Thursday, February 15, 2007

SPEED: NASCAR RaceDay at Daytona

Before the Duels at Daytona, SPEED used a special edition of RaceDay to preview the two races. The comfort of John Roberts in directing traffic and controlling the cast of characters surrounding him continues to get better and better. Last season, this series really came to the forefront in midseason, and ended in Homestead on a very high note for the network. Now, as SPEED begins its biggest challenge of dealing with ESPN at every race, NASCAR RaceDay becomes their biggest weapon.

Certainly, the key to this program, aside from the announcers on set, is the talented Wendy Venturini. A program like RaceDay allows her to use the knowledge built up from her racing roots to relate to drivers and other racing personalities perhaps better than any other TV reporter at the present time. The odd man out is Bob Dilner, who has never fully recovered from his problems at Daytona last season. He seems strangely disconnected from the sport, and speaks in absolute terms about many topics that are perhaps not as urgent as he tries to make them.

As the Daytona 500 approaches, SPEED will unveil the Sunday edition of NASCAR RaceDay in all its glory. Let's hope that these early editions will remind the network that the show is doing just fine, and does not need the kind of major changes that have sunk so many other NASCAR-related SPEED series over the last five years. Does anyone remember Ms. Tweeden and NASCAR Nation? Enough said.