Big League Stock Car Racing - 2012
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Published on Wed, Feb 29, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
After watching the entire 2012 Daytona 500 broadcast on television, I have decided that big-time stock car racing is in big trouble. Look, I’m don’t have any special insight on NASCAR, but from what they showed last night, the signs are not good. Viewer’s had front row seats to the sport’s biggest race. Camera angles, hi-definition broadcast, surround sound, and bright and shiny cars in close proximity for speedy miles on end make for a terrific viewing experience for us casual fans. You can’t pay me to watch soccer and I’d sooner listen to Lady Gaga than sit through an entire NBA basketball game. To each his own. The vagaries of this sport allows that any given moment can have any given competitor removed from the field for an error not his own. This is part of the drama. Only one person out of 44 will win the race. In football, for instance, half the people in play will win. But a race winner depends not only upon his crew to build, field, and adjust the car, but also his competition to help push him to the front, clear the path, and not wreck him. That’s all good stuff about auto racing. Trouble indicators came during the broadcast. Did anyone else notice that the event was sponsored by Pizza Hut and Chevrolet? How could you not? As opposed to that football game they played a couple of weeks ago (where some team played another team that was not the Chargers) they played different commercials every break. Not the Daytona 500. There were more repeated commercials than laps. And they ran the same commercials every four or five laps, which exacerbated the situation. I have no idea what the longest broadcast length of green flag laps was, but it couldn’t have been more than ten at any stretch. Pizza Hut had one commercial. With two teenagers in the house, we’ve called our local Pizza Hut a time or two each month for the past few years. But if they have more than one commercial in the can, they didn’t use it in during the whole six hours of race broadcast last night. Chevrolet was nearly as bad, running the same truck commercial time and time again. That’s a sure-fire way to have people tune out of both your message and the event. While we’re here, did you see that Dodge commercial? We were treated to it several times and I believe the entire pitch was “Buy our car, we have a backup camera”. If all this plays out on a standard Sunday afternoon, only the fans who would normally tune in are subjected to this inanity. But since rain pushed the event to a prime time Monday night slot, the potential for many more people to become fans was ripe. All the drama, the visual and audio treats, personalities, and even the unknown aspects of the sport were right there. And they dropped the proverbial caution flag. How sad is your product that any given company would not step up and ask to be part of the first Monday night prime time broadcast? I don’t know how long it takes to put the deals together, but how thick does the bureaucracy have to be at Fox Sports and NASCAR to be able to spin up a few more commercials during the 36 hours they had before the green flag on Monday? Clearly, they were not ready for prime time. Which is not the same as saying I didn’t watch the whole thing. - Harold Osmer LA Car Review Editor Harold Osmer is an award-winning author of three books on the subject of automobile racing in Southern California: Where They Raced, Real Road Racing, and Saugus Speedway.