Race Weekend Central

Couch Potato Tuesday: High-Drag Package Tests NBC

Michigan International Speedway brought the high-drag package into the spotlight once again. As you can imagine, such a setup really does affect how a Sprint Cup race is covered. Anyone reading this critique probably already has an opinion on how the package affected the racing. That’s great. You’re more than entitled to your opinions. What needs to be looked at here is how the package affected NBCSN’s coverage.

Pure Michigan 400

Sunday brought the Sprint Cup Series out for 400 miles of sweatbox racing. The high-drag package turned the cars into saunas. Casey Mears had an in-car thermometer, and he was broiling in 155-degree heat 85 miles into the race. Stuff like that doesn’t make sense.

During Countdown to Green, NBCSN aired an interview where former Roush Fenway Racing driver Jeff Burton sat down with Jack Roush to talk. Admittedly, most of the focus was not on his race team, which has existed in some capacity since the 1970s (in 1989 in NASCAR), but on his love of flying. It says something that Roush is more than willing to keep flying after two near-fatal plane crashes. Roush talked at length about the crash at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh that cost him his left eye, but seemed to be very causal about it, like he’s a hockey player talking about losing a tooth. It seems like Roush is dedicated to improving RFR, but understands that it is a long process to do so. He’s not comfortable with where the team is, but he’s comfortable with himself, if that makes sense.

Much like at Indianapolis, the broadcast booth would point out ways how the rule package for Michigan affected the on-track product. Viewers had heard most of the weekend about how it was nearly impossible to run close to someone in the turns, and much of the race proved that. However, having more cars out there on track made it a little easier to pull up than in practice. Side-by-side action did in fact allow a third car to make a move on the other two if he/she dared.

The broadcast did make note of drivers making moves through the field, like Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Aric Almirola and more.

Unfortunately for viewers, these moves were of the “get everything you can in the first couple of laps” for the most part.  As a result, we didn’t see all that much of it because that occurred when the action was hot at the front.  Truex was able to make his moves seemingly at will, though.

However, if you got a long run, there was no racing up front. Zilcharoo. If anything, the package allowed Matt Kenseth to pull away even more than he would have if Sunday’s race was run with the regular rules. When that happened (especially early), pit strategy became the name of the game. Austin Dillon chose not to pit during the competition caution, took the lead and became the story of the day. It’s fair to say that Dillon had the second-best car all day, since he was essentially the only driver that could get away from Kenseth.

With a lack of action on-track, NBCSN gave viewers Through the Field segments to keep people updated, but there was really only so much they could do. There’s no doubt the package hurt the broadcast.

The in-car temperature was a big story and as mentioned above, Mears once again had the in-car thermometer in play. However, he dropped out after just over 100 miles because a clamp broke on a water line and overheated the engine. We had nothing after that point about the topic. Did it get ludicrously hot in the cars (160-180 degrees)? I don’t know. Possibly. No one wanted to talk about it after the race since they hated the rules so much that they probably felt they’d get fined if they said anything.

NBCSN only allocated three hours for the race coverage. With eight yellows for various reasons and a new show (Mob Steel) premiering immediately after the post-race coverage, viewers didn’t get much after the race. There were a good number of interviews, but the NASCAR America post-race show was cut from 30 minutes to 10. As a result, that show looked more like the RaceBuddy post-race show than what we’ve gotten for the previous six weeks.

I won’t be critiquing Mob Steel in depth here since it’s not racing-related, but the promotion of that show’s premiere was a bit much during the weekend. I don’t watch NASCAR races to see stuff about car reconstruction shows. If you want to show how a team completely rebuilt a wrecked race car in time for the next race, great. That’s pertinent to what’s going on at the track. To me, Mob Steel seems like something that would fit so much better on Velocity than NBCSN. It sticks out like a sore thumb here and would probably do well paired up with like-minded programming and not every-once-in-a-while programming like the Mecum auctions.

Everyone involved is looking forward to Bristol this weekend, and NBCSN is likely in that boat as well. While the groove being near the wall might not make for the best race Saturday night, it will more than likely be more competitive than what we saw Sunday. Action like what we saw makes it difficult for NBCSN to do their job appropriately. They had to put on a happy face and try to make the best of it, but you can only do so much.

Careers for Veterans 200

Saturday brought the Camping World Truck Series back out to play at Michigan. There was no high-drag package of note… well, not any more than normal. However, drivers could run nose to tail without getting squirrelly.

During the Setup, the most notable piece was an interview that Ray Dunlap conducted with former series champion Johnny Benson. Ever since his collection of “Pure Michigan” sponsors collapsed, the 52-year old Benson has grown comfortable with the idea that his driving career is now over. These days, Benson is building race cars back in his native Michigan and acting as a driver coach. It’s not quite like coaching Danica Patrick for JR Motorsports like he did a few years ago. Instead, he’s coaching a 12-year-old, Carson Hocevar, who is racing an outlaw late model at Berlin Raceway. Of note, how the deuce can a 12-year-old drive one of those? It’s a headlining class. Makes no sense to me. Benson describes just how he works with the young racer, who appears to have some potential. The whole piece is interesting in that it takes a look at the future of the sport through the lens of Benson. Drivers are starting so young today, and tracks actively promote the fact that the young guns are really young ‘uns.

During Saturday’s race, team owner and part-time Truck Series racer Brad Keselowski came up to the broadcast booth to hang around for a little bit and chime in on the action. In this role, Keselowski used his knowledge from having just practiced his Fusion to give viewers an idea of track conditions and the sensation of driving the truck in traffic. Knowing that he was in the truck as recently as Pocono a couple of weeks ago, having Keselowski in the booth, despite the natural issues I have with active owners in the mix, was a plus. I actually would have preferred to have Keselowski alongside Vince Welch and Phil Parsons instead of Michael Waltrip.

Post-race coverage was about average on Saturday. Viewers saw post-race interviews and a check of the points. Also, there were replays of a last-lap crash involving Spencer Gallagher. Now, this could have been a big story because it appeared that the roof flaps failed on the No. 23. As a result, Gallagher’s rear end lifted off the ground on the backstretch. Luckily, there was no rollover and Gallagher walked away from the crash. However, if there was more time, I would have liked to see a little more coverage on that because we’re in year 22 of roof-flap usage. Those things shouldn’t fail to deploy at Michigan.

The action Saturday afternoon was actually quite solid. Forcing Kyle Busch to work for his trophy for a change created a much better race. The race ultimately resembled what NASCAR might have been going for with the high-drag package in Sprint Cup. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t meant to be on Sunday. Compared to his booth work with ESPN 2, Welch appears to be much improved. He isn’t constantly making mistakes. Having said that, he does have a monotone at times and not a lot of emotion in his call. Regardless, he appears to work well with Parsons, and Keselowski’s performance was reminiscent of his work earlier this year during Xfinity races. He’s quite informative and on task when given the opportunity.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital 170

Saturday afternoon brought the NXS back to Mid-Ohio for their third visit to the 2.25-mile road course. This year saw the race distance cut from 90 laps to 75, a fact that was not widely publicized. Why? The explanation seemed to indicate that NBC played a role. Boo. I don’t like that. However, the action was still quite intense.

As you can tell, one of the primary stories that was focused on Saturday was the race sponsor itself, Nationwide Children’s Hospital. 10 “Patient Champions” got their names and pictures on cars in the race. There was also a short piece about JRM’s drivers (Regan Smith and Chase Elliott) traveling to the hospital to visit with the patients. My takeaway is that the cause itself has elevated the profile of the race, at least in NBCSN’s and NASCAR’s eyes. Is it a marquee event after only three years? Probably not, but the action’s pretty good.

Outside of the race and its sponsor, the primary stories focused around the previous spat between Ty Dillon and Smith, which amounted to absolutely bupkis Saturday. It’s not that they didn’t run around each other; they did, for most of the race. I figured what we saw at Watkins Glen was a one time thing and Saturday’s events argue in that direction. Then again, Bristol’s on Friday night, so you never know.

Personally, I would have liked a little more of a focus on the various part-timers and lesser-known racers in the event. For example, Dylan Lupton did great to snag a top 10 in the Athenian Motorsports No. 25. Jeremy Clements was up there once again before dropping back to 17th at the finish. Dylan Kwasniewski in his season debut for Obaika Racing did really well before the car turned traitor on him. TUSC regular Andy Lally showed up for the race with one car, three sets of tires (one for rain) and two dudes to work on the car. You didn’t see much of him Saturday, but he did talk with Jim Noble on Friday. That interview, which showed the extent of their operation for the weekend is more notable for what Lally said about Ronda Rousey than anything else.

Given that we’re talking about a road course, the action can get spread out at times. That wasn’t much of an issue as the eight cautions scuttled that. As a result, viewers saw a good amount of racing for position. The enthusiasm from Diffey and Dale Jarrett in the booth was great and I thought Dave Burns, Noble and Alex Hayden did a great job in the pits, especially when everything seemed to be happening at once.

I didn’t particularly like the way that the broadcast referenced the second caution. When I originally watched the race, I didn’t believe that the race was under yellow after Kenny Habul blew the tire and went straight into the trap (and out again) right in front of the pits. It did, but Leigh Diffey described it as such in a way that wasn’t totally clear to me at first. That particular segment showed what happened to Habul, showed him crawling back to the pits and getting repaired before going to commercial. You didn’t see the rest of the field (outside of the aforementioned replay) for about five to six minutes. That could make things a little confusing to follow for viewers. I had to go back and watch it again to be sure that he had referenced a caution.

Post-race coverage was dominated by the bump-and-run that Smith executed on Alex Tagliani to win the race. Tagliani, and most of his road racing brethren thought it was dirty. NASCAR fans thought it was fine. I don’t think it was truly necessary since Tagliani effectively missed the corner on his own. I’m unsure as to whether Smith could have won without the bump and run, but it would have been close. Viewers got to hear both sides of the story, along with quotes from Dillon. Unfortunately, that was about it due to the fact that the race took over 150 minutes to run.

That’s all for this week. Next weekend is quite busy and it starts early. The Camping World Truck Series teams are pulling into Bristol Motor Speedway as you read this critique for tomorrow night’s UNOH 200, with the Bush’s Beans 150 combination race for the Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour as support. Later on in the week, the Sprint Cup and Xfinity series roll in for 800 laps of their action. Formula 1, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Verizon IndyCar Series are all in action. Here’s your listings.

Tuesday, August 18

2 a.m. - 3 a.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 2*# (from August 17)
6 a.m. - 7 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from August 17)
7 a.m. - 8 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from August 17)
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.Camping World Truck Series Careers for Veterans 200FOX Sports 1*/# (from August 15)
4:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.NASCAR Scan all 43NBC Sports Network
5 p.m. - 6 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
6 p.m. - 7 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1

Wednesday, August 19

3 a.m. - 4 a.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1*# (from August 18)
6 a.m. - 7 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from August 18)
7 a.m. - 8 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from August 18)
4:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.Global RallyCross Lites: Washington, DCNBC Sports Network*/ (from August 15)
5 p.m. - 6 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
10 a.m. - 11 a.m.BEING: Stewart-Haas RacingFOX Sports 1#
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.Camping World Truck Series Happy HourFOX Sports 1
12:30 p.m. - 1 p.mUncompromising: Kevin HarvickFOX Sports 1#
4:45 p.m. - 6 p.m.Camping World Truck Series QualifyingFOX Sports 2
6 p.m. - 7 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1
8 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.NCWTS SetupFOX Sports 1
8 p.m. - 9 p.m.British Touring Car Championship: SnettertonCBS Sports Network*/ (from August 9)
8:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200FOX Sports 1
10 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.MotoAmerica: IndianapolisCBS Sports Network*/# (from August 1-2)
11:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.Bike Road Racing: Cookstown, IrelandCBS Sports Network*/

Thursday, August 20

12:30 a.m. - 2 a.m.MotoAmerica: IndianapolisCBS Sports Network*/# (from August 1-2)
2 a.m. - 3 a.m.British Touring Car Championship: SnettertonCBS Sports Network*/# (from August 9)
3 a.m. - 4 a.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 2*# (from August 19)
3 a.m. - 4 a.m.Bike Road Racing: Cookstown, Ireland, Part No. 1CBS Sports Network*#
6 a.m. - 7 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from August 19)
7 a.m. - 8 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from August 19)
9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200FOX Sports 1*# (from August 19)
5 p.m. - 6 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
6 p.m. - 7 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1
7 p.m. - 8 p.m.K&N Pro Series East UPMC Health Plan 150NBC Sports Network*/ (from August 15)
9 p.m. - 10 p.m.TORC Series Rumble on the River, Part No. 1FOX Sports 2*/# (from May 16)
10 p.m. - 11 p.m.TORC Series Rumble on the River, Part No. 2FOX Sports 2*/ (from May 17)
11 p.m. - 12 a.m.K&N Pro Series East UPMC Health Plan 150NBC Sports Network*/# (from August 15)

Friday, August 21

12 a.m. - 1:30 a.m.Red Bull Global RallyCross: Washington, DCNBC Sports Network*/# (from August 15)
1:30 a.m. - 2 a.m.NASCAR Scan all 43NBC Sports Network#
2 a.m. - 3 a.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 2*# (from August 20)
4 a.m. - 5:30 a.m.Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium Free Practice No. 1NBC Sports Live Extra$
6 a.m. - 7 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from August 20)
7 a.m. - 8 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from August 20)
8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium Free Practice No. 2NBC Sports Network
9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.XFINITY Series PracticeNBC Sports Live Extra$/NBC Sports Network>
10 a.m. - 11 a.m.Moto3: Czech RepublicFOX Sports 1*# (from August 16)
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.Moto2: Czech RepublicFOX Sports 1*# (from August 16)
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 1NBC Sports Network
12 p.m. - 1 p.m.motoGP World Championship Grand Prix of the Czech RepublicFOX Sports 1*/# (from August 16)
1 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.NASCAR America No. 1NBC Sports Network
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Happy HourNBC Sports Network
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.K&N Pro Series West NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150NBC Sports Network*/ (from August 15)
3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.XFINITY Series QualifyingNBC Sports Network
5 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.NASCAR America No. 2NBC Sports Network
5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.Sprint Cup Series QualifyingNBC Sports Network
7 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.Countdown to GreenNBC Sports Network
7:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.XFINITY Series Food City 300NBC Sports Network

Saturday, August 22

1:30 a.m. - 3 a.m.Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium Free Practice No. 2NBC Sports Network*# (from August 21)
5 a.m. - 6 a.m.Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium Free Practice No. 3NBC Sports Live Extra$
8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium QualifyingCNBC
10 a.m. - 11 a.m.British Touring Car Championship: SnettertonCBS Sports Network*/# (from August 9)
11 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.Formula DRIFT: Monroe, Part No. 1CBS Sports Network*/# (from July 24)
11:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.Formula DRIFT: Monroe, Part No. 2CBS Sports Network*/ (from July 25)
12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium QualifyingNBC Sports Network*
12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.MotoAmerica: IndianapolisCBS Sports Network*/# (from August 8-9)
1:20 p.m. - 4 p.m.IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge: VIRIMSA.com/FansChoice.tv^
2 p.m. - 3 p.m.Bike Road Race: Cookstown, Ireland Part No. 1CBS Sports Network*/#
2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.Verizon IndyCar Series QualifyingNBC Sports Network
3:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.IndyCar Chronicles: Scott DixonNBC Sports Network
4 p.m. - 5 pm.TORC Series: Rumble the River, Part No. 2FOX Sports 2*/# (from May 17)
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.K&N Pro Series West NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150NBC Sports Network*/# (from August 15)
4:40 p.m. - 5:20 p.m.IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship QualifyingIMSA.com^
5 p.m. - 6 p.m.NASCAR RaceDayFOX Sports 2
5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.NASCAR America SaturdayNBC Sports Network
7 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.Countdown to GreenNBC Sports Network
7:30 p.m. - 11 p.m. Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night RacingNBC Sports Network
11 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.NASCAR America Post-RaceNBC Sports Network
11 p.m. - 1 a.m.NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals QualificationsESPN 2*/
11:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.Lucas Oil Pro Motocross: IronmanNBC Sports Network*/

Sunday, August 23

12 a.m. - 12:30 a.m.NASCAR Victory LaneFOX Sports 1
1:30 a.m. - 3 a.m.GP2 Series: BelgiumNBC Sports Network*/ (from August 22)
2:30 a.m. - 3 a.m.NASCAR Victory LaneFOX Sports 1#
6 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium QualifyingNBC Sports Network*# (from August 22)
7:30 a.m. - 8 a.m.F1 CountdownNBC Sports Network
8 a.m. - 10 a.m.Formula One Grand Prix of BelgiumNBC Sports Network
9 a.m. - 10 a.m.British Touring Car Championship: SnettertonCBS Sports Network*/# (from August 9)
10 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.F1 ExtraNBC Sports Network
10 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.Formula DRIFT: Monroe, Part No. 1CBS Sports Network*/# (from July 24)
10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.Formula DRIFT: Monroe, Part No. 2CBS Sports Network*/# (from July 25)
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.Bike Road Racing: Cookstown, Ireland, Part No. 1CBS Sports Network*/#
12 p.m. - 5 p.m.NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals Final EliminationsESPN3$
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Oak Tree Grand Prix FOX Sports 1
2 p.m. - 6 p.m.Verizon IndyCar Series ABC Supply 500NBC Sports Network
2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.ARCA Racing Series SuperChevyStores.com 100CBS Sports Network
8 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.F1 CountdownNBC Sports Network*#
8:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.Formula One Grand Prix of BelgiumNBC Sports Network*#
9 p.m. - 12 a.m.NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals Final EliminationsESPN 2*/
10:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.F1 ExtraNBC Sports Network*#

Monday, August 24

2 a.m. - 4 a.m.ARCA Racing Series SuperChevyStores.com 100CBS Sports Network*# (from August 23)
6 a.m. - 7 a.m.NASCAR Victory LapNBC Sports Network*# (from August 23)
7 a.m. - 8 a.m.NASCAR Victory LapNBC Sports Network*# (from August 23)
8 a.m. - 9 a.m.NASCAR Victory LapNBC Sports Network*# (from August 23)
12 p.m. - 2 p.m.NASCAR 120: Irwin Tools Night RaceNBC Sports Network*/# (from August 22)
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
6 p.m. - 7 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1

* – 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.

I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup and NXS races from Bristol for next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here on Frontstretch. The UNOH 200 for the Camping World Truck Series will be covered in Thursday’s edition of the Critic’s Annex in the Newsletter this week. For mid-week races, I just find it easier to cover them in that fashion.

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. If you would like to contact either of NASCAR’s media partners, click on either of the links below.

FOX Sports
NBC Sports

As always, if you choose to contact a 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.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Share this article

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Before I fell asleep from boredom (which is pretty amazing considering my time zone and just basically got done with a leisurely Sunday morning breakfast and Sunday paper reading) I was offended greatly by the typically “sell, sell, sell” of the netwok shills..telling us idiots how great they knew the race was going to be. Oh please..I wish all of them would shut up. They are ALL THE SAME despite what network they shill for. All roads and paychecks lead to Castle Daytona.


I didn’t watch the race, as I was (and I admit this fully) one of the suckers who paid good money to sit in the stands to watch this pathetic excuse for a race. If I had to compare it to another pathetic race, I would say it was as bad as, if not worse than, the great tire debacle that happened at Indy back in 2008, which I was also at. At the races, in addition to two or three teams I listen to on my scanner, I listen to the MRN broadcast. They do try to make it sound exciting, but you could tell even they seemed to be putting in an extra effort to liven up that bad race. But, even Eli Gold admitted that there was only lead changes during pit stop cycles, and that somewhere around lap 120, he said there was only one on-track pass for the lead.

NASCAR screwed up big time! And all the P.R. BS from O’Donnell and the bad mouthing of the “whinny fans” by Robin Pemberton can’t change that fact. And wouldn’t you know it that this major screw-up would happen at the most hated track on the schedule, which only fuels that hatred by the fans more. If “The Brainless Wonder” ever sobered up and went to a race, and actually talked to the ones his sport is fleecing (the fans), and he cared more about fan opinion that about money, he might get a rude awakening! But, he just doesn’t care! Even a 20% drop in viewership doesn’t phase the idiot!

As much as they both were bullies and thugs toward the drivers, owners, and manufacturers, at least Bill Senior and Bill Junior cared about what the fans thought. Brian’s brain is too fried to grasp the fact that his ideas have killed a once-thriving sport!


this “whinny fan” will take her time and spend it elsewhere on race days. watch beginning, come inside check to see what’s going on and watch the end. this from a fan who use to schedule their live around racing broadcasts and cringed during the off months of november and december when no racing was on and cherished daytona testing right after the new year.

personally i haven’t spent money on race related stuff in a very long time. no one cares about us old fans, or otherwise know as “whinny fans”.


I sat on the dock with a cooler full of cold ones next to me. The TV was on but, we were listening to old American Top 40 with Casey Kasem radio shows while enjoying the afternoon. Wasn’t necessary to listen to the broadcast booth, there was so little action on track all day, it was pretty easy to just glance up at the TV every now and then to see the parade. I did have to switch over to MRN for about the last 20 laps, a thunderstorm moved in and knocked out the Dish Network signal right at the end of the race.


Modifieds at Bristol!!! Real race cars on a fast track. They should run that race on Saturday instead of the Cup “race” cars and the Cup snoozers on Wednesday. That way you don’t have to wait until Saturday to fall asleep watching the Cup cars. Brian’s invented a cure-all for insomnia.


Phil, surprised to see that you didn’t comment on an issue a lot of readers mentioned yesterday. I for one was greatly annoyed that NBCSN only very occasionally showed the standard “intervals” between cars on the ticker. They kept showing the “last time pitted” numbers as if they were going all in on the race being decided by fuel mileage. Or they’d show that green and yellow tile thing to indicate whether a driver would be in the Chase at that moment. (it really only matters at the end of the race or actually at the end of the regular season and even then it doesn’t matter much. My guess is that they decided not to show the intervals to downplay the fact that the cars were running six and seven seconds apart like an FAA air traffic controller was assigned to keep them separated by a safe distance. In some instances I’d really have liked to be able to see those gaps. It seemed Austin Dillon and team were willing to gamble on giving up track position for fresh rubber and for all the talk of no passing he was cutting through the field on that fresh rubber at time.

Secondly I’m not sure about having an English bloke call a stock car race of any time, though there seems to be a segment of the American population that feels that an event called with and English accent is somehow classier and more refined. Diffy sounded like Alice in Wonderland, sort of befuddled by what he was seeing. “Right then. What’s this? Oh, well, can’t be helped. Carry on. Stiff upper lip.” It works with golf and F1 but perhaps not the Xfinity series. I write for a living so I have some passing acquaintance with the English language but if they’re going to use folks speaking English English rather than real English during a race I’d appreciate subtitles. To me it was like having a priest emcee a wet t-shirt contest in Latin.


I find that English “bloke” totally annoying, the news media today, like you said think Americans are enamored with that accent, this American is not.


I don’t care if my comment is not politically correct…and I don’t like kale either..is the PC police coming to get me?


LOL, kb! you don’t like kale??!! Come one, now, I can understand not liking the guy with the English accent, but kale, well that beats all. It is the most important thing in the edible blech category now. I don’t care how healthy it is. BTW, I won’t eat it either. I will eat green smoothies with spinach in them though.

Oh wait, let’s get back to criticizing, uh, critiquing the race coverage. Well the high drag whatever it was race package may have tested NBC, but after the debacle when they used it at Indy, it certainly tested mine. the drivers were also unable to say anything useful about it — probably NASCAR threatened them with fines again.


You are too funny Gina….

Bill B

I must point out that hearing that the temperature in the car was 155 degrees doesn’t really mean much if there isn’t a baseline provided. For instance, what was the in-car temperature in the car last year in August with the old package. if it was 140 degrees then it kind of minimizes the “aaahhh” factor. I’m sure those 15 degrees make a big difference but if it was 40 degrees hotter than it would help with our understanding of how much the extra heat was a factor.

I won’t dwell on it since Matt just brought it up but the lack of intervals and lap down information ruined the entire race for me. I actually watch those lap after lap and can keep track of who is gaining and who is falling back. It’s also the only way you can tell who got the lucky dog and who took the wave around most weeks.

I also pointed this out yesterday. After the first pit stop I noticed that Kahne had fallen from around 16th place back to 35th place (or something like that). I wondered what the hell happened. I don’t remember the broadcasters saying anything about it but I read the next day that he got dinged for a speeding penalty. That’s the kind of information that the crew MUST cover for the audience. I guess they were too busy talking about the heat at that point.


As I mentioned below, I didn’t listen to the broadcast team Sunday… but, I did notice at the top of the ticker after those pit stops that they flashed the 5 had been penalized for too fast exiting pit road. If that is the only notice that was given, that is unsat.


ok so what lap will be determined the competition caution for bristol? lap 25? i don’t understand when there’s no weather the night before why a competition caution is coming out. they clean the track before cup race? really? what did they clean it with tide to get all the rubber off the surface. must be a convenient tv break by lap 25 or so. however, at michigan we had caution on lap 1.

Bill B

Really? You don’t know why? It’s to make sure most everyone is on the lead lap (especially the big name stars) for the first hour of the race. That way fans of most big name drivers will be less likely to change the channel. If they could find a way to have competition cautions throughout the race, I’m sure they would. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me some day to see that happen.


bill – yeah i know……but after 25 laps? maybe at a place like bristol. oh wait, kyle busch had to start at rear of the field in michigan…..smh!


Janice, the way they kept the camera on his car..and talked about the “come from behind”…you would think that nobody ever started from the rear of the field and made their way up front. Only the great Kyle Busch could do that!!!! The fawning is sickening…SMH too! :)


This coming weekend will be interesting, and will be a good comparison of races and race broadcasts. On Wednesday night, it will be FOX’s Kyle Busch lovefest truck race, with Mikey hogging the mike. Then, on Friday night, it will be NBCSN’s turn at the Kyle Busch lovefest Xfinity race. Then, on Saturday night, it is back with NBCSN’s Toyota lovefest Cup race. The only race I want to see, will be the NBCSN coverage of the ABC Supply 500 IndyCar race from Pocono. No competition caution, no phantom debris cautions, no wave-arounds, and no green-white-checkers manipulated finish. The race plays out as it plays out. Want to bet that race will be the best of the four?


It was amazing how much the camera was on KYBU because he had to “come from the back”…Jesus, they made it sound like it has never been done by anybody before..ever, ever, ever..only his skill and brilliance could pull it off!The script is a very bad script between that jerk and the Toys lovefest. Could it not be more obvious?


The race started at about 2:55 after 55 minutes of pre-race fill-in time. That left 2hours and 35 minutes for the race and Hendrick interviews. Not a chance. I set the PVR for 30 minutes over and it usually isn’t enough. I’m not going to a race that ends after 6 with a five hour drive after I get out of the parking lot and work on Monday. I believe the race started at around 12:30 when I went, back when the races were worth watching.

Tim S.

“…race and Hendrick interviews.” Beautifully stated. If they do win, they have to be interviewed, and if they don’t win, we have to ask everyone from Chad down to the parts washer why they didn’t.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com