NASCAR on FOX


NASCAR on FOX

Infobox Television | show_name=NASCAR on FOX


caption =
format = Auto Racing
runtime = varies, but typically 4.5 hours (ranges from 4 to 5 hours)
starring = See "announcers" section below
opentheme="NASCAR Love" by Toby Lightman
country = USA
network = FOX
slogan =
first_aired = 2001
last_aired = Present
website = http://msn.foxsports.com/named/FS/NASCAR
imdb_id = 0949793
tv_com_id =

"NASCAR on FOX" is a series of NASCAR races airing on Fox Sports and the SPEED Channel since 2001.

Background

On November 11, 1999, a new contract was signed for American television broadcast rights for NASCAR, split between FOX/FX and NBC/TBS (later TNT) beginning in 2001. FOX/FX would cover the first half of the season (from the second race of the season, currently at California Speedway, to the last race before the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, currently at Infineon Raceway) the (Dodge/Save Mart 350). Meanwhile, NBC/TNT would air the second half of the season from the race at Chicagoland Speedway to the season finale (the Ford 400) at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

From 2001-2006, FOX alternated coverage of the first and most famous race of the season, the Daytona 500, with FOX getting the odd years and NBC the even ones. For balance, the opposite network would air Daytona's July race, the Pepsi 400. This particular television contract was signed for eight years for FOX/FX and six years for NBC/TNT and was valued at $2.4 billion [ [http://www.forbes.com/2003/10/07/cx_pp_1007nascar.html NASCAR Pulls Into Prime Time - Forbes.com ] ] . In addition to coverage on the Fox Broadcasting Company, the FOX-owned Speed Channel carries the entire Craftsman Truck Series schedule, a contract they bought out from ESPN in October 2002.

Contract extension

On December 7, 2005, NASCAR signed a new eight-year, $4.48 billion deal [http://sports.bostonherald.com/autoRacing/view.bg?articleid=116086&format=] with the Fox Broadcasting Company and SPEED Channel. Also included in the new contract are Disney-owned ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, along with TNT. The contract came into effect in 2007. The rights were split up as such:

* FOX will carry the Daytona 500 every year and the twelve points races after that. In addition, they will carry the Budweiser Shootout and two Craftsman Truck Series races. (In 2007, they were the Martinsville spring race, and the race in Mansfield, Ohio the Saturday before Memorial Day. In 2008, FOX will again show the Kroger 250 from Martinsville, as well as the San Bernardino County 200 at California Speedway, instead of Mansfield).
* TNT will carry the next six Sprint Cup races including the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
* ESPN and ABC (through the "ESPN on ABC" arrangement) will carry the final seventeen Sprint Cup races, with the ten races comprising the Chase for the Sprint Cup airing on ABC airwaves. ESPN will begin the coverage with the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. The entire Nationwide Series season will be aired primarily on ESPN2, with selected races on ABC.
* SPEED Channel will carry the Gatorade Duel races and the Sprint All-Star Challenge, as well as the entire Craftsman Truck Series season, except for the two races carried by FOX.

Announcers

tudio

*Chris Myers - Host
*Jeff Hammond - Co-Host/Analyst

For all of their broadcasts, FOX uses a portable studio called the "Hollywood Hotel" for the pre-race coverage. The exception was from 2001 to 2007 at Daytona, where they would use the infield media center situated next to Gatorade Victory Lane. As of last year, the Hollywood Hotel and the "Ford Cut-Away Car" areas are also incorporated into SPEED's Happy Hour coverage with Steve Byrnes joining Jeff Hammond (Myers' contract is exclusively to FOX).

If the race is delayed to a Monday then the "Hollywood Hotel" will be sent to the next race. However, if a Saturday night race is rained out to Sunday then the studio will stay. If the Hotel is no longer available, Jeff Hammond can be shifted to fill in a pit reporter's position or analyst's role if necessary. Hammond also did this in 2002 for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway for Steve Byrnes when Byrnes was unable to make it due to his wife going into labor.

The mobile pre-race concept led FOX to make the 2006 "Fox NFL Sunday" pre-game show a moving pre-game show with lead play-by-play announcer Joe Buck, who hosted the actual pre-game portion of show during that season (with Curt Menefee hosting halftime and post game segments), and the three analysts moving from stadium to stadium each week. The concept was abandoned for the 2007 season.

Broadcast booth

*Mike Joy - Lap-by-Lap
*Rick Allen - Lap-by-Lap (Craftsman Truck events only)
*Darrell Waltrip - Color Analyst
*Larry McReynolds - Color Analyst
*Phil Parsons - Color Analyst (Trucks only)

For full races on Sunday, Waltrip is positioned initially in the studio for the show's pre-race segments.

Pit Road

*Dick Berggren
*Matt Yocum
*Krista Voda
*Steve Byrnes

There must be three pit reporters at any time. This became an issue from 2001-2006, when Jeanne Zelasko was reporting on pit road, and only worked into May because of her "Major League Baseball on FOX" coverage duties. In 2007, Voda replaced Zelasko. At the 2002 Dodge/Save Mart 350, Jeff Hammond moved to pit road because Steve Byrnes was excused for family reasons (Karen was hospitalized during her pregnancy), and with just Yocum and Berggren available on pit road, Hammond moved to pit road for the coverage.

Also, Yocum was not on the "NASCAR on FOX" telecasts at Las Vegas and Atlanta in 2007. Instead, he was on NASCAR Hot Pass, pay-per-view coverage of the races shown exclusively on DirecTV. Yocum told the NASCAR media site SpeedCouch that the re-assignment was at his request, and that he planned to return to "NASCAR on FOX" at the next race in Bristol. [ [http://www.speedcouch.com/smf/index.php?topic=2778.0 Does anyone know what is going on with Matt Yocum? ] ] The broadcasts continued with the three other reporters.

Pre-race segments

The segments of "NASCAR on FOX" for 2008 include:
*"Opening" – Myers, Hammond, and Waltrip usually sit in the studio at the start of the telecast, discussing the previous race and usually interviewing the race winner or other significant player in the previous race or current race weekend including but not limited to the polesetter. For this interview, the person in question will have a microphone, and the three in the studio will alternate questions.

*"Around the Turn" – Leading to the first break, Myers will tease upcoming segments, including feature stories on drivers, mechanics, or other key characters.

*"News Update" – Introduced in 2007, Chris Myers uses this segment to run down some of the important news since the last NASCAR on FOX telecast. This would usually lead into...

*"Gas 'N Go" – Inspired by "FOX NFL Sunday"'s "Rapid Fire," Myers asks Hammond and Waltrip questions pertaining to the issues of NASCAR and teams. Each analyst is given between 10 and 30 seconds to answer the questions. In recent broadcasts, Waltrip wears a genie-like hat during the segment.

*"The Hit List" – This segment, new this year, has Myers asking a question to a variety of drivers, usually generating a variety of responses.

*"Driving Zone" – Waltrip and Hammond drive a two-seat Richard Petty Driving Experience Dodge Charger, usually to explain quirks of a race track, to explain what a driver and crew chief are thinking during the race.

*"Opening Ceremonies" – The invocation and National Anthem are given. As a result of a 2004 recommendation by FOX director Artie Kempner, NASCAR moved the command to start engines from slightly after opening ceremonies to five minutes after opening ceremonies complete. The rule was Kempner's idea for drivers to participate in the ceremonies and not be in the car for the invocation and anthem. This idea has since been picked up by NASCAR's other broadcast partners. When FOX air some NASCAR coverage from a Northern U.S. city (i.e. Detroit, Michigan), then two national anthems ("O Canada" and "The Star-Spangled Banner") are performed either after the invocation (with "O Canada" performed between the invocation and the performance of "The Star Spangled Banner") or with the invocation between both anthems.

Past segments

2007 produced a video game segment called "Chad On The Couch", featuring various drivers. The many versions of this segment showcase a rambunctious teenager named Chad Jamian Williams [ [http://www.chadjamian.com chad jamian williams - home ] ] . Chad is featured in his living room playing video games with the drivers. Each driver sits through Chad's boasting and retaliates with witty insults. This segment was filmed specifically for the 2007 Nextel Cup Series by FOX.

Also in 2007 was Photo Finish, when Myers would show drivers pictures from their past and they would talk about the days of the past.
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27Xay8fKtDo NASCAR Segment]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oer8IVg3Ekk NASCAR Segment]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX0cOjevEg0 NASCAR Segment]

Theme song

A new theme song centered on Waltrip's signature words at the drop of the green flag ("boogity boogity boogity") was introduced in 2008. The song is called "NASCAR Love" and the artist is country singer Toby Lightman. An instrumental version replaces the music that Fox Sports had aired from the package's inception in 2001. You can listen to the original song at [http://www.imeem.com/people/v5EPicC/music/q02D_V_8/nascar_nascar_on_fox_theme/ iMeem]

The song is available as a ringtone from Jamster and a download at iTunes. [Promotional announcement during 2008 Kobalt Tools 500]

Criticisms

General

A growing number of longtime NASCAR fans have begun to grumble about some aspects of NASCAR coverage, despite its use of longtime NASCAR production staff members Neil Goldberg (producer), Pam Miller (pit producer), and Greg Fielden (statistician), who are frequently mentioned on broadcasts by the announcers, and NASCAR Images, which supplies cameramen. Mike Joy often rebuts the criticism when they are put on any message board. The biggest faults (according to a survey on the Speedcouch forum in 2006 [http://www.speedcouch.com/forum/index.php] ):

*The on-screen ticker showing the full field order of drivers is often incorrect. To that end, FOX introduced "top 10 only," "top 20 only," and "lead lap and free pass car" tickers starting at the 2006 Coca-Cola 600. The tickers are now standard on most motorsports broadcasts in the United States, regardless of the sanctioning body.Fact|date=May 2007 In response to the complaints, Joy (a Usenet subscriber who responds to many fan messages) responded, cquote|The entire field is fed to the graphics computer at once, and is correct when fed. Because the ticker takes so long to scroll through the entire field, some positions may be incorrect when you see it come across the screen. That's why we have started alternating between full field scrolls and shorter scrolls, which may be top ten, top 20, or lead lap cars. While this isn't as much a factor at the biggest tracks, at some tracks the number of lapped cars and out of race cars is large and their position does not change much ... The (Coca-Cola) 600 was an experiment with this and we will continue to fine tune it.Fact|date=May 2007

For the 2007 season, a new ticker was introduced, with a style similar to that of FOX's NFL score bar. The space at the top of the screen, a line below the actual scroll of the drivers' names, contains occasional updates of the top three cars running during the race, or sometimes simply the name of the race leader. The actual scroll would not be interfered in any manner in order for the ticker to run in high-definition televisions. For standard definition televisions, the ticker would be truncated compared to a high-definition television. Also, at the 2008 Richmond race, FOX diverted from NASCAR's official scoring, using the cars' GPS trackers instead. As a result, the ticker now updates every couple of seconds, and when drivers change positions their names swap while the ticker moves.

*General complaints regarding an overemphasis on gimmicks and hype instead of actual racing. For example, from its first race in 2001, FOX has featured "Crank it Up" segments without commentary, intended to maximize the viewer's surround sound experience. In 2007, FOX also began promoting the Green-white-checker finish as "Overdrive."Fact|date=May 2007 "Overdrive" devolves from other sports which use the term Overtime to describe a period after regulation. The overall meaning is a race condition that ends one or more laps after the scheduled distance of a race.

*Preference to covering drivers and teams that have spent the most money in advertising. This dates back to the 2001 Twin 125 races at Daytona International Speedway. In the computer-generated car depictions used in the starting lineup graphics, FOX showed only the logos on the hoods of cars that had paid the network to advertise during the race. Example: Budweiser on the #8 and The Home Depot on the #20 were shown, but Miller Lite on the #2 was not. After outcry from some of the excluded companies, full logo graphics were restored to all cars three days later for the Daytona 500 telecast. After some controversy, the computer-generated cars used initially on the starting grid and top-five standings when going to break were phased out from main broadcast use, entirely discontinued in 2005. While some writers continue to imply that FOX altered or removed some sponsor names on camera shots of cars during competition, this never happened.Fact|date=May 2007

*While broadcasting the 2008 spring race at Phoenix International Raceway, the opening lap of the race was not shown due to a late running baseball game. FOX joined the lap in progress.

End of the 2001 Daytona 500 and Dale Earnhardt's death

The 2001 Daytona 500 also brought an unrelated controversy. At the end of that race, FOX left the air shortly after Dale Earnhardt, fatally injured in a crash on the last lap, was admitted to Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. The network provided no updates on his condition at the time of the 5:15 p.m. sign-off, and continued regular programming (with the animated series "Futurama") at the moment Earnhardt's death was confirmed at the 7:00 p.m. ET press conference. NASCAR's other broadcast network partner, NBC, delayed a commercial break at a National Basketball Association game and ESPN (which aired the Craftsman Truck Series at that time) had earlier, and much more extensive coverage, of Earnhardt's death and its aftermath. Also, Fox News Channel and Fox Sports Net broke into their programming to announce the seven-time champion's passing. David Hill, Fox Sports president, explained to the Associated Press that the network had gone over its allotted time (in part due to a long red-flag delay on Lap 175) and that continuing to cover the story would be too morbid. Neil Goldberg, producer, also said their staffers were not allowed near the crash scene.Fact|date=May 2007

References

External links

* [http://msn.foxsports.com/named/FS/NASCAR FOXSports.com - NASCAR]
* [http://www.nascar.com/2004/races/tune_in/07/15/fox_team/ NASCAR.com - Meet the FOX Broadcast Team]
* [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCH/is_1_30/ai_79370587 Auto Racing Digest: Made for Television - NASCAR on Fox]
* [http://linesmaker.com/live_odds/nascar_odds.htm NASCAR Odds]
* [http://www.fox11.com/sections/schedule/nascar.asp NASCAR on FOX 11]


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