Friday, April 6, 2007

Race Fans Re-Discover "NASCAR Now" on ESPN2

Rusty Wallace was hyped. Ryan Burr was pumped. Terry Blount brought the hard news. Boris Said reported directly from the track in Nashville...and had really big hair. ESPN2 has hit it out of the ballpark in the first week of the baseball season. New host Ryan Burr has made NASCAR Now a winner.

The Daly Planet has been calling for more of Rusty Wallace on NASCAR Now since Daytona. Today, Rusty stopped by at the top of the show and proved once again why he is key to the success of this series. His personality, excitement, and knowledge about NASCAR, including this week's Busch Series event, is what fans want. He tells it like it is, never minces his words, and has not fallen into the "politically correct" gang of announcers. In their first on-air meeting, Ryan Burr proved that he and Rusty can keep viewers glued to the TV with their fast-paced conversation. If ESPN can let Rusty interact with viewer email or videos in the future, they will create a distinctive niche and give fans yet another reason to tune-in.

Boris Said is so much better when he is at the track, and this week the driver/analyst was loaded with info. Still in his driver's suit from practice, Boris gave viewers the straight scoop on the track, the cold weather, and the contenders. Host Ryan Burr brought out the excitement of Boris having a good car for this event, and several personal and honest comments about how Said needs to improve to compete at this level. Boris did take the time to add a new NASCAR Now classic line. Boris tossed out that the Busch guys were "like a bunch of Dobermans with hand grenades in their mouth." Now, this is TV!

Terry Blount alone handled the news duties today, and came with the strong info on a wide variety of topics. Perhaps, both Blount and Marty Smith will be set free to host their own news segment, and avoid scripted questions from the host. Still, the news segment moved along and Blount turned in his best performance since NASCAR Now went on the air. I have a feeling the reporters are feeling the new vibe of this show as well.

NASCAR Now still has a little cleaning-up to do. The bizarre sound effects during the news segments are just ridiculous, and the backgrounds for the reporters and interview segments need to be re-done. But, this is minor compared to the struggle for credibility of this entire series for two months. The Daly Planet has tried to be upfront and honest during this time, despite the criticism from other reporters and TV executives that our opinions were tainted. NASCAR Now was a mess, and the fact that ESPN stepped-up to the plate and made positive changes has resulted in a viable and very watchable series. I would invite those fans who left earlier this year to give it a try once again.


Anonymous said...

I was one of those people that left... I'll have to do that, provided Burr isn't in a rotation with whats his name and that other guy.

Olde Typewriter (Vroom!) said...

I agree with you that the show has come a long!

Terry Blount brings alot to the show.

Glenn Klima said...

"NASCAR Now" has a larger problem, in my opinion! It needs to be shown/aired at it's allocated time slot. I have tuned in om several occasions and have found everything but "NASCAR Now" i.e. College Basketball, Tennis! I agree with the writer of the article, initially I thought it was all glitz and glamour with little content. I gave them a chance, and I watched regularly and the show was getting better (except for the sound effects). However, lately I have not bothered to check if it's on, even if it says it's on in the channel guide. I quit watching because I feel that it was ESPN2 HD trying to get me to watch a different program by hyping NASCAR. Now, this might work well with the latte drinking Northwest crowd who don't want folks with old cars on blocks in their back yards, but it sits kinda poorly with this long time NASCAR fan. ESPN, wake up....air the show as scheduled or just don't schedule it....basically I now will not watch anything NASCAR related on ESPN, I prefer the old standby SPEED TV and their excellent NASCAR coverage!!

Glenn Klima
NEW Milton, WV

Gugh Pagett said...

In NASCAR's sell-out to the highest bidder Speed Channel has apparently been replaced by ESPN. One problem, ESPN is no longer available to big dish satellite viewers.

Anonymous said...

You are right on the money, this show is both informative and entertaining. It may need a little tweaking but it'll get better.
I hated to do it but I shut myself off from those windbags at "fox", ESPECIALLY dw. I just can't take the egos and those annoying catch-phrases.
Nascar Now is a super refreshing breath of air and I will watch it with like minded friends.
A Canadian Fan

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid y'all are watching the WRONG show

you praise Rusty like hes actually GOOD at what hes doing. he said cars were getting AERO LOOSE at sorry to burst any new NASCAR fans' bubble but if you get aero loose at Bristol than you aint at Bristol

this week the whole ESPN crew was a nice little mouthpeice for Steve Wallace trying to say it wasnt his fault he plowed into David Ragan

FWIW i LOVE FOX and DW hes very informative he is guilty of praising Toyota a little harder than he should but all in all ESPN could take a note from SPEED and put Allen Bestwick on NASCAR Now (Inside Nextel Cup ring any bells?)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Glenn. I have my TIVO set to record Nascar Now. It usually is set to record two times a day and several times there has not been Nascar Now on any of the recordings. Then Saturday I tune in to the Busch pre-race show to find tennis. Now the girls were cute but that is not what I tuned in for. They barely started coverage for the start of the race. I question how serious ESPN is to Nascar and the fans?

Fan in "snowy" Texas