The Associated Press
Jimmie Johnson’s dominance may have taken some of the sizzle out of the Sprint Cup Chase for the championship, but that doesn’t mean NASCAR chairman Brian France thinks Johnson’s last major steps toward a third straight points title had to be relegated to cable TV.
France said Tuesday he wasn’t pleased with ABC’s decision to bump the final laps of last weekend’s race in Phoenix to ABC-owned ESPN2 so the network could air an episode of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
“We didn’t like it, that was not what we had anticipated but we have talked to them repeatedly in the last couple days,” France said. “There were lots of circumstances that we have to consider. They have their own issues they had to manage around. Unfortunately we got the short end of that.”
France, however, says the interests of NASCAR and its television partners are “in line” and that a rare early afternoon storm and a late accident that forced two red-flag stoppages couldn’t be helped.
“America’s Funniest Home Videos” aired between 7:30-8 p.m. in the Eastern and Central time zones. The race had a rating for 4.6 in the 7-7:30 p.m. spot before the broadcast was moved.
“They did not like the idea of having to pull out of ABC and operate the way they did Sunday,” France said. “It is imperative we work closely together with them for scheduling.”
==Some background on what went down at The Big Lead (linked here)
==More background from another AP story, which quotes one of Johnson’s teammates as saying: ”I knew we were in trouble when I looked at the monitor and saw a monkey scratching its butt.” (linked here)