The Daytona 500 not only features more than 40 stock car drivers challenging the Daytona Motor Speedway and one another, but also CBS' challenge to keep up with the race and make it entertaining to an audience that may not grasp the nuances of NASCAR.
Thus, it shouldn't come as a surprise that CBS is operating the equivalent of a couple of audio-visual stores at the Florida speedway in an attempt to bring home all elements of Sunday's race (Channel 13, noon).
"This is one of the most difficult shows to do. It has a huge scope, and it's the one show that has more equipment [assigned] than any network has ever had," said director Bob Fishman.
Fishman and Eric Mann, the telecast's producer, will head a production unit that will include 87 cameras positioned around the track and inside 10 of the cars and six more located around the oval to give the home viewer a sense of the speed of the vehicles.
"It sounds like we've lost our minds because no two people -- producer and director -- can watch them all," said Fishman, who received a prestigious Directors Guild of America award nomination for his work on CBS' tribute to the late skater Sergei Grinkov.
The feature piece of equipment is a new 85-foot crane camera, similar to ones used in movies and music videos, which will be positioned between Turns 1 and 2 to give ground level and overhead perspectives.
"CraneCam" replaces "FlyCam," the tiny camera mounted onto a mini-helicopter that buzzed over the course for the past two years. It was bounced for this year's telecast because its makers couldn't come up with a lens that could get tight shots.
Besides the 500, CBS will have coverage of the Gargoyles 300, matching Busch Series and Winston Cup drivers against each other at noon tomorrow, followed by taped coverage of the two 125-mile races held yesterday that determine the order of the back nine rows of the Daytona 500.
A big weekend of basketball kicks off tonight at 8 with the Chicago Bulls challenging the Atlanta Hawks' 20-game home winning streak on TNT. Channel 2 gets this weekend's Maryland men's basketball game as the Terps travel to Worcester, Mass., to meet Massachusetts tomorrow at 1: 30 p.m.
After racing Sunday, CBS (Channel 13) has Indiana meeting Michigan at 4 p.m., which goes head-to-head with NBC's (Channel 11) NBA doubleheader. That opens with the Los
Angeles Lakers playing host to Seattle at 3 p.m., followed by Orlando-Chicago at 5: 30 or thereabouts.
Monday night's Home Team Sports women's game pits No. 5 North Carolina, unbeaten in the ACC and featuring local talent Chanel Wright (Western), against North Carolina State at 7 p.m.
Around the dial
A couple of radio moves to report: Sun columnist Ken Rosenthal's show on WJFK (1300 AM) airs now on Saturdays at 9 a.m. and on Sundays at 10 a.m., and Nestor Aparicio's nightly program on WWLG (1360 AM) shifts times to 4 p.m., starting Monday.
Looking for hockey? The Fox Game of the Week finds Pittsburgh at Philadelphia (Channel 45, 3 p.m.) tomorrow with that neat little glowing puck on duty. The two teams meet in Pittsburgh on ESPN's Game of the Week Sunday night at 8, without a glowing puck. Decide for yourself which way you like it.
On Sunday at 7 p.m., the Discovery Channel debuts the first two installments of a five-part documentary that follows 300 people who tested their mettle against extreme terrain in British Columbia over a nine-day period. The series continues Monday at 10 p.m., airing Tuesday and Wednesday at the same time.
Meanwhile, Vikings running back Robert Smith achieves a television milestone tomorrow when he becomes the first guest star to appear on "Mystery Science Theater 3000," the wonderful movie lampoon show on the Sci-Fi Channel at 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. Smith, according to a publicity release, will make a cameo appearance in a "Planet of the Apes" sketch.
Pub Date: 2/14/97