Tuesday, January 24, 2006

How To Watch a NASCAR Race (When you Can't Be There)

When I was a youngster, back in the 1960's, I loved to follow racing. Problem was, the only race televised at the time was the Indianapolis 500. Once in a while, there would be highlights of races on Wide World of Sports, or similar programs, and there would be the NASCAR newreels at the cinema on Saturday afternoons, as well as updates on other racing series, but that would only whet the appetite for more, and it really didn't keep the race fan up to date. Once in a while, on my Tandy Corp AM kit radio, I could catch a live radio broadcast from somewhere, but usually all I knew about what was going on was from magazines such as Car Craft, Motor Trend, or Hot Rod.

Now things have changed. NBC, Fox, FX, and TBS cover the entire season of not just the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, but the NASCAR Busch Series as well. Soon, the NBC/TBS network will pass the broadcast rights to ABC/ESPN, which promises better quality coverage. SpeedTV covers the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and also covers testing, practice, and qualifying for all the NASCAR series. Oh, yeah, happy days are here for the NASCAR fan.

So, with all this new-fangled technology, how do I watch a race? I put the TV on mute, and listen to the radio. Motor Racing Network (MRN) is good, old fashioned race coverage. The verbal descriptions of drivers' strategies being played out, against the sound of roaring engines and cheering crowds is almost the same as being there. Along with the pictures on the tube, which don't always show what's being described on the radio, the true NASCAR addict can keep up with nearly every aspect of the race. The TV guys don't always mention or cover what your favorite driver is doing, but they will often editorialize on what they think your driver's motivations and faults are. On MRN, you don't get editorials, only a good sports announcer based coverage of the race. You can almost always tell where your favorite drivers are on the track, and that is good as long as you don't care about a driver's anger issues or what he or she ate for breakfast. If you want the soap opera/tabloid stuff, listen to the guys on TV, but if you only want to hear what is going on in the race, listen to MRN.


Babs said...

MRN is very good. But it interferes with track pass if I'm listening to the driver's scanners. I often mute the race and listen to the scanners.

25 days till Daytona 500!!!!

RevJim said...

That is another reason I need to get a way to go on line from home. I would love to have Trackpass. If I had it, then the point of this post would be moot.