Race Weekend Central

Couch Potato Tuesday: FOX Has Decent Coverage of Rain-Delayed Kansas

Sunday’s (May 5) AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway will be memorable for a bunch of reasons. The fact that the race started right around the time that it should have ended is just one of them.

However, the casual fan will remember this race for how it ended. Heck, it’s the only part of the race that warranted any kind of a mention on shows such as SportsCenter or Pardon the Interruption.

As you know by now, Kyle Larson beat Chris Buescher by just one-thousandth of a second to win Sunday’s race. Based on the timing and scoring, I’m not 100% sure that that was the real margin. At first, timing and scoring had Buescher in front of Larson at the line, despite the cameras showing that Larson beat Buescher to the line by an inch or so. That is actually possible. In fact, such a scenario happened last year in Pirelli GT4 America SprintX at NOLA Motorsports Park. In that race, the Mercedes was found to have gotten to the line first by four-thousandths of a second. However, the photographic evidence showed that the BMW got to the line first.

See also
John Capestro-Dubets, Zac Anderson Squeak Out NOLA GT4 Victory

The call of the final couple of laps of the race was actually very good. Mike Joy brought his A-game here, while Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer did very well in supporting roles. Harvick, in particular, knew that Larson was going to have the chance to make the move on Buescher in turns 3 and 4. Buescher could have headed off Larson at the pass but failed to do so.

On that final lap, there was an incident coming to the line involving Corey Heim and Austin Dillon. This was acknowledged on-air by Joy on the cool down lap. However, no replay was ever shown. What happened?

Apparently, Dillon got loose exiting turn 4, clipped Heim and spun into the wall.

Now, there are some people who believe that given the insanity of the finish, you could excuse that. I disagree. Just because something crazy happens doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do your job. One would hope that FOX Sports had good footage of that incident, but chose not to show it.

The truth is, that isn’t the only thing that it didn’t show after the race. Viewers only got post-race interviews with Larson, Buescher and Denny Hamlin before FOX Sports 1 left Kansas for a rerun of Sunday’s United Football League game between the San Antonio Brahmas and the DC Defenders.

The race was originally supposed to run up against a Major League Soccer match between Seattle Sounders FC and the LA Galaxy. However, that broadcast was scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. ET. That was literally five minutes after the race started. The entire match (which was over before the race was since soccer matches take roughly two hours under normal circumstances) aired on FOX Sports 2 and the FOX Sports app.

See also
The Big 6: Questions Answered After Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher Duel in NASCAR's Closest Finish Ever

Even if it was sunny all day in Kansas, the race would likely have ended right up against the sign-off time. Having the three-hour delay and nothing truly pressing for FS1 after the race (remember, the UFL game aired live on FOX earlier in the day), it could have stayed longer in Kansas and given fans a more comprehensive post-race.

Speaking of weather, I knew days ahead of time that it could have been an issue on Sunday in Kansas. The forecast as of Tuesday last week looked pretty bad, to be honest. The local forecasts got better headed towards the weekend, but Sunday dawned chilly and raw.

NASCAR RaceDay began with a light rain falling, but during the show, the rain picked up. You could tell that when NASCAR ditched its driver introductions in the tri-oval. It wasn’t overtly acknowledged, but you could tell that the coverage moved more toward the studio in Charlotte.

Bowyer, Harvick and Chris Myers set up shop in one of the garages to do interviews. There were a number of them, like Hamlin, Noah Gragson, Joey Logano and more. There was also one with Brett Veach, general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. That one struck me as really out of place and possibly only scheduled at the behest of Bowyer since he’s a really big Chiefs fan.

There was also a fairly random, yet interesting feature on feuds. NASCAR Hall of Famer and noted rap aficionado Mark Martin was there to talk about beef on the track and the idea of rap as a competitive sport, using the current spat between Drake and Kendrick Lamar as a basis.

In practice, it came off as more of a way for Martin to talk about his love of rap music that apparently goes back over 20 years to when Ben Leslie was his crew chief and would blast Dr. Dre’s The Chronic at tests. Rap beefs to Martin are as simple as a couple of alpha types trying to prove who’s better, simple as that. That is something that translates to racing quite a bit but in a different fashion.

At 4 p.m. ET, FS1 left Kansas Speedway for alternate programming. That was pretty par for the course with NASCAR RaceHub: Best of Radioactive.

Coverage resumed around 5:45 p.m. ET. At that point, viewers got a few more driver interviews. This was where Carson Hocevar used Bubba Wallace’s interview as a way to promote his campaign for the All-Star Race Fan Vote. Truth be told, given his form this season, Hocevar wouldn’t be a bad choice for that (he’s 22nd in points at the moment).

See also
Fire on Fridays: No Shane van Gisbergen in the All-Star Race Is Asinine

Once things got going, the race was both fast and furious, and really clean. Usually, you don’t get that scenario, but that’s what we had Sunday night.

There were no cautions due to on-track incidents until lap 176. Despite that, there was a good amount of side-by-side racing. FOX Sports did a decent job bringing that action. It’s actually interesting to note that Sunday’s race was actually less competitive than either race last year at Kansas. I think that perhaps the portion run at night contributed to that, in addition to the lower number of cautions (seven Sunday, nine last fall and 11 in this race last year).

A point of focus during the race was the fact that Ross Chastain is a tough nut to crack. A piece was run early on where drivers were asked who the toughest driver to pass was, but it was literally spoiled before it aired (and had been aired earlier in the season).

Overall, the racing was quite good Sunday night. There was a lot of racing for position and FOX Sports did decently in bringing that action to viewers.

It likely took longer than I would have liked to figure out what happened to Jimmie Johnson in his crash than I would have liked, but I generally enjoyed the event. Kansas has put on good races recently and Sunday’s race was right there with them.

That’s all for this week. Next weekend, Mother’s Day weekend, is shaping up to be very busy. NASCAR has a tripleheader at Darlington Raceway headlined by the NASCAR Cup Series. The ARCA Menards Series East will be at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturday, May 11 at 8:30 p.m. ET with live coverage provided by FloRacing.

Of the other series, INDYCAR is at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Sonsio Grand Prix on the infield road course. IMSA will be at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, while the FIA World Endurance Championship will be at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. TV listings can be found here.

We will have a critique of Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at minimum in next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here at Frontstretch. The Critic’s Annex will cover Saturday night’s Heart of America 200 for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

If you have a gripe with me or just want to say something about my critique, feel free to post in the comments below. Even though I can’t always respond, I do read your comments. Also, if you want to “like” me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, please click on the appropriate icons. If you would like to contact either of NASCAR’s media partners, click on either of the links below.

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As always, if you choose to contact a 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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Kevin in SoCal

When I click on the link for the TV Schedule, all it shows is today’s TV, nothing for the rest of the week nor the weekend.

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