From the Marbles - NASCAR

Trying to follow NASCAR on television is roughly akin to trying to clean up Jell-O off the floor of a pitch-black room -- sometimes you get what you're looking for, but more often than not you're scrabbling around lost. Right now, you can see NASCAR-related programming on (deep breath): Fox, TNT, ABC, ESPN, Speed and HBO (the upcoming Jimmie Johnson 24/7 show), plus assorted little guest appearances and whatnot. Why, it's enough to make a NASCAR fan's head spin, I tell you!

And now, add to that list Showtime. Yep, that's right, the onetime movie channel that's the TV home of the world's most lovable serial killer (above -- no, not Clint Bowyer), will soon be airing Inside NASCAR, billed by a press release as "premium television's first weekly highlights and analysis show dedicated to auto racing." It'll be produced by the NASCAR Media Group.

Now, I'm all in favor of more NASCAR on TV, though I've got to wonder a bit about the idea of putting a high-end show on a network that has about one-fifth the reach of ESPN. As The Daly Planet notes, Showtime has a subscriber base of about 13 million homes, while Speed is in 75 million and ESPN2 is in 98 million. 

I get a fair amount of comments from fans who complain about having to pay for ESPN to watch races. And while I think that a basic-cable package is really kind of necessary equipment at this point in life, I do see their point -- there is a point at which you don't want to keep paying for additional TV packages, which is exactly what many fans would have to do in order to get "Inside NASCAR."

So, yeah -- kind of a strange deal. And if Inside NASCAR would like to have me on the show -- the series starts Feb. 10 -- I'd be happy to discuss it in greater detail.

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