For some, the race still isn't on their TV sets.
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series Chase for the Championship race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night started without being televised.
The race was supposed to air on ABC but was preempted by a Baylor vs. TCU college football game that ran long. The network, which owns ESPN, couldn’t move the game to another of its many networks due to other college football games and a Miami Heat vs. Cleveland Cavaliers preseason NBA game. The network did get the race on ESPN3, but many still couldn't watch if social media is any indication.
Some still can't watch
The race was finally picked up by ABC around 8 p.m. eastern time with fans missing key action from a NASCAR playoff race (25 laps total). Some networks didn’t pick up the race and opted to air the local evening news instead. Little Rock’s KATV in Arkansas was one such network that opted to air local news instead of the race, which not only infuriated viewers, but a NASCAR legend.
NASCAR added extra pace laps before the start of the race in hopes that it would give the college football game time to end.
“We are disappointed that our fans were unable to see the start of tonight’s race. We do all we can with the networks to avoid delays when live sports run late. We’re grateful for the passion of our fans and are thankful to those now watching on ABC.”
ESPN going out on a sour note
This is the final year of NASCAR coverage for ESPN and I think that’s something that many fans of the sport will be happy to see. The sport moving to NBC Sports Network for its championship races in 2015 will assure fans of not having to deal with preemptions due to other sporting events or the local news as it’s not a local network.
NASCAR playoff races are far too important to fans of the sport to be treated as second rate events by television networks. The start of the race being preempted was a no-win position for NASCAR to be placed in, but there wasn’t a whole lot they could do other than the attempt at adding pace laps.
Hopefully this is something that NASCAR fans will not have to endure of the season’s final five playoff races as the Sprint Cup Series comes down to a wire and crowing a champion.