Sofa Potato Tuesday: Mike Pleasure defies Haters, Sluggish Response hampers FOX in Phoenix

2023 Cup Phoenix I pack racing II - Ryan Preece, No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford (Credit: NKP)

Given Phoenix Raceway’s place as host of the championship race within the NASCAR Cup Sequence, the occasion weekend in March takes on a excessive diploma of significance. In 2023, it is much more so for the Cup Sequence groups for the reason that new guidelines for brief programs and street programs debuted. It could result in one other race.

Racing at Phoenix is ​​at all times a little bit of a disappointment for a lot of race followers. You do not at all times get the fixed motion that followers crave. It’s doable that a few drivers may find yourself dominating the affair. That is what you bought Sunday, when Kyle Larson led almost two-thirds of the race by himself.

Nevertheless, the brand new guidelines bundle improved the general racing product at Phoenix. In comparison with the championship race final 12 months, there have been nearly 500 extra passes beneath inexperienced with solely 4 fewer laps beneath yellow. The factor is, in case you do not present as a lot jockeying for place as you’ll be able to, viewers are going to get bored. Making an attempt to slim the whole lot down will damage you.

On Sunday, there was really some FOX Sports activities cross-promotion. Phoenix hosted a NASCAR Invitational bowling contest Friday night time on the observe (it aired on FOX Sports activities 1 Sunday simply earlier than 1 p.m. NASCAR Race Day), so we went behind the scenes there. It appeared like everybody was having enjoyable there. I admit to watching Sunday afternoon bowling. Let’s put it this fashion. There was an enormous distinction between the professionals and NASCAR drivers.

On the precise broadcast, FOX made a change to their pylon. For the previous few years, FOX has had these race standing bars pop up from time to time. Sunday noticed this built-in into the pylon as a approach of displaying how far into the levels and the race itself we had been.

It wasn’t precisely what I requested for. Most weeks it is going to most likely be of restricted use. Nevertheless, Phoenix is ​​an exception to the rule. The Sunday race had irregular stage lengths (60 laps, then 125 and 127). I do not perceive the rhyme or cause for that setup, but it surely’s what we now have. I am unable to see such a graphical setup being of any actual use in a extra typical race, however for odd occasions it is going to have a spot.

Sunday additionally skilled some extra issues with the manufacturing keeping track of the commentators. A couple of laps after the aforementioned pylon enchancment was revealed, BJ McLeod slowed on the observe with what turned out to be a gas pump drawback.

Danica Patrick was the primary to level out McLeod’s issues, then Mike Pleasure and Clint Bowyer chimed in. We by no means really noticed any of the observe crossed or something like that till McLeod received to show 1 on the apron. It’s not good. On the identical time they had been protecting Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who hit the wall in flip 2. They did not discover, however I did. Quickly after, they confirmed a replay of Stenhouse’s wall contact, which we noticed dwell on the rooftop digital camera and did not understand had occurred. It was fairly merely just a few powerful rounds.

The wreck for Aric Almirola was comparable, however not fairly as dangerous. Viewers depend upon the manufacturing workers to shortly discover the wreckage, decide which digital camera captured the incident, and press the button to change to that digital camera. It’s a collection of selections that have to be made inside just a few seconds. More often than not the manufacturing is on these items, however they had been a bit of off the tempo Sunday. That mentioned, it is a very pressured place to be in, much more so than anybody else within the broadcast field.

The business mess of the Daytona 500 nonetheless reverberates on FOX’s Cup telecasts. You have most likely observed Pleasure referencing the final full display business break beneath inexperienced the previous couple of weeks and so forth. It seems that he has taken a lot of the criticism that got here out of Daytona Worldwide Speedway to coronary heart. On an nearly each day foundation I see Pleasure defending himself and the broadcasts on Twitter towards a bunch of jamokes going after him on that entrance and different points. On Monday, Pleasure wrote this to a Twitter consumer.

Ouch. I do know I did not need to get up on Monday after a late flight again to North Carolina to search out that ready for me.

The entire state of affairs stings. Pleasure has been concerned in race broadcasts on TV or radio since earlier than my dad and mom even met in 1980. I really feel like Pleasure will get loads of criticism as of late and at the very least a few of it’s not warranted. He’s not in charge for the manufacturing choices. If something, he tries to assist issues alongside to make it higher.

I feel he is beginning to slip a bit of and I am positive he is not completely satisfied about it. It isn’t like he does not put together for broadcasts. He has a complete workplace filled with notes from over time that he can go to at any time when he needs, plus all the brand new stuff he will get each week. Imagine me, there’s loads of work that goes into these broadcasts that you simply by no means see. He most likely reads each bit of data he will get.

The crutch of what this Twitter consumer said to Pleasure is that he ought to withdraw from the printed. Do I feel that ought to be the case proper now? No. I do not assume Pleasure ought to go away proper now if he does not need to.

Pleasure nonetheless has loads left in him in his present play-by-play position. Nevertheless, FOX Sports activities strikes over the previous few years are undoubtedly wanting towards the longer term. At 73, Pleasure will not be round ceaselessly. They need to plan accordingly.

That is why you’ve got seen FOX Sports activities elevate Jamie Little to a play-by-play position, first with the ARCA Menards Sequence in 2021, and now with choose NASCAR Craftsman Truck Sequence races. Vince Welch was most likely within the dialog as properly, however they determined to not renew his deal after final 12 months.

I really feel like if 2023 was going to be Pleasure’s final 12 months within the sales space, we would most likely already know. A extra pure time to go away can be the top of FOX’s run of subsequent season. 2024 is the final 12 months of the present TV deal, which dates again to 2015. That mentioned, we already know that Kevin Harvick will be part of the printed subsequent season full-time. Maybe it may rejuvenate Pleasure as he has needed to spend the final 12 months switching with nearly fixed change within the sales space.

For what it is value, if Pleasure had been to retire, Adam Alexander would most likely get the cup play-by-play job proper now. He has earlier Cup expertise with TNT and appears to be on the upswing for the time being. I do not see that taking place anytime quickly.

With Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson dominating the race a lot, there have been only a few possibilities to see the battles for the lead. Byron handed Larson on lap 2. The subsequent one did not occur till the final 50 laps. It simply occurred through the races lone Crank it Up phase.

In contrast to business breaks, I do not imagine that Crank It Up is particularly scheduled each week. It’s not sponsored to allow them to place it the place they need. Through the phase, Harvick ran down and handed Larson for the lead. Bowyer unilaterally selected to finish the phase to speak in regards to the lead change. I feel it was a superb transfer, however simply having the phase there was a nasty thought within the first place.

At this level, I feel Crank It Up might have outlived its usefulness. In 2001 it was a brand new idea when encompass sound was a rarity and HDTVs existed however had been extraordinarily costly. Now that is par for the course. It actually should not detract from the precise race.

Submit-race protection was about common. Viewers received to see interviews with the highest 5 (Byron, Ryan Blaney, Tyler Reddick, Larson and Harvick) and the newest installment of Denny Hamlin wanting payback on Ross Chastain.

Total, I felt that the Sunday broadcast made the race appear a bit of extra boring than it really was. Not good. To draw viewers, you want to make the race look thrilling. Should you glue your self to the entrance many of the day, will probably be tough to try this.

Sunday was additionally Patrick’s final race within the FOX sales space for the 12 months. They didn’t state who ought to be within the sales space for upcoming Cup races. I suppose I am going to have to search out out later this week.

Subsequent weekend could be very busy on the earth of motorsport. NASCAR has a tripleheader at Atlanta Motor Speedway with the Cup Sequence, NASCAR Xfinity Sequence and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Sequence. At Sebring Worldwide Raceway, you’ve gotten the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, which might be headlined by the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. They are going to be joined by most of IMSA’s help lessons plus the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship. Lastly you’ve gotten Formulation 1 on their third go to to the Jeddah Corniche Orbit. TV listings could be discovered right here.

We’ll have critiques of the Cup and Xfinity races on subsequent week’s version of Sofa Potato Tuesday right here at Entrance stretch. The Critics Annex will cowl Saturday’s United Leases 200 and Friday night time’s ARCA race from Phoenix, the place we encountered dumb strikes, Austin Cindric sneaking one in, and a first-time winner.

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