Friday, January 20, 2012

Miss the Hall of Fame inductions? Yeah, so did everybody

The NASCAR Hall of Fame enshrined five new inductees Friday evening, but hardly anybody actually saw it happen.

That’s because SPEED was preoccupied with the Barrett-Jackson car auctions Friday night and decided to put the Hall of Fame inductions on tape delay. That means the only people actually able to see the ceremonies live were the people actually in attendance.

What makes the situation worse is the inductions are not only on tape delay, but SPEED decided to not show the ceremonies until 6 p.m. ET Sunday, a full two days after the actual event and right in the middle of the NFL Championship games. Are you kidding me?

I understand television is a business, and SPEED makes money by showing the Barrett-Jackson auctions, but come on. This is the event where the legends of NASCAR are honored, and it’s going to be shown on a two-day tape delay.

SPEED will showcase another 11 hours of the Barrett-Jackson car auctions Saturday and maybe programming contracts didn’t allow that to change, but the audience Saturday morning would even likely be larger than what SPEED will get with the Sunday afternoon timeslot.

One of the supposed problems with NASCAR is that the Chase coincides with the start of the NFL season, which hurts the television ratings during the most important time of the NASCAR season.

Now SPEED decided to once again go head-to-head with the NFL in late January, as well. There is no doubt the induction ceremonies will get mercilessly spanked in the television ratings. Even the most diehard NASCAR fans will find it tough to skip football to watch a ceremony.

I guess I thought NASCAR had outgrown the days when its events didn’t make live television. Instead, this weekend NASCAR returned to the ABC Wide World of Sports days when snippets of the races were the only NASCAR racing fans got to see on a given weekend.

I understand NASCAR wanted to make the Hall of Fame inductions part of a preseason “NASCAR Acceleration” weekend to get fans in the Charlotte area pumped up for the season, but not airing the induction ceremonies live flies in the face of NASCAR’s overriding goal for the last decade: expand its fan base.

If this was how NASCAR approached its decisions, we’d probably still have two races at Rockingham and Darlington and would not have races in Chicago or Kansas.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are also an evening that celebrates the history of the sport, and it is important for fans to either learn about that history, or relive the excitement of those days. That’s what the Hall of Fame is all about.

SPEED does a great job with the Hall of Fame biographies on each inductee, but there were a ton of programs the network could have shown this weekend. Shoot, last weekend it spent 21 hours showing mostly singe car testing runs at Daytona.

NASCAR doesn’t own SPEED and therefore has little control of how the network chooses to cover the sport. However, SPEED, which has branded itself the official network of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, should have found a better way to handle the Hall of Fame’s biggest event.

Hopefully inductees Dale Inman, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Glen Wood and the family of Richie Evans had one of the best evenings of their lives. Too bad hardly any NASCAR fans were able to watch the legends of their favorite sport honored.


  1. Not a BIG deal , so we have to wait and See Daryl trying to be funny.

    NASCAR does the same with a lot of the televised races if you do not SUBSCRIBE to the chosen Networks , greatest finish to a season since the CHASE was introduced , but never saw a RACE as it was on NETWORK not offered in my area.

  2. Anonymous - OK, first of all it's Darrell. No Y, two R's and two L's. Second, although many of the races are on cable channels, you can at least buy a television package to see those channels in your own home. That wasn't possible Friday night. You would have to go to Charlotte and actually be in the ballroom to see the ceremonies. Big difference.

  3. I think maybe the first comment was in referance to the fact Waltrip has been beating his chest on Speed for TOO long. It's sad the others weren't shown live, as they deserve it. I'm also sick of Waltrip & don't care how he spells it! I've also been watching racing since before it was on tv or anybody heard of "jaws"

  4. I live 70 miles from Daytona and the local paper had a one paragraph mention of the HOF induction. There was no live TV coverage. The folks who are responsible for promoting the sport are too busy courting big buck sponsorships that go directly into the pockets a few. The NFL, MLB and even the NBA spend a lot more time and money keeping their sport in front of everybody all the time. NASCAR is a very small, elite, good old rich boys sport.

  5. The author had me until he mentioned that we could still have 2 races at rockingham etc. instead of Chicago and Kansas. That's the best idea I've heard in years! Chicago and Kansas are major snoozefests. I only watch the highlights, if that, as opposed to when I used to pay good money to go to Rockingham and Darlington.

  6. jmayer1843 since you seem to be the ultimate NASCAR FAN then you should have driven down to the awards banquet.

    As for Darrell or Daryl does not matter Mr D WALNUT would cash the check (cheque ) with either name on it.

    He was the only 1 that CRIED when he was not inducted in either the 1st or 2nd round.

    Looked like a pouting 4 year old on TV at 1 time when the subject came up.

  7. nascar may not own SPEED but they could probably find some network to air the HOF induction live. Crap like this is why nascar will never be a 'major' league sport.

    The HOF has not come close to meeting attendance goals since the doors opened. The minuscule tv ratings they're going to get on Sunday night will not help to improve that attendance either.

  8. NASCAR thinks that all they have to do is schedule a program and Speed will show it. Speed, I'm sure had the B/J Auction scheduled over a year in advance. NASCAR (read Baby France) is so arrogant that they think everyone should bend to there desires. I'm sure they could have worked with Speed to find a slot when the ceremonies could have been shown live!
    As for the races in Chicago and Kansas. I for one wish we didn't have races there and still had two races at Darlington and the Rock!

  9. Yeap, that's right - now that the show has been aired already, did it make any difference. I programmed my DVR and have recorded a show that I don't want actually. And that's how this two-days tape delay made a difference in my TV schedule.

  10. Yeah, same for me.. I had recorded a program and end up watching it.