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!
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Phil Allaway · Tuesday July 12, 2011
Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Talking NASCAR TV, where unlike WINS 1010 in New York City, we do not do Traffic on the Ones. We’re all about race broadcasts here, mixed in with random stuff, if it’s relevant. But not today… we’re coming off a very busy week of racing with no less than seven major series in action. The Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series were all visited Kentucky Speedway, so let’s get right to it.
A rare Thursday night show brought the Camping World Truck Series back to Kentucky Speedway for their 12th visit. Due to the quirkiness of the Camping World Truck Series schedule, Thursday night was nearly a full month since the series last raced at Texas. As a result, SPEED aired a full season recap to that point. I’ve talked about how ridiculous the Truck Series’ schedule is multiple times in the past, so I’ll spare you that annoyance.
A couple of small features aired during the Setup. One of them, in a sequel to an earlier feature, saw Austin Dillon take teammate Joey Coulter and SPEED’s Krista Voda out skeet shooting. Dillon appropriately whooped the both of them. Apparently, Voda found a way to cheat as well but fun was had by all, and the segment was well produced.
Another brief feature focused on Hermie and Elliott Sadler doing a small sponsor function for Hunt Brothers Pizza at a Kwik Stop in nearby Sparta (on the other side of Interstate 71 from the track). Here, the brothers raced each other on big wheels after chugging sodas. In another, ThorSport Racing drivers Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton toured around Fort Knox.
The number of pre-race interviews were down significantly from normal: only five instead of eight. The Corral segment, which is usually used for rapid-fire interviews, was reserved for news affecting the series in the 27 days since they last raced, which goes back to the previous point that I stopped myself from ranting about.
The race coverage saw the usual enthusiastic accompaniment from SPEED’s trio in the broadcast booth. I had no issues with the way that they presented their commentary.
However, one thing that I did notice was that after Cole Whitt and Ron Hornaday had their wreck on Lap 76, there was no mention of an altercation between the two drivers. Apparently, they had to be separated. I wouldn’t have known myself if fans didn’t post on Twitter making light of it thanks to PRN Radio. And no, I’m not sitting in my car to pick up a scratchy AM station to listen to it when I can watch the event on TV. Granted, SPEED interviewed both drivers after the incident, but neither made any reference to any incidents post-wreck.
Post-race coverage was fairly short due to the multiple wrecks slowing the race down significantly. SPEED provided viewers with five post-race interviews and checks of the unofficial results and point standings before they left the air. There was no real post-race analysis before SPEED ended the program.
Overall, SPEED’s telecast was a little different than normal. Pre-race was a little strange because of the long hiatus, while post-race was compacted due to time. However, the race telecast was pretty good. It was an enjoyable race to watch with plenty of twists and turns. I don’t know why SPEED did not report on the possible altercation, though. Perhaps they didn’t know there was one.
Feed The Children 300
On Friday night, ESPN returned with coverage of the Nationwide Series from Kentucky Speedway. No special gimmicks here. Instead, we got the typical ESPN show.
NASCAR Countdown was the usual affair. Since the entire normal crew was on site, ESPN went with their normal pre-race setup. That includes effectively basing the show out of the Pit Studio and the pre-race analysis being the focus of the show. While that’s nice and all, most of these races today are over-analyzed. I’d prefer more interviews and features so that fans can get to know these drivers. Aside from the Cup drivers that permeate the Nationwide Series on a regular basis, fans don’t really know much about the Nationwide regulars (granted, there are a couple of exceptions and you know who they are). Just look at SPEED. They did a whole feature on Chris Lafferty once awhile back. The equivalent of that for ESPN would be doing a feature on Brett Rowe, or someone like that. ESPN should take the time to do some more driver features. Luckily, as you can see in the listings further down, NASCAR Countdown is a full hour this weekend, so maybe we’ll get something in Loudon.
ESPN did provide a decent number of pre-race interviews for viewers (seven) on Friday night — a few more than normal.
Race coverage was similar to quite a bit of the coverage that the Nationwide Series has received thus far in 2011. There was a lot of focus on the leaders and other frontrunners, which is consistent with how ESPN basically said they would cover the series before the season even started.
During the second yellow, ESPN played a piece where they interviewed fans about the facilities at Kentucky Speedway in advance of the track’s first Cup race. All of the fans shown in the feature were quite positive about the place and excited for the new venue. Sounded real nice. Of course, now we know just what was about to go down.
I noted during the race that there was a rare interview with Morgan Shepherd conducted by Dr. Jerry Punch after Shepherd was spun into the inside wall by Charles Lewandoski. As sad as this sounds, I could not recall a time in which Shepherd actually got interviewed by a broadcaster during a race in the recent past. Other than his interviews following the instance when he busted the shoplifter at Wal-Mart earlier this year, he’s gotten all but no on-camera time over the past few years.
Since the race ended relatively early, there was plenty of time for post-race coverage. ESPN provided viewers with nine post-race interviews in addition to a check of the Point Standings. There was also some post-race analysis before ESPN left the air ten minutes early (likely because they ran out of people to interview).
The race was OK to watch, but there really wasn’t all that much to watch up front. With ESPN mainly focusing there, they missed quite a bit of stuff. The race was actually just as spread out as the Cup race was, so they would have had to do a little more work to get the good stuff to the viewers at home.
Quaker State 400
For the Sprint Cup Series, Saturday night was a night of firsts, and a night of nightmarish memories. It was the very first race for Cup at Kentucky Speedway, and based on fan sentiment, they’d rather it be the last, which is a shame. But, I’m not really here to harp on the Epic Fails by SMI and the Kentucky State Police. TNT didn’t help themselves all that much, either.
Countdown to Green started off OK. In addition to the normal pre-race analysis, TNT’s four pit reporters took what amounted to a walking tour of Kentucky Speedway. This did two things. One, it introduced the track to those who hadn’t seen it before (doubtful at this point, but you never know). Two, it introduced the Enhanced Inside Trax that TNT was heavily pimping for the broadcast. 40 additional microphones were added around the track to give viewers “better” sound. More on that later.
The Pride of NASCAR feature was focused on Terry Labonte, the 1984 and 1996 Winston Cup Champion who still cherry-picks races to run every now and then. The piece, narrated by Marty Snider, included interviews with Terry Labonte, his brother Bobby and father Bob, along with Rick Hendrick. It talked a little bit about Terry’s upbringing, his penchant for cutting school, his rise to the top, his slump, and then his second rise. It was an interesting feature where I learned some new stuff about the former champion.
There were five pre-race interviews, but with the exception of Tony Stewart joining Czarniak, Petty and McReynolds on the TNT stage, none of those interviews were in the first 45 minutes of the show. I don’t understand that. I’d also argue that TNT should do more interviews than they do now. At the very least, they could spread them out a little. As it stands, it’s like going to a school dance where they play nothing but R&B and fast Pop music for the first three hours, then play six slow songs in a row (I went to a dance like that once, not cool). Variety is always beneficial.
During the race, TNT was constantly harping on about their Enhanced Inside Trax. For me, the only thing that it did was shut the booth up for long stretches of the race. I didn’t notice any real difference in the audio quality. Maybe I heard the crowd a little bit more right before than otherwise. I guess you had to watch the race in HD to be able to notice.
It just came off like FOX’s Crank It Up segments. In which case, welcome back to 2001 (this is roughly the same crew that did the NBC and TNT races from 2001-2006. In 2001, they actually had an equivalent to Crank It Up). The only difference is that while FOX Cranked it Up once, maybe twice a race, TNT did this 14 times, and for much longer periods of time. Nearly 40 laps of Saturday’s race was spent doing this feature.
Regardless, the enhanced audio actually hurt the telecast in multiple ways. For example, TNT emphasized their audio goodies during all the rounds of pit stops. As a result, there was no pit reporter input during this time. As a result, there were plenty of stops where you didn’t really know what was going on change-wise until as many as seven or eight laps afterwards (in the case of the instances during green-flag stops).
Sometimes, the scroll would be on screen during the segments, other times it would not be. As a result, it was a little hard to actually figure out where everyone was at times. Not cool, especially when you have 50+ cameras covering the race.
Granted, TNT’s new gimmick effectively took a lot of the attention away from a fairly mundane race. When they weren’t pimping the gimmick, the coverage was actually halfway decent. However, the pimping just plain overwhelmed everything.
Also of note, TNT was using some new camera shots in addition to the Enhanced (almost called it Enchanted) Inside Trax audio. That was a nice touch, but it was basically the equivalent of putting glitter and perfume on a toad.
Post-race coverage was decent. TNT provided viewers with six post-race interviews, along with checks of the Unofficial Results and Point Standings before leaving the air. RaceBuddy viewers also got the standard additional interviews and post-race analysis.
Circling back to the introduction, there was a big story that came out of the race that was possibly more notable than Kyle Busch winning again. That was the traffic. Aside from some references to the issue by Czarniak during Countdown to Green, there were no mentions of the nasty traffic issues that plagued Saturday’s race (and to a lesser extent, Friday night’s as well). Considered potentially the worst traffic mess since the inaugural Interstate Batteries 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, it was a massive black eye for the track, and to a lesser extent, NASCAR as well.
You know that it is pretty bad when Mark Simendinger, Kentucky Speedway’s General Manager, took to the track’s Facebook page and released a statement about the traffic issues more than an hour before the race even ended. It would have been prudent for TNT to get Simendinger up in the booth at some point when they weren’t pimping their enhanced audio to explain just what in the deuce was going on. It’s not like they haven’t had suits in the booth to explain things before. Instead, they did nothing. Weak.
If, by chance, you had tickets and tried to go to Kentucky Saturday, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comments may be used in Newsletters later on this week.
That’s all for this week. Next weekend, the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for their annual July visit. If you’ve been there before (I did once in 1998), you know that traffic is an issue there as well. Meanwhile, the Camping World Truck Series will be at Iowa Speedway with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on the undercard. Here’s your listings:
Friday, July 15
Time Telecast Network
Saturday, July 16
Sunday, July 17
I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races in next week’s critique here at Frontstretch. The ARCA race will be covered in the July 21st edition of the Critic’s Annex in the Frontstretch Newsletter.
If you have a gripe with me, or just want to say something about my critique,
As always, if you choose to contact the network by email, do so in a courteous manner. Network representatives are far more likely to respond to emails that ask questions politely rather than emails full of rants and vitriol.
©2000 - 2008 Phil Allaway and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
There was no altercation between Cole and Ron, it was just a rumor. and MRN does all the truck races.
I watched the race in HD. Inside Trax didn’t sound like anything great. It DID however remind me of being at the race live without the constant chatter from the booth. I think I liked it a lot. Then again, I’m just SO HAPPY not to hear Jaws during the broadcast that I didn’t even heave when smarny ass Kyle won the race!
What’s wrong with not hearing inane comments from the booth? Now if they could only get that to work with DW and Larry Mac at the start of a race and Tim McCarver. Nothin’ futher.