Is It a Race or a Show?
Note: My articles are based solely on my thoughts and observations. Normally I do not offer statistics, although at times I may reference what different broadcasters, among others, have said or alluded to.
Thank you for reading and commenting.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article about being a race fan and just wanting to see a race without what they like to call enhancements and without bells and whistles accompaniment. If you have not read it, you may access it here. This is a short follow-up on that, plus a few other observations I choose to offer.
I watched both the Cup race and the Xfinity race at Watkins Glen with interest. While watching both races on television, I saw many in car cameras, helmet cams, car cams and of course, whatever else the producers chose to show rather than the competition between the cars on the track. I felt as if this fan had not really seen a race, but merely a show. I kept an eye on the positions of some drivers through the scroll across the top of the screen. I watched a lot of commercials and I also listened to the broadcast team give their thoughts, their opinions and other information they chose to offer about the race. I saw a few position changes and incidents on the track that they chose not to include in their broadcasts. By watching the scroll, I was able to see who had gone to garage and who was out of the race, which ones were a lap or more down and what positions changed as the race progressed.
The Cup race itself at Watkins Glen was a good race, but then any and all road course races are good, as I am a big road course fan. I will not go into detail about the race itself as it is rather a late date to be reviewing an individual race.
The Xfinity race also had some good racing, if one can call Cup driver domination in a lesser series good racing. The Cup drivers finished in positions 1 through 8. The 9th Cup driver had engine problems and finished last in the race. Only 2 Xfinity drivers finished in the top 10. So much for chase points for the regular drivers. Kind of sad, isn't it? These regular drivers are trying very hard to compete with drivers who have more money, who use their Cup pit crews and engineers; thus it seems as if the regulars are basically playing a losing game when Cup drivers choose to come down and compete in the lesser series. I think something is wrong with that picture. What about you? Do you think it is okay?
When NASCAR mentioned these higher series drivers would be limited as to how many races they could run next year, one of them alluded to the fact that he would just take his toys and not help the up and coming drivers any more. Now I ask: what does he himself competing in the lesser series have to do with whether or not he could still help the younger drivers gain experience and show off their skills? He could still assist them without competing against them in their series, couldn't he? You decide... is that a good attitude to have?
There was also a K&N Pro Series East race held at Watkins Glen also and I had the pleasure, yes, pleasure, of watching it when it was broadcast the following Wednesday. Wow, what a difference in the broadcast! I enjoyed watching the race and listening to the broadcast team. There were no helmet cams or other in car cameras that I saw, and there were no hyper announcers in the booth. The starting line-up was presented well. They then broadcast the race as it was happening and talked about more than the top 4 or 6 racers. They gave us good information about the drivers as to how they were progressing and where they were on the track. They also told us when someone left the race and why. In other words, I got to watch a race the way I like to watch. Admittedly, I did not know all the drivers who competed and I did not even have a favorite in that race. But it was fun and satisfying to watch.
As I watched the truck race at Michigan this past Saturday, the first thing that made me realize I would be watching a show rather than a race was when Phil mentioned about 3 laps in that Chase Briscoe's crew chief said they didn't really need to race until they were nearing the end of the stage. Now tell me, what is up with that? Aren't you supposed to race all the time if you are competing in a race? I always thought so. Is this what racing has come to? Now that is really sad. The Michigan race on Sunday was only 7 laps in when they decided to show the helmet-cam from Denny Hamlin. I sadly shook my head and wondered why? It lasted over a lap and I just tuned to another channel. When I switched back to the race, just a few laps later, they showed it again but this time it only lasted a few seconds. Did anyone notice that after the red flag and Kyle Larson took the lead, the booth was extremely quiet??? This race was not ending the way they predicted or hoped. Even though there were so many empty seats at Michigan, the fans who were there expressed their happiness very loud and clear about they felt about the winner. Very good, loud and happy reception!
Tell me, do you like the way the sport has become and the way it is being broadcast? Do you like the way it has turned into a show rather than an on-track competition with the best of the best claiming victory at the end of the advertised length? Please feel free to express your feelings about this. Thank you for reading. I would also appreciate it if you would offer your thoughts and feelings on this subject by commenting at bottom of article or emailing me. Once again, I ask that you keep it clean and no bashing in your response. Thanks!