NASCAR looking to regain digital rights: NASCAR is close to reaching an agreement to buy its digital rights back from Turner Sports, a move that could see the sanctioning body manage its own digital business as soon as 2013. Specific terms of the pending agreement were not available, and sources said the deal is not expected to be official until next year. It's not clear how much NASCAR will pay to reclaim its rights, but sources said it would be in the mid-eight figures. The move puts NASCAR in a stronger position to sell its media rights, which are expected to go on the market next year. NASCAR's current eight-year, $4.48 billion media deal with Fox, ESPN and Turner ends in 2014. The company is preparing to put those rights up for sale, and its executives know that any network that bids on TV rights will also want digital rights to stream races online. Though NASCAR is moving now to reclaim its rights, Turner will continue to run NASCAR.com for at least a year. That will give NASCAR time to build up an infrastructure that can support and manage its digital assets independently. The group will hire staff to oversee the site and likely base the group in Charlotte. NASCAR has been looking to reclaim its digital rights for some time. The sanctioning body sold its interactive rights to Turner in 2000. In 2008, it extended that partnership through 2014. But in recent years, NASCAR officials began to regret taking a big paycheck from Turner rather than controlling the sport's digital future. During the last few years, senior NASCAR officials, who declined to speak on the record, complained that the deal was so restrictive that even simple digital initiatives were difficult to undertake. For example, if NASCAR wanted a Facebook page or Twitter handle, it had to get Turner to create or approve them. The sport and its tracks also couldn't create mobile applications without Turner's approval.(Sports Business Daily) - subscription required.(12-20-2011)
Ackerson named interim president of SPEED: FOX Sports Media Group has announced Emmy Award winning producer Scott Ackerson will serve as interim president of SPEED, beginning Jan. 1. Ackerson currently serves as Executive Vice President and Executive Producer for FSMG and will continue in that role. He previously was Coordinating Producer for FOX NFL SUNDAY. Ackerson joined FOX Sports in 1994, leading FOX NFL SUNDAY to its 17-year run as America's most-watched NFL pregame show. Under his direction, the network's signature studio program won four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Studio Show and became a cultural phenomenon watched by millions nationwide every Sunday. Its continuous run at the top places it alongside such iconic programs as "Today" and "60 Minutes."(Fox Sports)(12-20-2011)
Richie Evans to be featured in one-hour special: He wasn't born and raised in the South like several of his NASCAR Hall of Fame predecessors. The majority of his racing took place in the Northeast and he wasn't a household name like many NASCAR legends, but New York's Richie Evans will be immortalized alongside those stock car heroes in the 2012 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Evans, recognized as the "king of Modified racing," captured nine NASCAR Modified championships in 13 years, including a streak of eight consecutive beginning in 1978. He won an estimated 475 feature races, earning him multiple track championships throughout the Northeast. Evans' life and career was cut short, however, when he was fatally injured in 1985 during a practice session at Martinsville Speedway. Afterward, the 44-year-old's #61 became the first and only car number retired in any NASCAR division.
SPEED and NASCAR Media Group celebrate the life and accomplishments of "The Rapid Roman" in a one-hour biography special premiering Friday, Dec. 16 at 8 pm/et. Evans will be inducted into the third class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 20 alongside Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Inman and Glen Wood.(much more at SPEED)(12-15-2011)
President of SPEED resigns from network: Hunter Nickell, President of SPEED, is leaving the network at years end. During Nickell's tenure, SPEED reached several significant milestones, adding nearly 16 million homes to its current Nielsen Household reach of 84 million homes in North America. Nickell will finish several projects with SPEED over the next few months and continue to explore opportunities within the FOX Sports Media Group. An interim replacement will be named shortly. Increasing its relationship with NASCAR under Nickell's leadership, SPEED added several high-profile events to its programming lineup, including the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies and all three of the NASCAR post-season awards banquets. Nickell also generated increased SPEED programming and marketing presence at every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on the circuit, giving SPEED unmistakable leadership in on-site network visibility. Nickell came to SPEED in 2005 after 12 years as general manager of FSN South, where he oversaw the nation's largest regional sports television network.(SPEED)(12-13-2011)
Media votes top 10 moments of 2011: Members of NASCARMedia.com voted in a week-long poll, casting ballots for the top-10 moments from the just-completed NASCAR season. Tony Stewart's walk-off win in the season finale, however, didn't exactly prevail in a landslide among voting by members of the news media. Trevor Bayne's historic Daytona 500 victory - which opened the year on a spectacular note at Daytona International Speedway - barely missed out on the #1 spot.
#1 - Tony Stewart's Homestead-Miami win to clinch the Championship
#2 - Trevor Bayne's Daytona 500 Win
#3 - Brad Keselowski's win at Pocono after breaking his left ankle in a testing accident
#4 - Jeff Gordon's 85th NASCAR Sprint Cup Win
#5 - Regan Smith's Darlington Southern 500 Win
#6 - Jimmie Johnson's .0002 second margin of victory in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega
#7 - Paul Menard Holds Off Jeff Gordon to Win Brickyard 400
#8 - Austin Dillon Becomes Youngest NASCAR Camping World Truck Champion
#9 - Danica Patrick Posts Best Finish in NASCAR by a Female Driver with 4th place at Las Vegas
#10 - 2010 Sunoco Rookies Stenhouse and Dillon win 2011 Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series Championships(NASCAR)(12-11-2011)
Kyle Busch Led NASCAR Drivers in Securing TV Exposure for Sponsors: #18-Kyle Busch's memorable 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series campaign led to $68 million of television exposure for his sponsors, a figure higher than any other driver managed to generate this past season, and nearly $1.7 million more than Series Champion Tony Stewart. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. — which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast over the last 27 seasons — Busch's sponsors as a group appeared for 27 hours, 23 minutes, 10 seconds (27:23:10) during live and replayed telecasts of the season's 36 points races. When also factoring in verbal mentions (292) of Busch's sponsors, the 12th-place driver amassed more than $68.3 million of in-broadcast exposure value for his backing brands.
Joyce Julius calculates television exposure value by comparing the in-broadcast visual and verbal exposure to the estimated cost of a national commercial during the telecast and applying Joyce Julius Recognition Grading — which takes into account such factors as size and placement of the image on screen, as well as brand clutter and integration of the brand into the activity. While Busch hung on to lead the driver exposure battle wire-to-wire, Stewart's stellar run during this year's Chase may be more impressive, as the newly crowned champion moved up from 9th to 2nd in cumulative sponsor brand exposure, improving from $30 million at the start of the final 10 races to $66.7 million by season's end. Stewart's dominance during the Chase race broadcasts is further evidenced by the attention paid to him by the TV announcers. Stewart began the Chase 6th in individual driver mentions, but ended the season on top, collecting 57% of his driver mentions for the entire season during the final 10 races. Stewart also amassed the most interview time of any driver, appearing on camera for more than one hour, 20 minutes throughout 2011. Series points runner-up Carl Edwards managed to accrue the most mentions for his sponsors (610), while he was also interviewed most frequently (75 times) of any other driver. Not surprisingly, Stewart was the top exposure-gathering Chevrolet driver, collecting $6.3 for the auto brand. Edwards led the Ford drivers, delivering $8.1 million of in-broadcast exposure, while the attention Busch drew during 2011 race broadcasts led to $11.9 million for Toyota.(Joyce Julius & Associates)(12-6-2011)
Hermie Sadler returns to SPEED: Hermie Sadler is returning to SPEED in 2012 working pit road for the truck series and also doing other at-track programs. Sadler was informed he would not be returning to the RaceDay program earlier this year, but no replacement for that role has yet been named by the network. Sadler informed us that his new deal is two years with SPEED. He is expected to work on NASCAR Live, qualifying and practice shows for SPEED on the weekends.(Daly Planet)(11-30-2011)
Changes in the Hollywood Hotel: Michael Waltrip joins the FOX NASCAR Sunday prerace team next season, taking a seat in the Hollywood Hotel alongside big brother Darrell and host Chris Myers. And in an innovative new role for Fox's NASCAR prerace show, veteran analyst Jeff Hammond takes his extensive experience as a former championship-winning crew chief to where the action is, in the garages and pit road. Both moves were announced today by FOX Sports Media Group President, Co-COO and Executive Producer, Eric Shanks. “Michael is simply one of NASCAR’s most gregarious, genuine personalities, and we loved the dynamic between him and Darrell when we paired them up on occasion last season,” said Shanks. “Michael has also been featured in numerous television commercials over the last decade, which makes him familiar to a much broader audience. I expect a lot of ‘gotta see’ TV coming out of an all-Waltrip Hollywood Hotel next season.” In addition to his FOX NASCAR SUNDAY prerace work, the younger Michael also contributes analysis and updates in-race as time permits. Michael Waltrip adds NASCAR on FOX to on-air positions that already include FOX’s sister network SPEED and Showtime’s “Inside NASCAR.” Waltrip is a co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, the first full-time three-car team to field Toyota Camrys when Toyota entered the Sprint Cup racing in 2007. Currently, MWR features Sprint Cup drivers David Reutimann (#00) and Martin Truex Jr. (#56). Waltrip made his NASCAR Sprint Cup series debut in 1985 at the Coca-Cola 600 and is a two-time Daytona 500 Champion (2001, 2003). His first book, “In the Blink of an Eye,” marking the 10th anniversary of his 2001 Daytona 500 victory, was released in February 2011, and spent 11 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Shifting to Hammond, the plan is to use his extensive experience as a former NASCAR crew chief to work the pavement and mine the grease pits for the latest news and go wherever big stories develop all race-day long. Having a former crew chief serve in this role is a first for network television’s NASCAR coverage. Hammond has been a member of the NASCAR on FOX broadcast team since 2001 the network’s first covering the sport. In 1982, he became a NASCAR Cup crew chief, working for Darrell Waltrip at the pinnacle of the legendary driver’s career. Together, they saw Victory Lane an impressive 43 times, including Waltrip’s memorable Daytona 500 victory in 1989. Hammond, known as a methodical strategist, was Waltrip’s pit boss in two of his three NASCAR Championship seasons (1982 and 1985). In total, he has 508 NASCAR Cup races on his crew chief resume, while his television credits also includes work for FX, ESPN, Turner and TNN.(FOX)(9-29-2011)
NASCAR Driver Exposure Rankings at the Start of the Chase: Although he is off to a slow start in this year's Chase, #18-Kyle Busch's regular season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series could not have gone much better in terms of television exposure for himself and his sponsors. Altogether, Busch's presence during TV coverage of the first 26 Cup Series races helped deliver $57.8 million of exposure value to his sponsors, nearly $14 million more than the next most brand-friendly driver, Jimmie Johnson. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. — which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast over the last 27 seasons — Busch's sponsors as a group appeared for 21 hours, five minutes, 45 seconds (21:05:45) during live and replayed race telecasts. Also contributing were a season-leading 251 mentions of Busch's sponsors.
Joyce Julius calculates television exposure value by comparing the in-broadcast visual and verbal exposure to the estimated cost of a national commercial during the telecast and applying Joyce Julius Recognition Grading — which takes into account such factors as size and placement of the image on screen, as well as brand clutter and integration of the brand into the activity. Further evidence of Busch's regular season TV dominance can be seen from the 4,257 times announcers mentioned his name during the telecasts. Likewise, in terms of logo saturated on-camera interviews, Busch ranked second in total interviews conducted and third in interview length.
Defending Series Champion #48-Jimmie Johnson stood second in cumulative sponsor exposure value with $43.9 million, trailed by #24-Jeff Gordon ($42.1 million) and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($35.1 million) a distant fourth.(more and a chart at Joyce Julius & Associates)(9-28-2011)
Evernham joins SPEED: Beginning Sunday, Ray Evernham joins SPEED as a regular analyst on SPEED Center, the definitive motor sports news program. Evernham will be introduced on Friday's show (11 p.m. ET), promoting his Sunday appearances (10:30 a.m. ET and 7 p.m. ET). Evernham, the dominant crew chief of the 1990s, when he partnered with driver Jeff Gordon for 47 wins in 216 starts, netting three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, two Daytona 500 victories and a win at the inaugural Brickyard 400, has a wide-ranging resume that offers SPEED a fresh voice across multiple topics and platforms.(SPEED)(9-23-2011)
1992 Hooters 500 Documentary: Ask most NASCAR fans and industry insiders to name the best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points battle in history and you’ll likely hear the 1992 Hooters 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway [originally broadcast on ESPN]. That memorable season finale had it all – six drivers with a mathematical chance of clinching the title, a nail-biting race considered one of the best of all time, the sport’s closest championship points margin to-date, the points leader’s crash into a spinning car, Richard Petty’s final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and Jeff Gordon’s debut with a less-than-championship-caliber pit crew. With all eyes on who will move a step closer to realizing their own championship dreams this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway with two races remaining to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, SPEED and NASCAR Media Group will flash back to the track’s 1992 Hooters 500 in a one-hour special premiering Thursday, September 1st at 8:00pm/et on SPEED. The program tells the story of NASCAR’s closest championship battle and quite possibly its greatest race through the eyes of Petty, Gordon, Larry McReynolds, Tim Brewer, Peter Jellen, Paul Andrews, Tony Gibson, Ryan Pemberton, Ray Evernham and Robbie Loomis. The Day: 1992 Hooters 500 also examines how TV producers orchestrated network coverage of the unprecedented title chase and kept up with the ever-changing points fluctuation throughout the 500-mile race.(SPEED)(9-1-2011)
ABC alternative TV coverage of Bristol race - NFL games affects some markets: WKRN, Nashville's News 2, will NOT air the Bristol Sprint Cup race due to Tennessee Titans preseason game against the Chicago Bears. The NASCAR race at Bristol on August 27, 2011 will air on ESPN 2 from 6:30pm to 10:00 pm/et [assuming that is just local Nashville for ESPN2].(wkrn.com)
MORE: Due to some ABC affiliates carrying telecasts of NFL pre-season football games or other programming on Saturday night, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol will air regionally on ESPN2 in eight markets: Nashville, Tenn.; Duluth and Rochester, Minn.; Phoenix; Casper, Wy.; Sioux Falls and Rapid City, S.D.; and Weslaco, Tex. In Houston, the race will air on the local ABC affiliate's digital tier station.(ESPN)(8-22-2011)
NASCAR Drivers TV Exposure at midseason: #18-Kyle Busch was mentioned more often and collected the most on-screen time, verbal references and exposure value for his sponsors than any other driver during race telecasts chronicling the first half of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. -- which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast over the last 27 seasons -- Busch's sponsors as a group appeared for 12 hours, 31 minutes, seven seconds (12:31:07) during live and replayed telecasts of the season's first 18 races. When also factoring in verbal mentions (142) of Busch's sponsors, the Cup Series points-leader at mid-year amassed nearly $38.4 million of in-broadcast exposure value for his backing brands. Fox and TNT race announcers also mentioned Busch by name on 2,722 occasions during the first half of the season, or about 36% more frequently than the next closest competitor, Carl Edwards. Edwards, who ranked fifth in overall sponsor exposure, did manage to surpass Busch in the number of TV interviews (29 compared to 23) and total interview time (0:30:46 versus 0:29:57). Fan favorite driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., despite receiving nearly half as many announcer mentions as Busch, garnered the second highest cumulative exposure value total for his sponsors with a showing of more than $26.5 million. Rankings are based on the cumulative Recognition Grade exposure value associated with each driver, calculated during live and replay telecasts of the first 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events of 2011.(more and a chart at Joyce Julius & Associates)(7-29-2011)
Fox Sports boss David Hill discusses NASCAR TV coverage: Fox Sports Chairman David Hill was at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, chatting with car owners and meeting with NASCAR officials before the drivers meeting. Dustin Long of the Virginian Pilot / Roanoke Times was able to get with Hill briefly before he went into the NASCAR hauler to meet with NASCAR President Mike Helton and others. Here’s what Hill had to say about a few things:
On what they learned from experimenting with the split-screen format this year and its future for Cup races on the network:
HILL said: “We’re still evaluating. It’s something that we’ve looked at and talked with for years and years and years and we got the OK to do it. There are two key categories that we have to determine that it works. The number 1 by like 99% is the viewers. If they think that it doesn’t impact their enjoyment of the race and you’ve got to weight that up against is that advertiser getting his message through, so there’s a whole bunch of things. We’re just slowly working our way through the research. I don’t know what we’re going to come down to. It was great to do the experiment and get some evidence and see how it’s going to play out."
With ESPN doing more of it, how will it help in making your decision on if to do it?
HILL said: “The more it’s done, the more feedback and I’m quite sure that the boys at ESPN are doing exactly the same as we are. We all hate having to break into the race with commercials. That’s a given. If we could do it without commercials, we would but it’s a business and the rights aren’t free. It’s walking that fine line between keeping our viewers totally happy and the clients totally happy."
On if TNT’s Wide Open Coverage is the best way to show racing and ads at the same time:
HILL said: “I just want to take the three, what we’re doing, what ESPN is doing and what Turner has done and probably in the dog days of August, just have a look and say, “What do we think works and then research it again.’ It’s too important to rush into it, but it’s too important not to spend a heck of a lot of time just working on it as much as you can about what’s right, wrong or indifferent. Maybe there’s another way of doing it that none of us have thought of yet and that’s one of the reasons that research is so important because you never know what you’re going to hear in a marketing session."
About his idea of moving Cup races from Fox to SPEED Channel (most likely with the next contact, which would begin after 2014),
HILL said: “Obviously I’d love to put some races on Speed. When we started, we had races on FX. We put races on FX and that was always our plan and that was to help FX, but it didn’t destroy the impetus to the sport. I think if there’s a right balance between what’s on Speed and what’s on the network, it’s going to help grow. You’re still doing exactly the same kind of coverage. You’re not changing your coverage. It’s just the way the whole day goes when the race is on that network."(see full article at the Virginian Pilot)(7-5-2011)
Daytona 500: The Inside Story to premiere Thursday night: NASCAR comes to HD Theater [check listings for channel number] this summer with the heart-pounding special, Daytona 500: The Inside Story. The one-hour documentary, produced by award-winning NASCAR Media Group, will offer viewer's an exclusive look back at the unforgettable 53rd installment of motorsports' most iconic race. This year's running was one of the most emotionally-charged in NASCAR history, as it marked the tenth anniversary of the legendary Dale Earnhardt's death on the track's final turn at the 2001 Daytona 500. While race fans reflected upon this tragic event, the upset victory of an unlikely rookie emerged as the serendipitous backstory to this tale of the track. Daytona 500: The Inside Story on June 30 at 9:00pm/et/pt. With Daytona 500: The Inside Story , NASCAR Media Group captures an unforgettable week of tributes to the late Earnhardt that ended with Trevor Bayne's unthinkable drive into Victory Lane. This one-hour documentary delivers never-before-seen footage, extensive pit-to-car radio communication and exclusive interviews with some of NASCAR's biggest names.(Discovery)(6-30-2011)
SPEED honors Richard Petty with documentary: Independence Day 1984 … The twofold historic significance of that memorable day may have been foreshadowed by the unprecedented command to start engines, delivered via telephone by President Ronald Reagan from aboard Air Force One en route to Daytona International Speedway. Seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Richard Petty won his 200th and final race July 4, 1984, in front of an audience that included the first sitting United States president ever to attend a NASCAR race. In honor of Petty's final win, SPEED and NASCAR Media Group examine one of NASCAR's finest hours in a one-hour documentary special entitled The Day: The 1984 Firecracker 400 premiering Thursday at 8:00pm/et. SPEED reflects on the landmark race from sunrise to sunset, focusing on the events and emotions for everyone involved, and how The King's victory and the president's visit left an indelible, defining and matchless mark on the sport. Petty, who celebrates his 74th birthday Saturday, retired at the conclusion of the 1992 season with 1,184 Cup Series starts (SPEED)(6-30-2011)
Burton and Ochocinco featured on TV Shows: Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevy, and NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco will be featured on various national shows over the next few days about their racing experience at Atlanta Motor Speedway. On Thursday, June 30th, Ochocinco will be LIVE on SportsCenter (ESPN) at 10:35 am/et with footage from the ride-a-long with Burton; Ochocinco will be LIVE on First Take (ESPN News) at 10:50 am/et with footage from the ride-a-long with Burton. Both Burton and Ochocinco will be featured on NASCAR Now (ESPN2) which begins at 5:00pm/et. On Saturday, July 2nd, Both Burton and Ochocinco will be featured on SPEEDs RaceDay which begins at 4:30pm/et. Burton will be LIVE on TNT's pre-race show to talk about his 600th Sprint Cup Series start and Thursday's event with Ochocinco (TNT) at 6:30 pm/et.(RCR)(6-30-2011)
Fox interested in moving some races to SPEED UPDATE: Fox has held informal discussions with NASCAR about a new TV rights agreement that would allow the network to put some of its Sprint Cup races on Speed. David Hill, Fox Sports chairman, said Fox would like to see some of the 13 regular-season races it televises on Speed. A Fox source said the company could ask for as many as six races for the network. Fox is five years into an eight-year, $1.76 billion contract with NASCAR that mandates Fox televise all of its Sprint Cup races on its broadcast channel except for two non-points, specialty events - the Sprint All-Star Race and the Gatorade Duels from Daytona, which air on Speed. If it wants to move regular-season Cup races to Speed before its contract expires in 2014, it would have to amend its agreement. Fox sources were skeptical such a move would be made before the contract ends. The move would allow Speed to use live NASCAR broadcasts to increase the license fee that cable and satellite operators pay each month, which is currently around 30 cents, according to sources. In addition to talking about putting Sprint Cup races on Speed, Fox has raised the possibility of making NASCAR a stakeholder in Speed and turning it into a joint-venture project. Sources familiar with those conversations said that they have been ongoing for several years. By partnering with NASCAR on Speed, Fox could avoid competing with the property if it decided to launch its own channel.(Sports Business Journal)(6-20-2011)
UPDATE: Even though Fox confirmed recently it was considering moving some of its races to Speed, NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said Sunday at Infineon Raceway that the question is still open. "We're having a lot of discussions right now," France told Sporting News before the Toyota/Save Mart 350. "We're unsure where that's going to go. We're having good discussions, and they're our partner for a long time. We've got to make sure that all of our interests get met. We're not at that place (of moving the races to Speed). There are going to be a lot of discussions. That's just not a direction we're going right now." As to the Cup schedule itself, France says there won't be as many big changes as there have been over the past two seasons. "I'm not anticipating any significant changes," France said. "There are always requests and always tweaks-but nothing like we've done in the last couple of years, when we made some significant changes, so I don't anticipate that."(Sporting News)(6-27-2011)
TNT’s Coverage Gets Underway at Pocono: TNT gears up for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Racing on Sunday, June 12 live from Pocono Raceway. The network will air exclusive coverage of the race beginning at 1:00pm/et with play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander calling the race alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach in the booth. In addition, analyst Larry McReynolds will make frequent contributions from the infield as he breaks down crew strategy and analyzes car adjustments.
The network will rev up its pre-race coverage beginning at 12:00pm/et with Countdown to Green delivered by Pizza Hut with Lindsay Czarniak (host), Petty and McReynolds with reports from pit reporters Chris Neville, Ralph Sheheen, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum. #18 Kyle Busch will join TNT’s infield rig for an interview prior to the race to discuss his season both on-and-off the track.
TNT’s acclaimed Pride of NASCAR series will feature a profile of the late Harry Hyde who was a legendary crew chief, winning 56 races and 88 pole positions during his career.
Dallenbach will join Petty and Rutledge Wood on their ongoing live video chat series “30 Minutes You Will Never Get Back” this Friday, June 10.(TNT)(6-10-2011)
TNT Returns to the Track with multiplatform coverage of Sprint Cup Series: TNT and NASCAR.com are set to wave the green flag on the network's Sprint Cup Series coverage debuting on Sunday at Pocono with enhanced features and more interactivity on television and online to provide fans with the most comprehensive multi-platform NASCAR experience possible. This year, TNT RaceBuddy on NASCAR.com will return with twice as many camera views as last year including two mosaics for fans to choose from. Also, the network will debut Inside Trax, offering fans exclusive audio and video from select crew chiefs and their teams each race. Wide Open Coverage returns for TNT's primetime race in Daytona on Saturday, July 2 and will feature the first-ever Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway in primetime on Saturday, July 9. For the first time this year, TNT NASCAR analyst Kyle Petty and Rutledge Wood's ongoing live video chat series "30 Minutes You Will Never Get Back" will invite TNT announcers to answer questions from the fans. Each Friday, fans can submit questions via Twitter or Facebook to have their questions answered on the show. TNT returns its marquee announce crew with analysts Petty and Wally Dallenbach joining play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander in the booth for each race. Veteran reporters Ralph Sheheen, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum will be joined by Chris Neville, a ten-year veteran motorsports reporter, on pit road. In addition, Lindsay Czarniak will once again host the network's 60-minute pre-race show, Countdown to Green, with Petty and McReynolds joining her on the TNT rig along with special guests each week.(TNT PR)(6-7-2011)
TNT marketing initiative in Charlotte: TNT’s brand activation will create awareness within the Charlotte EpiCentre and add to Turner Sports’ already growing resume of creative and original marketing campaigns. TNT will be the first to market with a sound-activated initiative that helps demonstrate the depth of TNT’s overall assets. “This fully integrated campaign allows us to reach NASCAR fans on all touch points through unique, eye-catching, high-impact marketing,” said Christina Miller, senior vice president, Turner Sports Strategy/Marketing/Programming. “This is the first time NASCAR has ever done something like this with its partners and we are excited to be able to lead the way with our brand activation.”
The campaign involves branding elements, including the full takeover of a four-story elevator shaft in the main courtyard, staircases, and a 26-foot TNT logo on the ground at the base of the elevator shaft. Enhanced audio technology called “directional audio” will complement the EpiCentre campaign with a concentrated beam of audio (imagine a flashlight, but with audio instead of light) directed to a specific location. When an individual walks through the audio beam, they will hear custom tune-in audio messaging – AC/DC’s “T.N.T.”, engines revving, cars speeding around the racetrack – only heard within the beam. When individuals exit the beam, they won’t hear it anymore.
Working with Valvoline, NASCAR on TNT also will equip several service stations in Charlotte with Summer Series signage, banners, as well as outfit each service tech in “NASCAR on TNT” crew shirts. The centerpiece is an event on May 27th featuring Greg Biffle and a live radio remote by Charlotte’s #1 country music station – WSOC – to generate additional awareness and exposure for the Summer Series.
The TNT NASCAR Summer Series kicks off on June 12 – as part of its six consecutive races of exclusive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – at the Pocono Raceway for the Pocono 500. Following Pocono, the Series will go to Michigan and the Helluva Good: Sour Cream Dips 400 (June 19), Toyota/Save Mart 350 in Sonoma, Calif. (June 26), Coke Zero 400 from Daytona International Speedway (July 2), Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway (July 9), and end in Loudon, N.H. at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 (July 17).(TNT)(5-26-2011)
Drivers to star in A&E's "The Glades": On April 11-12, Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted Arts & Entertainment Television Network for filming of its police-drama "The Glades" and the episode will air later this summer. A cast and crew of more than 250 turned Homestead-Miami Speedway into an outdoor TV studio for a taping of "The Glades" second season. Homestead-Miami Speedway played itself as the host of NASCAR's series-crowning finales during Ford Championship Weekend featuring Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers and Joey Logano. The garage area and the 1.5 mile Homestead-Miami Speedway functioned as a movie set for this summer's "Moonlighting" episode. A&E Network summarizes its TV hit this way: "THE GLADES" is a one-hour drama featuring actor Matt Passmore who plays "Jim Longworth," a sly Chicago cop who relocates to a slower-paced small town in Florida where the sun shines, the golf is plentiful, and the crime less ubiquitous, so he thinks. In this episode, when Longworth investigates a NASCAR-related murder, he goes head to head with NASCAR's top drivers, and takes a few laps around the track.(HMS)(4-14-2011)
Mike Joy Winner of 2011 McLemore Award: NASCAR on FOX anchor Mike Joy has been named the 2011 winner of the Henry T. McLemore Motorsports Journalism award. The McLemore is the most tenured motorsports journalism award, beginning in 1969 with inaugural winner Bloys Britt, who wrote for the Associated Press for 17 years, beginning in the late 1950s. It is an award voted upon by one's peers, and today's voters are past McLemore winners. It will be presented tonight at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame dinner and awards ceremony in Talladega. Joy has spent his entire adult life as a motorsports journalist. Raised in Windsor, Conn., Joy's career started in 1970, working as the public address announcer at New England short tracks. He rose through the ranks of MRN Radio and chronicled the growth of NASCAR by announcing races on CBS, TNN, ESPN, TBS and now FOX, along with ancillary programming on SPEED. His television career began on pit road, where he defined the position. He moved from pit road to the CBS anchor booth in 1998, where he called Dale Earnhardt's historic Daytona 500 victory. Joy resides in North Carolina with his wife Gaye and their two children, Scott and Kaitlyn.(TrueSpeed Communications)(4-14-2011)
National Speed Sport News to cease publication: All good things come to an end. And so is the case for America's Motorsports Authority, National Speed Sport News. After more than
76 years, the publication, which was first published as National Auto Racing News on Aug. 16, 1934, has printed its last issue, dated - March 23, 2011. While hundreds of other newspapers came and went during the past three-quarters of a century, NSSN continued to ride the support of its readers and advertisers in producing the most thorough weekly racing publication on the market. But economic times have been tight and the newspaper business has suffered at the hands of high production costs and modern technology, which provides information to readers instantly.
"This is one of the saddest days of my life," said National Speed Sport News Publisher Corinne Economaki. "The sluggish economy has made it too difficult to continue publication and no matter how I try to make the numbers work - and believe me I have tried - it is just not feasible to keep the business going. For 76 years, since August 1934 when my father Chris sold copies of the first issue at Ho-Ho-Kus Speedway in northern New Jersey, to today, as I oversee the very last copy printed, this paper has been an integral part of my family," Corinne Economaki said.
Through the years National Speed Sport News was the industry leader in covering motorsports, much of it thanks to [hero of Jayski] Chris Economaki, 90, who sold the first issue of NSSN at Ho-Ho-Kus Speedway in New Jersey, and began writing for the publication soon after that and became editor in 1950. Economaki saw the publication through its glory days, launching a career on television and taking his newspaper into thousands of homes across America. In a time when there was no Internet and very little racing was on television or radio, National Speed Sport News thrived.
When National Speed Sport News began its run, there were no seat belts, drivers wore leather helmets and the flathead Ford V8 was one of the most common racing engines. Today, safety is the utmost concern and HANS and other safety devices are all the rage. Fuel-injected engines are everywhere. Not only has technology changed what fans see at the race track, it changed how NSSN gathered the news. In the early years most news arrived at the NSSN office by mail or telephone. Later the telecopier and the fax machine played key roles. Both were replaced by the computer modem and later by e-mail. NSSN was printed by linotype, but later changed to phototypesetting and finally went completely digital in 2002. But after enduring all these changes, a familiar friend will no longer appear at the mailboxes of its loyal readers. NationalSpeedSportNews.com, the online version of the newspaper, will continue to be updated with daily news, giving Internet savvy readers the opportunity to keep up with some of the same news they enjoyed every week. But as far as the newspaper goes, it's the end of an era.(National Speed Sport News)(3-23-2011)
Waltrip Signs Extension with FOX Sports: FOX Sports' Darrell Waltrip has signed a two-year contract extension to continue as lead analyst for the network's Emmy Award-winning NASCAR on FOX coverage. Waltrip's agreement with FOX Sports now extends through the network's current rights agreement with the sport, which expires in 2014. As a legendary stock car driver turned broadcasting fixture with race fans, Waltrip remains committed to entertaining viewers through his candid analysis and homespun analogies each and every weekend during the NASCAR on FOX Sprint Cup schedule. The two-time NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee and three-time NASCAR Champion is thrilled to continue "double duty" as a NASCAR on FOX prerace and race analyst, a rare duel role in sports broadcasting. "Being part of the NASCAR on FOX team has given me an opportunity to share my passion and love for NASCAR. I never thought there would be anything that could replace the thrill of driving race cars. I was wrong. Bringing that thrill to the fans at home every week is just as exciting!" exclaimed Waltrip.(Fox Sports)(3-7-2011)
Fox debuts thermal-cam at Daytona 500: During FOX Sports’ exclusive live coverage of the 53rd Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 20 from Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Florida, the network unveils FOX Thermal-Cam, a special camera designed to register variations in the heat signature of objects in its line of site. It’s FOX’s plan to use the unique feature during the race-cast to demonstrate the extreme temperatures which develop during typical racing conditions. A feature made more important this season as cars running in the rear of a piggy-backed pair lose air flow while drafting and must eventually switch places with the lead car to avoid overheating the engine. It can also reveal the on-track groove cars are using, as well as the difference between tires about to be changed compared to fresh replacements. The camera is supplied to FOX by FLIR, a world leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of thermal imaging and stabilized camera systems with US headquarters in Boston.(Fox PR)(2-18-2011)
NASCAR released its telecast times for the 2011 season, primarily preserving the earlier and consistent start times established in 2010. Regular season points races in the Eastern and Central regions of the country will begin at 1:00 pm/et; West Coast events will begin at 3:00 pm/et; and night races will begin at 7:30 pm/et (Note: NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600, will start at 6:00 pm/et on May 29).
In addition, NASCAR announced new start times for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with six of the first seven races beginning at 2:00 pm/et and the last three races, including the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, beginning at 3:00 pm/et. The 52nd annual Bank of America 500 from Charlotte Motor Speedway is the only night race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and will begin at 7:30 pm/et.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races will again be seen on either FOX, TNT, ESPN or ABC.
“The 2011 broadcast schedule strikes the right balance between keeping the start times in familiar slots and highlighting the races down the stretch, building more excitement at the end of the season,” said Paul Brooks, senior vice president of NASCAR and president of NASCAR Media Group. “Continuing to raise the profile of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup was also on the top of our list and we believe these new start times for those 10 races will help do just that.”
The preseason non-points Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will be on FOX (8:10 pm/et on Feb. 12). In addition, two other non-points events – the Gatorade Duel at Daytona (2:00 pm/et on Feb. 17) and the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (7:30 pm/et on May 21 at Charlotte Motor Speedway), will be on SPEED.
FOX will have the first 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races, beginning with the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 (Feb. 20, 1:00 pm/et) and ending with the June 5 race at Kansas Speedway, the first of two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at that track this year.
TNT will have the next six events, beginning with the Pocono 500 at 1:00 pm/et on June 12 at Pocono Raceway and ending with New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s first of two races on July 17 at 1:00 pm/et. In addition, TNT will have the inaugural Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on July 9 at 7:30 pm/et.
ESPN and ABC will carry the final 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. ABC will telecast three races, including the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup “cutoff race” – the Richmond 400 on Sept. 10 at 7:30 pm/et.
ESPN will telecast 14 races, including the first race of the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18 at 2:00 pm/et and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20 at 3:00 pm/et.
ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will telecast 33 of the 34 NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2011. ESPN2 opens the season with the DRIVE4COPD 300 at 1:15 pm/et on Feb. 19 at Daytona International Speedway. ESPN2 will also telecast the season finale Ford 300 on Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (4:30 pm/et).
SPEED will air one NASCAR Nationwide Series race in 2011 with the 24th running of the Bubba Burger 250 from Richmond International Raceway on April 29 at 7:30 pm/et.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to SPEED for a ninth consecutive season. As was the case last year, SPEED will show the entire 25-race schedule, opening with the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Feb. 18 at 8:00 pm/et at Daytona.(NASCAR)(2-7-2011)
ESPN2’s NASCAR Now Returns Feb. 7: ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now returns for its fifth season on Monday, Feb. 7, at 5:00pm/et to coincide with the beginning of the 2011 NASCAR season. The program includes highlights, opinion, debate, analysis and the latest news from drivers, crew chiefs and insiders.
With hosts Allen Bestwick, Nicole Briscoe, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake, NASCAR Now originates from ESPN’s high definition studios in Bristol, Conn., with reporters and analysts checking in from locations around the country wherever NASCAR news is happening. In addition to reports from races, NASCAR Now reporters also visit race shops and special events.
Monday’s show [Feb 7th] will include interviews with NASCAR president Mike Helton and five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion crew chief Chad Knaus as well as thoughts from ESPN NASCAR analyst Dale Jarrett.
NASCAR Now will originate from Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., site of the NASCAR season-opening Daytona 500, with special hour-long programs starting Sunday, Feb. 13 and including a Daytona wrap-up special on Sunday night, Feb. 20. Massaro will host the first week of episodes beginning Feb. 7 with reports from Daytona starting Feb. 10.
The first two weeks of programs will include new and exclusive interviews surrounding the 10th anniversary of the death of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, who was killed in a last-lap crash in the 2001 Daytona 500. Among the elements:
* NASCAR Now lead reporter Marty Smith in a new, exclusive interview with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
* Dr. Alfred Alson, the first doctor to arrive on the scene of Earnhardt’s fatal crash, speaks on camera for the first time about that day.
* Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and others reflect on what they remember from the day Earnhardt died.
* Personalities including NASCAR champion Ned Jarrett and Hall of Fame journalist Tom Higgins tell Earnhardt stories.
* A unique look at Earnhardt through the eyes of the man who regularly cut his hair and trimmed his iconic moustache.
Other NASCAR Now features leading to Daytona will include a look at the driver/crew chief changes at Hendrick Motorsports, with interviews with the drivers and their new crew chiefs together; defending Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray reviews last year’s race through his eyes; members of Jimmie Johnson’s team put Johnson’s fifth consecutive Sprint Cup championship into perspective; Danica Patrick discusses her first season in NASCAR and expectations for 2011; Brian Vickers talks to Smith about his return to racing this season; and ESPN Sports Science explores the repaving of Daytona and how it will affect the racing.
The first week of the program also will include segments of a roundtable discussion hosted by ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch with analysts Andy Petree and Ricky Craven and reporter Smith. Among the topics will be discussion of the resurgence of Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress Racing; Brad Keselowski and the changes at Team Penske; the new NASCAR rule requiring drivers to choose one series for points; drivers and teams under the radar; Carl Edwards and Roush Fenway Racing; and Denny Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing.
In addition to the Monday through Friday program, ESPN2 also airs an hour-long edition of NASCAR Now at on the morning of each NASCAR Sprint Cup race, and a weekend wrap-up edition will begin in September to coincide with the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The Monday edition of NASCAR Now expands to an hour and features a roundtable discussion of the latest NASCAR news with ESPN analysts and reporters as well as special guests.
The NASCAR Now team also includes Terry Blount, motorsports writer for ESPN.com; analyst Tim Brewer, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion crew chief; D.J. Copp, tire changer in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series; and analyst Brad Daugherty, five-time NBA All-Star and NASCAR team owner.
Others are Ed Hinton, motorsports writer for ESPN.com; Ryan McGee, motorsports writer for ESPN the Magazine; and David Newton, motorsports writer for ESPN.com. NASCAR Now viewers also will see analysis and reports from other members of the NASCAR on ESPN race coverage team including analyst Rusty Wallace and pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Vince Welch.
Veteran NASCAR drivers Johnny Benson Jr. and Ken Schrader will be frequent guests on the Monday roundtable edition of NASCAR Now in 2011. The first roundtable, airing on Monday, Feb. 21, the day after the Daytona 500, will be moderated by Bestwick and include Jarrett, Wallace and the Daytona 500 winner.(ESPN PR)(2-5-2011)
New show at SPEED: In 2011, SPEED is expanding its motor sports news efforts, rebranding its popular weekly program, adding multiple weekend news updates and increasing use of the SPEED Ticker to keep fans current on everything from the world of racing. The newly named SPEED Center is a series of studio-based motor sports news programs airing live from a purpose-built set at the SPEED Studios in Charlotte, N.C. Programs air at a variety of times during the race weekend, culminating in a one-hour show on Sunday nights at 7:00 pm/et. The first Sunday night show premieres Feb. 13. Adam Alexander, a longtime pit reporter for SPEED’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series coverage and spot host of NASCAR Race Hub and The SPEED Report, takes the role of lead host for SPEED Center, with racer Hermie Sadler filling Alexander’s position on pit road. Sadler continues to serve in his primary role as a reporter for NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Live! (SPEED)(2-6-2011)
Late season race times moved to avoid conflict with NFL: NASCAR will stray from last year's standardized start times this season in an effort to boost sagging television ratings. Specifically NASCAR races in the last third of the season will slide back to a later green flag to avoid going head-to-head with NFL kickoffs. While the majority of the races televised in the first half of the year as part of the FOX television package will remain in the 1 p.m. ET start range, green flags will slide back later in the year. A 2 p.m. ET beginning is the plan for most of the races in September through November with west coast venues including Texas and Phoenix near the tail end of the schedule, going to a 3 p.m. ET start. The Homestead-Miami season-ending Ford 400 will also begin at 3 p.m. ET.(CBS Sports)(1-28-2011)
Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence announced: The 26th annual Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence ceremony was held Thursday, honoring five individuals with the coveted accolades in motorsports media. This year's recipients were Nate Ryan (USA Today), Lauren Stowell (ESPN), Kris Johnson (NASCAR Illustrated), Mark Rebilas (US Presswire) and Brian Tetzler (KWGN/KDVR) for exceptional motorsports media coverage in 2010. The ceremony, which honors the legacy of motorsports journalism pioneer Russ Catlin, was orchestrated by Aflac, the #1 provider of voluntary and guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States, and held in conjunction with the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence recognize the best motorsports coverage in five categories, including Daily and Other Writing, Local and National Broadcast, and Photojournalism. More than 150 entries were submitted this year, making it one of the most competitive seasons to date.(Breaking Limits)(1-28-2011)
ESPN Extends Contract of Rusty Wallace Through 2014: Champion NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, ESPN’s lead studio analyst for auto racing, has reached a new contract extension to remain with ESPN through the 2014 season, it was announced by Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production. Wallace joined ESPN after retiring from driving following the 2005 NASCAR season. A 55-time winner in NASCAR’s top series and the 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Wallace is lead analyst for ESPN’s NASCAR studio programs, including NASCAR Countdown and NASCAR Now. Wallace also contributes NASCAR analysis to SportsCenter, First Take and ESPNEWS and calls selected NASCAR Nationwide Series races from the booth. He spent the 2006 season as an analyst for ESPN’s coverage of the IndyCar Series before moving to NASCAR in 2007 as the stock car racing series returned to ESPN.(ESPN)(1-25-2010)
Fox Sports chairman would like to see shorter races: Fox Sports chairman David Hill says he thinks NASCAR races are too long and would like to see them cut down to run during a three-hour window. Hill says Monday night that NASCAR recognizes it needs to make changes to stop its current slide in both attendance and television ratings. He says that NASCAR chairman Brian France is "really trying very hard" to find solutions, but nothing will happen overnight. Hill believes there are simply too many entertainment options to hold a fan's interest over the length of an entire race. Fox has three years remaining on its television deal with NASCAR, and Hill says it's too soon to tell if the network will renew.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)
AND: He's still against streaming races online and says noting is immiment in that area. And, he says that NASCAR needs to emphasize winning more with its points structural.(Hampton Roads)(1-25-2011)
Sprint Cup Race Start Times Still In Limbo: Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that standardized start times for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races could become a thing of the past this season. A year ago, all Sunday afternoon Sprint Cup events took the green flag just after 1:00 pm/et. Not all tracks were happy with the change, however, and the move was blamed by some for a drop in television ratings. Sources tell Sirius Speedway that starting times for the 2011 season have yet to be finalized, as NASCAR decides whether to put the decision back into the hands of individual tracks. It is expected that next month’s season-opening Daytona 500 will once again take the green flag just after 1:00pm/et.(Sirius Speedway)(1-20-2011)
Evernham to consult for Hendrick Companies: Ray Evernham Enterprises (REE) has been retained to consult for the Hendrick Companies, a management company formed in 2005 to oversee strategic initiatives for chairman Rick Hendrick. REE will consult on special projects related to Hendrick's core businesses. In that role, REE's initial focus will be development of the Hendrick Performance retail brand of high-performance parts, vehicles, products and related services. With Hendrick as car owner, Evernham won three NASCAR Cup championships in the 1990s as crew chief for driver Jeff Gordon. He left the Hendrick organization in 1999 to found his own team, Evernham Motorsports, and most recently was a television analyst for ESPN.
AND: Ray Evernham has reunited with former boss Rick Hendrick in a business deal that will not allow Evernham to remain an analyst for ESPN's NASCAR coverage. "It's no secret that I've missed all the relationships I had at Hendrick," Evernham told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "So being able to go work with Rick and the people I knew at Hendrick Automotive, it's going to be like going back to work in the family business side. "Unfortunately, it could cause a conflict and I don't want to put ESPN or Rick Hendrick or myself in that position. I have had a great relationship with ESPN. If there was any way I could have worked that out I would have loved to do it. That was one of the hardest things about making the decision."(ESPN.com)(1-5-2011)