NASCAR on FOX

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 [1]. 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 [2] 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 (the Martinsville spring race, and the race in Mansfield, Ohio the Saturday before Memorial Day).
  • TNT will carry the next six Nextel Cup races including the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
  • ESPN and ABC (through the ESPN on ABC arrangement) will carry the final seventeen Nextel Cup races, with the ten races comprising the Chase for the Nextel Cup airing on ABC airwaves. ESPN will begin the coverage with the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. The entire Busch Series season will be aired primarily on ESPN2, with selected races on ABC.
  • SPEED Channel will carry the Gatorade Duel races and the Nextel All-Star Challenge, as well as the entire Craftsman Truck Series season, except for the two races carried by FOX.

Announcers

Studio

Enlarge picture
Myers (left) and Hammond (center) appear on the studio set alongside Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney during the 2006 Pepsi 400.
For Daytona International Speedway, the broadcasters will use the permanent studio located near Gatorade Victory Lane. For other races, a portable mobile studio, nicknamed the Hollywood Hotel, will be brought to the infield, except for races at Martinsville Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. For those races, the studio is positioned outside the track, off the pit exit.

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 is also the show host, and the three analysts moving from stadium to stadium each week.

Broadcast booth

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

Pit Road

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. For 2007, Voda replaces Zelasko. At the 2002 Dodge/Save Mart 350, Jeff Hammond moved to pit road because Steve Byrnes was excused for family reasons (Karen was hospitalised 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.[3] The broadcasts continued with the three other reporters.

Pre-race segments

The segments of NASCAR on FOX, as of the 2006 season, are as follows:
  • 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 race 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.
  • Gas 'N Go -- Inspired by FOX's Rapid Fire on FOX NFL Sunday, 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.
  • Photo Finish -- This segment, debuting in 2007 features Myers showing selected pictures of a career of a driver, some of which the driver has not seen in a long time, for a more personal look at the driver.
  • 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.

Other segments

The newest edition to NASCAR on FOX is a video game segment featuring various drivers. The many versions of this segment showcase a rambunctious teenager named Chad Jamian Williams[4]. 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.

Criticisms

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[5]):
  • 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. In response to the complaints, Joy (a Usenet subscriber who responds to many fan messages) responded,
    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.
    For the 2007 season, there were further changes for high-definition televisions. 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.
    • A conflict of interest involving Waltrip, his brother Michael Waltrip (Nextel Cup driver and truck series analyst), and their ownership of teams associated with Toyota. One forum member called for a disclosure of this relationship during race telecasts. In that situation, Joy responded in 2004 to an e-mail regarding the criticism of the analysts (Waltrip and McReynolds) aligning with Toyota by noting as Toyota was not in the Busch Series or Nextel Cup Series, that FOX did not want a conflict of interest, so they recommended their analysts field a "neutral" brand in the Craftsman Truck Series, as in Toyota. Although Toyota entered the NEXTEL Cup Series in 2007, with Michael Waltrip, owning three of the teams, Darrell was not removed from the booth.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • In 2006 during the telecast of the Nextel Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway an incident occurred when the in-car radio conversation between crew chief Kevin Manion and his driver, Martin Truex Jr., was broadcast. Manion was caught using the same word that earned driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. a $10,000 fine and the loss of 25 points two years earlier at Talladega Superspeedway however Manion was not fined because there was a malfunction that occurred with the delay system and Fox received a complaint being filed to the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] by the Family Policy Network president Joe Glover against FOX and NASCAR. Fox Sports apologized for the incident with the screening process.
    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 p.m. 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) had earlier, and much more extensive coverage, of Earnhardt's death and its aftermath. David Hill, Fox Sports president, explained to the Associated Press that the network had gone over its allotted time 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.

    References

    1. ^ [1]
    2. ^ [2]
    3. ^ [3]
    4. ^ [4]
    5. ^ [5]

    External links

    Preceded by
    CBS
    Daytona 500 television broadcaster
    2001 (odd numbered years only from 2001-2006; NBC aired the Daytona 500 in even numbered years) - Present
    Succeeded by
    Incumbent


    Sport governing body

    Category Stock cars
    Area of jurisdiction Canada,United States,Mexico
    Formation date 1948
    Headquarters Daytona Beach, Florida
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    New York City, New York


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    See also, Fox Sports (Australia) and Fox Sports Net.''
    Fox Sports is a division of the Fox Broadcasting Company (part of News Corporation). It was formed in 1994 with Fox's acquisition of broadcast rights to National Football League games.
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    (R) Dodge Cingular Wireless Chip Ganassi Racing 28th
    1 Steve Park Chevrolet Pennzoil Dale Earnhardt, Inc. 11th
    2 Rusty Wallace Ford Miller Lite Penske Racing 7th
    3/29 Dale Earnhardt / Kevin Harvick (R)* Chevrolet GM Goodwrench Richard Childress Racing 2nd
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    November 11 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

    Events


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    Television (often abbreviated to TV, T.V., or more recently, tv; sometimes called telly, the tube, boob tube, or idiot box in British English) is a widely used telecommunication system for broadcasting and receiving moving pictures
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    Fox Broadcasting Company

    Type Broadcast television network
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    National Broadcasting Company

    Type Broadcast television network
    Country  United States
    Availability    United States, also distributed in Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean
    Founder David Sarnoff
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    -2001- 2002 2003 2004  2005 .  2006 .  2007 .  2008  . 2009  . 2010  . 2011 

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    The California Speedway is a two-mile, low-banked, D-shaped oval superspeedway in Fontana, California, similar to that of "sister track" Michigan International Speedway. It is located approximately 40 miles east of Los Angeles on the site of the former Kaiser Steel mill.
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    The Pepsi 400 is the name of a 160 lap/400 mile (approx. 640 km) NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series stock car race held on the first Saturday night of July, usually around Independence Day weekend, at Daytona International Speedway.
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    Daytona International Speedway is a superspeedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. It is a 2.5 mile (4 km) tri-oval race track facility with a seating capacity of 168,000 spectators.
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    Infineon Raceway, formerly Sears Point Raceway, is a road course and drag strip located on the landform known as Sears Point in the southern Sonoma Mountains near Sonoma, California, USA.
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    The Toyota/Save Mart 350 is a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event held at Infineon Raceway. This race is one of the only two Nextel Cup races each year that is run on a non-oval track, with 12 turns over the 1.99 mile (3.22 km) track.
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    Chicagoland Speedway is a speedway in Joliet, Illinois, USA, southwest of Chicago. The speedway is actually located several miles south of Joliet proper, just off Illinois Route 53 between Joliet and Wilmington, Illinois. It currently has a capacity of 75,000 people.
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    The Ford 400 is a NASCAR Nextel Cup stock car race held at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.

    This race is relatively new in the NASCAR circuit, first appearing in 1999.
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    Homestead-Miami Speedway is a race track in Homestead, Florida southwest of Miami. It plays host to Ford Championship Weekend, the final races of the season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch Series, and the Craftsman Truck Series.
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    (R) Dodge Cingular Wireless Chip Ganassi Racing 28th
    1 Steve Park Chevrolet Pennzoil Dale Earnhardt, Inc. 11th
    2 Rusty Wallace Ford Miller Lite Penske Racing 7th
    3/29 Dale Earnhardt / Kevin Harvick (R)* Chevrolet GM Goodwrench Richard Childress Racing 2nd
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    The 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season started at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 12 with the Bud Shootout and ended on Sunday, November 19 with the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
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    Daytona 500 is a 200-lap, 500 mile (805 km) NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race held annually at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. It is one of four restrictor plate races on the Cup schedule. In 2008, the race will celebrate its 50th running.
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    The Pepsi 400 is the name of a 160 lap/400 mile (approx. 640 km) NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series stock car race held on the first Saturday night of July, usually around Independence Day weekend, at Daytona International Speedway.
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    United States dollar
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    Fox Broadcasting Company

    Type Broadcast television network
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    Fox Entertainment Group, Inc.

    Subsidiary of News Corporation
    Founded 1990s
    Headquarters New York City

    Key people Peter F. Chernin, President and COO
    Industry Motion pictures, Television
    Revenue $12.18 billion USD (2004)
    Operating income $2.
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    Availability
    Satellite
    DirecTV Channel 607
    Dish Network Channel 150
    Star Choice Channel 406
    Cable
    Verizon FiOS Channel 71
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    Sport Auto racing
    Founded 1993
    No. of teams 23
    Country(ies)  United States

    Most recent champion(s) Todd Bodine The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is a popular NASCAR racing series that features modified pickup trucks.
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