Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Just Like That...Bestwick Gone Again From ESPN/ABC


"NASCAR has always interested me," said Suzy Kolber, ESPN's Monday Night Football sidelines reporter. That's a good thing. Beginning June 2nd at Dover, Delaware, Kolber will replace Alan Bestwick as the host of ESPN's Busch Series pre-race show called NASCAR Countdown. That's a bad thing.

Added to this shocking change is the fact that Kolber will also host the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup pre-race show on ABC Sports when the network takes over the Cup Series. So, she is in as the Busch Series and the NEXTEL Cup Series pre-race host for the stretch run of the season. Alan Bestwick...out.

Finally, saving the best for last is the news that Brent Musburger will be returning to thrill NASCAR fans with his racing knowledge. "Brent's big event presence combined with Suzy's reporting and anchoring skills will set the stage for NASCAR's exciting stretch run," says Norby Williamson, ESPN's VP of such things.

So, its official. Musburger and Kolber will lead fans down the homestretch and through the "Chase for the Cup." This news comes only two races after Alan Bestwick was installed as the NASCAR Countdown host because of the disaster that the pre-race show had become.

Bestwick's credibility and popularity with the fans was an instant relief to the attempts to host this show with Musburger, Chris Fowler, and Erik Kuselias. Now, Bestwick is gone and another ESPN in-house announcer with absolutely no NASCAR experience will be the face of the pre-race show for the network. This is a network in its first "new" year of NASCAR coverage and struggling for credibility with the pre-race broadcasts.

Certainly, ESPN has every right to put together its own team for this sport. But, with Mike Massaro and Alan Bestwick on pit road, its downright amazing that anyone believes the sport will be better served by a non-racing announcer with no NASCAR experience. If Kolber is teamed with Brad Daugherty alone on the set as the NEXTEL Cup pre-race team, someone is going to have a whole lot explaining to do to NASCAR fans nationwide.

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35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable, what is ESPN thinking? The ratings keep going downhill and this will continue when its shifted to ABC/ESPN. I'm not going to watch these silly pre-race shows now. I'll just put my tv on mute, put on trackpass scanner, live leaderboard, and I'm set. Back into NASCAR, and they're making one mistake after another.

-Sean

Tim said...

Every announcement like this makes me wonder what Allen Bestwick did to piss off the entire television world.

Anonymous said...

I remember when Brian Williams announced the last race of the year for NBC from Homestead a few years ago. Where was his credibility? ESPN is unbelievable! I have lost all interest in this sport and it started with the TV network deal.

Uncle Bo said...

John, have you been able to get any reliable ratings info on these shows? Any idea if they're trending up, down or flat?

I guess I'm just shocked that ESPN continues to exercise questionable judgment when it comes to hiring on-air talent for NASCAR programming. I mean, would ESPN ever place an anchor in NFL Countdown or Baseball Tonight who did not know the sport intimately and have instant credibility with the viewers? As much as I like Chris Berman, I watch Countdown for insights from acknowledged experts like Tom Jackson, Chris Mortensen and Ron Jaworski. Remember when Rush Limbaugh was a analyst on the show? He didn't last long and he knows football well. What the heck does Suzi Colber know about NASCAR

Anonymous said...

Na$car and ESPN are resorting to cleavage to try to win back viewers.
The networks are killing the sport, and NA$car will let them as long as the money flows into Daytona Beach.

napagirl said...

Allen is the best reporter in the Sport and really belongs in the booth rather than in the pits. Without him, I will also be muting ESPN and listening to the radio broadcasts of the races.

What are they thinking?

Bobby said...

Brian Williams was called for the 1999 Pennzoil 400 (Homestead) for NBC as a huge fan of The Intimidator. He drove his Tahoe with a big #3 decal on the back of his truck, and wasn't afraid to show off his pure Earnhardt Fan attitude. They thought it was just "another Earnhardt fan".

In 2006, he was the one who inducted Dale into Talladega.

ESPN has gone out of control with their pre-race show. Tim Brewer is just "the demo man" on pit road when Scott Ackerson on Fox keeps their show running on just two full-time pre-race hosts -- Myers and Hammond. Hammond admitted during Year One that Myers was the man who taught the Fox rookie analysts how to deal with journalism's fine lines. That proved itself at Rockingham after the Daytona tragedy. Myers and Ackerson let Darrell Waltrip hit Mike Helton hard with questions about NASCAR safety.

Whoever is running the ESPN coverage seems not to understand once you hit the setup, you go with what works. They think elsewhere.

Bevo said...

Heck if they wanted someone who sounds like Jim Rome why didn't they just hire him?

No prerace for me, thank God for HotPass on DirecTV and the team audio - no need to listen to these idiots

vroom said...

I wonder if we'll be seeing Broadway Joe at the races now that Suzie will be in the announcer's booth!!!

Anonymous said...

It's as if ESPN is actually saying, "Don't watch us!" Every move they make seems designed to show their lack of commitment to accurate, informative coverage of NASCAR. They add Bestwick, NASCAR fans are pleased, and they suddenly yank him and replace him with someone who doesn't know the sport at all. Mybe NASCAR will refuse to let them bid for the next contract.

kswheels said...

Hate to get picky but I must comment on this line...

"A network in its first year of NASCAR coverage and struggling for credibility with the pre-race broadcasts."

ESPN and ABC are hardly in their first year of NASCAR coverage. You have a somewhat valid point, but you ruin it by showing your own lack of NASCAR experience.

Believe it or not NASCAR existed before 2001, and for many years ESPN covered the majority of NASCAR races.

Besides, Bestwick is no prize.

kral said...

Another reason not to watch prerace.first Spencer now her.She not very good in football either!!!!!
Rich

Joe from Philly said...

ESPN ego strikes again!

Well, the only thing I can say is she'll look MUCH better than Chris Myers as I fast forward through the pre-race "show" on my DVR.

ESPN seems to be giving Nascar fans a big dose of "Be careful what you wish for"

dummies

Dale Hall said...

I almost feel sorry for Brad Daugherty when he is on. It is impossible to respect any comment he makes when there are so many NASCAR experts surrounding him on the set. Now, they replace Bestwick with another rookie? What are they thinking? Perhaps it would be best if she comes in not acting as an "expert" herself. It would be a lot more refresshing if she would be the inquisitive type. Asking real experts in the sport questions that most newcomers would have would be a big plus. It would help anyone who is exposed to NASCAR for the first time. I could handle and beleve that. Otherwise, she will be just another Brad Daugherty.

fish said...

Makes you wonder if someone at Sirius has a hold on the brass at ESPN. ESPN seems to be intentionally killing off their NASCAR audience and the world is going to Sirius to get the things you mention in this column and your prior one about Eli Gold.
I just discovered your blog (through a Dave Moody connection) and, so far, have to agree with 100% of what I've read. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone,what is ESPN thinking.I say bring on Buddy Baker and put him in the booth.He is not only entertaining but also has an huge amount of knowledge of the sport.Even with there choice of Dr.Jerry Punch has flopped in my opionion.They seem to have him on a puppet string.Not the same old Jerry.ESPN will never get back to the top of there game with there choices.Heck,put me in the booth,I can top Bad Brad.

Anonymous said...

Sure do wish Benny were still around...

Anonymous said...

ESPN's coverage and choice of hosts is terrible. They need to get their head out of their a$$. Allen and Dave Despain are about the only ones I can stand to listen to. All these others need to go back to reporting on the stick and ball sports they're familiar with.

Anonymous said...

I suppose ABC/ESPN is following in the failed path of NASCAR. Munsberger is a football announcer and doesn't do anything for NASCAR. Bestwick was the best announcer NASCAR ever had and, like everything else they do these days, they screwed this up too.

Anonymous said...

Why? Why does Brad D. sound so angry all the time? He does not come across well just angry.

Anonymous said...

It seems like ESPN is showing their elitism and that they are out of touch with red state America which includes most Nascar fans. Nascar on ESPN will fail if they don't accept who the Nascar fans really are.

Jaybo said...

Let's face it: ESPN has dropped the ball.

Yes, ESPN did cover NASCAR before. In fact, it was ESPN that helped bring NASCAR to where it is today. Early ESPN NASCAR coverage defined racing coverage as it is today. They brought technology and combined it with a seasoned team that included Bob Jenkins, Benny Parsons, and Ned Jarrett in the both and Bill Webber & Dr Jerry Punch on pit road. The ESPN team of the 90s was, without a doubt (IMHO), the best NASCAR TV reporting and coverage: ever.

HOWEVER: ESPN's current coverage is a far cry from those glory years. It absolutely shocks me that ESPN has forgotten what put them on top and is throwing baseball and football jocks at this sport. There are a long lines of amateurs: Their NASCAR Now daily show is more like a Nextel Cup version of E!TV and does not even compare to their previous show, RPM2Nite. Their seasoned NASCAR reporters like Marty Smith are constantly correcting and setting the on-air personalities (and that's all they are) straight on points of fact. The show almost never shows anything on the Busch Series, even though ESPN is the exclusive home to every Busch Series event. Pretty sad...

It's sad to say: ESPN's current NASCAR coverage is a far cry from where the network was at the height of their NASCAR expertise in the late 90s. I can only hope that they take some time to read their history books and head back to their roots.

BP - we sure do miss ya!

24_Fan said...

I can't believe this. I like Bestwick and always thought he did a great job..... Does this give me hope that I could be a Reporter on ESPN for NASCAR events? I probably know more than this woman.... Booo - ESPN - I won't be watching pre-race shows now!

Anonymous said...

Wait. Is this April 1st?? You've GOT to be kidding?? Who is the moron(s) at ESPN making these idiotic calls????

dc said...

Maybe Bestwick is going to broadcast Hockey? He does have a past with that sport!

I really enjoy Allen Bestwick in the booth. He seems to really like the sport and the drivers. Maybe ESPN thinks that Suzy Creamcheese can do a better job at bringing in new fans to the sport.

Naaahhh!

Just some manager showing they can manage.

Anonymous said...

Sad to see ESPN drop to a new low. What I remember of ESPN is the GREAT coverage of Nascar a few years back before Nascar split the season.
Now we have people reporing that have no clue or passion for the sport.
I like chamge and it is usually good, but in this instance it is a huge mistake and I for one won't be watching.

Anonymous said...

ESPN's decision is just plain dumb.
Having watched NASCAR on the tube since the Great American Race of '79 thru the great early broadcasts of CBS/ESPN (80's & 90's), my viewing interest has started to delcine. This sport is becoming to homoginized & dull. Now the annoucers are falling
into the same catagory.

Anonymous said...

In watching ESPN it is important to keep in mind that the N is not for NEWS. When in doubt, ESPN will often give you news - unless some ESPN media jerk thinks something else would be more Entertaining. At least I do believe Suzy Kolber tries hard. Bent Musberger on the other hand does not need to try since he knows it all - just ask him. Wonder what Rusty thinks?

Anonymous said...

Musberger don't know squat about NASCAR - - - - get him out of there !!! I've already muted the TV so it's really no big deal for me MRN does a FANTASTIC job and you even know what's going on on the backstretch !!!

projectpappy09 said...

I am on the opposite side of most of these comments posted so far. I really do think that Kolber will be a great host, as she is one who will ask questions if she does not know something, looking at her work on NFL Live and SportsCenter. She also does her research, like Ryan Burr, attempting to be as knowledgeable as possible.

Anonymous said...

They need to hire Marty Smith as prerace announcer! That dude would get the job done better than anyone!!! Go Marty.....

duff said...

Poor Allen. That man has done nothing but good for nascar. Screwed by speed and screwed by espn. This is one of the reasons I watch the race muted and listen to MRN. I know more about nascar than the people you hire. I would work for you but I'm afraid I would get replaced by a pretty girl that knows nothing about the sport.

Anonymous said...

Hey ESPN: Use Marty Smith and Allen Bestwick all you can. They know what they are talking about and are informative.

Take a poll and ask fans of ANY sport if they want Brent Mussberger on the broadcast. Prediction: a resounding NO!!

P.S. Call Eli Gold and put him to work now.

wickedj said...

Duff you forgot to mention Allen getting screwed by TNT/NBC after Big Mouth Bill Webber got the cushy booth job when Allen got hurt

maybe FOX will hire him to replace Myers

Busch Babe 0199 said...

I guess I'll go back to sleeping through the pre-race coverage, as I usually do to save my sanity when Weber and Chris Meyers are on...as for the team Alan replaced??? So unimpressive, I didn't even know their names....