NASCAR, IMSA and AMA Pro announce Fanschoice.TV
posted by Mike Neff
Wednesday March 12, 2014
Free live streaming of events will allow fans to view previously unavailable live events online
AMA Pro, NASCAR and IMSA announced the launch of Fanschoice.tv today. The free service will stream motorcycle races, sports car races and regional touring and local short track events. The first event will be the AMA Pro flat track 200 from the 1/4 mile dirt track at Daytona International Speedway.
Fans will have access to multiple camera angles, live timing and scoring and a feed from the track’s PA system. In addition to the touring events from IMSA, AMA and NASCAR, three NASCAR Home Tracks have already signed on to be part of the release. Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA., Lake County Speedway in Painesville, OH., and Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA. will have all of their races available for viewing on the new service.
NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series, Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour will all be shown on Fanschoice.tv. The awards banquets for both the Whelen All-American Series and the Touring Series will also be streamed.
IMSA coverage will include streaming of its developmental and single-make series, as well as selected practice and qualifying sessions for the two IMSA national sports car series, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge that are part of the recently-announced five-year agreement with Fox Sports.
NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Phil Allaway · Tuesday April 12, 2011
Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Talking NASCAR TV, your source at Frontstretch for television commentary. Last weekend was a very busy one. I think I should have just put all the stuff from Malaysia on the DV-R and watched it on my own time (intentionally waking up at 4 AM to watch qualifying Saturday morning left me very tired for the Cup race in Texas, if you know what I mean). Of course, the F1 race – which we will not be covering here today – is only one event from the past weekend. The Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series each had night races at Texas Motor Speedway, while the Izod IndyCar Series made its season debut on Versus from Barber Motorsports Park.
Before we get into the IndyCar telecast, there is some news for open-wheel fans. Versus is in the process of putting together a weekly show dedicated to the Izod IndyCar Series, designed to supplement the network’s existing 13 race broadcasts. It will be hosted by pit reporters Kevin Lee and Lindy Thackston, along with the tempestuous Robin Miller. The premiere date is Tuesday, May 3 at 4 PM EDT. Maybe not the best timeslot, but we’ll manage. I will definitely bring you guys a critique of the show later this Spring…
On to the critique.
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
This past weekend in Leeds, AL Versus announced that they will provide roughly five hours of race day coverage from races in which they are televising the Izod IndyCar Series, events where the Firestone Indy Lights are serving as the support. For the sake of this critique, we will only be covering the content after the Indy Lights coverage ended. Those of you who are fans of the series, don’t worry; I’ll definitely be covering the series in a critique later this season.
The way the broadcast worked, the Indy Lights coverage only officially ran up until 2:30 PM. Then, there was an unbranded half-hour in between the Indy Lights coverage and IndyCar Central, the official pre-show. During that show, there was a feature on Takuma Sato and his mental conflicts since the earthquake in Japan last month. Quite touching, to be honest. Sato rarely got any air time last season (unless he was wrecking), so it’s good to hear from him.
The ProfessorB segment with Jon Beekhuis was centered on wrist injuries (specifically, “wrist shocks”) after Ana Beatriz and Justin Wilson both broke bones in St. Petersburg. Finally, with the introduction of Wally Dallenbach, Jr. into the booth (replacing Robbie Buhl) the Wally’s World segment (complete with the Wayne’s World knock-off music) made its way into the broadcast. Here, Dallenbach took a ride around Barber Motorsports Park (as a passenger) in the Izod Two-Seater with Tony Kanaan at the wheel. I guess it only served as a harbinger for things to come. Expect people to wet their pants sometime later this year.
On IndyCar Central, there was a feature on Will Power and his preparation for the 2011 season after last season’s Rory McIlroy-style collapse. Also, Thackston is in charge of a “Who’s Tweeting What?” segment in which notable tweets are read on-air. In essence, its a much shorter version of Tweet ‘N’ Greet, a regular feature in Wednesday’s edition of our Frontstretch Newsletter.
A fact that I failed to mention earlier this season (mainly because it had not been announced when I wrote up my Versus preview) is that the aforementioned Miller is now part of the broadcast. He effectively takes over part of Jack Arute’s former role, but brings a lot of himself into the show. However, he doesn’t appear to totally rip people to shreds like he has in the past online.
Another change is that Miller is at the IndyCar Central desk during pre-race, along with Lee. Thackston is down in the garage doing interviews with Marty Snider. I’m fine with this move, to be honest. Also, they finally invested in additional microphones for the desk, fixing an issue that made the set look low rent last season.
The race telecast was very good. Dallenbach, who brings ten seasons of booth experience (which includes maybe two open-wheel races) to Versus did a good job. Dallenbach had very limited experience in CART before going into Cup full-time, so he only had so much experience to draw back on. However, he acquitted himself just fine.
Versus decided to do a substantial Through the Field starting around Lap 17 that went back all the way to 17th place. It would have gone even further, but a pit stop curtailed it. It was good to hear that information all the way back, but it got shaky once they got beyond tenth. I don’t think Thackston and Lee thought Versus was going to go that far back. As a result, they were screwing up and it didn’t look very good for a little while. I’d argue that the two of them don’t have a whole lot of experience working together on a segment like this one due to the fact that Firestone Indy Lights races don’t have pit stops. They’ll improve as the season continues.
I liked how Versus caught the argument between E.J. Viso and James Hinchcliffe on camera and put it on a split-screen. That was just plain cool. There were a lot of timely interviews after wrecks and everyone that was involved in incidents got interviews.
Despite the race ending after the timeslot had already ended, Versus provided viewers with plenty of post-race coverage. There were nine post-race interviews (eight drivers, plus winner Power’s substitute race strategist). In addition, there were checks of the unofficial results and point standings before Versus finished up.
All in all, not a bad first broadcast of the season. There were some shaky moments, but I believe that those will work out as the newbies get used to the veterans. Miller’s role during the broadcast appears to be relatively open, though. I’d like a clarification of what he’s going to be doing this season. All we got Sunday were blind draw opinions of three different drivers, and some random tidbits from pit road (for example, Miller broke the news that Wilson’s wrist brace actually broke during the race before his crash).
O’Reilly Auto Parts 300
Friday night brought the Nationwide Series back for its fifth race of the season from Texas Motor Speedway. NASCAR Countdown started out the show with the usual high amount of pre-race analysis.
Unlike recent weeks, there was an actual feature. This one covered Steve Turner, owner of Turner Motorsports, and his interest in mechanical equipment. The piece was interesting because we viewers really don’t know much about Turner ever since he entered NASCAR at the beginning of last season. Now that he owns seven full-time teams, between the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, he’s kind of a big deal now and I’m glad someone finally focused on him.
As for the interviews, they seemed to be Cup-biased. The only non-Cup regular to be interviewed was Nationwide Series points leader Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. while the other four interviewees were Cup drivers.
Race coverage was decidedly average on Friday night, especially in the first half of the event. There simply was not all that much to write home about the race.
The turning point of the night was obviously when Kyle Busch got taken out on Lap 88 due to Tim Schendel’s tire issues (at the time, it looked like a flat right front tire, but on Monday’s NASCAR Now Roundtable, Allen Bestwick mentioned that Means Motorsports was guilty of the “Indian Trick,” putting the left front tire on the right front). At the time the wreck happened, the broadcast booth was taking a break and Bestwick handled the coverage along with Brad Daugherty. Needless to say, both of them were very surprised. Right up to the wreck, ESPN was using the bumper cam from Carl Edwards’ car. Thankfully, they switched away from it. However, the view they switched to was too close and viewers couldn’t see the incident develop. Schendel just swooped across the screen into Busch.
Also of note, ESPN failed to procure an interview with Schendel while Vince Welch hung around Busch’s transporter for probably 20 minutes waiting for an interview. However, who was assigned Schendel’s pit? If it was Welch, he could have gone and done that interview with plenty of time to get the Busch quote. Regardless, someone dropped the ball here.
Another gripe was when the final yellow flew for Scott Wimmer’s blown engine. ESPN was in the middle of their Race Recap, but I think that they should have just cut out of it and finished after the pit stops. Instead, they decided to keep going after the yellow had already flew. At least they acknowledged their error…
A positive thing for the network towards the end of the race was when they did an Up to Speed that covered the top 10, but then voluntarily continued it to cover the rest of the lead lap with around 30 to go. Granted, there wasn’t a whole lot of racing for position on track at the time, but it was still good to see and something they need to be doing more of.
Post-race coverage was very brief due to the race ending very close to the end of the timeslot. Before leaving the air, ESPN squeezed in interviews with Carl Edwards (along with crew chief Mike Beam), Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard and Elliott Sadler. There was also a quick check of the point standings.
ESPN delivered a garden variety broadcast, to be honest. There wasn’t all that much to take out of it, other than that they dropped the ball with the Schendel-Busch wreck. Someone needed to take a look into the No. 52.
Samsung Mobile 500
FOX returned with their usual scripted setup for their pre-race show. Same order, slightly different parts…
The one-on-one feature was a piece with Denny Hamlin that was shot at his house. Hamlin schooled Chris Myers at basketball in his driveway (not surprised in the least). While not schooling Myers, Hamlin talked about his unsatisfactory start to the 2011 season and the team’s engine issues. This piece was strong.
The only regular interview was with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Luckily, Matt Yocum handled that task, giving him something to do on-camera during pre-race for the first time in weeks. I’m still insistent on FOX having more pre-race interviews, though.
During the race, FOX was a little off the pace in relaying the happenings on track to viewers at home. For example, around Lap 30, Hamlin radioed in to his crew and talked about a potential engine issue. Yet the first that I heard about the problem was on Twitter, when former colleague Matt Taliaferro ranted about it on his feed. FOX failed to mention the issue until Lap 57, after the second caution of the race in passing. Not cool.
As you may remember, Jimmie Johnson ranted last week (before being proven wrong) that he was busted for speeding in the segment that included his pit stall. In response, FOX, with the full support of NASCAR, showed off NASCAR’s automated pit road system. Effectively, it’s a computer program that determines the average speeds for each segment. I found the system itself to be quite interesting, one that really came into its own when Tony Stewart got busted for speeding with 59 laps to go. FOX simply was able to cut to the screen that showed that Stewart was almost 2.5 mph too fast in the first segment. Eventually, I’d like to see that integrated into the regular graphics in some form.
For the race being as quick as it actually was, there was not all that much post-race coverage. There were interviews with the top-3 finishers (Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, Edwards), and shots of the unofficial results and point standings before FOX left the air. FOX made a dumb decision making the timeslot end at 11 PM ET for this race.
FOX brought viewers an average race on Saturday night. They brought new stuff to the table with the look at NASCAR’s speed enforcement system that was badly needed. It should have been instituted by ESPN after Juan Pablo Montoya got busted at Indianapolis in 2009, but now is as good as ever.
There is still a strong focus on whoever’s leading, regardless of whether they’re actually racing anyone. FOX should make a point to show more battles on track. Having said that, there were a couple of instances where good battles were shown via split screen.
That’s all for this week. Next weekend is the Aaron’s Dream Weekend. Yep, that’s right: Talladega. I’m sure that quite a few of you are jonesing for some more action of the restrictor plate variety, and you’ll get it with the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series holding races there, along with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. Meanwhile, the Izod IndyCar Series will be in Long Beach, CA.
Here’s your listings.
Thursday, April 14
Friday, April 15
Saturday, April 16
Sunday, April 17
*- Tape Delayed
As you can see, it’s a pretty big slate for next weekend with almost every major series of note in action. I will cover all three series at Talladega next week here at Frontstretch, while the Izod IndyCar Series race from Long Beach will likely be covered in the Annex next Thursday in our Newsletter.
If you have a gripe with me, or just want to say something about my critique,
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Phil, I appreciate your dedication…..getting up at 4 am to watch the F1 race and the time you spent critiqueing it. Same with the Indy car race et.al.. However, all combined, those series don’t enjoy the viewership of Sprint Cup. That being said, it’s probably a safe bet to say that more coverage or at least a more indepth critique should be applied to the Sprint Cup broadcasts. I don’t mean to be overly critical but I think that your critiques of Sprint Cup are somewhat cursory. You know I’m not a fan of the FOX broadcasts and especially D.W., but without your help, we’ll never get anybody to pay attention to how spectacularly bad those broadcasts really are. Of course I’m just one opinion so maybe a survey of your readership asking where they would like to see you place your emphasis might be a worthwile undertaking.
Joe, I’ll agree with you that most people watch the Cup Series, and there’s plenty of room for improvement in those broadcasts. But I like having the IndyCar critique along with it, since I think Versus has done a pretty good job with the series (for the most part). Their races have featured less passing, but they manage to make it feel more exciting than several of the Sprint Cup broadcasts. They probably have a considerably smaller budget to do it, too, which makes it all the more impressive. I see it as hope that racing can indeed be covered well.
If nothing else, good reviews of a race covered well on Versus should embarrass the FOX crew.
Thanks for the critique of the Indy car race. I watched and thought Versus did a nice job with it.
Fox brought their usual nothing special to the cup broadcast. I fell asleep 3x during the broadcast and finally gave up and went to bed at 10:30 — I can find out online who won. It was THAT bad.
I can’t figure out how they supposedly win emmy’s for their coverage. It’s barely adequate.
Haven’t we been saying all along that simpler is better with the race broadcasts. Versus Indy Car coverage and SPEEDs truck coverage with far fewer people are head and shoulders about Fox’s and ESPN’s large contingent that cover the Cup races. Do we really need 9 people commentating on a race?
Fox’s coverage was putrid Saturday night. I have never seen a network try so hard to NOT show the racing. Sponsor ads, promotions, commercials all taking away from the actual race and we get all the action on replay. Pitiful.
What is it really gonna take for Fox to show the racing instead of promoting their own agendas?