Saturday, September 1, 2007
Another Solid Truck Race In The Books For SPEED
Its just hard sometimes to write another column about the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series coverage on SPEED TV. This network is just completely comfortable with this series, its personalities, and the racing. Its just good TV.
Krista Voda has taken recently to sitting behind a movable set that is positioned right on the grid in front of the two pole-sitting trucks. Her pre-race program, called The Set-Up, is a family oriented show that is easy to enjoy.
The duo of Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander has been the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis of this series for quite a while now. Alexander is the straight man, and he is usually all business in getting his information across. Ray Dunlap is always willing to poke fun at himself, and has done so in the pre-race show on many occasions.
SPEED has taken the approach with this pre-race show that the Truck Series is a family, and they treat the content of the program with dignity. No one is called out, or spoken to in anger, even when tempers at the track are sometimes high. Voda has the same calming effect as Wendy Venturini, and her professionalism cuts right through any potential ego or personality problems.
Part of the success of The Set-Up has been the willingness of Series Director Wayne Auton to be actively involved. NASCAR has worked hand-in-hand with SPEED in putting this coverage together,and the results have been fantastic.
Seemingly each race, the Trucks put on a good show with exciting racing and memorable characters. Imagine seeing stars like Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday, Jack Sprague, Johnny Benson, and Ted Musgrave run in competitive races all the time. Incredibly, its almost a forgotten franchise as far as ESPN and its daily show NASCAR Now is concerned.
As NASCAR enters what is being called its "golden years" by some writers, it seems strange that often the two most exciting races of the weekend are the Craftsman Trucks and the Busch Series. While the Busch Series just moved exclusively to ESPN, the Trucks have certainly found a home on SPEED.
Once again, Rick Allen and Phil Parsons talked viewers through a fun race with good information and a great story at the finish. Parsons is much more effective when he is not joined by Michael Waltrip, whose personality distracts from the focus that Allen and Parsons bring to the Trucks. While another announcer in the booth might be a good addition, it certainly needs to be a Jeff Hammond or Larry McReynolds type. The only additional thing this announce booth needs is a crew chief perspective.
As the Craftsman Truck Series begins to wind down for the season, SPEED has proven that they can handle a major event series at tracks big and small with the same professionalism of the TV big boys. Now, the heat is on ESPN to put some effort into the Busch Series, and see if they can measure-up to the quality of racing and commentary on SPEED.
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