Anybody who watched the X-Games this past weekend can sympathize with this.
ESPN’s camera crew is typically not very good. Since taking over the reins in NASCAR back in 2007, they have missed the beginning portion of several Nationwide and Sprint Cup crashes.
I’ve cut them a lot of slack, mostly by never mentioning them or their errors. But what they missed on Sunday at Pocono was over the line.
With just under 40 laps remaining, Jimmie Johnson wrecked Kurt Busch going down the Long Pond straightaway. Busch careened into the outside wall, slid back down into Clint Bowyer, and slammed into the inside wall before his car came to rest on the apron of turn 2.
That part of the crash, ESPN caught. Every camera at the track caught it. Which left no available angle for the follow-up wreck.
Behind them, in the midst of all the smoke, cars began to check up to avoid the crash; one of them belonging to Elliott Sadler. But the driver behind him did not check up, or at least, not enough. That driver, Sadler’s teammate AJ Allmendinger, accidentally ran into the back of Sadler, and sent him for a spin through the grass.
Then came the scary part. Sadler’s #19 car hit an inside wall that juts out, and did so with tremendous force. He hit it so hard, in fact, that it literally knocked the engine out of Sadler’s Ford.
It was one of the scariest crashes in NASCAR history, and nobody got to see it.
The only reason we know what happened to Sadler were his and Allmendinger’s interviews, and one camera angle that, by accident, just barely caught Sadler hitting the jutted-out wall down in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.
It’s not like ESPN didn’t have a camera in a prime spot to film the crash. They had a camera set up at the end of the Long Pond straightaway that literally showed that whole part of the track. The problem was that, just like every other camera there, that particular camera zoomed in on Busch, and therefore missed the follow-up wreck entirely.
This type of follow-up wreck is not unusual. We have drivers crash in the aftermath of an initial wreck all the time. Knowing that, these camera crews should at least be prepared in case something like this happens. Especially if they have the proper equipment and angles to begin with.
This type of thing happened a lot at the X-Games this past weekend as well, with crews missing several skateboard and bicycle jumps, as well as a lot of the best rally car action. I’m sure college football fans would agree that this type of thing also happens a lot during their favorite team’s broadcast.
These guys are trained professionals, and they’ve been hired to do a job by the biggest sports network in the world. The least they could do is catch a fair share of the action, whether it be on the track, the ramp, or the field.