Saturday, March 5, 2011

Live Blogging Nationwide Series From Las Vegas (ABC - 2:30PM ET)

This post is going up early Saturday to capture your comments as the preemption and scheduling issues associated with the afternoon telecast of the Las Vegas race are discovered by fans.

After no qualifying coverage, the Nationwide Series telecast will begin at 2:30PM ET. Allen Bestwick will be in the Infield Studio with Dale Jarrett and Brad Daugherty. Rusty Wallace has the weekend off.

Race coverage begins at 3PM and the green flag should be about 15 minutes later. Marty Reid is calling the race with Jarrett and Andy Petree. Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch, Dave Burns and Jamie Little are the pit road reporters. Tim Brewer will be in the Tech Garage.

The Nationwide Series has some good momentum going with Trevor Bayne, Danica Patrick and the Sprint Cup Series drivers continuing to cross-over and race. This week that could shift with the lack of qualifying coverage and a less then stellar field.

Carl Long, Jeremy Clements, Daryl Harr and Brett Rowe are among the drivers this weekend. It should be interesting to see just how many of the starting field are on the track racing after the first pit stop.

Lots of eyes will also be on Danica Patrick, who has continued to struggle in her attempt to move from an open-wheel career to stock cars. It should be very interesting to see if ESPN continues to offer a sugar-coated message about Patrick, instead of framing their comments in relation to her actual performance on the track.

Despite protests in the media, the goal of the TV coverage this season for the Nationwide Series is to keep track of the drivers competing for the championship as well as those up front for this event. With the new points system, it makes absolutely no sense to cover these races as if it was 2010.

The thrust of this points change was to allow younger drivers and also those limiting racing to this series to be featured on TV and therefore attract sponsors. Continuing to focus on the handful of Sprint Cup Series drivers crossing-over to race could spell disaster as the season rolls on.

It looks like ESPN is waking up to that fact. Points leader Reed Sorenson was interviewed on NASCAR Now this week and hopefully the ABC coverage will give the "regulars" some quality national TV exposure.

Readers can scroll down to see all of the schedule changes for ABC stations nationwide as this weekend just has a ton of sports programming and even a telethon. ESPN and ABC have tried to offer an alternate viewing option in these markets, but the simple solution would be to stream the ABC coverage online. That is not going to happen this season.

Please use this post to offer your reactions to the scheduling issues, the lack of qualifying coverage and the ABC telecast. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Check Vegas Nationwide Series TV Schedule For Your Area

This Saturday's Nationwide Series telecast from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starts at 2:30PM ET with NASCAR Countdown and then 3PM brings race coverage. Instead of ESPN2, the Vegas race is on ABC. Therein lies the problem.

As we know from the original NASCAR TV deal, trying to serve all four US time zones with a live sporting event is sometimes pretty tricky. ABC stations not only carry local sports these days, but they also participate in regional sports TV packages and have other weekend local commitments.

This Saturday is a tough day for NASCAR, but give the ESPN/ABC team credit for getting ahead of the issue and offering details in advance of when, where and why the Nationwide Series race telecast might be affected in your area.

Before you read the details, you have to know one term. It's called a local TV station digital-tier or DT. When TV station signals changed from analog to digital, it gave stations the ability to send out more than one stream of programming. That is called multicasting.

Normally labeled simply DT2, DT3 and beyond, these over-the-air DT's are rarely carried on cable systems but are easily received by any current digital TV. Viewers have to check in the markets affected to see if these signals currently appear on cable or can be accessed from an over-the-air source in the home.

Here is the info on the markets affected and the explanation of what will be happening in that time period:

Des Moines, Iowa (WOI-TV) – due to Big 12 basketball game, pre-race show and race will air on the station’s DT2 channel (RTV).

Rochester, NY (WHAM-TV) – due to coverage of a local telethon, pre-race show and race will air on the station’s DT2 channel (CW).

Madison, WI (WKOW-TV) – due to coverage of WIAA state championships, pre-race show and race will air on DT2 (RTV).

LaCrosse, WI (WXOW-TV) -- due to coverage of WIAA state championships, pre-race show and race will air on DT2 (CW).

Wausau, WI (WAOW-TV) -- due to coverage of WIAA state championships, pre-race show and race will air on DT2 (CW).

Bowling Green, KY (WBKO-TV) – due to coverage of SEC basketball, pre-race show and race will air on WBKO-Fox DT2.

Columbia, SC (WOLO-TV) – due to coverage of ACC basketball, pre-race show and race will air on DT3.

Little Rock, AR (KATV-TV) -- due to coverage of SEC basketball, pre-race show and race will air on DT2.

Jonesboro, AR (KAIT-TV) -- due to coverage of SEC basketball, pre-race show and race will air on DT2.

Baltimore, MD (WMAR-TV) – due to coverage of local lacrosse, pre-race show will air on DT2. Race will air on regular channel.

Louisville, KY (WHAS-TV) – due to coverage of Big East basketball, pre-race show will air on WBKI-TV. Race will air on regular channel.

Beckley-Oak Hill-Bluefield, WV (WOAY-TV) – due to coverage of West Virginia University basketball, pre-race show will be pre-empted. Race telecast will be joined in progress at 4 p.m. ET.

Beaumont, TX (KBMT-TV) – due to coverage of local basketball game and Big 12 game, pre-race show will be pre-empted and race will be joined in progress at 3 p.m. CT.

Well, there you have it straight from the ESPN folks responsible for getting this NASCAR product distributed. Let's see if we can address some of the issues that may arise as folks read this information.

First, this Nationwide Series race is not going to change TV networks. It will stay on ABC and these plans will be the ones that will stay in place. Secondly, races cannot be made available online as ABC/ESPN does not own the Internet video rights for the Nationwide Series. Third, there are no plans to add a RaceBuddy style online application for this race or any other Nationwide Series race this season.

Home satellite dish owners living in the affected areas may find easy ways around these problems, but for cable TV viewers the cable companies must simply pass along the local ABC station signal that is provided to them. There are no other options.

Hopefully this will head-off some problems this weekend by letting fans know this information in advance. If you are going to be without TV access to this race in your area, SPEED will be re-airing the program at noon ET the following Thursday.

Thanks again to the ESPN Motorsports PR folks for the information. We invite reader comments and will be happy to try and answer any questions about these issues you may have. Post them and we will work on answers through our contacts. Just click on the comments button below to add your comment. Thanks for stopping by.