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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 »

Couch Potato Tuesday: John Wes Townley Got Served

Couch Potato Tuesday: John Wes Townley Got Served

Hello, race fans. Welcome to the first regular critique of the 2013 season. Before we get started, I want to start with my hope for the year, a lesson to learn through quoting the late Larry Nuber. On the second lap of the 1987 Winston 500, Nuber said, "I must tell all of you, racing on TV is the best because you can get right up in the cockpit, you can see all the way around [the track]. You don't miss any of the action." In this case, Nuber was comparing racing on TV to being in-person, live in the broadcast booth at Talladega. Say what you want about Nuber's ability as a booth analyst, but he had a point in what he was saying about telecasts. Racing is an excellent sport to watch on TV. However, not all of the action has been shown, for various reasons in recent years. NASCAR's partners, be it SPEED, FOX, TNT, or ABC/ESPN should strive to get back to that "ideal" Nuber describes, becoming as inclusive as possible for their viewership. Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: A Brief 2013 NASCAR TV Season Preview

Couch Potato Tuesday: A Brief 2013 NASCAR TV Season Preview

Hello, race fans. Hope you had a great holiday season. Mine was decent. I got a new camera, then took it to the Rolex 24 at Daytona. I'll post some of my best pictures from there on my "Facebook fan page":http://www.facebook.com/WritingOfPhilAllaway/ later this week for you. Let's just say that I really like my new Nikon 1 J1. However, pictures of Audi R8's and Porsche 911's are not what this column is about. TV telecasts are what we're discussing here. I don't have anything to critique this week, but within a few days there will be V8 engines growling and exciting action on television. It is my goal to give you a little preview of what you're likely to see this year as the NASCAR 2013 campaign revs up. Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: Title Usurps All, Including Covering the Race

Couch Potato Tuesday: Title Usurps All, Including Covering the Race

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast critique is the name of my game. This will mark the final full-fledged TV critique of the 2012 season, as every series of note with the exception of Formula One and the V8 Supercars are done for the year. This past weekend was Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the final races of the 2012 season for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: Fracas Coverage Good, Focus Again Hurts ESPN

Couch Potato Tuesday: Fracas Coverage Good, Focus Again Hurts ESPN

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast breakdown is the name of the game. This past weekend, NASCAR's National series were all in Avondale, Arizona for 662 scheduled miles of action. I have no doubts that ESPN wasn't expecting what they got on Sunday, but let's take a look at the three race telecasts on offer. Read More »

Couch Potato Tuesday: Title-itis Hurts Telecasts in All Three Series

Couch Potato Tuesday: Title-itis Hurts Telecasts in All Three Series

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where TV criticism and opinion is the name of the game. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series were all at Texas Motor Speedway. Before we start, I have a clarification for you regarding the feature on Timothy Peters that ran during NCWTS Setup prior to the Martinsville race. "Last week,":http://www.frontstretch.com/pallaway/41958/ I mentioned that SPEED had aired that before. I was right. However, I was under the opinion that it aired during a prior episode of the Setup (hence why I was feverishly going through my pages of notes). Instead, the Peters piece aired earlier this season on NASCAR RaceHub. A shortened version of it is what aired on the Martinsville Setup show. Read More »