ESPN Enters Final Lap of NASCAR Sprint Cup Coverage With Brickyard 400
With one more Brickyard 400 to cover before NBC takes over the rights in 2015, ESPN plans to send the iconic race off with a bang. This weekend’s broadcast will feature four new Bradley Engineering HDC-100 cameras with robotic heads, provided by Fletcher, installed on telescoping mounts overlooking pit road.
“We demoed them and tested one of them out in Chicago last week,” says Dennis Cleary, senior operations manager, ESPN. “We were happy with how it looked and the setup, so we’re going to have four out at the Brickyard this year.”
The telescoping mounts, which can extend up to 17 ft. in the air and 17 ft. over pit road, will be extended to approximately 8 ft. and set up in the center of four pit boxes along pit lane. The cameras will offer viewers a unique perspective of pit stops and action on the track.
“We can see three pit boxes in each direction,” says Cleary, “so we’re going to place four [cameras] down pit lane to try to get as many cars as we can.”
In total, ESPN will deploy 75 cameras to cover Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including a jib camera located at the beginning of pit road, a helicopter camera, and four NAC Hi-Motion II cameras. ESPN added two Hi-Motion hard cameras to its complement in 2012 and, last year, added two more before converting the four into robotic cameras.
“We’ve got one that’s in Turn 1 that’s low on the wall, so that gives us a unique perspective,” says Cleary. “Then we’ve got one actually mounted right around the start/finish line on the wall between pit road and the track ,and that gives us some pretty good perspective as well.”
The remaining two Hi-Motion cameras will cover the second and fourth turns, respectively. The priority, says Cleary, is ensuring the safety of both camera operators and drivers throughout the race. ESPN worked with Robovision, which handles the track’s usual robotic complement, to operate the NAC cameras as well.
Once again, that complement includes three cameras installed in eight cars, with dual-path transmission powered by Broadcast Sports Inc. The helicopter camera, also provided by BSI, will provide overhead shots for the Brickyard 400 and all 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup race telecasts.
ESPN will deploy NEP SS21 A, B, C, and D units at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A NASCAR coverage staple since 2007, the units will cover every race in this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
When the Brickyard 400 green flag waves at 1:19 p.m. on Sunday, ESPN begins its final season of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Fourteen of the final 17 races in the Sprint Cup Series will air live on ESPN; the three Saturday-night races on the schedule will air on ABC.
For the 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, ESPN will again use NASCAR NonStop, a split-screen commercial-break format that brings more racing action to viewers.
The format, which ESPN used for the first time in 2011, shows the advertisement on the left side of the screen and the racing action on the right. NASCAR NonStop takes effect at or near the halfway point of the race, with the first half of the race presented in the traditional commercial-break format.
ESPN’s scoring ticker continues to move across the top of the screen, allowing NASCAR fans to follow the running order of the race during the breaks.