The Highlights and Lowlights of the SRX Series First Thursday Night Thunder on ESPN
The SRX Series started its third season at Stafford Speedway in Connecticut and its first edition of Thursday Night Thunder on ESPN. The packed house and those watching at home witnessed an entertaining race with passing, some carnage, and Denny Hamlin impressively racing to the victory in his series debut.
Here’s a look at the night and some of the more notable moments.
Joey Logano in broadcast booth among SRX Series Thursday Night Thunder highlights
1) Joey Logano has already proven with Fox‘s Xfinity Series coverage that he’s got a future in broadcasting if he wants to pursue it when he retires. He displayed his broadcasting skills again Thursday night with Allen Bestwick, breaking down the action and describing what the drivers were thinking.
However, the two-time Cup Series champion also showed he needs to stick to discussing racing and not weather forecasting because, before the race, when a graphic showed there was a 15% chance of rain, he confidently said: “I think we’re good to go. I’m not a weather man. 15% percent chance of rain, I think we’re in good shape.” Officials called the race 19 laps early because of storms in the area.
2) The racing action throughout the night, as has become expected in SRX, was entertaining throughout the race. There was plenty of passing in both heats and the Main Event.
3) ESPN provided good camera angles all evening, but the battle between Marco Andretti and Clint Bowyer early in the Main Event stood out because it featured multiple views of the action, including one from Hamlin’s car in front of the two drivers, as well from the in-car camera of Andretti.
Lowlights reveal ESPN has some issues to work out in future broadcasts
In its first foray with SRX and Thursday Night Thunder, ESPN had some issues that hopefully will be addressed in the coming weeks. Those mistakes made up a bulk of the night’s lowlights.
1) The leaderboard graphics are visually appealing, showing the intervals, but they don’t display the speed. It would be nice if those watching on TV could see the speeds of the cars, which Logano noted multiple times were traveling at a surprisingly high speed around the half-mile track.
2) Speaking of leaderboard graphics — the end of Heat 1 was totally confusing for the viewers. Denny Hamlin passed Marco Andretti for the lead just before taking the white flag. Unfortunately, the leaderboard didn’t reflect the pass or anything else that happened with the top three cars in that final lap.
When Hamlin crossed the finish line, the graphic showed Andretti first, Hamlin second, and Tony Kanaan third. The actual finishing order was Hamlin, Paul Tracy, and Andretti.
3) Six laps into the Main Event and there was the biggest crash of the evening, involving five cars. Allen Bestwick called out the spin happening in Turn 4, but it took six seconds before the cameras ever showed the accident. Fans at home couldn’t help but think they were watching a Fox NASCAR broadcast.
4) There was another very Fox-like moment with 26 laps to go in the Main Event when it was obvious Ryan Newman, who methodically moved his way through the field, was about to pass Bowyer for second place. Bestwick even noted the pending pass. Unfortunately, the broadcast went to show a replay of an incident that put Tony Kanaan in the grass and missed the pass.
5) The winner’s post-race interview from inside the car with Denny Hamlin was a complete disaster as it was pure static for 30 seconds. Logano, who asked the winner about his first SRX experience, summed up the communication glitch the best: “I don’t think we heard anything you just said but congratulations. Have fun celebrating!”
6) Weather. NASCAR fans have grown accustom to weather-affected races this season. Thursday night was no different. It turns out the name of the show couldn’t have been more appropriate.