As the first caution flag flew during the Heath Calhoun 400 Saturday night, Fox waited a bit and then went to commercial. No problem, right? It's better than missing green flag racing.
Ah, but as soon as Fox went to caution, the lead-lap cars ducked onto pit road and by the time Fox came back to the race broadcast, the cars were already lined up back on the track.
Caution-flag pit stops are predictable because unless the entrance to pit road is blocked or something similar, pit road opens on the first-full caution lap. This isn't a new happening, and sure enough, that was the case during the first caution flag. Fox knew that the cars were going to be coming to pit road and elected to go to commercial immediately.
Thankfully, that was the only time during Saturday night's race that Fox missed pit stops, but it certainly wasn't the first time all year, as it seems that Fox heads to commercial at least once per race during pit stops under yellow.
The Good: I thought it was a pretty good broadcast, all things considered. I missed all of the pre-race, so I don't know how strong the "Saturday night short track!" hype was, but it was toned down during the race compared to previous years. It wasn't the most entertaining race in the world -- certainly subpar by Richmond standards -- but there wasn't much contrived drama to blatantly try to prevent fans from changing the channel.
The Bad: I had to rewind to make sure and, yes, Mike Joy did make an "it's a hot night in the capital of the Confederacy" reference. Um... ok. Mike must not have seen our post from earlier in the week.
Overall Grade: B-. This would have been a very good broadcast had they not missed that pit stop. Outside of that, the race certainly didn't help the broadcast anyway, but the crew didn't press. And that's a great thing when a race isn't going the way that the pre-race storylines suggest.