Watkins Glen brings radio style broadcasting | Panda Anku

Watkins Glen International is the longest running road course on the NASCAR Cup Series calendar, having scheduled an event every year since 1986 (the track was scheduled to have one in 2020, but the race was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions). and NASCAR refuses to conduct COVID-19 testing). That doesn’t even include the three pre-modern races, which are held on an older version of the track.

Sunday was a very different affair as rain intruded on the pomp and circumstance. It wouldn’t have been so bad with rain tires. However, it was accompanied by lightning. As a result, the race started at 5 p.m. ET, 100 minutes late.

In recent years, NBC Sports has used an alternative format to broadcast this race. In the past it was referred to as “MVP” coverage, short for “Multiple Vantage Point” coverage. Now it’s known as “radio style” reporting.

Whatever NBC Sports wants to call it, the outcome is the same. Rick Allen and Steve Letarte held the booth while Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton were sent around the track. Also, Alex Hayden was back on the MRN Radio show.

The result of a radio-style broadcast is twofold. First, you will have a hectic commenting style. This can have several reasons. The simplest of these reasons is that it’s quite noisy.

Burton, Earnhardt Jr. and Hayden broadcast outdoors on Sunday. The NASCAR Cup Series cars are loud and parked very close to the track (Hayden in the Esses in particular). It’s hard to make yourself heard. From what I’ve seen on Twitter, that fact may have upset some viewers. However, that’s something that comes with the game. It’s NASCAR, after all. Noise is part of the experience.

Now the three remote transmitters didn’t really have the opportunity to move on Sunday. They were more or less tied to their towers. I didn’t expect them to move anywhere during the race. In the early 1990s, it wasn’t uncommon for Benny Parsons to move around while reporting. In 1990 he “tired” of the view at Turn 1 and hiked up the front straight to what is now Turn 11 to get another vantage point. About the time he got there, Hut Stricklin and Sarel van der Merwe fell right in front of him.

Being in position, Parsons was able to secure offers from van der Merwe and Stricklin. Obviously this is not possible today for a number of reasons, one of which is the fact that there is a high safety fence there.

The second major difference from a radio-style show is that it’s like having multiple play-by-play types. Rather than just Allen play-by-play, you effectively have four play-by-play commentators. As long as you take turns, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. If not, then there will be trouble. Luckily that wasn’t a problem on Sunday.

My main criticism of MRN radio shows is that with all the commentary things can get lost. I think the US had this problem on Sunday too. For example, I was a little confused that some drivers were several laps behind during the race. Apparently, Chase Briscoe had a mechanical issue that we never really found out about. That’s why he was never able to fight his way back through the field after winning the first stage.

Bubba Wallace apparently had some kind of suspension problem. I’m not sure what happened there, but he ended up downing one lap, got a lucky dog ​​during the last yellow and then never took it before retiring.

At the same time, Burton’s stationing at Turn 10 (minus the flamingos and palm trees on his scissor lift) meant viewers got a quicker response from broadcasters regarding Loris Hezemans’ spin into the trap that caused the final yellow.

Aside from the layout of the show itself, the biggest story of the day was Kimi Raikkonen, who came in to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut as part of the Trackhouse Racing Team’s PROJECT91. That was something I wanted to watch to see if the show would be inundated with Raikkonen talk.

This was not the case. I’m surprised there was no in-car camera in Raikkonen’s #91. In the end Raikkonen did quite well. Yes, Watkins Glen is a street course, but Raikkonen seemed more competitive on Sunday before his crash than he had at any of the races he competed in Charlotte in 2011.

The coverage of Raikkonen was decent but not overwhelming. It was fair. I think there would have been some viewers, particularly those who are mostly Formula 1 viewers, who would have complained that there wasn’t enough coverage of him. Maybe it would have gone up in the second half of the race if he hadn’t crashed. I was ok with what we got.

For what it’s worth, it seems Raikkonen enjoyed himself and would be ready to come back for more. Other drivers also seem to want to be there, like Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson.

Justin Marks was probably from Watkins Glen and quite handsome. Despite the result, PROJECT91 seems to be a success so far.

Before the race, there was a lot of pre-race interviews to promote the race. Then the lightning struck. As a result, some time was spent showing the conclusion of Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco GO Rewards 200 at the Glen. There were also interviews conducted in NASCAR’s 1948 Club (also known as the Great Room, this is where NASCAR has traditionally held the drivers’ briefings). The 1948 Club also hosted the pre-race ceremonies.

Before the Blitz, the US aired a feature about Brett Sanchelli, a tire porter on Michael McDowell’s pit crew. Away from the track, Sanchelli spends his time caring for his sister Courtney, who was left paralyzed in a car accident in New Jersey in 2000.

As you can imagine, this would have been (and is still going through) a terrible situation for the Sanchelli family given Courtney’s medical needs. There are many interesting stories in NASCAR, and NBC Sports (via Dustin Long, who narrated the play) found one here.

Because the race was extremely long due to the rain, there wasn’t much post-race coverage. Viewers only got a few post-race interviews and a bit of analysis before the US aired Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. The problem is that most of that post-race coverage was based on the last restart, which ultimately gave Kyle Larson the win.

Larson was basically sorry for what he did afterward. Meanwhile, Chase Elliott was so pissed off that he was basically doing his best not to say anything. As a result, post-race coverage was rather thin.

I think the wet track conditions early in the race caused some unusual issues with riders getting pinched a lap later and the broadcast didn’t pay much attention to that. I think that’s how Denny Hamlin ended up a lap down and spent a lot of the race trying to get it back.

In terms of racing, Sunday’s race was quite competitive. Even without too many interruptions from warnings, a lot of passing was required. Even in the wet sections of the race, there was fighting throughout the field. The first laps of the race were pretty exciting. It was a great race but I think the focus narrowed as the event progressed. Apparently there were almost 40 passes per green flag round on Sunday. That’s a bunch and far more than last year (23.5). Later in the race, that wasn’t as much because the broadcast focused on Hendrick Motorsports teammates (Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson).

At street courses you get other drivers to the top. McDowell is somewhat expected given his background. Death Gilland? Not as much. It was great to see him take the fight to the top guys and get his right on the show until his car turned him into a traitor. I would have liked to see what he could have done if the car had lasted 90 laps.

Overall, Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen is probably the best cup race there since stages were introduced. Still not a fan of them because they affect the races.

USA did a pretty good job bringing the action to the crowds on Sunday, especially early in the race. The increased focus never really benefits a show because you miss so much. They must be aware of that.

That’s all for this week. The regular season of the NASCAR Cup Series comes to an end in Daytona next weekend. Some stupid things are likely to happen. Meanwhile, Formula 1 returns from its summer break to head to Spa… where it could rain again. IMSA is also for a pure GT weekend in the VIR. TV listings can be found here.

We’ll be providing reviews of the Daytona Cup and Xfinity broadcasts here in Couch Potato Tuesday next week front stretch. The critics’ supplement in the Frontstretch newsletter appears in two editions this week. Today’s newsletter takes a look at the Xfinity race from Richmond. Last weekend’s Sunoco GO Rewards 200 at the Glen will be covered later this week.

If you have a complaint about me or just want to say something about my criticism, feel free to post it in the comments below. Even if I can’t always reply, I read your comments. If you would like to “like” me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, please click on the appropriate icons. If you would like to contact one of NASCAR’s media partners, click on one of the links below.

FOX sports
NBC sports

As always, if you decide to contact a network via email, do so in a polite manner. Network officials are much more likely to respond to emails that ask polite questions than to emails that are full of rants and rants.


Sign up for the Frontstretch newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) with race news, comments, features and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or given to third parties.

Share this article

Leave a Comment