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Couch Potato Tuesday: ESPN Fails to Carry Excitement to Cup Telecast

Couch Potato Tuesday: ESPN Fails to Carry Excitement to Cup Telecast

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast critiquing is the name of the game. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series were all in action back at Bristol Motor Speedway. Also of note, we've breached the 250 critique mark here at Frontstretch (combined between the regular Tuesday critiques and the ones in the Annex). I thank my readers for hanging in there over the past three plus seasons. Read More »

SPEED’s Action is Tops, While ESPN Needs to Expand Coverage

SPEED’s Action is Tops, While ESPN Needs to Expand Coverage

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast criticism is the main topic of discussion. I'm back from a one-week hiatus imposed because I was in Watkins Glen for the Sprint Cup weekend there, representing Frontstretch. While I was there, I had originally planned to gather information in order to completely update/replace the article I wrote back in 2009 that goes behind the scenes of ESPN's telecasts. The idea was that since technology modernizes at a substantial rate these days, ESPN would have had to modernize their own setup as well. However, ESPN refused to allow me access to the TV Compound, or to interview anyone associated with the network's NASCAR telecasts. Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: Special Guests and Weather Mark Telecasts

Couch Potato Tuesday: Special Guests and Weather Mark Telecasts

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast critiques are the name of the game. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series were each in action at Pocono Raceway. Meanwhile, the Nationwide Series was in action with ESPN's "B-Team" at Iowa Speedway. *U.S. Cellular 250* On Saturday night, the Nationwide Series held their second race of the season at Iowa Speedway in front of a sellout crowd. Since ESPN was busy covering the Sprint Cup race in Pocono in addition to this event, there were some changes. First off, there was a rare two-man booth for this race. Marty Reid was joined only by Ricky Craven. There was no Pit Studio (it was back in Pocono), so Shannon Spake hosted Countdown from pit road. It was a throwback telecast in a way with only five on-air personalities. Read More »

Overhyping and Individual Coverage Mars ESPN at Brickyard

Overhyping and Individual Coverage Mars ESPN at Brickyard

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, the weekly piece here at Frontstretch where TV coverage is placed front and center. This past weekend, we had "mini-Speedweeks" out in Indianapolis. The Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series were at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, along with Grand-Am's two series. Meanwhile, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards raced Friday night at nearby Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis with USAC's three big divisions (Midgets, Wingless Sprints and Silver Crown) as support. Read More »

Chicagoland Coverage Decent, but Networks Keep Viewers Guessing

Chicagoland Coverage Decent, but Networks Keep Viewers Guessing

=Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where critiquing of race broadcasts is the name of the game. The Sprint Cup Series took their final weekend off of the year, but unlike the last time, there was plenty of action to make up for it. Both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series were each in action at Chicagoland Speedway. The ARCA Racing Series also raced Saturday as the tertiary show. *Before we start,* ESPN stuck a little nugget into their "press release":http://espnmediazone.com/us/press-releases/2012/07/nascar-sprint-cup-racing-coming-to-espn-for-second-half-of-season/ about their upcoming Sprint Cup coverage. Tucked in there nice and tight is the news that Marty Reid will be returning to the broadcast booth to do play-by-play for the remaining Nationwide Series races. This will allow Allen Bestwick to focus on the Sprint Cup races. Read More »

How Do TNT’s Commercials and Peter Griffin Compare?

How Do TNT’s Commercials and Peter Griffin Compare?

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where TV critiques are the name of the game. I'm back after a one week hiatus, which was brought on due to my trip to Daytona to cover the Coke Zero 400. This week, we'll be reviewing the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series race telecasts from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and the Camping World Truck Series telecast from Iowa Speedway. *Before we start*, I want to mention a couple of things. Firstly, as you are likely well aware of, ESPN's Jamie Little is currently eight months pregnant and is now officially on maternity leave. However, this leave might not be as long as you think. On her Twitter page Sunday night, Little tweeted that she's "...sad I'll miss some races but I'll be back for [the] final 11!" This means that she plans on returning to pit road at Richmond in September. Until then, Shannon Spake will likely take her place in the pits. Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: KFC Overload Masks Substandard TNT Coverage

Couch Potato Tuesday: KFC Overload Masks Substandard TNT Coverage

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where overall race telecast critiques are the name of the game. Its been a tough couple of weeks, unfortunately. First, we had the Junior-centric coverage at Michigan, then whatever you guys want to call TNT's coverage at Sears Point (Note: Yes, I know it is Sonoma Raceway now, but the hill that the track is built into is actually called Sears Point, therefore, I am not in the wrong for calling it Sears Point). Just to add to the stink from Northern California, "this fan video":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tLtdeQoy0c#t=2m55s captured a couple of instances that were never mentioned on TNT's broadcast in Turn 2. Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: TNT Lost the Bleeps, Sweeps and Creeps

Couch Potato Tuesday: TNT Lost the Bleeps, Sweeps and Creeps

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast criticism is the name of the game. Oh boy, do we have a doozy this week. *Iowa Corn Indy 250* Saturday night saw the Izod IndyCar Series return to action at Iowa Speedway. Unfortunately, like last weekend in Milwaukee, rain played a role in the telecast, delaying the start by 40 minutes. While the rain game was played, NBC Sports aired more interviews than typical. There were 17 driver interviews, plus interviews with Randy Bernard, Rusty Wallace (track designer, fresh from Road America) and John Barnes (J.R. Hildebrand's Engineer). Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: TNT Focuses Too Much on Earnhardt Jr.

Couch Potato Tuesday: TNT Focuses Too Much on Earnhardt Jr.

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where TV criticism (and praise) is the object of the day. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series raced at the newly-repaved Michigan International Speedway. Meanwhile, the IZOD IndyCar Series raced at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. *Before we begin,* there's some news to mention. Sports Business Daily reported on Monday that "FOX Sports is most definitely interested in continuing to cover the Sprint Cup Series":https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2012/06/18/Media/Fox-NASCAR.aspx beyond the end of their current deal. In fact, they've already started serious negotiations with NASCAR a full year early on an extension. Such a move would allow FOX to avoid a likely bidding war with NBC that would drive up costs. For reference purposes, FOX's current deal to cover the Sprint Cup Series is through the 2014 season. Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: A Tale Of Two TNTs In 2012 NASCAR Debut

Couch Potato Tuesday: A Tale Of Two TNTs In 2012 NASCAR Debut

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast criticism is the name of the game. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup Series made their first trip of the season to Pocono Raceway for the newly shortened Pocono 400. This race also marked the return of Turner Sports (via TNT) for their 30th season of covering Sprint Cup races (yes, they've been around since 1983). Meanwhile, the Camping World Truck Series and Izod IndyCar Series took on the high banks of Texas Motor Speedway. Read More »