Some drivers prefer to drive in more than one race per weekend, doing double – and sometimes even triple – duty. Other drivers, on some occasions, do an alternative type of double duty that doesn’t involve driving multiple times – spending one of the races in the booth.
Commentators that are regularly in the booth offer insight to the on-track racing from many different points of view, being formerly involved in the sport as drivers, crew chiefs, and so on. While their perspectives cover nearly every dynamic of the racing, they’re missing one of the most important aspects…the driving conditions at that very moment. Unless of course, it’s one of those infrequent weekends when a current driver joins them in the booth during a race.
Having a current driver in the booth alongside the commentators adds an incredible amount of value to the analysis of the race. Not taking away from Darrell, Michael, Andy, and everyone else, they do a great job…but having an analysis from someone who has been on the track that weekend, that day even, improves viewing experience exponentially.
Casual and new viewers can learn a ton from the regular commentators in the booth, but their viewpoints are impaired by a sport whose conditions change as fast as the cars drive – conditions anywhere from repaves to how much rubber was laid down during practice that day. The addition of a current driver’s analysis allows fans to know what the track is like that very day, what the drivers are feeling in that very moment, what it’s like to drive on that particular part of the track, and everything in between. By listening to a current driver’s analysis in the booth, fans are able to have as full of an understanding about being in the car as possible, from the comfort of their own homes.
Since having a guest commentator adds such a unique dynamic to the race, why not have someone join in every race? Trucks, NNS, and maybe even Cup? Maybe throw in some crew chiefs as guests too? Chad Knaus does pretty well as a guest on broadcasts – as we’ve seen on SPEED shows and pre-race segments – so why not give some other crew chiefs a chance to share their knowledge with fans?
This year, FOX has gone to new lengths to add cameras so that viewers can see more angles of the track and get a more vivid understanding of what the drivers experience lap after lap. Every network, including FOX, should follow that trend and take TV coverage to the next level in the booth as well, by allowing for a current driver, or even a crew chief, to commentate in every race.
After all, the more we can vicariously put ourselves in the driver’s seat, the more exciting the race…right?
By Alanis King