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It’s official. NASCAR has announced their new TV deal. Fox will start the year with the Daytona 500 and cover the first 13 races of the season. TNT will carry the next six races including the Firecracker 400 (yes, I’m old school). ABC/ESPN will cover the final 17 races with all of the Chase races on ABC. SPEED is going to carry the Twin 150s (again, I’m old school) and the Winston. They’re also going to partner with ESPN to carry practices and qualifying.
What does this mean? Hopefully we’ll finally have Dr. Jerry Punch back on the air. The network that grew NASCAR from a Southeastern sport into the monolith that it has become will get to reap some of the rewards. It also means that the digital geeks in the stands are going to have more ways than ever to get their NASCAR fix. ESPN appears to be gearing up to see how many possible ways they can inundate us with everything NASCAR. ESPN.com, ESPN360 and mobile ESPN will all give the techno fans more ways than ever to show off their digital toys to their fellow fans. I fear that laptops in the grandstands and broadband access from your seat are not far away.
It will be good for TNT to have a successive run of races. They can get into a rhythm with their broadcast team and hopefully continue to get better as they seem to have done over the last few years. Since all cable providers carry TNT, there won’t be any missed race weekends for any of the fans.
FOX now has the crown jewel secured for years to come. No more sharing the big prize with another network. That will certainly give them a little more bang for the buck. That also eliminates the confusion over which network carries the 500 in a given year. Although with the onslaught of commercials its hard to imagine anyone would not know.
The only problem seems to be SPEED. SPEED does an awesome job at covering NASCAR. And they have a great lineup of programming. However, they are not on all of the cable systems across the country. I believe one of the major satellite providers does not offer them either. That means the Twin 150s and the Winston will not be available to everyone. That will certainly damage the ratings for those events.
All in all it is great to see NASCAR coming back to ESPN. They carried Cup racing long before it was the cool thing to do. And we can never get enough of Dr. Jerry Punch.
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Who cares? We all just want to see more wrecks and jugs in the infield!
I’m not watching until the Skoal Bandit is brought back.
Since ESPN is cable they just might accomodate the jugs request. SKOAL definitely belongs in NASCAR however, I believe they have committed their sponsorship dollars elsewhere in motorsports.
Whether or not you’re serious, or being facetious about having Dr. Jerry back, I for one am looking forward to having the Doc and ESPN back in the NASCAR fold. I am one of these Southerners that, at first, was glad to see the sport grow up. And was sad to ESPN go after 2000. Of course, the sport has gotten too big for its britches now, but at least we’ll have solid coverage from a network that has at least, been there and done that, again.
I think Dr. Jerry is the best on pit road. I am serious when I say I look forward to him being back on the air. It is going to be great to have NASCAR back on ESPN. Now let’s hope they keep that split screen commercials like they do with the IRL.
If you’re trying to gain followers by supporting the return of Doc Punch—be advised, you gained at least one new follower.
I was asking the where-abouts of Dr. Jerry just a few days ago. Imagine my plesant surprise upon reading your recent article, Where Is Dr. Jerry Punch?
You made my day.
Yes you did!
I appreciate that.
Thanks Hudson. I don’t know that it was a grab for supporters, but it was a heartfelt piece. I have missed Dr. Punch on the broadcasts the last few years. I sincerely hope he’ll be back scouring pit road when the green flag flies on 2007.
I’m glad I was able to brighten your day.
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