Thursday, April 5, 2007

ESPN's "NASCAR Now" Finds A Host At Last

NASCAR Now welcomed back Ryan Burr as host tonight, and perhaps NASCAR fans took notice. Burr kicked the show off with Matt Kenseth, who is a notoriously difficult interview. In this segment, there were several things not previously seen on NASCAR Now. They included a driver smiling, good questions, interesting answers, and an informed host.

Tim Cowlishaw stopped-by and tried again to create some controversy about the Martinsville finish. The NASCAR Now producers might check the calendar and notice that today is Thursday. The race happened on Sunday. Things a little light in the News Department? Please send Cowlishaw back to Around The Horn, because NASCAR Now needs to add content, not opinion. Perhaps, ESPN will someday discover that NASCAR has several outstanding regional series around the nation...and then report on it.

Marty Smith and Ryan Burr make things fun. These two create the level of excitement and interest that NASCAR fans have been looking for since RPM2Nite signed-off years ago. Smith updated us on the face-lift for Darlington, possible franchising, and Junior's near miss at Martinsville. Then, DJ Copp stopped-by and again delivered his plain-spoken commentary on the pitroad side of the sport. He has been a surprise since his first appearance, and continues to lend a nice perspective. Two more series regulars who work great with Burr.

The show stayed in high gear, and jumped right into an interview with Craftsman Truck Series driver Aaron Fike. Originally, ESPN ignored the NCTS completely. Many felt it was due to the fact that the series airs on SPEED Channel. Burr asked excellent questions of Fike, and gave great exposure to this young driver and the NCTS series itself. Veteran move by NASCAR Now to include this type of information. Fike ended by smiling and saying "glad to be on." Four words we have never heard on NASCAR Now before from any driver.

Because this show was so good, we can forgive ESPN for actually asking Tim Cowlishaw to pick the winner of the Texas NEXTEL Cup race...two weekends from now. I guess when the Sales Department sells a feature, it has to run. Apparently, the Vault Cola check cleared.

This has been a tremendous two-day run for NASCAR Now and ESPN2. Ryan Burr has done in forty-eight hours what Erik Kuselias and Doug Banks have been unable to do in over two months...make NASCAR Now credible. Congratulations to ESPN for recognizing a problem, and making changes to solve it.


Olde Typewriter (Vroom!) said...

Excellent blogating...I just found your site.

Is Speed falling behind by not having a 'daly', no pun, vrooming show?

JHD said...

The only reasons I even watched NASCAR Now after the first week were 1) the slim hope things would improve and 2) there wasn't any alternative. I usually FF'ed through everything until I got to Marty Smith's portion of the show or the segment was about one of my drivers.

There is such a difference between Ryan's interviews and those with the other 2 "hosts". The biggest difference being that he had honest, natural reactions to the information he was given because he understood what he was being told. If you have no idea what is going on around you, you can't have any reaction at all.

I have no idea why it took ESPN 2 months to fix things, but I hope this change is permanent.

Anonymous said...

I've only caught the show a couple of times. It seemed quite ho-hum to me. Maybe I'll give it another look based on this report. As to Matt K. being a difficult interview, I believe it is difficult for most to relate to Matt witch is what causes the tension or un-easiness. If you would like to hear him at his silliest, check out his weekly interview on Milwaukee local radio with Bob & Brian at 102.9 The Hog. I have seen a link to the interview at Matts' fan site.

Chuck L.
Waukesha Wi.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to quit rehashing old info and add new content. Where Bob Jenkins when you need him? Or Dave Despain.

good try ESPN. I hope you return to your old glory.


Anonymous said...

I didn't know they had changed hosts! I will give it another chance. It was SO bad, I couldn't watch it.

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet--Great Byline to start with, but IMHO it's most important to encourage U to continue examining TV reporting, ESPN in particular.
Please keep up yore good work.
It is necessary!

gary said...

You have to question ABC/ESPN for forcing that Banks on us. This smells like the media trying to force diversity on NASCAR instead of reporting the story. Great improvement with NASCAR Now.

Anonymous said...

I thought was better now. However, until interviewers listen to the drivers answers and THEN formulate the next question, I won't be happy. So many ask a question that the driver just answered. This one bothers me more than any other.
Marty Smith is good; Wendy Venturini, Bob Dilner, and many others are good.
The new guy on was much better than the others he replaced, but he should still work at his craft. He should watch Dave Despain(any of his shows) who is my hero when it comes to journalists and second only to Chris Econimaci(forgive my spelling).

Anonymous said...

At least it's better than the "Nick and Jessica" show on SpeedChannel....Marty Smith is such a suck-up NASCAR mouthpiece. It's a shame he didn't stay at's where he fits in best. NASCAR Now at least tries to give current news and not put such a PR spin on it for the France family...