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From the Marbles

Happy Hour: What you see is sometimes not the caution on TV

Nick Bromberg
From The Marbles

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Unfortunately Fox was in commercial when this happened. (Getty)

New season, new Happy Hour! You know the drill. 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.

Let's get to it.
I am losing my noodle dealing with FOX! They have a commercial every 9-10 laps @ Bristol...that's 3 minutes under green and 6 minutes of commercials! Every time we go to commercial something happens! FOX HAS TO GO! I mean they could go side by side...but they don't even do that! Between the supreme downforce Gen6 car and the commercial deal along with NAZICAR telling the drivers they cant speak without"Pappas Please"... Because of the all the downforce a week car with NO TIRES can hold off a strong car with 4???? IS THAT RIGHT? No longer does the fastest car win!?! I AM DONE WITH THIS bull excrement!
- Kaiya

Kaiya bringing the heat right off the bat.

Fox had a terrible race last Sunday from a caution standpoint. They could not time the cautions right at all. I really, really don't think that they want to be in commercial every time a caution happens. They did come out of commercial, I believe, for the Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth incident -- I distinctly remember coming out of commercial straight into a shot of Gordon's damaged racecar.

From CawsNJaws, the race broadcast time was the same as it was last year at 138, while commercial time increased *WELCOME BACK TO THE AT&T HAPPY HOUR PIT REPORT* from 50 minutes in 2012 to 53 minutes on Sunday. So that's just three minutes.

I love that Fox is trying side-by-side in the first commercial break of the race every time, but it seems completely unnecessary if it's also during a caution flag. I wish we could restructure that contract to have side-by-side be the first green flag commercial break of the race. It'd be a nice start.
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Four races into the 2013 season, I am seeing a trend. Passing has been no easy task at Daytona, Phoenix, Las Vegas, or Bristol. Nascar way over-hyped this new car. (Am I going to be fined for this comment?) That being said, I am not disappointed with any of the racing I've seen, with the exception of the parade at Daytona, or with the Gen-6.

Bristol was my favorite race so far. I was fascinated watching the leaders struggle to drive around the slower cars of David Stremme, Danica Patrick, David Ragan, etc. But for some reason, I can't find anyone who agrees with me.

ps. How about the performances of Kurt Busch, Brian Vickers, and Jamie Mcmurray? Each of these guys was a lap or more down at one point, but bounced back for a top-ten finish. And How about AJ's 13th place finish in the #51?

- John

I thought Bristol was the most compelling race of the Sprint Cup Series season so far, just edging out Daytona. And I'm also not sure how much the new car had to do with it. If you recall, the summer race at Bristol was pretty damn fun last year. Though I've thought that about all of the Bristol races since the repave. The grinding of the top groove has made the bottom a little more effective so far, however, and I'd be totally cool with races like we saw Sunday every time we go to Bristol.

*WELCOME TO THE AT&T HAPPY HOUR MID RACE BREAK*

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I did some research after watching the great race that was put on at Bristol Sunday.

In 1983 10 out of the 31 races were run on tracks that were under 1 mile. That number shrank to 8 out of 29 by 1993. That number shrank even further to 6 of 36 by 2003 and we still sit at that number in 2013. In the last 30 years the percentage of short tracks on the NASCAR schedule have been cut in half.

My first thought was that seating capacity would have to be an issue as these tracks are smaller. Then I looked up tracks by overall capacity. With 160,000 seats Bristol sits 4th on the list with just 7,000 less seats than Daytona. Richmond at 112,000 seats sits 11th. That's more seats than Kentucky, Kansas, Chicago, and Homestead tracks that have been built and added to the schedule since 1993.

The racing is better and they can get just as many people in the stands as the "big" tracks. I just can't understand how ISC/SMI in their expansion of the sport in the 90's and 2000's didn't build 1 short track to replace the dozens they shut down in that same time period.

Darrell "Furiousd" Watts
Stocking up on "No Doz" for Sunday's race at Auto Club

It's hard to argue against more short track racing, especially in this current car and tire combination. The new car is designed with intermediate tracks in mind, but no matter what the racing at intermediate tracks looks like, NASCAR should always have a nice balance of short tracks on the schedule.

What about a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 approach? With the four plate races and two road course races, that gives you six races for the Dovers and New Hampshires of the world. Then you get 12 intermediate track races and 12 races at tracks under a mile. Sound good?
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NASCAR regained control of its digital rights from Turner Sports beginning this season. However, it should be embarrassed about the problems on its digital platforms. Among the problems are technical issues with the comment sections on its Website for several weeks and many RaceView users not able to access the application. Fans are frustrated and NASCAR officials have yet to publically address the problems. Maybe NASCAR should be less time fining drivers for benign comments about the Gen6 cars and more time making sure its digital platforms are functioning. Thoughts?

-- Brian Sargent, Oklahoma City

First off, I love the relationship that we at Yahoo! Sports have had with Turner and now NASCAR in my tenure. The ability to have licensed video of most everything during a race broadcast is an awesome thing and I feel enhances the reader experience.

However, I do feel the fans' pain with the transition to the NASCAR-controlled NASCAR.com. Heck, I've experienced it along with you when trying to find information myself or follow along with the race via the scanner or other features.

I think there is great potential with NASCAR's digital offerings, and with a new website, there's always going to be some growing pains. However, it's unfortunate that the many new features of the site have basically been inoperable at times and I hope that those of you who paid for the features are compensated fairly one way or another.

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