Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Mike Neff · Friday October 12, 2007
In NASCAR blogs and forums throughout the internet one of the key themes that fans often turn their attention to is not the quality of the race, as much as the quality of the race broadcast. If you’ve read the reader comments at the end of many of our articles, you’ve probably noticed a fairly consistant theme there also, specifically, the number and timing of commercial breaks. Thursday, I sat down with ESPN’s Vice President of Motorsports, Rich Feinberg, and talked about the broadcaster’s policies and commitment to you, the race fan. What came out of this discussion was that broadcasting is not only a media that delivers the excitement of NASCAR racing to fans that would otherwise not have any way to see them, but also that first and foremost, broadcasting is a business. In order for ESPN to justify their expenditure to carry NASCAR races, they have to be able to make enough revenue to cover their expenses and still make some money.
In order to understand how that part of the business works you need to know that before the race can get to your 46” high def, there are two kinds of costs that have be paid for. First, there are the broadcast rights fees that ESPN must first pay to NASCAR to be allowed to broadcast races so that NASCAR can pay their bills in Daytona, and if you’ve seen the reported dollars that ESPN paid, you’ll have to agree, that’s a big nut right there. Then, there are the production costs that go into bringing the actual race broadcast to the fans. These production costs range from the equipment that is at the track, the technology that it developed to bring new innovation into the sport, and the money required to employ enough people to make the race broadcast feasible. ESPN employs the services of over 250 on a race weekend to bring the race telecast to the fans. They have to not only pay those people for their time and effort, but they must transport them and house them during a given race weekend.
The revenue that is used to offset those production costs and rights fees comes from both the advertisement income that is created by selling commercial time during the broadcast and also affiliate revenue that comes from the cable and satellite providers that license ESPN for their services. A fact that isn't well publicized is that NASCAR limits the number of commercials that a broadcast company is allowed to air during a telecast, so ESPN is limited to that commercial time allotment and they use that allowed time to block out their commercial schedule during the race.
When the commercial breaks for a race weekend is planned out, the production team looks at both the size of the track and the average lap times both under green and caution. Those times are used to determine the length of the commercial blocks that will be broadcast during the race. At tracks like Daytona and Talladega, commercials are run in two-and-a-half to three minute blocks, while a track like Bristol, where lap times are considerably shorter, the blocks are only one and a half to two minutes in length. Knowing the amount of time that can be spent in commercial, the blocks are allocated out across the length of the broadcast and the commercials to fill those timeslots are planned out using both viewer habits and past races at that track.
The viewership of NASCAR races isn’t constant throughout the race. It acutally grows throughout the duration of the event with the smallest audiences occuring at the beginning of the race, and then immediately following the checkered flag. As the race continues from the drop of the green flag, the audience grows at a consistent rate, reaching its maximum point around the final 20 laps of the event. If ESPN had the option to make race fans completely happy, they’d run the commercials all in the first third of the race and go commercial free from there on out. It simply isn’t an option, so they try and plan it out as best they can to show the maximum amount of race action because naturally, advertisers want to have their commercials viewed by the most people possible for the amount of money they are spending. In order to charge the maximum amount that they possibly can to try and achieve the highest possible return, ESPN must air commercials at the beginning and the end of the race to equalize the average viewing audience and be able to receive the highest possible price for those commercials.
As a race progresses, the time that commercials air is determined on the fly based on the activity on the track. There are people in the production truck, utilizing different technologies to try and anticipate the caution flags, the fuel windows, and the duration of the caution flags to try and decide when blocks of commercials are aired. When a caution flag is in effect, ESPN attempts to show the pitstops during that caution, and then air commercials before the race goes back to green. With the help of NASCAR race control the production team tries their best to determine how long a given caution period is going to take and time out the commercials to return to action before the green flag flies. The odds of them catching the green on the super speedways is far greater than on short tracks simply because they can let the commercial run to completion before coming back for the green when they are informed of one lap to go. At a track like Martinsville, if they are informed of one lap to go, there is only a window of 25-30 seconds before the race is going to go back to green. If ESPN breaks out of a commercial before it is completed, they have to rerun the entire commercial at a later point in the race, in addition to the commercials planned for that later point. As soon as they miss a commercial, it throws off the rest of the allocation of commercials, and the air time for racing has to be reduced to make up for it.
Just like the teams in NASCAR, ESPN can look at historical data on races and anticipate, with some accuracy, how many cautions will fly during a race and attempts to plan commercials around that time. Like investments though, past performance is not always indicative of future results. Planning on five cautions in the first 100 laps of a race, that ultimately runs green, can throw off the entire production plan. If the production team tries to wait for a caution that doesn't happen, they eat into the air time that can be shown later in the race because they have to make up those commercials at some point in time to earn the necessary revenue to make the production feasible.
One thing became abundantly clear in talking with the people who work on the ESPN broadcasts. The people that are running the show and making the decisions are race fans. Not just casual fans, but passionate fans who love the sport. They hate missing restarts as much as the fans at home hate not seeing them. Unfortunately, the whole process is ultimately a business, and they have to make sure they achieve the proper revenue to justify their expenditures. Could the system be tweaked to make it better, there is no doubt. Over the next few weeks this writer intends to do some charting of caution flags and commercial times and see if he can come up with a strategy that might be possible to try and help out the folks at ESPN to make it more of a rarity to miss restarts than the norm. In the meantime, rest assured, the folks behind the scenes really do try their very best to make it back to the track to try and see the green flag fly at the end of caution periods.
©2000 - 2008 Mike Neff and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Gee, simple solution. Show a small box with the race action. That way, you may actually not change channels when commercials are on. And, we’ll never miss a re-start!
I’m sorry, but those excuses don’t fly. Fox didn’t have this problem. NBC didn’t have this problem last year.
It’s really pretty simple when a caution comes out. As soon as things sort out, cut to commercial. Run a couple of comeercials, then come back for the lead lap pitstops. Now, during the lapped car pitstops show replays of whatever brought the caution back. That doesn’t cover them 100% of the time, but it would give them a baseline to work from that would put them a heck of a lot closer to what they need to do than they currently are.
The problem is these ESPN producers come from stick and ball sports where you have a very small period of time to show the replay of the action. So their instincts tell them to do that, and it’s all wrong.
Fox and TNT manage to cover most of the restarts. They cover the pitstops. They reset the field before the green flies. They keep fans aware of pit road penalties and of various teams’ pit strategies.
ESPN could have analyzed the last couple years’ race broadcasts and adopted the best features from the various networks’ presentations. Instead they decided to try to come up with something all there own and made a mess of the thing.
You know NBC was infamous for the incredible amount of commercials they ran,but with that said they still got the restarts broadcast. Fox would break in during a commercial if there was a wreck. Maybe ESPN should call them up and see how they did it.
Okay, so they have to make money. Not an excuse for the lousy timing and terrible broadcasts. The complete ESPN family of stations are terrible when it comes to Nascar. Also what about all the drivers that just hate being interviewed by espn reporters. They ask such stupid questions. I’m not even going to get into how bad Nascar Now is.
Excuses, Excuses. All this really does is encourage people to DVR the race and skip the commercials. They need to keep that in mind when they are “forced” to miss a restart.
I believe that ESPN is just trying to out “Fox” Fox. They have added about 50,000 needless gimicks and forgot how to cover a race. Missed restarts are just a small part of their failing.
Advertisers dont want to pay to have their commercials in a split-screen box. They feel they arent getting their monies worth that way. So it will never happen in NASCAR.
Randy is right, as is Kevin in SoCal. Split screen w/ advertising/commercials, or just TIVO the race. Or, my personal fave for those of us w/o TIVO: Leave the TV on, mute the morons that cover the TV broadcast, and tune in Barney Hall, Dave Moody, and the rest of the MRN guys. They do an excellent job, and do not resort to using stupid phrases like “draft-lock”. If only someone could mute Rusty, Darrell, Larry Mac, and the rest of the “talent”.
I agree with Brian France sucks. I mute the expert analysis of Crusty, Andy, and Doc and listen to the MRN guys. What is “draft lock” anyway? Is that somehting that prevents you from winning a plate race? If so, that would explain why Crusty is an expert on the subject.
Not buying it. If other networks had the problems covering NASCAR that ESPN/ABC has, perhaps their excuses would be believable, but that’s not the case. We have seen good race coverage on NBC, FOX and (before this year) TNT.
It can be done. IF the network producing the races actually knows what it is doing, that is.
But with this year’s “glowing hockey puck,” a/k/a the “Draft Tracker,” talent that doessn’t know what’s happening on the track, and the network’s refusal to cover the race, opting instead to ignore most of the drivers on the track, it is clear ESPN/ABC does not know racing at all.
B the way, did you ask Feinberg why it is that ESPN won’t air all the practices, yet (most of the time) also refuses to let SPEED air them?
I’d love to hear their “we’re race fans too” rationale for that one.
Everybody knows ESPN is geared toward the sponsors,(commercials)pre-madonna’ s(over exposed drivers)and most of all,the critics(public relations dept.)Thus what we get on race day is a long and drawn out pre-race show followed by an event covered by individuals(Brent Muskberger) who seem to have no real understanding of the sport that they are presenting to the fans.
I work in sports TV (not for ESPN) and I understand the various factors that determine commercial breaks, but as many others have said here, the missed restarts happen on ESPN much more than on FOX or NBC. TNT’s coverage was so bad that missed restarts was the least of their problems. ESPN/ABC’s sales department sells EVERYTHING it can put a sponsor’s name on (which is one reason why sportscenter is completely unwatchable now)and they probably have sold so many items that it is not possible to avoid missing restarts. Don’t blame the guys in the production trucks who have their hands tied it’s the suits at Disney that are to blame. It’s certainly not the first good thing they’ve screwed up.
And as DR. Jerry always reminds us, any questions just log on to ESPN.com/search word/money.
Looks like Mike got “tooken” on his one. Don’t feel bad, though—they got David Poole, too.
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