Foxs Grand Opening

Share:
Dale Earnhardt spoke the other day.

Of course, he speaks all the time. However, earlier this week, during a Fox Sports Network telecast of Winston Cup practice from Daytona, Earnhardt talked jokingly at first, but then seriously with Darrell Waltrip in a way that perhaps hadn't been seen before on television.

Often, when approached by a television crew, Earnhardt delivers the usual lines about his cars and the competition. And other times, he becomes a jokester, providing nothing informative or useful to the viewer.

But Waltrip, in his first week on the new job, was able to talk to Earnhardt on air, and it was spectacular.

It started off as a joke. Earnhardt was in the garage area, and Waltrip in the broadcast booth. Waltrip was chiding his one-time boss and occasional rival about not driving hard during the Bud Shootout. Yet, soon they were really talking about racing, man to man, driver to driver. Occasionally, Waltrip's booth mate Larry McReynolds jumped in, however it was DW's show.

Though the segment lasted just a few moments, it was one of the finer moments in NASCAR broadcasting in a long time. For a moment, it felt as if we, the viewers, were dipping into a private conversation between legends, and it was wonderful.

Likewise, it displayed the clear benefits of having Waltrip part of the team. It's doubtful that anyone else would have been able to get Earnhardt to open up and to almost, dare I say, seem human.

Overall, after watching a few days of Fox's coverage on the Fox network and the Fox Sports Network, it's safe to say you can set aside your fears about NASCAR's new partner. Based on how they've handled the first week of activity at the Daytona International Speedway, the sport is going to be just fine.

Fact is, it's going to be better than fine.

So far, the network has produced top-notch broadcasts that executives promise will even get better.

Last Sunday's coverage of the Bud Shootout was the proverbial tip of the iceberg. And based on that show, the coverage of NASCAR is in good hands.

Mike Joy, Waltrip and McReynolds, in what was their first live race telecast, did a great job with the shootout.

Joy, as always, provided the centerline from which the entire broadcast branched off. Waltrip and McReynolds delivered spot-on analysis of what was happening on the track and behind the scenes. Together, they were able to take fans into the cars and the mindsets of those atop the pit box in a way we've not seen before.

They appeared at ease with each other, which then puts viewers at ease.

Besides Waltrip, one of the brightest additions to the Fox team is Jeanne Zelasko, who has been working the pits and the garages during Fox' run-up to Sunday's race. So far, she's been smart on her feet, asks good questions, and will no doubt be a standout as the network's NASCAR package moves forward.

This isn't a knock on the guys who did the broadcasts before. Not at all. However, these Fox folks just clicked.

To that end, despite some negative fan feedback, the creation of the "Fox Box" ticker across the screen is a welcome addition. Through practice and the race, the on-screen graphic provided useful – and readable - information that enhanced the broadcast, rather than diminished what we saw.

Give it time, I'm fairly certain viewers will get accustomed to seeing the scrolling information at the top of the screen, just as they have with stock ticker crawls on CNBC and CNN. It will take time.

Moreover, this weekend Fox may test out a device that allows the broadcasters to isolate a driver by placing an electronic halo around the car. While we haven't seen it yet, I suspect this will also be a helpful tool.

No doubt, Sunday's Daytona 500 will be the real test of the Fox squad, but so far they've done their homework.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2001, Daytona 500

Photos

  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
Click to View More

Advertisement

You may unsubscribe at any time.
Motor Racing Network
555 MRN Drive
Concord, NC 28027
www.mrn.com/Footer/Contact-Us.aspx
(704)262-6700
feedback@mrn.com
  • © 2016 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites