Friday, November 9, 2007
While the ESPN guys play a lot of college football, SPEED will step-in and handle the Busch Series qualifying on Saturday at Phoenix.
SPEED will have a one hour version of NASCAR Live at 11AM Eastern Time. Hosted by John Roberts, this program has used Randy Pemberton and Hermie Sadler as reporters.
At Noon Eastern Time, SPEED will present the Busch Series qualifying which is scheduled for one hour and thirty minutes. Steve Byrnes, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds will handle the commentary. Pit reporters should be Wendy Venturini and Bob Dillner.
Wrapping-up the NASCAR day for SPEED will be a final thirty minute version of NASCAR Live which will lead the network up to their scheduled "off time" of 2PM.
This is another interesting TV day in "NASCAR land," with SPEED handling qualifying and then ESPN2 showing the race for the Busch Series at Phoenix. No other sport has this type of multi-network on-air dynamic.
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ESPN2 is the place for Saturday coverage of NASCAR from Phoenix. The network will have eleven announcers on-hand trackside for this effort.
NEXTEL Cup Happy Hour takes to the air live at 3PM Eastern Time. ESPN will follow this hour with the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show at 4:00PM and then begin their coverage of the Busch Series race at 4:30PM.
Allen Bestwick will host the coverage from the Infield Studio joined by both Dale Jarrett and Brad Daugherty for the afternoon. In the announce booth will be Dr. Jerry Punch, Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree.
This week on pit road will be Mike Massaro, Shannon Spake, Jamie Little and Dave Burns. Tim Brewer will report from the Tech Center.
ESPN has been covering the Busch Series exclusively all season long, and there are only two races left in this "package." It should be interesting to see how all eleven announcers and the many ESPN technical TV "toys" fit together on this fast and rather short track. Caution periods are quick, and the action is continuous.
This page will host your comments about ESPN's NASCAR Saturday. Please keep your comments TV-related, and read the rules on the main page before posting. You may add your comment before, during, or after the telecast.
To add your opinion to our Internet conversation, simply click on the COMMENTS button below, and follow the easy instructions. We do not want your email, and there is nothing to join. We just want to know your thoughts on ESPN2's TV coverage of Saturday at Phoenix, AZ.
Thanks again for taking the time to stop-by The Daly Planet.
Fans have been asking a lot of questions about the lack of additional NASCAR programming on ESPN as the final ten days of the season wind-down.
NASCAR itself has been very sensitive to the fact that TV ratings were just not stacking up to what the sanctioning body had expected from the powerful combination of ESPN and ABC.
Normally, ESPN works the final draft of their program schedule about ninety days in advance. Things in sports sometimes change, and this allows for the changes in the start times of live events and the contingency planning for on-going sports series.
Friday afternoon, ESPN made an announcement about changes in their NASCAR programming. It was not for next February. It was not a Christmas special. ESPN has made programming changes on a Friday for the following Monday. That's right, only three days later.
Suddenly, ESPN has found the incentive to expand their racing news show, NASCAR Now, to one hour in length for the Monday through Thursday editions next week.
On Saturday, prior to the Busch race in Homestead, there is going to be an additional one hour NASCAR Now at 9AM. Finally, after the Cup race that weekend, there is going to be a full one hour NASCAR Now wrap-up show at 10PM Sunday night.
In what some fans may consider a surprise after the last week of shows, Erik Kuselias will host all of these programs except the Thursday show. Ryan Burr will step-in for that broadcast. Marty Reid was not mentioned in the ESPN press release.
For NASCAR fans, any additional programming from the network that is covering both the Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series is a bonus. ESPN has all the resources at their fingertips to finally get their NASCAR Now act together and send NASCAR fans off into the "eleven week vacation" with some good memories.
I just can't help but wonder who at ESPN answered the phone when NASCAR called. The one thing we know for sure...they certainly got the message loud and clear.