Sunday, May 1, 2011

NASCAR: SPEED shines in broadcasting the Bubba Burgers 250 at Richmond race, but Denny Hamlin spoils the show with domination.

Welcome readers, for the last few years, the NASCAR Nationwide Series have been exclusively televised on the ESPN and ABC network. The TV broadcasts have for the most part been in question by the fans. The broadcasts have been entertaining at times, while others have been simply boring to watch. So far in 2011, the broadcasts though haven’t been the issue, so much as its been the Cup Series regular drivers like Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and more coming down into the second series and using it as there own play ground, but that’s another issue all together.

However NASCAR fans last Friday night received a few unexpected treats sort of speak. You see all of the ESPN networks including ABC were busy on Friday night with the NFL draft and I believe the Royal Wedding coverage and highlights. I don’t know, I really didn’t play any attention to the whole deal.

So since ESPN was full, SPEED (Channel) was given the chance to televise the race live on SPEED and they used there own people both in the announcement booth and on pit road, not to mention behind the scenes as well.

I have to admit that heading into Friday night’s race, I was excited about watching the race for three reasons.

1. Simply put Kyle Busch wasn’t racing this weekend. I have made it a point to find something to watch elsewhere when it comes to Busch and Nationwide races for several races.

2. I was interested in seeing just what SPEED could do and would they handle the TV broadcast just like they handle the NASCAR Camping World truck Series.

3. It was Richmond, Friday night under the lights short track action at its finest, need I say more.

Anyway, SPEED in my opinion didn’t disappoint. They had two-three pit road reporters and three guys in the booth. Of course in the booth, they had Rick Allen, but he had his hands full with the Waltrip Brothers. Yes I said the Waltrip Brothers, it was Mikey and Darrell going at it sort of speak for airtime while Allen calling the action from the booth.

But while SPEED was doing a good job giving the fans the right details, covering the action on pit road (what there was of it because of lack of caution flags for drivers to make pit stops) and on-track, the race itself was simply almost a run away with several long green flag periods that ended up putting the field as a long strung out feel with the leader Denny Hamlin leading the most laps.

Richmond normally doesn’t happen like this, but for some reason long green flag periods were the theme this past weekend for both the Nationwide and Cup Series races.

However that didn’t stop the Nationwide Series regulars from trying to make a show out of it as they shined especially Kenny Wallace. I don’t know what got into Kenny Wallace, but the veteran was on his game at least for the first 100 laps of this race as he raced his way up through the field and got as high as second at one point during the race.

It was good to see Wallace mixing it up with some of the Cup Series regulars, not to mention some of the Nationwide regulars too. Personally it would be great to see Kenny Wallace win one more race this year especially in the #09 low budget team.

But even SPEED couldn’t save this Richmond un-normal green flag race as Denny Hamlin even with a late race caution and a fuel economy run would hold off the hard charging Paul Menard (yes, I said Menard, yeah I know where did he come from or where has he been all these years) to win his first race of the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series and put the #20 back into the lead in the owners standings.

Now before you write off this race, keep four things in mind:

1. SPEED did a good job broadcasting this race and with a lot less in the announcers to do so than ESPN normally does. I mean two or three on pit road and three in the booth, but no in-field booth, which is good. SPEED put it all in the hands of Rick Allen and he delivered.

2. Nationwide regulars fill in 6 of the top 10 positions in the final results

3. Kenny Wallace shined, but could only get a 13th place finish.

4. The Nationwide Series points standings is a close battle with the top 6 are only separated by -17 points with Justin Allgaier leading the points.

But as I close this article, I have one question, how does NASCAR fix the Nationwide Series and the Truck Series to make them more entertaining?



Full Disclosure: This article was originally published on Brian Vermette's former blog called BVinsight, however once RaceDriven.com was re-launched and rebrand, BVinsight was renamed BVDaily with 33 of 44 articles being published here on RaceDriven due to subject.