FOX announced their booth lineups for the 2020 NASCAR season on Friday and they are less than stellar. We’re talking on par with Booger McFarland bad. This is Tony, Moose, and Goose bad. This lineup might be the worst racing lineup since ESPN tried to put Rusty Wallace on the IndyCar call.
This announcement comes on the heels of former FOX reporter Ray Dunlap’s tweet saying cuts were coming to the NASCAR programming this season. Dunlap said FOX overpaid for the NASCAR broadcast rights along with the god awful production and now they’re feeling the pinch.
Since FOX renewed its deal with NASCAR in 2015 the broadcast has gone downhill, and fast. Their booths are outdated, their producers are better qualified for a local access channel’s high school football production. The green-screen RACEHUB set is downright atrocious and massively overdone. It’s so bad it looks like a dystopian parody of what a NASCAR show would look like. But hey, at least they got rid of the Daytona Day commercials.
2020 Booth Lineups
Cup: Mike Joy & Jeff Gordon
FOX will be going with a 2-man booth in 2020 definitely not because of cost-cutting and totally because a 2-man booth is all you need. CBS used to do it all the time, this will work. Darrell Waltrip’s departure marks the first time since 2001 he won’t be on the call. DW’s age and lack of experience in these cars showed as he tried to tell Gordon what was happening with the Gen 6 car. For nostalgia’s sake, it’s sad to see him go but the overall product should be better. Gordon is a welcomed addition to the booth in part for his experience in these race cars and how in touch he still is with the garage. Mike Joy has been the anchor of the FOX booth for 20 years, however, his mistakes last season were enraging at times. A cleaner Mike Joy with Gordon could be an alright duo.
Xfinity: Adam Alexander, Michael Waltrip, & Clint Bowyer (sometimes)/Other Cup Drivers
This booth lineup could be the most unlistenable in sports. Gus Johnson screaming at you around noon on a Saturday about Texas football could be close. Adam Alexander could be the worst “lead” announcer in sports. He’s a better fit for… well anything behind a camera. Like Rick Allen he’s from the school of yelling makes things exciting, except they don’t. Combine that with Michael Waltrip, who is friends with Dale Earnhardt and you have a terrible listening experience for the fans. Waltrip, Dale’s friend, provides very little insight into what drivers are doing, and he’s the driver in the booth meant to give us insight. He’s also Dale’s friend. Bowyer is fine, and other Cup drivers are solid as well.
Trucks: Vince Welch & Michael Waltrip
Vince Welch isn’t bad. Honestly, he should probably be the Xfinity lead as well. If FOX isn’t spending money they should utilize what they have. Perhaps the reason we don’t mind Vince is because we don’t see a lot of him. For Michael Waltrip (Dale’s Friend) just read above. And RIP in Peace to Phil Parsons. He’s not dead just his career calling trucks is for some reason.
Also, with Waltrip calling Xfinity races and assuming he’ll be at the track for that will FOX fly Vince to Truck/Xfinity companion races or make him call the races from Charlotte with Michael alone in the booth at the track?
ARCA: Dave Rieff & Phil Parsons
Dave Rieff returns to call ARCA races in 2020. The voice of NHRA wasn’t bad last season and this year he’ll be teamed with Phil Parsons again. Solid booth, after all, it’s ARCA. Having two people who can coherently speak is a win.
FOX seemingly doesn’t care about the broadcast teams, the production, the sport. The network hasn’t evolved since around 2005 other than add a new guy here and there. Meanwhile, NBC has a 4-man booth that works really well. Their production is phenomenal and the fans seem to gravitate toward their coverage. The blueprint is there for FOX, they just refuse to look at it.
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