Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Most Interesting Racing TV Weekend in History


Things have come a long way since Chris Economaki and ABC's Wide World of Sports first began to show clips of NASCAR races in the south. While the sport is bigger, television still plays a key role. This weekend, the potential for TV viewers to "consume" the racing at Talladega is incredible. Between SPEED and the ESPN/ABC gang, there are more than twenty-four hours of live coverage scheduled over the three days of racing.

There have never been more big names in worldwide racing gathered in one spot for an oval racing weekend. Never. Hang-on to your recliners, and whatever you do...put the Friday ARCA race on your DVR or TiVo.

That's right, not the Trucks, not even the Cup boys out "chasing" the big money. Record the ARCA race for posterity and you will thank me on Monday. Here's the scoop.

ESPN will present a one hour NASCAR Countdown show and then the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race on Sunday beginning at 1PM Eastern Daylight Time. Once again, the race will be produced by ESPN's crew and appear on the ABC broadcast network as an "ESPN on ABC" presentation. This is the first COT race at Talladega.

This week, there is no Brent Musburger, so Suzy Kolber will handle the NASCAR Countdown duties without a "show host." She will have alongside the "voice of the fans" Brad Daugherty and a possible guest. The ESPN crew of Dr. Jerry Punch, Rusty Wallace, and Andy Petree will be up in the broadcast booth. On pit road will be Allen Bestwick, Mike Massaro, Jamie Little, and Dave Burns. Tim Brewer will be in the Tech Center, and the dreaded Draft Tracker will also be ready to go. Sunday should be an "Aero push" kind of day.

The big switch this weekend is that SPEED once again steps-up to the plate and surrounds the weekend with eighteen hours of programming from the track. The network takes over practice and qualifying for the NEXTEL Cup Series, as well as the Craftsman Trucks. Then, they handle the ARCA race on Friday and the Truck race on Saturday.

Beginning Friday, the SPEED presence is big. The network takes to the air at noon, and plans to be live non-stop for nine hours. This encompasses five straight hours of NASCAR, and then the live ARCA race featuring a truly mind-blowing field. To end the day, there is going to be a one hour Trackside show, which should be wild.

Imagine tuning into an ARCA race and seeing Dario Franchitti and Jacques Villeneuve going wheel-to-wheel with Frank Kimmel and Norm Benning. This might be the most diverse stock car racing field in history. Youngsters like Josh Wise can turn their heads and see former Red Bull Formula-1 driver Scott Speed staring back. The field also includes Kerry Earnhardt and Erin Crocker, which certainly should add some spice to the mix. This is truly going to be a culture clash of the highest order. The racing starts at 5PM on Friday, with SPEED's normal ARCA gang on-hand.

For NASCAR practice and qualifying, SPEED is going with their on-track combo of Steve Byrnes on play-by-play, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond as analysts, and Wendy Venturini and Bob Dillner on pit road reporting. John Roberts will host the NASCAR Live segments from the SPEED Stage.

In Craftsman Truck land, Krista Voda will host The Set-Up pre-race show. Rick Allen and Phil Parsons will call the race with Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander on pit road. The Trucks roll at 4PM Eastern Time on Saturday.

Once again, ABC and SPEED go head-to-head with pre-race shows for the Sunday Cup race. RaceDay on SPEED kicks-off at noon, and NASCAR Countdown begins at 1PM.

Between the three races at Talladega this weekend, there is an incredible driver mix of American and foreign, young and old, experienced and rookie. There are drivers hunting a season championship, and others desperate to just win one race and save their careers.

Here at The Daly Planet, we are adding a new feature. Friday, there will be in-progress comments hosted for the noon to 5PM NASCAR on SPEED programming, then another post for the ARCA race (since there are so many NASCAR connections). Friday will end with a comments page available for Trackside Live, which we understand may be very interesting, to say the least. You never know who might just show-up on that program.

Saturday, there will be a live comments page for NEXTEL Cup qualifying, as well as the Truck race on SPEED.

Sunday, by popular demand, there will be a live RaceDay comments page, along with our usual Cup race TV coverage.

To say the least, it should be interesting. From The Daly Planet standpoint, it should make for an incredible three days of sports television. Get your keyboards ready.

We welcome 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 stopping-by and leaving your opinion.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is that Ray Dunlap has been suspended again (from both SPEED and DirecTV) after inappropriate behavior following the Vegas truck race.

Anonymous said...

Can you fill us in on what happened to Ray?

Anonymous said...

It's nice that SPEED will be back with qualifying this weekend.

Anonymous said...

What is the deal with Ray Dunlap? He have some personal problems?

I thought his last suspension was overkill for his remark...though it's a PC world we live in...

stricklinfan82 said...

What? The Cup cars practice on Friday this week? I was under the impression that since ESPN took over the Cup broadcasts the Cup cars no longer practiced on Fridays or Saturday mornings.

It will be great to have one final weekend of Speed Channel covering everything that happens at the track on Friday and Saturday.

SophiaZ123 said...

Man I have been psyched about this weekend for days, since learning SPEED would have all day coverage.

It's been upped a bit with the the FINALIZATION of Dario joining NASCAR starting with the ARCA race. I can't wait!

:-)

Now if they would ONLY ditch that DRAFT TRACKER which could RUIN RP racing

:( Rusty will be driving folks with AERO LOOSE out his ying yang.

Note to self, find MRN on a radio and leave it ON for the CUP race.

Anonymous said...

I'll be on my way to Dega, so i'm gonna miss the ARCA race. Does anybody know if they will replay the race later Friday night?

Daly Planet Editor said...

I asked SPEED this AM about the Ray Dunlap situation. Waiting for a response.

Anonymous said...

In spite of your great writing and critique skills you are unable to mask the fact that you are also an avid fan of our sport. This article demonstrates that you "share" our excitement as opposed to the generic "lecture" approach of your peers. You are dead right about the brewing perfect storm.

Mike24 said...

Sophiaz123
I agree MRN is the only way to go, I have my Bose radio and my remote at the ready to over ride dusty Rusty. I can only take so much of I did this I did that. MRN brings so much more excitement and real racing calls not the dull in booth blah blah blah

I also enjoy Hot pass while it could use some tweaking it is unique and gives a different perspective to the race that surely is needed these days aka ESPN ABC

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

My question is why would any responsible owner like Ganassi or whomever is bringing Villeneuvealong put them in ARCA cars instead of Busch cars??
The ARCA cars are faster ad less stable than cup cars and busch cars. I understand the argument about getting these guys seat time in cars with similar power to weight ratios as cup, BUT the ARCA cars are cup cars of "yesterday" and not COT! Combine that with the resentment that some of the "hand to mouth" budgeted ARCA regulars might have against these 'gentleman' racers, and its real possible....actually likely, that one or more of them are gonna end up upside down and on fire....or worse.
Its a bad plan

Lisa Hogan said...

anon 8:51
I'll take a run at this one:
Dega is a high PR race and maybe has a better chance of qualifying in ARCA.
The Busch series isn't running this weekend.

Vince said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vince said...

Good point Lisa. As competitive as the Busch series is if there WAS a Busch race and there were more cars qualifying than there were spots available they might be in trouble trying to make the race. Much easier to make the field in the ARCA race. And the ARCA cars are almost identical to the Car of Today. I know they are going to Car of Tomorrow next year, but a majority of the races left this year are the "old" cars. I'm sure Dario, Jacques and Scott will be trying to make at least one Cup race before the season ends and will probably be doing that with the "old" style cars.

Vince said...

Plus ARCA very seldom has a full field at 'dega, so I don't think any of the regulars will mind. I would think the regular ARCA guys will be excited this weekend racing against Dario, Jacques and Scott. I can imagine Frank Kimmel telling his grand kids that he raced against former Indy champs and a F1 champ. And then if he could beat them.....

Anonymous said...

Anyone aware if MRN streams online ?Thanks.As far as Ray Dunlap,it's probaly a personnel matter that we wont get an answer to.

Anonymous said...

You can stream MRN online if you subscribe to NASCAR.com trackpass. If not, maybe one of the MRN affiliates streams from their website.

Anonymous said...

Jacques Villeneuve pulled OUT of the ARCA race to concentrate on the Cup and Truck race ... This was AFTER he got the approval of NASCAR to run the Cup race with just the one CTS start/Dega COT testing ...


Woooo Hoooo !!! More Rusty and the Draft Tracker to drive some people crazy ... ESPN is finally doing something right ... Ha ha ha ... I think the Draft Tracker is great and we'll get to see it a lot this weekend ... YAY!!!

Rick said...

I know John doesn't want us to post links here, so if you do a google search for "motor racing network", about the third one down you'll find a list of affiliates. Some of them stream.

My local affiliate started airing the NFL when the season started, so I'm trying one of these this week.

Vince said...

To anonymous at at 5:11, if you like the Draft Tracker you must be the only person in America that does! Seriously, you need to adjust your meds! :)

disney81 said...

great idea. look forward to your live comments pages. keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Oh God! It sounded so good until you got to Rusty! I never cared for him much-wasn't real impressed with his "talent" as a driver, but had respect for him until he started in the booth. I almost hate watching the CUP races now
knowing he'll be on there. I love watching the trucks; Busch has gotten better, too. But Rusty and the Brent Musberger parts are driving me up a wall. Almost everyone I talk to grumbles about Rusty in north central Ohio. Even his longtime fans. How long is his contract for gosh sakes? Do we have to listen to him next year? Please tell me NO!!
Ps To the person who likes the draft tracker: it usually isn't even close to what really happened when Rusty gets done explaining it. Maybe that's why he only got one championship: he believes what he says!!! To hear Rusty talk, no driver EVER drives into a corner too hard (overdriving his tires)or ever does anything to screw up: it's always just 'aero-loose'. Does anyone else remember when he still drove?? He used that excuse then.
To whomever commented about shorter ARCA fields to qualify in for Franchitti? Good point.

Anonymous said...

Vince:
I thought this weekend IS a COT race?
Am I mistaken?

stricklinfan82 said...

Vince,

The ARCA races at Daytona and Talladega the last few years have had some of the most ridiculously large number of entries in recent history. "Only" 58 cars tried to make the show at Talladega. Despite having 9 provisional starting spots a lot of series regulars got bumped out of the field. It's a shame to see hard-working guys like Mike Harmon, Darrell Basham, and Brad Smith miss these races where tons of Cup teams show up with their developmental drivers. If any series needs a "top 35" type rule it's ARCA, to protect the little guys that show up to all the races, including the short track and dirt track races.

Mr. Daly is right though this should be a very interesting race to watch on Speed tomorrow.