Worth The Watch

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SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT: JOIN ME AND RANDY LAJOIE ON "PRESS PASS" THIS SUNDAY, JANUARY 11 FROM NOON-3 P.M. ET ON SIRIUS NASCAR RADIO CHANNEL 128.

I had to double check the channel I was watching three or four times but I finally found some NASCAR-related television programming worthy of my time this off-season.

And believe it or not, it aired on SPEED.

The new "NASCAR 39/10" series is award-winning stuff that should not be missed.

The down side is unless you're independently wealthy, home sick with the flu or can set your TiVo/DVR, you'll probably miss it.

The new series, which chronicles the 2008 season in breathtaking fashion, airs smack dab in the middle of the day smack dab in the middle of the week.

The two episodes that aired this past week were run at noon eastern time Wednesday and Thursday.

Only in SPEED's non-sensical programming world do NASCAR-related programs this good get buried in an air time usually served by infomercials and "Judge Judy."

But despite the network's continued craziness to provide viewers with a deluge of "Wrecked" and "Pinks" on its prime time schedule, "NASCAR 39/10" is worth the effort to find and watch.

Produced by NASCAR Media Group, the series brings an NFL Films-like approach to last season's review.

Viewers are brought inside team meetings, given behind-the-scenes looks at race preparation and execution and really presented an all access pass to a typical NASCAR race.

The first episode concentrated on last February's "Speedweeks" at Daytona and as someone who was in Florida covering the activities for nearly a week, I felt as if I was reliving the experience again - through my television.

The series will run through this year's "Speedweeks" and wrap up the entire Sprint Cup season of 2008. We can only hope it's something that is the harbinger of things to come.

While previous shows like "NASCAR 24/7," "NASCAR Confidential" and "Seven Days" were similar well produced efforts that I personally found fascinating, none are still on the air.

Whether it was a matter of low ratings, high production coats or a little of both, the airwaves are lesser with those shows missing.

"NASCAR 39/10" should be the template for future endeavors by NASCAR Media Group and NASCAR's television "partner" SPEED should provide a better opportunity for fans to watch this kind of programming than the insulting mid-day slot the network dumped this effort.

In the meantime, get out the manual and figure out how to program that new TiVo or DVR you got for Christmas. If you're a NASCAR fan starving for some of your favorite sport to watch on television this winter, you won't be sorry.


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