|NASCAR on CBS|
|Genre||Auto racing telecasts|
|Created by||Neal Pilson|
|Directed by||Bob Fishman|
|Presented by||Ken Squier|
See commentators section below
|Theme music composer||Mark Wood (1995-1997)|
Godfrey Nelson & Lorainne Nelson Wolf (1998-2000)
|Composer(s)||Mark Wood (1995-1997)|
Godfrey Nelson & Lorainne Nelson Wolf (1998-2000)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Production location(s)||Various NASCAR venues|
|Running time||4 hours or until race ended (including commercials)|
|Original network||CBS Sports|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||February 12, 1960- July 15, 2000|
|Followed by||Fox NASCAR (2001-present)|
NASCAR on NBC (2001-2006) (2015-present)
|Related shows||CBS Sports Spectacular|
NASCAR on TNN
|Races covered by CBS|
|Gatorade 125s||Daytona International Speedway||1960, 1979-1981, 1985-2000||Winston Cup Series|
|Daytona 500||Daytona International Speedway||1960, 1979-2000||Winston Cup Series|
|Atlanta 500||Atlanta International Raceway||1964||Winston Cup Series|
|World 600||Charlotte Motor Speedway||1964, 1975-1981||Winston Cup Series|
|Winston 500||Alabama International Motor Speedway||1975-1977||Winston Cup Series|
|Champion Spark Plug 400||Michigan International Speedway||1975||Winston Cup Series|
|Riverside 400||Riverside International Raceway||1976||Winston Cup Series|
|Los Angeles Times 500||Ontario Motor Speedway||1976-1980||Winston Cup Series|
|Bud Shootout||Daytona International Speedway||1979-2000||Winston Cup Series|
|Kmart 400||Michigan International Speedway||1982-2000||Winston Cup Series|
|DirecTV 500||Texas Motor Speedway||1997-2000||Winston Cup Series|
|Pepsi 400*||Daytona International Speedway||1999-2000||Winston Cup Series|
|Dixie 500||Atlanta Motor Speedway||1975-1977||Winston Cup Series|
|DieHard 500||Talladega Superspeedway||1976-1997||Winston Cup Series|
|Sears DieHard 200||The Milwaukee Mile||1995-2000||Craftsman Truck Series|
|Chevy Silverado 200||Nazareth Speedway||1998-2000||Craftsman Truck Series|
|Pikes Peak 300K||Pikes Peak International Raceway||1998||Craftsman Truck Series|
|Federated Auto Parts 250||Nashville Speedway USA||1999||Craftsman Truck Series|
|thatlook.com 200||New Hampshire International Speedway||2000||Craftsman Truck Series|
|NAPA Auto Parts 300||Daytona International Speedway||1997-2000||Busch Series: Grand National Division|
|Albertson's 300||Texas Motor Speedway||1997-2000||Busch Series: Grand National Division|
|CarQuest Auto Parts 250||Gateway International Raceway||1997-1998||Busch Series: Grand National Division|
|Jiffy Lube Miami 300||Miami-Dade Motorsports Complex||1995-1997||Busch Series: Grand National Division|
|BellSouth Mobility 320||Nashville Speedway USA||1999||Busch Series: Grand National Division|
|Sears DieHard 250||The Milwaukee Mile||2000||Busch Series: Grand National Division|
The very first NASCAR races to ever be shown on television were broadcast by CBS. In February 1960, the network sent a "skeleton" production crew to Daytona Beach, Florida and the Daytona International Speedway to cover the Daytona 500's Twin 100 (now the Bluegreen Vacations Duel) qualifying races on February 12, 1960. The production crew also stayed to broadcast portions of the Daytona 500 itself, two days later. The event was hosted by John S. Palmer. CBS would continue to broadcast portions of races for the next 18 years, along with ABC and NBC.
CBS Sports president Neal Pilson and motorsports editor Ken Squier believed that America would watch an entire stock car race live on television. Prior to 1979, television coverage of the Daytona 500 either began when the race was halfway over, or as an edited highlight package that aired a week later on ABC's Wide World of Sports. On February 18, 1979, CBS presented the first flag-to-flag coverage of the Daytona 500 (and 500-mile race to be broadcast live on national television in general). The Indianapolis 500 was only broadcast on tape delay that evening in this era; most races were broadcast only through the final quarter to half of the race, as was the procedure for ABC's Championship Car racing broadcasts; with the new CBS contract, the network and NASCAR agreed to a full live broadcast. That telecast introduced in-car and low-level track-side cameras, which has now become standard in all forms of automotive racing broadcasts. The race drew incredible ratings, in part due to the compelling action both on and off the track, and in part because a major snowstorm on the East Coast kept millions of viewers indoors.
On May 29, 1980, CBS paid a fee of roughly US$50,000 or $100,000 to Charlotte Motor Speedway to broadcast the World 600 NASCAR stock-car race. Benny Parsons edged out Darrell Waltrip to win a grand prize of $44,850 in a race that was watched by perhaps 3.7 million viewers on the network.
During its coverage of the 1983 Daytona 500, CBS introduced an innovation which director Bob Fishman helped develop - a miniature, remote-controlled in-car camera called RaceCam. Fishman directed every Daytona 500 telecast on CBS, with the exception of 1992, 1994 and 1998 because Fishman was away directing CBS' figure-skating coverage for the Winter Olympics.
After years of trying to win it, Dale Earnhardt appeared headed for certain victory in the 1990 Daytona 500 until a series of events in the closing laps. On lap 193, Geoff Bodine spun in the first turn, causing the third and final caution of the race. Everyone pitted except Derrike Cope, who stayed out. On the lap 195 restart, Earnhardt retook and held the lead, only to puncture a tire when he drove over a piece of metal bell housing from the failed engine of Rick Wilson's car on Lap 199. As Earnhardt's damaged car slowed, Cope drove past and earned his first Winston Cup (now NASCAR Cup) victory. It was the first of two victories for the relatively unknown Cope in the 1990 season. In an ironic twist, KIRO-TV, the local CBS affiliate serving Cope's hometown at the time in the Seattle suburb of Spanaway, opted to pre-empt the race to telecast a Seattle SuperSonics basketball game, and the race was delayed until 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time because of the pre-emption.
For one year, Daytona 500 pole qualifying and the Busch Clash swapped days: the Busch Clash was held on Saturday, and qualifying was held Sunday. This move was made at the request of CBS, who wanted the additional time on Sunday for its coverage of the 1992 Winter Olympics.
The network had aired the Busch Clash since it began in 1979. The race debuted on a Sunday, which CBS broadcast live. Pole position qualifying for the Daytona 500 would start Sunday at 10:00 a.m., followed by the Daytona ARCA 200. The Busch Clash would be held after the ARCA race at 3:00 p.m.
Dale Earnhardt took a horrifying tumble down the front straightaway in "The Big One," after Ernie Irvan got into the side of Sterling Marlin which caused him to hit Earnhardt. After he hit the wall hard, Earnhardt was hit by multiple cars upside down and on the car's side. He ended up breaking his collarbone, and this helped begin a winless streak that spanned the rest of the 1996 season and all of the 1997 season. The race was cut short due to the wreck, and a rainstorm earlier in the race added the factor of darkness, with Jeff Gordon winning. These events helped push the DieHard 500 from the heat, humidity, and almost commonly occurring afternoon thunderstorms of late July to a much cooler, and in the case of the weather, more stable early October date. This was the last Cup race to not be televised live because of the rain delay; the broadcast of the race aired one week later, as an abridged broadcast on CBS.
In 1998, a CBS-televised race at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colorado, scheduled for 186 laps ran 12 extra laps (totaling 198) because of multiple attempts at a successful green-white-checkered finish.
CBS also planned to use more computerized graphics and a super slow-motion camera with a long lens.
TNN had two self-operating and self-promoting sub-divisions, TNN Outdoors and TNN Motor Sports. TNN Outdoors was responsible for the programming of hunting and fishing shows; TNN Motor Sports was responsible for production of all the network's racing coverage, including NASCAR Winston Cup, Indy Racing League, and smaller outfits such as USAC, NHRA and ARCA. Motorcycle and speedboat racing was also broadcast. TNN Outdoors and TNN Motor Sports also marketed themselves, selling a variety of merchandise and licensing their brands for use on video games.
In 1995, the motorsports operations were moved to Concord, North Carolina into the industrial park located at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where TNN had purchased controlling interest in motorsports production company World Sports Enterprises. Among TNN personalities from the motorsports operation were Mike Joy, Eli Gold, Buddy Baker, Neil Bonnett, Randy Pemberton, Ralph Sheheen, Dick Berggren and Rick Benjamin.
Westinghouse Electric Corporation, which at the time owned the CBS networks and had an existing relationship with TNN through its Group W division, purchased TNN and its sister network CMT outright in 1995 to form CBS Cable (along with the short-lived startup network Eye On People).
Most of the original entertainment-oriented programming ceased production, and the network began to rely more on TNN Outdoors and TNN Motor Sports for programming. The network's ties to CBS allowed it to pick up country-themed dramas from the 1980s that originally aired on the broadcast network such as The Dukes of Hazzard and Dallas, neither of which had been seen on television since their original runs ended, and also allowed it to serve as an overflow feed for CBS Sports broadcasts, which happened during a NASCAR Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in 1999 and also a PGA Tour event at Firestone Country Club.
NASCAR wanted to capitalize on its increased popularity even more, so the organization decided that future deals would be centralized; that is, the networks would negotiate directly with NASCAR for a regular schedule of telecasts. That deal was struck on December 15, 1999. The old deal arrangement saw each track negotiate with the networks to broadcast their races. As a result, NASCAR had races on CBS, TNN, ESPN, ABC, NBC and TBS. However, NBC, which had just entered the sport, showed only one race in 2000. NASCAR wanted to increase the number of races by each partner, and have as many races on broadcast networks as possible, to prevent fans from missing races.
CBS also had broadcasting rights to college and NFL football, college basketball and golf, therefore scheduling conflicts prevented them to air as many races as NASCAR wanted. As a result, NASCAR's relationship with CBS, its oldest television partner, concluded at the end of the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. While the 2000 Pepsi 400 was the last Winston Cup Series race to be broadcast on CBS, their true final NASCAR race in general was the Craftsman Truck Series' Chevy Silverado 200, broadcast on July 15, 2000.
The television ratings for the Daytona 500 have surpassed those of the Indianapolis 500 since 1995, even though the 1995 race was available in fewer homes than in the past. CBS had lost affiliates in several major markets as a result of a realignment in the wake of Fox landing the broadcast television rights to the National Football Conference of the NFL, and was actually not available in a NASCAR Busch Series market, Milwaukee; that city's new CBS affiliate, WDJT-TV, was not available to some Southeastern Wisconsin cable providers.
The race was broadcast live on CBS, a precursor to the 500 one week later -- and most NASCAR fans remember how that one turned out.
Bob Fishman plans to give viewers a few laps of pure, roaring speed. "We have some great low-angle shots," Fishman said. "It brings those cars right in your face. You see the cars roaring by. I plan to show some laps with nothing but speed shots."
Eli Gold has also worked in a play-by-play role with both CBS Sports and NBC Sports in their coverage of NASCAR racing.
CBS has added its biggest sports name, Greg Gumbel, as co-host with Ken Squier. Gumbel is a mainstream name, who could help bring some non-racing fans to the broadcast. What he doesn't bring is any racing expertise. "I don't know a fender from a spoiler," he said. That's an exaggeration. Gumbel did local sports for 71/2 years and SportsCenter on ESPN for 51/2 years, so he's familiar with racing. He won't try to fool NASCAR fans. "I am not an expert," he said. "But I'm working with a bunch of them."
During the 1984 Daytona 500, Mike began working as a pit reporter for CBS. Since CBS only broadcast a few races, he was able to continue working the MRN broadcasts through 1985. During this time, he also continued do public address work at Stafford and actually worked as the promoter at Lime Rock Park, also in Connecticut. Unfortunately, as Mike was really getting into that job and making big plans for the next season, CBS greatly increased his network workload, so he reluctantly had to give up the Lime Rock job. Mike worked for TNN from 1991 to 1995. After that he became primary anchor in the CBS booth for Daytona 500 coverage beginning in 1998 and through 2000, the last year on their NASCAR contract.