February 28, 2012

NASCAR’s Super Bowl is really minor league

by Dan Bilicki In: Uncategorized

Thanks to some poor weather on Sunday that carried into Monday morning down on Daytona Beach, Florida, NASCAR’s most prestigious race, the Sprint Cup Series’ Super Bowl, went green in prime time on Monday night.

But was the Daytona 500 ready for prime time? Well, you can argue both ways.

Many will argue that the best part about NASCAR is the crashes and the Daytona 500 had its fair share of them. In fact, there were 10 cautions with the first coming on only the second lap. That accident took out former Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson and severely hindered Danica Patrick’s chances at doing anything significant – she finished the race but was an astounding 62 laps off the pace.

But that early wreck wasn’t even the most newsworthy or even noteworthy in terms of star power.

While already on a caution, Juan Pablo Montoya lost control of his car and slammed into the back of a truck using a jet engine to clear the track of debris. The explosion – which sadly wasn’t caught very well on camera – and ensuing blaze resulted in a two-plus-hour delay.

With the jet’s fuel tank ruptured, roughly 200 gallons of kerosene poured onto the track, causing a glorious blaze that took the safety crew a while to put out. Thank God that nobody was injured in the wreck or fire – Montoya even hopped out of his wrecked race car and walked away.

But here’s where things went even worse. For two hours viewers were left with nothing but shots of crew trying to clean and repair the track, drivers standing by their cars talking and replays of the race. Does that not sound like great prime time TV to you? It certainly doesn’t to me – the desker assigned to that page.

I know that there’s no way to plan for this sort of thing, but why didn’t FOX have a contingency plan? Did they not have anything plan if there was a delay of any sorts? What if a small pocket of rain had come through – enough to stop the race, but not end it? These sort of things need to be worked out before a major event like this.

For something that is supposed to be NASCAR’s Super Bowl, it was decidedly minor league.

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