Now that the snow has melted and there is this big ball of brightness in the sky, Little Man wakes up every weekend and asks what race is on today. This weekend was the 12 Hours of Sebring, the start of the American Le Mans series. The both of us were pretty excited about this. That was until I found out that I would not be able to watch it on TV. After finding out from the boys over at Speed:Sport:Life that the race kicked off at 10:30, I went to the cable guide to see what channel it would be on, with the first thought being SPEED. Nothing. OK, maybe they will have it on later in the day since Chop, Cut, Rebuild is must see TV for a Saturday morning. Wrong again. I looked over the guide for the entire day only to find a crap ton of NASCAR reruns and reality TV. I was upset to say the least. The only way to catch this American race classic was to either have an XBox or log on to the interwebs and hope my cable company would let me watch ESPN3.com. In the words of Little Man: “Whaaaat? We can’t watch the race on TV? That’s just not right.” My thoughts exactly.
What the hell has become of American motor sports lately? During the weekend of the 24 Hour of Daytona, I sat at home on Friday, working of course, but thought I would turn on the ole’ TV and catch the Continental Tire Challenge support race. I later found out that I would have to wait till the following weekend to watch that. What I want to know is why, with all these series out there, the only time we as race fans can watch them is a week or two later. Ever since Fox took over the SPEED channel, the ability to watch racing in general has gone down the tubes. Series like the SPEED World Challenge and the Trans Am series are a mere shadow of their former selves. I get that NASCAR is popular. It is hard not to go anywhere and see something NASCAR associated. Its kind of hard to miss when it is on every weekend, all weekend from February to November, with only a few weeks off in between. Maybe it is just me, but the thrill of watching 30 some cars chase each other in a oval for four to five hours every weekend does nothing for me. I can sit through about 20 laps or so, then by the fourth caution, I am done. What I want to see are cars battling it out in the corners and are not trying to be something they are not. As well, not a reality show that is a marriage of America’s Got Talent and a late night at Walmart. Reality TV was cool, ten years ago. Now it is overwhelming. Same with news and analysis. How many ways can we pick apart the race weekend.
When I moved out on my own and got a real cable company that had the SPEED channel, there was racing on all day almost everyday. I loved it. I was able to see cars of every make and model battle it out. Many of the drivers we watch today were just getting their start, and there I was watching them take their rookie knocks. There were even hours devoted to the series in Europe. Even a little sprinkle of rally tossed in for good measure. Is the channel whose sole purpose was to showcase racing now gone the way of MTV? Well there is SPEED2. This on-line network looks great but unless you have Time-Warner cable, go put your hopes and dreams back to bed.
One of these days I will be able to give Little Man a good answer as to what race is going to be on. Thankfully Formula One is just days away. If that gets pushed to the side for something else, people better start running cause it will get ugly. Maybe one of these days I will scrap my already perfectly good TV and go with something Internet capable so we can go on-line and watch TV. Personally that sounds a bit moronic to me. Why should I go to the Internet to watch television? I thought that is why I have cable. Maybe I should bite the bullet and get a dish and hope to hell the wind is calm and there are not any storms in the tri-state area. That could work.
I just want someone to tell my why. Is that so hard? I have heard the same argument about money and rights from both sides. Quit the finger pointing, it is not working and fans are leaving. In fact, I am point a finger myself, but it is not my index finger.
I am not trying to single out NASCAR in this rant of mine. But it should be easy to see why someone who is not a big fan of the series can get a little bent when it is shoved into his face at every corner. Some of those guys may want to take some acting lessons as well, they are making dumb commercials even worse.