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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Couch Potato Tuesday: Grading FOX’s Grid Walk

Welcome back, race fans. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup Series was at Pocono Raceway, traditionally one of the more spread-out tracks on the calendar. However, we ended up with a closer, more competitive race than at Dover. Funny how those things work out.

Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400

After a rather unsatisfactory 400-mile tilt in Delaware, the Sprint Cup Series returned to FOX Sports 1 on Sunday for a triangular duel. How did FS1 handle the affair? Better than they did in Dover, that’s for sure.

Viewers of NASCAR RaceDay saw a lot more Brian France than they’re used to. First off, France, along with his wife Amy (Note: I’m confident that Sunday was the first time I’d ever seen or heard from France’s wife) talked about their charitable work, the Luke and Meadow Foundation, which aims to benefit cancer research. Touching, but not necessarily why we’re here.

Secondly, the CEO himself made an appearance on the show to talk about a variety of topics. He seemed a little more on the ball than normal, nailing his talking points and didn’t ramble, as he tends to do. Earlier in the day, France had spoken to the media about how he (and by extension, NASCAR) welcome the Driver Council’s input. Here, France reiterated the stance he noted in his press conference. However, he also noted that the Driver Council doesn’t really agree on much. I don’t know what to think about that. The natural thought is that, for now, their influence may be quite minimal until they can come to a consensus.

Michael Waltrip’s silliness continued Sunday when it appeared that they staged Denny Hamlin siccing a “Sasquatch” on him during his Grid Walk. Ridiculous. That siccing was really a sponsorship plug for his own team, since Jack Link’s was sponsoring Clint Bowyer’s No. 15 on Sunday (Jack Link’s is known for an ad campaign called “Messing with Sasquatch”). All we could see was Michael saying “Unhand me!” in a silly fashion.  In reality, 45 minutes before that “attack,” Michael was hanging out in a motorcoach with Bowyer and the Sasquatch like it was nothing.

https://instagram.com/p/3pfNnkzfSz/

The more I see stupidity like that, the more I want to inject professionalism into pre-race coverage. It’s great to have fun covering NASCAR; heck, I know I’d want to enjoy my job. However, we’re well past the point where Michael’s antics are making FOX Sports and NASCAR look bad. I can understand him being under-prepared for interviews; the guy is juggling the equivalent of three jobs. But the way in which he carries off the Grid Walk is unacceptable. Who knows what the drivers really think of his antics? I’d be pretty much sick of him within a month if I were there on a regular basis.

The sad truth of it actually is that if done right, the Grid Walk could be very beneficial to the broadcast. Former Formula 1/sports car racer turned broadcaster Martin Brundle is considered to be the originator of the grid walk while with ITV and he does it well today for Sky Sports F1. He has fun with it, but he also takes it seriously. You can get good information that way. I enjoy Will Buxton’s work with NBC Sports Network as well.

I’ve been saying for what seems like three years now that the pit reporters are wildly under-utilized on the pre-race show. Why not give the Grid Walk to one of them? I’m sure Jamie Little, Matt Yocum or Chris Neville could do a much better job than Michael does. Viewers might actually get some good information out of the Grid Walk. Instead, we have a human version of Digger. All he needs is a pair of goggles and a checkered flag neckerchief and he’ll be good to go.

Compared to Dover, Sunday’s coverage from Pocono had a lot more racing for position. And to think that Pocono races were always considered to be some of the most boring on the circuit! Not all of the racing position shown was between frontrunners. Action through a good chunk of the field was shown during the race, a big plus for a FOX network that needs to focus less on what happens up front.

In regards to the fuel mileage run that the race could have come down to, that seems to happen at Pocono way too much. Darrell Waltrip picked up on it and brought it to light early on. He was later vindicated when Brad Keselowski and Brett Moffitt collided and crashed on lap 119, bringing out a caution that forced everyone to pit with 39 laps to go. In this case, the multitude of additional cautions after lap 130 due to wrecks rendered the fuel-mileage strategy null and void, but it was still important to note.

Regardless, there are still instances in which FOX isn’t showing viewers the full story of what’s going on. For example, there was a quick cutaway shot of JJ Yeley making an unscheduled pit stop with what appeared to be an overheating engine. That was greeted with what amounted to an “Oops,” then wasn’t touched upon again.

Alex Bowman’s spin in turn 3 was apparently caused by Moffitt’s car jumping out of gear. Or, at least that’s what Moffitt told Bowman on Twitter after the race.

Viewers never heard a word about Moffitt’s problems. In fact, the only time Moffitt factored into the broadcast was when he got into Bowman and when he went up the hill in turn 1, got hit by Brad Keselowski and wrecked. Come to think of it, the gear problem might have caused both issues.

When Danica Patrick crashed, I was concerned, and not just because her wreck ruined my fantasy team for the week. Patrick was one of at least three drivers to hit the wall exiting turn 3 on lap 134. I wouldn’t be shocked if there was some fluid out there. Low air pressure could have played a role as well. None of these theories were touched upon, though. Instead, it was just people getting out of the groove.

Post-race coverage was actually quite substantial, despite FOX Sports Live intruding on it since the race ran long. Everyone involved knew that Martin Truex Jr.’s victory was going to be a popular one in NASCAR circles, but I don’t think anyone was prepared for the reception that Truex got. He doesn’t exactly have a big fan base. Getting Furniture Row Racing merchandise at the track is not exactly easy (although having said that, I acquired the last Truex hat on the unbranded Chase Authentics trailer last year in Daytona for a friend).

Overall, FOX’s coverage in Pocono was better than in Dover. The race was simply more exciting to watch in general. However, I would have preferred a little more coverage of racing for position in the final 16 laps than just Truex and Kevin Harvick. I know that it was the race for the win, but there was next to nothing happening there.

WinStar World Casino & Resort 400k

Friday night, the Camping World Truck Series returned to Texas Motor Speedway for their 35th assault on the 24-degree banks (that’s six more than both the Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series, in case you’re wondering). The action was decent, but how did FS1 do with it?

I personally feel that coverage of Camping World Truck Series races has fallen a bit since Rick Allen left last year. The constant flux in the booth and pit road doesn’t help. The addition of Cup and Xfinity Series races to FS1 has put the series effectively on the backburner. Finally, the low truck counts hurt even more. With only 32 trucks qualifying for races, one false move and the track seems quite empty. Granted, that’s probably an argument for another day, but it’s worth noting.

To me, the most enjoyable part of the Setup all season has been the sit-down interviews Ray Dunlap has been conducting. Friday night saw FS1 air a piece where Dunlap interviewed points leader Matt Crafton. Remember, this year marks Crafton’s 16th full-time season in the Camping World Truck Series, mostly with ThorSport Racing (the year spent with Kevin Harvick Inc. is the exception). That carries right into the biggest takeaway from the interview. Crafton’s won the last two championships. He’s leading the points again. What’s left to accomplish in the series? I don’t know, but Crafton’s willing to find out. He’s comfortable running trucks, likes driving for the Thorsons and doesn’t plan on going anywhere. He’s found his niche.

During the race, Erik Jones kicked butt once again. I’ll fully admit that it’s a broken record, but he was well on his way to winning. Then, all of a sudden, the battery turned traitor. I’m not going to claim that I’m technically adept when it comes to Camping World Trucks, but that doesn’t just happen out of nowhere. The voltage goes down over a period of time. Yet we never got any reports about any potential issues for Jones until they had to make the change. I will say given how that change went (terribly), perhaps the team really didn’t know anything was afoot, but it’s unlikely.

During the race, there was a fair amount of action for position. It wasn’t necessarily at the front of the pack, though. During most of the green-flag action, either Crafton or Jones was firmly in control. Only at the end of the race did Daniel Suarez stick himself into the picture. Having said that, the action we did get to see was pretty good. FS1 had their cameras in the right place to catch the fierce battle early on between Mason Mingus and Brandon Jones that led to contact. As you know, that contact cut Jones’s tire and eventually put him into the wall.

Since the race ran long, there was very little post-race coverage. Viewers got a check of the points, along with only two interviews before FS1 left to get to FOX Sports Live. It’s frustrating at times. Understandable, but frustrating. I would have at least liked to see John Wes Townley get some post-race airtime. After all, the man finished a career-best third. He didn’t fall into it. He was up there all night.

Pocono ARCA 200

The primary support to Sprint Cup at Pocono Raceway, for as long as I can remember has been the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. Saturday afternoon was no different. 34 cars took to the triangle, but only one driver was really important on this day.

That man was Trevor Bayne, making a guest appearance in Cunningham Motorsports’ No. 22 so that he could get some experience on the scalene triangle. It didn’t help Bayne all that much in the Sprint Cup race, in that he finished roughly where he would have had he not competed in the event (outside the top 20). However, getting 200 extra miles of experience never hurts.

ARCA race telecasts tend to be more exclusive than Truck, Xfinity or Sprint Cup races since the number of truly competitive cars is much lower. The amount of racing for position that viewers got to see on Saturday early was roughly equal to parts of the FedEx 400 from Dover. Ray Dunlap, last seen in the booth calling the ARCA race at Toledo for CBS Sports Network, called the race along with Phil Parsons. I generally enjoyed their work. While Dunlap and Parsons have rarely shared a booth together, they’ve been colleagues for about 15 years now and have a pretty good rapport.

Saturday was also the first unrestricted superspeedway race for the new ARCA Ilmor 396 engine. For the most part, the engine passed with flying colors. The lack of revs took a lot of getting used to, though. I knew that the “crate” motor would have lower engine rpms than the 8,800 of the Mallory ignitions. Come to find out, the limit is now 7,500. That’s very noticeable. Made me think that everyone was off the pace at times. Apparently, all but six starters had the cheaper ARCA Ilmor 396 engines.

Despite the low engine revs, there was still some good racing, especially late in the event. Before he stuffed it in the wall, Austin Wayne Self ran side-by-side with Tom Hessert for sixth for something like four miles straight while Cody Coughlin, Josh Williams and the lapped Frank Kimmel sat back and watched. Pretty rare when you think about it. Perhaps some good racing on superspeedways will come out of the ARCA Ilmor 396. It made me think of really old Cup races at places like Pocono in the early 1980s or the 1978 Los Angeles Times 500 at Ontario Motor Speedway. Friday evening’s Corrigan Oil 200, which will not have Bayne in the field, looks to be quite the competitive affair if it’s anything like what we saw in the last few laps on Saturday.

Post-race coverage was relatively brief since FOX Sports 2 was running up on the end of the time slot. Viewers saw three interviews, plus a check of unofficial results before FS2 left Pocono. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s more than what we’ve got in previous ARCA races this year (Ex: Talladega).

Personally, I thought the telecast focused on Bayne way too much. It’s an extension of my gripe with last year’s telecast, which focused near-exclusively on Kyle Larson. It’s easy to get seduced by that big fish in a little pond, but everyone else deserves coverage as well. They need to remember that.

WOLKIN: Bayne Gains ARCA Experience

That’s all for this week. Next weekend, the Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series will be back in action at Michigan International Speedway. This weekend will be the one that Danica Patrick serves as a guest analyst during the NXS race.  She will become only the second woman (after Lyn St. James) to serve as a booth analyst during a NASCAR race and the first to do it outside of Pay-Per-View. It’s sure to be an interesting watch. I don’t know what to expect out of Patrick. In addition, the Camping World Truck Series makes their visit to the St. Louis area, the Verizon IndyCar Series attacks Exhibition Place in Toronto, and we’ve got the biggest sports car race of them all, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Busy weekend. I don’t think I’m going to sleep very much.  Here are your listings.

Tuesday, June 9

TimeTelecastNetwork
10 a.m. - 11 a.m.MotoAmerica: Road AmericaCBS Sports Network*/# (from June 7)
5 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
6:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.NASCAR America: The States of NASCARNBC Sports Network#
7 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.NASCAR America: The States of NASCARNBC Sports Network#
7:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.NASCAR America: Scan All 43NBC Sports Network#
TimeTelecastNetwork
7 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from June 9)
7:30 a.m. - 8 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from June 9)
8 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from June 9)
8:30 a.m. - 9 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from June 9)
4:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.NASCAR America: The States of NASCARNBC Sports Network#
5 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
6 p.m. - 7 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.Blancpain Sprint Series: ZolderCBS Sports Network*/# (from June 6-7)
9 p.m. - 10 p.m.MotoAmerica: Road AmericaCBS Sports Network*# (from June 7)

Thursday, June 11

TimeTelecastNetwork
12 a.m. - 1 a.m.MotoAmerica: Road AmericaCBS Sports Network*# (from June 7)
1 a.m. - 3 a.m.Blancpain Sprint Series: ZolderCBS Sports Network*/# (from June 6-7)
2:30 a.m. - 3:30 a.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 2*# (from June 10)
3 a.m. - 4 a.m.MotoAmerica: Road AmericaCBS Sports Network*# (from June 7)
4 a.m. - 6 a.m.Blancpain Sprint Series: ZolderCBS Sports Network*/# (from June 6-7)
10 a.m. - 11 a.m.SCORE Bud Light Baja Sur 500CBS Sports Network*/# (from April 24-26)
5 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
6:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.NASCAR America: The States of NASCARNBC Sports Network#
7 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.NASCAR America: Scan all 43NBC Sports Network#
7:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.NASCAR America: Scan All 43NBC Sports Network#
8 p.m. - 9 p.m.AMA Lucas Oil Motocross Championship: Tennessee, 450 Class Moto 2NBC Sports Network*# (from June 6)
11 p.m. - 12 a.m.AMA Lucas Oil Motocross Championship: Tennessee, 450 Class Moto 2NBC Sports Network*# (from June 6)

Friday, June 12

TimeTelecastNetwork
1 a.m. - 1:30 a.m.NASCAR America: The States of NASCARNBC Sports Network#
1:30 a.m. - 2 a.m.NASCAR America: The States of NASCARNBC Sports Network#
7 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from June 11)
7:30 a.m. - 8 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from June 11)
8 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from June 11)
8:30 a.m. - 9 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from June 11)
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 1FOX Sports 1
1 p.m. - 2 p.m.XFINITY Series Practice No. 1FOX Sports 1
2:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.XFINITY Series Happy HourFOX Sports 1
4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.Sprint Cup Series QualifyingFOX Sports 2
5 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.ARCA Racing Series Corrigan Oil 200FOX Sports 2
6:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.NASCAR America: The States of NASCARNBC Sports Network#

Saturday, June 13

TimeTelecastNetwork
6 a.m. - 8 a.m.Blancpain Sprint Series: ZolderCBS Sports Network*/# (from June 6-7)
8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.24 Hours of Le Mans: The StartFOX Sports 2
9 a.m. - 10 a.m.Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 2FOX Sports 1
10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.XFINITY Series QualifyingFOX Sports 1
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road: DetroitNBC Sports Network*/ (from May 30-31)
11 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.Formula DRIFT: Road Atlanta, Part No. 2CBS Sports Network*/# (from May 9)
11:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.NASCAR RaceHub Weekend EditionFOX Sports 1
11:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.Formula DRIFT: Road Atlanta InsiderCBS Sports Network
12 p.m. - 1 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Happy HourFOX Sports 1
12 p.m. - 1 p.m.Trans-Am Series Muscle Car Challenge: Lime RockCBS Sports Network* (from May 30)
12 p.m. - 7 p.m.24 Hours of Le Mans, Part No. 2 (Hours 4-10)FOX Sports GO$
1 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.NASCAR RaceDay - XFINITY EditionFOX Sports 1
1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.XFINITY Series Great Clips 250 benefiting Paralyzed Veterans of AmericaFOX Sports 1
2 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.IndyCar Chronicles: James HinchcliffeNBC Sports Network#
2:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.IndyCar Chronicles: Helio CastronevesNBC Sports Network#
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.AMA Lucas Oil Pro Motocross: High Point, 250 and 450 ClassesNBC Sports Network
5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.Verizon IndyCar Series QualifyingNBC Sports Network
7:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.NHRA New England Nationals QualificationsESPN 2*/
5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.Camping World Truck Series QualifyingFOX Sports 2
7 p.m. - 8 p.m.24 Hours of Le Mans, Part No. 3 (Hour 11)FOX Sports 1
8 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.NCWTS SetupFOX Sports 1
8 p.m. - 11 p.m.24 Hours of Le Mans, Part No. 4 (Hours 12-14)FOX Sports GO$
8:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.Camping World Truck Series Drivin' For Linemen 200FOX Sports 1
11 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.24 Hours of Le Mans Part No. 5 (Hours 15-16.5)FOX Sports 2

Sunday, June 14

TimeTelecastNetwork
12:30 a.m. - 3:30 a.m.24 Hours of Le Mans, Part No. 6 (Hours 16.5-19.5)FOX Sports GO$
3:30 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.24 Hours of Le Mans, Part No. 7 (Hours 19.5-23.5)FOX Sports 1
4 a.m. - 5 a.m.Trans-Am Series Muscle Car Challenge: Lime RockCBS Sports Network*# (from May 30)
5 a.m. - 6 a.m.Trans-Am Series Next Dimension 100CBS Sports Network*# (from May 30)
7:30 a.m. - 9 a.m.motoGP World Championship Grand Prix of CatalunyaFOX Sports 1
7:30 a.m. - 9 a.m.24 Hours of Le Mans, Part No. 8 (Hours 19.5-24)FOX Sports 2
9 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.24 Hours of Le Mans, Post-race coverageFOX Sports 1
10 a.m. - 11 a.m.SCORE Bud Light San Felipe 250CBS Sports Network*/# (from January 23-25)
11 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.100,000 Cameras: TalladegaFOX Sports 1#
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.SCORE Bud Light Baja Sur 500CBS Sports Network*/# (from April 17-19)
11 a.m. - 5 p.m.NHRA New England Nationals Final EliminationsESPN3$
11:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.IndyCar Chronicles: Helio CastronevesNBC Sports Network#
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.NASCAR RaceDayFOX Sports 1
1 p.m. - 2 p.m.Road to IndyNBC Sports Network
1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400FOX Sports 1
2 p.m. - 3 p.m.Indy Lights Series Toronto 100NBC Sports Network*
3 p.m. - 4 p.m.SCORE Bud Light San Felipe 250CBS Sports Network*/# (from January 23-25
3 p.m. - 6 p.m.Verizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy TorontoNBC Spots Network#
4 p.m. - 5 p.m.SCORE Bud Light Baja Sur 500CBS Sports Network*/# (from April 17-19)
5 p.m. - 8 p.m.NHRA New England Nationals Final EliminationsESPN 2*/
5:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.NASCAR: Fans SpeakFOX Sports 1
6 p.m. - 7 p.m.BEING: Stewart-Haas RacingFOX Sports 1
6 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.IndyCar Chronicles: Helio CastronevesNBC Sports Network#
7 p.m. - 8 p.m.Moto3: CatalunyaFOX Sports 2*
8 p.m. - 9 p.m.Moto2: CatalunyaFOX Sports 2*
9 p.m. - 10 p.m.motoGP World Championship Grand Prix of CatalunyaFOX Sports 2*/#

Monday, June 15

TimeTelecastNetwork
2 a.m. - 2:30 a.m.NASCAR America: The States of NASCARNBC Sports Network#
2:30 a.m. - 3 a.m.NASCAR America: The States of NASCARNBC Sports Network#
4 a.m. - 5 a.m.SCORE Bud Light San Felipe 250CBS Sports Network*/# (from January 23-25)
5 a.m. - 6 a.m.SCORE Bud Light Baja Sur 500CBS Sports Network*/# (from April 17-19)
10 a.m. - 11 a.m.Trans-Am Series Muscle Car Challenge: Lime RockCBS Sports Network*# (from May 30)
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400FOX Sports 1*/# (from June 14)
5 p.m. - 6 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
Key:
* – Tape Delayed
/ – Highlighted Coverage
# – Repeat Coverage
^ – Available via free online streaming
$ – Available via password-protected online streaming. Check with your internet service/programming provider for availability.

A couple of quick notes. FS1 is airing a special after the Cup race at Michigan Sunday where fans voice their opinion. I think that it will be quite interesting since if there’s anything that doesn’t get enough traction these days, it’s fan opinion. Sure, you have the opinion votes on NASCAR RaceDay but we’re years removed from the days of Dave DeSpain hosting Wind Tunnel five nights a week. I want to see where that goes. Right after the fan forum, there will be a special about Stewart-Haas Racing. If you’re thinking “future Annex fodder,” then you would be correct.

I will be providing critiques of the Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck series race telecasts in next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here on Frontstretch. For the Critic’s Annex on Frontstretch this week, I’ll be covering the Firestone 600k from Texas Motor Speedway.

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 FOX Sports personally with an issue regarding their TV coverage, please click on the following link:

FOX Sports

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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14 thoughts on “Couch Potato Tuesday: Grading FOX’s Grid Walk”

  1. Is anyone, ANYONE, a fan of Michael Waltrip’s grid walk? Seriously, I’d like to know.

    This points out what is wrong with Fox…. they don’t listen to any feedback from the fans. They are as bad as NASCAR. They serve us crap and expect us to eat it and pretend to enjoy it.

    • Bill B, The VCR is the best thing to happen to NASCAR since the V8. I seriously doubt that of the fans remaining many do not hit Fast Forward the minute Michael Waltrip shows up on screen or at the first sign of the every ten lap 20 commercial break. That and the Mute button that allow us to skip Bogidy Bogidy Bullshit and the endless Toyota love poems by Michael and Larry McShill have probably allowed NASCAR to keep more fans than the Official Gimmick of the Week Program. If not for me the VCR NASCAR would be unwatchable.

  2. ALL IN GOOD FUN,, I LIKE THE GRID WALK ,damed if you do damed if you dont,, lets watch a hour of stats ,so then everyone would complain its a bunch of robots..on tv

  3. I don’t recall her name, but in the early 90s, TNN had a female booth analyst for a number of Busch races, so we shouldn’t forget her while chomping at the bit for more Danica praises.

    • I don’t recall that happening. Patty Moise did do some work on broadcasts, and so did Liz Allison. However, both were mainly pit reporters and Moise’s appearances were few and far between since she was still racing for much of the decade.

  4. Well my two cents, I think the “grid walk” would be much more enjoyable (if you must have it, I can do without) if it wasn’t Mikey trying so damn hard. He isn’t funny, he is his usual obnoxious self, and most of the drivers clearly when they see him coming..would rather a root canal without any Novocain! I don’t have a recording device so I mute, change the channel or go rearrange my can goods in the pantry.

    • IMO the only time I enjoyed Mikey was when he was on the old show Inside Winston Cup and that was because Ken Schrader would keep him in line. Mikey was still a buffoon IMO but Kenny’s comments would stop him cold and that was funny. That show with Allen B, Johnny Benson, Kenny and Mikey was funny and darn they actually reviewed the races and had a good time doing it.

      • Agreed. It was the first show I ever saw on Speedvision back around 1997. My dad’s cable system had a channel that was shared between something like 8 different networks (didn’t get it at home until 2001, when we upgraded to digital cable). Speedvision had a block of time here, so did what is now ESPN Classic, and a few others. It looked fun in 1997 and only continued to be fun as long as that trio stayed together.

        • Phil, you bet. I tuned into Speedvision & The Speed Channel to watch racing – all forms of it and then the recap shows like IWC. That was back when I would watch every minute of NASCAR programming I could find. Unfortunately along with the mega TV contracts and changing of the guard in NASCAR’s management, came a lot of hooey which produced a huge change in the way I view the broadcasting of NASCAR, as well as the racing. It has NOT improved for the better.

          I miss Schrader’s humor most of all!

  5. Stopped watching all of the pre-race shows about 5 years ago because for me it was simply wasted time w/o any decent information being provided. Since I am not a fan of Mikey having him be what seems to be the main focus of Fox’s pre-race garbage means that I simply don’t tune in until the race is ready to start and when I do it is with the sound muted.

    I used to record all the races so I could watch them again at leisure but now I record them so that I can FF thru whatever nonsense is being shown – including the commercials.

    Bill B, nope, I don’t watch Mikey and I don’t watch commercials either. Interesting that the whole shtick with the sasquatch (which I am very happy I missed) was related to MWR sponsorship. Another awesome display, along with Larry Mac Toyota lovefest, of unprofessionalism and conflict of interest from the booth.

    • I remember when one used to be able to watch ESPN’s “On the Grid” pre-race show and learn everything a fan would ever need to know to be ready for a race. Who was fast, who wasn’t, the surprises in both, and all kinds of team info. I watched some of those shows and felt like I was at the driver’s meeting. Sometimes ESPN would even do those shows for races they weren’t covering.

      And for the more broad picture of what was happening in motorsports, we could watch RPM2Nite and Motorsport Mundial (on Speedvision) and feel like Roger Penske had nothing on us for international motor racing insight. Some of those shows looked like they were trying to squeeze in every second of info about any series they could. I could swear they even did a blurb about a sim racing league once.

      I can’t just be imagining that those shows were more comprehensive than what’s out there now.

  6. First off, I greatly appreciate the comprehensive motor sports listings [above]. A very simple concept that does not seem to be available anywhere else. Kudos FS!
    As for Brian, I for one respect & appreciate him. If anything I sympathize with him in that he is constantly bombarded by differing opinions & expectations (from drivers fans & sponsors alike), so his job is a bit like attempting to herd cats. No doubt some of his directions are questionable &, perhaps, frustrating, but the crudeness, rudeness & ignorance expressed by the majority of his detractors is far more bothersome!
    As for incorporated media motif of “dumbing-down” races …it’s INSULTING! I have nothing against MW & DW personally, but I have strongly disliked their commentating style from day one, so as you can imagine & am un-amused by the inclusion of Sasquatch!
    And glazing over or ignoring important circumstances of races is nothing new & fits the motif of “dumbing down” by not bothering to be nuanced by the paltry details, nuance & finesse aspects of back markers. Focks (at the behest of Nascar to a degree) has always aimed these broadcast at the undeveloped & uninterested demographic (women, children, minorities, inner-city areas). Ergo the finer, detail oriented aspects of events don’t warrant scrutiny. This marketing strategy has two pit falls. A,) Uninterested people typically will not pay attention no matter how many contrived gimmicks (the Chase, exhibition drivers, etc…) Focks & Nascar pulls out of the hat (imo, to the contrary, the more authentic & potent your product is the better your patronage will be, but that seems to be a lost concept now-a-days). B.) “Dumbing-down” in attempts to luring “stick & ballers” insults long term Nascar supporters. As for myself, I feel they take my support for granted. Like, after years of avidly supporting them, I am being marginalized in lue of people that are willfully ignorant of motorsports as a whole. Like satisfying their core group of supporters is not a priority! Regardless this “dumbing down’ definitely leaves me unsatisfied, which has lead me to greater enthusiasm for many other forms of racing.

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