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(Photo: CIA Stock Photo, Inc. ©2015)­

Couch Potato Tuesday: NBCSN Must Rise Above NASCAR’s On-Track Product

NBC just cannot seem to buy a break this year when it comes to broadcasting Sprint Cup races. This past weekend was the third attempt at airing a Cup race on the broadcast network this year. Three times, the races have been affected by rain. The start at Daytona was delayed nearly four hours and ended at 2:45 a.m. Being in the Media Center for much of that evening, those NBC chimes will be in my head for a long time. Imagine hearing what you saw after NBC’s coverage ended Saturday night 150 or so times in six hours. Darlington was nearly rain-affected, but the wet stuff thankfully stayed away. Charlotte was a complete no-go.

Bank of America 500

Due to NBC’s tape-delayed coverage of the President’s Cup from Ireland, the race could not be aired on NBC Sunday. NBCSN had to step in. Moving the race to cable from network television undoubtedly hurt the viewership (overnight ratings were around a 1.6, lowest of the season). Attendance at the track wasn’t the best either, despite nice weather on Sunday. There was never any real reference made to this on-air, but it was the first thing I noticed when NBCSN came on from Charlotte at Noon on Sunday and a number of media members noticed as well.

For much of the weekend, NBCSN promoted the fact that Erendira Wallenda was going to hang off of a ring 300 feet in the air by her toes during the pre-race show. Rutledge Wood was assigned to follow the Wallendas (husband Nik is always around when Erendira performs) for days, providing viewers with updates, but stuff that ultimately had nothing to do with the actual on-track product. Talk about a nice way to ultimately take attention away from the race. The rain Saturday night killed what would have been live coverage of the stunt. The race being delayed to Sunday meant that the stunt was back on, but it aired via tape delay. There’s no doubt that Erendira’s stunt was dangerous (ludicrously so, in fact), but I think it got more publicity than the race did. That might be a problem.

The race itself was the first with 12 Chasers as opposed to 16. Obviously with less Chasers to focus on, you’d think that those drivers outside of the Chase would get a little more airtime. The answer to that would be yes. However, the same rules as in the Challenger round apply. To get that airtime, you have to put yourself into the conversation. Kyle Larson clearly did that on Sunday, quickly elevating himself into the discussion after starting 31st. Perhaps the outcome could have been different on Sunday had he not tried his last-minute move to get on pit road that managed to damage both his car and Kyle Busch’s. As it stands, he dropped to 24th and all but couldn’t get back in the top 20 for the rest of the race.

That brings us to the next topic of discussion; the lack of passing. Despite running during the daytime, the on-track action really didn’t look all that different than a night race at Charlotte. Perhaps the current pavement cured the changeable conditions that Charlotte is famous for. Remember, the surface they were racing on is already in its tenth year of use. That’s seasoned pavement. The previous pavement already had “character bumps” by year No. 2 or 3.

(Photo: CIA Stock Photo, Inc. ©2015)­
Joey Logano was having fun at Charlotte, but fans missed a lot of the action thanks to television. (Photo: CIA Stock Photo, Inc. ©2015)­

NBCSN tried to make the situation look better than it was at first. Admittedly, the first half of the race with drivers like Larson and Jeff Gordon coming up through the field was more exciting than the second half, but there was next to no passing up front for the whole race. Of the 14 lead changes (which is the lowest number in the fall race since 1993, when Ernie Irvan completely stomped the field in a race that had only two cautions), only two of them occurred as a result of racing for position on-track. They were Kyle Busch taking the lead from Matt Kenseth at the start, and Kenseth getting it back on lap 5. That’s it. It’s actually quite sad.

If that’s the case, you have to show more racing further down the order to quench the fan’s thirst for action. Early on, NBCSN did an ok job of doing that. Because of not completely focusing up front, we were able to see the moment in which Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s day went right into the toilet in real time. We got information on the rather bizarre reason that JJ Yeley got penalized (I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen anyone get busted for their crew guy kneeing the car).

However, a number of drivers legitimately spent half the day talking about how oily the track was (Kyle Busch in particular). I don’t know if it was shadows or what, but we never got a true idea from NBCSN of what was out there. NASCAR seemed to only put down a minimum of stay-dri to soak up the fluid, but the wrecking continued. NASCAR essentially stated after the race that the drivers were full of it, but there’s enough evidence of issues that I don’t think I can believe that.

Later in the race, the focus narrowed to the frontrunners, and after the final stops, just Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick. We were treated to lap after lap of the two drivers running somewhere between one and two seconds apart, not really making ground on each other. Let’s face it. Nothing was happening up there. The last ten laps was basically us wondering if Logano was going to catch AJ Allmendinger and force him to make a decision (he didn’t).

I always keep the live leaderboard at NASCAR.com on my laptop during races, so I went there to check intervals.  Yes, for IndyCar fans, this is a more rudimentary version of the method reportedly used by Beaux Barfield to help NBCSN’s broadcasts (he reportedly stuck Brian Barnhart in a truck and had him help point out good races on-track).  The only difference is that I don’t have control over what NBCSN airs. There, I noticed that there was some close racing for fifth between Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards and Austin Dillon. They were all but nose-to-tail over much of the final run. Did viewers see any of that? No. As far as I’m concerned, NBCSN’s broadcast on Sunday made the race seem a lot more boring than it really was. In addition, the general opinion seems to be that had it run Saturday night, it would have been worse due to the increased grip that comes with racing at night.

Post-race coverage was once again Chase-centric. Compared to Dover, it’s a little less of an issue since the Chasers locked out the top 6 finishing positions, but it’s still noticeable. With the shear amount of time that NBCSN has to work with these days (30 minutes or so without commercials), they can create a more inclusive array of post-race coverage. It doesn’t have to be all Chase, all the time. That stuff gets annoying after a while. I don’t really expect Kansas this weekend to be all that different, but Talladega is another story.

Despite what I said above about NBCSN making the race look uncompetitive with their production, it likely does stand as the least competitive fall race I’ve seen at Charlotte Motor Speedway (the aforementioned 1993 Mello Yello 500 aired on TBS 18 months before the channel was added to my cable system). NBCSN can’t do much about that. Probable new rules for 2016 might fix that, but NBCSN does have an ability to help perception. Show as much action for position as you can, wherever it is. I don’t care where.

Drive for the Cure 300

Friday night saw the XFINITY Series take to Charlotte Motor Speedway’s quad-oval for what used to be one of the series’ crown jewel events, complete with 60+ car entry lists and the “Hooligan race” to determine the final ten starters. However, it’s really just another race now with only 40 cars entered in the event and Cup drivers dominating much of the show. How did NBCSN deal with this situation? Let’s check it.

As mentioned above, the big stunt for Erendira Wallenda was a big story during Countdown to Green. Wood interviewed the Wallendas about everything that went into the planning of the stunt. That included the fact that Erendira had practiced the stunt in adverse conditions including rain and high winds. Interesting. My guess is that it wasn’t the Wallenda’s call to delay the performance on Saturday. Either the track called it off themselves, or the ceiling got too low for the helicopter to take off.

Outside of the stunt talk, most of the discussion was centered upon the championship battle. While there is no Chase in the XFINITY Series, the battle between Chris Buescher, Chase Elliott, Ty Dillon and Regan Smith has been quite decent recently. However, that battle has to take a backseat half the dang time to whatever Cup driver wants to show up and spank everyone.

Friday night, the spankers were Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne. With the long green flag runs, there really wasn’t all that much action for position. For three-quarters of the race, it looked like Kyle Busch was well on his way to his 75th career XFINITY win. Then, he got a bad restart and fell like a rock. That led to the story of the night, the coming together of Kyle Busch and Kahne that resulted in two of the three main contenders going into the wall.

(Photo: Mike Neff)
Sprint Cup regular Austin Dillon won the XFINITY Series race, and as a result, you didn’t see much of the series regulars on TV. (Photo: Mike Neff)

That led to a rehash of all the various occasions in which the two drivers have come together over the past couple of years. Turns out that it’s a little more common than most people think. Friday night was something like the sixth time they’ve come together since 2013. Even though it was contact from Kahne that put Kyle Busch into the wall, Kahne appeared pretty upset with the 30-year old racer after the race. Don’t be surprised if heck goes down between the two Cup veterans before the season ends.

We ultimately didn’t hear all that much about the XFINITY title contenders during the race, but anyone watching was up to date on the points since NBCSN had the points as they run below the standings bar for most of the race. It was essentially a draw for the night.

Post-race coverage was actually pretty decent. Fans tuned in on Friday night saw a good number of driver interviews in addition to checks of the unofficial results and points. I will state that NBCSN was definitely more subtle when it came to dealing with Austin Dillon’s close encounter of the sparkly kind prior to the race. The aftermath of the press conference saw what amounted to NASCAR-sanctioned butt pictures all over Twitter as media members asked Austin to turn around in order to see what the firework did to his fire suit. People don’t realize it, but that can be a thing with firework displays. A dead firework piece hit me once in the cheek at Shea Stadium in Queens back in the late 1990’s. While it wasn’t sparkling at the time, it still hurt a little. I was more shocked than anything. Surprised that we don’t see that more at NASCAR races since they fire off the pyrotechnics rather indiscriminately these days.

The XFINITY coverage really didn’t stand out all that much. The long green flag runs saw the field stretch out and very few instances really stood out, good or bad. While that can point to general excellence, here it pointed to a middling broadcast of a middling race. With all the talk about downforce packages in Cup, you never hear about it in the XFINITY Series, despite similar issues with the on-track product.  We didn’t get much action on-track and the focus on Cup drivers and the championship quartet didn’t help.  I’ll make the same suggestion for the XFINITY coverage as I did with the Cup race.  I don’t give a hoot where the real action is, show it to us.

That’s all for this week. Next weekend, the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series travel to Kansas Speedway for 700 more miles of action on a 1.5 mile tri-oval. This time, there is very little precipitation in the forecast. With some luck, everything will go off without a hitch. In addition, the ARCA Racing Series holds their season finale on Friday night. The only guarantee is that Grant Enfinger will claim the championship by starting the race. Beyond that is anyone’s guess. Here’s your listings.

Tuesday, October 13

TimeTelecastNetwork
6 a.m. - 7 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 12)
7 a.m. - 8 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 12)
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, October 14

TimeTelecastNetwork
2 a.m. - 3 a.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 2*# (from October 13)
2:30 a.m. - 3 a.m.NASCAR Scan all 43NBC Sports Network#
6 a.m. - 7 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 13)
7 a.m. - 8 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 13)
4:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.NASCAR Scan all 43NBC Sports Network#
5 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.FIA Formula E Championship Season PreviewFOX Sports 2
5 p.m. - 6 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
7 p.m. - 8 p.m.SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road: Costa MesaCBS Sports Network*/ (from September 19-20)
8 p.m. - 9 p.m.AMA EnduroCross: DenverCBS Sports Network* (from October 3)
11 p.m. - 12 a.m.Speed Energy Formula Off-Road: Costa MesaCBS Sports Network*/# (from September 19-20)

Thursday, October 15

TimeTelecastNetwork
1 a.m. - 2 a.m.AMA EnduroCross: DenverCBS Sports Network*# (from October 3)
3 a.m. - 4 a.m.SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road: Costa MesaCBS Sports Network*/# (from September 19-20)
4 a.m. - 5 a.m.AMA EnduroCross: DenverCBS Sports Network*# (from October 3)
6 a.m. - 7 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 14)
7 a.m. - 8 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 14)
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.Whelen Southern Modified Tour Southern Slam 150NBC Sports Network*/ (from October 8)
9:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.FIA Formula E Championship Season PreviewFOX Sports 2#
11 p.m. - 12 a.m.Whelen Southern Modified Tour Southern Slam 150NBC Sports Network*/# (from October 8)

Friday, October 16

TimeTelecastNetwork
2 a.m. - 3 a.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 2*# (from October 15)
6 a.m. - 7 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 15)
7 a.m. - 8 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 15)
12 p.m. - 1 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 1NBC Sports Network
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.XFINITY Series Practice No. 1NBC Sports Network
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.Whelen Southern Modified Tour Southern Slam 150NBC Sports Network*/# (from October 8)
4:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.XFINITY Series Happy HourNBC Sports Network
6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.Sprint Cup Series QualifyingNBC Sports Network
7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.BEING: Stewart-Haas RacingFOX Sports 1#
7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.Red Bull Global RallyCross: BarbadosNBC Sports Network*/# (from October 3-4)
8:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.ARCA Racing Series Full Throttle S'loonshine 98.9FOX Sports 1

Saturday, October 17

TimeTelecastNetwork
6 a.m. - 7 a.m.AMA EnduroCross: DenverCBS Sports Network*# (from October 3)
7 a.m. - 8 a.m.SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road: Costa MesaCBS Sports Network*/# (from September 19-20)
10 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.Mobil 1's The GridCBS Sports Network
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 2CNBC
12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.XFINITY Series QualifyingNBC Sports Network
2 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Happy HourNBC Sports Network
3:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.Countdown to GreenNBC Sports Network
4 p.m. - 7 p.m.XFINITY Series Kansas Lottery 300NBC Sports Network
9:30 p.m. - 1 a.m.Monster Energy Cup: Las VegasFOX Sports 2

Sunday, October 18

TimeTelecastNetwork
12:30 a.m. - 2 a.m.motoGP World Championship Pramac Australian Motorcyle Grand PrixFOX Sports 1
8 a.m. - 11 a.m.Monster Energy Cup: Las VegasFOX Sports 1*/# (from October 17)
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.NASCAR RaceDayFOX Sports 1
12 p.m. - 5 p.m.NHRA AAA Fall Nationals Final EliminationsESPN3$
12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge: Road AtlantaFOX Sports 1*/ (from October 2)
1 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.NASCAR America SundayNBC Sports Network
1:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.Countdown to GreenNBC
2 p.m. - 4 p.m.DTM: Hockenheim No. 2CBS Sports Network*/ (from October 17-18)
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.Rolex Monterey Motorsports ReunionFOX Sports 1#
2 p.m. - 6 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400NBC
4 p.m. - 5 p.m.NHRA AAA Fall Nationals QualifyingESPN 2*/ (from October 17)
4 p.m. - 6 p.m.V8 Supercars Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000CBS Sports Network*/ (from October 11)
4:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.Monster Energy Cup: Las VegasFOX*//# (from October 17)
6 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.NASCAR America Post-RaceNBC Sports Network
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.NASCAR Victory LapNBC Sports Network
8 p.m. - 10 p.m.IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge: Road AtlantaFOX Sports 2*/# (from October 2)
8 p.m. - 11 p.m.NHRA AAA Fall Nationals Final EliminationsESPN 2*/
10 p.m. - 11 p.m.Moto3: AustraliaFOX Sports 2*
11 p.m. - 12 a.m.Moto2: AustraliaFOX Sports 2*
11 p.m. - 1 a.m.DTM: Hockenheim, No. 2CBS Sports Network*/# (from October 17-18)
11:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.NASCAR Victory LapNBC Sports Network#

Monday, October 19

TimeTelecastNetwork
12 a.m. - 12:30 a.m.NASCAR Victory LaneFOX Sports 1
1 a.m. - 3 a.m.V8 Supercars Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000CBS Sports Network*/# (from October 11)
3:30 a.m. - 4 a.m.NASCAR Victory LaneFOX Sports 1#
6 a.m. - 7 a.m.NASCAR Victory LapNBC Sports Network*# (from October 18)
7 a.m. - 8 a.m.NASCAR Victory LapNBC Sports Network*# (from October 18)
8 a.m. - 9 a.m.NASCAR Victory LapNBC Sports Network*# (from October 18)
12 p.m. - 2 p.m.NASCAR 120: Hollywood Casino 400NBC Sports Network*/# (from October 18)
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
6 p.m. - 7 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1
Key:
* – Tape Delayed
/ – Highlighted Coverage
// – Previously highlighted coverage that has been cut again
# – Repeat Coverage
$ – Available via password-protected online streaming

I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup, XFINITY and ARCA races for next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here at Frontstretch. For this week’s edition of the Critic’s Annex (as noted in Pace Laps on Monday), I’ll be covering the World Endurance Championship’s 6 Hours of Fuji, which ran late Saturday night in DVR Theater. For next week’s Annex, we’ll cover NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN’s studio-based Sunday night race recap show.

If you have a gripe with me, or just want to say something about my critique, feel free to post in the comments below. Even though I can’t always respond, I do read your comments and I’m happy with the increased number of comments so far this year. 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
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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.

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About Phil Allaway

Phil Allaway
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 Tony Stewart's Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.

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12 comments

  1. Avatar

    The first exasperating round is over. Brian turned magician and made 27 cars and drivers and sponsors disappear.

    The second exasperating round is on and Brian has made 31 cars and drivers and sponsors disappear.

    Soon the third exasperating round will start with 35 disappearances.

    The fourth and final (at last) exasperating round will result in the disappearance of 39 cars and drivers and sponsors. If the cameras at the last “race” pan back they can show the final four running in the top four the whole time. Welcome to Brian’s World. It’s like he told the networks to only talk about his brilliant chase…sorry “playoffs.”

    Just think. During the final telecast there will be “Who’s going to be in the chase next year?”

    Stewart Friesen won the Syracuse 200 on Sunday for the fourth time. It’s the last race (44th) at the Moody Mile since the track is being demolished for “multi-million dollar” reconstruction of the Fairgrounds. I saw a lot of unpredictable races there including Gary Balough and his Batmobile. The Outlaw sprints raced the Oswego supers there too. Steve Kinser against Bentley Warren. Then the Outlaws moved to Rolling Wheels on Saturday night and I drove there to see them. Another of the race tracks I’ve been to bites the dust. They’re moving the race to a half-mile track and it won’t be close to the same.

    • Avatar

      Don, I sure hope not. My guess is that it won’t be quite as bad as you’re thinking (it was a little better this week with 4 fewer Chasers out there), but it’ll still be annoying.

      As for the “Finale at the Fairgrounds,” I’m well aware of it. Have a number of friends that went. I did it once in 2011. That’s a story for another time. It costs as much to do that as a Sprint Cup weekend does. Also, outside of Frontstretch, I do press for Lebanon Valley Speedway (my bio has not been updated in quite a while; I’m no longer writing for The Record (NY).) Two of the track’s regulars (Kenny Tremont, Jr. and Brett Hearn, who were one-two in Modified points this year) finished in the top-5 Sunday. Race took forever, though (20 cautions!). I’ve only met Friesen once (back in August, when he won Mr. Dirt Track U.S.A. at Lebanon Valley when Hearn ran out of fuel with about a lap to go after leading every lap). He seemed cordial enough.

      According to Bob Dillner, that race will be televised, but I couldn’t tell you when right now (my guess is on MavTV, which I don’t get). I tried to get a DirtVision registration so that I could purchase the telecast to watch Sunday, but I couldn’t get the e-mail that would allow me to authenticate my registration. Regardless, the Cup race getting postponed resulted in me choosing to purchase the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 instead (Commercial-free!).

      Speaking of Central New York Raceway Park, I give them about 15:1 odds that it’s even done by next October. Much like the fairgrounds, the site of the track is in a lake effect zone, so the work there’s probably going to stop for the winter in a month or so. Who knows what’s going to happen for next year. There are likely all kinds of options on the table if CNYRP isn’t done.

      • Avatar

        Phil, I’m originally from that area. Sadly, there are few people left who can say they write for The Record. I guess such is the newspaper business in the 21st century.

      • Avatar

        Here’s a quote from the Super Dirt Series site recap of the race:

        “Sunday’s Syracuse 200 was taped for broadcast on the CBS Sports Network. A broadcast date will be announced in the near future.

    • Avatar

      It’s too bad about Syracuse, I Also remember Gary Balough, but I was in the stands to see Toby Sr from Reading. I got hooked watching the modifieds at Reading on Friday and Sunday nights with 4 heats, a consolation, and a 35 lap feature of real racing.

  2. Avatar

    I surrender. I thought I hated the ‘playoff’ before, but being pounded over the head with nothing but ‘chase’ coverage to exclusion of everything else has finally exhausted me. I turned off the race by lap 100, choosing to enjoy a beautiful fall day instead.

    • Avatar

      salb, right there with you, except I didn’t wait for lap 100. I had my computer on with twitter and the leaderboard up, but I was mostly outside enjoying the day and getting some yard work done.

      I think it was 2 years ago that I told the people I usually meet at Charlotte that I wasn’t going to bother wasting the time or money since IMO the racing at Charlotte has been terrible since the levigation was done exacerbated by the ugly car and terrible tires.

      I like racing but I define that as being able to overtake and pass a car in front of you, not drive fast around the track with only 1 or 2 cars with the “right” setup so that they can lap the field. Yes, I know back in the really old days there were often only 2 or 3 cars still on the lead lap, but until NASCAR wrapped their hands around the throats of the teams/cars etc and strangled the innovation or cheating depending on how you look at it, it used to be fun.

      This is NOT fun.

      Since I watched very little of the actual race, just in and out to see what was going on, I probably shouldn’t comment on the broadcast itself, but then again, I’ve seen Fox/NBC/TNT/ESPN broadcasts done at this time of the year for a long time, so I doubt that it was any different than the race from Chicago, NH or Dover and that equates to nothing to see here. And that means “why bother”?

      I’m glad Gordon had a good finish — that was the highlight of the race for me (and yes, I know I’m biased).

  3. Avatar

    Phil, Even though everyone knows the racing is boring it is nice to see a member of the racing press finally admit it. Thank you. I expected raceless racing so I didn’t watch. The dull product was not the only reason I stayed away. The NBC coverage has finally reached Waltrip awful, the prospect of more all Chase all the time prattle was more than I could take. I think to save time in the future you should just completely fabricate any evaluation of the XfiniCup practice sessions. Since nobody cares and nobody is watching who would know?

  4. Avatar

    1.4. I repeat a 1.4 rating for the race. Even though it was on NBCSN that is almost laughable. And for the XFinity race Sportsmediawatch didnt even bother with a rating, just gave the number of viewers.

    What else is there to say?

    • Avatar

      Russ, the only thing I can think of is: A pass for the lead at the drop of the green flag and a pass on lap 5 as the only on track lead changes is NOT racing. It does not matter how many times we are told how great it is, how the competition is better than ever etc., etc. It just simply is not so. The grandstands and the tv ratings tell the story. One more thought: Phil said that the lead change count was “quite” sad. That is very true but an understatement of how bad NA$CAR has become.

  5. Avatar

    Once again my biggest gripe is the lack of keeping the viewer informed of intervals and laps down information via the ticker and no mention of lucky dogs and wave-arounds by the booth after each caution. As I stated in Mike’s column yesterday, I feel like if I am going to spend the time watching the crappy coverage on tv, sit through the commercials, and listen to the blather from the booth, that I should be more informed than someone just checking the feeds on a computer or updates on twitter. Unfortunately I don’t think that is the case anymore.

  6. Avatar

    I had to chuckle when Jeff Burton said the non-Chasers had every right to race the Chasers as hard as they could. Of course, the irony is, at the time, Chasers held 10 of the top 11 positions in the running order.