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Phil Allaway

Talking NASCAR TV: Dover A Repeat of Past Issues For ABC/ESPN

Talking NASCAR TV: Dover A Repeat of Past Issues For ABC/ESPN

Hello, race fans. Last weekend, the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series were each racing in Dover, De. Neither race was adversely affected by weather, although it was a potential issue on both Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, the Truck Series raced at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Las Vegas 350k. However, before I get into my critiques of those races, a little news piece. Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, Ca.) has announced a fan vote to determine the start time of next year's Auto Club 500. As you might remember, this year's race coverage started at 2 p.m. local time (5 p.m. Eastern) with a one hour pre-race show. The green flag fell around 3:15 p.m. (6:15 p.m. et). Read More »

Talking NASCAR TV: ESPN … Chase … Overload

Talking NASCAR TV: ESPN … Chase … Overload

September brings about the beginning of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. This is something that I have generally not been a fan of in the past, for multiple reasons. Most of those reasons are not really pertinent to this article, so I won’t get into it here. However, there is one thought that does relate to the TV telecasts. I’ll get into it a little while later. New Hampshire’s September Sprint Cup weekend was inherited by the track as a result of the joint purchase of North Wilkesboro Speedway by Burton Smith and former NHMS owner Bob Bahre in 1996. As part of that deal, the two owners shut down the 49 year old short track and split the track’s two Winston Cup dates. New Hampshire claimed the fall date, the former Tyson Holly Farms 400. Read More »

Talking NASCAR TV: “Chasing” Diverts Too Much Attention From “Racing” At Richmond

Talking NASCAR TV: “Chasing” Diverts Too Much Attention From “Racing” At Richmond

Hello, race fans. The Richmond race weekend every September has always been an exciting weekend. Good racing is nearly guaranteed and, since it’s a short track, there is plenty of contact to go around. However, since 2004, this weekend has taken extra importance because it is the last race before the Chase for the Cup begins. Thus, it’s an all out free for all for a group of drivers trying to lock themselves into the Chase at the last minute. However, this week started out on a much lighter note for some of the Cup drivers. On Wednesday night, 19 full time Sprint Cup drivers, two NHRA Funny Car drivers (Ron Capps and Cruz Pedregon), Aric Almirola, and the driver of supposedly undetermined age (although it’s probably somewhere around 78 or 79) Red Farmer gathered at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Oh. for the "Prelude to the Dream." Read More »

Talking NASCAR TV: Poor Post-Race Aside, ESPN Atlanta Telecasts Show Improvement

Talking NASCAR TV: Poor Post-Race Aside, ESPN Atlanta Telecasts Show Improvement

Greetings, race fans. Labor Day weekend brought a split weekend schedule. The Cup and Nationwide Series both had night races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, while the Truck Series had its inaugural race at Iowa Speedway. Now, normally, I do the critique in chronological order, but since the Truck Series race was at a different site, I will cover that event first. On Saturday night, SPEED covered the Lucas Oil 200 for the Truck Series from Newton, Ia. Iowa brought a new wrinkle in the broadcast booth, as this was the first time that Johnny Benson was in the booth for SPEED. He’ll do two more races this season, on weekends in which Michael Waltrip cannot be in the booth. Personally, I thought that Benson did fine for a first time up there, but he was a little quiet in the booth. I’m not sure if that was really within his control, though. Read More »

From The Track To Your TV: An Inside Look At How ESPN NASCAR Broadcasts Tick

From The Track To Your TV: An Inside Look At How ESPN NASCAR Broadcasts Tick

*Prepping For Races: The On-Air Perspective* Getting ready for a race weekend starts days before ESPN shows up at the track. On Tuesdays, there is a “meeting” for all of the on-air personalities and producers. In reality, it’s more of a conference call, very similar to what FOX and TNT do for their coverage. It is here where the stories that ESPN will cover at the track are discussed, debated and outlined into what will become the pre-race show for the following weekend. From there, the race is on to research those stories and schedule the features that need to be made. Often times, the parts of the features with interviews are taped before the circus even arrives at the race track. Read More »

Talking NASCAR TV: ESPN Endures The Montreal Marathon

Talking NASCAR TV: ESPN Endures The Montreal Marathon

Hello, race fans. This past weekend was the last off weekend of the season for the Sprint Cup Series. But, that doesn’t mean that there was no action out there on the track. The ARCA Re/MAX and NASCAR Truck Series were at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday night to run support races to Saturday night’s IndyCar Series race. In addition, the Nationwide Series was in Montreal for their annual assault on the permanent road course that sort of drives like a street course. Were these telecasts great to watch, or was there something missing? Let’s find out. On Friday night, the ARCA Re/MAX Series had the Ansell Cut Protection 150 at Chicagoland Speedway. For reference, Ansell is a brand of work gloves sold exclusively through Menards Home Improvement Warehouse. This twilight race was quite interesting to watch on SPEED. Since the race was a doubleheader, Rick Allen and Phil Parsons, who were on site to commentate on the Truck Series race, commentated from the booth. Read More »

Marcos Ambrose’s Pit Strategy Doomed His Chances at Watkins Glen

Marcos Ambrose’s Pit Strategy Doomed His Chances at Watkins Glen

Marcos Ambrose came into Watkins Glen International for Monday’s Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen as a legitimate favorite to win the event. His No. 47 had been the quickest in both practice sessions on Saturday, and he had a lot of confidence coming into the race. He thought that Monday might have been the day that he could have picked up his first career Sprint Cup victory. However, it was not meant to be. Why, you ask? Read More »

Stewart Records Record-Breaking Fifth Win at Watkins Glen

Tony Stewart had an okay qualifying effort on Friday afternoon, placing his No. 14 Old Spice Chevrolet Impala SS 13th on the grid. Before the race was postponed on Sunday, Stewart said that he would like the weather to warm up, allowing the track to get slippery. He got his wish. On Monday, it was a muggy 83 degrees when the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen got underway. Stewart’s car, however, was set up for more of ... Read More »

Beyond the Cockpit:  Andy Lally

Beyond the Cockpit: Andy Lally

_Andy Lally is one of the best drivers the Grand Am series has to offer. The three-time champion already has two wins this season, continuing to add to a record number of top 3 and top 5 finishes in the series. With two 24 Hours of Daytona victories under his belt, it would seem the 34-year-old has accomplished everything he's set out to do in road racing._ _That's why it's not surprising to see one of auto racing's best looking to broaden his horizons just a bit. In a revealing interview with our Phil Allaway, Lally talks stock car racing on the eve of his first Sprint Cup start in the No. 71 TRG Motorsports Chevy, hoping a solid run Monday will be a springboard to bigger and better things._ Read More »

Talking NASCAR TV: ORP Good, IMS Bad As ESPN Jumps Back Into Double-Duty

Talking NASCAR TV: ORP Good, IMS Bad As ESPN Jumps Back Into Double-Duty

I know that the beginning of this week's title sounds like something out of the 2001 movie Zoolander, starring Ben Stiller (Martial Arts good; Prime Minister bad), but it essentially drives home my point in this critique. Indianapolis is likely the biggest race weekend for NASCAR in the second half of the season. As a result, the pressure is on everyone to put on a good show even more than normal. That goes all the way from the teams at the race tracks to the TV people and the tracks themselves. Of course, anything could have been better than last year’s insanity caused by the tires at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but just because the tires could last longer than it takes the average person to drink a soda doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that could be better. This past weekend, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway played host to the Cup Series for the 16th running of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Meanwhile, the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series raced a few miles away at O’Reilly Raceway Park on their .686-mile oval. Were these telecasts up to snuff? It appears that the answer is yes and no -- as always. Read More »