TV Rear View Mirror: SPEED

The 2009 calendar year was a solid one for SPEED which enjoyed record ratings and the addition of more households capable of receiving the network.

SPEED once again carried the entire NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with the returning crew of Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip in the booth joined by Krista Voda, Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander turning in steady work on the telecasts.

The truck team had their work cut out for them with the new series pit rules that were introduced earlier in the year, limiting fuel and tires to separate stops. That made for some confusion on pit road but by and large the reporting was again top notch.

Weekend programming around NASCAR weekends saw SPEED carry the bulk of practice and qualifying sessions for all three of NASCAR's top divisions. Again the crew, bolstered by the garage reporting of Wendy Venturini and Bob Dillner, was among the best in the business.

SPEED's Sprint Cup pre-race show "RaceDay" found itself in the spotlight for a late season controversy involving Jimmy Spencer, one of the show's hosts with Kenny Wallace and John Roberts. Spencer's critical comments about NASCAR racing, which ran in a Hampton Roads newspaper blog along with commentary from Kyle Busch and Larry McReynolds, set off some fireworks between fans, other media members and even NASCAR.

Along with non-NASCAR shows in the weekday prime time schedule programming like "Wrecked" or "Pinks", SPEED did add "NASCAR Race Hub" at the tail end of the calendar year.

The laid back magazine program fit in nicely in its Monday through Thursday slot and like the weekend "Speed Report" and "Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain" has a chance to become a signature offering.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events scored their highest season average Nielsen Household Rating in series history in 2009 along with several other programs from the NASCAR on SPEED lineup. According to Nielsen Media Research, NCWTS Setup, the Truck Series pre-race show with Voda was up 12%, NASCAR Performance with crew chiefs Larry McReynolds, Chad Knaus and Bootie Barker also was up 12%, and NASCAR Smarts delivered a 12% ratings increase over the show it replaced in the SPEED lineup, Tradin’ Paint.

NASCAR RaceDay was up 2% year-to-year and even the Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet, a late addition to the SPEED schedule, enjoyed a large ratings increase.

"This Week in NASCAR," a weekly show that has aired in one form or another for nearly twenty years, may not be back in 2010 but otherwise it appears the SPEED line-up will be pretty much intact from the record years all enjoyed this season.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2009

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