Tuesday, July 10, 2007

ESPN Glimpses "NASCAR Now's" Potential

There has never been a NASCAR Now program on ESPN this season that has required one anchor to deal with such a wide variety of stories as the Tuesday version of this show. The tragic death of a NASCAR family member, the follow-up with the Pepsi 400 winner, and the on-going news stories involving Dale Junior, Kasey Kahne, and Kyle Busch were only a part of this one program.

Somehow, on this key day, ESPN had Allen Bestwick at the helm. The simple act of Allen explaining the tragic plane crash, his personal connection with Lesa Kennedy's husband, and his absolutely heartfelt conversation with Dr. Jerry Punch about the incident should show ESPN executives what this one program series has the potential to be...and was today.

In a reporting role, Jerry Punch was at his best when recounting his shared experiences with Dr. Kennedy. Punch could easily be the voice of NASCAR on ESPN if he can assume the role that is correct for him. Today, both NASCAR fans and TV viewers saw him in that role. He may be one of the most experienced and knowledgeable NASCAR reporters in the sport today.

Bestwick handled the tough transition from tragic news to the reality of racing with style and class. Once back into the sport, his interview with Jamie McMurray showed what it means to have someone asking the questions that has "lived" the sport and knows the players. Respect in NASCAR is something that is hard to earn. Allen Bestwick has it.

Finally, the news segment let the reporters talk to each other, something suggested on The Daly Planet for months. Are these guys in sealed rooms? Let them talk, let them discuss, and let them relate the information they have to each other as well as to the viewers. Tuesday, it worked great. Both Terry Blount and David Newton were like kids in a candy store with Bestwick. Finally, somebody on the other end of the line had a clue...and it showed.

Bestwick was forced to interview Casey Mears on the phone, and it was a throwback to his radio days. Mears really is letting his personality shine through now that he is comfortable in the sport, and fans are finally warming up to him. Just as with the other drivers Bestwick has interviewed on this show, he sacrifices himself to allow them to shine. Isn't that the role of a true show host?

When NASCAR Now is rocking, the show sprints by so fast it is amazing. This program seemed to be over before it began. It delivered a ton of information, a ton of good solid interviews, and even brought dignity and respect to a tragic passing.

ESPN has seen a glimpse of what NASCAR Now could be seven days a week with the right people in the right positions. Today, there has to be some very deep conversations in-progress about who should lead this important and high-profile series into the exclusive ESPN/ABC coverage of NASCAR's two most important series. Perhaps, among NASCAR fans, that conversation is already over.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from viewers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below, or email editor@thedalyplanet.tv if you wish not to be published. Our deepest sympathies to the families impacted by today's accident.


Kevin said...

Can we start "www.fireerikkuselias.com" anytime soon? What is really so hard about this issue? NASCAR, while a national sport, still is based in Charlotte and Daytona - why is it so hard to figure out that is where the news comes from and so they should lease an inexpensive studio from that area!

Mr. Daly,thank you for your continued insight.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to believe that what was once done so well by ESPN is now done so poorly.

Bestwick is hands down the best NASCAR play-by-play guy without a play-by-play gig, and Punch is undeniably the best NASCAR pit reporter who is being forced to wear a blue blazer instead of a fire suit. Put Bestwick in the booth where he belongs, and allow Punch to do what he does best.

As for NASCAR Now, do it from Charlotte and hire Krista Voda or Steve Byrnes.

David said...

The only "ESPN" name I can think of that can do a half decent job is Reese Davis IF he wanted to do it. He did a great job with RPM2Night back in the day and is a familiar face to the ESPN crowd. Him and Bestwick doing the shows 7 days a week would definitely make it more watchable for me.

Anonymous said...

didn't watch the show but I'm glad to here it was well done and that there seems to be some discussions going on to 'fix' this show once and for all.

If they do finally allow the show to flow, I may actually add it to my DVR recordings.

Erik better be lobbying hard for Dan Patrick's time slot on the radio.....

GinaV24 said...

I got home from work in time to flip the show on and when I heard Bestwick's voice, I sat down to watch cuz I knew it would be a good broadcast worth watching If ESPN would catch a clue and have Allen as a regular host instead of that idiot Kuselias, I'd watch the show all the time. It was sad news that was broadcast with class by AB.

Daly Planet Editor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin in Indy said...

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Allen host NASCAR Now. During the interviews with the drivers and questioning the reporters, there was no "WHY DIDN'T YOU ASK HIM _______?!?!?!?, like I would experience when I used to watch the Kuselias/Banks train wreck (before I stopped watching). Just like any profession, the more you know, the better you can do your job. And the other hosts they've had do not have that knowledge base and can't do the job. It was great television and it was everything I had hoped that ESPN could bring to NASCAR coverage. I was sad after the end of the show because I knew that "Erik, with a K" would be back hosting the next show, replete with the smug look and the monotonous tone. Hopefully, the suits in Bristol will hear the feedback from the fans an make the switch permanent. I noticed that "Erik with a K"'s brother has not sent any anonymous post here yet ripping those who question the NASCAR knowledge of his brother. Oh well, the day is still young!

joe from philly's brother said...

I am the poster child for ESPN's NASCAR Now woes. Despite the fact that I read this blog every day and knew that Bestwick would be hosting, by the time I got home from work it didn't even cross my mind to set the DVR to grab NN while I went to dinner. The show has been so consistently awful that I have simply dismissed it from my consciousness. ESPN your daily NASCAR news show is irrevelant to the very people you signed up with NASCAR to get. I'm sorry I missed Bestwick, but not sorry enough to waste DVR space with shows I'll delete the moment I hear Kuselias.

Anonymous said...

I missed a good show I guess because I stopped watching after Daytona 500. AB was good SPEED on Monday nights.

disney81 said...

what a pleasure to see alan back. no screaming or yelling. a true professional. who has been there done that. ESPN WAKE UP.

Anonymous said...

I still think he should be given back his royal crown on INC (soon to be ISC).

Get some, Alan! Gettt sooooome. Giggity giggity goo. Awlright.

Brian said...

For the second or third time this year, this show actually felt like it was worth watching. (I don't remember the exact # of times Allen was on, so I guessed this was his 2nd or 3rd time).

It was amazing to see, professional questions asked without a script, smooth transitions with dealing with the tough snd sadening plane crash (thouhts and prayers go out to all involved), to the Pepsi 400 Race Winner: Jamie McMurray.

If you need it, Allen Bestwick has got it all covered. What a true amazing person. ESPN has thrown 5000,0000000 different jobs at him this year, and each time he is ready to do his job, and does it better than anyone else.

While I don't have much optimism from ESPN making a change that would make sense, I'm writing this because I enjoy listening to Allen Bestwick.

At the very least, why can't this man host NASCAR Countdown for every race? Why can't he host NASCAR Now? Why are we stuck with Erik Kusilias, Suzy Kolber? WHY?

ESPN! You have the talent in place, just move them in the right spots!!!!!!!!!

Allen Bestwick, please keep up your great work, diehard NASCAR fans, such as myself truely appreciate your presence whenever we can get it!

P.S. I read Allen will lead NASCAR Countdown at the Gateway Busch Race, and be the lead play by play commentator for the Canada Busch Race along side Randy Lajoie.

My only question, I have very high amounts of respect for Dr. Jerry Punch, why can't this man be the lead pit reporter, or host NASCAR Countdown full time?

The man does a very good job at anything he does, but I feel if you moved him there, and put Allen Bestwick to a lead play-by-play commentary spot, ESPN would be really kicking in the right gear.

If only wishes came true in this world.

Thank you for everything you do Mr. Daly.

- Brian Schoenburg

Anonymous said...

It is amazing to me that ESPN has wasted so much oppertunity with this show.

The fact that it is suprizing to see intelligent discussion instead of scripted questions saddens me. Alan needs to be heading NASCAR coverage on ESPN. He actually enjoys and understands the sport, not something that can be said of the other hosts.


projectpappy09 said...

I really thought that Tuesday's NASCAR Now was done well, with the news of the day handled as it should have been by Allen (no disrespect to the France family). I love how the writers were actually engaged in a conversation with themselves and Allen, and hope to see more of that with Allen and Ryan in the future.