Monday, July 06, 2009


From the Watkins Glen IndyCar lap chart and memory:

Lap 41: Justin Wilson and Mike Conway stop, pitting from first and second, respectively. New leaders are Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon, all covered by roughly a second.

Lap 42: Helio stops. ABC cameras show the stop, then show Helio cruising down pitlane. The Turn 1 camera picks him up, pans back to allow Wilson into the frame, both cars are approaching Turn 1, but it’s not clear who’s going to win the race to Turn 2, or how far back Conway might be. Our screen cuts abruptly to Briscoe and Dixon back at about the outer loop, separated by roughly 4 car lengths.

Lap 43: Having followed Briscoe and Dixon around to the pits, and Marty Reid/Scott Goodyear having not even speculated on who might have won the race between Wilson and Helio to Turn 2/3 or the bus stop, Briscoe makes his stop. ABC cameras show the stop, then show Briscoe cruising down pitlane. The Turn 1 camera picks him up, pans back as if to show Wilson and/or Helio running parallel to Briscoe on the track. We never get there, because the screen cuts abruptly to Dixon negotiating the outer loop BY HIMSELF. The cameras follow Dixon all the way around to the pits, while Reid/Goodyear continue to crow about how this stop is the deciding factor of the race. Well, guys, there have already been four stops made that were just as decisive, and we got to see exactly zero pit exits. Oh, also we haven’t actually seen Justin Wilson on the screen for roughly three minutes now.

Lap 44: Dixon pits and exits, and we finally get to see where all of the cars are relative to each other, while Reid/Goodyear utter the name “Wilson” for the first time since probably Lap 42. We’ll have to wait another 5-6 laps to hear the name “Conway” again. Thanks, ABC. The most riveting four lap sequence of the entire season to date, and you got roughly 10% of it right (showing the pit stops themselves).

That, friends, is a master class on how to ignore everything that everybody has learned about how to cover road racing in the last 20+ years, and how to unnecessarily infuriate every single knowledgeable fan who has managed to find the race on your network. As mush as I and my blogger brethren have railed on the IRL about the need to fix the current generation of racecar (which they are already taking some baby steps toward doing), they absolutely MUST sit down with their long time broadcast partner and lay out what is expected of them. No more brain dead directing, and far less comatose commentary, at a minimum. If they can't deliver these things, it's time to start looking for escape clauses in their network TV contract.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Two Quick Post-Glen Thoughts

1) If a race has come down to the last round of pitstops (as it appeared to have done today), and how the cars come out of the pits relative to one another, it might be a good idea to see where the cars, you know, actually come out of the pits. Watching the cars exit their pitboxes, get almost down to the pit exit and (with the other direct competitors also on screen, just the other side of the pitwall), then cutting abruptly away to cars that are on the complete opposite side of the track and who are either not vying for position or running along by themselves...maybe not such a good idea. Doing this on consecutive laps, leaving us to wonder for a solid 3-4 minutes who is ahead of who among the cars who have pitted? That is very, very not cool...ABC Sports.

2) Yeah! Big, huge ups to Justin Wilson and the entire Dale Coyne Racing team! As a guy who thought very strongly about buying into Justin's career when he was in F1 (and which I would have done, had I not been flat broke at the time), this was probably the best thing I could imagine happening in today's IndyCar scene. As you can imagine, I'm biased there, but I defy you to find me anybody who's ever said anything bad about the guy, or anybody who was pulling against Coyne, 558 races deep into his IndyCar career without a single win. Just awesome, and I hope that all of the warm fuzzies generated this weekend can last us for several weeks. Hey, we'll probably all be bickering about the downforce levels of the cars again come Kentucky, but a guy can dream, can't he?