Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Wednesday's "NASCAR Now" Slams Craftsman Truck Series
Delayed twenty-five minutes by Little League play, NASCAR Now took to the air on Wednesday with a lot of things to talk about. Host Ryan Burr has always set a fast pace on the show he hosts, and this was no exception.
Burr led directly into the Tuesday race highlights from the program's opening animation and never looked back. He really brings a lot to the table as he voices-over the highlights, and adds a lot of excitement to the show.
Kurt Busch and his Crew Chief Pat Tryson appeared in a live interview right after the highlights, what a concept! Burr quizzed them both about the season, this past weekend, and the upcoming Bristol race. Busch certainly has come a long way, and Tryson seems to be just the person to manage his racing activities.
Burr kept talking to them both, and I had the feeling that it was a couple of guys who knew racing just talking. You can get the vibe from the drivers and crew chiefs as to whether they believe the person asking them the questions is clued-in, or clue-less. You could tell these two knew Burr was clued-in.
NASCAR Now did their own version of "through the field" with footage and sound from the key drivers in the NEXTEL Cup Michigan race. This recap format was outstanding, and Burr's information was first-rate.
Burr brought-in Brad Daugherty, who really has continued to improve in his strong and opinionated comments. His remarks on Dale Earnhardt Junior and his lack of momentum were clear cut, and his statement about Junior being overshadowed by Kurt Busch's team at Bristol pulled no punches. As we mentioned earlier, both Burr and Allen Bestwick really bring out the best in Daugherty.
Reporter Terry Blount loves to talk with Burr. Wednesday, he had center stage to talk about the new Chase format, the problems it brings, and why Hendrick Motorsports COT domination has faded. Blount was outspoken in saying both Jeff Gordon and Jimmy Johnson are his clear favorites for the championship.
Blount and Marty Smith returned for some news, including the logistical hassle of getting to Bristol for the Cup teams. These two updated the Scott Riggs, Toyota, and AT&T stories. Finally, the new rumor of the week is Dario Franchitti moving from open-wheel land to NASCAR at some point. Blount put the possibility of this move in perspective, including the team Dario was talking with about the change.
Unfortunately, NASCAR Now shot itself in the foot once again in the final segment of the program. Every NASCAR fan knows that this Wednesday night the Craftsman Truck Series is going to be live on SPEED. To ESPN, this does not matter. Rather than preview the Truck race later that night, the show chose to offer a pre-produced generic preview of the NEXTEL Cup race some three days away.
The struggle for this program is whether NASCAR Now is about NASCAR, or only NASCAR on ESPN. If there was a defining moment in that process, it might have been tonight. Some top names are in the Truck race, and this race will show fans how the new surface of the racetrack holds-up. Any way you slice it, tonight is big for NASCAR in many ways.
Pretending that any NASCAR race not on ESPN does not exist is unforgivable. NASCAR has a deep and vested interest in the Truck Series, and for ESPN to purposefully shun them in a program airing less than one hour before the race is simply wrong.
This type of bad decision affects the credibility of Burr, of NASCAR Now, and ultimately of ESPN. A great show ruined by one bad decision. Maybe they should just change the title to NASCAR on ESPN Now.
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