Turn 2 Blog: Evaluating Fox’s coverage & Daytona finishes

*Turn 2 Blog is a regular feature on InsideCircleTrack.com. Here, site operators Michael Moats and Richard Allen take turns offering their thoughts on the NASCAR and pavement short track racing topics of the day.

What are your thoughts on how all three races at Daytona finished?

Richard: All three races in Daytona had a dissatisfying ending in that none of them actually took the checkered flag at speed to conclude the race.

Although the finish of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race was out of the hands of the officials because of weather conditions, it is always disappointing to have a race end by way of an announcement rather than at the finish line.

However, the ending of the NASCAR Xfinity Series event and the Daytona 500 are different matters altogether. Both of those races ended with officials watching replays to determine what car was ahead at the time the caution light flashed on. And in the case of the Xfinity race, the three possible winners were made to sit in the tri-oval area of the Daytona International Speedway for some time while officials deliberated.

There has to be a better way to end races than that. You and I cover a lot of dirt races and, with the exception of rain, those events always end at the finish line where races ought to end. I am not one who is worried about how many overtimes it takes. All races should end at the finish line.

Unfortunately for the sport, the three races on its biggest stage ended at some point on the track other than where they were supposed to end.

Michael: The ending of the Xfinity race was the most disappointing as it took several minutes to determine the winner. That left many people wondering if there is a better way to determine the end of a race.

At least the decision for the Daytona 500 came quicker. But many questioned the timing at which the caution was called versus and an earlier caution for a single-car spin where the yellow came out what seemed like instantaneously.

I know NASCAR tries to wrap up these races in a timely manner. Between when cautions are actually thrown and having to view all kinds of video replays, the races need to be determined at the finish line, not at some point where judgement calls come into play.

TV viewers did not see a lot of racing action(Getty)

Rate the NASCAR on Fox television coverage of the Daytona 500.

Richard: It’s difficult to rate something you didn’t see and there was not very much racing coverage to see because of all the commercials. I am, however, going to cut Fox a small amount of slack in that, with the first half of the race having so few cautions, they had to show their commercials during green flag stretches. But even after the yellow flags did start coming, the coverage was so disjointed that it was difficult to keep up with all the storylines.

I will say that booth personalities Mike Joy, Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart as well as pit reporters Jamie Little Regan Smith and Josh Sims did a good job in the small amount of time they had to work with.

Even when they were employing their side-by-side coverage, there was a big crash and they continued showing commercial after commercial despite the fact that a major turn of events had just occurred. I know nothing about how all of that stuff works but it seems as if they could have come out of the break, covered the incident, and then had plenty of time for commercials under caution.

Also, why do they feel the need to show so many bumper cams and tight shots? Viewers can’t actually see any of the racing because we’re just looking a the underside of another car and pavement going by at a very fast rate.

And finally, there was no mention of Kyle Larson or any other driver’s condition following that big wreck at the end. Had it not been for the ability to listen to scanners on NASCAR.com and keep up via social media no one would have known that Larson reported to his crew that he was okay.

All in all, Fox did not do NASCAR any favors with its coverage of the sport’s biggest race.

Michael: I thought Fox’s coverage was below average. It seems like their coverage of NASCAR gets worse every year. I know a lot of people complain about the number of commercials. I don’t factor that into the coverage except the point you mentioned about a big crash happening while doing their side-by-side. I still remember in 1988 when CBS was in a commercial and they quickly cut away from it to show Richard Petty barrel rolling down the short chute.

I think Fox’s pit reporters are mostly useless. They offer no inside information. They only parrot what they hear on the scanners.

Did the win by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. give you a feel-good vibe?

Richard: How could this not be seen as a feel good story?

After all, it was a driver who, in my opinion, is often overly derided piloting a ride for a single-car team that clearly does not have the resources of the power house organizations. JTG-Daugherty Racing has long been a part of the sport with few opportunities to receive accolades. It was good to see the No. 47 crew get to celebrate on NASCAR’s biggest stage.

Stenhouse had won a couple of races back when he drove for Roush Fenway and he has always shown himself to be a good superspeedway driver. Everything fell into place for the team at the end and they were able to take advantage.

In the same way as when Michael McDowell and Front Row Motorsports won the Daytona 500 a couple of years ago, it was good to see the little guys get to take the trophy home with them.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and his single-car team pulled off a big upset

Michael: Having a single-car team win the Daytona 500 is huge. It shows that nearly any team can win one of the superspeedway races.

Most people had written off Stenhouse as a someone who could not win another race. He’s had some bad decisions in recent years that left people wondering if he was trying too hard because he is with a smaller team or has just lost it as a driver. Sunday’s win shows he still has it, especially on superspeedway tracks.

Please consider also reading:

Turn 2 Blog: Are there too many SpeedWeeks races? & Who deserved more attention?

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