Loud Music is a $40 Fine

Just my personal blog.

February 18, 2007

NASCAR Daytona 500 Thoughts

ROUSH REFUGEE ALMOST GETS WIN: NASCAR snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory from Mark Martin in the Daytona 500. After making a BIG deal about how teams are not supposed to race back to the start finish line anymore, and implementing rules and technology to determine running/finish orders when the caution comes out, they ignore their own rules and let the race finish under green after a big wreck on the last lap.

I, along with Martin, expected NASCAR to throw the yellow flag when Kyle Busch finally ran out of talent and wrecked the field behind Martin and Kevin Harvick. That would have given Martin the win, since Harvick didn’t pass Martin until they got to the tri-oval, well after the wreck started. They certainly haven’t had any problem doing that in the past.

I think I said in my previous post that NASCAR has been consistently inconsistent this week, and this is just the latest example of it. Now all that needs to happen is to see if Harvick actually passes post-race inspection. If for some reason he fails, NASCAR will still let him keep the win, and his car will go into Daytona USA.

Actually, the race should have ended the way it did; the competitors should race back to the start/finish line when a caution comes out in ALL races. The way NASCAR determines the running order now is part science, part voo doo, and part hocus pocus. When they race back to the line, there’s no question what the order is.

AND THE EMMY GOES TO: Well, it won’t go to Fox, that’s for sure. That was probably the worst TV coverage I’ve seen of a Daytona 500. I don’t have an HD TV, but I kind of think that out-of-focus camera shots don’t look any better in HD than in regular resolution.

Also, it almost seems like they weren’t expecting the race to end in the dark. The shots kept getting harder and harder to see due to the darkness.

TIME SHIFTING THE RACE: I’d set my Comcast DVR to record it (their program guide said the race went from 1:00 pm to 6:30 pm Central time). Fox had about an hour and a half of pre-race show before the actual race began around 2:30. At 3:00 pm I started playing back the recording. I hadn’t planned on watching much of the pre-race show, but with all the stuff that happened up till now, I ended up watching most of it. I’d also planned on fast forwarding through the race in the dull parts (as it turns out, if I’d have done that, I’d fast forwarded through most of it), but I watched it without doing that. I just used my remote “macros” that skip 30 or 60 seconds at a time when the commercials came on.
I finally caught up with “real time” with about 20 laps to go, which is when the race started to get interesting. Up until that time, it looked like NASCAR finally got their wish with the field getting strung out. Isn’t it funny how they go to all this trouble with small fuel cells to make the teams have to have more green flag stops, in order to break up the pack, and then have a green-white-checker finish that causes the field to be bunched up right when everyone is the “stupidest”?

Anyway, I didn’t have to waste a couple hours of my life watching commercials, which is the whole point of time shifting. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the only way to watch a race.

ESPN’S BACK: I also time shifted the Busch race. ESPN’s coverage of the Busch race was head and shoulders above Fox’s coverage of the Cup race. They had some interesting telemetry too, showing the pounds of downforce and horsepower difference in the draft.

I still don’t think Brent Musburger has any business  “hosting” a racing broadcast, but that’s what time shifting is for. Dr. Jerry Punch did his usual excellent job, and I was surprised at how well Andy Petree did. Rusty Wallace sometimes doesn’t know when not to talk, but was otherwise ok.

It’s interesting that this was the most watched Busch race in ESPN’s history, but was down in viewership from last year. I think that reflects more on the fact that it was on ESPN2 (like apparently most Busch Series races will be this year) more than anything. You have to wonder why Disney chose (and NASCAR allowed) ESPN2 to be the primary cable network for the Busch races when more people have access to ESPN.

TODAY IN HISTORY: It was about this time six years ago that we found out that Dale Earnhardt didn’t survive the wreck in the 500. I guess it’s somewhat fitting that a Richard Childress Racing car won the race.

CALIFORNIA HERE I COME?: Guess I’ll time shift the California races next weekend. Got to finish a big project I’m working on and I’ll need all the time I can squeeze in for it. California’s not really produced that many good races in the past, so I think I’ll be using my 30 and 60 second buttons on the remote a lot. Maybe when they start running the “car of tomorrow” there it might change.

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