LONDON: The Racing Journal
For several years, SPEED has been the race fans’ network where their sport was thoroughly covered. It has changed many times and the latest is that the network, which is owned by FOX, will cut back on racing coverage to become an all-sports entity.
This is following NBC, which now owns the former Versus channel and CBS, which has its own sports network available on cable. ABC, of course has been the leader, forming ESPN in 1979.
As I chat in Facebook and exchange emails with many race fans, there are a lot of unhappy viewers of SPEED.
SPEED devotes a majority of its time to NASCAR with redundant shows on almost every night with the same stories, which are mostly puff pieces. It is almost like NASCAR dictates what is presented. None of the reporters ask hard questions or editorialize on stories that aren’t complimentary to NASCAR.
Almost every minute of practice time for all three main NASCAR divisions is televised. Often they are rerun at night. Many would like to see regional racing run instead. That seldom happens because you won’t see Jimmie Johnson or Dale Jr. in action.
SPEED’s roster of “talent” is rather dubious. One of the very few commentators who has the respect of the racing fraternity is Dave Despain. Despain is knowledgeable in all phases of racing and never will shy from telling it like he thinks it is. Robin Miller, who covers mostly Indy car racing, likewise gives information that is interesting and seldom heard or read anywhere else.
Many are upset that Despain’s “WindTunnel” show has been cut from one hour to 30 minutes. This has ruined the show. Despain has little time for interviews and fan input from phone calls and emails has disappeared. Yet, SPEED devotes airtime to buffoons like Jimmy Spencer and Rutledge Wood.
Cutting back racing coverage might be an improvement. Maybe they’ll just have time to feature stories that are interesting and topical.