I was delighted last night to see an IZOD IndyCar Series advertisement smack-dab in the middle of the program "NASCAR Race Hub" on the Speed Channel.
Talk about walking right into the Lion’s Den.
The NASCAR folks were talking about all the wrecks that took place when the Cup drivers were trying for a green-white-checkered finish at Talladega last Sunday when they paused for a commercial.
Suddenly, there on the screen, was Indy car driver Ryan Hunter-Reay water-skiing, surrounded by beautiful women and looking like a million bucks.
The thrust of the commercial was for viewers to go to a particular website where they can order sports clothing and maybe win an all-expenses-paid trip for four to this year’s Indy 500.
I’d heard that IZOD, which is IndyCar’s title sponsor, is spending big bucks on promotion and PR but this was the first time I’d been exposed to any of it.
Now, I don’t know if they paid extra for placement during the NASCAR show or whether they just purchased commercial time and it was luck-of-the-draw that it popped up when it did.
But it truly was a great moment in sports.
Years ago, when I agreed to take the Rogers sports pack (or whatever they call it), Leafs TV was part of the deal.
I worked nights in the newspaper business back then and wasn’t able to watch a lot of the Leafs games live so I loved going home after midnight and watching an almost-instant-replay,"Game in an Hour," in which they edited out all the line-changes and pushing-and-shoving and intermissions and just showed non-stop hockey.
I didn’t – and don’t – watch Leafs TV much but really liked (and like) the Game in an Hour.
I don’t know if Leafs TV pioneered the concept, but I’m not aware of anybody else doing it so I’m giving them the credit because others have taken notice.
Last night on the Speed Channel (after "NASCAR Race Hub" and the IZOD IndyCar commercial), they introduced a new program, "Race in :60," in which they showed last Sunday’s Talladega Sprint Cup race edited down into an hour.
Leafs TV should take a bow.
I’ve got my fingers crossed (and I’m sure every other Indy 500 fan has theirs crossed, too) that TSN finds a way to televise the final hours of this year’s Pole Day time trials at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Big changes have come to Indy this year and the run for the pole promises to be really exciting.
Forever and ever previously, the run up to the Indy 500 started on or about May 1. Teams practiced for two weeks and then they held the first weekend of time trials. Then they practiced for another week and held more time trials. Then, on the last Sunday in May, they actually held the race.
This year, it’s all being squeezed into two weeks. The drivers will practice for a week and then time trials will be held to set the 33-car field, followed by the big race a week after that.
Here’s the plan for Pole Day, which will go this year on Sat., May 22.
Every car entered will be allowed to set a time. Then, with 90 minutes remaining in the session, the fastest nine drivers will participate in a "shootout" for the pole, which will be worth $175,000.
There will be no limit on the number of runs each of those nine drivers can make until qualifying ends at 6 o’clock. There will be drama, for sure.
Pray that it doesn’t rain. And that there isn’t a ball game scheduled on TSN