Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Rookie Stripe: How to Follow a NASCAR Race When You’re Not at the Track


Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs  
One blustery September Saturday night a couple of years ago, I was at the bowling alley, pretty happy because I’d bowled two strikes and a spare and was beating my friends. It was the same night as a night race in Richmond … and all the TVs were showing NFL football. I politely asked the bartender to turn one of the TVs to the NASCAR race.

“NASCAR race? Do they even put that on TV?”
“Yes, they do.”
“Well, I don’t have any idea what channel that is.”


But as we all know, rookies sometimes surprise everyone and take home the win, and I got to watch the race at the bowling alley.

NASCAR is an all-American sport and we love it, but let’s face it, the audience isn’t quite as widespread as the NBA, MLB or NFL. When you’re not actually at the track, or if you’ve never been to a race, it can be difficult to figure out how to follow what goes on during those seemingly unending left turns.

Here are some pointers for following along:

1. Watch the race on TV.
 Race broadcasts, as well as practices and qualifying, are split between Fox and NBC as of 2016. The first 16 points races belong to FOX (10 air on FOX; six on FOX Sports 1). Nineteen of the last 20 points races will broadcast on NBC (seven air on NBC; 12 on NBCSN). The exception is the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen in Watkins Glen, NY which will air on the USA network because of the Rio Olympics coverage.

2. Listen to the race on the radio.
If you have Sirius, you can pick up Sirius NASCAR Radio on channel 90. Local radio stations across the country sign affiliation agreements with networks to put the races on the airwaves locally, so there's likely one in your area -- for example, in Charlotte it’s 106.5 The End. Either Motor Racing Network (MRN), the radio broadcasting unit of NASCAR, or Performance Racing Network (PRN), affiliated with Speedway Motorsports, will host each race, depending on the track. If I’m traveling on a weekend I almost always find the race on the radio.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs
3. Follow the race on TuneIn.
TuneIn is one of my favorite ways to follow the race from my smartphone when I’m away from the TV and radio altogether. Just download the app to your phone and either PRN or MRN will be covering the race. NASCAR RaceView Mobile app is another option when you're on-the-go.

4. Check your Twitter feed.
I’m a Twitter junkie, but it’s a great way to follow the race in real time, as even TV and radio broadcasts are sometimes on a delay. You can follow hashtags like #NASCAR, #CocaCola600 and so on, follow drivers and pit crew members, and other fans. I find it the easiest to keep all my racing and NASCAR folks in a list that I can follow from a column within Tweetdeck. That way during a race, I can just scroll through that one column without seeing tweets from my non-NASCAR friends. (You can find my Twitter Racing list here). I personally follow a lot of NASCAR media members because they provide the most accurate, timely updates. Here are some of my personal favorites:
@DustinLong
@BobPockrass
@CopaCavanna
@AndrewDoud
@tomjensen100
@PPistone
@MattWeaverSBN
@ClaireBLang
@JennaFryer
@NASCARonFOX
@NASCARonNBC
And of course ... @SkirtsandScuffs.

5. Use the NASCAR Mobile App
The NASCAR Mobile application on your smartphone is a great way to stay connected to the action. This app allows users to see a live leaderboard, watch in-car cameras, hear in car audio and more. While some features of the service are free, you will have to pay for extras including in-car audio. Sprint customers can take advantage of the additional features at no extra charge, as long as they are on an unlimited data plan.


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