No, you do not need to adjust your computer screen. And no, the friendly and thorough Frontstretch editors did not miss something, and let a wild and outrageous headline slip onto their front page. Amidst the consistent drumbeat of many NASCAR fans that pound out the message that NASCAR has turned into the evil anti-Christ of sports, I am here to pat out a little message on my virtual bongo drums that that isn’t necessarily so.
I know that some fans have read the headline, either laughed themselves into convulsions or murmured something obscene, and then clicked away to read something entitled, ‘NASCAR Sucks and Is Getting Suckier All the Time’. That is OK by me, and I will defend their right to hate NASCAR but watch it every weekend (as long as it does not require a whole lot of effort on my part).
As evidence of my contention that NASCAR is too giving, let’s first look at the coverage. Do you want pre-race coverage? You have it, in spades. From what I hear from the fans and read on the message boards, at least some of them consider the efforts that Fox and NBC put into these events prior to the race as either silly, a waste of time, or the time they use to make the snacks for the show.
But these pre-race segments are still faithfully produced and broadcast. Peppered throughout the weekend are NASCAR Live! broadcasts that last from a few minutes to an hour. There is always an hour and a half preview on the morning of the Cup race (NASCAR This Morning), followed shortly thereafter by the pre-race show.
For the Cup series, you get at least two full hours of interviews, comedy skits, and the latest headlines. Some fans consider all of this fluff and boredom; but there are some that consider it racing foreplay. And how about the rest of the week? On Sunday evenings, you can spend and hour with John Roberts and company taking apart the race on NASCAR Victory Lane. On Monday, you have Allen Bestwick and company, again taking apart the race on Inside Nextel Cup, as well as offering some personal opinions about what happened, sometimes quite humorously, sometimes quite seriously. The show NBS 24-7 will delve into the second-most popular series a little deeper for you, if you like. And the show NASCAR Nation is on throughout the week, just in case there were moments of the race that you still haven’t gotten enough of, or sound bytes from the drivers that you might have missed. You can also tune in to Infield Hot Pass and/or NASCAR Beyond the Wheel to get even more in-depth. And after all of that, you still have Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, where he’s going to spend the whole time discussing NASCAR.
Whew. Just typing out all of the race coverage made me weary. I have enough energy left to ask two questions about the coverage, though. Do you get that much coverage for any other sport on TV? Do you even watch that much coverage?
To be fair, though, someone else at SPEED is asking those questions as well, because I hear they are cutting back on some or all of these shows. For example, Inside Nextel Cup is going back to one hour from their current one hour and a half. I guess part of that has to do with Michael Waltrip’s departure from the show, because saying
The NAPA-Auto-Parts-Klaussner-Oreo-Best-Western- Goodyear-SFP-MBNA-AAA-Moog-Dominoes-Champion-WE CARE-Sunoco-Coca-Cola Chevy
at least a half a dozen times per show takes up a lot of air time.
How else is NASCAR overabundant with its fans, you ask? How about in how its officials quickly respond to criticisms? I hear more people gagging violently at that statement, but I believe it to be true. The fact that the NASCAR higher-ups are on television offering commentary on hot topics, and occasionally changing rules to address them, means someone is doing something. I do not see NFL or NBA officials on TV very often addressing fans’ concerns, or changing rules to make things better. It is the way it is. Do we want it to be that way? We seem to be bashing NASCAR for every attempt at pleasing the fans, the drivers, the owners, the teams, the sponsors, and the sport as a whole. Perhaps they, too, should just say, It is the way it is.
Either way, the drumbeats will continue to pound, and the opinions, commentaries, judgments, suppositions, and sentiments will carry on. As for me, I will continue to pat a happy tune on my bongo drums, and duck when I see the flaming arrows coming in.
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