. We have also raised some new topics that have been hotly debated since the season ended.

Here are some items of interest. Feel free to add your opinions and questions in the comments section of this post. All questions will be answered ASAP with some help from our friends in the media.

SPEED will resume NASCAR TV with Daytona testing in mid-January. We are being told that the RaceHub series will return in the last week of January, but no time has been passed along.

The network has a new interim president named Scott Ackerson. A TV production veteran, Ackerson gets SPEED without Patti Wheeler present and is said to have been meeting with various staff members to get a feeling for the network's issues.

Sports Business Journal reporters John Ourand and Tripp Mickle published a story that NASCAR is going to buy back its digital (online) rights from Turner Sports. This move is said to be completed for the 2013 season and will reportedly cost over 25 million dollars.

NBC announced that the Super Bowl will be streamed online for the first time this year. NASCAR and FOX Sports continue to be at odds over any potential streaming of the Daytona 500. In the next TV contract, look for online streaming of live content to be a key element.

NASCAR's official satellite radio partner is SiriusXM. NASCAR owning digital rights could swing the door open to making the weekday NASCAR shows available on smart phone, tablets and laptops via streaming. How that deal would work is still up in the air.

Several veteran journalists have raised the issue of just how much reporting and healthy debate about issues in the sport will go on in 2013 if NASCAR itself is running the website from its HQ in Charlotte, NC.

Right now NASCAR has a digital chief, a marketing/PR chief and a VP dedicated to television operations. It will be up to these three players to craft a working agreement on how to most effectively cover the sport 24/7 online beginning in just one more year.

Michael Waltrip has been very active online during the off-season. This multi-car team owner will soon be moving into the Hollywood Hotel and sitting alongside his older brother Darrell for the NASCAR on FOX coverage. Waltrip will also retain his duties with SPEED as an analyst for the truck series.

The debate has already begun about how an active owner is going to offer analysis on teams, drivers and incidents in a series in which he has a major financial stake. Issues arise that require strong opinions and Waltrip is going to be facing a new situation where it's not going to be hard for fans of drivers to wave the conflict of interest flag when they are called out on TV.

ESPN has been silent on the future of Marty Reid. He was removed from the Sprint Cup Series telecasts on the network in the week before the first race. While he handles duties on the Nationwide Series telecasts down the stretch, ESPN does not cover the Sprint Cup Series until July. Since Allen Bestwick moved into the Lead Announcer role, we should find out what Reid is going to be doing for ESPN this season shortly.

Finally, the debate that just won't die is the absence of any live studio news programming from SPEED this off-season. Repeats of old shows highlight the primetime schedule even as the NASCAR and the motorsports world in general continue to generate big news stories on almost a daily basis.

The emergence of social media as a key pipeline for this information has made the lack of news programming on SPEED stick out like a sore thumb. Although SPEED threw together one special show after Kurt Busch departed Penske, nothing else has followed during the off-season.

We invite your comments on these topics and your questions on anything related to TV or media in NASCAR or motorsports. We will try to get answers ASAP and invite you to check back during the day on Wednesday as these Q&A sessions usually get rather interesting. Thanks again for stopping by.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NASCAR Discovers The Internet

Since 2007 we have been taking aim at one of the worst media contracts in all of professional sports. Over a decade ago, NASCAR sold the total online (digital) rights of the entire sport to Atlanta-based Turner Sports.

Originally part of the NASCAR mindset to maximize profit from the sale of exclusive content, it quickly became apparent that having a third party in charge of the sport's Internet presence was a mistake. Over the past few years, that mistake has turned into a disaster.

Online technology has become a key element for the other professional sports in North America. Recently, the basic offerings of website content and live video have been bolstered by the rapid growth of social media and the technology that comes with it. Digital strategy can now make or break a sport.

Sports Business Journal reporters Tripp Mickle and Jon Ourand broke a story this week that NASCAR had done the unthinkable. Long since governed by the motto that NASCAR cashes checks but never writes them, the sanctioning body seems to be ready to dip into the checking account and buy back its own online rights from Turner.

The SBJ reporters offer that a deal to end the current agreement two years early and have NASCAR back in charge by the 2013 season would wind up costing tens of millions of dollars. Ultimately, it has seemed all along that cash is king for Turner.

While the obvious starting point is the movement of the website operations to NASCAR's headquarters in Charlotte, that is only the tip of the digital iceberg. The TV networks that will be negotiating in 2012 for rights to races beginning in 2015 need assurance that online streaming of that content is in play.

The current TV deal is NASCAR's cash cow with over four billion dollars changing hands in the current eight year agreement. That money is before any TV network even rolls a production truck, puts out one camera or hires one announcer. Four billion is just for the opportunity to show the races.

Hardcore fans know the real problems. has been a mess for years and allowed websites like to thrive amid the continuing confusion and constant redesigns being done by Turner. The current version of is perhaps the worst yet.

NASCAR itself has never been able to stream live race telecasts, radio content or video of any kind. NASCAR's current TV partners have also been restricted in digital applications, even on the websites of the very networks who combined for the current big money TV deal.

This is the right move at the right time and it makes sense for all the parties involved. The big issue on the table is the damage that has already been done. Even as the Sprint commercials on TV suggest that live video of races is available, it has never been. Younger sports fans have never been able to access NASCAR content like the other pro sports.

Secondary to a deal like this is the ability of NASCAR to branch out and address issues that have also been on hold for years. SiriusXM's NASCAR channel has a tiny audience right now of hardcore fans who listen on satellite receivers of all types. NASCAR in charge would clear the way for online streaming to smart phones, tablets and laptops.

While NASCAR's history might be on display at the Hall of Fame, it cannot be viewed anywhere online. Controlling digital rights would allow entire programs to be made available to fans via websites like Hulu, YouTube and

"30 Minutes You'll Never Get Back" is a webcast featuring Rutledge Wood and Kyle Petty on Sprint Cup Series weekends from the track. These two knuckleheads act like fools, talk to NASCAR personalities and generally try to get away with everything they cannot on TV. Fans love it.

Originating live video from the tracks can be as simple as a garage camera with sound or a full-scale production of preview, review or interview shows. Establishing an online production department within the NASCAR Media Group is a clear priority.

Scott Ackerson, a FOX Sports veteran executive from Los Angeles, has been named the interim head of SPEED. One of Ackerson's roles will be to oversee the continued integration of SPEED's TV programs online via the website.

SPEED is NASCAR's largest TV production partner and has taken the lead over the last few years in expanding the programs being offered in the digital space. Giving fans the ability to keep up with practice, qualifying and the news programs like NASCAR Live via smart phone, tablet or laptop is so very important right now.

Once NASCAR is in charge of online offerings, expect SPEED to play a key role in advancing the integration of existing TV programs onto the Internet. Hopefully, Ackerson will see the opportunity for a strategic partnership that will bring benefits to both SPEED and NASCAR for years to come.

Finally, control of NASCAR's social media would revert back to the sanctioning body. It's been tough to deal with Turner controlling Facebook and Twitter content for the sport. The tension between Atlanta and Charlotte on those issues could be cut with a knife.

The SBJ reporters got a no comment from both Turner and NASCAR, but suggested the deal would be done and announced sooner than later. Thanks to Mickle and Ourand for some solid reporting on this issue. The original story was posted on the subscriber-only Sports Business Daily website. If a legal link becomes available to the full article, it will be added to this post.

We want your comments on NASCAR's online situation. To add your opinion on this topic, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Monday, December 19, 2011

NASCAR Returns To SPEED With Daytona Testing (Updated)

This week we expect an interim president to be named for SPEED. Hunter Nickell will be leaving as the network chief next week. No matter who takes on the task, this transition is going to be tough because Daytona is right around the corner.

It will be Thursday, January 12 when NASCAR coverage returns to SPEED. Testing at Daytona will once again be mixed with a fan fest and details about that can be seen at the Daytona International Speedway website.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday SPEED will cover the afternoon sessions beginning at 1PM ET and running until 5PM. There is also a morning session that begins at 9AM if you might be attending in person.

For those of you familiar with Daytona testing, the story this year is going to be very different. NASCAR is working very hard to break-up the two-car tandem drafting at this track with rules changes of all kinds. From radiators to radios, it's become very clear that NASCAR wants the "lovebug racing" to vanish.

That makes this year's coverage on SPEED important. Twitter and Facebook can send pictures and reactions to the testing, but only SPEED can offer HD video from a TV network perspective. Fans want to know what is going on with this series.

As everyone knows these days, social media has made the timeline of activities like testing run in almost real time. Team reps, drivers, the speedway and the sponsors will all be passing along information as it happens as the teams get ready for another ten month grind.

There are several items to discuss with SPEED's planned coverage. It will be interesting to see if the on-site TV reporters in the garage are tweeting information and posting to SPEED's Facebook page while the announcers in the booth talk about what is happening on the track. This practice might become the norm next season.

Secondly, SPEED will not restart the RaceHub program on January 12 with the testing coverage. The current network schedule puts a re-air of testing running from 6 to 8PM and then nothing NASCAR related in primetime.

So, instead of talking about some of the biggest changes in the sport as NASCAR tries to redefine this type of restrictor plate racing, SPEED viewers will be seeing Pimp My Ride, the now famous tow-truck show Wrecked and American Trucker to wrap-up primetime.

On Saturday, the schedule has the testing re-air at 7:30PM but no other NASCAR programming of any kind that night. This is the final day of this test session.

It seems that SPEED is trapped between a rock and a hard place these days where NASCAR is concerned. The network programming is trying to serve several masters with different agendas and failing miserably at all of them.

As we mentioned in an earlier post the network's head of programming and production, Patti Wheeler, also chose to leave SPEED at the end of the 2011 NASCAR season. It's been a rough couple of months for the Charlotte, NC based company.

The current posted programming schedule for the network only goes through January 15. In a world where schedules are often six months ahead, this puts SPEED in a position of having four weeks of mostly older re-run programs out for the public to see. RaceHub is not on the list.

Update Monday 10AM: SPEED passes along that live online streaming of the 9AM test sessions each day can be seen at the website. Nice addition.

We will update the specific information in terms of announcers, format and additional online information like timing and scoring after the Christmas break. Take a deep breath this week, because it all will be starting again before you know it.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Week In Review: Off-Season Changes

What an incredible week of NASCAR news involving the TV and media folks in the sport. Here is a rundown of what happened and links to the stories and topics we discussed here at TDP.

The NASCAR on FOX production team gathered on Monday and Tuesday for their annual meeting in the Charlotte, NC area. Chris Myers and Larry McReynolds both asked NASCAR fans on Twitter to offer suggestions they would then bring up at the meeting. Great use of social media.

This is the first season for Michael Waltrip on FOX. He will take the place of Jeff Hammond in the Hollywood Hotel. Hammond will become a "roving reporter." FOX executives paired the Waltrip brothers on several Camping World Truck Series races on SPEED and apparently liked the results.

Sports Business Journal just released the new "50 Most Influential" people in sports. NASCAR Chairman Brian France is at #17, up slightly from last year. No other motorsports executive is on the list.

NASCAR personalities are involved in bringing sprint cars to the annual Chili Bowl off-season race in Tulsa, OK. This indoor event runs over several days and features drivers from all over the globe running on a dirt track indoors. The only information currently available puts an edited version of the final on CBS January 28. Tried hard to get more information, no one from the Chili Bowl or Lucas Oil Productions responded.

Within a five day period, SPEED president Hunter Nickell and executive vice president Patti Wheeler both left the network. Click here for the full story. The FOX Sports news release about Nickell hinted he may take another position within the larger FOX Sports parent company. Wheeler had no press release and left suddenly after some executive changes on the West Coast affected her reporting structure.

This leaves SPEED without a company leader, although we hear an interim president will be announced next week. Wheeler ran both the programming and production departments at SPEED, so what will happen next with the network in terms of programming direction or key on-air personalities is unknown.

Wheeler is a NASCAR TV veteran, having run TNN Motorsports and her own TV production company for years. She aggressively built the RaceHub series and was in the middle of creating the SPEED Center show that updated all motorsports throughout the racing weekends. Her decision to depart will have a big effect on the network.

We documented the frustration with the lack of the SiriusXM NASCAR channel being available online. Click here to read about the continuing stand-off between Turner Sports and SiriusXM. NASCAR can't fix this one.

Finally, the off-season has meant a complete stoppage of all NASCAR news TV programming. While ESPN has always wrapped NASCAR Now on the night of the final race, SPEED was trying to grow the motorsports news franchise and has simply dropped the ball.

Ironically, much of the best off-season NASCAR news and analysis is coming from SPEED's own website, Facebook page and Twitter account. Somehow, the executives on the TV side have not gotten the message that SPEED had better get a studio show on the air quickly or risk damaging both the RaceHub and SPEED Center franchises when the new season starts.

There seems to be a great deal of frustration around right now when it comes to the NASCAR presence on SPEED's TV side. If the new senior management moves the network back into the "lifestyle programming" blocks seen a while back on weekdays, it would be a very serious set-back for SPEED's motorsports credibility.

We invite your comments on these subjects. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and visit the weekend edition of TDP.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day Two: SPEED Changes Raise NASCAR Network Questions

Update: Leaving this as the top story while comments continue. Expect to have more info on the SPEED changes Friday and will update as news becomes available.

Earlier this week we documented the fact that the president and executive vice president of SPEED stepped away from their respective jobs. The network staff is now awaiting word on a new chief executive and the revamping of senior management.

The buzz on the street is that the new head honcho is not a NASCAR person, not a motorsports person and not even a sports TV veteran. Two gentlemen named Randy Freer and Eric Shanks run the FOX Sports Media Group. These two have been deeply involved in changing the dynamic of many FOX Sports offerings and it seems SPEED may be next.

SPEED is clearly the redheaded stepchild of the FOX cable networks. Located in Charlotte, it is a national network that buys most of it's programming from third parties, produces little of its own NASCAR coverage and has never be able to really define itself.

There is absolutely no indication from SPEED that NASCAR content on the network will increase. In fact, the truck series races have been reduced in number and that series, the only one carried from start to finish by SPEED, has never had even a weekly support program.

In the heart of the NASCAR season, SPEED executives moved NASCAR RaceHub out of the fringe of primetime at 7PM and back to one of the worst possible timeslots at 6PM Eastern Time. Suddenly, not only did RaceHub have to go against every local TV station newscast but it also clashed with the final hour of Dave Moody's Sirius Speedway show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

Veteran readers of this blog know that the list of programs produced for SPEED by the NASCAR Media Group (NMG) is long. Unfortunately, the list of NMG programs subsequently cancelled by SPEED is almost just as long. This year The Ten and The Day were shows that made a mark, but only a small one.

Once NASCAR got to the banquet week, SPEED bailed on all of the studio-based programming that featured motorsports news, interviews and analysis. NASCAR fans are upset RaceHub is gone in an off-season where the NASCAR news is still going at full steam. Fans of motorsports in general no longer have the new SPEED Center weekend series.

Even good old Dave Despain is gone and while Twitter, Facebook and a bevy of racing websites continue to debate topics from Danica to a safer IndyCar, Dave's voice is silent. Wind Tunnel also left the building.

If SPEED wants to embrace shows like Pumped!, Stuntbusters and Dumbest Stuff on Wheels it is certainly the right of the management. Over the last ten years everything from Texas Roadhouse motorcycle grannies to Michael Waltrip's amateur infield talent show have been on the air. Who can forget the guy in the leather cowboy hat and kilt playing "Low Rider" on the bagpipes?

What has not been on SPEED in a long time is a good chunk of NASCAR programming put together to make sense in primetime. What has not been on SPEED is new programming concepts like sharing content with the SiriusXM NASCAR folks. What has not been on SPEED is interactive NASCAR programs featuring personalities inside the sport in a casual setting.

What has not been on SPEED is the sound of voices outside of the "FOX family" discussing topics in the sport and offering views that may be different from "the TV guys." What has not been on SPEED is historical programming celebrating those other than the Hall of Famers who shaped the sport.

What has not been on SPEED are the voices from the network's own website who readers have come to know and trust. Writers, reporters and online journalists simply aren't allowed to make the kind of smooth transition between media platforms that we see with ESPN's personalities.

There is no branded "morning show," no kids programming and nothing designed for adult women viewers. Mornings on SPEED are simply a waste of time as are weekday afternoons. What many cable TV networks have worked for years to develop has never been touched by SPEED even as dollars were poured into "lifestyle programming" by the millions.

All of this reality brings us right back to the issue that tops the email for the week. Why does NASCAR not have its own 24 hour cable TV network like so many other professional sports? These days, that question is a good one.

What NASCAR did a while back was finally organize itself so that it sold the TV rights to all the races. It also created a company called NASCAR Images to be the official TV production company of NASCAR. Just like PGA Tour or NBA Productions, NASCAR Images was the group that controlled, archived and then distributed footage of the sport.

NASCAR Images was ultimately rolled inside a bigger organization called the NASCAR Media Group. This was done because NASCAR created a television, radio and digital production center in the new NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, NC. It seemed at the time that things were being prepared for a cooperative effort with SPEED to become a TV network with additional NASCAR product. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

The relationship between SPEED and the NASCAR Media Group is not good. SPEED is currently twisting toward becoming even more of a truTV and MTV network clone with over-hyped "lifestyle programming" created by LA-based production companies in the FOX inner circle. None of the new series ordered for 2012 are even motorsports-related.

Meanwhile, back in Charlotte, NMG has moved into college football documentaries and non-motorsports series to pay the bills. That's right, NASCAR's TV company has college football programs showing up on ESPN and other networks that were edited in the shadow of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in NASCAR's own TV facility.

SPEED was the only viable option for NASCAR to develop a national cable TV network years ago. It was the reason SPEED moved to Charlotte. Unfortunately, personalities and politics did not allow a merger to happen. Too many agendas and too few people were involved who truly had the best interest of the sport in mind.

Now, there are several major media companies looking at NASCAR as a source of content that could easily support a national cable network. Ten months of racing, wonderful personalities and a fully-stocked TV production company just raring to go help that cause along quite nicely.

In the new world of HD cable networks, there are several corporations who operate multiple channels. Sometimes, these channels change themes and types of content just like a Country FM radio station suddenly changing to pop music overnight.

The NFL, MLB and NBA all cater to the fan with tons of news, stats and information as the foundation of their cable networks. The big games are still on the big networks and serve to bring in big money to help these themed cable networks to develop. Certainly, that would make sense for NASCAR in the beginning.

If NASCAR stepped away from SPEED and partnered with a different media company for a dedicated cable network what we would expect to follow would be the Camping World Trucks, the weekend programming from the tracks and the edited weekday shows like The Ten. All of that content is currently on SPEED.

The upside for NASCAR to pursue this concept is that the NMG folks could get to work maximizing the NASCAR brand in every way. Concepts long on the shelf could be brought out to actively involve the fan base through the growing social media technology. Any new TV network has to be totally interactive, available online and repeat primetime content for the West Coast every day.

The FOX Sports Media folks have their own agenda and are not owned by or partners with NASCAR. This is a relationship that may have run its course depending on who steps into the lead role at SPEED and what agenda he brings to the table driven by the LA-based management group.

With TV contract negotiations being conducted in 2012, we may see NASCAR strategically pursue a relationship with a major media partner other than FOX Sports to explore the possibility of launching a dedicated cable network under the NASCAR brand. This past week, SPEED may have made the first move in this direction a lot easier to take.

We welcome your comment on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. We ask that you refrain from hateful speech, derogatory comments or posting links to other websites. Comments may be moderated before posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

SiriusXM Stand-Off With Turner Sports Continues

Since the two NASCAR news TV shows went dark, fans have been asking questions about SiriusXM Satellite radio. It usually happens this way every year.

Let's talk about SiriusXM and NASCAR content. The Motor Racing Network (MRN) is owned by NASCAR and has been around for a very long time. MRN supplies the content for SiriusXM during the weekdays from a studio based near the Charlotte Motor Speedway. SiriusXM and MRN just re-upped for several years on this contract.

Satellite radio has limitations. Originally intended for motor vehicles, it can also be heard using a portable SiriusXM receiver if there is the ability to get a signal. Recently, SiriusXM has been moving toward addressing distribution issues by paying for online access.

Click here to view the SiriusXM page that discusses the options for getting a signal using laptops, tablets and smart phones. As you can see from the many choices, when it comes to getting a SiriusXM signal on your portable devices, there certainly is an app for that.

While all that is well and good, NASCAR brings with it some issues. "Off-Season Priority: Online Streaming of SiriusXM NASCAR" was a TDP column from December of 2009. Click here to read it.

In a nutshell, here is the scoop. NASCAR sold the online rights to the sport, including the audio content, to Turner Sports as part of the deal allowing Turner to operate the website. If SiriusXM wants to stream the NASCAR channel it distributes online, it has to pay Turner.

It seems ironic that Turner and SiriusXM cannot simply agree to revenue share and see if they can grow the business by adding the NASCAR channel online. Turner does not offer anything that conflicts and certainly SiriusXM could use the exposure. In the end, SiriusXM says Turner wants too much and Turner says pay up.

As is so often the case, the loser in all of this is the fans. If SiriusXM was available online the sport would be better off. I know the issues with "shills" and company men, but that is something any sports radio channel has to deal with. Everyone has a perspective and sometimes it is paycheck related.

SiriusXM features guests of all kinds on the weekday shows, often adding them on the fly as news is breaking or events happening in the sport. The real news source for NASCAR is Twitter and SiriusXM. Twitter provides instant information and links to website pages. Sirius allows those involved in the stories to speak their peace.

While ESPN and SPEED shifted their NASCAR TV news programs into terrible timeslots in the heart of the 2011 season, SiriusXM just kept on chugging day after day with news, interviews and opinions. Love it or hate it, SiriusXM's NASCAR coverage was consistent, live and on target.

We have two months or so before things crank back up on the racing side. It certainly would be nice to hear that the parties involved in this conflict have resolved their differences and put the sport and the fans first this time.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. We do not allow hateful speech, derogatory comments or links to other websites. Comments may be moderated prior to posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top Two Executives At SPEED Step Aside

The saga of the network now known as SPEED is one of the most interesting stories in cable TV history. This week the evolution continued.

It was called SpeedVision and was a business partner to the Outdoor Life Network when I came across it operating out of Stamford, CT in 1996. Bob Scanlon was the executive producer and ran the programming and production departments. Scanlon is now running the new Velocity HD cable network owned by Discovery.

The Speed Channel name came next when Jim Liberatore ran the show as the network transitioned to Charlotte, NC. Liberatore was interactive with the fans during a time when the network began searching for a real identity. Liberatore is now the president of the Sportstime Ohio regional sports network.

Hunter Nickell, shown above, arrived in 2005 after running the SportsSouth and FSN South networks for more than a decade. A good FOX soldier, Nickell helped negotiate NASCAR and Formula One programming deals for the network now simply called SPEED.

This week brought more changes. Here is an excerpt from a network media release:

"Hunter Nickell, the president of SPEED, is leaving the network at years end. Nickell will finish several projects with SPEED over the next few months and continue to explore opportunities within the FOX Sports Media Group. An interim replacement will be named shortly." Click here to read the full release.

So, just like that another page is turned in the history of a TV network still trying to deal with a unique combination of issues. For the past several years, SPEED was criticized for not having a NASCAR daily news program or a studio show on weekends for race highlights. In 2010, Nickell took a step to solve that problem.

Motorsports TV veteran Patti Wheeler was brought in to become the Executive Vice President of both the production and programming divisions of SPEED. Wheeler formerly ran TNN Motorsports for a long time and also headed up World Sports Enterprises, a company that produced motorsports of all types.

Wheeler got the Race Hub NASCAR news show sorted out and then went about creating the SPEED Center concept for in-studio highlights and news on weekends. Suddenly, SPEED viewers had an informative presence to pass along all the information on racing weekends of any kind. That concept may now be over.

Last week, after only a year or so on the job, Wheeler decided to step away from SPEED and her executive duties. Personal reasons were cited, but clearly there is an ongoing dynamic at SPEED right now that has the ground shifting under the feet of those still employed.

What is driving this upheaval is even bigger changes for SPEED's parent company out on the West Coast. Heading up the FOX cable networks is Randy Freer, an experienced executive who took this position in January of 2011. Click here to see Freer talk about sports subjects in a Jon Weinbach interview for Fan House.

Nickell was not a person Freer chose for SPEED. In the world of sports TV, it's common for changes at the top to affect those executives on a lower level. There is little doubt that the new man at SPEED will be hand-picked by Freer and there will have been an existing relationship already in place.

Freer also shook-up the FOX cable networks by hiring a friend of his to become the VP in charge of TV production. John Entz will be given the new job of overseeing the studio and on-site production for the entire FOX cable networks group. That is a huge job.

You can imagine that perhaps Wheeler was not very happy finding out that after working for 12 months revamping SPEED, she would suddenly have to answer to yet another Los Angeles-based executive in order to get things done in Charlotte.

All of this swings the door open for major changes at SPEED, but as we know with the television world the pace is not rapid. We documented the new line-up of "lifestyle programming" SPEED has purchased and is now in production. Click here to read about stuff getting blown up, people quizzed at the gas pump and searching for car parts in the Bronx.

SPEED at one time featured cars, planes, boats and motorcycles in equal parts. Then, it moved to European racing shows, World Rally Cars and a weekly night of motorcycles. Now, it continues to look like two rival fraternities slugging it out on the cable TV airwaves.

Friday through Sunday are dominated by racing with solid programming, good information and informed on-air announcers. Monday through Thursday, however, continue to be a hodge-podge of programming that has never been able to make any daypart work effectively.

Nickell championed shows like PINKS, Stealth Rider and Wrecked, the "reality" show about a family operating a tow truck service in Chicago. Ultimately, a lot of what Nickell put on the air looked like imitations of A&E, Discovery and truTV. He called it "lifestyle programming" but many motorsports fans called it garbage.

NASCAR has no financial investment in SPEED. At one time, NASCAR was a partner with the FOX cable networks group. That partnership was dissolved and other than the TV production from the tracks on weekends, the NASCAR Media Group is just another program provider trying to get SPEED to invest in new programming for primetime.

The bottom line is that SPEED moved lock, stock and barrel to North Carolina to get more NASCAR content on the network in whatever form possible. Now, the challenge facing the senior executives at FOX in California and whoever steps into the new SPEED role is to once again try and define what programming model makes sense in these tough economic times.

Either SPEED is going to use the NASCAR Media Group (NMG) to generate new ideas for programming or we are going to see yet another shift further away from actual racing and motorsports. It's gotten so bad at NMG that company has actually been producing college football content in order to generate some revenue.

In the backyard of NASCAR, with the incredible happenings we have been seeing in the sport this year, there is absolutely nothing new on the table for SPEED from NMG. Not a reality series, interview program or morning talk show. None of the existing Sirius weekday radio shows are on TV, including the one done from the Hall of Fame.

We will all find out together the agenda of the new management group at SPEED when they are in place. In the meantime, we can just once again think about what could have been and hope that a robust and diverse motorsports and racing network has a place on the cable TV dial.

We invite your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Motorsports News Continually Updated

It's a strange time of the year. Twitter is moving all kinds of motorsports information as is Facebook. It's been my suggestion that all true NASCAR fans get on Twitter as soon as possible. There is little doubt that this simple and free technology is changing the motorsports communications dynamic from top to bottom.

Here are some of the items in the news today:

The NASCAR on FOX production team is gathering for their two-day annual meeting in the Charlotte, NC area. Chris Myers and Larry McReynolds both asked NASCAR fans on Twitter to offer suggestions they would then bring up at the meeting. Nice touch.

It was a NASCAR vs. IndyCar showdown at the Indy Karting Classic on Sunday. The feature event streamed online by the 3 Wide Life bunch featured go-karts racing indoors on concrete at the Canseco Fieldhouse in Indy. Click here to read the story.

Sports Business Journal just released the new "50 Most Influential" people in sports. NASCAR Chairman Brian France is at #17, up slightly from last year. No other motorsports executive is on the list. Click here to see the entire list.

Still working hard to get details on the CBS airing of the 2012 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. The date being mentioned is January 28, but no response yet from the production group. Click here for the event website. This is a big off-season meeting for all kinds of motorsports personalities centered on racing USAC midgets on dirt inside the Oklahoma Fairgrounds exhibition building.

While in the past, NASCAR relied on the network producing the race telecast for on-track replays, it appears that things are about to change. NASCAR and a company called Telestream have just made a deal for something new.

"The instant replay system that Telestream will be providing NASCAR next season will enable our officials to perform their jobs in an even more efficient and time-sensitive manner," said Robin Pemberton in a media release. "Having instant access to that many camera angles featuring such high quality video will be a terrific addition to our race weekends."

Telestream’s new Replay multichannel video player combines with its Pipeline HD video capture system to provide instant capture and display of 18 high definition 720p camera feeds. This allows race officials to instantly see detailed information to make rapid decisions about on-track aspects of the race.

One key point jumped out from the release. This news system gives NASCAR officials in Race Control the ability to view on-track incidents through synchronized multiple camera angle displays, including time-stamped track status metadata – in real time or on-demand. That should be a great assist with on-track incidents that in the past used the TV feed as the only source of content.

Bob Pockrass at Scene Daily reports that unofficially the Daytona 500 start time will be 1PM for next year. This has been an issue in the past. Pockrass also reminds fans this year the race is one week later than usual due to pressure from the NFL and the Super Bowl. Click here to read Bob's story.

We will be updating new links and stories all day long as this off-season Monday continues. Happy to have your comments on these topics of NASCAR TV/media questions.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekend: The Beat Goes On

Update: Going to let comments on this topic continue through the weekend as fans add the issues they want to see followed-up by the NASCAR TV partners. So far, there have certainly been some interesting suggestions.

The big topic in our email, tweets and Facebook posts has been just how big the information gap appears on SPEED and ESPN since the NASCAR studio news shows all went off the air at the end of the season.

What is making this situation stand-out like a sore thumb this year is the fact that so many fans have access to social media. Events now unfold online and fans know the basics of what is transpiring. So, while it's great that a reporter can tweet something with a link to a breaking story webpage, it's ridiculous that the NASCAR TV shows viewers have come to trust and depend on to then flush-out those stories are gone.

Mike Joy from FOX tweeted: "Great time at "Stocks For Tots" last night. North Carolina Motorsports Hall of Fame and NASCAR Tech made a great effort to help kids in need this Christmas season." There were lots of big names signing autographs in one of the classic off-season functions. Joy made a point to pass along that local TV station WSIC and MRN's Kyle Rickey were the only media at the function.

Pete Pistone from MRN and CBS Sports tweeted: "Baseball season has been over for 6 weeks yet I've watched a ton of the MLB Network - sure wish we had a NASCAR TV option for off season."

The debate continued on the future of Kurt Busch, the new driver and crew chief for the Penske #22 and how Danica will find her way into the Daytona 500. Mike Ford is gone from the Denny Hamlin team and Darian Grubb still has not landed. Those are just a few of the topics in play this week.

This issue in general is not, however, a new one. Let's check the progress of TDP talking about off-season TV over the past few years.

December 27. 2008: "NASCAR TV Needs To Continue In December And January" - This was at the end of the second year of the current NASCAR TV contract. NASCAR Now had finally shown some promise, all of the NASCAR shows on SPEED were either Sunday or Monday and RaceHub did not exist.

December 23, 2009: "NASCAR Needs Off-Season TV Coverage" - End of year number three and in the first season of RaceHub it joined all the other motorsports shows on SPEED and ESPN by ending shortly after the NASCAR season.

December 13, 2010: "All Quiet On The Western Front" - Daytona had a new coat of asphalt, but that same old off-season silence in TV land was just the tip of the iceberg of issues for the TV coveage.

The most poignant story of this season in terms of affecting the sport in general may be about to unfold on Thursday.

Here is a brief excerpt from Dave Moody's update at

"Red Bull Racing's four-year run as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team will come to an end tomorrow (Thursday), when the last of approximately 150 employees will be laid-off and the competition shop shut down, presumably for good."

The failure of a global brand like Red Bull to mesh with NASCAR is amazing. Built from Red Bull dollars, this company chose to own the entire racing operation in Mooresville, NC. The closure is a story that needs national television coverage on SPEED, a network located literally right down the street from the race shop.

Unfortunately, this topic will not be discussed and debated with Dave Despain on Wind Tunnel. Ray Evernham will not be in the studio to give his reaction on Speed Center. Steve Byrnes will not be able to have the key personalities in this story drive over for an interview on RaceHub.

One fan wrote in an email, "It's like NASCAR TV just fell off a cliff." While ESPN is certainly out of the mix until February, let's keep an eye out and see if SPEED follows-up on the thrown together Monday night Kurt Busch Speed Center special and rolls-out some sort of regular off-season studio programming. It's certainly not too late to get back in the game, even if the rules may have changed.

As usual, we welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for stopping by The Daly Planet.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wednesday TV/Media News And Notes

Well, another day and another big change. After working on the Kurt Busch story and then watching his public relations campaign across TV, radio and the Internet on Monday things got even more interesting on Tuesday.

AP reporter Jenna Fryer reported and later Joe Gibbs Racing confirmed that Mike Ford will not be returning as Denny Hamlin's crew chief. With Steve Addington and Busch in the mix, this leaves one driver and two crew chief openings on two top Sprint Cup Series teams.

SPEED scrambled to put together a thirty minute version of an updated NASCAR TV show Monday night. Under the SpeedCenter banner, Steve Byrnes and Adam Alexander checked-in with Busch himself, Kyle Petty, Bob Dillner and's Tom Jensen. It was a fast-paced show that offered lots of perspectives.

Our post titled Dear NASCAR TV: You Left Us Too Soon seemed to make even more sense as this week has unfolded. Perhaps SPEED will decide to get busy and get a regular show on the air keeping NASCAR fans in the mix. It really cannot come too soon.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch a relaxed Jimmie Johnson appeared on the Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Click here for a video of his appearance. Johnson went to school on Jeff Gordon's entertainment TV appearances and has mastered the art of being a guest. The appearance was to promote his original video game for the Wii platform.

For those of you missing Danica in the off-season, Go Daddy founder Bob Parsons sent along the photo above of the Super Bowl ad shoot Go Daddy just completed. Parsons said he was also revealing the picture of his newest Go Daddy girl. Shortly after, both the tweet and the picture were deleted. Needless to say, not quite fast enough.

Here is Parsons talking about the two new Go Daddy Super Bowl commercials, both featuring Danica.

"After seven years, we have a good idea about what we can do that works for us and still be approved by censors – we know how to take it right to the very edge,” said Parsons. "Critics have suggested we submit ads solely to be rejected, but we don’t, we submit concepts that are fun, edgy and slightly inappropriate. That’s GoDaddy-esque and that’s what drives viewers to year after year after year."

What has changed for Go Daddy is that Danica is now a full time Nationwide Series driver and will also race in select Sprint Cup Series events starting with the Daytona 500. It should be interesting to see just how the NASCAR fan base reacts to her exposure and how she is treated on the air by SPEED, ESPN and FOX in February.

In the land of the DVR, ESPN2 has two mid-afternoon wrap-up shows they have to air as part of the NASCAR TV contract. Thursday at 3PM ET will be the season in review for the Nationwide Series and Friday at the same time on the same network it will be the Sprint Cup Series wrap-up. Normally, this is a NASCAR Media Group production so expect some good editing and dramatic narration.

The big racing event of the past weekend was the Snowball Derby from Pensacola, FL. Bob Dillner and his production team did the radio broadcast of the big late model race that featured familiar names like David Ragan, Steven Wallace and Johanna Long. Former Sprint Cup Series driver Bill Elliott's son Chase won the race at the ripe old age of 16.

The interesting development is that for many years this annual event has been trying to get a TV deal with SPEED. Immediately after the event, Darrell Waltrip sent along a tweet that said he would like to see this race live on SPEED in 2012. That means a lot and we will keep an eye on what happens down the road.

In a follow-up to the earlier TDP column about NASCAR TV, the Mike Ford move and the other pending big stories in the sport are adding to the push to get some NASCAR TV news coverage back on the air. In today's non-stop social media world, simply ending TV coverage of a sport going full-bore in December is not working.

It will be interesting to see if, the boys or even a local Charlotte area TV station steps-up and creates a video blog of NASCAR news to bridge the gap. It just might be a project that brings a strong return on the initial investment in terms of exposure, ad revenue and site traffic.

Finally, here is a little scoop from SPEED about an upcoming series relating to the Hall of Fame inductees.

The NASCAR Media Group and SPEED announce that a biography series of all five 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees will air on the network beginning this Friday, Dec. 9 with back-to-back shows featuring Cale Yarborough at 8 p.m. ET and Dale Inman at 9 p.m. ET.

The remaining biographies, also produced by NASCAR Media Group, will air on SPEED throughout December and January 2012: Richie Evans on Friday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. ET; Darrell Waltrip on Friday, Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. ET and Glen Wood on Friday, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. ET.

There you have it, the TV and media notes so far this week. We will be adding any new information to this post, so check back with us please. It certainly has been an off-season to remember.

To add your opinion on any of the topics mentioned above, just click on the comments button below. We do not allow profanity, hateful speech or links posted in this section. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday TV Toss-Up: Jeff Hammond

It's going to be an interesting 2012 for Jeff Hammond. His Twitter account is titled @hollywoodjeff, but this season Hammond will be without the infield studio that gave him the nickname. In his seat will be Michael Waltrip.

The NASCAR on FOX press release said that Hammond will still be on the Sprint Cup Series telecasts, but will assume the role of a roving reporter. The bottom line is that in TV land, that assignment is like having one foot out the door.

While Hammond has never been able to unseat Larry McReynolds and move up into the broadcast booth, his presence in the Hollywood Hotel was well defined. He was the voice of reason during the pre-race between Darrell Waltrip and Chris Myers. During the race, he provided information and perspective while continuing to counter Myers and his tired act.

The good news for Hammond is that he has found a role on SPEED that fits him like a glove. Working in the TV booth, Hammond is outstanding on practice and qualifying shows for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series.

The most recent twist for Hammond is his role on the newly-revised Trackside program. Sitting awkwardly alongside of Kyle Petty and Rutledge Wood, Hammond's style of hardcore NASCAR conversation just does not mesh with the two-man act of Wood and Petty.

One saving grace for Hammond is that Waltrip does not live near the SPEED studios. While McReynolds continues to appear Mondays on RaceHub, Hammond's appearances later in the week allow him to take center stage and make conversation with his friend and show host Steve Byrnes.

While we expect to see a healthy dose of Hammond on NASCAR TV next season, his highest-profile role will change at Daytona the first time Michael Waltrip takes his seat in the Hollywood Hotel.

Where do you stand on Hammond these days? What was your opinion of him in his former Hollywood Hotel role and the other programs on which he appeared? Give us your opinion by clicking on the comments button below. Thanks for stopping by.

UPDATED: Dear NASCAR TV: You Left Us Too Soon

Updated Tuesday 5PM ET: Jenna Fryer just reporting Mike Ford removed as Denny Hamlin's crew chief. Would be a nice night for RaceHub!

Updated 3:30PM ET: senior editor Tom Jensen will bolster the media presence on tonights 6PM SpeedCenter special show. Bob Dillner will also be on. ESPN's Marty Smith passed along that he has interviewed Kurt and that will be shown in the 6PM SportsCenter on ESPN. Should be an interesting night for NASCAR TV after all.

Updated 12:00PM ET: Jim Utter got David Ragan on the telephone. Here is the official update: "David Ragan will be meeting with Penske Racing officials about 22 car. He has NOT been offered the job. Feels good about it." Take that for what it is...

Updated 11:30AM ET: Reporter Jim Utter now saying David Ragan will be the driver of the #22 Penske Racing entry in the Sprint Cup Series for 2012. Utter broke the original story of Kurt Busch being released yesterday.

Updated 10AM ET: Several developments have happened this morning. Penske Racing has confirmed that Kurt Busch has left the company. Also, SPEED has announced a special 6PM ET version of SPEED Center for tonight. Adam Alexander will co-host with Steve Byrnes. Larry McReynolds will be in studio for analysis. Awaiting word on additional guests. Stay tuned...

Tony Stewart was walking around ESPN and looking for a place to go. Literally. It was great that he was in what is called the "ESPN car wash" for the day. The idea is to get an athlete on campus and get them on as many TV, radio and online outlets as possible.

The only problem with the Monday after the final Sprint Cup Series race is that the five year old daily NASCAR Now series had ended...on Sunday. Stewart had fun on SportsCenter and Mike and Mike, but the bottom line was that the only ESPN motorsports show had ended the day prior to his arrival.

How hard would it have been to get one final NASCAR Now Monday roundtable show together for a sport that had just finished a ten month season? Imagine the mileage ESPN would have gotten if Stewart was seated with Allen Bestwick, Ricky Craven and Kenny Schrader for a one-hour recap of his final race.

It seems to be an amazing contradiction that ESPN would fly the champion to Bristol for the simple sake of congratulating itself for carrying the Chase races. What other purpose was there? Stewart appeared on some stick-and-ball shows, raised a championship flag for the still cameras and then was gone.

SPEED thought it had a better idea. The Monday through Thursday RaceHub show would stay around right up to the Sprint Cup Series banquet. The network would then produce the banquet and say goodbye to NASCAR fans for the season.

Unfortunately, SPEED will be wiping egg off its face for the next five weeks or so until RaceHub returns in mid-January. The problem is simple to understand. The NASCAR news does not stop in the off-season and in many cases it just gets bigger.

Sunday evening saw Jim Utter of the Charlotte Observer break the story that Kurt Busch had been fired from Penske Racing. ESPNEWS slipped in a mention between football and basketball highlights, literally. SPEED managed to get a crawl on the screen while a Dumbest Stuff on Wheels marathon rolled by in the background.

SPEED made an impressive commitment to NASCAR news programming with RaceHub. The network also has the new SpeedCenter show and the Sunday night Wind Tunnel program with the venerable Dave Despain. All of those programs came to a screeching halt when NASCAR ended on the network.

Couple the Busch firing with the departure of Steve Addington from the same team, the firing of former Tony Stewart crew chief Darian Grubb and the pending demise of the entire Red Bull organization. The stories unfolding in the Sprint Cup Series alone should merit continued television news coverage by these two NASCAR TV partners.

Ironically, the Nationwide Series is the only complete NASCAR national series carried by ESPN. The trucks are the only one carried by SPEED. Both of these series literally go into the dark during the off-season where NASCAR TV is concerned.

It might have been fine years ago to start NASCAR TV shows back up the week before Speedweeks in Daytona, but that is no longer the case. Social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook are instantly updating the fans on information and normally the follow-up would be on NASCAR Now and RaceHub.

There is a lot of big NASCAR news set to break before Christmas and the sad reality is that it will all be done online. My opinion is that rather than treat the off-season as a time of inaction, SPEED and ESPN should dedicate the resources needed to keep NASCAR's TV presence alive at a time when most of the change in the sport is unfolding.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hot Topic: The Adams Family

Update: This is a repost of the original story about the person who posted the Kurt Busch video of him upset with the ESPN camera crew and Dr. Jerry Punch. Sunday night, Busch was fired from Penske racing according to the Charlotte Observer's Jim Utter. You can leave updated comments about that topic on this post.

John Adams lived in Braintree, Massachusetts and was the second President of the United States. He was a Harvard graduate. He was also fiercely independent and believed in the freedom of citizens to express their views. "Let us dare to read, think, speak and write," he said.

Jon Adams lives in Hiram, Georgia. He is pictured above on the right standing with driver Landon Cassill. Adams graduated from Hiram High School last year. He likes to hunt, fish, and iRace with his friends. He also believes in the sharing of information just like the former President.

The big difference is that the Mr. Adams from Georgia has a smartphone with a video camera, a YouTube account and a Facebook page. Where former President Adams published his thoughts on paper and distributed his work by hand, the younger Mr. Adams has an instant global audience thanks to modern technology.

Adams recently traveled to Homestead, Florida for the final race of the 2011 Sprint Cup Series. Garage pass in hand, he found himself in the empty Sprint Cup Series garage as the race started. In a defining moment, he listened to his friend Brian Schoenburg who had an idea on what they should do next.

"So I told my buddy Jon Adams, let's go check on Kurt Busch...he might be slightly flustered with how his day went." said Schoenburg on Facebook.

The two walked over to the area of the garage where Busch was waiting. Adams took out his cellphone and began recording video and sound. In one of the most curious cases of the tail wagging the dog in NASCAR TV history, Adams caught the now famous tirade of Busch at ESPN pit reporter Dr. Jerry Punch.

Rather than just take the video home and show his friends, Adams posted it to his YouTube account that is normally filled with his iRacing pursuits. It didn't take long for the less than two-minute video to become viral. Now with over a half-million views, the repercussions of what one NASCAR fan with a cellphone can do are amazing. Click here if you live under a rock.

Here is a note from Busch's NASCAR sponsor: "Shell and Pennzoil are disappointed with recent actions by driver, Kurt Busch, at the final race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race season. His actions are in no way consistent with the way we want our brands represented and we have expressed our disappointment and concerns directly to Penske Racing."

Here is a note from NASCAR: "NASCAR has fined Kurt Busch $50,000 for his actions during the Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR determined that Kurt Busch violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing – inappropriate hand gesture; abusive language) of the 2011 NASCAR Rule Book." NASCAR said Kurt Busch showed "disrespect towards a media member," an incident that followed similar inappropriate media confrontations earlier in the season.

Here is a note from Kurt Busch: "Unfortunately, our result in the season-ending race at Homestead on Sunday was not what we had hoped for as a team," he said. "In my frustration with the loss of my transmission early in the race, I let my emotions get the better of me. I regret having done this and apologize to the sponsors of Penske Racing, to NASCAR, its fans, to the media and in particular, Dr. Jerry Punch."

The ultimate irony here is that ESPN is famous for putting extensive effort into using both audio and video captured at the Sprint Cup Series tracks to embarrass drivers. Michael Waltrip, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are just some of the drivers who have been painted in a bad light on purpose.

Unlike journalists at the track who may have run-ins with NASCAR personalities like Busch during the course of a ten month season, Adams and his friend were not interested in accomplishing anything more than just seeing what was going on. But when they saw Busch's antics, they knew right where to go.

"My f*****g idea cost Kurt $50,000.... I can't believe it, great teamwork dude, haha... If only that money went back into our pockets," said Shoenburg to Adams on Facebook. "Way to go man! Haha, you be famous now for taking down Kurt Busch, I bet he gets more of a penalty than Kyle did," said Facebook friend Justin Fuller.

Click here to review Adams' Facebook page and the support he has for "taking down" a NASCAR driver. Epic, owned and superstar were some of the terms being used by those leaving comments.

All of this points to the ever-changing topic of who really is "the media" these days. Was it Punch with his TV crew or these two Georgia boys with a cell phone? Punch never mentioned the incident on the air and ESPN never showed it. The mainstream NASCAR media picked it up from Twitter fan links.

These days at the track there is one group producing the live TV telecast, another producing the radio coverage and a third covering the event from a news perspective for a variety of online media outlets. That is who NASCAR describes as "the media."

Perhaps, there is a fourth group at the track. The unofficial media arm of the sport are the fans who see and hear things from the time they arrive at the track until they leave and take the time to share them.

With the rapid growth of Twitter, the new ease of posting video on Facebook and the global reach of YouTube it seems that 2012 may see fans empowered to become a greater source of NASCAR news content.

What did you think of Adams posting this video? Do you check YouTube, Facebook or other sources for fan videos from NASCAR racing weekends? Do you upload videos when you attend races? What do you think of ESPN choosing not to report this incident or use the footage? We welcome your opinions on this topic.

To add your comment, just click the comments button below. If you are a new reader, we do not permit profanity, hateful speech or political agendas. Our perspective is simply having conversations about different NASCAR TV and media topics. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Here are some TDP columns from year one of the current NASCAR TV contract about online topics for reference. You can use the search button on the upper left side of this page to search for more. If viewing on a smart phone, click web view. Maybe NASCAR Images Has Dial-up? (from March 20, 2007)

Special Report: NASCAR TV in Crisis (from April 7, 2007)

NASCAR Fans Turn To Internet As TV Networks Fail To Deliver (from April 22, 2007)

One Man's "NASCAR On ESPN" YouTube Protest (from August 30, 2007)

Internet TV Fills Off-Season For NASCAR Fans (from December 18, 2007)