Sunday, August 16, 2009


Thank you to those who have asked.

Yes, the original 13-week pilot run of The Race Reporters concludes with the August 26 show, when Ashley Force Hood will be on for the entire second half-hour as Newsmaker of the Week.

And . . .

Yes, TRR will continue. and I have agreed to an extension, taking the program through the end of the year on . Depending on how we decide to do things around the holidays, this will mean an additional 13-15 shows. We'll still be on Wednesdays, live, at 7 p.m. ET. You'll still be able to download or listen on demand by going to the show page (see link in right-hand column). All the previous shows are there to be heard.

I think the strength of TRR has been the very strong lineup of Newsmaker (Richard Petty, John Force, Dario Franchitti, Tony Schumacher, etc.) and media (Ed Hinton, Robin Miller, Gordon Kirby, etc.) guests who have found it worth their time and effort to participate. We're coming out of the box in September equally well, with Joey Logano on the 2d and Scott Pruett on the 9th.

I hope you'll keep listening or sample TRR for the first time or even help spread the word.

Thanks again!
With the continuation of the show, I promptly began booking guests. Those who know me know I don't do "last minute" and my experience (both in PR and journalism) has been the more advance notice that can be provided, the better the chance of lining-up the interview.

Within a couple of days, I had confirmed bookings to mid-October. Three of the PR people I communicated with echoed my thoughts about long-term planning and said they appreciated the level of organization involved with this show.

Except one. Things must be going very well over at Kevin Harvick Inc., especially in generating publicity for sponsors KHI seeks to keep or get for 2010. My request for Ron Hornaday Jr. in four weeks produced this exact sentence from the KHI rep: "At this time I am not planning that far out!"

Four weeks is too-far-ahead to plan? (!)

I don't think too many would agree with that approach. I noted a story in The Hollywood Reporter about how Jay Leno's new 10 p.m. show is pro-actively working with show biz publicists to confirm big-name guests BEFORE they appear on the late-night shows. According to an industry insider quoted in the story, "Now people are being much more strategic, and they are planning it out far more in advance." (Emphasis mine.)
No doubt some familiar media faces will be missing when the media center at Auto Club (California) Speedway opens for NASCAR this October. From a track news release:

Auto Club Speedway will charge anyone dining in the Media Lounge (media, team PR reps, photographers, etc.) $25 for meals during the Pepsi 500 weekend in October. The cost includes all meals and beverages for the weekend (lunch and dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Make checks prior to the event payable to “Auto Club Speedway” and mail to: Auto Club Speedway / Attention David Talley; 9300 Cherry Ave., Fontana CA 92335. Only cash or checks will be accepted during event time.

Food/drink is a courtesy, not an obligation. Still, I question the timing, given the current economic problems within the media business. And I sure as hell would not charge if I had a restaurant or food company as race sponsor! I assume, with virtually every track having either a Coca-Cola or Pepsi deal, there is no charge for beverages. I would say this is more of an issue for tracks lacking proper media work facilities.

If on duty for a team or sponsor Cal weekend, I'd go to the boss, and find the relatively small budget needed to host working journos over at the hauler or motorcoach. (A couple of times in the past, I've had team sponsors pick up the cost of lunch in the media center, only to be floored by the huge mark-up from the speedway's official caterer.) As Jim Chapman taught us, as detailed in this blog many times as well as in my public comments in presenting the Jim Chapman Award, hospitality is an essential tool in relationship-building.
ALMS' self-dubbed "value" restructuring of its classes for 2010 is a bow to economic reality (read that: car count, especially in prototypes) for a series that bet BIG on manufacturer interest (read that: investment) in its innovative-yet-expensive "Green Racing" philosophy . . . Given all the pre-race hype on Speed, it is ridiculous all parties don't agree, in advance, on a TV Plan B when there's a rainout . . . More worthless? It was a tossup between the weather forecasters who predicted "zero chance" of rain Sunday at Michigan International Speedway and the golf announcers who said the PGA Championship was over with Tiger Woods leading at halfway . . . CBS' golf crew proved just how out-of-touch it was with its U.S. audience by gushing over the international importance of the outcome of the PGA, rather than what was best for golf in America. I say with confidence most of the audience cared not one bit about the headline in the South China Post, as marveled at by the CBS elitists. By the way, there's a lesson in that for IRL executives, which, of course, will be unrecognized, or, ignored.

Here's a link to my August Drag Racing Online "All Business" column on Tony Schumacher and the Army sponsorship:
Upcoming The Race Reporters guests:

August 19 -- Newsmaker: Brian Wolfe (Ford North America motorsports director). Panelists: Dustin Long, Larry Henry, Bob Margolis.

August 26 -- Newsmaker: Ashley Force Hood. Panelists: Holly Cain, Jeff Wolf, Bobby Bennett.

September 2 -- Newsmaker: Joey Logano. Panelists: Mark Armijo, John Sturbin. Plus Mike Dunn to preview the U.S. Nationals.

September 9 -- Newsmaker: Scott Pruett. Panelists: John Oreovicz, Jeremy Shaw, Jim Pedley.

[ Brian Wolfe news nugget Thursday . . . ]