The view from my couch

USAR ProCup - Lucal Oil 250 - South Boston Speedway
by Lou Lauer, August 10, 2003

Normally I write lengthy reviews of the TV broadcasts of the USAR races for SpeedCouch.com. I didn't get the time to do so this week (I can hear the applause now), but here are a few comments about the show.

The major thing I have to say this week is that the move to the 10 PM timeslot is going to KILL the ratings (if they do such a thing for this show) and it will absolutely, positively cause less commercials to be seen! Fans and teams will set their VCR's or TIVO's to record the races and then watch them the next day at a decent hour, fast-forwarding through the commercials along the way.

Location - South Boston, VA
Race Date - August 2, 2003
Broadcast Date - August 6, 2003
Channel - SPEED, DirecTV #607

Marketing people for the series will have their work cut out for them trying to advance the series and attract new sponsors and keep old sponsors for the next year. What a shame if this move hurts the series just when it was starting to pick up momentum.

On a positive note, I loved the look from the in-your-face camera that was mounted in Jimmy Burns' car. Too bad he went out of the race so early and we didn't get to see more of it. I thought the production and broadcast teams did a very good job overall. It's tough to cover short-tracks with all the action that was taking place. There are bound to be missed shots and replays, but I don't think they were that bad this week.

What wasn't so good this week was the track lighting. I know the team tried to get things setup properly but the lights from the infield glared in your face for most of the race. It's not for lack of effort that the infield temporary lights washed out a lot of the camera shots throughout the night, but it did happen and it was annoying. Better luck next time.

Gene Crane did a good job in the pits in a substitute role for this race. It was a muggy night and it can't be easy to cover the entire pits single-handedly. RC, the cameraman, has an advantage in that he's used to doing it each week and he makes it look easy.

As for the racing action, as I saw it from my turn 3 lawn chair, I thought the Northern division drivers did themselves proud! Probably 75% of the field had never seen the South Boston track before and comments I heard from several teams and drivers prior to the race showed a lot of anxiety and nervousness. I think that the race had far fewer cautions than the same race a year ago when it was a Southern division race. I may be wrong, but it sure seemed to be a pertty clean race.

There was a ton of racing, and some very good side-by-side battles for the lead. I've been a fan of Mart Nesbitt since I started watching the series 3 or 4 years ago and it was very gratifying to see him win his first race! And it wasn't given to him either, Mart earned it by being up front for a good portion of the race and looking strong at the finish.

Could Jeff Agnew had gotten by him if he hadn't had his mechanical problems? Who knows? Maybe, but it would not have been easy. That's why they race 250 laps and not 240.

Until next time, I'm going back to my recliner... You can send me email at

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