Archive for the ‘ NASCAR ’ Category

Will Sky Launch Speed TV in the UK for F1, IndyCar, NASCAR coverage?

Every year, UK channels televise hundreds of hours of top flight football. Fans can see several games per day on subscription (Sky and ESPN) and terrestrial television. We can watch live and highlights, at home or in the pub.

Divide the number of games available on Sky by the subscription cost, the deal suddenly doesn’t look quite so bad. Watch enough of it, and you’ll get value for money. There’s golf, rugby, tennis and a host of other sports as a bonus.

There are only 20 Formula 1 Grand Prix per year. 10 will be free to air on BBC1. Divide the cost of a Sky Sports subscription by just 10, and it doesn’t look quite so enticing.

That is why the Sky Sports business model which looks so sensible for football looks horrifying for Formula 1.

The good news is that Sky’s part-owner NewsCorp already has the answer.

A channel called Speed TV.

Speed TV is dedicated to motorsport of all kinds. It’s already shown as part of basic cable in the US, and variants are available in Latin America and Australia.

Speed TV could be provided as part of the basic Virgin and Sky packages, it could even go onto Freeview and Freesat. It could then take advertising revenue for the events it covers. It could show not only extensive coverage of every F1 session, but also hours of NASCAR, IndyCar, GP2, GP3, American Le Mans Series, British Touring Cars, World Rally Championships and the list goes on.

I just hope they have the sense to make this happen and start talking to the other motorsport rights owners to pull it all together.

Fingers crossed, because the alternative is too ghastly to imagine!


On Watkins Glen

Yesterday’s Mobil1 car swap saw Lewis Hamilton driving Tony Stewart’s NASCAR sprint cup car and Tony driving Lewis’ McLaren from a few years back (from the low rear winged days before the F1 cars were beaten with the ugly stick).

The event shone a great spotlight on the former home of the US GP East and reminded me fondly of my own pilgrimage to the Watkins Glen circuit in upstate New York, to see the penultimate INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Glen. It’s sad that neither F1 or INDYCAR now visit the circuit, in the case of the loss of INDYCAR, this is probably because the circuit is owned by NASCAR’s International Speedway Corps.

The town of Watkins Glen sits on Seneca Lake, one of many ‘finger lakes’ in the region which carries the same name, and my home for the visit was the beautiful Harbor Hotel, which offered views of the lake, and the opportunity for alfresco dining in the summer sun. There was even a firework display the night before the race.

Image Courtesy

The circuit itself is a 10 minute drive from the town and sits on high ground surrounded by farmland, woodland and villages. It’s a beautiful setting, more reminiscent of Brands Hatch than Silverstone in its charming surroundings.

It has a large infield and plenty of undulations which give the track such character. Spectator wise the RV is king, with the vast majority of INDYCAR attendees taking the RV / camping route. There are ample opportunities to park your RV with a direct view of the circuit so you don’t need a grandstand ticket. I understand there are more grandstands installed for the NASCAR events which obviously attract a much bigger crowd.

I sat in the pit straight grandstand overlooking pit road, it was a good vantage point, but not a great one, and if I went again I would station myself somewhere with a good view of one of the circuit’s amazing high speed banked corners.

The current president of the circuit made warm noises yesterday about his dream of seeing F1 cars return to the Glen, but I can’t see it happening to be honest. There’s no-one to put up the money, the circuit’s catchment area is too sparsely populated to attract anyone other than hardcore fans, and the works which would be required to bring the circuit up to standard in terms of runoff would in all likelihood ruin the circuit’s unique character and timeless quality.

I will return one day to Watkins Glen, maybe to see the annual historic grand prix. And I will always have great memories of the place.

From McLaren Mercedes to Perky Jerky Toyota – Decline and Fall of a Career

It would be all too easy to poke fun at the idea of Kimi Raikkonen, the least enthusiastic driver when it comes to sponsor related promotional activities, getting out of his NASCAR Truck and saying ‘My Perky Jerky Toyota Tundra felt real good today”.

So I’m going to do just that.

Prune Candy. Tell you what though – the sponsorship’s working, these things are good :

Race for the Chase – Pay attention at the back!

For the uninitiated, the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship is decided in the final races by a ‘chase for the Sprint Cup’ involving only the shortlisted top 12 drivers in the points standings.

Almost as exciting is the ‘Race for the Chase’ – i.e. watching the battle to reach the top 12 evolve as the deadline for the chase approaches.

Even more exciting (for F1 fans) is the fact that Juan Pablo Montoya is having a great race for the chase and is tantilisingly close to making it into the top 12 and having a crack at the championship.

He is unashamedly points driving, aiming for a top 10 finish in every race rather than going gung ho for wins. This is a good strategy for him, as it keeps his ‘let’s go crazy’ tendancies in check and is having the effect of calming the worst excesses of his driving.

He’s been racing near the front for some time now, but has had some bad luck including a speeding penalty depriving him of a win at Indy, and tire trouble in last weekend’s Pocono race, which dropped him off the lead lap, and some way down the points standings. He’s now in 9th spot.

There are only 2 races to go in the race for the chase – it’s going to be exciting whatever way you look at it. If you’re new to NASCAR, it’s a great time to get involved. As a longstanding F1 fan it’s taken me time to get into NASCAR, but I’m starting to like it more, the more I watch it.

Just don’t laugh at the wheelguns.

Full scoop on the remaining races before the chase here: