Sunday, June 20, 2010

TNT Misses Perspective on Pivotal Moment

A late-race mistake cost Marcos Ambrose a chance at his first Sprint Cup Series victory Sunday but he was not alone in making a mindless lapse -- and he at least had a decent excuse because he was in the midst of the on-track action.

Those covering the race, specifically TNT analysts Wally Dallenbach and Kyle Petty, slumped late in the race as well.

Ambrose, who had led 35 laps, was comfortably in the lead when a late-race caution slowed action. He took the opportunity to shut off his engine briefly to try to save gas. But when he tried to restart the engine it missed and he actually came to a stop on the track.

Because he was not able to maintain speed with the pace car and was passed under the yellow flag, NASCAR officials ordered him to start seventh in the ensuing restart -- a loss of critical spots that could not be made up with just a handful of laps remaining in the race. He eventually finished sixth.

Although the TNT crew correctly cited the rule NASCAR was applying at the time, they missed when they later strayed from racing to humor, and even to soccer.

The most tasteless moment came after the race, when Dallenback said in one egregious moment as Ambrose took his time before making himself available for an interview: "If you want to find Marcos Ambrose, go the the Golden Gate Bridge."

A reference to jumping off a bridge was not funny and unconscionable. Broadcast partners Adam Alexander and Petty groaned and, thankfully, tried to get away from that topic as quickly as possible.

Petty was not blameless, either. He tried to compare Ambrose's mistake to the potential third goal in the U.S.-Slovakia soccer match Friday, citing the need to follow the rules even if competitors do not like them. He was only half right, though.

Ambrose was a victim of the rules because he violated NASCAR's rules for caution periods. The soccer incident had nothing to do with rules, though, and Petty's disclaimer about not knowing anything about the sport should have been an out-loud clue even he could catch. Then he could have decided not to utilize the ill-conceived analogy.

To his credit, Ambrose did conduct the obligatory on-camera interview as he was walking from his trailer later in the broadcast and he shouldered responsibility for his gaffe. Dallenbach and Petty should do the same.

1 comment:

  1. "A reference to jumping off a bridge was not funny and unconscionable."

    Thank you for pointing out this reprehensible comment.

    Suicide is never a joke.