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Just take the pre-race away and get to the racing

By admin | November 3, 2013

By Richard Allen

In the opinion of this writer, NASCAR races start at the wrong times. And often, the reason for the races starting at the wrong times are the television networks’ love affair with mindless pre-race shows.

As an example, the Camping World Truck Series race broadcast by Fox Sports 1 from the Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night had a 30 minute pre-race show then another 15 minutes of the “race” broadcast before the green flag ever waved to start the event. That’s fairly common for most race day coverage of all three of NASCAR’s top divisions.

What that time for witty banter between the hosts, insightful canned interviews and other entertaining segments(can you sense the sarcasm?) was to give me time to tune in for the first quarter or so of the NBA matchup between the Miami Heat and the Brooklyn Nets.

So what does that hurt? Well, for folks who are racing fans first and foremost it probably doesn’t have much impact on the broadcast viewership. But for casual fans who -believe it or not- may not find the pre-race show to be worthwhile, it gives them an opportunity to get invested into something else and forget there is a race being shown.

The Sprint Cup race from that same track on Sunday afternoon provides another example of poorly timed starts, in my opinion. Instead of getting the race started ahead of the Sunday afternoon sporting competition, the event was not scheduled to start until just after 3:00pm eastern time. That is a worst case scenario in terms of timing.

By 3:00pm, many sports fans will have fully invested themselves into the early afternoon NFL games. This could be particularly dangerous for NASCAR due to the fact that two southern teams, the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons, were playing each other. Those are two of NASCAR’s more important markets.

Of course, the Texas Motor Speedway is in the Central Time Zone, which probably eliminates the possibility of a noon eastern start. But a 1:00pm start would not be out of the question. Instead, ESPN didn’t even sign on until 2:00pm and the race was not scheduled to take the green flag until around 3:15. If the NFL game that your favorite team was involved in proved to be a close one, the chances you changed the station were probably quite low if you’re only a casual NASCAR fan.

NASCAR ratings have held up relatively well through the Chase for the Sprint Cup, but why take the gamble of giving other sports a head start?

Just cut out all of the useless talk by “experts” like Brad Daugherty, Chris Meyers and others. Drop the green flag and let’s race.

Topics: Articles |

22 Responses to “Just take the pre-race away and get to the racing”

  1. Tony Geinzer Says:
    November 3rd, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Can’t we have the Next Dallas, TX Day Race start at 10 AM Dallas,TX Time to put it out there because it would be like the Old Cotton Bowl.

  2. Offkilter Says:
    November 3rd, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Spot on article.

  3. Arnold Decker Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 7:39 am

    I agree the pre race show is a waste. I do not watch it.
    Starting times should change. Evening races should start
    around 5 or 6 Pm.
    Finally the ford fr9 engine should be named dog9 and I
    am a ford fan.

  4. Old fan Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 8:34 am

    The timing was great for us EST folks who are NFL fans also. Just schedule you an after lunch nap.

  5. GinaV24 Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Well said. Start the race at 1 p.m. local time. People who want to watch football will watch it anyway. Anyone who wants to watch racing will tune into the race. All the fooling around and nonsense before the race is worthless.

  6. Russ Nye Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I remember when ESPN started televising NASCAR, they came on air 1:00 P.M. Eastern and they would drop the green at 1:05, just enough time to give the lineup ! No pre-race bull.

  7. Robert Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I also didn’t tune in to Nascar to see a music video. Especially a country western one! I didn’t tune in to listen to a couple washed up has beens, that hardly anywone but their parents were fans of. I didn’t tune in to see these has beens pretend to be Jeff Foxworthy. I tuned in to watch a race. Seldom do I get to see one. I spend more time with the mute button on than off these days. Pitiful…just pitiful.

  8. Lou Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 10:06 am

    NASCAR on TV is in the final analysis just a TV show. We all have the privilege of deciding whether to watch or not to watch. Personally I don’t watch the pre-race shows anymore. They really are just so much football-imitating empty fluff and filler with Darrell Waltrip and Rusty Wallace in cheerleader outfits (not a pretty mental image…no doubt about it). For start times there is always the DVR option, which lets you waft through the all too often occurring commercial breaks and embedded commercial plugs. So, eliminate the pre-race distractions and zip through commercial distractions and you can turn any modern Cup race broadcast into something which closely resembles a more entertaining pre-2001 Cup TV race broadcast. It’s a shame things have come to this, but it’s not something we at home fans have clamored for.

  9. Colin Baird Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 10:53 am

    In my own opinion, the pre-race drivel has lost far more race fans than it has gained. Especially when you have to listen to not one, but two motor mouthed Waltrips on the same broadcast.

  10. grumpiestoldman Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 11:23 am

    With a 2:15 eastern start time, you’re going to racing just at half time for the NFL games, and you have a chance to hook viewers in. The Texas race started right at the best time of the games. And with Johnson stinking it up, the NFL was more fun to watch anyway.

  11. Steven Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 11:48 am

    You said it all, Colin.

  12. Richard Lighthorse McQuiston Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Also let’s get rid of the incessant and mind-numbing background music during inerviews. It detracts from the interview and makes it difficult to understand what’s being said. This raucous music, generally screeching electric guitars is common on many NASCAR shows.

    Can it!!!!

  13. Pokey Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    I wish the race broadcasts would start at noon eastern time, 11am central time, and 9am Pacific time. The pre-race stuff should be done for the benefit of the fans at the race track only. No dad gum rock bands, country music crooners, and hired prayer masters on TV. We support our troops by supporting what they do and helping them when they get injured doing it. Parading them around around the race track and using them to fill TV air time never really helps them. We don’t need to hear the national anthem butchered in our living rooms every dad gum week either. Just a short introduction of each competitive driver(no dad gum start and park cars should ever get air time) while they do the parade and pace car laps and lets drop the green flag at 15 minutes after the hour(no exceptions). That way, unless there is a dad gum rain delay, everyone knows when the race starts relative to the broadcast time. Night racing in the summertime is cool but all races in Eastern time zone should be started at 8:15pm on Saturday night. The kids have my permission to stay up late for one dad gum night during the year, eh? NASCAR should spend more time and test money making car modifications so that cars have windshield wipers and tires with treads and siping for the rainy days. If I can drive on a mildly rainy day on roads crowded with bad drivers, NASCAR drivers can learn to drive in those conditions too. It would add a dimension to the racing instead of leave fans wondering if they will get anything for their entertainment dollars. You can’t race in a dad gum deluge, but most of the time that is not why there are rain delays. They should use their dad gum super track dryer machines at every track to shorten up the actually necessary rain delays. Maybe Jimmie Johnson won’t win every damned time he needs to win if a rain tire curve ball gets thrown at the drivers once in a while. There are only two things that mess up race day. Waltrip and Wallace brothers and the like on TV and endless rain delays. Both situations drive me out to cut the dad gum grass.

  14. midasmicah Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    I do not watch pre race shows. I haven’t for years. It’s bad enough that the upcoming race is going to be a snoozer. nas$car doesn’t get it. There are so many options for sports fans to watch these days. By the time the sprint cup race started, I was watching football. And I’m a long time nas$car fan. Bad racing, stupid social media crap, and lousy television coverage add up to a toxic mix. I’m waiting for the dorks in Daytona to wake up and do something positive where the fans are concerned, but I’m not holding my breath.

  15. BobbyDear Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I love my DVR. FF to the green flag after watching the first NFL game.

  16. Kris Krug Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    I’ve always enjoyed the pre race shows for the cup race but for Trucks and Nationwide I think they should go. As for as the start times I’m glad NASCAR at least has a standard for start times now. A few years ago races would start at random times. Some would be noon then the next week would be 1:20 or 2:25. At least now they have to start at noon, 3:00, 4:15, 6:00 or 7:00. That being said I do agree Rich that this Suday’s Texas race was a terrible slot time. Should have been a noon start.

  17. Joe Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    I just turn the race on about 2 minutes before green flag. That way I miss all the pre race crap.

  18. Copper66 Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    The 3:15 PM green flag leads to a 6:45 PM checkered flag, which happened to go up against the late third quarter and early fourth quarters of two thrilling NFL games in my market (Bucs/Seahawks and Patriots/Steelers). Failure all the way around. In this day and age you have to schedule around football, not against football.

  19. Steve Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Do these pre race shows tell you anything new. I mean if you pay attention during the week, everything they discuss has already been reported and most fans are already aware of.

    And I could care less the opinions of several has beens and a few wannabees that show up on my tv during the race (ahem DW, MW, Rusty).

    The networks talking heads seem to think they are the show. Until they realize that they are not, these prerace shows are a waste of my time. Its bad enough we have to deal with it during the race.

  20. RacingFan Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 12:47 am

    To me, the pre-race shows are not just uninteresting. They are painful to watch on tv or listen to on the radio. To listen to interview after interview where nothing but the company line is repeated (without regard to reality) is more than I can bear.
    If others want to watch or listen to it, fine. But, I agree with you, Rich, that the super-long broadcasts probably hurt viewership by eventually burning out fans.

  21. BobbyDear Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 8:53 am

    I have always believed that DW thinks we watch NASCAR so we can hear him talk.

  22. Michael in SoCal Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I do have the pre-race talking head shows on, but it’s only background noise while I’m doing stuff around the house prior to a race. I do like it as background noise though.