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Couch Potato Tuesday: A Classic Racing TV Mistake… No “Pay Off”

Couch Potato Tuesday: A Classic Racing TV Mistake… No “Pay Off”

Ah, road course racing. For the first time in 2014, the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series turned right in both California and Wisconsin. After months of oval track coverage, it was good to see some NASCAR TV showing a slightly different picture than usual.

However, before we start, we must talk about some expected but unfortunate news. Motorsport.com’s Lee Spencer is reporting that NASCAR Now has been canceled by ESPN. Luckily, it also appears that no one working on the show is out on the street because of the cancellation, which is good to hear; everyone working on the show has other opportunities within ESPN.

I know it doesn’t come as a shock to me or anybody else reading this column — the show was a lame duck, running in the overnights whenever ESPN felt like running it. Recently, 2:30 a.m. EDT had become a more or less standard timeslot for the show. While appointment television is important (see: NASCAR RaceHub), that’s a pretty tough slot to generate any viewership from. Also, much like the weekend editions of rpm2night after Rece Davis left, the show has had an even more varied group of hosts than normal, some of which likely were not all that knowledgeable about NASCAR. I figured that the show would have been canceled right after Homestead.

The show had not aired since June 11, prior to the start of FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil. I was under the assumption that the show was being parked until after the group stage finishes up later this week, but that is sadly not the case. I will admit that with the late timeslot, I haven’t been able to watch all that much of the show recently. However, when I could watch, it was at least decent. I have not seen anyone involved with the show mourn the death of it as of yet on Twitter. Seems like a mercy killing.  Regardless, I’m still going to miss it.

ESPN’s official response is that the network simply decided to make a change. However, it doesn’t seem believe that its commitment to NASCAR will waver over the remainder of the season, despite the lame duck status.

“We will continue to present the race telecasts at the same high level fans expect from ESPN for the remainder of our final season,” Andy Hall, ESPN’s media relations manager for motorsports, told Spencer on Monday. “We will continue to aggressively cover NASCAR across our news platforms, including SportsCenter, ESPN.com and others.”

The loss of NASCAR Now is just one more big change for ESPN’s NASCAR coverage over the past year. In the last year, ESPN has parted ways with Marty Reid (admittedly, that was not done to cut costs) and reassigned two of their NASCAR beat writers (David Newton and Terry Blount) to cover NFL teams. With NBC Sports Network launching NASCAR America earlier this year, NASCAR Now was the clear No. 3 show due to its overnight slot. While ESPN claims that the rest of its NASCAR coverage won’t change, we’ll just have to wait and see about that.

Gardner Denver 200 Fired Up by Johnsonville

On Saturday afternoon, the Nationwide Series returned to the four-mile road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisc., for what was scheduled to be a 50-lap race. It turned out to be 53. It also rained.

The big change for 2014 was the race airing on ABC instead of ESPN 2. As a result, the start of the race was pushed up to around 3 p.m. EDT instead of 5:30 p.m. Generally, it was a positive move. However, scheduling the start at then resulted in the start being delayed because the track was too wet for slicks, yet too dry for wets.

NASCAR should have just started the dang thing. The rain was light enough that the heat from 38 cars could have kept the track somewhat dry, while leaving the decision on tires squarely in the hands of the teams, which is the way it should be. Also, the yellow should not have been thrown for rain on lap 25. Instead, teams should have changed to rain tires of their own volition.

Regardless, the unnecessary rain delay led to some time killing. Since everyone had to stay strapped into their cars, ESPN couldn’t do a bunch of interviews. Granted, the network did interview Chase Elliott in his car and a couple of crew chiefs. In addition, it re-aired the piece about the siren (or “sigh-reen,” depending on where you’re from) at the Dawsonville Pool Room and the heritage of racing in Dawsonville.

During the race itself, ESPN showed a lot of footage at the very front of the field. Since there really wasn’t all that much action up there during the race, it made for a fairly boring looking race. Also, the field gets spread out over the four-mile course very quickly. To its credit, ESPN did find some battles to look at from time to time, but they were too far and few between.

There were some good aspects of the telecast, including when ESPN was able to snag a shot of Chris Buescher’s flat-spotted tire that had to be changed on lap 6. However, much of that was overshadowed by a lack of coverage. There were simply way too many aspects of the race that were missed.

We’ll just use the crash that put Trevor Bayne out of the race as an example because it is the most blatant example. We did see Bayne get spun out in turn 6 after contact from Ty Dillon and also got radio chatter that indicated that Bayne was quite upset with Dillon. Less than a lap later, Bayne crunched up the front end in a separate wreck that put him out. No footage, despite the fact that Bayne had an in-car camera. That’s weak. With the in-car camera, they had to have something. And if it did, ESPN chose not to show it to us. As it stands, the only way we know what happened to Bayne is what he said in his interview.

Trevor Bayne is all smiles at Road America. (credit NASCAR via Getty Images)

Trevor Bayne is all smiles at Road America. (credit NASCAR via Getty Images)

Also, for the sake of this discussion, check out this picture that Allen Bestwick tweeted of his setup in the booth on Saturday. He has every camera at his fingertips. Surely there could have been a lot more racing for position on one of those monitors that we didn’t see.

Since the race ended roughly 45 minutes beyond the end of ESPN’s timeslot on ABC, post-race coverage was quite limited. There were interviews with Elliott, winner Brendan Gaughan and his crew chief Shane Wilson before ESPN left the air. Sadly, this coverage was quite unsatisfactory, but I assumed that it would happen. The time crunch will always win out over important stories unless something horrible happens. Saturday’s situation would also have been a very good time to make use of “The Rundown,” the online package of interviews that ESPN has posted on its mess of a website from time to time this season. Unfortunately, ESPN decided not to make use of it, which was a terrible move.

There was absolutely nothing in post-race about Alex Tagliani’s herculean charge on slicks from 23rd to second. ESPN showed almost none of this charge (we only saw the absolute tail-end of it live). That led the Paul Menard Empire to demand that ESPN post Tagliani’s in-car camera from the final two laps. Good idea, but you posed it to the wrong entity. It should have been posed directly to NASCAR itself since ESPN does not own the footage of the race.

I’m going to take this opportunity to ask NASCAR gently to post that video. Inquiring diehards (in other words, more than just me) would love to see it. I’m sure that it would get a lot of views on YouTube.

Toyota/Save Mart 350k

On Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series returned to action at Sonoma Raceway for 110 laps of action. TNT was back with their crew to bring us the footage.

It took about 30 seconds of Countdown to Green for the audio problems to return for Turner Sports. Man, it’s been a tough Summer Series on the technical side of things. Here, Adam Alexander’s wireless microphone bit the dust, resulting in distracting audio, plus a Lil Jon moment (Note: Viewer Discretion advised, for there is profanity) when no one could hear what Alexander was saying. Oh boy, that was just a mess. It’s like nobody checked the equipment before going on-air.

Admittedly, other than the technical issues, not a whole heck of a lot stood out with the exception of the All-Access feature. Sunday’s feature had TNT’s cameras following Marcos Ambrose for the week. Here, unlike some of the other pieces, we didn’t see any special appearances or PR filler. We just saw work in the shop, Ambrose talking handling characteristics with Richard Petty and some work that Ambrose does in his spare time. It seemed a little unclear as to whether he was working on go-karts or Mini Outlaws (if you’re unfamiliar with those creatures, ask Mike Neff). It seemed like a change from some of the previous pieces about Ambrose which seemed to focus on activities like mountain climbing, gold prospecting and such.

During the race, TNT’s commercial policy seemed to really break the race up. When TNT (or for that matter, any other TV partner) takes a break, comes back from it, then goes back to commercial after only two to three laps of racing, it makes it hard for viewers to follow the action. Personally, it frustrates the bejesus out of me.

TNT tended to ignore a couple of notable incidents. For example, they more or less showed the stackup in turn 7 on lap 35 that forced Casey Mears to make an unscheduled pit stop for repairs. However, there was no mention of the stackup until Kyle Petty noted the damage on the GEICO Chevrolet. The replays didn’t show up until after Mears pitted.

Also, there were a number of spins that occurred due to unknown origins. TNT would catch the end of the spin, report on who spun out (Ex: “And Stenhouse has spun exiting turn 11”), and go on to the next topic. They never pay it off (tell or show the viewers what happened). Admittedly, I had similar gripes with ESPN’s coverage from Road America.

The tide of the race turned on lap 72 when the third yellow flew for debris in turn 10. If I knew what it was, it’d be nice. I’m fairly confident that TNT didn’t show it. Mike Neff agrees. In recent editions of Mirror Driving, I’ve pitched the idea of strapping cameras to the safety workers so that viewers can see what they’re picking up when these debris cautions come out. With both TNT and ESPN being lame ducks, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to try it out for a couple of weeks and see how it works. Currently, the safety workers wear helmets similar to what short track speed skaters wear (basically, bike helmets). Giving a couple of them (at least one per truck) a helmet similar to what ESPN gives to one of the over-the-wall crewmembers each week (and yes, they give it to them since the helmet is a plain white helmet with the ESPN logo on it) would go a long way toward transparency.

Also, the booth should have made some kind of reference to the barrier that Kenseth hit. It was clearly of the temporary variety. He hit a Jersey barrier with a strapped tire barrier in front of it. The replays showed that one of the sections nearly toppled over in the crash. Not a word about it. That should be a permanent barrier behind the tires.

Having said that, there were some good moments. Kyle Petty’s analysis of the Clint Bowyer-Jamie McMurray-Kevin Harvick incident in turn 11 was a plus. It was unclear at first that the incident was anything more than just a classic tap and spin, but Petty noticed Bowyer’s flat tire and made that fact known.

But overall, I wanted more out of the telecast. More action for position, a better flow to the telecast so that the commercials (a necessary evil) didn’t make the race hard to follow. I want to know why the race is under caution in a timely fashion and TNT failed to do that with the lap 72 yellow. It seems that out of NASCAR’s three major TV partners, TNT is the one that is packing it in early. That’s to say nothing about the commentary. Petty is the strongest of the three in the booth right now. Dallenbach is only OK, and road courses are his bread and butter, while Alexander is OK at best. Granted, the booth is using actual English and not screaming at us, which is always a plus, but the production is hurting the overall telecast.

That’s all for this week. Next weekend is quite busy with a NASCAR tripleheader at Kentucky Speedway headlining. In addition, the Verizon IndyCar Series travels to hot and humid Houston for their second doubleheader of the season, while IMSA travels to Watkins Glen for the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen. Here’s your listings.

Tuesday, June 24
Time Telecast Network
5:00pm-5:30pm NASCAR America NBC Sports Network
5:00-6:00pm NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 1
6:30-7:30pm NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 2*#
10:00pm-12:00am AMA Pro Motocross Championship Series: Thunder Valley NBC Sports Network*/# (from June 7)

Wednesday, June 25
Time Telecast Network
12:00am-2:00am AMA Pro Motocross Championship Series: Hangtown NBC Sports Network*/# (from May 31)
2:00-3:00am Red Bull Global RallyCross: Washington, DC NBC Sports Network*/# (from June 21-22)
7:00-9:00am AMA Pro Motocross Championship Series: Thunder Valley NBC Sports Network*/# (from June 7)
5:00pm-5:30pm NASCAR America NBC Sports Network
5:00-6:00pm NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 1
6:30-7:30pm NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 2*#
7:00-9:00pm World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars Spring Nationals (Williams Grove Speedway) CBS Sports Network*/ (from May 17)
7:30-8:00pm Empty Cup: Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship FOX Sports 2#

Thursday, June 26
Time Telecast Network
7:00am-9:00am AMA Pro Motocross Championship Series: High Point NBC Sports Network*/# (from June 14)
4:30pm-6:00pm Camping World Truck Series Qualifying FOX Sports 1
6:00-6:30pm NASCAR America NBC Sports Network
6:00-6:30pm NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 1
6:30-7:30pm Nationwide Series Practice No. 1 FOX Sports 1
7:30-8:00pm NCWTS Setup FOX Sports 1
8:00-10:30pm Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 FOX Sports 1

Friday, June 27
Time Telecast Network
3:00am-5:30am Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 FOX Sports 1*# (from June 26)
9:00-10:30am Nationwide Series Happy Hour FOX Sports 1
10:00am-12:00pm World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars Gettysburg Clash CBS Sports Network*/# (from May 14)
10:30am-12:00pm Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 1 FOX Sports 1
12:00-1:00pm K&N Pro Series East Visit Hampton VA 175 FOX Sports 1*/ (from June 21)
1:00-2:30pm Sprint Cup Series Happy Hour FOX Sports 1
2:30-3:30pm NASCAR Live No. 1 FOX Sports 1
3:30-5:00pm Nationwide Series Qualifying FOX Sports 1
4:00-6:00pm World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars at Williams Grove CBS Sports Network*/# (from May 17)
5:00-5:30pm NASCAR Live No. 2 FOX Sports 1
5:00-5:30pm NASCAR America NBC Sports Network
5:30-7:00pm Sprint Cup Series Qualifying FOX Sports 1
7:00-7:30pm NASCAR Countdown ESPN
7:30-10:00pm Nationwide Series John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 ESPN
8:00-9:00pm Blancpain Endurance Series: Monza CBS Sports Network*/# (from April 13)
8:15-10:15pm NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals First Round Qualifying ESPN3$
9:00-10:00pm Blancpain Endurance Series: Silverstone CBS Sports Network*/# (from May 25)
10:00pm-12:00am World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars Texas Outlaw Shootout Night No. 1 CBS Sports Network*/# (from April 18)

Saturday, June 28
Time Telecast Network
12:00am-2:00am World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars Texas Outlaw Shootout, Night No. 2 CBS Sports Network*/# (from April 19)
2:00-4:00am World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars at Williams Grove CBS Sports Network*/# (from May 17)
3:00-4:30am Sprint Cup Series Happy Hour FOX Sports 1*# (from June 27)
3:00-5:00am Nationwide Series John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 ESPN 2*/# (from June 27)
4:00-5:00am Blancpain Endurance Series: Monza CBS Sports Network*/# (from April 13)
4:30-6:00am Sprint Cup Series Qualifying FOX Sports 1*# (from June 27)
5:00-6:00am Blancpain Endurance Series: Silverstone CBS Sports Network*/# (from May 25)
7:00-9:00am motoGP World Championship Grand Prix of the Netherlands FOX Sports 1
9:00-11:00am Blancpain Sprint Series: Nogaro CBS Sports Network*# (from April 21)
10:30-11:00am Empty Cup: Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship FOX Sports 1#
11:00am-1:00pm Blancpain Sprint Series: Brands Hatch CBS Sports Network*# (from May 18)
11:00am-1:00pm Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 FOX Sports 1*/# (from June 26)
11:30am-2:15pm IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Continental Tire 150 IMSA.com^
1:00-2:00pm Moto2: The Netherlands FOX Sports 2*
1:00-2:00pm Blancpain Endurance Series: Monza CBS Sports Network*/# (from April 13)
1:00-2:30pm Sprint Cup Series Qualifying FOX Sports 1*# (from June 27)
2:00-3:00pm Verizon IndyCar Series Qualifying NBC Sports Network*
2:00-3:00pm Moto3: The Netherlands FOX Sports 2*
2:00-3:00pm Blancpain Endurance Series: Silverstone CBS Sports Network*/# (from May 25)
3:00-5:00pm DTM: Hockenheimring CBS Sports Network*# (from May 4)
3:00-6:00pm Verizon IndyCar Series Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, Race No. 1 NBC Sports Network
4:00-5:30pm Sprint Cup Series Qualifying FOX Sports 2*# (from June 27)
5:00-7:00pm DTM: Oschersleben CBS Sports Network*# (from May 18)
5:30-6:30pm NASCAR RaceDay FOX Sports 2
6:00-7:00pm Pro Motocross Championship Series Tennessee 250 Moto No. 2 NBC Sports Network*
6:30-7:30pm Countdown to Green Served by Sonic TNT
7:30-11:00pm Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 TNT
8:00-9:00pm Rally America Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally NBC Sports Network*/ (from May 30-31)
8:00-10:00pm NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals Final Qualifying ESPN 2*
10:00pm-12:00am World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars at Williams Grove CBS Sports Network*/# (from May 17)

Sunday, June 29
Time Telecast Network
3:00am-3:30am NASCAR Victory Lane FOX Sports 1
3:00-4:00am Blancpain Endurance Series: Silverstone CBS Sports Network*/# (from May 25)
3:30-4:00am Empty Cup: Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship FOX Sports 1
4:00-5:00am motoGP World Championship Grand Prix of the Netherlands FOX Sports 1*/# (from June 28)
4:00-6:00am Blancpain Sprint Series: Brands Hatch CBS Sports Network*/# (from May 18)
5:00-6:00am Moto2: The Netherlands FOX Sports 1*# (from June 28)
9:00-9:30am 100,000 Cameras FOX Sports 1
9:00-11:00am DTM: Hockenheimring CBS Sports Network*# (from May 4)
9:30-10:00am NASCAR Victory Lane FOX Sports 1*#
10:00-11:00am K&N Pro Series East Visit Hampton VA 175 FOX Sports 1*/# (from June 21)
11:00am-1:00pm DTM: Oschersleben CBS Sports Network*# (from May 18)
11:00am-5:30pm TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen FOX Sports 1
12:00-6:00pm NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals Final Eliminations ESPN3$
3:00-6:00pm NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals Final Eliminations ESPN 2>
3:00-6:00pm Verizon IndyCar Series Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, Race No. 2 NBC Sports Network
3:30-4:00pm Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race CBS Sports Network*# (from April 12)
4:00-5:00pm Blancpain Endurance Series: Silverstone CBS Sports Network*/# (from May 25)
5:00-7:00pm DTM: Norisring CBS Sports Network*
6:00-7:00pm Kurt Busch: 36 Director’s Cut NBC Sports Network*#
7:00-8:00pm Blancpain Endurance Series: Paul Ricard CBS Sports Network*/
9:00-10:00pm Blancpain Endurance Series: Paul Ricard CBS Sports Network*/#

Monday, June 30
Time Telecast Network
2:00am-3:00am Formula Off-Road: Indianapolis NBC Sports Network*# (from May 23)
2:00-4:00am DTM: Oschersleben CBS Sports Network*# (from May 18)
4:00-6:00am DTM: Norisring CBS Sports Network*# (from June 29)
10:00-11:00am Blancpain Endurance Series: Paul Ricard CBS Sports Network*/# (from June 29)
1:00pm-2:00pm The Day: Daytona Primetime FOX Sports 1#
2:00-3:00pm K&N Pro Series East Visit Hampton VA 175 FOX Sports 1*/# (from June 21)
3:00-5:00pm Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 FOX Sports 1*/# (from June 26)
4:00-6:00pm DTM: Norisring CBS Sports Network*# (from June 29)
5:00-5:30pm NASCAR America NBC Sports Network
5:00-6:00pm NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 1
6:30-7:30pm NASCAR RaceHub FOX Sports 2*#
8:00-10:00pm Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 FOX Sports 2*/# (from June 26)
*- Tape Delayed
/- Highlighted Coverage
#- Repeat Coverage
>- Joined in progress
^- Available via free internet streaming
$- Available via password protected online streaming. Check with your internet and/or programming provider for availability.

I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series broadcasts from Kentucky for next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here at Frontstretch. For this week’s edition of the Critic’s Annex, I’ll be covering CBS Sports Network’s debut ARCA Racing Series telecast, the Akona 250 from Elko Speedway. Heck apparently went down on the short track Saturday night. We’ll see how well the quasi-newbies covered it.

If you have a gripe with me, or just want to say something about my critique, feel free to post in the comments below, or contact me through the email address provided on the website in my bio. Also, if you want to “like” me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, please click on the appropriate icons below. Finally, if you would like to contact any of the TV partners personally with an issue regarding their TV coverage from last weekend, please click on the following links:

“FOX Sports”:http://msn.foxsports.com/feedback
“TNT”:http://support.tntdrama.com/ics/support/default.asp?deptID=5477&_referrer=http://www.tntdrama.com/help.html
“ESPN”:https://r.espn.go.com/members/contact/tvindex

At this point, there is still no public contact e-mail for NBC Sports. When they finally get around to creating a new link, I will post it for you.

As always, if you choose to contact the network by email, do so in a courteous manner. Network representatives are far more likely to respond to emails that ask questions politely rather than emails full of rants and vitriol.

About Phil Allaway

Phil Allaway
Newsletter Editor for Frontstretch since mid-2008, Phil is responsible for the site’s Monday-Friday FREE e-newsletter that keeps fans up-to-date with the latest racing news, along with exclusive features and commentary. Our head news writer, Phil also doubles as our broadcast critic, keeping broadcasts honest for years with his Couch Potato Tuesday column. A writer for the Troy (NY) Record, Phil is also one of the lead reporters at Lebanon Valley Speedway in Pennsylvania every weekend during short track season.

12 comments

  1. ESPN mailed it in a long time ago, starting with them not offering the Stockcar Challenge fantasy game this year. NASCAR Now sucked, I’m not sad to see it go. NASCAR America and Racehub are way better. Their Cup coverage is going to suck too. What happened to Marty Smith?

  2. I’ve been pitching the “put a helmet cam on the safety workers to see the debris” in my columns for about three years now. It’ll never happen. Without the phony debris cautions to manipulate race outcomes NASCAR would be lost.

  3. I’m anxious to see how many Nationwide races begin or end on ESPNNEWS (or heck even ESPN3 for that matter), or have 10 seconds of pre- or post-race coverage once college football season starts. Even when NASCAR was allegedly a priority for ESPN, those fall Saturday races were slotted with about 20 seconds of wiggle room in between football games.
    Cancelling NASCAR Now having nothing to do with this being a lame duck year for ESPN has about as much truth as “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”
    I wonder if things will deteriorate to the point they were the last time ESPN lost the NASCAR contract and Mike Massaro was interviewing drivers on helicopter pads off track properties.

  4. Ohio Kart Racer

    Have never been a Kyle Petty fan – but have to admit that he seems to be the only one currently in the booth that knows what is really going on on the track! He always seems to spot the thing that the other two have missed regarding cause of crashes, etc. Keep up the good work Kyle. Have always been a Wally fan –
    Alexander I can take or leave.
    at least I don’t have to put up with “Mr Know It All” Mike Joy !

  5. A voce in the Wilderness I guess, but I could give a flip about the Waltrips, or anyone else thats insulting my intelligence. If I’m watching its for the race not the commentators.
    That said, Nascar has no interest in being transparent, its about the show and the dollars that delivers. So just accept that, to use the current term “it is what it is”.

  6. I agree with Bill B. I too am SOOOO happy the Waltrips and their antics are gone that nothing TNT does bothers me. My dream, and I know FOX will never do it, is to replce both Waltrip brothers next year.

  7. Pertaining to tv coverage, anything is better than listening to Darrel, his parrot, and Michael. Darrel Waltrip was bad enough by himself, but Michael is unwatchable and unlistenable. On a different note, I actually watched a nationwide race. Why? No cup drivers were entered. Well, it’s back to “nas$car reality this week-end. Six cup cars entered means I won’t be watching again. I’ve given up thinking that nas$car even remotely listens to fans.

  8. Nascar Now being cancelled I think we can blame on the Waltrip’s and FOX. If they hadn’t aggravated so many fans who refused to watch this show in the early hours of the morning. On a network that 6 months from now will give NASCAR the same amount of coverage as competitive hot-dog-eating. I bet it is under direct orders of DW and Mikey that TNT doesn’t show every piece of debris causing cautions.

  9. Not surprised to hear ESPN cancelled the NASCAR Now show, but then again, the only time I ever watched ESPN is when they were actually showing the race. I always liked Bestwick as a PXP guy.

    I guess TNT continues to have technical issues, but I am still enjoying their coverage better than Fox. Personally I think Adam Alexander is terrible at PXP so missing what he has to say doesn’t bother me at all. If that sort of thing could happen to everyone other than Mike Joy in the Fox booth, I’d be very happy.

    It will be interesting to see what ESPN does with the Cup coverage when they get it. I’m not expecting much so at that point, I will have to follow with the radio, raceview and twitter. The cartoon cars on raceview this week amused me quite a bit at the beginning of the race – they appeared to be running across the “grass” on the screen. Whoever programs it finally got it sorted out, but it appears that this is the best we can expect out of NASCAR.

    It’s a shame with all the modern technology that the best coverage is still found on the radio broadcast.

  10. I have to say, the relief of not having a Waltrip either reading drivers minds or breathlessly telling me what a wonderful race I’m watching makes ANY telecast enjoyable. Kyle Petty is one of the few who is not afraid to analyze what actually happens, then say it out loud. How unusual for anything Nascar related!

  11. I guess I have a real serious Waltrip hangover. I was so sick of listening to them on FOX that nothing seems to bother me much with the TNT coverage. Well, commercials of course, but all three networks show too many of them.
    I love the helmet cam idea but that would make it really hard on NASCAR. When they throw their fake cautions, they’d have to find a way to throw something out on the track without cameras or fans seeing it before the guy with the the helmet cam got there.

  12. This has to be a difficult column to write absent the target rich environment created by the Waltrip brothers and their constant antics. Both the TNT and ESPN coverage are more than adequate, informative even. As to NASCAR Race Hub, it is pretty much a puppet show never daring to deviate from the PR party line. It is essentially Racing Pravda, never informative, rarely even interesting. Did you see that two part interview with Mike Helton. Not a single tough question was asked, or talking point answer challenged. The only interesting thing about it was just how much Helton looks like an aging porn star gone to ruin.