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DATE News (chronologically)
02/03/11
tv news
SPEED TV News
Adam Alexander
In 2011, SPEED is expanding its motor sports news efforts, rebranding its popular weekly program, adding multiple weekend news updates and increasing use of the SPEED Ticker to keep fans current on everything from the world of racing.

“This is going to revolutionize the weekend programming on the network,” said Patti Wheeler, SPEED EVP of Programming & Production. “If you are a fan of almost any kind of racing, we will have all the latest news and information for you in real-time with our amped-up Ticker and in our many live SPEED Center reports throughout the weekend. Instead of simply offering a weekend racing roundup Sunday evening, SPEED will be the go-to source for breaking news and updates from race tracks and paddocks around the world all weekend long.”

The newly named SPEED Center is a series of studio-based motor sports news programs airing live from a purpose-built set at the SPEED Studios in Charlotte, N.C. Programs air at a variety of times during the race weekend, culminating in a one-hour show on Sunday nights at 7 p.m. ET. The first Sunday night show premieres Feb. 13.

Adam Alexander, a longtime pit reporter for SPEED’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series coverage and spot host of NASCAR Race Hub and The SPEED Report, takes the role of lead host for SPEED Center, with racer Hermie Sadler filling Alexander’s position on pit road. Sadler continues to serve in his primary role as a reporter for NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Live!

SPEED celebrates its 10th year of at-track NASCAR coverage in 2011 with significant revamps of the SPEED Stage, a renewed focus on revealing drivers’ individual personalities and a facelift for its weekend motor sports news program.

SPEED, whose first live broadcast from a NASCAR event was Daytona Speedweeks in Feb. 2002, has been through several transitions in its exponential growth at the track, but NASCAR has remained the network’s number one priority, a commitment evident in its 2011 plans. 

“A lot has changed in NASCAR during the 10 years SPEED has been at the track, but drivers always have been the headliners,” said Patti Wheeler, SPEED EVP of Programming and Production. “I think we all take for granted how daring these drivers are and we at SPEED plan on showcasing their unique personalities and extraordinary courage and talent.”

One step in bringing drivers to life for fans is a significant makeover of the SPEED Stage, resulting in a sleeker, more modern look that puts guest drivers and SPEED on-air personalities nearly eye level with and surrounded by fans during SPEED’s live programming.  A new 24’x24’ platform for Trackside, the popular Friday night show, will be built on-site the week of the Daytona 500, placing hosts Steve Byrnes, Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond more in the middle of the crowd.

The Trackside stage will sit only 30 inches off the ground, giving fans a bird’s eye view of the panel and drivers, reflecting NASCAR on SPEED’s casual, in-depth interview approach to the 2011 season.  Additionally, NASCAR Live no longer will air from the SPEED Stage but from various points around the track, including the garage area. 

Other upgrades include the “SPEED shot,” a robo-cam perched 60 feet atop track property.  It not only will serve as a landmark for fans to locate the SPEED Stage but also will provide panoramic shots.  SPEED’s 120’x120’ at-track “footprint” again offers a lineup of interactive fan activities where “SPEED Fanatics” (my.speedtv.com) can experience what it’s like to operate a camera, sit on mock sets and get autographs from SPEED personalities and other NASCAR stars.

SPEED brings back its popular at-track NASCAR programming in 2011, including NASCAR RaceDay Built by The Home Depot, Trackside, NASCAR Victory Lane Fueled by Sunoco, NASCAR Live and NASCAR Performance Presented by Advance Auto Parts, but also adds some punch to programs originating from the SPEED Studios in Charlotte, N.C. The 10, a fast-paced, 30-minute list program highlighting the best from the world of NASCAR, debuts Feb. 10 at 8:30 p.m. ET  The premiere counts down “Daytona Moments,” while first season topics include Most Bizarre Finishes, Throw-downs, Talladega Moments, All-Time Races, Closest Calls and Earnhardt Moments. A myriad of NASCAR experts and insiders discuss and count down the sport’s most legendary moments.  Following Daytona Speedweeks, The 10 will air Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. ET.

The latest on everything from the world of motor sports is now just a remote click away on race weekends.  On Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. ET, SPEED rolls out SPEED Center, a studio-based motor sports news program that airs live from the SPEED Studios at a variety of times during the race weekend and covers all forms of motor sports.  SPEED Center, hosted by Adam Alexander, is built on the premise of The SPEED Report but retooled to encompass highlights, news and information from additional forms of motor sports, including short-track racing, Formula One, IndyCar, Grand Am, ALMS, NHRA, NASCAR and others.  SPEED Center has a standing airtime of 7 p.m. ET on Sundays but also will air throughout race weekends and as an update in many of the live racing coverage on SPEED to bring race fans up-to-date on all the latest happenings at tracks across the country and world.

NASCAR Race Hub, a nightly news and information program (Monday through Thursdays at 7 p.m. ET) is back in 2011 with host Steve Byrnes and reporter Danielle Trotta.  Taking advantage of the SPEED Studios’ central location to team race shops, the Hub again will welcome drivers and other key NASCAR players to the studio this season, while Trotta reports the latest news and information from the race shops.

SPEED continues its commitment to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2011, its 10th year of Truck coverage, with live and exclusive presentation of all 25 races.  Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip return to call the action with pit reporting from Ray Dunlap and Hermie Sadler.  Krista Voda again hosts the popular pre-race show, NCWTS Setup. 

After early season postponements at Daytona (rain) and Gateway (electrical) put the Truck Series in a ratings hole in 2010, the Trucks finished strong with viewers, scoring increases in eight of the last 13 events (Pocono up 78%, Darlington up 19%, Bristol up 3%, Kentucky up 115%, Las Vegas up 17%, Martinsville up 41%, Texas up 6% and Homestead 10%). From July 2010 to the season finale at Homestead in November, NCWTS ratings were up 3 percent year-to-year.
 
In addition, SPEED is in talks with the NASCAR Hall of Fame regarding the possibility of taping multiple segments of its popular technical program, NASCAR Performance, in the Great Hall, making it available to visitors to the popular fan destination.  The 30-minute “gear head” show features Larry McReynolds, Chad Knaus and Robert “Bootie” Barker.

In addition to its weekly NASCAR on SPEED lineup, the network remains the home for the Gatorade Duel at Daytona, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, all three NASCAR national touring series awards ceremonies and the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

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