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Phil Allaway

Couch Potato Tuesday: Drawing The Line Between Sports Coverage And E!

Couch Potato Tuesday: Drawing The Line Between Sports Coverage And E!

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast discussion and critique is the main object of affection (or derision). This past weekend was relatively light, with only the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series in action in Richmond. *ToyotaCare 250* On Friday night, the Nationwide Series returned to action on the three-quarters of a mile "D-Shaped" oval at Richmond International Raceway. Carl Edwards was back in the booth for his second race of the year. How did it go? Let's take a look. Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: Where Are The Drivers? NASCAR Analysis Gone Overboard

Couch Potato Tuesday: Where Are The Drivers? NASCAR Analysis Gone Overboard

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast critique is the object of discussion here. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series were at Kansas Speedway for some ultra-fast action. Meanwhile, the IZOD IndyCar Series took to the streets of Long Beach. *Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach* On Sunday afternoon, the IZOD IndyCar Series returned to action on the 1.968-mile street course in Long Beach, California. How did the NBC Sports Network do with their coverage of one of the series’ crown jewels? Let’s find out. With NBC Sports Network having multiple racing commitments last weekend, the decision was made to have Leigh Diffey stay in Connecticut in order to do play-by-play commentary for the Grand Prix of Bahrain. With Bob Varsha also busy at Road Atlanta, occupied with Grand-Am racing, the NBC Sports Network tapped Brian Till to replace Diffey for the weekend. Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: Edwards Improves, But Still A Work In Progress

Couch Potato Tuesday: Edwards Improves, But Still A Work In Progress

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where we critique all kinds of different race telecasts. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series were at Texas Motor Speedway. Meanwhile, the Camping World Truck Series made their annual trip to Rockingham for some action on a cheese grater masquerading as a racetrack. *North Carolina Educational Lottery 200 at the Rock presented by Cheerwine* On Sunday afternoon, the Camping World Truck Series returned to Rockingham Speedway for their second assault on the tricky, high-banked tri-oval. Honestly, the race was quite similar to last year's. Turner Scott just plain dominated. Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: Edwards Alters ESPN While FOX Delivers “Up Close”

Couch Potato Tuesday: Edwards Alters ESPN While FOX Delivers “Up Close”

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast critique is our primary concern. Today, we're covering the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series from Martinsville and the IZOD IndyCar Series from Barber Park. *Before we start,* we've got quite a bit of news to cover. First off, ESPN announced on Monday that Carl Edwards will be returning to the broadcast booth as an analyst for three Nationwide Series races, starting with Friday night's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. Afterwards, Edwards will be in the booth for Richmond (airing on ESPNEWS) and Talladega as well. Edwards will be replacing Rusty Wallace as the driver analyst. Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: Rating The Top 3 Active NASCAR TV Analysts

Couch Potato Tuesday: Rating The Top 3 Active NASCAR TV Analysts

Hello, race fans. Hope you enjoyed Easter Weekend. For me, it was relatively boring. Ended up spending much of my Easter watching Indianapolis 500s from the 1990s on YouTube. Well, this week in Couch Potato Tuesday, you won't be bored here; we're going to broach new ground. Most of the hundreds of critiques that I've written for Frontstretch involve me watching race telecasts and breaking them down, piece by piece. Even though I am not wholly negative in my critiques of broadcasts, I have definitely earned a reputation from some as a "Negative Nancy." Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: NBC Sports Does Well; FOX Lucky with Feud Focus

Couch Potato Tuesday: NBC Sports Does Well; FOX Lucky with Feud Focus

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast criticism is the object of our affection, or hatred. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series were both at Auto Club Speedway. Meanwhile, the IZOD IndyCar Series held their season opener on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. *Before we start*, I need to rant. I tried to watch NBC Sports Network's live coverage of the Grand Prix of Malaysia early Sunday morning (gotta love that 4am start time that screwed up my entire Sunday and Monday). I wasn't even planning on critiquing the telecast for the site. I just wanted to watch the race, because I like Formula One. My cable system (Time Warner Cable) has SD and HD feeds of NBC Sports Network. Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: FOX's Pre-Race - Not In-Race - Coverage Concern

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where telecasts are the name of the game. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series were back in action at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For Cup, it was the first intermediate race for the new Gen-6 cars. <div style=\"float:right; width:275px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"> <img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/15523.jpg\" width=\"275\" height=\"180\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">ESPN and FOX were responsible for keeping the action in focus this week in Las Vegas. See what Phil Allaway thinks of their work in Couch Potato Tuesday.</p></div> *Sam's Town 300* Usually, we only have issues with other events cutting into _NASCAR Countdown_ during the college football season in the fall. However, March is another bad time for that due to the various tournaments for basketball. On Saturday, the regular season ACC matchup between North Carolina State and Florida State ran long by 17 minutes. Ordinarily, this infringement would just bite. We'd miss out on whatever feature ESPN had planned and some analysis from the Pit Studio. However, Saturday's Countdown was a planned 15-minute show. The Pit Studio (along with Nicole Briscoe and her analyst cohorts) was taking a planned vacation prior to heading to Bristol, Tennessee, so Allen Bestwick was due to host the show from the broadcast booth. Due to the overrunning game from Raleigh, ESPN chose to bump pre-race coverage to ESPNEWS. There, ESPN did four pre-race interviews in what could be considered a basic, bare bones edition. Generally, I liked it. Short but sweet… The race telecast was middle-of-the-road by ESPN standards. There was still a fairly high focus on the frontrunners during the event. Since Sam Hornish, Jr. led a large amount, he got a lot of airtime. I know that it's a broken record by now, but I want to see more coverage throughout the field. I think ESPN is taking the right route in regards to their coverage of Travis Pastrana in the series. Last year, they did all kinds of profiles and features on him, but now they're playing a wait and see game to watch how he develops as a racer. They're giving Pastrana coverage during the races, but not an insane amount, as if he's the only up-and-comer competing. It is a far different approach as compared to how they treated Danica Patrick during her first full season in the Nationwide Series (and how FOX is treating her now as a Sprint Cup rookie, to their own detriment). <div style=\"float:right; width:200px; margin:20px; padding-left:20px;\"> <object classid=\"clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000\" codebase=\"http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=7,0,0,0\" width=\"160\" height=\"350\" align=\"middle\"> <param name=\"allowScriptAccess\" value=\"sameDomain\" /> <param name=\"movie\" value=\"/poll/poll.swf?pollid=2135&owner=phpjabbers.com&phpurl=/poll/\" /> <param name=\"quality\" value=\"high\" /> <param name=\"bgcolor\" value=\"#ffffff\" /> <embed src=\"/poll/poll.swf?pollid=2135&owner=phpjabbers.com&phpurl=/poll/\" quality=\"high\" bgcolor=\"#ffffff\" width=\"160\" height=\"350\" align=\"middle\" allowScriptAccess=\"sameDomain\" type=\"application/x-shockwave-flash\" pluginspage=\"http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer\" /> </object> </div> During the race, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. showed up and spent 20 or so minutes in the booth. While he was up there, Stenhouse answered some questions on restarts and compared the Nationwide CoT to the new Gen-6 car. Otherwise, he stayed quiet. The booth had to go out of their way to involve Stenhouse in the conversation, which takes away from the race in general. I guess either the driver is introverted or he just didn't have all that much to say. One thing is for sure: Bestwick, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree won't have to worry about Stenhouse taking over a broadcast anytime soon, like Justin Allgaier has unintentionally done in the past during ARCA telecasts on SPEED. The end of the race ran up against the end of the network's timeslot. As a result, post-race coverage was relatively light. ESPN did five quick interviews, then left the air to get to the Ohio Valley Conference Championship Game (Murray State vs. Belmont in Nashville). The telecast was OK to watch. However, just being OK is not necessarily good enough. I still want a more inclusive race broadcast. I don't need to be staring at single cars three seconds ahead of everyone else all the time. That's when other battles should be highlighted, regardless of whether those drivers are on the lead lap or not. Also, Stenhouse didn't do much in the booth, but I'm sure Zest (his sponsor for the weekend) was happy to get the random plug when he finished up there. ... Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: Did ESPN, FOX, SPEED Cover Larson’s Crash Right?

Couch Potato Tuesday: Did ESPN, FOX, SPEED Cover Larson’s Crash Right?

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast breakdowns are the main subject of interest. This past weekend was supposed to be one of the greatest weekends of racing all year. However, the crash that happened at the end of the Nationwide race overshadowed everything else, good and bad. Ultimately, I have to look at the telecasts under that lens. Because of that, the Camping World Truck Series event will not be covered in this critique. Quite simply, under the current circumstances, I would not be able to do SPEED's telecast justice. However, it will covered later this week in the "Critic's Annex,":/notice/9557/ a piece which can be found every Thursday in the Frontstretch Newsletter. Read More »