Race Weekend Central

Couch Potato Tuesday: ESPN Cuts Away A Little Too Early

At Martinsville Speedway, trouble has few places to hide.

However, there’s also a Chase to deal with. With the Chase in effect, focus can narrow to a significant degree. More on that momentarily.

Before we get going, ESPN announced early on Monday morning that the network has come to terms with Ricky Craven for the former Cup Series regular to stay on with the network as its primary NASCAR analyst. What will that look like? If you watched SportsCenter after the race on Sunday, Craven’s role will likely look similar to what you saw Craven doing with Jonathan Coachman. Given how much the hosts can rotate on weekend editions of SportsCenter, Craven could be working with any number of anchors. However, he’ll likely grow comfortable with a group of three or four different people, one of whom could be Nicole Briscoe (of course, that’s depending on what her schedule will be once she transitions to SportsCenter full-time).

The deal will result in Craven being to NASCAR on SportsCenter what Barry Melrose has been to the NHL since the pre-eminent hockey league took its games to what is now the NBC Sports Network. While Craven won’t be as common a sight as Melrose, who appears nearly every night on the show, he’ll be a welcome sight for NASCAR fans. With Craven in-studio and Marty Smith still on the payroll (remember, Smith will serve as a Charlotte-based bureau reporter, but will still write extensively about NASCAR), ESPN is far better suited to cover NASCAR without rights to air races in 2015 than it was in 2001.

Will ESPN have any physical presence at the races next year? Unless NASCAR decrees against it, probably. It still has Smith and Ryan McGee; those two, in addition to Craven, will serve as ESPN’s NASCAR department for the foreseeable future. That move effectively killed ESPN’s motorsports coverage back in 2001, and it was done in the name of helping the new NASCAR programming (specifically FOX Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR) get off the ground. I don’t think NASCAR is callous enough to go down that road again.

Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500

One of the best races at Martinsville in awhile hit the track last Sunday as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. earned his first career victory at Martinsville (giving me five big points in the Frontstretch pick competition in the process). However, just because the finish was quite joyous does not necessarily mean that the presentation was as well.

Ever since the Chase started last month, I’ve constantly talked about how ESPN doesn’t so much preview the race itself during NASCAR Countdown but cover how the event could affect the Chasers. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not really a race preview. That’s Chase-hyping and going over scenarios.

Despite the fact that Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 was held in near perfect weather, I believe that NASCAR has pushed the fall race at Martinsville too far back in the schedule. Granted, NASCAR won’t have the Sunday NFL Countdown issue next season that it currently has with ESPN, but the insistence of starting races after 1:30 p.m. ET at a venue without lights is going to be a bit of an issue going forward. Early October is probably the perfect time for Martinsville’s fall race. The weather should be good, but not blazing hot like in 1998. Getting the race in before dark is not an issue. Under the current circumstances, anything more than a brief shower can cut the race short due to darkness.

(Credit: CIA Stock Photography)
Brian Vickers while his car was still relatively intact. (Credit: CIA Stock Photography)

Sunday’s race coverage shows how knowledgeable ESPN’s on-air crew is. In regards to the Brian VickersKasey Kahne conflict, Allen Bestwick simply informed viewers after the first incident to keep tabs on the two of them for the rest of the day after viewing the replay of the incident. Mind you, we’re talking about a fairly innocent get-together. Sixty laps later, Vickers dumped Kahne. Fifty laps after the second incident, Kahne dumped Vickers, prompting NASCAR to tell both teams to cut out the stupidity. It probably wasn’t quite on the level of the speech given to Cole Trickle and Rowdy Burns in Days of Thunder by then-future U.S. Senator Fred Thompson (as Big John, the film’s equivalent of Bill France, Jr.), but it got the job done.

I just wish that we got to see what sparked the whole mess in the first place. After being eliminated from the race, Kahne stated that Vickers ran him out of room exiting turn 2 half a lap before the incident. A few seconds later, after chopping Kahne off entering turn 3, Kahne tried to go to the inside of Vickers and Vickers tried to block and spun himself out.

Despite the knowledge of ESPN’s on-air group, they can get distracted. The problems that Brad Keselowski had with his gears occurred while ESPN was onboard with him. I knew immediately that he’d broken, yet it took quite a bit of time for ESPN to notice. However, I don’t think the booth noticed the telltale racing of the engine revolutions at the time. By the time it did, Keselowski was trolling down the frontstretch, 25 mph slower than everyone else and about to be clobbered from behind by Casey Mears. ESPN should have stuck to Keselowski’s view in that instance. The Dual Path technology that ESPN’s been touting for the last couple of years would really have come in handy there.

Despite the fact that the Chase points had been reset, ESPN spent a good chunk of the race showing points as they run. I found that tactic pointless; everyone started with the same number of points. The championship order would more or less be wherever the drivers were in the race.

Post-race coverage was very much focused on the Hendrick Motorsports and Earnhardt story. While it’s undoubtedly true that it was a big story (just the crowd’s approval says a lot here), but there are a couple of other issues that probably should have been covered as well, one being the Vickers-Kahne conflict. Granted, Kahne was already out of the race prior to the finish and was likely already out of the track via the pedestrian tunnel and at his bus by the checkers, but Vickers finished the event four laps down in 27th and could have been reached afterward, in theory.

Going down the Chase road, viewers did not hear from Kevin Harvick or Keselowski after the race despite both drivers having days that could ruin their championship challenges. Keselowski did show up on the Internet-exclusive Rundown, but I’d figure that given how important the Chase was to ESPN’s narrative, the network would try to fit it in on the regular broadcast. While on that topic, perhaps an interview with Matt Kenseth (finished sixth) would have been proper here as well since it was Kenseth’s wheel hop that resulted in Harvick crashing.

Kroger 200

Saturday saw the Camping World Truck Series teams take to one of only two original tracks remaining on the series’ schedule for a 200-lap duel. The action was swell, and the race ended up with a popular winner in Darrell Wallace, Jr.  Despite that fact, there was more to the race than Wallace winning while honoring Wendell Scott.

In between interviews and segments featuring Jeb Burton as a prospective trucker, the most interesting part of pre-race coverage was a piece on rookie racer Gray Gaulding. Gaulding is 16 years old, yet the piece depicts Gaulding as a 100 percent adult, working out at the NTS Motorsports shop.

Gaulding’s father, Dwayne, appears to want Gray to attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500 in 2016, when he will be 18. The sheer thought of that is insane. In order for that to happen, Gray would have to compete in the 2016 ARCA season opener at Daytona, then get approved by NASCAR to race Sprint Cup at Daytona despite never racing at any track longer than 1.25 miles because he won’t be old enough. Dwayne, this isn’t 1980. It’s not happening.

While it’s interesting to note that Gaulding would spin out his own grandmother to win a race, and that he would say that while standing right next to his actual grandmother, sometimes, you need to take a step back and think. We’ve been hearing about Gaulding since he was 12. Obviously, he likes what he’s doing, but I wonder whether he had much of a childhood beyond age 12. His existence is nothing like K&N Pro Series East champion Ben Rhodes, who actually goes to a regular (albeit parochial) school, or Chase Elliott, who drove full-time in the Nationwide Series earlier this year while finishing his senior year in public school. I’m no parent, but I’m a little concerned that Dwayne may be trying to live through his son. It’s definitely a topic worth looking into with all the young guns coming into NASCAR’s national series over the past few years.

During the race, there were a couple of aspects of the coverage that caught my eye. The telecast left me a little confused as to who actually caused the second caution of the race. Officially, fluid in turns 3 and 4 brought out the caution. That was fairly obvious as there was a strip of fluid on the track, and a replay showed the leaders nearly wiping out on it like it was Watkins Glen in 2012.

Later, the fifth caution came out due to Cole Custer running through Gaulding in an attempt to take out Joey Coulter. There was also a quick shot of Justin Jennings’ wrecked No. 63 Chevrolet putting around exiting turn 2. I have no clue what happened to Jennings. Confusion is never a good thing on a race telecast. Viewers watch the Kroger 200 in order to be informed as to what’s going on if they can’t be in Ridgeway. All I know is that Jennings was pretty much done after the crash.

The telecast gave Austin Hill (and to a lesser extent, Matt Tifft) some dap for having pretty good debut races. However, there was no coverage given to what happened to Hill late in the race to drop the No. 92 to a 26th-place finish, five laps down. Viewers could only see Hill driving down pit road at the 30 mph speed limit in the background when he stopped with no reference to what was going on from the booth.

After the race, I saw this picture posted to the team’s Twitter page. Being the inquisitive chap that I am, I asked what happened, thinking that it was a case of loose lugnuts after Hill made his final stop under the eighth caution. A reply from whoever was running the team’s Twitter feed at the time indicated that they thought it was an outright broken wheel. Whatever the cause, it completely ruined a great day.

Overall, viewers did get some decent coverage. There was hard racing for position and we got to see that hard racing. The coverage of the John Wes TownleyBrandon Jones crash was pretty good. That was a situation where the first time you see the crash, it looks really blatant, but it wasn’t. Townley effectively wrecked himself, but it was a racing incident. I cannot see Townley being able to avoid Jones after turning himself into the inside wall.

That’s all for this week. We’ve got Texas coming up this weekend, which marks the stretch run for all three of NASCAR’s national series. In addition, Formula 1 returns to Texas with a depleted field (no Marussia or Caterham). Here’s your listings.

Tuesday, October 28

4:00 a.m. - 6:00 a.m.DTM: Hockenheim, No. 2CBS Sports Network*# (from October 12)
7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 27)
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 27)
5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 2*#
7:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.The 10: Greatest Comebacks in NASCAR HistoryFOX Sports 2#
9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200FOX Sports 1*/# (from October 25)

Wednesday, October 29

7:00 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 28)
7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 28)
8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 28)
8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 28)
4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.Formula DRIFT: Showdown, Part No. 1NBC Sports Network*/# (from September 12)
5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
3:00 a.m. - 5:00 a.m.Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200FOX Sports 1*/# (from October 25)
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 2*#

Thursday, October 30

7:00 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 29)
7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 29)
8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 29)
8:30 a.m. - 9:00a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 29)
5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 2*#
7:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.The 10: NASCAR's Wildest Throw-DownsFOX Sports 2#
7:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.1: The True Story of the Drivers Who Risked Their Lives and Changed The Sport ForeverNBC Sports Network#
10:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.Road to MercedesNBC Sports Network
11:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.Road to FerrariNBC Sports Network#

Friday, October 31

1:00 a.m. - 2:00 a.m.Road to MercedesNBC Sports Network#
7:00 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 30)
7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 20)
8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 30)
8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network*# (from October 30)
10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.mThe 10: Greatest Soundbites in NASCAR HistoryFOX Sports 1#
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.NASCAR RaceHub SpecialFOX Sports 1
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.Nationwide Series Practice No. 1FOX Sports 1
12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.Formula One Grand Prix of the United States Free Practice No. 1NBC Sports Network*
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 1FOX Sports 1
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.Road to MercedesNBC Sports Network# (from October 30)
2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.NASCAR LiveFOX Sports 1
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.Formula One Grand Prix of the United States Free Practice No. 2NBC Sports Network
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.Camping World Truck Series QualifyingFOX Sports 1
4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.F1 ExtraNBC Sports Network
4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Nationwide Series Happy HourESPN 2
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Sprint Cup Series QualifyingESPN 2
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.NHRA Toyota Nationals Early Qualifying RoundsESPN3$
8:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.NCWTS SetupFOX Sports 1
8:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 350kFOX Sports 1
10:30 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.Formula One Grand Prix of the United States Free Practice No. 2NBC Sports Network*#

Saturday, November 1

12:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m. Road to MercedesNBC Sports Network#
4:00 a.m. - 6:00 a.m.Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 350kFOX Sports 1*/# (from October 31)
6:00 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 1FOX Sports 2*# (from October 31)
7:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 350kFOX Sports 2*# (from October 31)
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco World Series 150FOX Sports 1*/ (from October 19)
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 2FOX Sports 1
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Nationwide Series QualifyingFOX Sports 2
1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.Formula One Grand Prix of the United States QualifyingNBC
1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.NASCAR LiveFOX Sports 2
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Happy HourFOX Sports 2
3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts ChallengeESPN
10:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.The 10: NASCAR's WIldest Throw-DownsFOX Sports 2#
11:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.Sprint Cup Series Practice No. 2FOX Sports 2*#

Sunday, November 2

12:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.Sprint Cup Series Happy HourFOX Sports 2*# (from November 1)
12:00 a.m. - 1:30 a.m.Formula One Grand Prix of the United States QualifyingNBC Sports Network*# (from November 1)
1:00 a.m. - 2:00 a.m.Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco World Series 150FOX Sports 2*/# (from October 19)
3:00 a.m. - 4:30 a.m.NHRA Toyota Nationals Final Qualifying RoundsESPN 2*/ (from November 1)
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.mSprint Cup Series Practice No. 2FOX Sports 2*# (from November 1)
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.Sprint Cup Series Happy HourFOX Sports 2*# (from November 1)
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.Rolex Monterey Motorsports ReunionFOX Sports 1*/# (from August 14-17)
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.NASCAR RaceDayFOX Sports 1
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.NHRA Toyota Nationals Final Qualifying RoundsESPN 2*/# (from November 2)
2:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.Countdown to F1NBC Sports Network
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.NASCAR CountdownESPN
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.NHRA Toyota Nationals Final EliminationsESPN3$
2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.F1 CountdownNBC
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.Formula One Grand Prix of the United StatesNBC
3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500ESPN
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Formula One Post-RaceNBC
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.Blancpain Sprint Series Baku World ChallengeCBS Sports Network* (from November 1-2)
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.NHRA Toyota Nationals Final EliminationsESPN 2*/
8:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.NASCAR Victory LaneFOX Sports 1*
11:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m.Blancpain Sprint Series Baku World ChallengeCBS Sports Network*# (from November 1-2)

Monday, November 3

1:30 a.m. - 4:30 a.m.Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500ESPN 2*/# (from November 2)
4:00 a.m. - 6:00 a.m.Blancpain Sprint Series Baku World ChallengeCBS Sports Network*# (from November 1-2)
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.NASCAR AmericaNBC Sports Network
8:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Formula One Grand Prix of the United StatesNBC Sports Network*# (from November 2)
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 1
6:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.The 10: NASCAR's Most Outrageous MomentsFOX Sports 2#
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.NASCAR RaceHubFOX Sports 2*#
8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.2013 Monterey Motorsports ReunionFOX Sports 2*/#

* – Tape Delayed
/ – Highlighted Coverage
# – Repeat Coverage
$ – Available via password-protected online streaming. Check with your internet service/programming provider for availability.

Note that once again, college football could come into play in regards to the Nationwide race. ESPN will be airing Wisconsin-Rutgers starting at noon on Saturday. The classic rivalry between Big Ten conference foes  is scheduled to end at 3 p.m. with College Football Scoreboard as buffer programming between the game and the race. Of course, as you’re all aware of, just because a game is scheduled for three hours doesn’t mean it won’t go well over it. I will give updates on the game on my Twitter feed to keep you abreast of what’s going on. ESPNEWS could be used for overflow coverage starting at 3:30 p.m., but that would be dependent on the East Carolina-Temple game being over by then. Also, Houston-South Florida is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series races from Texas Motor Speedway for next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here at Frontstretch.  The Critic’s Annex will take a break this week before returning next week with a look at FOX Sports’ broadcast of the Sunoco World Series 150 for the Whelen Modified Tour, which premieres Saturday on FOX Sports 1.

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

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 the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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Well I would just like to point out from this fans perspective the Empire of HMS is not what all fans tune in to see or care about. I knew (as every year) they were going to go heavy on the plane crash…jeez..what could possibility
said that hasn’t been said already. I chose to get updated on the race thru different resources rather than the Nascar paid drones on ESPN. It actually was very calming. I find it rightly or wrongly these rich people are held to a different standard in the grieving department, that we need to be told about their loss all the time and their losses are more important. I find it insulting. I tuned in, and in V-lane the blatter of the the crash was a focal point, maybe it was the wrong time, but I tuned off the TV at that point. The time to put that amount of hoopla from that tragedy has passed years ago. I would think with this mans riches and obvious pull he would have a strong influence in how the networks handle it. Apparently he has no problem with it. No mention, a silent symbol would be appropriate next time., but that won’t happen. Dummies.


I agree. You would think the way they over did the victory, that he had just won the championship. It was beyond ridiculous. And I knew as soon as Jr had a mic in front of him they were going to bring it up the plane crash. The first guy they showed after he crossed the line was Hendrick, so you knew what was coming next. ESPN is not hard to figure out anymore. And the VL interview question looked so out of place that it took Jr off guard.

I do have to commend the reporter who interviewed Stewart after the race for just asking him questions about the race and not bringing up the tragedy in NY. Kudos to him.


I agree Steve and that’s the way it should be..keep it in the now, plenty of stuff to talk about.


I find it impossible to get truly annoyed with any coverage that does not include the Waltrips. I give 2015 Half an hour of Fox before we are begging for ESPN coverage. As to the Toyota truck series I suggest doing a broadcast entirely in Japanese just to see if anyone is watching.

Carl D.

I really like Ricky Craven and I’m glad to see that he’ll be hanging around ESPN for the forseeable future.

JL Tampa, FL


I hope to God that you never have to suffer such a tragic loss of life in your lifetime. A son, brother, nieces, good friends. wiped out in a matter if seconds. It happened at that racetrack, so yes, it will be remembered each year. 10 years is a milestone of sorts, and that is why there was more coverage. As far as the “hoopla” that is your opinion and many other people’s opinion may be different. Many years Mr. Hendrick does not attend the races as it is too hard to face what happened. I have read your comments and “Gina’s” for most of the year and have never, I don’t believe ever read a positive thing either of you have ever written. How sad.


JL – Huh? I am not “positive” enough for you in my posts? I writes my opinion of how I feel about the current state of NASCAR racing. I’m a fan, not media, I don’t have to be neutral. I make no secret of who I cheer for so I’m not hiding anything and I am entitled to my opinion. You can think it’s “sad” that I’m not going to be all happy, happy about NASCAR if you like, but personally I think it is worse that NASCAR refuses to listen to the fans.

We were at Martinsville 10 years ago when the HMS tragedy occurred. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for Rich H to go to the track. I’ve lost family members to sudden death myself and I never go to Martinsville w/o thinking of the loss that Hendrick and the other families suffered and that makes me sad even though I really enjoy the racing at the track.

I was there again this weekend and we had fun at the track – nothing was mentioned about the crash until after the race which is fine with me. Jr and Gordon both recognized the loss of family and friends from that day in their post race comments and it was very well done.

Carl D.

Damn, Gina. Of all of the overly-critical complaining commenters on this website (myself included sometimes), JL comes down on one of the most reasonable voices in the comments section. It’s true… some days you just can’t win.

Tim S.

Preach on, Carl. I complain about “Hendrick Cup” and “Hendrick Fatigue” as much or more than anyone else around here, and it’s a Hendrick supporter that catches hell. Gina, to her eternal credit, does not spread the Gospel According to Mr. H when you folks chat here about the races, and that’s probably what upsets JL. Everybody is supposed to love all things Hendrick, just cuz, y’all.


If this guy was looking for a commenter to jump he should have gone after that JohnQ. Has that cantankerous old fart posted a positive comment all season? I mean really, Brian France has made NASCAR more fun than ice cream for breakfast!


thank you very much for the support, Carl D, Tim S and John Q and kb, too. I appreciate it very much.


Jl from Tampa, I think you have a comprehension problem! I wrote what I wrote because ALL OF US has had heartache in our life, on a large scale and small. We are not famous, but we are many. After a certain amount of time, the world does not need to mourn with you on the scale that ESPN dictates. Nascar does have fans that are not enamored with HMS, and to bring this event up every year, I am sorry it’s overboard. Even if I was a fan of HMS, Nascar has a bad habit of playing up sorrowful events and the don’t know when to stop, classless and exploitive, I think they feel its a ratings booster. I don’t need them to tell me to feel something by jamming it down my throat. Your statement indicates to me that I have had a charmed life and never suffered a loss, incredibility stupid to even make that statement. Loss is a very personal thing, and every year it is exploitive how they go on about it. A mention, a small gesture to mark the occasion would have been much classier, more personal. I feel bad for any HMS driver that is duty bound to mention that day in their win, I think it takes away from their win. Imo.


Exactly. There is something unseemly about using tragedy for entertainment purposes. I find “tragetainment” to be intrusive. Grief is personal. Who in their right mind thinks that Hendrick wants people ripping the scab off of an old hurt year after year.


ESPN has been doing this stupid version of race coverage ever since they really hit their stride with the chase, chase, chase BS. I quit watching/listening to the pre-race shows 4 or 5 year ago. Fortunately I was at the race, so I could watch the whole thing w/o having to listen to the blather from tv.

While IMO, Fox has the most annoying coverage of the tv partners, ESPN’s insistence on following the script that they lay out for the race, is pretty bad also. I happen to like the way Bestwick calls the race. I like Mike Joy but since he has to take a backseat to Waltrip and Larry Mac’s nonsensical rambling, the race calling suffers because of it.

Sorry that TV didn’t bother to show you the start of the action between the 5 and the 55, IMO it was definitely the 5 who started it – even if Kahne didn’t want to own up to it.

I also agree with you about the late start times – NASCAR seems convinced that starting the chase races AFTER the 1 p.m. NFL kickoff time gives them some advantage, but it really doesn’t. People watching football are not going to switch over to NASCAR half an hour after the game starts unless they were already race fans. All it does is create issues for the end of the race – red flags added into the mix didn’t help although I was glad to see NASCAR do that rather than just let laps wind down for no good reason.


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