Nothing could be more indicative of the difference in experience between the rookies at ESPN and the veterans of NASCAR than Tuesday's NASCAR Now. David Reutimann's Fontana accident was replayed ten times in the first segment of the show with host Ed Kuselias absolutely beside himself that ESPN had some wonderful "NASCAR violence."
Then, of course, ESPN made the mistake of having Reutimann on the show, along with his cousin/spotter. Their calm demeanor and veteran perspective on this incident completely rained on the "excitement parade" that ESPN and NASCAR Now had carefully arranged. The hysteria of Kuselias was changed to the reality of racing by guest Boris Said, who explained NASCAR's safety items to the audience, and also possibly to Kuselias.
ESPN really needed their best weapon Stacy Compton on the set, and possibly in the pre-show production meeting. One has the feeling that Compton would have helped the Connecticut staff put a "racing incident" in perspective. Perhaps, he would have pointed out that replaying this one crash ten times in the first segment of the show was a little bit "amateurish."
Earnhardt Jr. pit crew member DJ Copp was tapped to cement the Anheuser-Busch relationship with ESPN with some on-camera time. He also basically disagreed with almost every over-hyped line that Kuselias gave him, as the host tried to declare that Matt Kenseth won because of "big trouble" in the pits for other crews. Copp quietly poured water on Kuselias, and pointed out the small issues with the Johnson crew and then gave a very rational preview of the changes for Vegas in the fuel cell because of tire wear. Nice job by Mr. Copp.
NASCAR Now is beginning to feel the effects of being in the Bristol, CT "outpost" in the dead of winter, even as the NASCAR family begins its season many miles away. The show continues to be more of a SportsCenter/Gameday mix than the re-birth of RPM2Nite. There is so much information and news that can be found on racing, team, and media websites that never makes this show, it still forces racing fans to return to the web for more information. Unfortunately, the ESPN.com website is woefully inadequate in its efforts to support the millions of dollars the network paid for the Busch Series rights. Even Jayski.com has become an ESPN clone, devoid of the normal gossip and inside info that brought Jay to the forefront. So far, ESPN has proven to be a stick-and-ball company struggling to deal with the reality of NASCAR within the Bristol, CT headquarters.