Monday, October 22, 2007

ESPN Snubs Bestwick For Memphis Busch Race


The ESPN assignments are out for this weekend, and one of them is very surprising.

While the normal NEXTEL Cup crew will handle the Atlanta race, the Busch Series is off at Memphis Motorsports Park for a stand-alone event. To the delight of fans, former Busch Series Champ Randy LaJoie will provide the color commentary. But, that is not the story that grabbed our attention.

Hosting the ESPN2 coverage and providing the play-by-play will be Marty Reid. Meanwhile, down on pit road one of his reporters will be Allen Bestwick. That is a stunner.

ESPN has stationed Bestwick on the Busch Series beat all season long. His duties have included play-by-play as well as hosting the Busch Series pre-race show for the telecasts where Dr. Jerry Punch handled the call of the race.

Several times this season, Bestwick has single-handedly hosted the pre-race show, provided the play-by-play, and then hosted the post-race activity on the Busch Series stand-alone races. He was ESPN's one man band for the Busch telecasts.

Why and how Marty Reid comes into play is unclear. Reid is the open-wheel and NHRA broadcaster who has only appeared in a vacation relief role on the NASCAR beat this season. Reid is certainly qualified for this challenge, but once again it appears that Bestwick has been left out in the cold when high-profile assignments for ESPN come around.

One other announcer note, Brent Musburger will be back for the Atlanta race on ABC since he has plenty of time to travel from his Saturday college football assignment.

Also, the fifth installment of the Chasing Glory series airs on Wednesday at 5:30PM on ESPN2. This quality series from NASCAR Images has followed the "Chasers" as they go through the ten final races of the season. It is worth putting on the DVR for later viewing.

Finally, if you missed the outstanding Ultimate NASCAR series on ESPN earlier this season, you have the chance to record two episodes. "The Explosion" episode airs this Thursday at 4AM Eastern Time, and "Greatest Drivers" airs on Friday at 5AM Eastern. This is a chance to see Dr. Jerry Punch doing what he does best...reporting and presenting feature material.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below, or email editor@thedalyplanet.tv if you wish not to be published. Thanks again for taking the time to stop-by and leave your opinion.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my. This does not bode well for next year.

I know it's been asked before, but WHAT has he done to deserve this?

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- I don't guess there is any chance that EXPN has Allen in the pits for the Busch race because the drivers and crews will talk with him??

Anonymous said...

I doubt drivers in the Memphis Busch race would turn down a chance to get on national television just cuz the interviewer is not Allen Bestwick.

Lisa Hogan said...

Well, this just boggles the mind! Could this be ESPN arrogance rearing its ugly head again? The viewers want Bestwick; therefore, the viewers can't have Bestwick.

To my ears, Reid sounds just like Punch. Same monotone, same inflections.

I was so looking forward to the Busch race and having Bestwick do his usual great job in the booth.

Anyone have coupons for a discount on mute buttons? Mine is just about worn out!

Andy Pandy said...

After this Nextel Cup season, nothing that ESPN does surprises me. Without giving JD and all of us contributors too much credit, is it possible that the decision makers at ESPN have been reading this blog and are refusing to go with Allen simply because we are pushing for him, which would make it look like we knew better than them when he does well?

Anonymous said...

Me thinks this has more to do with Beswick, rather than a network snub...It just happens too many places and times with him!! Maybe he does not play well with others?

Anonymous said...

Do the networks have any conference calls with the media leading up to the events? If so, have you tried to join in on the questions?

Anonymous said...

I didn't record the race, but didn't Rusty and Jerry Punch say they would be working the Memphis Busch race? They talked about they were going to do Cup qualifying Friday in Atlanta and then head over for the Busch race Saturday.

I thought it was strange then -and my first thought was 'what about Allen Bestwick?'. My immediate thought was that neither of them wanted Bestwick in the booth again this season because they didn't want to invite a comparison.

Now I think it's even stranger, because maybe ESPN changed their minds at the last minute. Like today. Still doesn't explain no Bestwick.

Does anyone else remember hearing Rusty and Jerry saying that during the broadcast? Maybe I was hearing things.

Anonymous said...

I know Rusty stated during the progam that he would be going to Memphis, he joked about the amount of flying he would have to do.

Matt said...

I'm not surprised. They want their ENTIRE regular crew in Atlanta for the Cup race. And we all know ESPN's travel budget is already full with the flying of Brent and Suzy to and from their football games and the race. It is just more of ESPN's "our gang" or no one mentality. No matter how well Allen does, he's not one of "them." He's an outsider. And it appears to ESPN, he always will be.

Anonymous said...

As I said, ESPN/ABC has read your site and decided to do exactly what people here have most complained about. Conversly, they're torpedoing anything fans have suggest make the broadcast better.

Typical.

Rick said...

UNBELIEVABLE!!!

Yet somehow typical of the bobbleheads at ESPN!!

SophiaZ123 said...

???????????????????????

What else is there to add after my longwinded posts from yesterday.

:(

I DO wish I had some inside scoop on AB but certainly if he had a 'hard to get along with rep, JD would've enlightened us about that.

*Sigh*

slithybill said...

What if ESPN's already decided to go with Mr. Bestwick in the booth next year as the primary announcer? Maybe they're just giving Marty Reid a tryout for "backup" booth announcer. I know this is a long shot, but it's the only glimmer of hope I have.

Busch Series Fan! said...

Boy I thought I heard Rusty say he was going to do the Busch race guess I heard incorrectly - YEAH! Nice to see Randy again too. What is wrong with ESPN not having AB on the broadcast. I think AB & RL are a good team.

Vince said...

I've already told you all about my AB conspiracy theory. A little green man told me that AB peed in some exec's punch at the company Christmas party a couple of years ago. Seriously! :) And he's been blackballed ever since.

To the posters that said they heard Crusty say he and Dr. Punch were going to Memphis this Saturday to call the race, you were correct. I heard it and had it on my DVR. If ESPN thinks they're going to cram any more lousy announcers down my throat, you lose. I'm not watching.

Anonymous said...
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Nascar and the Canadian Curmudgeon said...

Bestwick is one of the best in the business..why he is continually shunted aside is beyond me..but at this poitn as a Nascar fan I am completely dismayed with the ABC/ESPN coverage..I never thought I would say this but I am looking forward to Boogity Boogity again

Anonymous said...

If Marty Reid is going to be in Memphis calling the NASCAR race, who is going to be in Las Vegas calling the NHRA race?
Kevin in SoCal

Newracefan said...

I don't really know Reid so I'll hold comment on that part but my first instinct was ESPN was doing exactly the opposite of what most posters were saying as a punishment for all out negative comments. Hopefully they are trying out backup commentators as another poster stated. My hope for improving coverage is fading every day. Poor AB what did he do to deserve such treatment, little green men not withstanding.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Kev,

That would be your favorite announcer....Paul Page. Let us just say that he is the Bill Weber of the NHRA set.

ps - still debating to expand into NHRA TV next season.

JD

Anonymous said...

I think what Disney is trying to do is to put someone on pit road that people WILL talk to honestly & openly ... This is why Allen Bestwick was moved out of the booth & onto pit road at TNT/NBC as many teams were constantly complaining about Weber ...

The team of Little / Spake / Burns / Massaro have had issues with the race teams ... Watch the race broadcasts closely & you'll see a definite pattern in who each reporter is assigned to ...

Allen is a very sweet & personable as well as extremely knowledgeable guy ... He's got the very admirable trait of NOT talking bad about people, especially in public ...


From 2001-2006, the best race broadcasts that TNT/NBC had were the standalone Busch race where Allen Bestwick was in the booth with Wally Dallenbach / Ralph Sheheen ...

Anonymous said...

The reason Allen Bestwick was in the booth earlier this season and will not be in Memphis is because Marty Reid was already on assignment with IRL races, so Allen was put in the booth. Now that the IRL season is over, Reid is free again and can cover the races. Reid is experience after covering races earlier this season and was play-by-play in some of the Craftmans Truck Series races back in the 90's. (Most notable is the 2000 Daytona Truck Race)

Anonymous said...
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Matt said...

I hate to disappoint you guys, but Rusty WILL be in the booth Saturday, according to ESPN's website.

stricklinfan82 said...

Yeah, unfortunately Allen Bestwick is clearly the 3rd string play-by-play guy for ESPN. I believe the only reason he did the Milwaukee race was because Marty Reid was doing an IRL race that weekend.

It's definitely a shame, maybe that was why he seemed to be in such a bad mood during the Martinsville Cup race, I don't know. He seemed upset when he was telling that guy to get his arm out of the way during pre-race so the viewers at home could see the driver instead of that guy's arm and he seemed to be arguing live on the air with the voices in his ear that were telling him that NASCAR was reviewing Jeff Gordon's finish position, wondering out loud "what do you mean video review?".

Nothing again Marty Reid but I would have liked to see Allen Bestwick get the nod this weekend in Memphis.

Anonymous said...

Marty and Randy work well together and offer a good chemistry. Alan Bestwick needs to let that phoney front man ego fall to the wayside, and learn how to be human again. Fans are becoming weary of these politically correct microphone puppets, and it looks like ESPN is finally catching on. The Busch race whereas Toyota captured their first win was called by Marty and Randy. Alan Bestwick needs to get a gig with Wikipedia where every word must be pronounced to its fullest degree in regard to the Kings English. He cant say "Atlana" he has to drag the word out to its fullest extent "AT-LAN-TAA" man that drives me nuts. I want a guy calling the shots who can say "Nawlins" not "New ORR-LEANS".

stricklinfan82 said...

JD,

Rusty Wallace is going to be in the booth for the Memphis Busch race. Punch and Wallace discussed that during one of their broadcasts last week. I don't know if LaJoie will also be in the booth or if it's just going to be a two-man booth with Rusty replacing the previously announced LaJoie.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:16 is so right! Since ESPN apparently intends to do the complete opposite of what true fans want, we need to point out to them how terrible an announcer Allen Bestwick is.Bestwick doesn't know anything about NASCAR, he doesn't get along with the drivers, his hair is always messy, he can't conduct a sensible interview, he can't coordinate a race broadcast, he has no sense of humor. Please ESPN, don't put him in the booth!
Makiki

Anonymous said...
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Todd said...

Didn't Bestwick lose the NBC/TNT play-by-play job because he went off to ski and broke his leg? As far as comparing PBP announcers Bestwick is right up there, along with Mike Joy. I can't wait till Daytona so I can go back to watching NASCAR racing. Two weeks ago I left e$pn/abc, mainly because of the good Dr., the whiner, and the areosmith song.

Daly Planet Editor said...

stricklinfan,

Each week ESPN sends out an official press release that documents the talent assignments for the upcoming week.

This week Marty Reid and Randy LaJoie are listed as the Memphis on-air announcers, there is no mention of Rusty at all.

This arrived by email from ESPN on Monday. That is what I know, and that is what I am passing along. Maybe Rusty meant to say he was going to be there for his son, but he is not even mentioned in this Media Release.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

I put an email out to my ESPN guys about Memphis. It does not make a lot of sense to have two drivers in the booth, but that may be what they have chosen to do..add Rusty.

When I get an answer, I will post it here and update the column.

Thanks for the heads-up. Just so you know, half of the media folks for ESPN are in Bristol and the other half are in Orlando. That makes it so much fun sometimes.

Busch Series Fan! said...

It'll be interesting this weekend if there are weather issues and someone doesn't get to one venue or the other because of that. Maybe ESPN2 will have Randy on standby if that happens. I thought Marty and Randy did a good job last time - was it IRP I think. Anyway we'll just have to see how this goes along.

Anonymous said...

Fans are becoming weary of these politically correct microphone puppets, and it looks like ESPN is finally catching on.

Wrong. Bestwick is one of the fans' most-requested reporter/hosts.

What does "politically correct' mean? The ability to speak English and get drivers' names right, unlike, oh, say, Rusty?

Anonymous said...

The anonymous poster who complains about AB's "correct" pronunciations is puzzling. Words are their tools of trade and I'll take that any day over the Jamie's of pit road who make me cringe at her double negatives like Sunday's "He don't need no tires" comment.

. DOSVader said...

All of the comments and responses are great, but beware of what could be lurking in the wings for the 2008 season ... Bill Webber!

Anonymous said...

The anonymous poster who complains about AB's "correct" pronunciations is puzzling. Words are their tools of trade and I'll take that any day over the Jamie's of pit road who make me cringe at her double negatives like Sunday's "He don't need no tires" comment.

I will also take talent like Bestwick who understand that saying "Car of Tomorrows" is wrong.

haus20 said...

Let's think about the positive possibliity...maybe ESPN already has AB in the booth for the Cup races in '08 and they are simply looking for someone to fill the Nationwide booth to avoid the obvious burnout that we see this year...here's to hoping

Ron P. said...

.DOS Vader said:

"All of the comments and responses are great, but beware of what could be lurking in the wings for the 2008 season ... Bill Webber"

Right now I'd take Web-head over any of the people they have in the booth now. At least Weber knows enough to look out the window and watch the race.

Poor AB, punted to the sidelines again?? What is up with this. I think some of you are right ESPN is listening to us and doing the opposite on purpose!

Hey ESPN "We don't want Alan Bestwick, Please give us more talking heads, please put Denis Rodman in the Booth with, Clyde Frazier and Britney Spears, there's some diversity for you!"

I gave up watched the Disney's post race/Victory Lane interviews....(when they even have them) because they pulled AB from that assigment. I just turn off the the TV and wait for Speeds Victory Lane, at least you see the top 10 and get real interviews with real questions.
Instead of ESPN giving us the "talking Barbie's", standard " How does this make you feel??"

Who ever thought that we would actually miss DW, and "Boogty, Booghty, Toyota, Boogty, My Brother, Boogty, ME,ME,ME, Boogty"????

Oh God please let Jim France rumors be true!!!!

RJP

Anonymous said...

So, Speed takes AB off of Inside Nextel Cup. Then, NBC takes him out of the booth and replaces him with Bill Weber. Now, he is getting snubbed by ESPN? Maybe there is something we don't know. I really like him a lot. I think he would do great with Andy Petree in the booth (just the two of them). That would be better than having Punch and Wallace in the booth. If they have to have a driver there and it has to be a Wallace boy, get Kenny in there. I know he probably couldn't with the Speed deal, but a guy can hope, right?

Anonymous said...

Well, if there's a disagreement between drivers in the booth, Randy could take down Rusty in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

I have written ESPN/ABC, but to no avail. Do they have a phone number or fax number?

stricklinfan82 said...

JD,

Yeah I think it was Happy Hour when after a promo for next week's Busch race that Rusty and Dr. Punch had a discussion about going to Memphis. Rusty said he would be flying to Memphis after qualifying at Atlanta to call the race with "my buddy Marty Reid". No mentioned of Randy LaJoie, I guess we'll see what happens this weekend.

I'm not questioning your reporting by any means, the ESPN Press Release just made a mistake, no big deal. Similar to the Charlotte situation last week. The press release said no Brent Musburger but Dr. Punch made sure we knew during practice that Brent would be making the trip afterall.

These ESPN PR guys need to get their facts straight, LOL.

TB said...

The problem with Bestwick,for me,is that he is constantly talking down to the tv audience when he is in the booth.How many times have you heard him say-"If your new to Nascar"-Makes me want to drag him through the screen and slap the crap out of him.Just my opinion.
TB

JEH said...

JD,There sure is alot of us Allen Bestwick fans out here !!!!!!!! I think we need "Bestwick Head" shirts !!!!!!! I started with "Best Head",but I think it gets lost in translation,LOL.I hope Allen know he has quite a following.

Anonymous said...

I miss Allen. Ever since he had that hockey playing accident a few years ago they have left him out in the cold. Does anyone actually think Bill Weber does a better job than him? Please. And the same with Punch. I am so sick of his metaphors that have to do with every other sport except racing, it drives me crazy. Long live MRN/PRN!!! Just about all of these other announcers are VERY weak.

Anonymous said...

How many times have you heard him say-"If your new to Nascar"-He didn't used to say that. I suspect ESPN/ABC tells him to do it.

blb said...

I like Bestwick. He is a good announcer with a sense of humor and very knowledgeable. Rusty is very bias and you can tell immediately if he likes a driver or not by the distain in his voice. He believes he was the greatest driver of all times and he was average at best; plus a big whinner. Dr. Punch has too big of an ego. Like one of the bloggers said. . .it could be worse, we could have Weber.

Chris said...

And we thought NBC coverage was bad.

note to ABC/ESPN: In taking coverage to a "new level," You're meant to bring it to new heights, not dig a basement to put it in. Seriously, if they tried an experiment where Jerry Punch was "sick" for the weekend, and put Bestwick in the booth to temporarily replace him, we'd be having some of the best coverage we've ever had this year from ABC and ESPN. Of course that would fly in the face of ESPN policy in that the hosts and commentators actually would be knowledgeable about the sport they're covering. I still they should put Bestwick in the booth with Wallace and Petree, kick out Kolber and put punch in down there with one other person, maybe another former cup driver or crew chief. After all that, having better timing on the tech center segments would work, like during cautions when the pitstops are done, or having a picture in picture while the race is going on so those of us who already know what he's talking about don't miss any of the race.

Andy Pandy said...

I would rather hear Bestwick say "If you're new to Nascar" before an explanation than have an announcer without such a warning go over elementary things that the regular viewers already know. It lets us know that we don't have to pay close attention to the statement, and it acknowledges the new viewers rather than treating all of us like rookies.

Erik said...

Usually in these sorts of situations that make no sense, there is probably something going on behind the scenes that we don't know about. This is all pure speculation on my part.

AB may have a long, storied history in broadcasting NASCAR for other networks, but he is a new fish for ESPN. Its very much like going through fraternity rush in college your freshman year. ESPN is the frat that everyone wants to belong to, but sometimes some people's personalities just don't work out with the rest of the group.

Thats not saying anything bad about AB. I liked most of his work. It still may possible for him to click, but its just not working out right now.

Anonymous said...

John,

Here is my vote for you to expand to NHRA!

Dave said...

Has anyone interviewed Allen Bestwick about the current state of his massive underutilization? It's kinda like using the best player on the team as 5th string benchwarmer (oops-stick & ball comment-sorry). He is what made NBC's broadcasts exciting-why ESPN can't (or wont) is beyond me. Gotta admit I liked his comment to the zagnut who would'nt get his arm out of the way Sunday...

Anonymous said...

It sure sounds like ESPN is pulling out all the stops to make sure that Crusty is present in the booth at Memphis. They can only be doing this to send a message.

The message is a simple one:

WE'RE ESPN AND NOBODY CAN TELL US WHAT TO DO, HERE'S A MESSAGE TO ALL THE THE MOUTHY FANS - GO SCREW!

Newracefan said...

Is Doc going to Memphis too? If not perhaps it is a test by ESPN to prove the problem is Rusty (ie still sucks without DOC) and not someone else. We can hope can't we

Anonymous said...

ESPN SUCKS, period!!!

Justin said...

Wow...this is REALLY old news. The schedule for the announcers has been out since around August.

http://espnmediazone.com/press_kits/nascar/nascar_schedule.html

Anonymous said...

So it looks like Wallace,Bestwick and Brewer are doing double duty.

"The Daly Planet" has Rusty fired last week and not doing the Busch race this week,WOW.

Anonymous said...

It still may possible for him to click, but its just not working out right now.

Speaking of work, Erik, isn't that a producer with highlights for you to cut, calling right now?

GBTW!

Busch Series Fan! said...

But do we know if Randy will actually be in Memphis behind the mic?