- NASCAR on CBS
NASCAR on CBS Genre Auto racing Created by Neal Pilson Directed by Bob Fishman
Presented by CBS Sports Starring See commentators section below Theme music composer Mark Wood Country of origin United States Language(s) English Production Executive producer(s) Neal Pilson
Producer(s) Bob Stenner
Editor(s) Charlie Liotta
Running time 4 hours (including commercials) Broadcast Original channel CBS Picture format Color Audio format Stereo Original airing February 12, 1960-July 1, 2000 Chronology Related shows The CBS Sports Spectacular External links Website
- 1 Races covered by CBS
- 2 History of coverage
- 2.1 Pre-1979
- 2.2 1979 Daytona 500: The breakthrough
- 2.3 1980s
- 2.4 1990s
- 2.5 The end of NASCAR on CBS
- 3 Ratings
- 4 Commentators
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Races covered by CBS
- Busch Clash/Bud Shootout (1979–2000) (now called the Budweiser Shootout)
- Jiffy Lube Miami 300
- Michigan 400
- Pepsi 400 (the 1998 event was scheduled for CBS, but was delayed until October and switched to TNN due to 1998 Florida wildfires)
- Texas 500
- Watkins Glen 200
CBS began covering the race by the early 1980s, airing them tape-delayed and edited the day before the Daytona 500.
History of coverage
The very first NASCAR races to ever be shown on television were broadcasted by CBS. In February 1960, CBS sent a "skeleton" production crew to Daytona Beach, Florida and the Daytona International Speedway to cover the Daytona 500's Twin 100 (now the Gatorade Duel) qualifying races on February 12, 1960. The production crew also stayed to broadcast portions of the Daytona 500 itself, two days later. The event was hosted by John S. Palmer. CBS would continue to broadcast portions of races for the next 18 years, along with ABC and NBC.
1979 Daytona 500: The breakthrough
CBS Sports President Neal Pilson and motorsports editor Ken Squier believed that America would watch an entire stock car race live on television. Before 1979, television coverage of the Daytona 500 either began when the race was halfway over, or as an edited highlight packaged that aired a week later on ABC's Wide World of Sports. On February 18, 1979, CBS presented the first flag-to-flag coverage of the Daytona 500 (and 500-mile race to be broadcast live on national television in general). The Indianapolis 500 was only broadcast on tape delay that evening in this era; most races were broadcast only through the final quarter to half of the race, as was the procedure for ABC's Championship Auto Racing broadcasts; with the new CBS contract, the network and NASCAR agreed to a full live broadcast. That telecast introduced in-car and low-level track-side cameras, which has now become standard in all sorts of automotive racing broadcasts. The race drew incredible ratings, in part due to the compelling action both on and off the track, and in part because a major snowstorm on the East Coast kept millions of viewers indoors.
1980 World 600
On Memorial Day 1980, CBS paid a fee of roughly $50,000 or $100,000 to Charlotte Motor Speedway to broadcast the World 600 NASCAR stock-car race. Benny Parsons edged out Darrell Waltrip to win a grand prize of $44,850 in a race that was watched by perhaps 3.7 million viewers at home.
1983 Daytona 500
During their coverage of the 1983 Daytona 500, CBS introduced an innovation which director Bob Fishman helped develop - a miniature, remote-controlled in-car camera called RaceCam. Bob Fishman directed every Daytona 500 telecast on CBS, with the exeception of 1992, 1994 and 1998 because Fishman was away directing CBS' figure-skating coverage for the Winter Olympics.
1990 Daytona 500
After years of trying to win it, Dale Earnhardt appeared headed for certain victory in the 1990 Daytona 500 until a series of events in the closing laps. On lap 193, Geoff Bodine spun in the first turn, causing the third and final caution of the race. Everyone pitted except Derrike Cope, who stayed out. On the lap 195 restart, Earnhardt retook and held the lead, only to puncture a tire when he drove over a piece of metal bell housing from the failed engine of Rick Wilson's car on Lap 199. As Earnhardt's damaged car slowed, Cope drove past and earned his first Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) victory. It was the first of two victories for the relatively unknown Cope in the 1990 season. In an ironic twist, the local CBS affiliate of Cope, who at the time was a resident of the Seattle suburb of Spanaway, opted to pre-empt the race to telecast a Seattle SuperSonics basketball game, and the race was delayed until 3 p.m. U.S. PST because of the pre-emption.
1992 Busch Clash and Daytona 500
For one year, Daytona 500 pole qualifying and the Busch Clash swapped days. The Busch Clash was held Saturday, and qualifying was held Sunday. This move was made at the request of CBS, who wanted the additional time on Sunday for their coverage of the 1992 Winter Olympics.
CBS had aired the Busch Clash (now the Budweiser Shootout) since it began in 1979. The race debuted on a Sunday, broadcasting live on CBS. Pole position qualifying for the Daytona 500 would start Sunday at 10 a.m., followed by the Daytona ARCA 200. The Busch Clash would be held after the ARCA race at 3 p.m.
1996 DieHard 500
Dale Earnhardt took a horrifying tumble down the front straightaway in "The Big One", after Ernie Irvan got into the side of Sterling Marlin which caused him to hit Earnhardt. After he hit the wall hard, he was hit by multiple cars upside down and on the car's side. He ended up breaking his collarbone, and this helped begin a winless streak that spanned the rest of the 1996 season and all of the 1997 season. The race was cut short due to the wreck, and a rainstorm earlier in the race added the factor of darkness, with Jeff Gordon winning. These events helped push the DieHard 500 from the heat, humidity, and almost commonly occurring afternoon thunderstorms of late July to a much cooler, and in the case of the weather, more stable early October date. This was the last Cup race to not be televised live because of the rain delay; the broadcast of the race aired one week later, as an abridged broadcast on CBS.
1998 Craftsman Truck Series
1999 Daytona 500
- 33 in-car cameras - three cameras in 11 different cars.
- 10 “pole” cameras above the pits.
- 35 cameras around the track.
- A camera in a blimp.
- A camera with each of the three pit reporters.
- A camera in the booth.
CBS also planned to use more computerized graphics and a super slow-motion camera with a long lens.
Affiliation with The Nashville Network (TNN)
TNN had two self-operating and self-promoting sub-divisions, TNN Outdoors and TNN Motor Sports. TNN Outdoors was responsible for the programming of hunting and fishing shows. TNN Motor Sports was responsible for production of all the network's racing coverage, including NASCAR Winston Cup, Indy Racing League and smaller outfits such as USAC, NHRA, and ARCA. Motorcycle and speedboat racing was also broadcast. TNN Outdoors and TNN Motor Sports also marketed themselves, selling a variety of merchandise and branding themselves onto video games.
In 1995, the motorsports operations were moved to Concord, North Carolina into the industrial park located at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where TNN had purchased controlling interest in World Sports Enterprises, a motorsports production company. Among TNN personalities from the motorsports operation were Mike Joy, Eli Gold, Buddy Baker, Neil Bonnett, Randy Pemberton, Ralph Sheheen, Dick Berggren, and Rick Benjamin.
Westinghouse Electric Corporation, who at the time owned the CBS networks and had an existing relationship with TNN through its Group W division, purchased TNN and its sister network CMT outright in 1995 to form CBS Cable (along with a short-lived startup network entitled "Eye On People").
Most of the original entertainment-oriented programming ceased production, and the network began to rely more on TNN Outdoors and TNN Motor Sports for programming. The network's ties to CBS allowed it to pick up country-themed CBS dramas from the 1980s such as The Dukes of Hazzard and Dallas, neither of which had been seen on television since their original runs ended, and also allowed it to carry CBS Sports run over, which happened during a NASCAR Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in 1999 and also a PGA Tour event at Firestone Country Club.
The end of NASCAR on CBS
NASCAR wanted to capitalize on its increased popularity even more, so they decided that future deals would be centralized; that is, the networks would negotiate directly with NASCAR for a regular schedule of telecasts. That deal was struck on December 15, 1999. Fox Sports, FX, NBC and TBS (later moved to TNT) agreed to pay $2.4 billion for a new six-year package, covering the Winston (now Sprint) Cup Series and Busch (now Nationwide) Series schedules.
- Fox and FX would televise race 1 through 16 of the 2001, 2003, and 2005 seasons and race 2 through 17 of the 2002, 2004, and 2006 seasons. Fox would air the Daytona 500 in the odd-numbered years. All Busch Series races during that part of the season would also be on Fox/FX.
- NBC and TNT would televise the final 17 races of the even-numbered years as well as the Daytona 500 and the last 18 races of the odd-numbered years, as well as all Busch Series races held in that time of the year.
With the end of the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, came the end of the relationship between NASCAR and its oldest television partner.
The television ratings for the Daytona 500 have surpassed those of the Indianapolis 500 since 1995, even though the 1995 race was available in fewer homes than in the past. CBS had lost affiliates in major markets as a result of realignment in the wake of Fox landing the NFL, and was actually not available in a NASCAR Busch Series market, Milwaukee; their new CBS affiliate, WDJT, was not available to some cable subscribers.
- Buddy Baker (1996–2000)  - color commentator
- Dick Berggren (1994–2000)  - pit reporter
- Neil Bonnett (1990–1993) - color commentator
- Dave Despain - pit reporter
- Chris Economaki (1988–1994) - color commentator/pit reporter
- Eli Gold - lap-by-lap
- Jerry Glanville - analyst
- Greg Gumbel - Daytona 500 anchor
- David Hobbs - color commentator/pit reporter
- Ned Jarrett - color commentator
- Mike Joy - lap-by-lap (1997–2000)/pit reporter (1984-1997)
- Richard Petty - color commentator
- Ralph Sheheen - pit reporter
- Bill Stephens - pit reporter
- Ken Squier - lap-by-lap (1979-1997)/studio anchor (1997–2000)
- Darrell Waltrip - NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series only and 1999 Bud Shootout
- Brock Yates - pit reporter
- World Sports Enterprises to Cease Production Operations
- CBS Sports Spectacular
- List of Daytona 500 broadcasters
- Auto Racing - CBS SportsLine.com
- CBS, analysts prepare for final 500 race-day telecast
- Google Search - Timeline
- NASCAR Commentators Crews and Networks
Daytona 500 television broadcaster
1979 - 2000
Fox (odd numbered years) and NBC (even numbered years)
NASCAR on CBS Commentators LoreThe Fight · Fastest 500 In History · The Bumpergate · The Slingshot Pass · Elliott's Dominant Performance · Beginning of the Curse of Dale Earnhardt · Like Father, Like Son · Waltrip's Fuel Milage · Derrike Cope's Upset over Earnhardt · The Dale and Dale Show · Smith/Bonnett Incidents and Photo Finish · Marlin's First Win/Tragedy in Speedweeks · Miller edges Skinner by 0.001 seconds · The Dale and Dale Show II · Earnhardt's Big Wreck at Talladega · This One's For You (Hendrick Podium Sweep) · Earnhardt's Daytona Win · Junior Breaks Through · Adam's lone start/Junior's First Cup Win Daytona 500 CBS Sports television programs Current programs Former programs Event coverage National sports networkSee also: United States sports broadcasting lists National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Chairmen & presidents National racing series Regional/local racing seriesK&N Pro SeriesK&N Pro Series West · K&N Pro Series EastWhelen ModifiedWeekly Short Track RacingSpecial event International seriesNASCAR CanadaNASCAR MexicoCorona Series · Mini StocksNASCAR Australia Online Racing SeriesNASCAR iRacing Series Former seriesAutoZone Elite DivisionOther Series Television & radioDaytona 500 · Chase for the Sprint Cup · Seasons in Review
Tracks · Rules & Regulations · Safety in NASCAR · Car of Tomorrow
Drivers · Teams · Fatalities · Hall of Fame · Sprint Cup Series Champions · Nationwide Series Champions · Camping World Truck Series Champions · All-time Cup Winners · Rookie of the Year · Triple Threat Winners
Buschwhacker (Double Duty Performers) · Road Course Ringers · Lore · Canada · Mexico · Video Games · Families
NASCAR on television and radio Broadcast television partners Secondary broadcast television partners Cable television partners Secondary cable television partners Radio partners Current Regular Season
Daytona 500 · Auto Club 1 · Las Vegas · Atlanta 1 · Bristol 1 · Martinsville 1 · Phoenix 1 · Texas 1 · Talladega 1 · Richmond 1 · Darlington · Dover 1 · Charlotte 1 · Pocono 1 · Michigan 1 · Infineon · Loudon 1 · Daytona 2 · Chicagoland · Indianapolis · Pocono 2 · Watkins Glen · Michigan 2 · Bristol 2 · Atlanta 2 · Richmond 2
Chase for the Sprint Cup
Loudon 2 · Dover 2 · Kansas · Auto Club 2 · Charlotte 2 · Martinsville 2 · Talladega 2 · Texas 2 · Phoenix 2 · Homestead
Budweiser Shootout · Gatorade Duel · NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race · Daytona 500 pole position races · Winter Heat Series
North Wilkesboro 1 · North Wilkesboro 2 · Ontario · Riverside (Summer) · Riverside (Winter) · Rockingham 1 · Rockingham 2 · Darlington (Labor Day 1950-2004) · Nashville 1 · Nashville 2 · Greenville 1
News television series Prerace television series Postrace television series Race rebroadcasts Broadcast technology Reality television series
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