Sunday, June 10, 2007
"NASCAR On TNT Live" Welcomes Marc Fein
TNT's NEXTEL Cup schedule consists of the "summer races" that serve as the transition between the early season and the stretch run. This short season of racing on TNT seems strangely out-of-place on a network that has no real interest in NASCAR, and does not present any regular NASCAR TV programming during the year. Needless to say, that makes putting together a credible preview show for these six races even more of a challenge. Sunday morning, that certainly was the case.
TNT's press release of June 5th lays-out the NASCAR on TNT Live preview program. Marc Fein is listed as the host of this program, but he did not appear on-the-air until almost thirty minutes into this one hour show. Fein was never introduced by TNT anchor Bill Weber. It was just assumed that viewers would somehow know that Fein is a Turner "in-house" announcer who hosts pre-game shows for teams like the Atlanta Braves. It was a mistake by TNT not to take the time to introduce Fein to the NASCAR crowd, as well as new pit reporter Lindsay Czarniak. Fans should have been told who they were, and why there were here.
Kyle Petty wasted no time in showing us his ability to relate to the older retired NASCAR drivers who attracted many of us to the sport back in the 1960's and 70's. Petty spoke with David Pearson at his Carolina home and really introduced the current crop of NASCAR fans to the type of "southern gentleman" who wrestled the old style full-bodied cars around the classic tracks with no power steering or air conditioned helmets. Let's hope these interview features continue for the remaining five races.
With Weber gone from the set, Fein led a feisty discussion about topics in the sport ranging from Kurt Busch's penalty to Earnhardt Junior's potential suitors. This was a segment never seen before on a pre-race show. Dallenbach, Petty, and McReynolds all have strong opinions on issues in the sport, and this "round table" was a wonderful departure from the goofiness of Chris Myers and the Hollywood Hotel.
In the final segment, TNT at last used their pit road veterans Ralph Sheheen and Marty Snider to interview drivers. Both these men bring instant credibility and hopefully will be included much more in subsequent preview shows. Lindsay Czarniak is the unknown element in the reporter mix, and she debuted with mixed results.
Marc Fein was a welcome relief from the dour disposition of Bill Weber, and Fein's energy on this preview show was infectious. Perhaps, in the five remaining shows, Weber will be relegated to the Allstate Countdown to Green pre-race show and allow Fein to spread his wings with this live hour. It was clear that the other NASCAR on TNT personalities liked Fein, and meshed well with him in his first on-air NASCAR appearance. Where the NASCAR on TNT Live show is concerned, it just might be an interesting summer.
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