NASCAR gets plenty of air time on TV
Little did we know, back on Feb. 18, 1979, a snowstorm and some great racing would help pave the way for NASCAR to get to where it is today.
It was the Daytona 500 and, for the first time, it was being broadcast live in its entirety.
On that day, a major snowstorm hit the northeast and midwestern parts of the United States on Presidents' weekend, forcing people to stay home.
The TV ratings for the race skyrocketed because so many people were snowed in. Luckily for NASCAR, it was a great race and many previously non-race fans were hooked.
What happened on the last lap of the race coming out of turn two helped the ratings.
Racing for the win, Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough beat and banged on each other's doors until they both ended up in the wall, then slid back down the track and came to a rest on the infield.
Well, they got out of their cars and started fist fighting. Then Donnie's brother, Bobby, pulled up and jumped out of his car and joined the fight.
As you can imagine, the fans went wild and eventually the NASCAR officials broke up the fight.
We have come a long way in race coverage since then. We now have the SPEED channel that covers everything racing 24/7.
On a race weekend, coverage starts on Friday with Sprint Cup practice. That's usually followed by qualifying and then Nationwide practice.
Then at 7 p.m. (subject to change) "Track Side" airs. Later, practices from earlier that day are repeated.
On Fridays there is always something to do with racing on TV from about noon until 10 p.m.
On the day of the race (usually Sunday) there's a two hour pre-race show, then the race.
That's followed by the "Speed Report," "NASCAR Victory Lane" and then "Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain."
The SPEED channel has added some fun new shows this year.
Whether you missed a race and want an in-depth recap, or you are new to the sport and want to learn more about the drivers, the SPEED channel has something for everyone.
"NASCAR Smarts" is Monday through Thursday nights at 7 p.m. That's followed by "NASCAR Race Hub" at 7:30 p.m.
Also new to the SPEED channel is "Fast Track to Fame," "The Racing Chef," "Sounds of NASCAR" and "NASCAR in a Hurry."
So now that your up-to-speed on the SPEED channel; why not sit back and enjoy the new shows? I know I'm going to.
The Sprint Cup guys are racing in Phoenix Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.