I'd been telling you--mostly in attempts to convince myself--that Fox was going to put together a good broadcast, and Monday's broadcast of the Samsung Mobile 500 was what I'd ben waiting for.
It wasn't flawless my any means--I think three passes for the lead happened during commercial, as well as the caution that set up the demolition derby--but the race broadcast was informative, straight to the point, and mostly gimmick free (though Jeff Hammond insisted on wearing a Cowboy hat for the second straight day. The Texas references are like the gambling references at Las Vegas races. They're tired, stereotypical, and everyone knows that people gamble in Las Vegas and wear boots and cowboy hats in Texas)
Fox did a good job of getting immediate reaction from Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart after the nine car crash, and the pit reporters asked the right questions, as quite franly, they were pretty compelling interviews. The production crew also did a good job of staying with the camera shot of Stewart and Gordon as they climbed out of their crushed cars and walked towards pit road.
I think the hangover from rain delays messes with the whole crew, and honestly, leads to a better broadcast. I don't know if it's because it was a weekday or what, but there doesn't seem to be the pressure to put on a show that there is on Saturdays and Sundays. Instead, we get a crew and a network that just wants to show us the race. That's a great thing.
The Good: Fox did a good job of attempting to make up from the post-race debacle at Phoenix by getting as many interviews as possible. It also didn't hurt that Hamlin's knee makes for great post-race programming.
The Bad: Other than the usual complaints, nothing really stuck out as horrible or headscratching. Sure, each of the broadcasters has his moments of confusion, but I noticed nothing egregious Monday.
Overall Grade: B+. Things are looking up for the Fox team, but my fear is that they'll take a step backwards at Talladega simply by overplaying the replays from the end of last year's race. I'm setting the over/under of Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski replays at 10.