Friday, May 11, 2007

ESPN's NASCAR Countdown At Darlington: Bestwick In Charge

The transformation of ESPN's Busch Series pre-race show is almost complete. Only several weeks after making a bold move and installing Allen Bestwick as the host, things on-air have a completely different feel. NASCAR Countdown is now a show worth watching.

When the camera revealed Richard Childress on the set, it was clear that the influence of Bestwick had been felt throughout the garage. After Dale Earnhardt Junior announced his departure from DEI, many NASCAR fans began clamoring for "RC" to hire Junior. Only Bestwick could get "RC" to step-up and be a guest on-set for the entire show. This helped establish the credibility that the network has been striving for since Daytona.

Bestwick sent the broadcast down to reporter Marty Smith, who finally had an interview with Dale Junior. Marty asked great questions and then stepped aside, allowing a still tender Junior to answer in heartfelt and revealing terms. This might have been the best moment of NASCAR Countdown to date. Then, Bestwick and Andy Petree followed-up the interview with direct questions of Childress. ESPN had finally made the connection with the NASCAR fans they had been seeking.

As usual, the pit reporters gave solid pre-race interviews, and the Mother's Day feature on David Stremme's mom was outstanding. What more could a NASCAR fan ask for from a pre-race show? This was simply NASCAR TV the way it should be.

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Southprose said...

Better late than never. I have been anticipating that Allen Bestwick's superb professionalism, knowledge of the sport, comfortable on-air personality and long track record with Inside Winston/Nextel Cup would prompt a network to put him where he belongs: in charge of his own show.

Chris Young (if you're even still THERE) and the other seat-warmers at SPEED's executive offices take note: your loss is ESPN's gain.

Anonymous said...

Finally! Allen Bestwick makes the showworth watching. And what a coup, getting RC on the show. even better, having Andy Petree there, with their previous relationship, he was able to get more out of RC than I thought possible. I think this is the first time that the pre race show hasn't simply been a rehash of old news.

Anonymous said...

I have missed Allen. All of us have missed Allen. I have not watched INC since he was asked to leave. I am grateful he has found a home on ESPN and they recognized not only his talent, but the fact that he is a fan favorite. Thanks, ESPN.

hotlaps said...

Bestwick is by far the best announcer in all of sports. Not just racing, but all of sports. This goes back to his early days at MRN. He is the most knowledgeable, most professional, and best prepared at his trade. Thank You ESPN.

Anonymous said...

I never knew how much I liked Allen Bestwick until he was gone. Thank goodness he is back!

And Marty Smith is probably the best talent out there waiting for a bigger role than he now has. Much of the rest is blah, blah, blah.

I sit up and pay attention when Marty comes on because I know he will give me some facts and not try to stir up fake "controversy" that so many of the ESPN hosts seem to love so much.

More Marty!!!