Sunday, September 30, 2007
Bill Lester Shakes-Up "NASCAR Now"
The NASCAR teams who did not make The Chase are not the only ones in the NASCAR world making changes during the final eight races of the season.
The ESPN gang has been moving some announcers around, most notably Brad Daugherty up to the Busch Series announce booth for two races. On Sunday morning, ESPN unveiled another surprise on the Bristol, CT set of NASCAR Now.
When show host Erik Kuselias introduced his co-host in the studio, it was not anyone who viewers had seen all season. It was not Stacy Compton or Boris Said. It was not Tim Cowlishaw. This face was new, and very different.
Seated next to Kuselias was the one and only Bill Lester. Veteran NASCAR fans know Lester from the Craftsman Truck Series, and his several attempts to make and then race in Cup events. One thing is for sure, Bill Lester is a racer.
In his first ESPN TV appearance, Lester stole the show. Alone on the set with Kuselias, Lester was asked to address a wide variety of issues and even to interact with NASCAR Now's mind-numbing "Eliminator" segment. Lester passed his test with flying colors.
Color may be a word used in lots of stories about this new on-air announcer. Bill Lester is a college educated black American. He is also a black NASCAR driver. Now, he is a black NASCAR Now analyst. Regarless of his race, he is exactly what NASCAR Now needed down the stretch.
Several weeks ago, The Daly Planet suggested that if ESPN wanted to extend its role of minorities on-the-air working the NASCAR beat, they should pick-up the phone and call Bill Lester. He is a fan favorite, a good driver, and an experienced NASCAR veteran who is only trying to make a living.
Hopefully, Lester will continue to play a role on NASCAR Now and get his opportunity to deal with the likes of Tim Cowlishaw and Brad Daugherty in conversations about NASCAR issues on this show.
As the NASCAR Now gang counts down to the end of the season, we can only wonder if they have any other surprises up their sleeve. If Bill Lester is typical of these "silly season" changes, then fans may be saying "bring it on."
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