Monday, February 26, 2007

NASCAR Now: Midnight at Fontana

Stacy Compton continues to be the voice of reason for ESPN's Connecticut-based studio show. Seated alongside a former radio host, and teamed with a non-racing columnist, Compton offers calm and rational explanations amid the ESPN hype.

Erik Kuselias continues to be energetic, but this is not radio. His volume rises with each passing minute, as though he is about to take a live call from Vinnie in the Bronx about the Mets. Someone needs to help him with the fact it is only February. The next time he looks up it will be November, and that's ten long months of daily NASCAR shows. Drivers are not the only ones that need to pace themselves. He has a lot of potential, but not every news item is a crisis.

The mysterious Angelique Chengelis appeared again, without any explanation of who she is, where she works, or how she got to be an "Insider." I assume she is a journalist, but even on Around the Horn they explain where the reporters work. Her thirty seconds on Mark Martin not changing his plans for 2007 after two races was good, but wouldn't it be news if he did change his plans? As Stacy Compton said, "Mark usually does what he says."

Finally, Tim Cowlishaw now has that "deer in the headlights" look as the season is progressing. Tim is a great conversationalist, but he is constantly asked to comment on news stories as if he can somehow add another dimension to reality. His plea for Mark Martin to change his plans and race the full NEXTEL Cup schedule this year were ridiculous.

Thank goodness for Rusty Wallace and Mike Massaro. These two professionals lend some needed credibility to the "racing news" that the program is based upon. Massaro reporting from the track, and Rusty interviewed live on-camera, are two key elements that a new series like NASCAR Now needs often.

The staff of NASCAR Now might just take a moment and review some of the RPM2Nite tapes with the classy John Kernan hosting a fast-paced news-oriented show with little hype and lots of information.

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