Television Coverage Of NASCAR Racing
From Daytona in February and until Daytona in July each year FOX and their affiliates handle the broadcasting duties for all of the NASCAR Racing Series. Prior to the Daytona 500 they give us pre-season and pre-race coverage of most of the aspects involved to get the season started. We get previews of all the drivers, their prospects for the season based on previous performance, makes of cars and the always present bias and agendas of the FOX Media personnel. They say the cream rises to the top each week and history does show that to be true. Of course, aiding in their climb to the top is all the sponsor money, the experience of the team crews and the ability to "bend or tweak" the rules and then get away with it.
While watching the truck practice at Martinsville, I did notice that FOX Sports 1 did not tell us there were several new drivers trying to make the race until almost the end of the first practice. However, we did hear several times how many Martinsville Grandfather Clocks Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Gordon had collected by winning Cup races there. We also heard again about the clocks DW had won while the final truck practice was being broadcast. They also lamented a few times that Kyle Busch had never won at Martinsville and did not have a clock, but maybe this is his year to get one. Occasionally they would mention a new driver when a popular driver passed one of them during practice. I kept looking at their leader board crawling across the top of the screen and saw several names I did not recognize. I wondered who they are, where they came from, and what kind of racing they had previously done. Most of them were not mentioned by the crew in the broadcast booth. So please tell me, who are these new drivers and will they get a chance to advance to Xfinity or Cup?
Through both practices we heard about Cup drivers Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson racing in the trucks to get more seat time at Martinsville. After the truck race was over and the usual Cup Invader won, I thought about my last article which was about whether the Xfinity series is fair. Perhaps I should have included the CWTS in the article as well, since the same thing is happening there. If you did not get a chance to read that one, you can do so by CLICKING HERE. During the practice, several of the Pit Reporters talked to some of the drivers. That brought another question to mind. Who decides which drivers and crew chiefs to interview? Are sponsors involved in that decision? Do the drivers volunteer? Does NASCAR dictate who gets coverage? Without saying, we know the announcers in the broadcast booth have their favorites and they always put them on their list of interviews by the Pit Reporters. Therein comes some of the bias and favoritism we see so often during the FOX coverage portion of the year.
I recognize the fact that some of the drivers they talk about most are ones who are in the top ten normally and do well week after week during the season. It is only fair to talk about them because these drivers do deserve the attention and most of us enjoy hearing about them. However, it should not be at the expense of excluding others. All fans want to hear their driver's name on television and so many times they don't get to for several reasons, and we continue to wonder why. Where do we place blame for this type of coverage or in some cases, lack of coverage, of all the drivers? There is no definitive answer to that question.
Sometimes we are quick to accuse or place blame simply because we don't care for one, or all of the announcers. Now I ask the following question: could we or would we do any better? Can we be fair? Or would we do the same thing where our favorites are concerned? We cannot truthfully answer that question unless we are actually in that situation. It is very hard to be objective when we are so passionate about the sport and our favorite team or driver. In reality, there are a lot of people who can remain unbiased and objective; and through the years, we have been blessed with a few of them.
I believe the demands and rules set by the broadcast company have been compromised and are now more lenient due to changes in what the public wants or expects. Each decade or era demands less and less satisfaction because the most important thing in this "me" world today is instant gratification. There are so many more options of things to do now than there were when a lot of us longtime fans began attending NASCAR races, and when television started broadcasting them. These options are taking fans away from the sport in some cases. As far as the longtime fans like me are concerned, the imperfections in broadcasting are keeping us less interested and therefore we share television time with other things. I do want to emphasize the fact that it is not due to loss of interest in racing; but due to the presentation of what they now call "the show for the fans". Most of us only want to see competitive racing on the track without all the bells and whistles and without the “Me” agenda some of the announcers seem to have. We don't want to hear about just a few of the drivers over and over and we especially do not want to hear about all the past achievements of members of the broadcast crew… most of which we had the privilege of watching you accomplish as they were happening, and they have remained in our memory banks. We don't want in-car or bumper cams. We just want to hear about all the drivers and see as much action of the cars or trucks on the track as possible. At this point, we patiently wait for NBCSN to take over and hopefully give us better coverage that includes all drivers.
Note to Darrell Waltrip: All these years you have been using those BBB words to start a race, so would it be too much to ask that you include Danica more than 2 or 3 times during FOX's coverage when you say "BBB, let's go racing boys"? For some reason you forget to include her on a regular basis. Isn’t she also a racer? A lot of fans think so. Another infamous remark we hear is "Where did he come from?" Duh! He's been in race all along. You were just so busy watching and commenting about your favorite that you were not paying attention to the rest of the race. Just sayin'...
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