Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Sixth NASCAR Day of Christmas: Six Restart Misses

Drivers get fined for reckless behavior. Crew chiefs get fined for failing inspection. So why not fine TV networks for gaffes that seriously affect the fans' enjoyment of each race?

Maybe if such a policy had been enacted in 2009, the networks would not have missed half a dozen restarts like they did this season - a cardinal sin in the world of motorsports broadcasting.

Miss a flub up on pit road? Not a biggie. Miss a lead change? Not cool. But miss a restart? Pay up, chump.

Unfortunately for the residents of "The Hollywood Hotel", if the biggest offenders were the most heavily fined, then the FOX network would be paying dearly. They were responsible for four of the six missed Cup series restarts this season.

The boys at FOX missed one restart each during the network's broadcasts of the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta, the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville, the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix, and the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond. ESPN/ABC missed two total - at Watkins Glen and the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte, respectively. Only TNT managed to catch every restart - but then again, they only broadcast six races all season.

Now that restarts on the Cup side are all "double file, shootout style," they can get real hairy. And there's simply no reason why fans at home should miss such a vital, and potentially exciting, portion of the race. Period.

Maybe the fines gained from such a policy could go toward the The NASCAR Foundation or Victory Junction - or even a broadcast journalism scholarship fund. I'm just sayin'.

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