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
Monday March 3, 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.
Full Throttle · Mike Neff · Monday October 15, 2007
During the recent meeting between the Frontstretch and Rich Feinberg, the Vice President of Motorsports for ESPN, there were quite a few interesting facts that came to light that many of NASCAR's fans might not be aware of. In an effort to give the network some of the credit for what they do in broadcasting races – since they seem to take so much blame – here is some of what we learned about the Worldwide Leader In Sports’ coverage this season, and what they do on a weekly basis that many of you might not realize.
ESPN is a much different company than they were when they left NASCAR coverage, and NASCAR is a very different sport than it was when ESPN left. Back in the day, there were a handful of cameras and a dozen or so employees who put on the coverage on a race weekend. Now, the company uses up to 75 cameras to cover the action that takes place during a race, with types ranging from track positions, to crew cams, to wall cams, to pit cams, to in-car cams, to handheld roaming cameras. Each and every one of those cameras is HD. Fox, NBC and TNT put on HD broadcasts, but ESPN is the first company to use HD in every single camera and every single microphone involved in the process. Nothing that is broadcast is sent over the air non-HD. There are 250 people involved in the production of a race weekend and most of those people are onsite for four days while the event is being put on the air.
It was pointed out to the Frontstretch more than once this past weekend, that the amount of technology utilized in putting on a Cup race is bigger and better than that used to broadcast the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is a one day event, and the NASCAR broadcast is put on 38 different weekends throughout the year; it is the longest sports season of any sport in the United States. As an example of the cutting edge nature of the technology, the HD in-car camera technology arrived in Daytona this February the morning of the race. It was delivered by a gentleman in a briefcase who was flown to the track in a chartered jet to make sure that it was successfully handed over to ESPN in time for it to hit the airwaves for their very first race production back in the sport.
ESPN is also the first company to put two female pit reporters on their broadcast team for their Cup races. There have been female pit reporters before, but there was only one on any of those broadcasts. ESPN has two and also has a female reporter in the pit studio for their cut in coverage during the races. They are also the first company to have a full-time African American announcer which, along with the female pit reporters, emphasizes ESPN's embracing of diversity, which is very well aligned with NASCAR's focus on diversifying its sport.
The pit studio that ESPN created is the only one of its kind in sports. It has a full glass wall that runs the length of the structure to allow an unobstructed view of the track for those people and cameras inside. The lighting for the entire studio is LED lighting, which is so cool that you can touch it with your hands without risk of injury. The lighting is much lighter than traditional lighting and is also much cooler. The combination makes it cheaper to transport the studio from race to race and requires less cooling, both items that help reduce the impact on the environment of having the state of the art facility. The cameras utilized in the studio are all robotic and have technology that allows them to adjust for lighting automatically, so there is no need to change the lighting in the studio as conditions change outside of the studio.
The tech center, where Tim Brewer gives fans detailed explanations of what is going on with cars and part and pieces on cars, is the first of its kind. It has never been done in motorsports. The other broadcast networks had done cut away cars and graphics, but ESPN moved it indoors, to a studio, with an interactive computer that allows Brewer to call up any images he wants and manipulate them however he wants to. The advantages of having it indoors are obvious: weather is taken out of the equation, lighting can be controlled and noise if virtually eliminated. All of these benefits are designed to make the viewing experience more enjoyable for the fans at home.
Every person that works on the ESPN broadcast is encouraged to think outside the box and change the way things are done. When ESPN won the rights to broadcast the Cup series again, they didn't go out and sign an agreement to lease broadcast facilities to do the races. They designed the trucks from the ground up. They went over every detail, from having the monitors on a concave wall to reduce the amount of picture distortion, to the location of phones and buttons that are used by the personnel putting on the race broadcast. The trucks were then painted like the car haulers that take the competitors race cars to the tracks so that they became a part of the environment and were obviously incorporated into the sport.
When it comes to the playback of the action, it is remarkable what ESPN goes through. There are 66 sources of playback for replays during races. Monday Night Football has 17. There are 19 servers in the radio truck that record all 43 channels of radio communication, along with all of the video output from the cameras, for the entire race. Race teams often contact ESPN to have playback from their radios to confirm what was discussed as the race progressed. The statistical information that is provided about drivers is updated in real time. The entire media guide for all of NASCAR is in a computer database that is stored in a production truck. The information is updated every lap as the race progresses, so that the information that is displayed in graphics on the screen is a current and accurate as possible. When a driver leads laps during a race, they are added to their cumulative totals for the year and their career at the instant they cross the start-finish line. It is rather amazing that the data can be updated so quickly.
The power that runs this whole conglomeration comes from a Caterpillar generator that is taken to every race right along with the production trucks. It allows the television crew the added security that, even if there is a power failure at the track, they are plugged into an uninterrupted power supply, with the appropriate redundancy, to allow them to keep the show going even if the track doesn't have power.
The final thing that stuck out very prominently about the people that put on these race broadcasts: every one of them is a passionate race fan. No one was a production major who was doing racing just because it was the assignment they drew when they were given a job at ESPN. Every single person, from the producer, to the director, to the pit producer, to the graphics people, to the guys who run the cables from the generator to the trucks, is a truly passionate, dedicated race fan. These people put their hearts and souls into making the race broadcast as good as it can possibly be, and hopefully better each and every week. They definitely embody the mission statement of ESPN: To server the fans.
Bashing the broadcasters is something that NASCAR fans do as religiously as bashing the drivers they don't like. And there are certainly things that happen during productions that will drive fans nuts. But there is no doubt that ESPN does not spare any expense in trying to bring the very best production they possibly can to the fans each and every week of the 38 weeks that they are on the air during the race season. Can they do some things better? Sure they can. But do they do a pretty darn good job when you get right down to it, you bet they do.
ESPN Facts and Figures:
10 - Number of months ESPN's NASCAR fleet will be on the road (February-November)
13 - Mobile units at each race (including pit studio, mobile office, in-car camera trailer, uplink trucks, ESPN Deportes)
19 - EVS servers for race and studio production (high-speed digital recording)
20 - Miles of video, audio and power cable needed for 1.5-mile track
26 - Tracks ESPN's mobile fleet will visit in 2007
38 - NASCAR events ESPN's mobile fleet will attend in 2007
52 - NASCAR races to be televised live by ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC in 2007 (full 35-race NASCAR Busch Series season, final 17 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events)
60-75 - HD Cameras used by ESPN to televise a NASCAR race (including in-car cameras)
150 - Hotel rooms needed each event for ESPN personnel
250 - Credentialed ESPN personnel working on NASCAR each week
78,000 - Weight in pounds of ESPN traveling studio for NASCAR Countdown shows
167,340 - Projected combined miles ESPN's core of five mobile units will log in 2007
©2000 - 2008 Mike Neff and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
With 75 cameras and 250 people involved, why is it not utilized properly for the viewers? Maybe the director is overwhelmed by all of the choices he has as it seems much of the action is missed. They must use 5 of the cameras for telecasting the race and 70 to keep track of Jr. With the finest and most equipment available giving a sub-par telecast, it appears the problem is with personnel making the decisions as to what will be shown in the brief periods between commercials.
Yes, all the best equipment in the world won’t do the job properly if the decisions made by those running it are flawed.
All that, and they still have far and away the lousiest Nascar coverage and reporting of all who cover the sport !!
This still comes down to the Producer. He made the decision to put these awfull analysts on tv . He decides who the pit reporters pay attention to , and who they ignore . He decides which driver is on the screen and which drivers are ignored . The producers for both networks are solely responsible for the terrible broadcasts , and the sharp decline in viewers .
The amazing thing is that the networks seem to take no notice at all of the fans’s views about the broadcasts . They , like nascar , could’nt care less what the fans think .” We know what’s best so sit down and shut up “ should be included in the mission statement for both .
Normally, when a reporter interviews a big organization like ESPN for their NASCAR coverage, they try to get another source of information to help them understand how much of what ESPN is telling them is just simply self-serving. If you would like to stop-by thedalyplanet.tv or email me, you could read what thousands of viewers have felt about the ABC coverage and get some of the “other” facts for yourself.
This may have clarified some of the reasons that ESPN coverage is so inadequate.
First the “female reporters” and Daugherty:
Wendy Venturini and Krista Voda are reporters who happen to be female. Jamie Little and whats-her-face are “female reporters”. Think about that distinction and the effect on the broadcast should be clear.
As for Daugherty — he’s OK, I suppose. Though I don’t grasp why a former owner is expected to pretend to be “just a fan”. I don’t know what relevance his skin tone and ethnic heritage are suppose to have to anything. If he can contribute unique experience and insight from an owner’s point of view then good. Otherwise he’s a waste of airtime that could be spent on the race itself.
But this seems to me the most revealing line, “Every person that works on the ESPN broadcast is encouraged to think outside the box and change the way things are done.”
IMO, ESPN’s failings in Nascar broadcasting are almost exclusively due to this “we must re-invent the wheel” attitude.
The box is there for a reason. Boxes hold things. They keep them neatly contained in their proper place. Dumping a box on the floor and throwing it away results in a mess.
ESPN could have studied the Fox, TNT, and NBC broadcasts from recent years to identify the best features of each network’s race coverage. They could have adopted those best features from each network and tried to bring them to perfection. They could have built on the solid foundation of what was and created something better — metaphorical chest of drawers or set of bookshelves as an improvement on the box.
Different does not mean better. All the technological wonders in the world are useless in the hands of an organization that has overlooked the fact that their main mission is not to wow us with set design and graphic but to present today’s race as it unfolds.
If anyone is interested, I said a lot more about that here: http://racejournalonline.com/index.cfm?Pagename=column&id=349
Ya Right, You can put a wig on a cow and call it Princes Di, But it’s still just a cow. ESPN has runied this years NASCAR coverage. It is un-watchable. Please for God’s sakes pull the plug on ESPN! and just give it to FOX for the year. Fox stinks, but at least they know what their talking about.
Mr. Daly is certainly an expert on self serving . There is no more useless and irrelevant blog on the internet than his . Nothing could be more unimportant to race fans than a writer who spends all of his time analyzing tv shows that are almost universaly derided by the very fans he is attempting to reach .
All that technology is impressive, but then we have Rusty Wallace, the personal Penske reporter. Oh, and all the noise is not eliminated from the cutaway car studio as long as Tim Brewer can be heard talking about “total devastation” and “dead puppies”. I love Technology, but this just proves that it’s the people that make the difference. When does Fox get it back?? Hurry!
I just heard people complaining about ESPN’s Monday Night Football coverage. I’m glad the race fans aren’t the only unhappy viewers.
70+ cameras, 250 people, and nobody caught Jeff Gordon making the winning pass. Suddenly he was in front of Tony and dropping the hammer. They may be “passionate, dedicated race fans”, but I couldn’t do a poorer job broadcasting it to the fans at home. These 250 people seem to be completely out of their element. From the producer to Rusty to Brad to the blonde girl on pit road.
What the main issue is for race fans is that all the technology and studios and all the extra “stuff” is used in place of the race itself. ESPN could show less commercials if it did not have so much $$$ tied up in all the fluff b.s. Imagine the backlash if they played in game studio outakes during the actual playing of a play in football. I do not care what the infield/pit studio people have to say the anaylst in the booth could do that or eliminate it all together. ESPN tries to do too much which causes the racing to be missed. HERE IS THE PROBLEM, cut back on the garbage and show the race, pertinent pit road reporting, pertinent in race (Cautions) of the studio car, and do commericals 15 laps not 7 laps. You would save about 70 people not being there if the stuff was taken out. Draft track/lock is pointless. It looks exactly the same every week.
We wanted a baked potatoe with our steak and they served us Au Gratin; yeah they were potatoes but we ordered a baked potatoe!!
Good one, Mike.
The TV coverage isn’t perfect, but man, these whiners are getting out of control.
When TNT gave us nearly uninterrupted coverage of the July Daytona race, I thought it was fantastic. And was amazed that the TV whiners still came out in force.
They pissed and moaned about DW and Larry Mac and counted the days to Jerry Punch. Now that the good doctor is in the house, they hate ESPN.
John Dalyâ€™s latest rant is that the LA ABC affiliate, which is in a different time zone, and some other local stations, chose to play the evening local news rather than the pre-race show (wait a minute, donâ€™t the whiners complain about the pre-race shows being too long?). Anyway, the REAL deal that sent Mr. Daly into a squealing conniption hissy-fit was that the LA station sent the viewers back to the race in time to hear â€œGentlemen, start your engines,â€ butâ€¦wait for itâ€¦WITHOUT ANY WORDS OF TRANSITION.
OH, THE HUMANITY!!!!!
Come on people. Get a grip.
Little E hosts a great show called “Back in the Day.” Maybe some of these TV bellyachers should watch an episode or two and ponder what it was like back before the races were on TV.
The TV coverage ainâ€™t perfect. But itâ€™s just fine, thank you very much.
I go to live races and even though it is a challenge I keep up with whats going on. I cannot see the whole track just the part infront of me. I almost got excited during the last race when they left a race camera on the same backstrech shot for a whole lap. I gave me that I am there perspective. Of course is was short lived and its follow the leader or whom ever is the topic at that time. Raceing is about the whole race and were left only seeing a little bit. ESPN has so many camera’s that they switch them so often its impossible to figure out what the real race is doing. We only see the top 5-7 cars. It’s nuts. They will come back around and we do not need to follow a single small group of cars.
Want to have your cake and eat it also? Turn down the volume control on the TV and tune in the broadcast on MRN/PRN. The radio guys call a great race and usually you can watch action that is not being described on the radio, thereby obtaining a more comprehensive view of the event. It works every time!
I agree with M.B. Voelker. At least 75% and probably 90% of NASCAR fans dont care what color or gender our reportors are, we just want someone who knows NASCAR and can show us on screen how much they know and care about the sport. So far, only Alan Bestwick and Andy Petree have shown that, with Tim Brewer close behind. Jerry Punch and Rusty Wallace know NASCAR but they dont know how to translate that knowledge effectively onto TV. Brad Daugherty knows how to bring excitement to the broadcast, but he comes across as someone who has been watching NASCAR only this year. I’m hoping they keep him for next year as I do like him because he’s not a yes-man all the time. With a year experience he will be great, as he has shown when he was in the booth for the Busch races a couple weeks ago. Jamie Little and Shannon Spake (the blonde everyone refers to but cant remember her name) both come across as stiff, like they’re not really comfortable on camera. Shannon was great last year with Marty Smith on Speed’s Wednesday night show I cant remember the name (DOH!). And Erik Kuselias on NASCAR Now is just horrible. He’s arrogant, augumentative, and has very little knowledge of the sport he’s talking about.
It could be worse. I really wish ESPN would listen to some of these comments though. The production crew needs to stick with the talent calling the race. I hate when Rusty starts talking about some action on the track and the camera’s switch somewhere else.
The producers and directors at Fox and ESPN certainly have agendas . Goldburg and Feinberg show us Gordon non stop, along with Johnson and Earnhardt Jr. and if you don’t think so , just use a stop watch sometime and add up all of the on screen time and the amount of time the announcers talk about those three drivers versus all other drivers in the race . And even when Gordon doesn’t qualify well or isn’t even in the top 10 during the race , pit reporters are still stationed in his pit to breathlessly give us every detail from his crew chief and capture his car owner on camera.
Here’s an idea if the networks truly want to improve the race broadcasts . Start by eliminating most of the analysts and pit reporters because they are nothing more than background noise . Then replace the remaining analysts with people that the fans actually want to listen to . Allen Bestwick , Dale and Ned Jarret , Wally Dallenbach Jr., Kyle Petty , and only if absolutly necessary DW , though he wears thin pretty quick . They are the only analysts worth having . Then eliminate the technical features and cutaway car because there are very few if any fans who don’t allready know most of that information . That along with decent directing and camera work , and the viewer numbers would start to rise immediatly .
Note to future visitors to the ESPN production compound, don’t drink the kool-aid offered by Rich Feinberg.
The ESPN broadcasts should not be judged based on effort, or cost, or the devotion of the staff. Their results speak for themselves – they do a poor job of showing the racing and helping the viewers understand it.
I thought that it couldn’t get worse than DW and LM on Fox . . .
OK…they brag about having 2 female pit reporters. Then why not get good ones? You know, like Wendy Venturini from Speed?
Or Put Dr, Jerry back on pit road where he belongs and bring in a good play-by-play announcer like (their own) Alan Bestwick?
And please, or please, put Rusty Wallace somewhere else on race day….like maybe a thousand miles away. Get Dale Jarrett signed for 2008 ASAP!
“Brian” Has it right..there is just too much extra garbage that the networks, not just ESPN, feels that we as the race fans need to see. Just because there is the technology doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be used. As pointed out if other sports used as much of the extra’s that is used during the televising of a NASCAR event fans would be heading to the headquarters with pitchforks..can you imagine a World Series game with the network breaking away every 5 minutes to explain what a curveball is in their own network bullpen. I realize that a NASCAR race is a long event but just stick to covering the race..and with someone other than Rusty..well, actally there are a few others come to think of it. We, as fans have many times voiced our opinions on the lack of coverage for any driver that isn’t in the Chase or doesn’t have “Jr.” attached to their names. Perhaps its because of all the extra’s, such as “draft track” that takes away any time that could be used for covering the actual race and all its participants. The extras plus the commercials takes away from alot of the racing coverage..the commercials are a necessary evil,(although they could be timed better), but the extras we could get away with not using. Lets face it, watch a F1 race or IRL..they don’t clutter up the race with all the extras, just the race ma’am, nothing but the race. One last point, do we really need an hour+ coverage for prerace? It probably wouldn’t bother me so much but I’m getting really tired of the lack of post race interviews.
Bob Jenkins where are you to save us from this mess.
Amen to Bob Jenkins . I also like Bob Varsha ,David Hobbs and Steve Machette from the Formula 1 broadcasts .
Is it me or does everyone long for the “old school” CBS and ESPN? (Ned Squier/ Ned Jarrett) I recall Mike Joy going out to the internet and asking for viewers responses after the CBS Talladega debacle (the Irvan-Earnhart wreck, and CBS implemented many of our suggeswtions. My advice to ESPN is to
So how,with all of this technology, etc. do they still manage to screw it up? I can’t wait until it goes back to ANY OTHER NETWORK!
The reason that Gordon, Stewart, and Earnhardt are all that these “reporters” talk about is that they don’t know the sport that they are supposed to be experts covering. By the amount of responses to this, most fans concur. They don’t know the names, or history of any of these drivers! It is obvious. And if that is not the reason, then it is worse. Then they are inept. And ESPN has tried to pawn off inept journalists on us.
The best broadcasters covering NASCAR races today are from Speed Channel.
Rick Allen and Phil Parsons are great!! Super knowledgable, relevent talk, on top of the action that is on the track.
“Musberger” you must be kidding and the show there is no race just show, DR. P SHUT UP your mouth just drons on and on, ESPN please go broke if you get ride of 90% bs you will not have to have none stop commmmmmercals, oh well I can not spell and you have no idea what you are doing…………
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