NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Couch Potato Tuesday: How An Elimination Race Turned Irritating

Eliminations are a big part – perhaps, save for the actual title itself, the biggest – of the Chase for the Sprint Cup from 2014 to whenever NASCAR decides to change the format again. That much is certain; watch a NASCAR commercial these days and you know full well.

But as has been outlined here in the past and pointed out by commenters on NASCAR articles, social media and the like, a race in the Chase can be an irritating pill to swallow. If your driver is among the best of the best or even on the bubble, you’re going to get instant and continued gratification from the broadcast most of the time. If you’re a fan of someone else or just like keeping tabs on what’s going on across the board, you’re going to struggle to keep your focus. And that’s not even a criticism of just the Chase races, though they’re certainly the worst offenders; these days, more often than not, a race broadcast is fixated on either the top-running drivers or the big stories – fixated, as in rarely deviating from the topic at hand.

If you’re easily outraged by that sort of thing, last weekend’s NASCAR racing broadcasts probably aren’t to make you too happy. You’ve been warned.

Before we get started, last Thursday, FOX Sports announced the signing of Jamie Little, currently of ESPN, to serve as a pit reporter on their NASCAR coverage starting next year. As far as I know, Little will not be replacing anyone. Instead, Little will likely be working as the fourth pit reporter for Sprint Cup and XFINITY series races.

It’s about time that FOX realized it was hurting itself by not replacing Dick Berggren after his retirement. I know that it wouldn’t have felt right to just plug someone else in, given his longevity in broadcasting, but I have no idea whether Berggren actually thought FOX’s move was a good idea in the wake of his retirement.

NASCAR on FOX has had a rather incredible amount of stability by TV standards in regards to on-air personnel, so any move would likely be met with some resistance. In 14 years of race coverage, the network has only made two on-air changes: when Krista Voda replaced Jeanne Zelasko on pit road (All indications point to the move being a success) and then the addition of Michael Waltrip to the telecast, resulting in Jeff Hammond becoming a so-called “roving reporter.” The latter move hasn’t worked out so well.

Little brings a decade of pit reporting experience (eight in NASCAR) to FOX and should fit into the fold pretty easily. We’ll get more information from the pits to help viewers understand what’s going on in the race a little better. On paper, there really isn’t a downside to the move – but look beyond the paper and you see what amounts to an on-air personality glut with FOX. Little is taking a spot on the telecasts that (if the hire was kept in-house) should belong to Wendy Venturini, if she wanted it. As he has previously stated on Twitter, Bob Dillner is out at the end of the season. Behind the foursome that is confirmed for 2015, FOX has half a dozen or more personalities already on the payroll that can capably serve as pit reporters. What will happen long-term remains to be seen.

AAA 400

On Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series returned to Dover International Speedway for its second visit to the concrete high banks. A lot was on the line during the race, but if you weren’t a fan of anyone around the bubble, you probably wouldn’t have been pleased.

From the very beginning of NASCAR Countdown, it was clear that the focus was on the Challenger Round cutoff. The fans have been screwed over on this deal. Remember what Homestead has traditionally looked like in recent years during the Chase? Well, you have that four times during the Chase now. It’s so frustrating.

I usually watch the races somewhat silently so I can hear the commentary. However, I was a bit vocal on Sunday.

Why was that so? Because I was irritated. I know this contrived cutoff and the eliminations are important to the newest version of the Chase. However, anyone could tell that it seriously takes away from the race itself.

Credit: CIA Stock Photography
If there’s pack racing and ESPN doesn’t show it… does it really exist? (Credit: CIA Stock Photography)

The problem is that there was so much focus given to those in danger of being eliminated during the race that it was hard to tell that an actual race was going on. Yes, we saw Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon on a somewhat regular basis since they were dominating the race. Other than them? Bubble drivers, all the time. ESPN would often fail to update races for position, especially late in the race, in order to give more bubble coverage.

For example, I was noting Martin Truex, Jr.’s move up through the field in the last 100 laps. In that time, Truex moved up from the mid-teens to a seventh-place finish – quietly one of his best runs of the year (his best finish of 2014 was a sixth in the spring race at Dover. Did viewers see much of that move, or even hear about it? Not really. Allen Bestwick did make an off-the-cuff reference to Truex and Ryan Newman battling for eighth with roughly 30 laps to go, but that was about it. Truex snagged the position off-camera, then ran down Kyle Busch and usurped him in the final laps. The only way viewers would have known it was happening was by either staring at the scroll or checking Twitter.

There was a lot of Sunday’s race that viewers simply did not see because ESPN had a storyline to shove down everyone’s throats. It’s days like Sunday that really make me yearn for the days without a Chase. Matt Kenseth, I wish you won more races when you won the Winston Cup in 2003. If you won, say, four or five times that year instead of just the one win at Las Vegas, maybe we wouldn’t have this dang Chase travesty. Someone could have kept Brian France from throwing his weight around. Heck, maybe we wouldn’t have this point system either. We’d still have the old one, perhaps with adjustments to make winning worth a little more (without breaking the system, like some want).

Dover 200

On Saturday afternoon, the Nationwide Series returned to action at Dover – and, naturally, back into the shadow of the Sprint Cup Series.

Unfortunately, the realm of large individuals crashing into one another again caused a conflict. As I predicted last week, the Tennessee-Georgia game ran long on ESPN 2. As a result, the beginning of the race coverage was pushed to ESPNEWS for nine minutes. Weak, but ultimately unavoidable. Thankfully, viewers didn’t miss too much by the time the telecast sauntered over to ESPN 2.

Once the race started, viewers got a much different broadcast as compared to Kentucky. With the Sprint Cup regulars back in the field, their sheer aura results in the series regulars being forced into a subservient role. Yes, drivers like Chase Elliott still get their weekly due, but everyone else just doesn’t get the coverage that they should.

The owner point argument is a constant issue with ESPN’s coverage of the Nationwide Series. The vast majority of viewers couldn’t care less. By all indications, ESPN understands the issue as well. Bestwick took time to explain why it’s so important and as a result, why ESPN has to give as much time to it as they do. Admittedly, it’s something that could be prevented by NASCAR instituting a rule stating that teams that run Sprint Cup regulars are ineligible to earn owner points as well as driver points, but I doubt NASCAR’s going to make that move.

Rhino Linings 350k

On Saturday night, the Camping World Truck Series returned to action at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for an event that admittedly confuses me. We’re talking about a complete standalone event with no support races at all. The weekend seemingly made more sense when the then-IZOD IndyCar Series were there as well in 2011. Of course, we all remember how that turned out. It’s the stuff of nightmares. Regardless, we have 146 laps of truck racing to look at.

As I noted in last week’s critique, there was no Setup prior to the race. FOX Sports 1 transitioned from preliminary coverage of UFC 178 directly to the opening ceremonies. As a result, there was minimal pre-race coverage, other than the travesty that was round 2 of knockout qualifying. As far as I’m concerned, drafting should never play a role in a qualifying session. The best way to qualify cars and trucks at intermediate tracks is likely single-vehicle qualifying with multiple vehicles on track at once, which is what the Camping World Truck Series experimented with about four years ago.

Adam Alexander was back in the booth in place of Steve Byrnes Saturday and he did OK. There was anything blatantly wrong with his performance; he works just fine with Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip. At this point, choosing between Alexander and Byrnes for many viewers may simply be a manner of personal opinion. I personally prefer Byrnes to Alexander. However, Alexander isn’t a trainwreck by any means.

Overall, the telecast was quite disjointed. The booth did a terrible job notifying viewers about the competition caution that was scheduled for lap 30 and explaining why it was called for. Knowing that the race ended with an 85-lap run to the finish, I’m surprised that we didn’t see a series of tire issues. Matt Crafton had some cords showing on the tires on which he started the race. Those tires had only done approximately 26 laps of hard driving (22 green flag laps, plus whatever he did in qualifying).

The first half of the race saw a lot of good racing for position and viewers got to see a good chunk of it. We also saw a number of drivers receive props for having great runs, like Spencer Gallagher). After lap 62? Not so much. A number of important moments in the race occurred during commercials, including most of the pass for the win. The cameras for almost the entire second half of the race was fixed in on the top 3. I’m sure there was other stuff going on, but we didn’t get a chance to see them.

2014 Las Vegas CWTS Erik Jones burnout Credit NASCAR via Getty Images
Erik Jones won a race that saw him the star of the telecast, with FOX Sports 1 choosing to focus only at the front of the field. (Credit: Getty Images)

Given that the race ended with 30 minutes remaining in the timeslot, you would expect that FOX Sports 1 would give the event a proper amount of post-race coverage. You would be very wrong. I’ve ranted on this particular topic before, but having the race serve as a lead-in to FOX Sports Live basically means that viewers will get next to no post-race coverage, even when the race ends early enough for a decent amount of post-race. All viewers got were interviews with the Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates (Erik Jones and Darrell Wallace, Jr.), a check of the points, and then out to Los Angeles. It’s easily arguable that the rather bizarre commercial break in the final 10 laps was due to the need to pimp FOX Sports Live.

Unfortunately for race fans, FOX Sports Live’s ratings (which generally aren’t as good as ratings for Camping World Truck Series races) are generally tied into whatever leads in to it. With a live event with a decent audience as a lead-in, FOX Sports Live’s ratings aren’t bad. Not even close to SportsCenter ratings, but decent for FOX Sports 1. Without the lead-in, it struggles to compete with FOX Sports 2 programming. I like Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole, but I don’t really want them cutting into my NASCAR coverage.

That’s all for this week. Next weekend, the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series return to Kansas Speedway for their second visit of the season. Some of the drivers believe that the race will be a wreckfest, but I’m not so sure. You just never know. For those of you that like the twisties, we’ve got the TUSC season finale (Petit Le Mans) from Road Atlanta and Formula One in Japan. Here’s your listings.

Tuesday, September 30

TimeTelecastNetwork
5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1

Wednesday, October 1

TimeTelecastNetwork
5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1

Thursday, October 2

TimeTelecastNetwork
2:00 a.m. - 3:00 a.m.Red Bull Global RallyCross: DirtFishNBC Sports Network*# (from September 28)
5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1
9:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.Formula One Grand Prix of Japan Free Practice No. 1NBC Sports Live Xtra$
10:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.Pirelli World Challenge: Miller Motorsports ParkNBC Sports Network*# (from September 13-14)

Friday, October 3

TimeTelecastNetwork
1:00 a.m. - 2:30 a.m.Formula One Grand Prix of Japan Free Practice No. 2NBC Sports Network
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge: COTAFOX Sports 1*/# (from September 19)
11:35 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Race No. 2FansChoice.tv^
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.Nationwide Series Practice No. 1FOX Sports 1
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 1FOX Sports 1
1:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge: Road AtlantaIMSA.com^
4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.Nationwide Series Happy HourESPN 2
4:15 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.NHRA Nationals Early QualificationsESPN3$
4:20 p.m. - 5:50 p.m.TUDOR United SportsCar Championship QualifyingIMSA.com/FansChoice.tv^
5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.Countdown to F1NBC Sports Network
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Happy HourESPN 2
5:50 p.m. - 6:55 p.m.IMSA Lamborghini Super Trofeo Race No. 2FansChoice.tv^
8:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.ARCA Racing Series ARCA 98.9FOX Sports 2
10:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.Formula One Grand Prix of Japan Free Practice No. 3NBC Sports Live Xtra$

Saturday, October 4

TimeTelecastNetwork
1:00 a.m. - 2:30 a.m.Formula One Grand Prix of Japan QualifyingNBC Sports Network
4:30 a.m. - 6:00 a.m.Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 1FOX Sports 1*# (from October 3)
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.K&N Pro Series East Drive Sober 150FOX Sports 1*/ (from September 26)
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 2FOX Sports 1
11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Petit Le MansIMSA.com/FOX Sports GO^$
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.Nationwide Series QualifyingFOX Sports 2
12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.Formula One Grand Prix of Japan QualifyingNBC Sports Network*#
1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.NASCAR LiveFOX Sports 2
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Happy HourFOX Sports 2
3:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Petit Le MansFOX Sports 2>
3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300ESPN
4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.Tucson Speedway PracticeFansChoice.tv^
6:00 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.Evergreen Speedway PracticeFansChoice.tv^
7:00 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.Evergreen Speedway QualifyingFansChoice.tv^
8:15 p.m. - 9:40 p.m.Tucson Speedway QualifyingFansChoice.tv^
9:00 p.m. - 9:10 p.m.Evergreen Speedway Opening CeremoniesFansChoice.tv^
9:10 p.m. - 9:50 p.m.Evergreen Speedway Heat RacesFansChoice.tv^
9:55 p.m. - 12:55 p.m.Tucson Speedway Southwest Smokeless Night at the RacesFansChoice.tv^
10:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.Evergreen Speedway Interstate Batteries Truck ManiaFansChoice.tv^

Sunday, October 5

TimeTelecastNetwork
1:30 a.m. - 2:00 a.m.F1 CountdownNBC Sports Network
2:00 a.m. - 4:00 a.m.Formula One Grand Prix of JapanNBC Sports Network
3:30 a.m. - 5:00 a.m.NHRA Nationals Final QualificationsESPN 2*/ (from October 4)
4:00 a.m. - 4:30 a.m.F1 ExtraNBC Sports Network
11:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.NHRA Nationals Final EliminationsESPN3$
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.NASCAR RaceDayFOX Sports 1
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.NASCAR CountdownESPN
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400ESPN
2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.F1 CountdownNBC Sports Network*#
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.Formula One Grand Prix of JapanNBC Sports Network*#
3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Petit Le MansFOX Sports 1*/# (from October 4)
4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.NHRA Nationals Final QualificationsESPN 2*/# (from October 4)
4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Petit Le MansFOX*/ (from October 4)
5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.F1 ExtraNBC Sports Network*#
5:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Formula DRIFT: The Gauntlet, Part No. 1NBC Sports Network*/ (from June 20)
7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.NASCAR Victory LaneFOX Sports 1*
8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.NHRA Nationals Final EliminationsESPN 2*/

Monday, October 6

TimeTelecastNetwork
1:30 a.m. - 4:00 a.m.Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400ESPN 2*/# (from October 5)
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.Rally America: New England Forest RallyNBC Sports Network*/# (from July 18-19)
1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.Formula DRIFT: The Gauntlet, Part No. 1NBC Sports Network*/# (from June 20)
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 2*#
8:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Formula One Grand Prix of JapanNBC Sports Network*# (from October 5)

* – Tape Delayed
/ – Highlighted Coverage
# – Repeat Coverage
> – Coverage Joined in Progress
^ – Available via free online streaming
$ – Available via password-protected online streaming. Check with your internet and/or programming provider for availability.

A couple of quick notes. First, ESPN once again has SEC Football scheduled up against the Nationwide race. The Texas A&M-Mississippi State game is scheduled for Noon on ESPN and will more than likely run up against the 3:30 p.m. EDT scheduled start for the Nationwide Series telecast. If that happens again, expect the start of the race to be on ESPNEWS since there is no scheduled game on ESPNEWS Saturday until 8 p.m.

Second, yes, Petit Le Mans is being joined in progress on FOX Sports 2 at roughly the four hour mark. Why? Football once again, with a side of NASCAR as well. The race will be rolling off when Sprint Cup teams will be on the track in Kansas for their first practice on Saturday morning. Once noon comes, FOX Sports 1 switches to football (Iowa State-Oklahoma State) and NASCAR coverage shifts to FOX Sports 2. Petit Le Mans coverage begins once Sprint Cup happy hour wraps up. Due to the unsatisfactory situation, IMSA has made the livestream of the telecast at IMSA.com, normally only available here in the United States during overnight coverage from the Rolex 24, available worldwide from the start. I’m getting worried that IMSA is slipping back into the type of TV deal that ALMS had with ESPN its last couple of years with live coverage scarcely available. That stunk. I know that IMSA likes the ratings they get on FOX from the highlighted telecasts on Sunday afternoons after the single NFL game, but I just don’t like the lack of easy access to live coverage.

I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series races at Kansas for next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here at Frontstretch, in addition to any TV-related news that breaks in the next week (if any). Thursday’s edition of the Critic’s Annex is a general change of pace as compared to normal. It will take a look at FOX Sports 1 (and 2) as each network is in month No. 14 of existence. Motorsports will, of course, play a central role in the critique, but not totally.

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.

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kb

Agreed the whole experience was maddening, and nobody at the Castle seems to listen to the true fans of Nascar, I actually got stressed watching, and no it wasn’t because the snore fest was so thrilling. They are getting revenue from TV and we don’t count. If somebody was paying the slightest attention, the lack of butt’s in the seat would spell it out. But the Emperor has his minions telling him it is surely the economy, not his fantastic product.

Bill B

Amen. Sing it brother!!!

This just goes to show that the fans’ agenda for what they want to see (a race) and NASCAR’s/ESPN’s agenda (an over-hyped spectacle) are entirely different.

There is no fix for this until ratings get so low that NASCAR cannot lie to themselves anymore. Or maybe it will just take BF stepping aside since many would argue that both attendance and ratings have dipped so much already that the only reason the chase is still around is because of his ego.

Ron Schwalbe

A TRUE CHAMPION. ???
The way the rules for “this” years musical chairs version of the ( cough) “Chase” are written, it would be possible (obviously not likely) but still — POSSIBLE, for a driver to win EVERY SINGLE RACE up until Homestead, ( all THIRTY FIVE races) , and then, finish SECOND at Homestead, to one of the other “anointed four”, and then, that driver, with THIRTY FIVE WINS, and a Second place finish, out of 36 races, — would NOT ——- “NOT” —- be the Champion !!!!
Just THINK about that !!!!! Brian came up with this stupid idea, — and the lemmings around him, agreed it would guarantee a “true Champion” because — “WINNING COUNTS” !??????!!!!?!?!?!?

GinaV24

ESPN’s insistence on following the chase script has really done a lot of harm to the actual broadcast and to any fans who are trying to watch the race on tv. I was at the track and even though IMO it was a pretty boring race. That was my opinion even with Gordon having a solid run all day and a win at the end.

Bill B, I don’t believe NASCAR will ever acknowledge that they are the main reason that the sport has lost fans. BZF will keep fiddling with everything while NASCAR disappears from the radar of sports people are interested in.

ESPN doesn’t have to care if anyone likes their broadcasts, they are out of here at the end of the season and like NASCAR, they know better than the fans anyway. (ha).

kb, some of the articles were talking about the fact that the crowd at Dover was “better” than it had been. The front stretch was full, the stands in 1 and 2 weren’t but 3 and 4 were a little better. However if the fans went to the race thinking it was going to be exciting racing, I imagine they were disappointed and may not come back next year. I did my survey back to Dover telling them why WE won’t be coming back next year.

JohnQ

BillB & Kb, I think you are both right. I turned on the truck race just to see how poor attendance was. The place was EMPTY. It was a night race so the entire venue was lit up like the 4th of July. Attendance could not even have paid the electric bill let alone the staff necessary to put on the race. It got me thinking. With so many sports only channels with so much time to fill anything can get televised even if no one is watching. The truck series has committed suicide and NW is on life support but NASCAR will continue to make money even though fewer and fewer either watch on TV or attend. Without any real incentive financially, nascar can,and I suspect will, continue to ignore fan complaints. By that logic the Chase is here to stay as overwhelmingly unpopular as it is. Unfortunately a press that does not mirror the remaining fan base adds to the problem.

Russ

Off work this morning, so turned on one of the Nascar shows, one with Kyle Petty, Jeff Burton etc. The question was asked of Jeff Burton “How do you like the new chase format?” When he responded “How can anyone not like it?” the next sound you heard was the click on the remote.

Bill B

I’ve always liked Jeff Burton but it sounds like he’s getting his mindset in line for his broadcasting career next year.
“How can anyone not like it?” either proves he is already toeing the company line or that he has his head buried in the sand and is so out of touch with the fan base that he doesn’t know what’s going on..
Very disappointing and it doesn’t bode well for races on NBC next year.

kb

“The Mayor” Jeff Burton is towing the company line. I knew when I saw him the first time on TV this year. Jeff was and is all about continuing the sale of the snake oil Nascar is manufacturing and nobody is buying. He must really need that paycheck. Shame.

GinaV24

Yeah, well if you are going to broadcast NASCAR or have a hard card, you have to drink the kool aid and say only NASCAR approved statements. I find it disappointing but not surprising. Look at what happened the one time Larry Mac made honest remarks – the NASCAR brass must have called him in and read him the riot act because ever since he only speaks the company nonsense.

The only one who has ever seemed to be able to go against the NASCAR way has been Kyle Petty and I admire that about him.

It makes me angry and so I refuse to listen or watch much of the mainstream NASCAR media/programming. I didn’t renew my Sirius radio subscription because they stopped covering qualifying and much other stuff and I realized that I disagreed with them to the point of making my blood pressure go up when I tried to listen to them. Then it dawned on me that I was PAYING for it so I stopped buying it.

kb

I agree about Kyle Petty, people get on him fiercely, but as much as he can be on a major network, so far he is telling like it is and screw the consequences.. I like that about him and always have, although he has “softened” his stance on some things…He still does seem to speak mostly of his own mind, and I love how some of the brass and Nascar must get nervous knowing what truth might be leaked to the “dumb fans” they think we are.

Upstate24fan

To play “devils advocate”, TV can only cover so many things/stories at one time. Honestly, who cares about Martin Truex Jr. other than Martin Truex fans? Your talking about a car that runs in the 20s every race and is not in the Chase. He never got near the lead. Watching that race, I wanted to know how the leaders were doing and where were the “bubble drivers”? I could care less where Paul Menard and Austin Dillon were running unless they were battling for the top-5 or the lead. That is why they have the running order ticker at the top. The TV broadcast doesn’t need to give every driver in the running order equal time. I wish they would show more of the field when there are good battles in the pack when the front is strung out. Again, Truex was at the back of the top-10 nowhere near the lead, unless his pass put Newman in trouble, I don’t care.

Bill B

How come MRN can cover the whole field and let you know what’s going on but the tv guys, with the added benefit of video, can’t? I’ll tell you why, because they are too busy talking about things other than the race and when they do, they hype the predetermined story lines. I still believe that the average fan could do a better job if they were left alone to cover the race as they see fit.

Budsudz

ADD much? I care about all of the drivers. Which is why the ESPN broadcasts of yesteryear were so great. Any incident, most any driver retiring from the race was covered. Also, Martin Truex Jr’s sponsors certainly care about the spoils of a good run. Full coverage is better for the sport as a whole!

Steve

I have a different theory. I blame the networks for forking over so much money to Nascar for the next tv package. It was ridiculous and you can expect the status quo from Nascar as a result until the networks stop paying so much.

ESPN is not there to cover the race. They are there to keep everyone updated on where the drivers in the script are periodically during the race and hype up the Chase as much as possible. This is why we have single car shots continuously throughout the day of the same people and no actual racing show. If we get a battle for position while they happen to be talking about the next guy in the script, then it is a bonus. How does Nascar expect to get new fans with this type of approach. You can bet Dover next year will not have the same crowd.

Other than the crapshoot at Homestead, I was actually starting to warm up to the preliminary rounds given the first 2 races were kind of interesting. Dover brought me back to reality.

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