The Pocono race has a special significance for NASCAR’s TV coverage, it marks the handoff from Fox to TNT for the next six races. Fox saw a 9% bump in viewers this season and if TNT wants to keep the rating party going they’ll need to bring it before interest in NASCAR wains. TNT can’t expect to coast on creepy-looking Race Buddies and throwing to Lindsay Czarniak in the pits.
TNT should consider these radical twists to get people excited about their NASCAR coverage.
1. Charles Barkley Gets His Own Mic Every Race
America wants more of Sir Charles backing down political correctness into the lane like it was Moses Malone. By live mic-ing the former NBA star every race from his home in Alabama, TNT could finally answer the question, ‘What does Barkley think about this?’ Maybe Charles won’t even watch the race and folks can hear him talk about making turkey sandwiches or calling his neighbor to complain about their kids’ trampoline.
2. NASCAR in 3D
What kind of world do we live in where the only things that can be seen in 3D is golf and movies about blue aliens? NASCAR is the only sport that should be in 3D: cars tearing out of the corner of Turn Four right into your living room, drivers dodging wrecks that seem to spill out of your TV and Richard Childress reaching into your home to put you in a headlock. If we live in a world where we’re forced to watch Darrell Waltrip in high-definition, why can’t we see Bristol in 3D? TNT could become famous for NASCAR in 3D, rather than being famous for employing Noah Wyle in every single made-for-TV movie it produces.
3. Start a Rivalry with the Fox Gopher
Hatfields vs. McCoys, Ali vs. Frazier and Tony Stewart vs Shaving; People love great rivalries. Let’s have TNT fire the first shot with the Race Buddy and Digger. Get the feud to simmer until it boils over in Wally Dallenbach dueling Dick Berggren on pit road and Larry McReynolds fighting himself to the death (as an analyst for both networks).
4. More AC/DC references
Listen TNT, if you name your network after an AC/DC song, then the race coverage should be peppered with references to Kyle Busch’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheep, Back in Black and White Checkered Flags and the Jeff Gordon’s Let Me Put My Gas In You pit stop. It’s what Bon Scott would have wanted.
5. Include coverage of drivers not named Kyle, Jimmie, Gordon, Junior or Harvick
It’s a novel idea. Every race starts with 43 drivers, but Fox’s coverage singled out the prettiest ones at the front of the pack. With several drivers fighting for the 10th spot in the Chase and plenty tangling back in the field, there is a lot of racing to televise. For all the silly suggestions mentioned above, TNT executives consider this one the craziest.