Monday, November 12, 2007

Tuesday: ESPN vs. SPEED Gets Exciting

Tuesday will feature one new program, and one expanded program on the NASCAR TV menu. ESPN2 has expanded NASCAR Now from thirty minutes to one hour in length, and SPEED is offering a one hour special later that night.

NASCAR Now on Tuesday will be hosted by Erik Kuselias, and will feature content from the ESPN on ABC crew of Jerry Punch, Rusty Wallace, and Andy Petree. The ESPN media release about this expanded show indicated that all the pit reporters, NASCAR Now "Insiders" and all the remaining NASCAR analysts and commentators will be contributing to this program. It airs at 6PM Eastern Time.

SPEED created a one hour Championship Week Preview, which will air at 8PM Eastern Time. Krista Voda will host this program from Homestead, alongside of John Roberts and all the rest of the SPEED crew that viewers know so well. The Tuesday show will begin a two day review of the previous three NEXTEL Cup Championships.

SPEED has been in Homestead since Sunday night, and Voda will continue to be the network's "presence" during the week. She has served as the host of the Craftsman Truck Series pre-race show called The Set-Up on SPEED this season, but is an accomplished host with several TV series under her belt.

Tuesday is the first day that SPEED and ESPN2 are out there in un-charted territory, as this is the first season of NASCAR Now, and SPEED has created this preview program specifically for Tuesday evening.

Viewers should watch for the difference between these two networks as they both focus on reviewing the past and previewing the Championship Week leading-up to the Sunday race. SPEED has been a relaxed and friendly partner to NASCAR, with a wide variety of personalities that are involved with the sport as on-air announcers.

ESPN has taken a more formal approach, using a "non-racing experienced" anchor for NASCAR Now this season. The formal "suit and tie" approach that ESPN uses across the board has been very different, and their hunt for hard news has upset several drivers this season.

The network is currently run by an ESPN veteran with a studio production background, so NASCAR Now puts almost all its resources into studio-based content. Both the NASCAR tracks and the Mooresville, NC area where the teams live are treated as being locations from which to "file reports."

SPEED is located in Charlotte, and has the advantage of being right in the NASCAR backyard. Both the NASCAR Images and SPEED studios are within easy driving distance for the NASCAR teams and officials.

Both networks have the people and resources to originate good NASCAR programming, so it should be interesting to see what they create for Tuesday.

Please give us your opinion of the Tuesday offerings by both of these networks. To add your comment to The Daly Planet, simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the instructions. There is nothing to join, and we do not want your email address. What we want is your opinion of how your experience has been with the NASCAR TV partners. Thanks for stopping-by.

Monday: ESPN2 vs. SPEED

As Championship Week gets underway, we find the two primary NASCAR TV partners matching-up each day with news and preview programs.

Monday, ESPN2 hits the air first with a one hour edition of NASCAR Now at 6PM Eastern Time. This program is hosted by Erik Kuselias, and features Stacy Compton and Boris Said as the on-set analysts. ESPN and ABC pit reporter Mike Massaro has been stopping-by with a daily update on The Chase, and the program also features the NASCAR Now "Insiders" with the latest news and updates. Often, Shannon Spake reports from Mooresville on this show.

Over on SPEED, the ten year-old one hour program Inside NEXTEL Cup hits the air at 8PM Eastern Time. Dave Despain is the host, and this program features three NASCAR drivers on the panel who review the Cup, Busch, and Truck Series highlights. Last week, Michael Waltrip said he would not be present for this program. Brian Vickers is often his replacement. Greg Biffle and Kenny Schrader are the other regular driver panelists.

The current version of INC is a shadow of its former self, with live guest interviews, features from the track, and informal conversation all dropped from the program. Now, it is a hit-or-miss TV series with programs that range from "kind of fun" to "what was that?" Last weeks program was so bad Kenny Schrader apologized in his closing, and asked fans to give them another chance. Well, here it is.

This is the first day of this head-to-head competition, as this is the debut season of NASCAR Now. ESPN's program is based in Bristol, CT at the ESPN headquarters, and features a lot of conversation and commentary about on-going situations in NASCAR mixed with some hard news. This Monday wrap-up show has been a source of fan frustration this season by repeatedly failing to show Busch or Truck Series highlights or results. The Busch Series races were actually on...ESPN2.

Please help us get feedback by giving us your opinion of these programs as we go though this final week of the season. To add your comments, simply click on the COMMENTS page below and follow the instructions. There is nothing to join, and we do not want your email address. At The Daly Planet, we just want your opinion.