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Phil Allaway

Opening Day for NASCAR’s Chase Sets the Tone on ESPN

Opening Day for NASCAR’s Chase Sets the Tone on ESPN

*MavTV American Real 500* On Saturday night under blinding sunshine (literally), the IZOD IndyCar Series held their 500-mile season finale at Auto Club Speedway. On this night, there was really but one big story for the race, that being the championship. However, more was at play here than just the title chase. IndyCar Central started out with a look back at the craziness that was the Baltimore Grand Prix presented by SRT before getting into the pre-race interviews. The primary feature of the show was a one-on-one interview that Marty Snider conducted with Will Power. The main topic of discussion included the upcoming championship battle with Ryan Hunter-Reay and how Power has been unable to finish in recent years. Read More »

ESPN Reintroduces Fans to Johanna Long; Hypes Wild Cards Repeatedly

ESPN Reintroduces Fans to Johanna Long; Hypes Wild Cards Repeatedly

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast criticism and praise is our goal. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series raced at Richmond International Raceway, and in the case of Sprint Cup, dealt with rain. Before we start, there are two things I must note. ESPN confirmed Jamie Little will be back on pit road this weekend in Joliet. I'm happy to have Little back on the telecasts. Read More »

ESPN Puts Themselves (Unintentionally) in a Dark Place at Atlanta

ESPN Puts Themselves (Unintentionally) in a Dark Place at Atlanta

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race broadcast criticism is the name of the game. This past week, the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series were each at Atlanta Motor Speedway for 1,000 miles of racing and wearing tires down to the cords. Speaking of wearing down to the cords, I'm pretty sure that Trevor Bayne did quite a bit of that on Sunday night if his practice laps Saturday were any indication. His car seemed to be more at home at Lebanon Valley than Atlanta. Also of note, we’re getting into college football season again. Countdown prior to both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races was affected by games running long. I have no idea why ESPN thinks that it is a good idea to allot three hours per game. They have to run exceptionally fast in order to finish in that amount of time. At this point, ESPN literally has the power to dictate terms to schools about when they start games (the Tuesday night MAC and Sun Belt Conference events are just one example of this.) I'd suggest moving the start times up, but I guess they'd probably wait until next year to execute any changes. Read More »

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 »