so why did nascar seem cooler in the 80's? broadcast was way better!!

hidesert cowboy

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just spent a couple hours watching a couple daytona 500's from the mid 80's No one can call a race as good as ken squier. He would say thinks like "franklin Tennessee's darrell waltrip driving the junior johnson prepared car. " Or "alabama gang member neil bonnett asserts his authority into 2nd". beyond that if you listen to Ken do the broadcast one can only deduce the guy had an incredible knowledge of every team and driver. He ads commentary about everyone he seems to mention. Stuff like the team owner, Or "that waddell wilson prepered car" The other thing I find better is the in car cameras were actually better. They show the cars bouncing and moving all over the place. It feels more like you are actually riding in the car, They show the gauges on the dash. they use the same camera to pan backwards and forward basically the entire interior of the car. I don't know how they do it but IMO its quite a bit better. Watch this broadcast and really pick it apart. Its clear to me these guys are just getting the job done calling the race at an incredible level. Lastly Ken somehow creates excitement with the race. He elevates his voice and creates excitement and energy with the broadcast when nothing is really happening. He does it in such a skilled way you don't think he is doing anything out of the ordinary. I watched the last race at vegas and felt they didn't do a very good job covering the race in particular the teams back in the pack. The other thing they did old school was better pit reporting. I dunno after watching the old guys get the job done, both broadcast channels have a lot to learn.
 

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The biggest difference to me is the tendency to zoom in so that only 1, maybe 2 cars can be seen. I prefer wide angle
camera work so that I can see more of the field.

That probably has to do more with contractual sponsorship obligations. Gotta get the names of those companies up close so people can read it and remember it.
 

Whiskyb

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I often have the race on as I am doing yard work. The older races you could listen too, much like radio and know what was happening without looking. Today in cup, not so much. Truck is not as bad in that regard
 

Team Penske

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In the older days, I believe the guys in the booth were the professionals and called a race accordingly.
Today's broadcast are run by the Producer and he calls the shots on what the show will be long before the race starts. That is why the story line is disconnected from what is actually happening on the track. They producers are NOT race fans and act like they are making a long commercial.
 

hidesert cowboy

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To me the Sport has a character crisis right now. What I mean is in the last several years the sports characters and personalities have retired. No more tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon etc. all theses drivers had a story, their story made them into the sports cast of characters. Even though you may not be a fan of theirs they still made up the characters in the show. What ken squire did in those days is create the story that wove their story into the sport. We need this badly for the sport to replace the old guys that have left. If ken squire isn’t in the hall of fame he darn well aight to be. Listen for an hour to him call one of those old school races, the detail about each driver he spouts off, off the cuff is amazing. Someone said you could listen and not watch and know what is happening, exactly that is a huge compliment
 

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In the early days they were experimenting with putting a camera anywhere they could think of. One race it would be on top of a car, the next might have it in the rear bumper or inside a wheel well watching the brakes go red, I remember one time they put a camera on the tire changer. It was all new and exciting then and somewhat unreliable.

“Nothing’s more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.”
 

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Part of it is how racing has changed and part of it is the announcers. I think the current guys that are main announcers don't understand racing to the degree Squier and Bob Jenkins and Paul Page did. Mike Joy in my opinion can run circles as an announcer around Rick Allen, who has improved but is still not what I would call a good auto racing announcer, but Joy still does things out of context to the overall race. Joy on Sunday said very late in the race "there are 8 cars on the lead lap" and that was it. Late in the race it doesn't mean anything if there are 8 cars on the lead lap, the race is almost over. Now if there were 100 laps to go, yeah, that's relevant because unless something major happens, that's all your contenders for the win. If he wanted to frame it in the context of "this long green flag run has allowed the leaders to run away, ok, but he did not do that.
 

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When Ken Squier called a race, you felt like you were watching something special.

Because it was. CBS only had like 3 races a year.

And I think the announcers paid attention to what was happening ON the track, rather than watching the monitors in the booth that shows only what the director chooses to show.

If you ever want to see the absolute worst example of this, watch the current Supercross broadcasts.
 

IanMcVittie

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There were many things I liked about Nascar in the 80’s including the cars, announcers and the availability of the drivers. You could talk to guys like Geoff Bodine, Jimmy Means, Harry Gant and Terry Labonte without issues. A lot of the tracks seemed like bigger extensions of what short tracks were like too.

Of course in the 80’s I still had more life ahead of me than behind me so a lot of things I was experiencing were fairly new and that made things cool too. Nascar was far less commercialized back then and of course having Dale and Bill and Rusty and rivalries were enjoyable as well.

I liked the racing better because anything could happen as the cars and tires and other components were not as reliable as they are today. The leader could be on a lap of his own and start pushing water and blow up or someone may not get the stagger on the tires that were needed. Happy memories indeed.
 

SpeedPagan

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In the early days they were experimenting with putting a camera anywhere they could think of. One race it would be on top of a car, the next might have it in the rear bumper or inside a wheel well watching the brakes go red, I remember one time they put a camera on the tire changer. It was all new and exciting then and somewhat unreliable.

“Nothing’s more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.”

Not going to lie, I miss the gyro cam.
 

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Bingo! What I like least about every NASCAR race is the quality of the broadcast. Not so much the announcers, but the producers. I have said it before I think they just use local kids from the community tech school...heck, in reality those local kids would probably produce a better show.
 

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Agree, the broadcasts today are terrible when compared to the broadcasts of the 80's and 90's.

I still want them to walk pit road more often. As much as i'm not a huge fan of Michael Waltrip, I enjoy his walk down pit road and wish he would do it much slower. It's cool to see what is going on on pitroad and see how the drivers/teams are prepping! I much prefer that than to hear the guys in the booth talk about playoff implications for the 10th time.
 

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Agree, the broadcasts today are terrible when compared to the broadcasts of the 80's and 90's.

I still want them to walk pit road more often. As much as i'm not a huge fan of Michael Waltrip, I enjoy his walk down pit road and wish he would do it much slower. It's cool to see what is going on on pitroad and see how the drivers/teams are prepping! I much prefer that than to hear the guys in the booth talk about playoff implications for the 10th time.
The only bearable thing about his pit road walk to me is that I can mute it and unmute it after he's done.
 

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I love watching that old broadcast and seeing how different it was back then. They show an in car camera shot of DW (around 22:07) and to see the difference in the equipment from then to today, and how open the "****pit" was back then. Truly remarkable!
The style of racing back then at Daytona is kind of interesting to see too. A pack of 3 or 4 cars could get away if they stayed in line and drive away from the field. That would be nice to see again rather than what we have now.
 

hidesert cowboy

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Because it was. CBS only had like 3 races a year.



If you ever want to see the absolute worst example of this, watch the current Supercross broadcasts.
this is even more amazing, if they only did 3 races they didn't have near the practice the guys do now. The issue with the in car cameras, am I crazy saying the ones they did then are better? does anyone else feel that way? being able to look out the back window over the spoiler and seeing those cars bounce and float through the banking like they did. am I nostalgic of is that real?
 

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The only bearable thing about his pit road walk to me is that I can mute it and unmute it after he's done.

Yeah it could definitely be better if they weren't running down pit road, and if jamie little were doing it, but i like the concept of walking pit road before the race.
 

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Yeah it could definitely be better if they weren't running down pit road, and if jamie little were doing it, but i like the concept of walking pit road before the race.
I do also. I think that It would be better with an Xfinity driver since they're more knowledgeable about what's going on.
 

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I think the reason the announcers of broadcasts years ago was they had to tell the viewer/listener the story, like radio announcers in baseball. There were a lot less cameras and video quality was a lot less than the HD we have now. So nowadays's, the viewer can see what's happening and don't need those yells like "slide-jobs", etc. They need to tone it down and concentrate on the stuff the viewer can't see.

I still like listening to the MRN/PRN radio broadcasts.
 

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One thing that still amazes me with older broadcasts (including football and basketball) is the lack of a "ticker" to provide info! Back then you might get a lap update every 10-20 laps depending on the track? You had no idea the running order for the most part. Likewise with with not knowing the time and score in other sports. That alone forced you to be more engaged in what you were watching. Overall, I think the production quality was very good for that time. Somewhere around 1986-1988 TV really stepped up their game in terms of graphics and overall presentation. The announcers were also great. Bob, Benny and Ned are the voices of my childhood Sunday's. Nostalgia aside, they were awesome! Jerry Punch had complete command of the pits.

I love watching older races. For whatever reason I gravitate to those old Talladega races (ESPN for the Winston 500, CBS for the DieHard 500). The heat during the July races brought a very unique facet to that race.

The one thing that's also noticeable from this period is EMPTY SEATS. Not every race was a sellout, or even close. The Diehard 500 and Pepsi 400 attendance suffered because of the heat but Martinsville, Atlanta, Rockingham also had plenty of good seats to be had. I still have my dad's 1990 NASCAR Media guide. I believe the average capacity for Cup tracks in 1989 was 57,000.
 

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I planed my Sunday's around the races in the 80's & 90's. I no longer do that. That alone tells me that I enjoyed the sport far better in that era. Hindsight has zero to do with that view regardless of how many times it's uttered.

Yours is a succinct post I wish I could like 100 times as it sums up my feelings. I used to plan my weekends around Nascar in the 80’s-90’s attend multiple races per year and was an enthusiastic fan. If anyone pulls the “you’re looking at the past with rose colored glasses” card on me I tell them about football and hockey. I’ve been a fan of both since the 60’s and both sports have changed a lot but I like them just as well today.

Nascar lost its way plain and simple
 

Jorge De Guzman

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I prefer races now even with Rick Allen in the booth yelling his catch phrases due to one detail we have now that wasnt around in the 80's.... High Definition!! The TV's made now with the amazing pictures, I watch races on my 75 inch TV and I couldnt imagine watching races without the amazing picture you get. The green on the infield........ its amazing IMO and also for those that watch golf/PGA Tour you know what I am talking about. Sure the announcers were better back in the day but I think Jr does a pretty good job for NBC and I like Letarte too. The Fox guys I pretty much grew up with so they have a special spot in my heart. Sure having Squier, Bob Jenkins or Benny Parsons with Dick Berrgren (SP sorry) on Pit Road it's not even a close contest but those gentlemen arnt walking through that door to do a race anytime soon so this is what we have. I'll take broadcasts now 100 times out of 100 due to High Def, it really is an awesome feature and thank goodness for that. ( and shoutout to the poster who mentioned Paul Page, he is the absolute GOAT for CART/Indy Car broadcasts)
 

KodiakRusty89

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Yours is a succinct post I wish I could like 100 times as it sums up my feelings. I used to plan my weekends around Nascar in the 80’s-90’s attend multiple races per year and was an enthusiastic fan. If anyone pulls the “you’re looking at the past with rose colored glasses” card on me I tell them about football and hockey. I’ve been a fan of both since the 60’s and both sports have changed a lot but I like them just as well today.

Nascar lost its way plain and simple

I agree! I attend ton's of sporting events (was at the Carrier Dome Monday for college bball Syacuse vs #2 Virginia) and the NASCAR experience just isn't the same. The sport was built on the live experience. It was an event like non-other. The closest thing I can relate it to would be you combined a SEC football game with a Grateful Dead 3-day run at one venue. The passion for the drivers, the car makes and state and local roots was tangible. NASCAR marketed itself as "America's Greatest Spectator Sport". TV took its soul but the foundation is still there for a better product with more harmony.

I'll make it to 4 races (both Pocono, Martinsville and Kentucky) which is basically my 30 year average.
 

IanMcVittie

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One thing that still amazes me with older broadcasts (including football and basketball) is the lack of a "ticker" to provide info! Back then you might get a lap update every 10-20 laps depending on the track? You had no idea the running order for the most part. Likewise with with not knowing the time and score in other sports. That alone forced you to be more engaged in what you were watching. Overall, I think the production quality was very good for that time. Somewhere around 1986-1988 TV really stepped up their game in terms of graphics and overall presentation. The announcers were also great. Bob, Benny and Ned are the voices of my childhood Sunday's. Nostalgia aside, they were awesome! Jerry Punch had complete command of the pits.

I love watching older races. For whatever reason I gravitate to those old Talladega races (ESPN for the Winston 500, CBS for the DieHard 500). The heat during the July races brought a very unique facet to that race.

The one thing that's also noticeable from this period is EMPTY SEATS. Not every race was a sellout, or even close. The Diehard 500 and Pepsi 400 attendance suffered because of the heat but Martinsville, Atlanta, Rockingham also had plenty of good seats to be had. I still have my dad's 1990 NASCAR Media guide. I believe the average capacity for Cup tracks in 1989 was 57,000.

Good post and I agree. It is easy to think that all the empty seats we see today are a new phenomenon but as you say some of the tracks way back when we’re not sold out either. Also the heat played havoc during that time period to be sure. It was so common for cars to overheat and engines to expire. You used to hear the announcers talk of some drivers having engines tuned for longevity and others for speed. I’m having a nice trip down memory lane.
 

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One thing that still amazes me with older broadcasts (including football and basketball) is the lack of a "ticker" to provide info!
I believe Fox was the first network to use a constant scoring display. They rolled it out when they got the NFL in 1994, and other networks soon followed suit. Hard to imagine watching a game or a race without it now.
 

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I am good with the Fox broadcast, I even updated to color TV. :D
I am NOT good with the NBC over hyped squealing little girls and it looks like Junior has sold his sole to the network and joined their type of coverage.
 

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Because it was. CBS only had like 3 races a year.
This is true. But even around this time when Squier was calling the Charlotte races for some regional network, then later for TBS, he still made those races sound like they were the biggest events in racing.
 

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I often have the race on as I am doing yard work. The older races you could listen too, much like radio and know what was happening without looking. Today in cup, not so much. Truck is not as bad in that regard

Eli Gold, Barney Hall, Winston Kelly.....those guys were fantastic on MRN.
 

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I never cared much for Ken Squier as an announcer, he was too much of a Dale Earnhardt fanboy.

Bob, Benny, and Ned on ESPN were the gold standard IMO.
 

hidesert cowboy

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I never cared much for Ken Squier as an announcer, he was too much of a Dale Earnhardt fanboy.

Bob, Benny, and Ned on ESPN were the gold standard IMO.
see I didn't think ken squier was anything special until I really started to break down the race and ask myself, WHY is this cooler than today. Ken tells a story of the racer and weaves it into the race coverage. For earnhardt he would say something, like "earnhardt one tuff customer moves into 4th position" The sport became what it is, the drivers became legendary, we became fans because of the stories of these guys, where they came from what they did. Back then they also often say something like "the driver that was so close and suffered heartbreak at the last winston 500"

someone mentioned walking pit road. I love ned jarrett sticking a microphone in the drivers face on pit road as they are strapped in the car, and saying lets talk to one of the hard chargers in this race, See it was never lets see what joey lagano has to say, like they do now. It would be something to the effect of lets talk to to a guy thats a hard racer and doesn't care about offending other drivers, joey lagano. Would the intimidator have ever came to be if the broadcasters hadn't picked it up and ran with it? I say no. What about the rainbow warrior? This is what the sport needs, it need heros, villians, good guys, crazy guys, its the personalities that add so much to the race. We don't have tony stewart getting mad at someone and deciding they need to be dumped, then getting out of the car and saying some mild cuss words.
 

KodiakRusty89

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Eli Gold, Barney Hall, Winston Kelly.....those guys were fantastic on MRN.

My dad always had a radio next to him when he was watching the Cup race on Sunday. As soon as there would be a commercial he'd turn on the radio which was tuned into MRN. In reality I'm not sure how it even worked with the delay....lol. Thinking back I learned to visualize what I was listening to in those brief 90-120 seconds based on what TV was showing.

Those 3 names are immediately who I think of when MRN pops up. To me Eli is more NASCAR than Alabama football. :D
 

mack

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My dad always had a radio next to him when he was watching the Cup race on Sunday. As soon as there would be a commercial he'd turn on the radio which was tuned into MRN. In reality I'm not sure how it even worked with the delay....lol. Thinking back I learned to visualize what I was listening to in those brief 90-120 seconds based on what TV was showing.

Those 3 names are immediately who I think of when MRN pops up. To me Eli is more NASCAR than Alabama football. :D

I live in the state of Alabama, and I couldn't agree more about Eli. He was the voice of NASCAR to me.
 

KodiakRusty89

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see I didn't think ken squier was anything special until I really started to break down the race and ask myself, WHY is this cooler than today. Ken tells a story of the racer and weaves it into the race coverage. For earnhardt he would say something, like "earnhardt one tuff customer moves into 4th position" The sport became what it is, the drivers became legendary, we became fans because of the stories of these guys, where they came from what they did. Back then they also often say something like "the driver that was so close and suffered heartbreak at the last winston 500"

someone mentioned walking pit road. I love ned jarrett sticking a microphone in the drivers face on pit road as they are strapped in the car, and saying lets talk to one of the hard chargers in this race, See it was never lets see what joey lagano has to say, like they do now. It would be something to the effect of lets talk to to a guy thats a hard racer and doesn't care about offending other drivers, joey lagano. Would the intimidator have ever came to be if the broadcasters hadn't picked it up and ran with it? I say no. What about the rainbow warrior? This is what the sport needs, it need heros, villians, good guys, crazy guys, its the personalities that add so much to the race. We don't have tony stewart getting mad at someone and deciding they need to be dumped, then getting out of the car and saying some mild cuss words.

You made me think of a race on youtube i was watching last night, 1992 Hanes 500 at Martinsville. Kyle Petty had a huge in turn 2 and his car burst into flames. He was struggling to get out, Bob, Benny and Ned are urging him to get out, GET OUT!! Then a guy comes running across the racetrack fire extinguisher in hand rocking a USA jacket and red USA hat on. Literally looked like Captain America. But it wasn't, it was Geoff Bodine who was in his TEAM USA Bobsled gear. Bodine dropped out earlier in the race, saw what happened and jumped into action. The announcers and fans ate it up!!

This sport had a lot of real "human" type moments that others didn't. I can think back to so many other memorable interactions, fights, shenanigans, etc that occurred during an event in its heyday. I think back to Davey's pit crew riding his car to victory lane at 'Dega in '87 (race where his dad flew into the fence), Gordon's 1994 Brickyard win, pit crews lining up to greet Earnhardt at Daytona in 1998, or Jr's win at the 2001 Pepsi 400. Those are moments etched into history without reproach.
 
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