Race Weekend Central

Couch Potato Tuesday: ESPN Shirking Other Responsibilities During Chase

When you think of Chase for the Sprint Cup coverage on TV broadcasts, what do you think of? Coverage of the playoffs, sure, but how about the other 27 drivers racing for something other than the title? Surely you expect some coverage thrown their way, right?

If the first race of the Chase, held last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, is any indication, those who think ESPN will throw a bone to non-Chase competitors are very naive, indeed.

The Sprint Cup and Nationwide series went full throttle outside the Windy City over the weekend, while the Camping World Truck Series added a special Saturday night showing at the track after the Friday event was postponed. However, the latter race will not be covered here this week due to space constraints. Not to worry; I will still be covering the Camping World Truck Series race in the newsletter on Thursday.

Myafibstory.com 400

On Sunday, the Chase for the Sprint Cup finally got underway.  Naturally, the Chase itself was always going to be a topic of discussion for ESPN. But how much, exactly?

Past years have seen ESPN exert a heavy focus on the Chase in the first race and Sunday was no exception.  We got plenty of discussion about the Chase format itself and interviews with a number of the actual Chasers.  There was just one important thing that was missing.

ESPN basically did not preview the race.  The whole show was instead spent focusing on the Chase and who was likely to move on to the Contender round that starts in three weeks.  As much as ESPN wants to pimp out this ridiculous format that’s being used to determine the champion, it cannot be done at the expense of previewing the race.  Anyone watching the show wouldn’t have had much of an idea who to look out for on Sunday as a potential contender to win the dang race.

Let’s face facts: that’s really important.  Not everyone is watching these last 10 races because of the Chase.  I know I don’t watch late season races just for the Chase, and a good number of the people reading this critique don’t watch for that reason alone (in fact, some intentionally do not watch because of the Chase).  For all I know, it’ll probably get worse next week because ESPN will bring back “Stick a Fork in ‘Em” (and by association, the giant fork that Brad Daugherty likes to poke people with) earlier than normal due to the eliminations.  As you may remember from last year, that whole feature of the show just annoyed me in general.

(Credit: CIA Stock Photography)
Even though there were non-Chasers near the front at Chicagoland, little coverage was afforded to them. (Credit: CIA Stock Photography)

The actual race telecast shows what teams that aren’t in the Chase likely will have to do over the next few weeks (Talladega is a likely exception to the rule because it’s Talladega) in order to get airtime.  Either you have to have some kind of visible problem, or you have to be right up in the mix.  Otherwise, you’re invisible.

There was a fair amount of battling shown during the telecast, but the vast majority of said battles were either fully between Chasers, or involved one Chaser at minimum.  Battles consisting solely of non-Chasers were very rare.

With the Chase focus, there were a couple of stories that likely weren’t covered to the extent that they should have, even though the issues bit Chasers and non-Chasers alike.  For example, there were a number of tire failures on Sunday.  Ryan Newman lost at least two tires.  Carl Edwards cut one and brought out a key caution late in the race.  Clint Bowyer appeared to have a tire fail when he went into the wall in turn 1 on lap 245.

Why am I listing those drivers who had failures? Because I have no clue how those blowouts happened.  Was it a simple cut?  An internal failure?  The dreaded unraveling like at Atlanta?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Had it been the right rear tire that went on Edwards’ car, the unraveling could have been in play since the right sides had Goodyear’s DualZone tread technology.  That wasn’t the case on the left side tires.  ESPN simply didn’t give viewers any reasoning for the blowouts – they just happened.  For example, this is what Edwards’ left rear looked like after it was taken off the No. 99.

I can’t really tell what could have happened there (my best guess is a cut).  It’s ESPN’s job to make use of their on-site capabilities to inform fans about what the deuce is happening.  With the Chase focus, ESPN is shirking its other responsibilities.

Another gripe was the coverage immediately prior to Edwards’ tire expiration.  There was a disconnect between what was being discussed and what viewers could see.  Yes, Aric Almirola was leading and about to pit, but we saw his engine expire in real time.  ESPN seemed to think it was just business as usual.  Edwards cuts his tire and the yellow came out.  Then, the booth freaks out when they see Almirola being pushed to the garage like it was a huge shock to them.  It’s like no one was paying attention to the monitor showing Almirola.  Spatial awareness.  You have to have it, not just in a race car.

Despite the gripes, the telecast actually came together well at the finish.  Viewers got great footage of the excellent battles toward the end of the race, and the booth came properly equipped to play as well with some good commentary.  Looking back, Sunday’s Myafibstory.com 400 is probably the best Sprint Cup race ever run at Chicagoland Speedway.

Of course, that might not be saying all that much, unfortunately.

Post-race coverage was decent in size.  Viewers saw driver interviews and the all-important check of the points, but the results, usually shown in the scroll, did not get much airtime.  Unfortunately, the focus on the Chasers means that the rest of the field just doesn’t matter as much as normal.  It’s sad to see.  Hopefully, ESPN can fix that for Loudon next weekend.

It’s time to get down to what needs to be said.  Yes, the Chase is going to be an important aspect of a Sprint Cup race telecast at this time of the year.  However, it cannot completely control what gets covered and what does not.  ESPN needs to cover the Chase races like they’re regular races.  Under normal circumstances, the Chase storylines will come to ESPN naturally; the network doesn’t need to force it down everyone’s throats.  That kind of approach will slowly but surely irritate people, especially those fans whose favorite driver did not make the Chase.  Unfortunately, NASCAR’s new four-round Chase is designed to make sure that ESPN (and starting next year, NBC and NBC Sports Network) cannot be inclusive and has to thrust it on fans instead.

Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast! 300

On Saturday, the Nationwide Series returned to Chicagoland Speedway.  This time, we did not have anyone lead flag-to-flag.  However, the Sprint Cup regulars dominated once again.

Sometimes, I gripe here about ESPN missing obvious stories until it slaps the producers in the face. ESPN found Ryan Blaney’s radio issues on its own by tapping him to be the race’s in-race reporter.  While Blaney did finish fourth on Saturday, the radio issues were an ongoing issue for much of the afternoon.

(Credit: CIA Stock Photography)
Radio issues marred Ryan Blaney’s bout as in-race reporter. (Credit: CIA Stock Photography)

Overall, the coverage from Chicagoland didn’t really stand out that much.  There were only six Cup drivers in the race, but they earned a good chunk of the coverage.  I think there is a little frustration in the booth with Cup drivers stinking up the show (on Saturday, they led all but 16 laps), most noticeable in the first few laps of the race when Kyle Busch took the lead from Brian Scott.

It should be noted that ESPN did a better job on Saturday of actually covering tire issues than during the Cup race.  We actually saw Paul Menard have a tire issue (the dreaded unraveling, once again).  Luckily for Menard, he caught the issue early.  At that point, Menard’s right rear tire (which made air) looked a little like one of the tires off a Formula e racer in Beijing.  Luckily, it appears that there weren’t any other issues of that variety.

Normally, when ESPN goes over its timeslot, viewers get a condensed version of post-race coverage.  On Saturday, that wasn’t the case.  ESPN 2 had a big game with Alabama taking on Southern Mississippi at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.  Let’s just say that ESPN wanted to get the network over to that game immediately.  As a result, there was no post-race coverage on TV.  The Victory Lane interview (and really, all post-race coverage) was posted online as the weekly edition of The Rundown.

It’s sad when you really think about it.  Reminds me of what ESPN did in 2000 at Michigan when the network killed post-race coverage after the Cup race in order to get to coverage of the X Games from San Francisco.  The scenarios are somewhat similar.  Like now, ESPN was a lame duck, running out the string before its contract expires.  While the network is still promoting its NASCAR coverage, it’s already pulled back significantly.  The cancellation of NASCAR Now in June is just the most notable example of how ESPN has cut back.  There are still additional reporters at the track that don’t necessarily appear on the telecast, but the number of them has dropped significantly.  Whoever is at the track for ESPN as its reporter for SportsCenter has seen their workload drop off by quite a bit.

In addition, ESPN has fewer writers covering the sport now.  In the past, the company had five beat writers (Terry Blount, Ed Hinton, Ryan McGee, David Newton and Marty Smith) covering NASCAR on a regular basis.  At the track, at least three writers would be there every week.

Now, Blount and Newton have been re-assigned to NFL beats.  As part of an ESPN initiative to provide beat writers for all 32 NFL teams, the two NASCAR regulars were moved off of NASCAR at the end of last season.  Blount, a native of Seattle, covers his hometown Seahawks, while Newton covers the Carolina Panthers.  Hinton is still at the track every now and then, but it’s his last year covering NASCAR (he’s retiring at the end of the season).  McGee and Smith are the only full-timers at the track for ESPN.

That’s all for this week.  Next weekend is the last split weekend of the year for Sprint Cup and Nationwide.  The Sprint Cup Series will be at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with the Camping World Truck Series as primary support, along with the Whelen Modified Tour.  Meanwhile, the Nationwide Series is headlining at Kentucky Speedway with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards as primary support.  Here’s your listings.

Tuesday, September 16

Time Telecast Network
5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. NASCAR America NBC Sports Network
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 1
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 2*#

Wednesday, September 17

Time Telecast Network
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. FIA Formula E Championship: Beijing FOX Sports 1*/# (from September 13)
4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Formula DRIFT: Miami Heat, Part 1 NBC Sports Network*/# (from May 30)
5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. NASCAR America NBC Sports Network
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 1
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 2*#

Thursday, September 18

Time Telecast Network
4:00 a.m. - 6:00 a.m. DTM: Lausitzring CBS Sports Network*# (from September 14)
5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. NASCAR America NBC Sports Network
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 1
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 2*#

Friday, September 19

Time Telecast Network
2:00 a.m. - 3:00 a.m. NASCAR America: Celebrate the States NBC Sports Network#
6:00 a.m. - 7:30 a.m. Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore Free Practice No. 1 NBC Sports Live Xtra$
9:00 a.m. - 9:50 a.m. IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Race No. 1 FansChoice.tv^
9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore Free Practice No. 2 NBC Sports Network
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 1#
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 1 FOX Sports 1
1:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge: COTA IMSA.com^
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Camping World Truck Series Practice No. 1 FOX Sports 1
2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. NASCAR Live No. 1 FOX Sports 1
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Camping World Truck Series Happy Hour FOX Sports 1
4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Sprint Cup Series Qualifying FOX Sports 1
5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Countdown to F1 NBC Sports Network
5:30 p.m. - 6:55 p.m. TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Qualifying IMSA.com/FansChoice.tv^
6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. NASCAR Live No. 2 FOX Sports 1
6:15 p.m. - 9:15 p.m. NHRA AAA Texas Fall Nationals Opening Qualifying Rounds ESPN3$
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Nationwide Series Happy Hour FOX Sports 1
7:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. NASCAR Live No. 3 FOX Sports 1
8:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Zloop 150 FOX Sports 1
8:25 p.m. - 9:20 p.m. IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Race No. 2 FansChoice.tv^

Saturday, September 20

Time Telecast Network
12:30 a.m. - 2:00 a.m. Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore Free Practice No. 2 NBC Sports Network*# (from September 19)
3:00 a.m. - 3:20 a.m. Whelen Euro Series Elite 1 Qualifying, Group 1 FansChoice.tv^
3:20 a.m. - 3:40 a.m. Whelen Euro Series Elite 1 Qualifying, Group 2 FansChoice.tv^
3:40 a.m. - 4:00 a.m. Whelen Euro Series Elite 2 Qualifying, Group 1 FansChoice.tv^
4:00 a.m. - 4:20 a.m. Whelen Euro Series Elite 2 Qualifying, Group 2 FansChoice.tv^
4:00 a.m. - 4:30 a.m. The 10: NASCAR's Millennium Moments FOX Sports 1#
4:30 a.m. - 6:00 a.m Sprint Cup Series Qualifying FOX Sports 1*# (from September 19)
6:00 a.m. - 7:00 a.m. Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore Free Practice No. 3 NBC Sports Live Xtra$
6:40 a.m. - 8:40 a.m. Whelen Euro Series: Autodromo Umbria, Elite 1 Race FansChoice.tv^
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 2 FOX Sports 1
9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore Qualifying CNBC
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Camping World Truck Series Qualifying FOX Sports 1
11:15 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Whelen Euro Series: Autodromo Umbria, Elite 2 Race FansChoice.tv^
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Sprint Cup Series Happy Hour FOX Sports 1
11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Langley Speedway Practice FansChoice.tv^
12:00 p.m. - 12:45 p.m. Southern National Motorsports Park Vintage Car Practice No. 1 FansChoice.tv^
12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. NCWTS Setup FOX Sports 1
12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore Qualifying NBC Sports Network*#
12:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Lonestar Le Mans FOX Sports 2
1:00 p.m.- 1:30 p.m. Southern National Motorsports Park Practice No. 1 FansChoice.tv^
1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 FOX Sports 1
1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Southern National Motorsports Park Vintage Car Practice No. 2 FansChoice.tv^
3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Southern National Motorsports Park Final Practice FansChoice.tv^
3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. Southern National Motorsports Park Vintage Car Practice No. 3 FansChoice.tv^
3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Langley Speedway Qualifying FansChoice.tv^
4:45 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. Southern National Motorsports Park Qualifying FansChoice.tv^
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Red Bull Global RallyCross: Los Angeles NBC
5:55 p.m. - 9:55 p.m. Langley Speedway Subway Night at the Races FansChoice.tv^
5:55 p.m. - 9:55 p.m. Lake County Speedway National POW/MIA Recognition Night FansChoice.tv^
6:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m. World Endurance Championship Six Hours of Austin FOX Sports 2
6:30 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. Southern National Motorsports Park Opening Ceremonies FansChoice.tv^
7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. NASCAR Countdown ESPNEWS
7:05 p.m. - 7:50 p.m. Southern National Motorsports Park Vintage Car Races Part No. 1 FansChoice.tv^
7:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Nationwide Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 ESPNEWS
9:00 p.m. - 9:45 p.m. Southern National Motorsports Park Vintage Car Races, Part 2 FansChoice.tv^
10:30 p.m. - 11:45 p.m. Whelen Southern Modified Tour Southern National 150 FansChoice.tv^*

Sunday, September 21

Time Telecast Network
12:30 a.m. - 3:00 a.m. Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 FOX Sports 2*# (from September 20)
3:30 a.m. - 5:00 a.m. NHRA AAA Texas Fall Nationals Final Qualifications ESPN 2*/ (from September 20)
5:00 a.m. - 7:00 a.m. Whelen Euro Series: Autodromo Umbria, Elite 1 Race No. 2 FansChoice.tv^
6:00 a.m. - 7:30 a.m. Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore Qualifying NBC Sports Network*# (from September 20)
7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. F1 Countdown NBC Sports Network
8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore NBC Sports Network
8:40 a.m. - 10:40 a.m. Whelen Euro Series: Autodromo Umbria, Elite 2 Race No. 2 FansChoice.tv^
10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. F1 Extra NBC Sports Network
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay FOX Sports 1
12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. NHRA AAA Texas Fall Nationals Final Elminations ESPN3$
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. NASCAR Countdown ESPN
2:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 ESPN
4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. NHRA AAA Texas Fall Nationals Final Qualifications ESPN 2*/# (from September 20)
4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Lonestar Le Mans FOX*/# (from September 20)
5:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Formula DRIFT: Miami Heat, Part 2 NBC Sports Network*/ (from May 31)
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Blancpain Endurance Series iRacing.com 1000km Nürburgring CBS Sports Network*/
7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane FOX Sports 1
8:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. NHRA AAA Texas Fall Nationals Final Eliminations ESPN 2*/

Monday, September 22

Time Telecast Network
12:30 a.m. - 2:30 a.m. Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 ESPN 2*/# (from September 22)
3:00 a.m. - 5:30 a.m. Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 FOX Sports 1*# (from September 20)
5:30 a.m. - 6:00 a.m. NASCAR Victory Lane FOX Sports 1*# (from September 21)
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. NASCAR America NBC Sports Network
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 1
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 2*#
7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. F1 Countdown NBC Sports Network*# (from September 21)
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore NBC Sports Network*# (from September 21)
9:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. F1 Extra NBC Sports Network*# (from September 21)

* – Tape Delayed

/ – Highlighted Coverage

# – Repeat Coverage

$ – Available via password-protected online streaming.  Check with your programming and/or internet service provider for availability.

Yes, you undoubtedly noticed that the Nationwide race this weekend will air on ESPNEWS.  It’s not the first that ESPN has made this move, but it will hurt the visibility of the series for at least this weekend.  At the same time that the race is scheduled to air, ESPN will be airing the Mississippi State Bulldogs-LSU Tigers football game, while ESPN 2 will be airing the Miami Hurricanes-Nebraska Cornhuskers football game.  College football is everywhere this time of year.  To think there was a time in which the NCAA only allowed something like three games a week on television.  Now, there’s something like 40 of them on Saturdays.

I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series race telecasts in next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here at Frontstretch.  As noted above, I’ll be covering the Camping World Truck Series’ Lucas Oil 225 from Joliet in this week’s edition of the Critic’s Annex in the Newsletter.  The very first e-prix held on the streets of Beijing late Friday night, which I originally was going to cover this week in the Annex will be pushed to Sept. 25.

If you have a gripe with me, or just want to say something about my critique, feel free to post in the comments below, or contact me through the email address provided on the website in my bio. Also, if you want to “like” me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, please click on the appropriate icons below. Finally, if you would like to contact any of the TV partners personally with an issue regarding their TV coverage from last weekend, please click on the following links:

FOX Sports

ESPN

At this point, there is still no public contact e-mail for NBC Sports.  When they finally get around to creating a new link, I will post it for you.

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.

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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Bill B

I can’t believe you didn’t mention the fact that there were no interval or lap down information given on the running order scroll for the last 75 laps of the race. Just the dumb running order scroll with no usable information for the viewer. I had no idea who was a lap down, who was gaining or losing ground, who was in line for the lucky dog, who was on the track, etc.. It was like they didn’t want the viewer to know all that information. I expect them over-emphasize the chase but not to keep us in the dark as to what else is going on. I’d love to know why that happened because I seem to remember the same thing happening last year during the chase.

JohnQ

One race in and already I’m suffering Chase fatigue. NASCAR has the uncanny ability to alienate long time fans in an effort to attract people that have no real interest. The result a smaller fan base. At times the booth acts like the race is interfering with the Chase coverage. Still, the one HUGE positive, no Waltrips! Your decision to skip Truck coverage is a good one. Just add somewhere near the end of each column, “Kyle Busch leads 20 Toyotas to the finish line before a crowd of dozens.”. NW something similar about Cup drivers finishing one through five. I mean really, why bother it isn’t even racing and no one is watching anyway.

Upstate24fan

If a non-Chaser wants to get on TV now its simple, run up front. Larson is not in the Chase and got plenty of TV time battling for the lead. ESPN can only show so much, they aren’t going to waste our time showing us a non-Chaser running outside the top ten, unless they crash.

GinaV24

I don’t bother to watch the pre-race crap, I don’t find them interesting no matter which network is hosting. Oh man, I had forgotten about the stupid fork. Another good reason to not watch the shows.

I want to know about the race, not just parts of it and that is what the “chase” coverage has really screwed up with the sport. I was actually surprised that ESPN talked to Larson after the race since he’s not in the chase since in the past I’ve seen them walk right on by to get to one of the chosen ones.

I won’t won’t watch the pre-race garbage this week and I pretty much tune out the noise from the booth (even though I like Allen, DJ and Andy).

rg72

It was no secret that TNT and ESPN wanted to escape from their NASCAR contracts a year early. We’ve seen the byproduct, starting with the audio and video snafus during many of the TNT races and continuing with the “mail it in” from ESPN.
The only thing Freaky Fast Saturday was the speed which ESPN went off the air at the end of the Nationwide race. But we’ve seen this for years in the fall when the NW races are basically two-hour annoyances between college football games.
Can’t comment on the pre-race show. I stopped watching them years ago. Unless there is type of breaking news from the garage they serve zero purpose (well, from a fan’s point of view anyway) in today’s Internet age.

Steve

Honestly, this weekend, I would rather them show the modified race instead of the Kyle Busch truck series. The modified’s put on the best shows in Nascar and are still virtually ignored by the networks. Even the race at Bristol was not shown live. Are those that run Nascar really that stupid?

Nascar fans need to face facts. Even a football scoreboard show is going to generate more viewers for ESPN than the Nationwide race, so its not really a shock to me why they bolt after the race is complete to one of these shows or a game. But the Cup series drivers in NW races bring in the viewers, right? Guess not, if they are leaving shortly after the checkered flag.

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