Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Is TV in love with Jimmie Johnson?

   Jimmie Johnson didn't just win a fifth consecutive Sprint Cup Series championship this season, he also dominated his competition in another way - in TV exposure.

   According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Assoc. Inc. - a sports and entertainment industry leader in measurement and evaluation of sponsorships and promotional programs - Johnson was interviewed an entire half-hour longer and mentioned 1,800 more times by the announcers than series runner-up Denny Hamlin throughout the course of the season.

   The research by Joyce Julius, which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast for the last 25 years, Johnson's name was mentioned 7,875 times during the 36 live event telecasts (and replays) of the 2010 season.  Johnson also appeared in a season-high 88 interview segments, which added up to over 1 1/2 hours of television time.

   Hamlin, by contrast, drew 6,072 announcer mentions and 56 interviews that totaled just over an hour of TV time. Hamlin won the most races this season and lead the Chase for the Cup going into the season's final race.

   According to the research, Kyle Busch was the third-most mentioned driver, Kevin Harvick was fourth and Jeff Gordon fifth.

   Year-End Top-20 Interview Results:

1)Johnson, J.1881:31:357,875
2)Hamlin, D.2561:01:506,072
3)Busch, Ky.8471:07:135,500
3)Harvick, K.3470:55:005,346
5)Gordon, J.9460:59:035,039
6)Stewart, T.7400:39:293,957
7)Busch, Ku.11380:35:323,114
8)Bowyer, C.10360:36:083,482
8)Edwards, C.4360:51:203,133
10)Burton, J.12330:32:513,483
10)McMurray, J.14330:49:442,899
12)Kahne, K.20310:28:372,269
13)Biffle, G.6300:30:063,357
14)Logano, J.16270:26:591,982
15)Earnhardt, Jr., D.21210:18:452,155
16)Ambrose, M.26160:15:221,641
16)Montoya, J.17160:08:573,343
18)Newman, R.15150:14:241,966
19)Kenseth, M.5140:10:432,601
19)Keselowski, B.25140:12:441,143


Ragan heads to Snowball fight in Fla.

   David Ragan, driver of Roush Fenway Racing's No. 6 Ford, begins his off-season from NASCAR racing by competing in the Snowball Derby, a 300-lap Super Late Model stock car race held annually at the 1/2-mile Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida the first weekend of December.

   Fellow Cup driver Kyle Busch won the event last season and many NASCAR veterans from Rusty Wallace to Darrell Waltrip have won the race in the past.

   "I have never been down there, and I have built a late model car over the last off-season just to go race around the Southeast and I thought, ‘Heck, let’s go down here and run it,’ ” Ragan said.

   Ragan said he has no illusions of going down to the Derby and winning just because he's a Cup driver, but he does enjoy another opportunity for competition.

   "The first Cup off weekend in December there is usually no racing going on, so this is the perfect time of year to go race. It is the best of the best of short track racers down there. It is going to be a challenge," he said.

   "If it was going to be a cake walk I don’t think anybody would want to go down there. It is a tough race. For me, it is all about learning something else, being competitive and seeing what I’ve got."

   Besides more racing, is there anything else Ragan likes to do in the brief NASCAR offseason?

   “The biggest thing is to spend time with my family. So much over the racing season they are always second or third," he said. "Anytime I can spend some time with my girlfriend or go back home to Georgia and spend a few weeks seeing my grandparents really means a lot.

   "Once Daytona rolls around we are testing and I just don’t get a chance to see them."