A roof over your head

So.. I watched the Daytona 500 last night. You may have seen my Twitter feed at the time (see side panel) and my comments on Meesh’s recent post.

I think some of those experienced NASCAR fans following me on Twitter might have been getting a bit annoyed at my newbie-ness. I was going for the ‘F1/IRL fan discovers N-Word ovals’ take, because that’s what it was. I’m not going to apologise for that, I make it clear that I’m not a NASCAR fan, so if I annoyed you that’s your own fault for following me! (Yes, I am a bit of a racing snob.)

Someone even asked how long I’d been following racing so surprised were they at my reaction to the US feed I was watching. It was tongue-in-cheek (err, I think?) but perhaps not realising that British sports coverage doesn’t have sponsored discussion topics and anthropomorphic camera angles – or maybe it was to suggest I’m a noob for not being aware of the $$ in N-Word. Perhaps it was said not knowing I was British although I’m not sure why – I bang on about it far too often.

I just couldn’t believe how many ad breaks were taken, and during the coverage how many times a sponsor was mentioned. They couldn’t go more than 20 seconds without mentioning a brand name! It was ridiculous. Talk about over-commercialisation of sports.. and they say the Premier League has got it bad.

Just to rub it in to my American readers, our Formula 1 coverage switches to BBC1 this year – no commercials AT ALL! (apart from lots of BBC self-promotion)

Back to Daytona, and once I found a steady video feed quite late into the race I did actually enjoy it. I’m not stupid enough to expect real racing on a restrictor plate track, you need to look for strategy and leave the driving to another race. Some great strategic racing was developing before a yellow flag was thrown because a car was sent into the infield. I didn’t see much debris on the track on this occasion, but that yellow did breed further yellows (for bigger incidents) which spoiled the flow of the race for me, and that persisted until the red flag for rain. As many sites and blogs have noted, it was an anticlimax.

I don’t know why I persisted with the less-good feed for so long. I think it contributed to my lack of enjoyment for the first half of the event, however others have noted on other blogs (and on Twitter) that NASCAR races aren’t actually that interesting or enjoyable until 50 to go anyway, so maybe it wasn’t the video feed…

In summary, it was more enjoyable as a whole than I was expecting and you can’t blame them for stopping for rain. If anything the stupid start time did them in. 3.30pm? Madness. Races should always start on the hour unless they are on the undercard. I’ll be trying NASCAR ovals at random intervals again this year, follow my Twitter if you can bear it.

Full disclosure: On Twitter I said I’d not seen a full NASCAR race before. That was a little white lie. I’ve watched Watkins Glen, and I watched a chunk of Nationwide at Montreal last year. I had never seen a full NASCAR oval event before. I used to watch the odd highlights package – they cut so much out you couldn’t figure out what was happening so I gave up on that idea fairly quickly.

Before the oval action I took in BTCC at Brands Hatch (Indy) and DTM at Barcelona, both recordings of events held in September, and still found time to go to the laundrette.
The DTM was boring once it had settled down, the field got far too spread out although I liked the battle between Paul Di Resta and Timo Scheider early on.
The BTCC at the short layout of Brands is always fast and frenetic and this was no exception! It won the day for me in terms of tin top entertainment. Giovanardi is a worthy champion and it is a shame to see his adversaries SEAT leave.

Tonight I’m watching WTCC at Imola, the first time I’ve seen the place since the redevelopment. They’ve done a great job with the revisions but F1 was right not to go back, even though the revisions were only done to please Bernie. It’s a good bike and touring car track but is in no way suited to big open wheel cars. WTCC isn’t as entertaining as BTCC but watching Thommo working hard for some good results was fun.

After this sudden binge of racing I’ll probably take a break from watching any for a few days – I still have plenty on my hard drive – BTC and WTC have short races which is why I’ve got through so many this weekend. Knowing me I’ll probably be on the podcasts tomorrow instead!

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7 thoughts on “A roof over your head”

  1. Pat,Hope that my comments during the telecast pointing out the imbedded ads didn’t make it seem like I was making fun of you and/or your newbieness. I find it equally ridiculous that there are “Coca-Cola Race Breaks” where we find out how the “Coca-Cola Racing Family” (i.e. 6 drivers who are unrelated, except that they all have personal sponsorship by Coke)is doing. Are some people actually interested in that stuff? I don’t know, but it makes me feel 40 IQ points dumber, like the movie Idiocracy is already coming true.Anyway, I very much enjoyed your take, as somebody who hasn’t watched NASCAR backslide from the days when the different makes of cars looked different, you could see 15+ consecutive laps of green flag racing between commercial breaks, and there weren’t sponsors and dumb computer graphics for every last stupid detail. I do hope that you give it another try, maybe in 3 weeks when they go to Atlanta, or two weeks after that when they’re at Bristol. Those should be on at decent hours for you, and vastly better racing. On the other hand, if I had a cache of DTM and BTCC stuff to watch, I’d probably do that instead, too. πŸ™‚

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  2. Andy, no not at all. I was referring to the comment from FastMachines (I can’t remember which of the guys was talking at the time) – and for the avoidance of doubt I didn’t mind that one either, it was funny!To change the roles I’d probably say similar things about a lifelong NASCAR fan discovering F1 for the first time. And I’d enjoy doing so.I checked Fontana’s start time, it looks like 10pm here so that’s not bad, though I may miss the end. I’ll be sure to check out Atlanta. Bristol was one I’d seen in highlights form, it was crazy!Let me know on email if you want a similar cache of racing, I can hook you up with a source. I’m actually planning to cut back for my own sanity, we’ll see how that goes..

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  3. Pat, SpeedGeek is right in advising you to watch Atlanta. I live not far from Fontana, but the race there is generally not as much of a good show as Atlanta (or Bristol). Fontana is a 2-mile track, Atlanta is 1.5 miles. The 1.5 mile tracks generally are conducive to a much more entertaining race. They slide the cars a lot more at those tracks, and you can actually see a driver’s skill in play.

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  4. Mike, noted, and I’ve heard Atlanta is a quicker 1.5 is that right?I’ve checked the listings, Fontana’s live coverage starts 11pm UK on Sky, so race start is probably 30 or 60 mins later – I’ll sit this one out!If it were an IRL race I’d be tempted to watch it. West coast races are a pain!

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