The view from my couch
NBC Coverage of the Winn Dixie 200
by Michael Sylvia, Jr.
September 1, 2003
A big thumbs down to NBC for once again not giving the regular Busch drivers some exposure during the prerace show. We got to see McMurray sitting beside his car because to flu like symptoms. We got to see Kevin Harvick in a slump by his car. We also got to see a feature on Jeff Gordon, who isn't even entered in the race, sitting on his yacht. The starting lineup mentioned about every Cup driver, the points leader, Coy Gibbs, a very few Busch regulars, and we had to read the rest of the lineup for ourselves. Early in the race we were continually updated on Cup cars' positions.
The first caution came out on lap 8 for Jamie McMurray "not contacting wall but crashing into the wall." We went green on lap 14 and on the return NBC told us Greg Biffle had contact with the wall after going through some oil and subsequently pitted for four tires. We never did see the wall contact. On the restart we received a run through of who was in the top ten. That was followed by a lot of coverage as Biffle worked from his restart position of 32 up to 11th in 7 laps. Green flag commercial on laps 26-31 after an interview with Jamie McMurray being out of the race. We were also told others behind the wall at that point were Morgan Shepherd, Potter, and Bonifield. No idea why they were out. Next set of commercials was from lap 37-45 with a replay of Gunselman's brush with the wall. The next commercial was also under green laps 49-56. The 96 car brought out the next caution on lap 58 for smoke and possibly dropping fluids. NBC went to commercial after the pit stops from lap 61-68 and we restarted on lap 74. Lap 77 was the next caution for Biffle and NBC went to commercial after the pit stops from lap 79-81. The race went green again on lap 83.
They did an interview of Biffle and he ruled it as one of those racing things. At this point we were told 14 cars were behind the wall. We went to commercial under green from lap 93-101. Lap 102 started the first run through the field. NBC got all the way to the last car on the lead lap, 24th on lap 114. There was a pause in there during a challenge for the lead. Laps 117-122 were green flag commercials. Caution on lap 125 for Wimmer into the wall from a flat tire. Stayed until after the pit stops and went to commercial laps 127-129 and green again on lap 131. We stayed green to the end of the race, lap 147. NBC showed us the top five finishers and interviewed K. Busch first (2nd) while Vickers (1st) got out of his car followed by Waltrip, Hamilton Jr., and Harvick. We were also told 16 cars failed to finish. Summary, poor coverage continues of the Busch regulars. Our points leaders, Scott Riggs and David Green, were only briefly mentioned during the race. Granted they finished 17th and 14th respectively, but Busch followers would surely like to know where the point leaders are. Much too much Cup coverage and not enough Busch regular coverage for that needed sponsorship exposure. As for Winn Dixie, they were mentioned as sponsoring the race once at the beginning and then the rest of the race we were told "Denny's presents NASCAR Busch Racing from Darlington."
One would have thought they would have mentioned Greg Biffle's car was co-sponsored by Winn Dixie. The end is coming for Busch racing if those regulars don't start getting more coverage or the race sponsors don't get some advertising.
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