Saturday, March 10, 2007

ESPN: Busch Series - Las Vegas

The story of Las Vegas was the track, and everybody knew it. Going into this race, Jerry Punch did a good job of calming everyone down from the pre-race hysteria and getting back to racing. Rusty Wallace continues to be ESPN's voice of authority on NASCAR, and he has shown himself to be open and able to listen to the views of others during the broadcast. Rusty's last season calling the IndyCar Series on ESPN/ABC really proved to be a good experience.

Missing from the broadcast was Bruton Smith, the track owner, or Chris Powell, the General Manager. ESPN never explained why things were changed, or showed footage of the construction process. What they did do, was replay over and over again every single incident, as if the only exciting elements of the racing were the crashes. Remember, NASCAR Now on ESPN played the David Reutimann crash at Fontana ten times in six minutes on their show two weeks ago. It was obvious from this telecast, that Brent Musburger loves the accidents. He just can not get enough of the "drama" and "violence."

ESPN continues not to promote the Sunday NEXTEL Cup races, and has taken the stance that they are not a NASCAR TV partner, but they are a Disney Company who only cares about themselves. They do not promote the Truck Series, never mention, and only promote ESPN and ABC events. When NASCAR made this deal with ESPN/ABC, they clearly outlined that ESPN was here for the "overall good of the sport." Unfortunately, they forgot to tell the Busch Series on ESPN2 crew that they are just one part of a larger picture. It will be interesting to see how long NASCAR will put up with this diva behavior on the part of the network. Isn't this exactly why ESPN lost the NASCAR TV package six years ago?