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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