Saturday, June 13, 2009

It’s over in Dover for NASCAR on FOX for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, but how did they do?

I know that I am a little late to the party, however you know me, I like to make a grand entrance, anyway, in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the first 13 races from the Daytona 500 to the Dover 400 are broadcasted on FOX. Over that time, while the racing has been good to watch with the exceptions of a few races that just didn’t go so well, the TV ratings have seen a double-digit drop in most cases.

I have to say, in watching all 13 races which included a rain-shortened Daytona 500 won by Matt Kenseth, the Monday rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 won by David Reutimann to the Southern 500, Phoenix cup race, both won by Mark Martin, and the Aaron’s 499 that included two Big One’s, Carl Edwards fling through the air into the outside catch fence and a last lap, tri-oval pass for the lead with Brad Keselowski capturing his very first Cup Series victory, the television broadcasts have been pretty good, of course some better than others.

In watching all of those races, I have to say that first the announcers actually had magic in the booth sort of speck from Mike Joy who towards the end of the 13 races really started calling out cautions, wrecks and taking control. Joy knows his NASCAR and was entertaining. For Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds doing Color Analyst, every TV broadcast team, not to mention radio teams in NASCAR needs a former crew chief and a retired driver in the booth and these two know exactly what they are talking about, they have been there winning races and championships.

The pit reporters did a good job with Dick Berggren, Matt Yocum, Steve Byrnes and Krista Voda, all four reporters where on top of changes to the cars, pit stop times and tell the fans at home what the drivers where saying about their cars.

And yes even having Jeff Hammond hosting the pre-show and doing updates throughout the race while at the same time while using the cut away car to explain any problems that teams or drivers maybe having with car from lug nuts to engine, transmission and fuel filling. And of course keep the turn cam at the race tracks as a matter of fact every track should have cameras in the turns to show the action during a race.

However in every broadcast, there were a few things that they could change, and did for the most part towards especially at Darlington.

First has to Chris Myers as host, enough already, nothing personal here, but from a NASCAR fan here, just leave Jeff Hammond in the Hollywood Hotel and the cutaway car to explain problems and let Mike Joy do his job of calling the race.

Second has to be Dinger. At first I was fine with Dinger, he was suppose to be a little gopher that sometimes pops up out of this hole on screen, screams as cars flash by him and jump back down into the hole, however it’s not entertaining to have animation cartoons, this isn’t Saturday morning cartoons, I don’t need this before or after a race and especially during a race. But I will say that Dinger is not the reason for the lower ratings.

Third, every time I turn around or in this case listen to the broadcast, I hear a plug for a sponsor being put into anywhere they can find it and how many commercials do fans need to watch.

As for the declining ratings, it really not NASCAR on FOX’s broadcast, it’s not Dinger neither, but simply NASCAR fans are finding different ways to watch races and to listen to them. Also NASCAR use to be a hot trend, now those people that follow the latest trends have moved on, but NASCAR should be concerned with their current fan base instead of trying to change everything, of course working on the COT could help and the double-file starts are helping.

Now what about NASCAR on TNT for the 6 races…last week at Pocono with the exception the guys in the booth did a good job, but wait there’s 5 more races to go, good luck fans and no more junk.