Embarrassing Broadcast Effort Makes Whelen Mod Tour Look Like NASCAR Afterthought At Martinsville

Over the last month or so NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series director Jimmy Wilson has worked hard through social media and traditional media in trying to promote the professionalism and stature of the historic division he oversees. 

On Thursday night the broadcast on NBC Track Pass of the Whelen Modified Tour season opening event at Martinsville Speedway took all those efforts by Wilson and stomped on them with the force of a 10-car pileup at speed. 

After all the buildup to the season opener, after all the anticipation of the return to Martinsville, after all the wait of the offseason, NASCAR’s broadcast partners put in an effort Thursday that treated the Whelen Modified Tour like they were the JV hoops throwaway broadcast on a bad cable access outlet. 

Want to know what sounds immensely disingenuous? When you’re a broadcaster calling an event like Thursday’s at Martinsville and you’re portraying yourself as a huge fan of the series and its history and its excitement, and then you can’t pronounce the names of the drivers involved and you don’t know what a NERF bar is. 

Ever been to a Super Bowl party and someone is going on and on about how they’re a massive fan of one of the teams, but then it becomes clear they actually don’t even know who any of the players are? That’s what happened Thursday night with the announcers calling the Whelen Modified Tour Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 200. 

Sam Rameau? He became Sam RAY-MEE-OHH.

Sing along with us at home, DOE RAY MEE OHHHH! 

Somehow Tommy Catalano became Tommy CAT-UHH-LEE-NO. 

Just how do you get one from the other? Just sound it out and you’ll do fine. 

Legendary former driver and now Patrick Emerling crew chief Jan Leaty was referred to as “Jane” Leaty.

At one point NERF bars were referred to as “Those protective bars”.

The reality is anyone that’s been around short track racing long enough has at one point or another heard some bad announcing. It happens. Names get mistaken or mispronounced. Mistakes happen whether it’s names, or the amount of laps left or running orders or any other number of things that can get screwed up. 

What’s disheartening is when it becomes clear that it’s not just mistakes, it’s about a production group that’s too lazy to actually put the effort in to produce a professional broadcast.

No broadcaster with any desire to come across as a professional should be mispronouncing names. It’s beyond simple. You do the homework before the event and get prepared. There were 32 names in the Thursday’s field, most of which are very easily pronounced. The broadcasters calling Thursday’s race should have taken five minutes and went to a series official and said “Can you tell us the pronunciation of each driver in tonight’s field?” It’s literally that simple to do.

The message sent by the two announcers handling Thursday’s broadcast was: “It’s just the Whelen Modified Tour, we don’t need to prepare, we can just make it up as we go because nobody cares about these drivers or this series anyway?” 

And that’s not fair to the Whelen Modified Tour. It’s not fair to the teams of the Whelen Modified Tour who try to present the series professionally at each event they go to. 

It’s simply demeaning to the efforts of those teams and the efforts of NASCAR to bring a professional and prepared look to the series at each stop when there’s a broadcast streamed on a nationally recognized outlet with a “Screw these guys, let’s just mail it in” production quality. 

Throughout the broadcast the announcers took turns giving Eric Goodale different pronunciations on his name. Sometimes one would mispronounce it one way and literally in the next sentence the other would mispronounce it another way. How bad it is when the announcers can’t even simply agree on one wrong mispronunciation and have to use multiple wrong names for the same person?

Goodale went on to win the Martinsville race, but the broadcasters didn’t get the opportunity to mispronounce his name during his victory celebration ceremony. No, viewers didn’t get that chance because the broadcast abruptly ended before Goodale ever even got out of his car. No celebration shot. No interviews with the winner. No interviews with anyone. 

Race over, thanks for coming, bye.

Here’s hoping NBC Track Pass will do better going forward. 

More importantly, here’s hoping NASCAR officials won’t just stand by idly and let dreadful broadcast efforts be what represents the series to a nation of viewers. 


  1. Chaggy31 says

    The broadcast was terrible. They had plenty of time during some of the cautions to find replays and what do we get, a view of the tire marks where Dave Sapienza hit the wall. No victory lane celebration was also disappointing. No information about Preece losing a lap or explanation why he didn’t get the lucky dog when Gary McDonald crashed. Hard to believe there was no replay of the crash at the end. Just disappointing.

  2. Shawn I’m so glad you called out a 💩 broadcast. I couldn’t believe how bad they hacked some of the driver’s last names and thought to myself that it was very disrespectful to not put in any effort to learn the proper pronounceacion. I’m not sure either one of those clowns had ever been to a open wheel race. Not knowing what the proper term is for a nerf bar.lol Not one single replay of anything!!! Not one single post race interview of race winner or drivers who ended up in the wall on the last lap. That’s the stuff that will take someone just watching and turn them into a fan but Nascar just doesn’t care.

  3. Jari Georgia says

    The audio was horrible— they really toned down the awesome sound of The Mods…you could barely hear the sound of the cars.

  4. Stuart A Fearn says

    Totally agree with this assessment of the lackluster, at best, production. Dropping the broadcast 90 seconds after the checkered flag was the real kicker.
    We all just shook our heads and went back to work almost like it was expected, that’s how pathetic it was to any knowledgeable fan.
    “Those protective bars” are three words which will live in infamy!

  5. Don’t forget Dave Saapienza.
    That’s what is known in journalistic parlance as tearing whomever was responsible for those announcers a new one. It was so bad if the race was shown at a local watering hole in front of a well lubricated audience it would have been good with the patrons falling off their bar stools laughing.
    Wasn’t just the names. The camera would be on one battle and they’d be describing another. It was very sterile from the start. These are the drivers, bing, bang, boom now the race will start. No emotion for the first race and no connection to the series. No behind the scenes banter about things going on leading up to the race very important TO THE FIRST RACE OF THE SEASON. . Did we say stand up and clap for the drivers…..check…..next. This was by far the worst call but there have been other clinkers. Mainly down south where the announcers don’t know modifieds. They use local talent and that of course is using the word talent very loosely. Unprofessional but a one off. Next is Stafford and home cooking.

  6. knuckles mahoney says

    Couldn’t have said it better Shawn.

  7. meanwhile at Stafford…..

  8. I believe it’s SOP for TrackPass to use track PA announcers for its telecasts(?). A bad job by Martinsville led to a black eye for NASCAR. The NBCSN presentations of Tour races typically have separate (and competent, but remote) broadcasters involved.

  9. I noticed the Sam Rameau mixup as it was quite noticeable as he tried to sound it out on air. You could tell he wasnt sure, and he surely didnt get it right.I didnt catch the other flubs. Most touring series have their own announcers that travel with the series and announce all their races to avoid issues like this. They also have good stories about the drivers and do a much better job promoting future races and sponsors. The series announcers have a vested interest in the series whereas the local track announcers interest lies squarely in promoting the home track not the visiting series. For some reason Nascar doesnt have their own announcers. It seems pretty amateurish if you ask me. The lack of post race interview surprised me. After the rain delay and the late night they just wanted to get it over with and go home.

    It was nice to see the mods at Martinsville. How about Jaimei Tomaino getting a top ten. Nice to see him out there. I honestly was pretty distracted watching other things having this race on the laptop while watching other things on the tv. I will probably rewatch it sometime before the sizzler.

  10. Andy DaRos says

    100% spot on, Shawn. This was a definite low for TrackPass coverage that has had some very good broadcasts and has improved over the last couple of seasons. There are many folks online this morning saying they are happy there is any broadcast at all. I guess I can get that; but, there have been more than enough broadcasts with knowledgeable commentators, replays, pit reporting, and certainly winner’s interviews, for us to not expect that in coverage we have been paying for for. I feel that just being happy with any broadcast at all, that you are paying for, is like ordering your favorite pepperoni pizza, only to have it show up at your table one day with no pepperoni and just be happy you have pizza at all. You wouldn’t be satisfied with that. Why should anyone from the fans up to the drivers be satisfied with that abomination last night?

    The drivers, teams, sponsors, and most of all, the paying customers, deserve better out of TrackPass, NASCAR, and NBC Sports.

  11. Brian DaRos says

    I was disappointed there were no replays. Huge log jam on the front stretch collecting a number of competitive cars, no play back. What caused McKennedy & Pitkat to get torn up on the final lap? No view and no explanation.

  12. Announcers have to be expert in the subject they are working. Is this too much to expect? These guys had no idea what they were doing. This was a shame, a complete, total shame.

    A common fan would have done a far better job.

    But then, NBC cut off the broadcast before the VL celebration!!!!! Come on NBC, show some respect.

    And then there was very little camera coverage, no reply. No visual on the accidents, no replay of passes or highlights. Yaknow, things that are standard operating procedures.

  13. Let’s see what NBCSN does with the rebroadcast in a couple days. Hopefully they can edit it, show the highlights, and dub in some knowledgeable announcers. And show the VL celebration.

  14. Richard Oloff says

    A real embarrassment of a hack job. Just give the job to Derek Pernisiglio who does a outstanding job commentating and has great knowledge of the modifieds.


    I think Nascar is slowly killing the modifieds because they know that the mods outshine the big boys. Way faster lap times, the quality of the racing, and lead changes. When they go to a cup track i think the higher ups in Nascar are hating on the mods because its better racing and they dont want to embarass the xfinity or cup guys. Its a better show and better box office. You walk through the turnstyle now to see a mod race and the higher ups like to keep it quiet cause they want people to think cup is where its at.

  16. Suitcase Jake says

    We sat under roof for rain delay. Stayed there for the Race. That was by far the Loudest Modified Race I have ever been to by a Huge Margin!! They layout of grandstand and sounds bouncing back off the roof was unreal!! Good thing we had earplugs, but it was a good Race . Bring in Matt Buckler or Kyle Rickey , Joe Coss Ben Dodge. I was amazed at how narrow the track is form frontstrech to backstretch was . Paper clip long straight away very tight turns kinda like Hudson. track drys super fast ! Saw Dutch Inn . Hot dogs were awesome too. First time there was really fun!! Great people great fun. I can see why stuck throttle would be deadly there. RIP Richie !! No soft walls back then . I can’t even Imagine the Cup Cars for 500 laps there . Very narrow exit from inside wall to outside walls . No room for mistakes at all . You get pushed up high and your going all the way back .

  17. Jimmy King says

    Why is anyone surprised? Modifieds ARE an afterthought for NASCAR. They created, from scratch, a racing series for friggin’ pick-up trucks! They promoted the hell out of it and all the while the modifieds were largely ignored. Know this, if Tri-Track and all of the mod opens were not threatening NASCAR the Tour would not be going to Martinsville, Richmond, etc. What has stopped them for running there the past 10-20 years? Nothing.

    NASCAR throws the modifieds a little bone to settle the waters and everyone thinks NASCAR gives a hoot? Please, it has happened time and time again for at least a couple of decades. This is nothing against the drivers and teams on the Tour, I will be at the Sizzler because I like watching modifieds, but I would be there sanctioned or not.

    Shortened broadcasts, shortened races, bumped races, understand that modifieds are an afterthought to NASCAR. Taxi cabs and pick-up trucks are their priority. BTW, It’s great to see the SMART tour get off to a great start after NASCAR almost killed off modifieds in the South.

  18. Jimmy King, pickup trucks are one of the most popular vehicle classes in the USA. Believe it or not, women are a very large population of pickup truck buyers. There was great appeal there, so it made sense to make a racing series out of it.

    There’s nothing in the general public that can relate to a ground pounding mighty Modified.

    This season, and last, NASCAR is looking for any open port in the COVID-19 storm. 🦠 The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic 😷 is having a HUGE impact. It can not be ignored. The public safety requirements have limited the operations of tracks, limited crowd sizes, etc. and that imposes a revenue limitation that makes it difficult to impossible for tracks to host the NWMT. Tracks have a bit more leverage now, hence the dropping of the NASCAR sanction. NASCAR ran races at unsanctioned tracks, previously something they would not do, tracks were previously required to be sanctioned.

    That the NWMT could not find tracks in the northeast to run, that the 3-4 events normally run at Thompson were gone, and other tracks were not interested, NASCAR had to go find tracks that would run a NWMT event.

    There just are not many NASCAR sanctions left, not many tracks are NASCAR sanctioned anymore.

    To send the Mods on such long distance hauls is obvious that they are desperately searching for places to run. If Thompson were still in play, Martinsville & Richmond would not be on the schedule.

  19. Andrew Michael says

    Probably the most out of place thing they said the entire night was “Justin Bonsignore doing an awesome job keeping those fenders on that racecar.” are you serious?! Why have commentators hired to announce the race that have no prior knowledge as to what they’re even doing! So ridiculous they should be ashamed. Should make our Stafford community that much more thankful for the amazing announcers, amazing staff, and amazing broadcast they put on every week.

  20. Bill Allerton says

    I am so glad I am not the only one that had a problem with that broadcast . I rushed last night to pay my money and sign up for track pass just to listen to people that had obviously never seen modifieds . Also the cameras most times did not match the cars they were talking about . You have to do better then this ! Take some fans out of the stands and you will be way better off . I sincerely hope someone listens because the modifieds and all the people involved deserve much better .

  21. Fast Eddie says

    Dareal, you may be out of luck on that editing thing. I couldn’t watch last night and figured I’d check out the replay today. I’m currently having loads of fun trying to fast forward through the rain delay, which only works 30 seconds at a time. You know, I try my best to be positive about things BUT…
    Who is the ABSOLUTE MORON at NBCSN that decided to leave the rain delay in the replay? It would take only a few minutes with their equipment to edit this out. WTF, REALLY?!?!?!?!?

  22. David Fisher says

    yep, it was terrible. But I got to watch it instead of waiting on facebook reports, for $15.00 a month. I wish they had made it a professional broadcast, but they didn’t, and I still got to see it. Silver lining maybe?

  23. Andrew Michael wrote, “So ridiculous they should be ashamed. ”

    They don’t know enough to be ashamed. It’s a vicious cycle.

  24. Todd A Behling says

    When a broadcast is this bad, names need to be used. Announcers, producers, whoever they give us. But it’s probably wise to let them try to get it right the next time they tell us they are ‘big fans’. Show us!

  25. I was working late so I ended up listening to the MRN broadcast. They did a fine job for a series they don’t normally cover. Maybe it would have been better to turn the volume down on the TV and listen to the coverage from the MRN crew.

  26. Just Me - The Original says

    I can’t count how many times that the announcers and the cameramen were off sync. One time the announcers were talking about the battle for the lead and the cameras were showing mid pack racers. I know you can’t always be together, but really, at least try…

  27. From what I could tell the broadcast was just a raw video feed. The announcers were whoever was at the track to call the race for the crowd- when the race was red-flagged you could hear their voices coming through the track’s speaker systems. I don’t know if this means they were just guys who worked at the track or maybe volunteers, but I doubt they were hired by NBC to do the race. They definitely weren’t watching monitors of the video feed which is why they were seemingly out-of-sync with the broadcast- they were watching the race live out their booth windows. For 5 bux a month I can’t really demand something less bare-bones than this. Replays would be nice but you don’t get them when you’re at a race track, so I wouldn’t expect them on a raw video feed either.

  28. They probably want you to tune in to the rebroadcast of the race, which i believe is Wednesday at 5 to see interviews and replays .Looks like they did it on the cheap to save money..

  29. I agree with Jimmy King. As for the trucks, they should make fiberglass plugs to make it look like the trucks are hauling something like cordwood ect…

  30. wmass01013r says

    OK Many Points, Yes the Broadcast was Terrible!. the actual Picture was AMAZINGLY Clear,I LOGGED in around 10 thinking i would watch the replay and saw 94 laps down so i watched the rest, the sad fact is the Track pass races were Great last year as far as announcing even at J town and WMMP which were NEW, I was Really upset to see a guy i root for in Goodale get His BIGGEST win ever and a big surprise run to hold off some stout drivers and they Just said GOODNIGHT after showing him sit for 10 Minutes waiting for the VICTORY LANE STAGE to be setup, THAT WAS REALLY BAD!!!!!!!
    BUT the haters of course say NASCAR HATES mods, really they are killing the mods because they make the Cup guys look BAD???? OR LIKE TRUCKS MORE ??????? cmon, sure u could say THEY could hire a set BROADCAST team to do all the races but that would cost $$$$$$$$ and it has not been a problem with NBC OR the previous race carrier

  31. Glenn Evans says

    “should have went”? How bout “should have gone”.

  32. Glenn Evans, you need help?

  33. Fred Wilcox says

    The broadcast of the Whelen Modified Tour event at Martinsville was so bad.
    How bad was it?
    The announcers only provided the starting lineup for the first 32 drivers. The names of the remaining 3 starters (positions 33 – 35) appeared on the Jumbotron but were never mentioned by the announcing team. (You will note that Shawn also stated above, “There were 32 names in the Thursday’s field…”.) They started 35 but who knew except for those of us at the track!

  34. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Someone explained online about why there were no replays or victory lane. They said it was because those two things were part of the TV broadcast only not the live stream. Don’t ask me why. It was extremely annoying after a caution not being able to see what happened. I guess we’ll have to wait until it’s on TV.

  35. getserious says

    You know it’s a really bad broadcast when you find yourself actually missing the inane lines “closer than most people park” or “it’s the white flag, but no-one’s surrendering” or “No question about it!” for the 200th time.
    It’sjust shocking what you get these days for $2.99/ month when you can see a single race on Speed51 for $30.

  36. The Atomic Punk says

    I remember back in the mid 1980s having to call a race line phone number to get the results of races I could not make it to. As bad as these broadcasts can be I’m just glad I can watch.

  37. Shawn,thanks for calling these idiots out, somebody has to. good story, keep it up.

  38. There’s precedent for a bad call on a NWMT streaming feed. The year 2019, the race the season opener at Myrtle Beach. FansChoice provided it free that year, streaming races not new but still in the nascent stages and the modified fan base getting accustomed to the experience.
    On March 16th the race results appeared in RaceDayCt. Most of the fan base saw the race on FansChoice and the chat was primarily about the race. Meanwhile on social media a storm was brewing about the stream cast and specifically the announcing and the reaction to the criticism that may have prompted Shawn to write this opinion piece on March 18th.


    The thrust of the article was fans sugarcoating an obviously bad call of the race by criticizing anyone that would call out the announcing for what it was which was horrible.
    Fast forward two years and the perspective is a little different. No worries about sugar coating because the product is no longer free, the audience more sophisticated about streaming. Expecting better quality having seen it provided by all the other competing products available. Nascar wants to be a player in providing their content that’s fine. However when Stafford and Riverhead can provide their races via PPV the very first time and be light years ahead of NASCAR that has been doing it for a few years…………..come on man!
    In 2019 the next race was at South Boston, the announcing far better and the issue lay dormant for the most part until now. Ben will be making his magic in the next race and Matt shall exceed the two novices at Martinsville by an elephants tusk and the issue will go dormant once again but damage has been done.
    That call didn’t bother me at all other then to provide a what the ……… was that kind of moment, I was enjoying the race. I know the drivers, kind of knew who would competitive, was following it simultaneously on NASCAR;s live timing primarily focused on the 51. The 51 was the primary attraction for most of the race, the producer concentrating on it a lot even if the announcers had no clue what the camera was showing.
    Unfortunately someone tuned in for the first time to see a modified race and will not become a fan having been completely uninspired by that sterile, incompetent trash that NASCAR ultimately is responsible for. You’d think they’d get it by now. It’s not enough for it to be free or now virtually free at $2.99 plus tax. You have to master the small things before you can get big returns down the road.

  39. Thank goodness the stream was suspended during the rain delay. Imagine listening to these guys fill the airtime during the rain delay?


    It did become laughable though, I found myself giggling at these idiots. With the remaining streams, I’ll keep the volume off and follow online comments and sources, or MRN.

  40. Maybe I missed the memo, or it’s on my cable provider. But for those interested in watching the rebroadcast, the nascar press release for the modified event at martinsville, unless I’m mistaken, said the rebroadcast would be nbcsn on Wednesday April 14, 5 pm.
    I have Xfinity, and on Xfinity, it’s listed for Thursday, April 15, @4:30 pm. Not sure why, but I thought I’d pass along, for the guys that want to watch the rebroadcast. My apologies ahead of time, if I missed something or got this wrong.

  41. Bobf, that’s not the first time that published vs actual rebroadcast times and dates were not in agreement.

    Which one is correct?

    Just more lack of professionalism. They don’t give a 💩.

  42. 😷😷😷 darealgoodfella 😷😷😷 says

    Fast Eddie, no worries, I am NOT going to watch the rebroadcast of this event. Once was enough.

  43. Earl Hamil says

    In person, the race was amazing. I never go see cup or sportsman live. Waste of time. No competition.

    Justin Bonsignores drive was as good as I’ve seen and I grew up on Maynard Troyes and Richie Evans at Spencer.

    I wanna see a tv replay just to see it again.

  44. Sharpie Fan says

    After finally getting to watch the broadcast I just wanted to add the final nail into the coffin of the broadcast team and Nascar. At the beginning of the race they announced that Ryan Preece won the pole with a time of 18.607 seconds and a speed of 61 mph. Well, I happen to know because I have the nifty stopwatches that convert time into mph that 20.000 seconds at Stafford (.5 mile) is 90 mph. So in the interest of accuracy, 18.607 seconds is actually over 96.5 mph. Maybe Nascar didn’t want it to appear that the Mod Tour is faster than the Cup cars. But it gets better. I went to the Nascar Home Tracks site just to check what they had for qualifying results and it lists Ryan Preece with a TIME of 1:41.768 and a SPEED of 18.607!! According to the data on their website Melissa Fifield should have had the pole because she has a time of 1:28.474 and a speed of 21.403. Sad, just really sad.

  45. “pickup trucks are one of the most popular vehicle classes in the USA. Believe it or not, women are a very large population of pickup truck buyers. There was great appeal there, so it made sense to make a racing series out of it.

    There’s nothing in the general public that can relate to a ground pounding mighty Modified. ”

    I would substitute “advertising opportunity” for appeal. Remember, Camping World trucks are F150’s, Tundras and Silverados. ;^)

  46. Indeed, much better choice of words, “advertising opportunity” would have been much more meaningful.

    I’m still baffled at how the xfinity cars and Camping World trucks survive because they play to empty arenas, the few there at reduced ticket prices ain’t paying the bills. 💵 But these cars and trucks are sponsored to play to the TV audience. Clearly the sponsors are well aware that there are but a handful of people in the stands at the xfinity car and Camping World truck races.

    Just look at all the placement of corporate logos and product names in camera view, even in the vehicles.

    Vewy, vewy intahwesting.

  47. Sponsor advertising was always one of the reasons I thought mods never got full support from NASCAR or sponsors.

    There’s so much less sheet metal that can act as a TV-friendly rolling billboard than a taxi or truck. Sure, we can see some logos in person, and the rear panel is there, but without a hood and unobstructed sides, it doesn’t show off advertising nearly as well. This was exponentially more true before HDTV.

  48. They are doing pretty good with what sheetmetal they have to work with. I can recognize cars by the sponsor/theme quite easily.

    Indeed, the graphics capability of the wraps seems to work exceptionally well with a modified. There are a few very snazzy looking cars lately.

    Makes me wonder what ever happened to the “Best Appearing” awards.

  49. Racing Reference clearly had the stats mixed up for the Martinsville race which added to the announcing just made for a very unfriendly stat environment.
    At Martinsville Newman practiced fastest at 18.70/101.273 making Preece’s speed after a bit of interpolaton 101.78 based on an elapsed time of 18.607.
    Let’s just say Fifield was off the pace.

  50. Henry Lecomte says

    I guarantee if the Arutes formed a modified touring series to run say with Indy car or some other known series the tour guys would show up because the Arutes are the best in the business.

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