I am not going to even claim to understand why, but the televised Nextel Cup Series is covered by four different major stations during their season. First it is covered by FOX, next is TNT, then ESPN and then, lastly ABC. The only reason for this that I personally can think of, is that the Nascar Cup series has one of the longest seasons of a sport (starts at the end of February and ends in mid-November) and Nascar is thinking that they should spread the wealth during televised coverage so that they can reach a broader fanbase.
Believe it or not I see a big difference in the quality of the coverage (we are now three races into the coverage on ABC).
To me…the best coverage comes from FOX at the beginning of the season. It might just be that I really like the commentators (Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds totally rock as commentators and I miss them during the rest of the season!). But I also find that the camera angles actually seem to be better and if there is anything going on during the race- you were there when it happened. They have the cut-away car and explain things in simple terms quickly and it isn’t overused.
The second best was TNT. The reason that I didn’t like TNT as much as FOX? A big part of it had to do with the lack of Darrell Waltrip. Don’t get me wrong though- I liked Kyle Petty as a commentator but I missed DW more. The cameras also seemed to catch less of the action so there was more having to go back and see things in replay.
I find the coverage on ESPN and ABC to be very similar…and very annoying. ESPN especially uses too much filler. There is too much going to the tech center to explain this that and the other. While I do like more information on some things- they go to the tech car far too often far to long to explain things. They have all these fancy animations for engine parts and the like- but frankly…just tell me and get me back to the race already. I also find it annoying that when they come back from commercial (especially ESPN but ABC too) they will replay the last major accident right before cutting back live- so as a view I am unsure if this was something I missed during the commercial break or them doing another race recap. They even did this during the race today – they came back from the caution and were replaying the pre-race interviews…which confused me because for a minute I thought that Martin Truex, Jr got knocked out of the race on lap 53 or something like that. It is confusing! The announcers also have the ever annoying tendency on both stations to talk over the in-car audio when they cut to it…and the in-car audio is my favorite part of the races…seriously. Both ESPN and ABC’s announcers seem to talk just to hear themselves talk..and that irritates me. I like to form my own opinions when a race is happening and they just blather on and on and on.
I really wish Nascar would pick ONE station (FOX) and stick with it all season.