Should a TV Analyst Get into a Dispute Between Drivers and NASCAR?

The Talladega Superspeedway is traditionally one of the easiest races to cover.


Most domains stay together in a large package, so it’s not difficult to keep tabs on nearly everyone. Like most aspects of the NASCAR Cup Series, that has changed a bit with the Next Generation car in that the drag isn’t particularly large behind the car. As a result, it is easier to lose the draft.

Last week the change wasn’t all that great for NASCAR. The safety of the sanctioning body on the next generation car has been called into question. They seem to respond, but with an old school response that seems to be deaf.


the athlete It reported last week that during the Drivers Council meeting, Jeff Burton, who chairs the council, told the drivers gathered on the Zoom call to go through the “appropriate channels” to express their opinions on the next-generation car rather than speaking to the media about it.

It went like a fart in a crowded elevator.

Denny Hamlin He was probably the most outspoken about the issue in Talladega and only blamed management for the problems. During his media appearance on Saturday (October 1), Hamlin said:


When it started broadcasting on Sunday, Hamlin was working on NBC Green countdown In the pit way to discuss issues. You end up with a completely different Hamlin who was saying things like, “We need NASCAR to save us from ourselves.”

I was at the media center in Talladega when this broadcast. It came very strange. It was very clear to me what had happened.


NASCAR apparently reached out to Hamlin and told him to change his tone (Hamlin noted during the interview that he had spoken with NASCAR representatives prior to the NBC interview). They may also have hit him with a secret fine for contempt of management. I don’t know if this is true or not, but it wouldn’t be the first time NASCAR has done this. Regardless, it’s not a good look for the sport.

Also, Burton is supposed to be an employee of NBC Sports, not NASCAR. Yes, his track record is “The Mayor” since he was still racing, but “Proper Channels” were a lot easier for him to get close to.

For the first seven years of Burton’s Burton Cup career, Bill France Jr. was still in the garage every week and actually talking to people. A cancer diagnosis got France out of the way after 2000. He handed the reins to Mike Hilton, who also watched the ring regularly. You can talk to these guys.


Recently, it has become more difficult. Brian France was a largely absent leader, focused on other things, often at the expense of the sport. More recently than that, Jim France hasn’t really talked to anyone publicly about NASCAR, but he’s been talking about the rules from the background. It is more in line with IMSA. As a result, the highest people in the food chain that drivers can talk to are people like Steve Phelps and Steve O’Donnell, and they may not have the ability to do anything directly.

While you will likely have a connection between drivers and management in some contexts, I’m not sure if Burton is the right guy here. In this case, he comes across as a shell of management, even if his heart is in the right place. Perhaps he wasn’t aware of how much drivers actually complained about next-generation issues to NASCAR and got banned. The Drivers Council may need to consider appointing someone to proceed as an official contact rather than an informal contact.

With Dale Earnhardt Jr. In the fold, NBC Sports probably has the best ultra-fast racer of the past 25 years in its pocket. In the Sunday times, it looked like the roles were upside down at the booth. Earnhardt was effectively playing while Rick Allen was primarily an analyst. While Earnhardt has knowledge of the podiums from 18 years in the Cup, Allen has never driven a race car in a fury before – that’s what I know. In essence, Ernhardt could render facilitating play-by-play during the Allen Trophy race useless. This is not necessarily a good thing.


For a decent amount of racing, the action on the track has been described as being similar to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events out there. I can buy it. Often these races have two tracks of action, and it is difficult to do anything with the cars in the inner lane.

Unlike truck racing, the YellaWood 500 was much more competitive. The fear of getting into the race was that there would be some kind of outright protest from drivers over safety issues, not unlike the 2009 AMP Energy 500, when NASCAR announced on race morning that drafting in cornering was banned.

It is difficult to say whether this is the case or not. There were still 57 race changes, 16 more than in the spring. If they are careful and still make that many changes, it means a lot. Having said that, there were some teams that fell behind during the race. Some have learned, as noted above, that you can’t hold back that far.


The kiosk acknowledged this strategy. Burton argued that you didn’t really learn that much by doing so. This may keep you out of trouble, but you may not know what to do when you get to the end.

Post-race coverage was rather great because the race was shorter than expected. NBC had a four-hour time slot to race, and the race time was just under three hours and 16 minutes. Being there, I didn’t feel like 3:16. Felt like more than 2:50.

NBC gave viewers a series of post-race interviews and check out all the highlights. However, all those interviews were with the playoff contestants. Michael McDowell He didn’t get any time to watch TV despite finishing third. Don’t worry on our part. I got a video of McDowell after the race and submitted it expansionYouTube channel.


I’ve also written a sidebar about McDowell and Todd Gilliland site as well. Unfortunately, Gilliland and team owner Bob Jenkins were both out of Talladega before we could talk to them.

Yes, we are in the midst of the playoffs now. This does not mean that you ignore drivers who do not play a playoff after these races. Heck, given the performances we’ve seen from the non-breaking teams so far, you’d think they would have reconsidered that protocol by now. In this case, NBC should treat these races the same way it treats the regular season races.


There are stories emerging from these events that may not include the playoff contestants. This does not mean that you ignore them. They are still worth their time.

Overall, Sunday’s race was pretty average for the Talladega race broadcast. There was a fair amount of time I spent thinking about the possibility of a big wreck before the race, and then there wasn’t any after lap 45. I thought the montage was a bit gratuitous.

With the kind of race we had on Sunday, the stall seemed a little frustrating at times. Talladega is hard to pass today, and it looks like a number of drivers have waited too long to do anything. A lot of the comments late in the race focus on that (“If you’re out of the top ten, you have to go now!”). Despite that frustration, we ended up with a good finish and racing Talladega somewhat cheaper than usual…unless you’re Wood Brothers Racing. Then it was quite expensive.


That’s it for this week. Next weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series will race the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In addition, Formula One returns to the Suzuka circuit in Japan, and the ARCA Menards Series will conclude its season at Toledo Speedway. You may remember what happened the last time ARCA did this. TV listings are in the television drop down menu above, or over here.

We’ll be giving cash back to both ROVAL races at next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday. It will cover Critic’s Chevy Silverado 250 accessory for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.


If you’re upset with me, or just want to say something about my criticism, feel free to post in the comments below. Although I can’t always reply, I read your comments. Also, if you want to “like” me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, please click the appropriate icons. If you would like to contact any of NASCAR’s media partners, click on any of the links below.

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Phil Alaway has three primary roles in Frontstretch. It is the manager of the site’s free email newsletter which is published Monday through Friday and sometimes on weekends. He keeps television broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the editor for the on-site sports car race.

Outside Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Motorcycles in West Lebanon, New York. It covers all the action on the high-bank dirt track from regular modified DIRTcar races to occasional hits from a Tour series like the Super DIRTcar series.


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