Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Road Not Taken (Updated)

We all have different paths in life. Often our direction is driven by opportunity and the desire for change. Sometimes change is thrust upon us and we simply must respond. The final sentence of the classic Robert Frost poem from 1915 says it very well. Confronted by two paths, choosing the right one can make all the difference.

In this column we are going to touch on several subjects. The passing of Chris Economaki will be first. The Dean of Motorsports loved ESPN when the network got cranked up in the early 1980's. Economaki got the idea, the technology and made the most of his opportunities with the cable network. He gladly took the road less traveled and loved every minute of it.

In the early 1980's my late friend Adrian Karsten and I were at the ESPN Christmas party held at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington, CT. ESPN was an oddity, an all-sports cable network and the party attracted a incredible mix of personalities. One man came to our table and loudly asked to "borrow" our unused bottle of red wine. It was Economaki.

When asked why he was in a small Connecticut town in the dead of winter he gave his typical reply. "I never miss a good party," he said. To have someone of that stature in both the TV and motorsports worlds at the Christmas party of a start-up cable TV network was powerful.

Needless to say, he eventually wound-up holding court for those of us involved with motorsports at the network. As you may expect, many stick-and-ball types had absolutely no idea who he was but they could not stay away from his charismatic personality. The memory of that night and his wonderful stories is what comes up first for me when Economaki is the subject.

The sadness of the Economaki passing comes amid changes that will affect what has been done here at TDP over the past several seasons. Rather than have a long discussion, let's just say that my desire to watch live Sprint Cup Series races has faded for a variety of reasons. This weekend's race will move to the DVR and be reviewed at a later date. This switch also ends the pre and post-race TV show viewing.

We had been developing the #TDP1 hashtag for weekend Sprint Cup Series races, but that Twitter activity is going to end. Twitter has been an interesting experiment and one that has provided a lot of good NASCAR information. These days, it has skewed into a breeding ground for marketing and special interest content.

This blog is not ending, just taking on a new format. TDP will continue with columns on weekdays. The topics will range beyond NASCAR and include the digital issues confronting motorsports, the future of networks like SPEED and what the motorsports TV landscape will look like in 2013. The media-related changes now in progress are major and happening at lightning speed.

I appreciate your patience during this transition and hope you will continue to read TDP in its new form. Thanks for all the support on race weekends, but life goes on and change is something we all deal with on a regular basis. The new week will start with a wrap-up of the Sprint Cup Series telecast on Sunday night. Hope to see you then. Have a great weekend.

Update: There was nothing to discuss after viewing the Dover Sprint Cup Series race on the DVR. New columns on media topics will appear this week. If you would like to leave a Dover TV coverage comment, please do it on this post. Thank you.