TV Times

The storms of controversy around NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. are swirling. Wall Street writers like Herb Greenberg of are hammering the Daytona Beach sanction body and the publicly traded International Speedway Corp. Greenberg cites that "NASCAR's grip on the industry is troublesome." While the two entities (NASCAR and ISC) are separate and distinct corporations, the Wall Street writer tells of the two sharing the same buildings and office areas. The two corporations have told Greenberg that they are not conflicting companies.

Greenberg feels that Microsoft's control is pale in comparison! Then the latest conflict of interest surfaced last week about Brian France and his new marketing firm in NYC called Brand Sense. France is a member of the family that controls both ISC and NASCAR. According to the published reports, they have signed Donald Trump, a partner with ISC for a proposed new track in the Big Apple. Brian and his partners deny any conflict of interest.

All of this while there are anti-trust suits over collectable pricing and the questions about advertising ties and team sponsorship. The collectables issue is a class action suit against several of the tracks who host Winston Cup races, and the Associated Press reported on Wednesday that it has been settled out of court for more than $11 million.

And the Article Four (copyrighting press stories) just won't die. Some or all of this could end up being a firestorm of gigantic proportions, claim published reports.

And on the TV front, reports tell of the new networks Fox and NBC having exclusive garage rights for the pre-race shows where the drivers are interviewed. And with NASCAR producing their own TV productions, the objectivity will be non-existent.

Also, there's a snag in the NASCAR Channel and it may not come on line until the end of the 2001 season. The reports tell of NASCAR huddling with rivals Humpy Wheeler and Bruton Smith of Speedway Motorsports in a plan to make it happen.

The prevailing opinion is that NASCAR2Day will get yanked from ESPN2 because of TV rights. Given the climate, we think it's correct.

Dr. Jerry Punch has made it known that he will continue on with ABC and ESPN and won't move to Fox or NBC in 2001. But, the stories persist that Bill Weber, NASCAR2Day host and reporter for RPM2Night will go to a new network.

On the Indy Car front, it appears that Cary Agajanian, a specialist in motorsports law, is on the short list of potential CEO's for the opening at CART, following Andrew Craig's ouster. Cary is a proponent of the rival Indy Racing League!

Checking the TV action this weekend, TNN offers NASCAR qualifying from Loudon, NH on Saturday morning. The Modified go from NHIS airs after lunch on TNN. The Craftsman Truck race from that track airs on CBS in mid-afternoon. Then the USAC sprints from Toledo, Ohio get covered on ESPN2 at supper time. TNN offers Thunder in the Dakotas in the late evening covering the World of Outlaws. On Sunday, both Raceday on TNN and RPM2Day on ESPN2 will preceed the Cup race from NHIS which goes at lunch time from NHIS. For the bikers, the World Superbike go from Laguna Seca airs in mid-afternoon on the various Fox Sports affiliates. RPM2Night in mid-evening Sunday will summarize the weekend racing action.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2000

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