Bristol Got Shuffled Out In Some Locales

(photo courtesy Jason Smith/Getty Images)

When a driver has a race car that he knows can win the race, and for some reason, be it bad luck or circumstances beyond his control, he fails to close the deal, FRUSTRATION is all that  is left of his emotions.  Well last Saturday night several local ABC stations decided to pre-empt the Bristol night race in favor of their regional NFL team.

It turns out there were likely many NASCAR fans in Joplin, MO feeling a similar frustration Saturday night when they tuned in for ABC’s coverage of the Irwin Tools 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway.

Joplin’s Jamie McMurray, this year’s Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 champion, flirted with bagging another trophy by leading 11 laps in his  #1 Chevrolet. But it turns out that McMurray, and the other 41 drivers circling the .533-mile high-banked oval, were no match for Kyle Busch.

McMurray wound up finishing a respectable third.

But the big losers Saturday night were NASCAR fans in Joplin, who were treated to a Kansas City Chiefs preseason football game instead of the night race at Bristol.

In fairness to KODE in Joplin, there were eight other ABC affiliates around the nation that also chose to air alternate programming. In each instance, NASCAR was bumped in favor of preseason football with the exception of WXYZ in Detroit, which aired its annual coverage of the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

Seven of the nine affiliates aired coverage of the race on its DT2 (Digital Tier 2) channel or on an alternate network. Those markets were Detroit, Houston, Richmond, Weslaco, TX, Madison, WI, LaCross, WI and Wausau, WI.

The race never made it on the television airwaves in Joplin or St. Joseph, MO.  The only way to see the Saturday night Bristol race in Joplin or St. Joseph was via satellite TV, Direct TV or Dish Network.  As a race fan that is totally unacceptable!

With all of NASCAR’s touting of streamlined start times, etc., the ABC/ESPN part of the NASCAR season has been in a total state of flux and chaos!  Obviously the contract with NASCAR does not hold the same clout as tennis, the Little League World Series, and regional NFL games. WOMR has, on more than one occasion, been waiting patiently for an overtime tennis match to end so that ESPN would flip over to a race already in progress.  That my friends is anguish!

Just for the record, 14 of the final 17 Cup races this season will air on ESPN. The other three, night races in Bristol, Richmond and Charlotte, will be broadcast on ABC.  Therefore, with all the talk about a consistent television package that makes it easy for the fans to find the race each weekend, wouldn’t it have made more sense for ESPN to air all 17 races down the stretch?  What do you think?

That would prevent the gearheads in Weslaco, TX. from being on pins and needles on a Saturday night in October while wondering if they’re about to witness NASCAR racing from Charlotte or a calf roping and bull riding exhibition on their local ABC affiliate!  Granted, there might be many bull riders in Weslaco, TX, but there may also be a large number of NASCAR fans rooting for their favorite driver to run to the front!

What  is your thoughts on the NASCAR coverage or lack thereof by ABC/ESPN?


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