New producer for ESPN broadcasts: supposedly James Shiftan will step into the ESPN race producer role vacated with the removal of Neil Goldberg last season. Shiftan took a leave of absence from NASCAR last year, leaving Coordinating Producer Jill Fredrickson to produce the final races.(Daly Planet)(12-29-2010)
Edwards to appear in HBO mini-series: #99-Carl Edwards has been cast in HBO’s forthcoming Civil War mini-series, “To Appomattox”, as General John B. Gordon, a Confederate General selected by Robert E. Lee to surrender the Army of Northern Virginia. The real Gordon became one of the two authors of "Honor Answering Honor" and, by this gesture, returned the private Southern soldier to the Union with respect and dignity. The series centers around the final battle of the Civil War and stars Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as General Ulysses S. Grant, William Petersen (CSI) as General William Tecumseh Sherman, Paul Giamatti (John Adams) as James “Pete” Longstreet and Bill Paxton (Big Love) as Stonewall Jackson (NASCAR Examiner), the series is in discussions with additional NASCAR affiliated drivers to play other featured roles.(12-20-2010)
Congrats: Congratulations to SPEED's Wendy Venturini and her husband Jarrad Egert, who works for Joe Gibbs Racing, on the birth of their son Caleb James on Dec. 22 at 10:58pm. Mom & baby doing fine.(12-24-2010)
Johnson Even More Dominating on Television than the Track: While it should come as no surprise five-time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson received the most attention during race telecasts this past season, the degree to which he dominated is staggering when considering Johnson was interviewed an entire half-hour longer, and mentioned 1,800 more times by the announcers than Series runner-up Denny Hamlin throughout the year.
According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. — which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast over the last 25 years — Johnson’s name was mentioned 7,875 times during the 36 live event telecasts (and replays) of the 2010 season. Johnson also appeared in a series-high 88 interview segments, which collectively added up to one hour, 31 minutes, 35 seconds (1:31:35) of television face time for the driver.
Hamlin in comparison, who won the most races (eight) and was leading The Chase heading into the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, drew 6,072 announcer mentions and 56 interviews totaling 1:01:50.
Kyle Busch also proved to be a popular interview subject, as the eighth-place driver finished tied for third among all racers with 47 interviews lasting a combined 1:07:13.
In contrast, Matt Kenseth, a top-five points finisher, appeared in front of the cameras just 14 times in 2010 for a little more than 10 minutes. Of the three network combinations televising the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this past season, TNT proved to be the most interview-friendly, as the six mid-summer races on the cable network averaged 15 driver interviews per telecast, with each lasting about 1:15. Races on Fox saw 13 driver interviews clocking in at 1:08 apiece, while live broadcasts on ABC/ESPN generally saw 10 interviews conducted for an average of 1:03.(see chart of 20 drivers at Joyce Julius & Assoc)(12-2-2010)
Media member looking for shoulder bag: Jerry Bonkowski, member of the NASCAR media, has a shoulder bag disappear in the media center Sunday after the Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. Inside the bag was: driver's license, credit cards, checkbooks and over $1,200 earned selling copies of his book, "Trading Paint - 101 Great NASCAR Debates", during the weekend. More info at jerrybonkowski.com.(11-18-2010)
Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence: Aflac and Charlotte Motor Speedway are proud to continue the tradition of recognizing the best in motorsports media with the 26th Annual Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin. The 2010 awards will be presented during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway in January 2011. The awards are presented to individuals who capture the passion, excitement and compelling stories of motorsports through distinguished journalism.
Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence winners receive a special plaque to commemorate their achievements along with a $1,000 scholarship to the school of their choice, funded by Aflac. As in years past, professors and faculty from the Indiana University School of Journalism provide an independent review of all entries to determine the winners.
The categories for the 2010 Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence are:
· Writing entries for daily newspapers
· Writing entries for other forms of written media (Internet, weekly, etc.)
· Broadcast entries for local radio and television
· Broadcast entries for national radio and television
· Photojournalism entries
Any type of motorsports coverage from the 2010 season is eligible. Entries dated from any other year or season will not be accepted. Judges will review each submission closely and base their decision on the quality of work and its representation of excellence in motorsports journalism. The Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence accepts and encourages all types of motorsports racing media coverage. It is NOT limited specifically to NASCAR. Entries must be postmarked by December 3, 2010. Entry forms and official rules can be downloaded at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/aflacaward.(CMS)(11-5-2010)
SPEED names Wheeler to executive post: Motor sports television veteran Patti Wheeler was named Executive Vice President of Programming & Production, it was announced today by SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “Beginning Nov. 1, Patti will take the lead in two crucial areas at SPEED,” Nickell said. “Program development is key to any network’s continuing evolution, and with our substantial commitment to a live network presence at all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events headlining a massive motor sports production schedule, bringing in someone with Patti’s credentials and experience strengthens the entire SPEED team.” Wheeler, who has produced every major racing series for every broadcast and cable network that has ever done motor sports, started her career at age 22 as a producer/director of live NASCAR races. She later served as Director of Motorsports and Executive Producer for TNN. Prior to founding her own company, Wheeler Television, Inc., Wheeler was President of World Sports Enterprises, the leading motorsports television production company in the U.S. A graduate of Belmont Abbey College, Wheeler lives in Charlotte with her husband, Leo Hindery, Jr., and their two teenagers. She has been named one of NASCAR’s Top 25 Most Powerful People by the Charlotte Observer and was included on the Charlotte Business Journal list of Top Forty Under Forty.(10-14-2010)(SPEED)
Speedway Illustrated Returns: Speedway Illustrated is back on track. And some familiar names are in the driver's seat, ready to steer it in the right direction. "Racing needs a quality magazine more than ever," said Karl Fredrickson, publisher of Traction Media, which has acquired the rights to Speedway Illustrated and will resume its publishing schedule. For a decade, Speedway Illustrated has provided that quality. And after Formula Five, which had owned the magazine only since 2009, suspended publication last spring, Fredrickson immediately launched an effort to buy it. "It's like a driver who decides to run his own team rather than drive for someone else," said Fredrickson, who has been with Speedway Illustrated since it began in January 2000. "We care more about it because it's more than just a business to us. Our reputations and our credibility are at stake. We don't take that lightly."
That means, among other things, that if you have an active subscription to Speedway Illustrated, Traction Media will honor it – even though it is under no obligation to do so. Said Fredrickson, "It's about doing the right thing and treating people fairly."
Back on board are Bones Bourcier, Joyce Standridge, Mike Adaskaveg, Lew Boyd, Rob Sneddon, J.A. Ackley, Dan Anderson, and the rest of the award-winning editorial team – including the magazine's founder and namesake. Yes, Dick Berggren, who launched Dick Berggren's Speedway Illustrated in 2000 but left the magazine in 2009, has returned. Fredrickson cautioned, "It's not for everyone. If you think drawing yellows on purpose is acceptable, or that crate engines should be mandatory, or that age or looks or gender matter more than talent, then Speedway Illustrated probably isn't for you. We will create magazines for people who pour their heart and soul into building a race car, and then think nothing of taking their pride and joy – and the most expensive investment they've got besides their house – and trying to squeeze it between moving steel and immovable concrete because they can't stand the thought of finishing fourth when they might've finished third.
For details on how to subscribe – or for questions regarding your Speedway Illustrated subscription that you paid for under the previous owner – go to www.speedwayillustrated.com.(Dick Berggren's Speedway Illustrated)(9-28-2010)
Daytona race on July 3rd will be 3D for the First Time in NASCAR's history: NASCAR Media Group, a media, marketing and entertainment company, and Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., announced that NASCAR's first foray into 3D programming will take place on July 3, 2010 with a special presentation of the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola. The 3D production, NASCAR's first ever, will be made available through TNT RaceBuddy on NASCAR.com as well as through DIRECTV, and will complement a special television presentation on TNT, highlighted by the network's groundbreaking signature Wide Open format. NASCAR.COM will feature 3D feeds for the Daytona race in addition to the mosaic of HD-quality complementary unique camera angles available on TNT RaceBuddy throughout the six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races televised on TNT. Turner will also make the Sprint Cup Series race from Daytona International Speedway available in 3D through DIRECTV. In order to experience the event in 3D, viewers will need a 3D TV or PC display with matching 3D glasses. The 3D production will feature two custom racing feeds produced specifically for 3D. The first will provide a unique look at the racing action from strategically placed cameras around the track designed to maximize the effect of 3D. The second stream will bring the mayhem of pit row into the third dimension creating a one-of-a-kind visual experience. TNT's televised coverage of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona continues with live race coverage in its groundbreaking signature Wide Open format. This format is a television presentation in which the network provides continuous race coverage free of national commercial breaks and features more unobstructed race action than that of a standard telecast by using a letterbox widescreen format. Along with title sponsor Coke Zero, featured sponsors-to-date are Burger King, Coors Light, Dimension Films' Piranha 3D, Goodyear, Sprint, Subway and Toyota.(TNT/NASCAR)(6-21-2010)
UPDATE: Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, in partnership with NASCAR Media Group, a media, marketing and entertainment company, and Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., announced they will air NASCAR’s first foray into 3D programming, the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola, in next generation 3D. The 3D production will feature two custom racing feeds produced specifically for 3D. The first will provide a unique look at the racing action from strategically placed cameras around the track designed to maximize the effect of 3D. The second stream will bring the mayhem of pit row into the third dimension creating a one-of-a-kind visual experience. In order to experience the event in 3D, viewers will need a 3D TV display with matching 3D glasses.(TNT)(6-24-2010)
Shelmerdine featured in TV series: former championship crew chief and part-time driver, Kirk Shelmerdine, has joined forces with Executive Producer Diane Barnes from Canada in the making of an oval track comedy series called, Thrills & Spills. Kirk confides, “In my opinion, there hasn't yet been a decent TV series centered around cars, racing and the people involved, so that makes participation in this project extra fun for me. I think Thrills & Spills will be a blast for its creators and viewers alike.” As Dale Earnhardt Sr’s former championship-winning Crew Chief in addition to being an independent driver/owner in the Sprint Cup series. Shelmerdine will not only contribute his knowledge and expertise as an industry insider, he will be seen on-screen in a recurring role as himself along with his Crew Chief Phil Harris as himself. “Having the opportunity to work with Kirk and Phil is a real honor; their history in the sport, ingenuity and sense of humor is a winning combination for the making of this show,” says Barnes.
Thrills & Spills centers around the story of Tom “Slick” Donnelly, a driver who loses his major sponsor, is forced to return to his home track for an ego tune-up and is now struggling to be competitive at the local level. Diane Barnes created the story which was inspired by her early days on her brother’s pit crew at oval tracks in Ontario, Canada. Barnes and her writing partner, Dave Francis, shot some footage for a demo a couple years back and decided to keep the project brewing until they found the perfect element to help bring the show to life. That element was Kirk Shelmerdine. The production team is currently in development and was recently shooting during race weeks at Charlotte, NC (PR), the show is not yet found a home on cable or natwork TV and there is no schedule for airing of the show.(6-17-2010)
Get well: wishes to Cyndee Bonkowski, who is undergoing a surgical procedure this week that will hopefully significantly reduce the level of handicap she's endured the last two years after suffering a crushed foot in an at-work accident. Cyndee is the wife of longtime motorsports writer and Sirius Radio personality Jerry Bonkowski who now blogs at Trading Paint.(6-8-2010)
AC/DC to feature song "T.N.T" for NASCAR races: TNT announced that it has joined forces with Hall of Fame rockers AC/DC [Jayski fave] to feature the band's single "T.N.T" as the network's theme song for its 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series coverage. The song will serve as the primary musical bed for all six of TNT's races, which begin with the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 on Sunday, June 6 in Pocono, as well as for the network's multi-platform marketing campaign surrounding its exclusive race coverage, which includes a presence on social media, print outlets, national television, local radio and print. The song has been re-released on the band's latest album, AC/DC: Iron Man 2 which features 15 of the band's classic songs.(ACDC.com)(5-26-2010)
NASCAR Media Group Receives Emmy Award: NASCAR Media Group, the creative, media, and production services company of NASCAR, has received an Emmy Award for “Inside the Headsets,” a television program which aired following the 25th annual NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race last May. NASCAR Media Group and its broadcast partner SPEED were presented the award in the “Live Event Turnaround” category at the 31st Annual Sport Emmy Awards on April 26, 2010 at Lincoln Center in New York. This is the third time in the past four years NASCAR Media Group has won the Emmy Award in the “Live Event Turnaround” category. Other NASCAR-related programming was also recognized at television’s most prestigious awards ceremony. FOX Sports won for Live Event Audio/Sound for its NASCAR broadcasts and HBO’s “24/7 Jimmie Johnson Race To Daytona” was recognized for Outstanding Sports Promotional Announcement – Episodic.(NASCAR)(4-30-2010)
Fox to offer extended post-race coverage online UPDATE...no : Fox will offer extended post-race coverage of NASCAR with an online program beginning this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The Overdrive on FoxSports.com will begin immediately after the network ends its broadcast coverage of Sunday's Sprint Cup race. The program will use Fox's entire nine-person broadcasting crew and consist of live interviews and analysis that will be streamed to its Web site. "It's something we should have been doing all along," Bill Brown, senior producer for Fox Sports. "It's definitely a can't lose, especially when you take into account what the audience wants to see. We are trying to take care of an audience that has invested four hours into the race, wants more, and we can give them more."
Brown said the idea for an online show had been previously discussed, but network executives realized the immediate need for extended programming following Saturday night's broadcast at Phoenix International Raceway. Viewers who tuned in for the 3 hours, 48 minutes then received only a brief post-race show of interviews with just the top three finishers. The broadcast ran 50 minutes past its allotted time, and Fox took two commercial breaks after the checkered flag that totaled almost seven minutes. It left no time to follow-up with Denny Hamlin, who received considerable coverage for racing just 10 days after knee surgery. The network also didn't offer any coverage of Kyle Busch, who lost the race because of a late caution. Fox officials said Busch declined to be interviewed, but viewers were not informed of his unwillingness to speak. Brown said Fox will not set a hard time on how long The Overdrive will run since it will be dictated by storylines. He said all four pit reporters will pursue drivers, crew chiefs and owners for live interviews, mediated by studio hosts Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond. The broadcast booth of Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds will also stay to contribute to the production.(Associated Press)(4-16-2010)
UPDATE: Fox's plan for extended post-race NASCAR coverage in an online program was wiped out even before Sunday's race at Texas got postponed by rain. "Unfortunately, due to contractual limitations that we had hoped to overcome, FOX Sports is unable to extend its post-race coverage on FOXSports.com," Fox said in a statement Sunday. "Since this would have been a commercial-free undertaking, our goal was simply to have all parties agree that this would only benefit NASCAR fans, but obviously that didn't happen." Turner Sports owns online video rights to NASCAR content and operates NASCAR.com. In response to Fox, Turner issued its own statement Sunday touting its in-depth coverage on NASCAR.com going into and following each race. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Fox and Turner have contracts with NASCAR that "serve our fans very well."
"We expect our partners to respect and abide by the rights that are in place," Poston said. "FOX provides excellent coverage of the race on broadcast and NASCAR.com provides 24-7 coverage including a significant amount of content postrace."(ESPN/AP)(4-19-2010)
ESPN Motor Sports Coverage Earns Five Sports Emmy Nominations: ESPN’s coverage of motor sports earned five Sports Emmy Award nominations, among an industry-leading 54 nominations earned by ESPN, Inc., it was announced today by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. For the ninth time in 10 years, ESPN earned the most nominations of any submitting company. The winners will be announced Monday, April 26. The five nominations in motor sports included both NASCAR and the Indianapolis 500.
Outstanding Live Sports Special: The Indy 500
Outstanding Technical Team Remote: NASCAR on ESPN
Outstanding Technical Team Studio: ESPN Pit Studio and ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage
Outstanding Production Design/Art Direction: The Indy 500
Outstanding Editing: NASCAR Sprint Cup Season in Review (produced by NASCAR Media Group for ESPN2)
In addition, ESPN’s marketing department received a nomination for Outstanding Sports Promotional Announcement: NASCAR on ESPN - Feel Your Heart Race.(ESPN)(3-19-2010)
Craven joining ESPN Nationwide broadcast at Nashville: After two years as a studio analyst at ESPN, former Sprint Cup Series regular and Maine native Ricky Craven is readying to take the next step in his NASCAR broadcasting career. Ricky Craven will leave the cozy confines of the studio behind on April 3 and make his first foray into race coverage when he joins the ESPN broadcast booth for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Nashville 300 from Nashville Superspeedway. Craven, a Newburgh, Me. native former K&N Pro Series East champion, will join Dale Jarrett and Marty Reid in the booth for ESPN's Nationwide Series telecast from Nashville. Its expected to be the first of a few appearances for Craven calling events this year for ESPN. Craven, who retired from full-time racing in the Sprint Cup Series after the 2004 season, will be filling in for regular ESPN Nationwide Series analyst Andy Petree for the Nashville event.(Hartford Courant)(3-14-2010)
No races in 3-D anytime soon: The NCAA Final Four in a few weeks will be presented by CBS in 3-D coverage for theatergoers. Fox has produced a 3-D Bowl Championship Series football game, and Major League Baseball's All-Star game will be in 3-D carried by DirecTV. ESPN presented the Ohio State-Southern California football game in 3-D and showed it in a handful of theaters and is expected to launch a 3-D channel soon. So could NASCAR end up in 3-D? It's possible but there are several hurdles. Network executives from NASCAR's television partners have recently said they couldn't predict when there would be a 3-D production of a NASCAR race. The biggest hurdle is trying to get it to the fan base. Fox Sports Chairman David Hill wonders if enough NASCAR fans would have 3-D sets to be able to watch a 3-D production. "HD sets have not reached critical mass yet and folks that just bought an HD set, they've got to turn around and buy a 3-D," Hill says. "There's a whole bunch of questions all to do with the chicken and the egg. So the answers [to NASCAR in 3-D questions] are we will have equipment to do a 3-D race, yes it will look fantastic and I don't believe anyone will be able to see it." ESPN Vice President of Motorsports Rich Feinberg says he is fascinated by 3-D and helped make a 3-D movie last summer at the X Games. "There are some technical challenges that need to be overcome," Feinberg says. "The size and scope of these productions in terms of the number of cameras and all the stuff with the pit cams and crew-cam guys, that technology doesn't exist today for 3-D. "What we want to do in working with NASCAR is when we get there, we want to make sure we can do it right. There is a whole lot of technical knowledge that has to be acquired and experimented and tested in order to do that. We don't serve anybody, including our NASCAR fans, by doing a show that is underwhelming in 3-D because of the technical limitations. We've got to wait until we're ready."(Scene Daily)(3-13-2010)
Kyle Petty, Rutledge Wood Try Their Hand At Supercross: NASCAR veteran Kyle Petty has raced stock cars and sports cars at Daytona International Speedway. On Monday he added motorcycles to that list after taking lessons from Supercross legend Ricky Carmichael. Petty, along with his SPEED Channel co-host Rutledge Wood, took part in the inaugural Ricky Carmichael University where the five-time Daytona Supercross By Honda champion and his team of experts shared tips and techniques with Supercross racers of all ages in the one-day only camp. “There are kids here that are five or six-years-old that just worship the ground he walks on,” Petty said. “He’s like Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. all rolled into one when it comes to motocross. To be able to come and learn from someone like that is incredible.” Petty, who has always enjoyed motorcycles but did not have any previous Supercross experience, equated participating in the event to a kid being able to take a lap around Daytona International Speedway the day after the Daytona 500. Carmichael, who is retired from Supercross competition and now pursuing a stock car career with Turner Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, was impressed with the performance of both Petty and Wood. “Kyle is doing fantastic,” Carmichael said. “Rutledge is doing amazing. Racers are racers. When I explained stuff to Kyle, he would go out and execute it. You could see the light bulb click on, if you will. It’s neat to see at their level, guys who are doing it for the first time. It’s so fun to see the progression.” While Carmichael had fun with Petty and Wood, he also enjoyed working with some of the future Supercross stars.(DIS)(3-9-2010)
TNT names new play-by-play announcer: TNT announced that veteran NASCAR broadcaster Adam Alexander will join the network as its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series play-by-play announcer, calling all six races of TNT’s Summer Series. Alexander will be joined in the booth by returning analysts Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach. Alexander will debut during TNT’s exclusive coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing from Pocono, Pa. on June 6 and will also call races live from Michigan (June 13), Loudon (June 20) and Sonoma (June 27) and TNT’s primetime Saturday night races in Daytona (July 3) and Chicago (July 10). In addition, Alexander will contribute to NASCAR.COM. In a new role, TNT announcer Lindsay Czarniak will become the new host for Countdown to Green, 60 minutes of pre-race coverage that leads into TNT’s green flag racing coverage. In addition, she will host TNT and NASCAR.COM’s post-race coverage, as well as give mid-race updates and reports. Czarniak will be joined by analysts Larry McReynolds and Petty.
Beyond Alexander’s TNT duties during six weeks of Summer Series coverage, Alexander also works for SPEED as a reporter for the network’s racing coverage. He has also worked as a play-by-play announcer on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and as a pit reporter for its NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide series coverage. Alexander began his career as an announcer for the Tri-State Speedway in Evansville, Ind.
In addition to Czarniak’s tenure as a TNT announcer, she also serves as the full-time sports anchor at NBC’s WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, Czarniak was co-host with George Michael on the syndicated Sports Machine with George Michael. In 2008, Czarniak was a studio host for NBC’s Olympic Summer Games in Beijing, China, and in 2006, she was a sports desk reporter for the network’s Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy. She appeared on various NBC-owned networks.
TNT’s NASCAR telecasts will return with popular production features and enhancements, including TNT RaceBuddy. In addition, the acclaimed Pride of NASCAR series will continue as TNT profiles six new NASCAR legends, highlighting the sport’s history and history makers. Finally, TNT’s innovative Wide Open Coverage will air for the fourth year during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing from Daytona. Also returning to TNT this summer will be pit reporters Ralph Sheheen, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum. This marks TNT’s [TBS] 27th consecutive year of televising Cup coverage, making it NASCAR’s longest running broadcast partner.(TNT)(3-4-2010)
Bill Weber....a magician: Bill Weber, who was TNT's lead NASCAR race announcer before being suspended before a race in July and not returning, says he's performing as a magician. "It's a passion I hope to turn into a profession," says Weber, who says his TNT contract wasn't renewed. "I hope to continue sports announcing, but this is something I've wanted to do for a long time." Weber, saying he worked some NBC motor sports last year, adds he's "waiting for NBC to get back from Olympics to see what motor sports opportunities they might have."(USA Today)(2-25-2010)
New TV deal allows UK fans to watch NASCAR races: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races are again on television in the United Kingdom as the Open Access 3 channel starts covering the series this weekend from Las Vegas. Previous UK NASCAR broadcaster Sky ceased its live coverage at the end of last season, bar a one-off reappearance for the Daytona 500. But NASCAR has now announced a new deal with Open Access 3 - channel 190 on Sky - starting from the next race, with the broadcast beginning Sunday.(AutoSport)(2-25-2010)
NASCAR returns to DirecTV: NASCAR HotPass is available only on DIRECTV and it's now free to all DIRECTV customers. Experience every turn, every lap, every checkered flag of the Sprint Cup Series. With four dedicated driver channels all available in HD — NASCAR HotPass puts you right in the middle of the action, from the driver's seat to under the hood. More info at directv.com.(2-13-2010)
Disney's "Handy Manny Big Race" with Dale Earnhardt Jr: Playhouse Disney's hit Emmy-nominated series "Handy Manny" puts the pedal to the metal with the premiere of the series' second primetime special, "Handy Manny Big Race," starring Wilmer Valderrama and guest starring #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and N'Sync's Lance Bass, Saturday, March 20, 7:00-7:25 pm/et/pt on Disney Channel. In this exciting primetime event for preschoolers and parents, Manny and the tools hit the motor speedway as a pit crew for the highly anticipated Wood Valley 500.
Earnhardt said: "My 4- year-old niece is a huge 'Handy Manny' fan, so when Disney Channel approached me about doing this role, I did it with her in mind. It was fun doing it, and being 'Chase Crawford' for a while. I know Kennedy will enjoy seeing me on her favorite cartoon."
Valderrama said: "Like NASCAR racing, 'Handy Manny Big Race' is something the entire family can enjoy together. I am so excited that we incorporated one of America's favorite pastimes and the legendary Dale Earnhardt, Jr. into the world of 'Handy Manny."
In the special, Valderrama, Bass (who recurs on the series as surfer-dude Elliot) and the cast of Tools perform the new song "One Step at a Time." A music video for the song will premiere Saturday, March 6 on Disney Channel and online at Disney.com/HandyManny. In addition, PlayhouseDisney.com will give preschoolers the opportunity to decorate their own race car for the chance to have it featured on air during the premiere broadcast of "Handy Manny Big Race."
In "Handy Manny Big Race," Manny and the tools help Elliot fix up his used race car to enter the big Wood Valley 500 race. The car turns out better than expected and everyone is ready to race – except Elliot, who's too nervous to drive. Famous race car driver Chase Davis (voiced by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) steps in to help, but Elliot's nerves get the best of him. With the tools as his pit crew, Manny gets behind the wheel in an attempt to win the race for the entire team. "Handy Manny" airs weekdays at 9:00 am/et/pt and weekends at 8:30 am and 10:30 am during Disney Channel's Playhouse Disney programming block for preschoolers. The series carries a TV-Y parental guideline.(ESPN/Disney)(2-13-2010)
Congrats: SPEED and FOX Sports on-air personality Krista Voda was married January 23 in Pittsburgh. She wed Phillip "PK" Kelley, an independent contractor for network television, sports and entertainment, and a longtime fixture in the NASCAR garage. Kelley and Voda, host of NCWTS Setup on SPEED, will reside in Cranberry Township, Pa.(SPEED)(2-3-2010)
Fox NASCAR ad sales going well: An improved television ad sales marketplace is breathing new life into Fox's NASCAR sales this season, as the network has sold 80 percent of the inventory for the Daytona 500 and is expecting a full sellout before the race. Ad sales for the rest of the network's 13-race schedule are pacing 8 to 10 percent ahead of last year's levels. Fox's NASCAR sales push is being helped by a more active marketplace, which is seeing advertising sales slowly rebound across virtually all sports. These early returns represent a big relief for the sport and the network considering that last year's TV ratings were the lowest in a decade. Emblematic of the rebounding economy is the automotive category, which Fox said is tripling its revenue commitment from last year. Fox expects to double the amount of auto sponsors that buy into the regular season. Last year, just two autos - Toyota and Ford - bought regular-season schedules. Both are back this year, as is General Motors. Plus, Fox said GoDaddy, Nationwide and Cialis also have stepped up as new advertisers with significant buys. Unlike other sports, NASCAR team sponsors are not required to purchase a network schedule.(Sports Business Journal)(2-2-2010)
SPEED sets Daytona Speedweeks Schedule: SPEED will open its 2010 Daytona Speedweeks coverage Feb. 4 with live coverage of Budweiser Shootout practice, the Budweiser Shootout Selection Show and the Fourth Annual SPEED Performance Awards. On Feb. 6, SPEED will bring race fans live and exclusive coverage of Danica Patrick's stock car debut, as the popular open wheel racer makes her first ARCA Racing Series start for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports race team. To enhance television coverage of Patrick's effort, SPEEDtv.com, will offer exclusive in-car and ISO streaming videos, along with pit-to-car radio communication between Danica and her team. The Gatorade Duel at Daytona takes center stage Feb. 11, beginning with a special edition of NASCAR RaceDay Built by The Home Depot at 1 p.m. ET, followed by live race coverage at 2 p.m. ET. Krista Voda and Jeff Hammond will host. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opens its season Feb. 12 with Krista Voda hosting NCWTS Setup at 7:30 p.m., followed by race coverage at 8 p.m. ET. Rick Allen, Darrell Waltrip and Phil Parsons will call the race for SPEED, with Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander in the pits. And on Sunday, Feb. 14, SPEED delivers a special three-hour edition of NASCAR RaceDay Built by The Home Depot, leading into FOX coverage of the Daytona 500. John Roberts hosts, with Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace sharing their observations as teams prepare for The Great American Race. Wendy Venturini and Hermie Sadler lead a team of SPEED RaceDay voices reporting from all around the race track.(SPEEDtv PR)(1-27-2010)
SPEED named exclusive TV home of NASCAR HoF: SPEED and NASCAR have reached a multiyear agreement naming SPEED as the official television home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. As part of the deal, SPEED will continue to offer live coverage of special events leading up to the annual induction ceremonies, including nomination and voting days for each Hall class. As part of the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame opening on May 11, which SPEED will televise live, the network also will offer a special “walking tour” broadcast from the striking new Charlotte, N.C., facility just before it opens to the public, as well as extensive pre-event programming. Beginning in April, SPEED also will produce and air one-hour documentaries on each incoming NASCAR Hall of Fame class member. For more information on NHOF events, please visit www.NASCARHall.com.(SPEED)(1-24-2010)
New Shows, some changes at SPEED: With a slate of new programs, an updated and enhanced Web presence and an upgraded 14,400-square-foot, at-track production and interactive marketing compound offering more to race fans than ever before, SPEED is putting the finishing touches on the most ambitious NASCAR on SPEED season in network history. This week, SPEED signed former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty to a new multiyear deal that will position the veteran television personality with John Roberts, Kenny Wallace and Wendy Venturini on the popular NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pre-race show, NASCAR RaceDay Built by The Home Depot. Petty also will appear on the post-race program, NASCAR Victory Lane, and continue his role on the popular game show, NASCAR Smarts.
As the season gets underway, SPEED is dedicating much of its effort to strengthening its Monday Night NASCAR lineup, with the following rotation beginning Feb. 15 -- NASCAR Race Hub (7:30 & 11:30 pm/et), NASCAR in a Hurry – Monday Edition (8:00 pm/et) and a new 30-minute talk show with fan favorite Jimmy Spencer, entitled What’s the Deal?, at 8:30pm/et.
Nicky Morse, The Racing Chef, will join the NASCAR on SPEED team in 2010, visiting restaurants around the race track and highlighting the culinary expertise of race fans who take enormous pride in their campground feasts. Three additional Monday night NASCAR shows are in development, with a planned rollout following the Las Vegas racing weekend.
Race replays for all three NASCAR national touring series are scheduled throughout the week, beginning with an encore presentation of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Mondays at 12:00pm/et, Tuesday nights, SPEED will air a cut-down version of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, tentatively titled NASCAR Fast Laps, at 8:00pm/et. The full Cup race will re-air Wednesdays at 12:00pm/et and the full NASCAR Nationwide Series race replay will air Thursdays at 12:00pm/et. In addition, SPEED will air NASCAR Classics on Thursdays at 3:00pm/et.
In addition to its weekly NASCAR on SPEED lineup, SPEED will continue to be the home for the Gatorade Duel at Daytona [Feb 11th at 2:00pm/et], the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race [May 22nd], all three NASCAR national touring series awards ceremonies and the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The only title not returning in 2010 will be the long-running This Week in NASCAR.
At the race track, the SPEED Stage continues its evolution, as the network teams with Jay Howard Enterprises (JHE) and GMR Marketing to deliver a one-of-a-kind fan experience. First producing shoulder programming from the track in 2004, the original effort took only a single tractor trailer and two JHE employees to deliver. In 2010, the five-tractor-trailer effort now rolls in with three SPEED Stages and a lineup of interactive fan activities, where ‘SPEED Fanatics’ (my.speedtv.com) can experience what its like to operate a camera, sit on mock sets and get autographs from SPEED personalities and other NASCAR stars.(SPEED)(1-20-2010)
NASCAR races not picked up by UK's Sky Sports: Been told that United Kingdom's [England, Scotland, Ireland] Sky Sports did not secure the NASCAR Cup series for 2010, so after two years, there supposedly will be no live television coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup races in the UK.(from Keith Huewen's website, he was one of the announcers of the races)(1-18-2010)
Lots of NASCAR News next week? Approximately 200 print and electronic journalists from 18 states and as far away as Canada and Germany
will convene in Concord, NC next week as Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts the 28th annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour. An essential part of NASCAR's pre-season schedule, this year's edition of Media Tour begins Monday morning, Jan. 18, and continues through Thursday afternoon, Jan. 21. With support from sponsors Sprint and NASCAR, the Media Tour gives credentialed participants the opportunity to tour race shops; interview drivers, crew chiefs and team owners; and discuss the latest developments and news with motorsports industry insiders.
Journalists from New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Toronto are among those registered to participate, representing such media outlets as USA Today, The New York Times, Bloomberg News, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel, The Associated Press, Reuters Newswire and Sports Illustrated.
Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and Penske Racing are among some of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams scheduled to make announcements. This year, media members will get an exclusive inside look at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and the Tour will also make its annual visit to the NASCAR Research and Development Center.(CMS)(1-13-2010)