Monday, January 10, 2011

TV/Media Notes

Let's try to get some things organized and answered as we head into the pre-season.

First, SPEED has committed to streaming all three days of the Daytona test online at the website live. There will be some TV as well, but the network is in the middle of a big Barrett-Jackson auction that was arranged well in advance of the Daytona pavement problems.

Here is the three day schedule:

Thursday, Jan. 20
9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. (
5 p.m. - 7 p.m. (same-day delay) (SPEED TV)

Friday, Jan. 21
9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (
1 p.m. - 2 p.m. (SPEED TV)
2 p.m. - 5 p.m. (

Saturday, Jan. 22
9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (
1 p.m. - 2 p.m. – (SPEED TV)
2 p.m. - 5 p.m. – (

The coverage is going to include on-track cameras live at a test for the first time in my memory. John Roberts and Jeff Hammond are going to host from the infield TV studio right above Victory Lane that SPEED has used in the past for testing review shows.

Steve Byrnes returns to a familiar role up in the TV booth with Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds alongside. It will be Krista Voda and Bob Dillner working the garage area as reporters. That is one stellar line-up for Internet streaming coverage.

What should be fun to watch is the format. There are normally no commercials in this type of coverage because it can be viewed worldwide. American TV commercials are normally targeted at a group, time period or demographic. What is on sale in the US may not be on sale in Canada or Australia. Therefore, most current TV commercials don't work online.

The on-air vibe may be quite different as well. Without trying to rush five minute segments between commercials, the webcast producer and director may find that they have many more tools at their disposal. In this format, there is no clock constantly ticking down to the next time the TV monster must be fed.

SPEED also returns Mr. Byrnes as the host of Race Hub on the Monday after testing. I am told the show will again be at 7PM for one hour on Monday through Thursday. No word on the time of the West Coast re-air as the SPEED website does not have full January schedules up quite yet.

SPEED is now setting its number of cable homes at 82 million for the start of 2011. That is a solid number and if the former niche network can get together the right group of compelling programming, it could be a big year for SPEED.

Over on ESPN2, it looks like NASCAR Now will return on Monday, February 7, 2011. The first week of shows are all thirty minutes, with the one-hour Monday roundtable returning on February 14. Allen Bestwick, Nicole Briscoe and Mike Massaro are back, but missing from the team will be Ray Evernham.

Click here or go to the previous story on this blog for the details. Evernham is moving off to work for Rick Hendrick developing a line of high-performance parts and vehicles. In addition, Evernham still has plenty on the table with ownership of a local dirt track in North Carolina and several other business interests.

There is no word yet from ESPN on whether they will replace Evernham or use existing analysts in his role on NASCAR Now and selected races.

As we mentioned before, no changes in the on-air line-ups for ESPN, FOX or SPEED. Charlotte Observer reporter Jim Utter passed along that Jim Shiftan is going to be producing for ESPN this season on the NASCAR beat. Good guy, liked by the crew and perhaps open to some new approaches to aspects of the coverage.

Brief Notes:

Don't forget Sunday at 6PM there is a new motorsports series on VERSUS called Dirt Knights. They also have a Facebook page, website and Twitter account if you want to check what they are about. The first show was solid, this is a grassroots racing effort to get a TV series on the air and we wish them the best of luck.

Information came in late Wednesday night from SPEED about the Chili Bowl. This unique indoor event takes place in late January in Tulsa, OK. It features USAC midget racers from all over the nation competing in endless heats leading up to a big final race. Something fun in the off-season with a strong tradition of racing. SPEED will carry an edited highlight program in February. Times and date has not yet been announced. Good news.

We will update any additional breaking TV or media news on this post all day Thursday. As always, we welcome your comments on any of these topics. Just click the comments button below to add your opinion to the conversation.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.