Sunday, May 6, 2012

Kentucky Derby and NASCAR

As you already know, about the only tv that I watch is 24/7 news channels and the local evening news. And Hawaii Five-O and the semi-finals and the finals rounds in major professional sports. It's debatable whether the Kentucky Derby is a sport. However with all the hype surrounding the Kentuck Derby, it influences you to tune in to watch yesterday's live broadcast of the Running of the Roses as it's known. The only problem with the 'live' thing, is that it's an hour of pomp and circumstances with further ado, and much more further ado, before they actually after 50 mint julips finally get around to broadcasting the main race. Oh, well. Oh, well, not. I switched channels and NASCAR happened to be on another channel. Yea, the car race that goes round-and-round in circles. Ovals I guess is its geometric term somebody look it up.


I liked watching Formula 1 which is raced on road tracks which is better to my eyes. Well, NASCAR, or the promotion department, has coregraphed the race so that it's much more enjoyable to watch on the tv screen. Along with the cameras set up around the oval track, they've incorporated onboard cameras within the race cars' cages themselves which puts you in the drivers' seat in real time. It use to be that only a few race cars were equiped with cameras, but nowadays just about all cars have onboard cameras. There's even a separate camera that's devoted to showing the driver shifting gears from the passenger sideview angle while the picture vibrates. At 190mph things vibrate. There's also a camera that faces to the rear window so you can see what's happening behind the selected car. While the majority of the race is still covered the regular way from cameras stationed around the track, the broadcast switches back and forth to the onboard cameras to track the action as seen from drivers' seat.

I don't know whether NASCAR got the idea of switching back and forth to the drivers' eyeview cams from NASCAR video games. Parts of the coverage seems orchestrated, if that's the right word. When there's a yellow flag, caution flag, the drivers take the occassion en masse to make a pit stop to refuel or get new tires, etc. That's when the tv screen shows mulitple pics of different car teams working on the cars that have just pitted all on the same screen. But you can hear the whirl of the air guns and other associated mechanical noises. But none of the muliple cameras are that close enough in proximity to pit row within range to record the sound. Or they're patching in the sound from a camera that stationed in pit row just for the sound effects. Heck, the audio could have been dubbed from a sound archive for all I know. But it makes the race more well like you're watching a race in a movie.

Then Danica, she was in the lead group once in the race, but then she fade behind the pelethon like she was peddling a bike. The eventual winner pulled away in what seemed like the last 100 yards and won by a half a car hood if that. At that point all the chasing cars floor board it to the finish line and after passing the finish line make a full circle of the track in reduced speed to whine down. While this was happening a car behind Danica nudges her rear fender and she almost hits the wall. She chases up to what she perceives as a hit-and-run driver and bumps that driver's rear fender on purpose sending the driver into the wall and his car ends up limping the rest of the way back to pit row. Remember this is just the obligatory post race lap and supposedly all the elbowing is over until the next race. They interviewed Danica and she said that the driver apologized, alledgedly. On the other hand, they also interviewed Danica's sparring mate and he said that his front wheel locked up and his bump wasn't on purpose, but questioned if retaliating by sending him to the wall was all that necessary especially on a post race lap when the race is already over.

2 comments:

cloudia charters said...

I'm dizzy!



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RONW said...

cloudia- I think Nascar takes videos from numerous angles to increase the visitors on their webpage where the race videos are compiled. Then they can charge more for the advertisements. If the races just showed cars going around in circles, not much to see. They have a huge fan base.