Yes the headline may be hurtful, but it’s the honest truth. In their best interest, NASCAR needs to find another broadcasting company to fill in the deep whole that FOX Sports have made for them, especially the ways these recent broadcasts have been going. The only good thing FOX Sports have for them right now is their pit reporters, Larry McReynolds, and Bob Pockrass. Everything else, we can live without.
To be honest, I used to love the FOX portion of the season, especially from the beginning all the way up to 2015. In fact, until I saw NBC’s coverage in the same year, I wished FOX would have done all the races in the calendar. But ever since they hired Jeff Gordon to replace McReynolds in the booth, things haven’t felt the same as they have been in “the good ol’ days.”
In recent years though, you can tell FOX quit caring about Motorsports in general, let alone NASCAR. They used to have all of the big series either on FOX or their sister network Speed until they killed the channel off in 2013, like the 24 hours of Daytona, 24 hours of LeMans, Formula One, and many other forms of racing series all across the world. Now, all of them have found different partners to carry their series. Let's also not forget the fall Martinsville Truck series race that cut off the final two laps or an interview with the winner after running late into a college football game. It will only be a matter of time before NASCAR and its top three national touring series will become one of those victims.
One big issue I have with FOX as of 2022 is the pre race coverage. First and foremost, how cringe can they be from time to time? Remember when Ross Chastain scored his first win in the Cup Series at Circuit of the Americas and he ate part of the watermelon he smashed as a part of his victory? FOX had the bright idea for the Toyota Owners 400 pre race show to make an entire skit out of that with an actor playing the watermelon seed that was in his mouth during the interview. I’m not sure how many new fans actually watch NASCAR Raceday right before watching their first NASCAR, but I am pretty sure most fans saw that and thought, “What on earth are we watching right now?”
Let's actually talk about the broadcast of the race. In my honest opinion as a fan at home watching the broadcast, I really don’t think they are being very professional in the booth. Let's face it, it almost sounds like an MLB game, which happens 128 times out of 365 days a year. Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer joke around way too much for my liking. It isn’t that I don’t like to have fun, in fact people who know me know I have a pretty wide sense of humor. It’s the fact that they are crossing the line of the correct amount of joking around you are supposed to have during a race.
Remember that part again. This is a race for a very prestigious championship that only certain types of drivers can win. It isn’t some sports that people take lightly and don’t have 100% focus on all the time. These are the 40 best drivers in the world going across the country on various types of racetracks to prove that they are the best at what could kill them every time they are strapped in and ready to go. So yes I do appreciate a light hearted broadcast at some points, but we need to have that type of broadcast where it doesn’t feel like the same thing every Sunday afternoon. We need to have the type of showing that will tell the fans that they are witnessing history in the making, and that this is an important event to watch.
So what is my fix on this situation? It is simple. Look for a new way to show the sport. Why not give the whole season to NBC? They do a very good job on the broadcast, and know exactly when to be light hearted and when the time is to be serious. Maybe the booth is too crowded at points, but why not shuffle some analysts into different places and take turns like FOX does, which is one of the only things I have liked out of their portion of the season so far. Put Steve Letarte in the Peacock Pit Box one week, next week put Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Jeff Burton.
What about maybe even branching out to another partner like CBS or ESPN? Yes Sports Center may mix up drivers' names now and then and look like they are not interested in the sports, but ESPN is one of the main cable channels that are in every American household in 2022. Also to point out, Formula One has done very well with the majority of their races being on ESPN or ESPN 2, so why not ride off of their momentum? Another former broadcast partner of CBS has also shown signs that they may be interested back in Motorsport coverage again with the new Superstar Racing Experience (SRX), along with a couple other smaller series of racing. They have a long history of broadcasting the Daytona 500 along with a couple other big races, and maybe they would want their turn in the 21st century.
Or maybe it is time to go where no racing series has gone before? Is it crazy to think of at least some NASCAR races to be broadcasted on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime? Or maybe NASCAR goes a step further and creates their own streaming service for all three series with practice, qualifying, and the race for a monthly fee? If you would have told me that 10 years ago, I would have thought you were crazy. But now as of 2022 and beyond? Anything is possible, just look at this year's running of the Clash held inside a football stadium.
My point of this article is for people who are fans of NASCAR racing to not settle for the mediocre broadcasting calls of the past year or two by FOX Sports when we have had other great networks give us the best view and calls that we could get from our TV in our living rooms in the past. We want NASCAR to grow like it did back in the 90’s and 2000’s, and want broadcasting partners that are willing to give their best on giving us coverage on the sport we love to death. Unfortunate enough as it is, I think we need to give up on FOX Sports on doing that for us.