Sunday, March 4, 2007

ESPN: Busch Series in Mexico Pre-Race Show

ESPN surrounded this event with all types of media for all kinds of reasons. On ESPN, the first live event telecast in Spanish. On ESPN2, Chris Fowler lead a pro-NASCAR marketing effort that offered a one-sided debate on the pros of this event, while ignoring the American tracks who have been begging for an event like this for years. For Felix Sabates to represent that the one thing NASCAR needed was a Hispanic flavor was certainly interesting. Many people believe that the absolute last thing NASCAR needed was another road course event with little passing and anonymous field fillers.

Fowler is much better when not over-shadowed by Brent Musburger, who was off on college basketball duties. Brad Daugherty was quickly dismissed from the set to make room for Sabates, and continues to be an enigma on these telecasts. He is a college and pro basketball player who adds little, and does not interview, report, or prepare features for the show. This pre-race was no different.

Mexico is a theme party, and the racing is foreign to Americans. A flat road course with narrow straights and curbs better suited to the IndyCar Series. Without a doubt, the look in the eyes of the regular Busch Series competitors was not one of pleasure, but one of obligation. For veteran NASCAR fans, the past memories of these cars dueling at Rockingham on a beautiful spring day are still crystal clear. Unfortunately, they are destined to remain memories.