Ever get the feeling that you're not watching the same race as the crew broadcasting it?
Well, if you have, you're not alone. Numerous times during Sunday's Kobalt Tools 524.5, basic facts were misstated about the race and its events. No wonder Twitter is becoming the place to go to actually know what's going on during the race. (Make sure to follow Jay and me there.)
For example, Jeff Gordon didn't pit under green a second time; he had a speeding penalty. Darrell Waltrip started explaining that the yaw in the Hendrick chassis was putting stress on the right side tires, and therefore causing all of the tire problems. Certainly a plausible theory, but DW apparently didn't take into account that Mark Martin and Tony Stewart had left-side tire problems. Larry McReynolds told us that Kenseth was losing positions -- as he was sitting in fourth and holding. (And did anyone else notice that it took all the Hendrick cars but Jimmie Johnson to have a problem for Larry Mac to conclude that Hendrick may be doing something to cause them?)
And since tire problems were a constant theme of the race, why couldn't Fox have asked a spokesperson from Goodyear a few questions? Goodyear had a rep taking questions in the media center, so even the Monday morning newspapers beat Fox to the tire story!
I don't think it's that big of a deal to ask for a broadcast crew to get their sequence of events and facts straight. Heck, isn't that part of the job description? However, given some bad production, Fox was heading for a bad grade even with a good performance from the guys in the booth.
The Bad: Viewers completely missed Kasey Kahne passing Kurt Busch for the lead with approximately 70 laps to go. Passes for the lead during the midpoint of races sometimes happen under commercial, but it wasn't even replayed after they came back from caution! When Denny Hamlin blew a tire while leading with about 40 laps to go, Fox took their sweet time getting back from commercial to tell us that Hamlin had a problem. No one mentioned that Michael McDowell was the first to park and therefore subject to an engine takedown. Where did the field rundown at the end of the race go? First it was too big, and now it's gone. Is there no happy medium?
The Grade: C-. There are enough flashes of competence to think that Fox is going to have a complete broadcast, but Sunday was incredibly disjointed.