Saturday, April 7, 2007
Marty Reid and NASCAR at Nashville
It was nice to hear the familiar tones of Marty Reid back on the NASCAR trail this weekend in Nashville. With Jerry Punch on vacation, Marty stepped over from his NHRA duties and joined Rusty Wallace, Andy Petree, and the ESPN2 NASCAR gang.
Saturday morning, qualifying took place in frigid conditions for everyone involved. With Marty at the helm, things on ESPN2 were as comfortable as NHRA fans have come to enjoy over the last several seasons. The key for this type of single car qualifying is information, and this crew was amazing. Andy Petree has begun to take on many of the positive aspects of our late friend Benny Parsons. Petree seemingly talked to everyone in the garage before qualifying, and had information on so many different things from drivers to set-ups. His positive energy is infectious.
Rusty is really on-his-game, and with his son Steven driving fulltime in the Busch Series, Rusty knows the players. Throughout this normally boring session, Rusty delivered the kind of insight that we have come to expect, especially when young drivers are involved. This season, Rusty seems to be more comfortable with himself as a person, and not as judgemental as we have seen in the past. Even when the ESPN crew mistakenly inserted a graphic over his son's first qualifying lap, Rusty kept his cool and made it into a funny moment. One cool customer.
With Mike Massaro, Alan Bestwick, Vince Welch, and Jamie Little along covering pit road, one got the feel that this crew really liked and respected each other. This is the kind of vibe that ESPN has been looking for since they cranked up the racing coverage at Daytona. Without some of the characters that are featured on the Busch Series race broadcasts, this stripped-down version of NASCAR on ESPN worked...and worked well.