Sunday, July 29, 2012


FIRST UP: A lot has been said (and written) about AJ Allmendinger's substance abuse suspension from NASCAR. There's been more than a little comment on how Allmendinger (and NASCAR) have handled the situation from a media/PR standpoint. With Allmendinger now enrolled in NASCAR's Road to Recovery program, there's one more useful and meaningful communication left: Hearing from AJA himself. Any further statements from his business manager aren't satisfactory. For Allmendinger to successfully move forward, he needs to agree to a full-scale news conference and answer all legitimate questions -- YES, THAT INCLUDES DISCLOSURE OF THE SPECIFIC BANNED SUBSTANCE found in his sample. That matters -- a LOT. THAT's WHAT MATTERS NOW IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION. And, if NASCAR doesn't agree with that or any of his other answers, the sanction must promptly have its own Q&A. For Allmendinger, that is the PR Road to Recovering his career -- I don't care what his lawyers say. Oh, and whatever Allmendinger's final fate is with Penske Racing, that word must come directly from Roger Penske himself.

The American Media, Tuesday, July 24, 2012: During a media conference call with ESPNers in advance of Indy, no one asked ESPN VP motorsports production Rich Feinberg why Tim Brewer and the Tech Garage were dropped and what, if any, production element was being added to compensate for that lost information. An obvious question. Thank goodness, though, there were several questions about Danica.

I've expressed my concern here before about Twitter "journalism." I've watched many times as, during NASCAR-required driver news conferences each weekend, media people Twitter-out "news" even as the driver is in mid-sentence. I've wondered if the person pushing the buttons realizes his/her concentration is disrupted and more important (or real) "news" is being made while he/she is distracted. The late AutoWeek publisher and editor Leon Mandel used to remind his staff on a regular basis about the vital importance of CONTEXT within a story. There is NO context in Twittering-out 140 characters in the midst of an on-going news conference. I was reminded of this last week when the White House press office barred reporters from Twitter posts until Vice President Joe Biden's Q&A session was over. Their argument: Context. Now, understand, I'm not in favor of press censorship, and the Twitter horse has left the barn and will never return, but the loss of context is a very legitimate issue and one that should be most carefully pondered within the media industry and worried about by readers.

FAST LINES (Olympics edition): The London Games' opening ceremony was at least 60 minutes too long and, at times, borderline stupid. Which means it will probably win an ESPY . . . General Electric's business prospects in England must not be as promising as in China because Matt Lauer -- in deep over his head years ago as a mouth on Robin Leach's old Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous -- didn't geyser-gush like he did four years ago over the spectacle in Beijing . . . Ryan Seacrest is the perfect posterboy for the Twitter communications age -- Capacity maxed-out at 140 characters . . . Where were Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell and/or Dario Franchitti as part of the opening show, as torch or flag bearers? I thought racing was huge in the U.K. sports psyche. On the showbiz side, ditto Andrew Lloyd Webber and Elton John.

So, the NBA is going to allow small sponsor ID on team game uniforms, apparently starting season after next. Differences in the target demographic aside, all involved in motorsports best understand this represents a new OPTION for companies when allocating advertising/marketing dollars. I would say the NHL will be next among the four major leagues to go this way, probably after it resolves its upcoming collective bargaining negotiations with the players' association.

I should have included here last week a link to the International Automotive Media Awards site for more information and a complete listing of the winners. Again, I was honored to be named "Best of Internet" and receive the gold medal for Internet commentary for this blog and "Untenable":

[ more next Monday . . . ]