I Am a Race Fan that Wants to See the Race!
My articles are based on my thoughts and feelings about the subject I have chosen to write about. I normally do not offer statistics.
I am a race fan and have been for most of my life. I have always liked speed and competition. There have been many changes in the racing and broadcasting during the years I have been a fan. I have watched many races, both in person and on television throughout the years. I have seen many television channels, as well as many commentators and announcers, come and go. While watching and listening, I decided some were better than others; but a concerning trend has developed in the last decade or so. What I have been seeing is that the people in broadcasting have become puppets rather than fair and unbiased announcers. They toe the line as they are instructed to by the upper echelon at NASCAR. They seem to be trying to condition - or brain wash - fans into being what they think a fan should be. They try to tell us what to like, who to like and whom we should cheer for. They go so far as even trying to convince us what brand of vehicle we should be cheering for. IMO, we have not had an unbiased announcer for many years and this is not a good thing.
Now, let's talk about in-car, bumper and helmet-cameras. As I watched Eldora on Wednesday, July 19th, they had a camera called helmet-cam. The qualifying races were being broadcast and when they got to the 2nd of these races they decided to show off their new pride and joy. Each qualifying race was 10 laps. It seemed like we had about 7 of those 10 laps being shown through that helmet-cam during the 2nd qualifying race. To me, that was not what I tuned in to see. While listening to the broadcast team talk about how it made the fans feel, I just could not get that feeling of being in the car like they kept talking about. All I could see was a windshield and dash. There was a slight view of the track and possibly a truck now and then in the distance. As a race fan who was not at the race and only able to watch this race on television, I felt I was not seeing a race at all. I don't want to watch this kind of broadcast because I watch to see the competition that is happening on the track. Apparently, only if I were at the track in person, would I be able to do that. Sunday at Indy was a repeat of them telling us and showing us how great these cameras are and how they put us right in the car and on the track. That is not what most of at-home fans, trying to view competition, see at all. We just see an interruption of what is really happening on the track.
Why does NBCSN, NBC, FOX, FS1 and FS2 continually do this to at-home television fans? Why do they think they know more about what we want to see than we do? Personally, I think all of this supposedly enhanced viewing as they call it, takes away from the race itself. I want to see racing and competition, not their idea of what they say makes me feel as if I am there, in the car, as they like to keep telling us. Their bells and whistles just don't ring or whistle for me. Is this a type of conditioning for new fans? In my mind, it certainly is not conducive to keeping the longtime fans, plus some newer ones tuned into their shows, which seem to be more about enhancements, their personal feelings and bias rather than about racing.
Speaking of shows, because of the way they are presented, that is another disappointing thing about today's broadcasts. I don't want to watch a show. I want to watch a race and all of the competition on the track. I want to hear about the person who is in 12th, 28th or 37th place and all other positions. I don't want to just see and hear about the same 4 to 6 cars only, because the broadcast team says they are the cream of the crop. We know there are good racers out there. We also know there are good drivers in the field who have fans watching and these fans want to hear about their progress. Fans spend money to see their driver and they should be afforded this courtesy. Can you imagine going to a beer or lobster fest and once you have spent a lot of money to get there, they don't even serve any beer or lobster? How disappointing; and it must feel the same as when a fan watching and waiting to hear a favorite driver's name never gets to hear about that driver. It seems a fans’ priorities are very different from the broadcast teams’. A fan viewing on television does not always have the bias that the people in the booth have. Fans just want to see a race, competition and all the drivers. Yes, fans may cheer for their favorite driver but they still want to see all the competition and hear about all of the competitors. I have also noticed many times that I see things that are happening on the track long before the announcers speak of it. Their personal agenda seems to take precedence over the racing at times. Sometimes we never hear about it, especially if it is about a lesser known driver or someone who is not one of their favorites.
On another note, why is it so hard for the broadcast booth to introduce the complete starting line up to the television fans? With all of the pre-race shows, we have already heard from most of their selected drivers. Why do they take away from introductions or even announcing each driver in the field only to talk - once again - with one of their selected drivers on the radio? That is another lack of courtesy being shown to the fans viewing the race at home. As I mentioned before, the broadcasters do not talk about everyone in the field, much to the disappointment to some of the loyal fans. They don't always tell us when some lesser known racer has problems or goes to garage for whatever reason. This is not fair to that fan sitting at home, waiting to hear about a specific driver. Their drivers just disappear and occasionally, the scroll at top of screen will show the whole field run down so we learn about it that way. Tell me why it has to be just an "I wonder" situation, while hoping to find out about our driver by taking time to look at the scroll updates, which may or may not show the complete field. They occasionally tell us there is just not time to mention everyone. I would think if they eliminated some of their personal talk, watch the whole field and be unbiased, they might - just might - be able to talk about all of them. But then as they also tell us at times, it is their show and they have the right to do it their way.
I am sure each of us fans think we have the perfect answer to what we want in comparison to the reality of what we are being shown and told. If you have any thoughts on this subject or possibly want to present another way of giving the fan what they wish, please feel free to comment. If you disagree with my personal assessment, you can also express those thoughts. Please just keep it clean and no bashing. You can also email me to express your thoughts. Thank you.
Author’s Note: "This article was completed before the Pocono races and while watching the truck race at Pocono, it was nice to see John Hunter Nemechek come through the field to lead quite a few laps. However, because he is not one of the media's favorites, they did not even give him the courtesy of an interview. I am sure that disappointed his fans."