Driving Today

A Toast to NASCAR and ESPN

You won’t miss any racing action when ESPN cuts to commercials during the Chase for the Sprint...

It invariably happens. A given Sprint Car race is winding into its final 100 laps, and the director of the television broadcast cuts to commercials. Then, while the broadcast is in commercials, you miss a crash, a pit mishap or the most interesting pass of the day. Ironic and diabolical, this phenomenon is the NASCAR counterpart of Murphy’s Law.

Well, listen up, NASCAR Sprint Cup fans! You won’t have to worry about that anymore. Beginning with the September 18 race at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., ESPN will not leave the racing action, even during commercial spots. Instead, using a new format dubbed “NASCAR NonStop,” your television screen will be split in two. The commercial announcements that help pay for the broadcast will run on the left-hand side of the screen, while the racing will continue to be televised on the right. It’s not exactly a fifty-fifty split -- the commercials will get more screen size than the racing action -- but it’s a heck of a lot better than not being able to see the race at all during commercial breaks. In addition, the annoying ESPN scoring ticker, which gives you scores of long-completed baseball and football games over and over and over and … well, you get the idea … will also continue to be visible at the top of the screen during commercials.

All right, I’ll quit whining; the overall result of the new policy is a good one. We racing fans can continue to see what is happening on the track in a continuous manner, and the sponsors get to put their messages in front of you. And honestly, sometimes those messages are more compelling than the racing, especially when they feature beer-drinking on the beach. So, in honor of this decision, I suggest we all raise a cold one to ESPN and NASCAR on September 18. I know I will.



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