This past Sunday afternoon I covered the Southern All-Star Dirt Series-sanctioned ‘March Madness’ event for InsideDirtRacing.com, the sister site of this page. The trip back to my home near Knoxville from Gaffney, South Carolina where the Cherokee Speedway is located takes just over three hours. That alone time in my truck provided me with the opportunity to listen to most of the Performance Racing Network’s broadcast of the Pennzoil 400 NASCAR Cup Series race from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
As a high school Psychology teacher I relate to my classes that simply hearing spoken words does not offer a complete picture of the message a person is trying to convey. Voice tone and pitch allow us to fully perceive the meaning of the intended message.
There was a noticeable change in the tone of the broadcast of Sunday’s race compared to the races I had listened to from previous seasons.
Of course, the beginning of a racing event as well as its ending typically provide their own excitement so all radio announcers have to do is relay the action on the track to their listeners. But over the past few seasons, there have been times when the PRN crew along with their counterparts on the Motor Racing Network have had to fill in the gaps with side stories and other anecdotes to make up for the less-than-exciting action on the track.
The surest sign that racing in the NASCAR Cup Series has improved in 2022 over previous years is that the radio broadcasters had no need side stories and anecdotes in Las Vegas. There was enough intense racing and drama that simply calling the action as it occurred on the 1.5-mile layout sufficed. At times, the announcers were almost left breathless as the pitch of their voices indicated high levels of excitement while they described the events of the day.
I still have not seen a single lap of the Cup Series race held at LVMS, but I don’t need to watch a replay to know that it was a good race. The picture painted by PRN in my mind is a good one and it is one filled with racing action rather than one of skilled broadcasters having to fill gaps because the competition had dwindled into a single-file parade with little more than the logging of laps taking place.
Up to this point in the 2022 season, the on-track product provided by NASCAR, its teams, and its drivers has been quite good. Lead changes throughout the race and not just during pit stop exchanges, just enough crashing(without injuries) to keep things interesting, and late-race drama are the stuff of good racing. All three points-paying races held so far as well as the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum have provided all of those things.
At some point this season, it would seem to be a safe bet to reason that teams will start getting a better handle on the Next Gen car which could bring about a more stable environment on the race track. So far though, the unpredictability brought on by the car and all the other circumstances that have played into these early races have certainly spiced things up.
Sunday’s action-filled radio broadcast is proof enough for me that there is more enthusiasm in the early part of this year than there has been in some time. Anytime you want to gauge the entertainment value of a particular race, just listen to the radio broadcast and pay attention to pitch and tone.
Richard Allen has been covering NASCAR and other forms of motorsports since 2008.
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