NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Birthday Boy Kyle Busch Brings Home the Hardware in 2009 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond

Previous to Saturday night, Cale Yarborough was the only driver in the history of the Cup Series to win a race on his birthday (he pulled off the feat twice, at two different racetracks, North Wilkesboro and Bristol). Well, after Saturday night, Cale has some company. Kyle Busch started in 14th, but immediately made great …

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Talking NASCAR TV: FOX “Back of the Pack” Battles No Laughing Matter for Fans

Hello, race fans. I don’t know about you guys, but I was real scared watching that wreck that Carl Edwards had Sunday at the end of the Aaron’s 499. Not so much for Edwards – but for the fans themselves. After the race ended, I thought back and realized that the crash looked a little like the late Neil Bonnett’s wreck in the DieHard 500 in July 1993 as opposed to the infamous Bobby Allison one from 1987 that was referenced on FOX.

Talking NASCAR TV: Jump the Shark

Like almost everyone else that watched Saturday night’s race, I felt that there was far too much emphasis on Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch. It was insane – to the point it definitely didn’t feel like the seventh race out of 35 on the schedule, for sure. It’s almost like the production crew thought that the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 was the November daytime race at Phoenix instead of the April night race. Viewers were treated to constant reminders about the points, along with constant updates on where Edwards and Busch were running at the expense of covering the rest of the race. I know that the director and camera crews have to pick and choose what to cover on the track with 43 cars starting each event – but this was a travesty.

Mark Martin Breaks His Winless Streak, Wins 2009 Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix

Starting on the front row this season had been a mixed bag for Mark Martin. At Bristol, he ran up front for most of the race and finished sixth. At Daytona, he got caught back in traffic and the rains prohibited him from moving up higher than 16th before the rains came and ended the festivities. And at Atlanta, Martin blew a tire and spun out, eventually finishing 31st. Saturday night was a different story all together.

Talking NASCAR TV: Creative Approach to Practice Makes ESPN Shine at Nashville… Until Nemechek’s Flip

Today, the cars race on the day before Easter (Holy Saturday) at Nashville Superspeedway, a 1.33-mile concrete tri-oval near Nashville, Tenn. This past weekend’s Pepsi 300 was the first standalone event of the new season for the Nationwide Series, so ESPN2 decided to use it to try some new things. For the final practice session, ESPN decided to essentially “adopt” a team and follow them all through practice. In this case, they chose the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge driven by Justin Allgaier for Penske Championship Racing. The broadcast basically showed how the team was fine-tuning their Charger every step of the way, using shocks and other changes to perfect the handling of their racecar. I found it quite interesting, to be honest, and it wound up being a great addition to their show.

Talking NASCAR TV: Digger Returns… But That’s Not the Only Problem with Texas Coverage

Hello, race fans. Texas provided us with long green-flag runs on both Saturday and Sunday’s races. Usually, this means that the field gets extensively stretched out, and Texas was no exception to the norm. So, how did this weekend’s television coverage add up? Let’s take a look.

Jeff Gordon Snaps Career-Long Winless Streak in 2009 Samsung 500 at Texas

Coming into Sunday’s Samsung 500, Jeff Gordon had not been to victory lane since the Bank of America 500 on October 13, 2007, a streak of 47 races. That is a thing of the past now. Gordon’s pit crew was quick enough during the final pit stop on lap 307 to get Gordon the lead. From there, Gordon had to hold off resurgent teammate Jimmie Johnson to win the Samsung 500.

Talking NASCAR TV: After Martinsville, FOX Needs to Cover More Than Just the Cars Up Front

Luckily, Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 went off without a hitch on the weather front, and there were some interesting tidbits that I took from the broadcast. First of all, I mentioned last week that I thought I had missed something, since I didn’t remember seeing or hearing a Digger cartoon during the pre-race show. Well, it wasn’t just me not paying attention. It appears that FOX has nixed the pre-race cartoon. Yes, some people might be a little bit disappointed to hear this… but it’s for the best. Race fans deserve a professional broadcast, and CGI gophers talking about random stuff that isn’t exactly related to anything going on in the series is not really professional. Earlier this season, I said that I believed that the gopher and the accompanying cartoons were hurting FOX’s, and, by extension, NASCAR’s credibility. As much as I’d like to claim at least partial credit for this action by FOX, I know that I’m not responsible. If I were alone in my outright criticism of FOX’s actions with Digger, then I might be willing to take more credit. As it stands, there was substantial public outcry online against FOX’s cartoons, and I’m not the only person that has written about Digger this season.

Jimmie Johnson Claims Yet Another Victory at Martinsville for Hendrick Motorsports

On Sunday, Hendrick Motorsports celebrated the 25th Anniversary of their first victory in the then-Winston Cup Series. Back then, the team, then known as All-Star Racing, fielded the winning No. 5 for Geoff Bodine. Today, Jimmie Johnson capped off the anniversary celebration in the best way possible for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson, who had early issues on pit road, charged up through the field, and then used his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet in the manner of a battering ram in order to move Denny Hamlin out of the way on lap 430. After winning the race off pit road under a late caution, Hamlin passed on Johnson on the restart.

Talking NASCAR TV: Digger’s Bristol Disappearance, Lazy Legends Coverage & Screwy Scrolls

Hello, race fans. After a week off, both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series were back in action this past weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee for both the Food City 500 and Scotts Turf Builder 300. In addition, a special “Saturday Night Special” charity event featuring legends of the past and celebrities in late model stock cars was held after the Nationwide race on Saturday. How did all these broadcasts stack up? Let’s find out.

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