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From the Marbles

Happy Hour: Your reactions to Fox Sports 1 and more

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Throughout the week you can send us your best questions, jokes, rants and just plain miscellaneous thoughts to happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com or @NickBromberg. We'll post them here, have a good time and everyone's happy. Right? Oh who are we kidding, this is NASCAR. No one is ever happy.

Last week I posed the question about why people were so unhappy with the transition from Speed to Fox Sports 1. And y'all responded. Thanks for that. This week's mailbag will primarily focus on that, as there was some good reaction. Let's get started.

If you can not agree that FS1 is a major face change from SPEED you must not be watching on Fridays, SPEED was all about racing, granted the stupid reality stuff with Rutt and Kyle and Kenny was utter nonsense, but it focused primarily on racing and cars. FS1 is about competing with ESPN, I do not care about soccer or the British commentators. It is just weird to hear the accent describing NASCAR, and it is just wrong. The race day coverage is still using that cheating Waltrip, who needs to listen to that fool. The commercials are relentless, the same stupid tired rerun that never changes. The racing commercials like Home Depot, or Subway are few an far between because the major sponsors are bailing out at an alarming rate, it's all about the chase, and the sponsors know if they are not in, NO COVERAGE, the package will change for only the first 26 shows, then nothing. If the 24 wins the CUP after being given a spot, you will see the biggest revolt that ever happened in NASCAR, THE FANS ARE TIRED OF THE MANIPULATION OF THE RACES. When folks go to the short track instead of the CUP race, it's says it all. Again, if you do not see and feel a difference, you are in the wrong business!
- Jim

First off, I never said that it wasn't a big change, and stop with the British nonsense. You mentioned a key point when you said "utter nonsense." The key parts of NASCAR programming has been kept on television (again, with the exception of Wind Tunnel and SpeedCenter). Many of the other non-live event programming that was on Speed was superfluous.

Racing commercials being on a racing network but not an all-sports network shouldn't be that hard to figure out. And Jim, you don't have to worry about Jeff Gordon any longer.

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I can put up with Fox 1 but what really frosts me is that Fox 2 has usurped so much of the action programming. Dish Network has split the two Foxes and will only provide me with Fox 2 if I buy an expensive addition to my existing coverage package. Don't tell me that NNS qualifying was never televised - that's bunk - and of the two practice sessions on Saturday, at least one was televised by Speed. Since Dish brags about their viewership, how many fans are being shut out or shaken down? If nothing else this, coupled with the boring racing, is having the effect of weaning me from NASCAR.
- Carol

Carol, sorry, but you're caught in the middle of a nice carrier and company dispute. If you're in Fox's shoes, wouldn't you be putting programming that people want to watch on your No. 2 channel in the hopes that someone would move it to a stronger tier? You would.

If you're the cable company, would you not want to be strong-armed into paying a higher rate for the unproven No. 2 channel all while hoping that you could recoup more money from the people that need to upgrade to a higher tier to watch it?

I'm not picking sides, I just hope people realize all of this. And also that in 2013, sports programming and cable television isn't free, though I do think it's absurd that a channel like NBC Sports Network wasn't on my family's Dish satellite tier package when I went to watch the F1 race Sunday morning while in Texas.

Most of my television programming is sports related, and I realize that on my bill accordingly. It's about the tradeoff. More to come after this next one...

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Here is why many people don't like the change from Speed to FoxSports 1. We already have ESPN, and ESPN2, and 10 other sports channels, which mostly focus on football, basketball, and baseball. Speed was about cars, racing, motorcross, monstertrucks, boats, ATV's and such. That was the appeal to that channel. If you wanted other sports, tune in somewhere else. Now FS1 takes over, and it's a channel that at best runs 20% motorsports programs. The rest is just a copy of ESPN, with some MMA mixed in.

I still watch it, but I don't sing praises about the change. The other fun feature is if you want to get a little more race coverage, switch over to FS2, except you have to upgrade your dish/cable package to get it for another $20 per month. No thanks. I miss Speed.
- Carl

Speed was once in a very small position and had to grow their audience and distribution incrementally. This is not something that's a new phenomenon for FS2. And if memory serves me correctly, for Directv subscribers, Speed was on the current package that Fox Sports 2 is now. It's a process, and while a la carte pricing may be closer than ever, it's still a long way away.

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Why? indeed!
How about, SpeedTV was about motor sports.
Now, we have a channel that is about all kinds of sports.
They feel compelled to compete with ESPN, ESPN2, ComcastSports, NHL Network, NFL Network, NBCSports, local sports channels, etc.
So Fox 1 covers Baseball, Football, etc.

I turn on SpeedTV and can see any number of different motor sports.
Now, I get three hours of post RedSox World Series victory coverage. (And I'm a SoxNation sports fan!)
I want motor sports coverage. Everything else is just a game...I have dozens of channels here in Boston to get coverage of silly games...

Where's my SpeedTV?
- Greg

Yes the racing coverage is still there but most of the other programs are gone. Two Guys Garage, My Classic Car, and pretty much anything but the race coverage. But the worst is all the promos about other sports shows and commercials unrelated to cars and racing, etc.

SPEED channel was about cars and racing – it was aimed at us gearheads and we miss it. I don’t want to hear about football and the other stick and ball sports. FS1 is trying to be ESPN – God help us and save us from that crap.
- Larry

I know this isn't a popular around these parts, but does anyone who is mad about the change want to give credence to the idea that there wasn't an audience for a motorsports-only channel any longer? Or should I say the widespread audience for a motorsports channel? We saw the direction that Speed was going with more and more NASCAR-centric racing programming and ridiculous shows like Pinks and the like. Other racing series were hardly mentioned, and if the two news shows that we mentioned above were drawing audiences that were sustainable in the eyes of executives, they wouldn't have disappeared.

Change is hard. I realize that. But there's nothing that can be done, and there will not be a motorsports channel anytime soon. Your best bet for that is NBC Sports Network in 2015. A bunch of racing and soccer? That's a perfect channel in my eyes, and no, I'm not just saying that because of our alliance.

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I was reading the debate about caution laps not being counted so I'll put my 2 cents worth in. Don't count caution laps in the last 10 laps.
- Mary

I'd be good with this, and I'd also be good with the idea that the race isn't over if a caution comes out on the last lap. It would also help eliminate those stinking fuel mileage races that so many people seem to dislike.

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Harvick- Pot calling the kettle black. Since the arrival of Jeff Gordon, all the drivers have been spoiled little rich kids. Harvick is a very good driver, but he would never have had the opportunity to develop his skills if he had not been a rich kid.
- John

Harvick's father was a firefighter and local racer. That's a far cry from the empire that is RCR.

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NASCAR is not stock car racing and it shouldn’t be. You had a letter that a gentleman wanted stock car racing, try going to your local track. About 8 years ago when I lived in Ocala, Florida, I went to the weekend races at the local track. They had five races: 4 cylinders – usually won by Mustangs and a couple Toyota pickups, 6 cylinders – a Buick Skylark and a Nissan Maxima seem unbeatable, 8 cylinder – various winners, Modified – most could not tell what the original car was, and finally sprint car – offset tires, roll cage with sheet metal and bore out motor. It was a blast every time, but of little or no interest to anyone outside the local community. Drivers attracted family and friends. Beer, burgers, and bonfires followed the race on those hot Florida summer nights.
NASCAR tried going back to its root with the IROC series. Matched cars that were shuffled between drivers so no one had an advantage and it died on the vine in the 90s. NASCAR is about top teams using top equipment for top results, period. That is what true NASCAR fans live for. I feel that NASCAR has already address most of the issue with the Truck Series, Nationwide and the Sprint Cup. If you want more look into ISMA and Road Rally.
- Kenn

Kenn nails it. If there was enough of an audience for true "stock" racing, it'd be around. Heck, try watching the V8 Supercars.

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hello i am writing to find out where i can buy the jimmie johnson car ??
- Charlene

You have come to the wrong place, Charlene. Try Hendrick Motorsports. Though I'm not sure they're looking to sell any of Jimmie's cars or if you could afford one.

Thanks everyone! We'll see you next week.

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