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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