Monday, February 23, 2015

The 2015 DAYTONA 500: A Review With A Boring Finish

Well, the 2015 Daytona 500 has come and gone. Speedweeks has come and gone. Testing, the Duels and qualifying and the race itself has finally started the 2015 NASCAR TV season.

Up until the 500 itself, the race coverage was over on FoxSports 1. IT was interesting over there. We'd watch about 30 minutes of event then swap to their sports desk where these two guys would reiterate what had just happened and tell us what will be coming up.

That sports desk thing needs work. It felt awkward, like they felt like they were out of their element covering events in NASCAR. My favorite flub was after Kurt Busch got suspended from NASCAR, it was between 9 and 10 at night, when these two guys told us about Kurt, and how they would give us live updates throughout the night on the situation. I was thinking to myself that if there are live updates at 1 AM, well... OK?

All the races except the cup race were on FoxSports 1, and as many have said in various sources, having most of the coverage taking place on a cable channel many folks don't receive if they can't afford it, is an unfortunate development.

But then TV is about marketing and the advertising, and advertisers want viewers with money, so in the long run, they don't care about the free or basic cable packages. At least the 500 was on FOX itself.

Throughout the weekend we learned various aspects about new rules that are in place for the drivers. One of them is that there are no officials standing on pit road watching teams change right side lugnuts.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

DANICA PATRICK's Unfair Advantage On Pit Road

Danica Patrick, for all the hype that she generates, despite her middle-of-the-road performance, has a serious advantage in NASCAR, and that's when she tries to start shit after a race.

During all the practices and events leading up the Daytona 500, Danica Patrick and Denny Hamlin had a few on-track incidents. But after the Duel where Denny tapped her out in a corner, wrecking her, well, she had something to say to Mr. Hamlin.

She charged right up through the crowd on pit road, and double fist grabbed Hamlin's firesuit and started yelling at him, inquiring as to why he wrecked her.

All the while, her boss Tony Stewart, was in the background muttering something about seeing the replay first.

TELL ME: How many other drivers do you whink would be allowed to charge through the crowd towards another driver? How many drivers would be allowed to grab someone's firesuit, fist clutching their material, and yell at them?

How many drivers would have shrugged their shoulders and with arms outstretched and palms up, trying to "talk their way" through this disagreement?  Well, now we can say at least one.

(I am not saying physical contact is the way to resolve arguments, but that's never really been the way in sports when tempers flare, particularly in NASCAR.)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Group Qualifying For Daytona - Good, Scary or Questionable Decision for TV?

Until I watched the qualifying process for the Xfinity Series race at Daytona, a restrictor-plate track, I wasn't sure what I thought about the group qualifying process that NASCAR instituted for this 2015 racing season.

Now that I've seen it, I can wholeheartedly say that it's bad enough that racing at Daytona is a crap shoot of luck with pack racing combined with poor decisions on anyone's part. That's part of the show IN THE RACE. And there's this need to put on a show during qualifying, because single car runs are not that appealing to the generic TV viewer.

That's the TV studio talking.

But when someone makes a bad call in one of the group sessions that impacts drivers that are fully capable of getting in the race, well, sure, TV gets more of the exciting wrecks that appeal to the casual TV viewer, but seems completely unfair to the drivers who get caught up in the noise of the wreck. I don't know what the right answer is to make qualifying more "exciting" to the casual viewer, but the probability of screwing up a contender from getting in the race seems to be a steep price to pay for any one team.

 Even though I am no expert, it looks like the groups need to be broken up into even more groups for smaller qualifying crowds, minimizing how many cars can be impacted when a driver makes a bad call in the pack. Just saying.

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