Wednesday, January 23, 2008

ESPN Changes Take Many By Surprise

There is no joy in making changes on a TV series that is on-going. People who are moved out of roles they once had will always have a feeling of not getting the job done.

This Wednesday article in USA Today by Michael Hiestand allowed ESPN to announce the first group of broad and sweeping changes in the network's TV coverage of NASCAR programs produced for ESPN2, ABC Sports, and ESPN.

Several months ago, emails started trickling in that the ESPN executives were thinking about moving Rusty Wallace out of the high-profile lead analyst position on the NASCAR events.

At that time, ESPN went a long way to deny this was an issue, including quotes from Norby Williamson assuring viewers that ESPN was committed to Rusty for the long run. Williamson is the head of ESPN's on-air production.

Now, Rusty will step aside and become a permanent fixture in the ESPN Infield Studio at races. He will be teamed in that location with Allen Bestwick, who will be replacing Suzy Kolber. Also eliminated from the telecasts will be the "show host" position that was filled on selected key events by Brent Musburger.

This season it will be Dale Jarrett who will move into the spotlight and assume the same role that his father made so famous. Jarrett will team with Jerry Punch and Andy Petree to form the new core of ESPN's NASCAR coverage.

With the movement of Bestwick into the Infield Studio host position, hard working Shannon Spake will join the group full time as a pit reporter. Spake contributed to NASCAR Now, pit reported on the Busch Series, and was basically the "utility reporter" as she seemed to be on ESPN almost every day covering NASCAR.

Both Brad Daugherty and Tim Brewer will be returning, to the Infield Studio and the Tech Center, respectively. Daugherty had some good debates with Wallace this past season, and that duo should be an interesting mix.

With the event coverage team set, ESPN then rolled-out another new piece of the NASCAR puzzle. SPEED's Nicole Manske, who hosted The SPEED Report, had been very vocal about the fact that while SPEED did lots of weekend programming from the SPEED Stage at NASCAR events, there was no daily show on the network.

Now, she steps into the primary host role of NASCAR Now, replacing Erik Kuselias. Manske is an interesting choice, and comes with lots of positive and negative issues that she must deal with in her new position. The official ESPN press release indicates that it will be Ryan Burr and Allen Bestwick who will be Manske's co-hosts for the season. It should be interesting to see which days of the week the network assigns Manske, and when the two co-hosts will fill-in.

It was mentioned that part of the new Rusty Wallace role will be to contribute to other ESPN programs. That makes sense, as former NASCAR Now studio analyst Stacy Compton confirmed in a news story on Tuesday that he is going Truck Series racing full time, and will not return to ESPN this season.

That leaves Manske with Boris Said as the current in-studio analyst. Tim Cowlishaw, DJ Copp and the previous cast of NASCAR Now "Insiders" will also return intact. Maybe, we will shortly be seeing ESPN announce the hire of a new studio analyst for NASCAR Now who can serve to provide the additional content and the key analysis that will really round-out the program.

This broad series of moves by ESPN is going to be welcomed by viewers and immediately impact the credibility of the network in a positive manner. Jarrett will hopefully be the partner that can provide enough support for Jerry Punch to recapture his enthusiasm and vigor for the sport, and keep it high all season long.

This team faces a big challenge, as they will telecast the entire ten month Nationwide Series, including the practices and qualifying. Then, in late July, they will add the final seventeen Sprint Cup races and the entire Chase for the Championship. That is a lot of TV for one team to handle.

So, there we are. Lots of the issues that were raised at The Daly Planet and other NASCAR Internet sites have been directly addressed by the biggest sports TV company in the world. Hopefully, this positive step will result in a "new on-air vibe" for ESPN in their first event at Daytona, and carry-on throughout the season.

For more reading, here is the Jayski link and here is the Yahoo! Sports link.

Please take a moment and tell us what you think of these changes. To add your comment to The Daly Planet, just click on the COMMENTS button below. There is nothing to join, and we do not require your email address. We just want to know your opinion of the new NASCAR line-up at ESPN for 2008.


Anonymous said...

I think your better off using the ESPN Press Release vs Newspaper, the PR mentions Brewer.

Anonymous said...

Good start, ESPN.

Now keep going and get rid of the Draft Tracker, and we'll talk about watching you this summer.

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fbu1 said...

It appears that somebody at ESPN has been listening. All the news so far has been welcome. Good luck ESPN.

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Lisa Hogan said...

I was suprised that comments about the Wendy and SPEED column were off topic and concerned ESPN. If comments are totally off topic for that column, they are deleted. No big surprise.

I am going to digest the changes at ESPN for a bit. I really was hoping for two different teams for the two series. I wanted to have Bestwick in the booth, at least for the NW series.

Not too much longer until we see what ESPN will roll out for 2008. :)

Anonymous said...

"That leaves Manske with Boris Said, Tim Cowlishaw and the Fantasy Racing Leauge Editor. Thats is not the type of studio support that she needs."


It's also not the only support she's getting, and she's not the only host.

But you would know that if you read the press release OR the summary information from the other thread ...that you deleted.

You'd also know about Brad D (he's still around) and that Rusty will still call some races and will be appearing on all ESPN platforms.


Not good, JD. This area is supposed to be your specialty, er, right? And deleting those comments was a bad call.

Anonymous said...
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glenc1 said...

Ummm...I think some of you are taking whatever John changed (I never saw it) waayyyyyy too seriously. It's a blog, not a newspaper, although a note of explanation may have been nice. Info like this sometimes comes in bits and pieces. I'm just happy that it appears ESPN is listening, I just wish they had announced a new director for the broadcasts. But so far, the changes all sound like they're for the better (no more Eric the Klueless, yeah!)

Steve L said...

Witch all you want about JD folks, but I think we need to give him a BIG "Thank you" for helping to get changes made to ESPN's stinking coverage of last year.

It shows they do hear us.

Thanks John!

JP said...

Yes, the ESPN release had all the information, but I would like to comment on the information, not how it was conveyed.

Great news! Someone finally got it.

Anonymous said...

He didn't change anything.

Someone posted after midnight that they read the today's USA Today and it had announced the ESPN changes and they listed a summary of those changes. They did not include a link, so it followed the rules of this site.

Then people started commenting on the changes and also speculating on other changes, as John did here.

Then someone posted that Jayski had the official release, and wrote a summary of the key points.

The issue is that summary answered all the questions John seems to have in the above blog that weren't mentioned in the article, yet he chose to delete it and everyone else's comments about the changes. Basically, he didn't want it to seem like someone else had been talking about the changes before he did.

Summary: Just because John is behind (likely through no fault of his own) doesn't mean we have to be, yet he seems to think that way.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Folks, we have a little flaming campaign going on. We have had several of them this year.

Not quite sure what it does for the people who post, but they certainly do take it very seriously.

Apologize for the deletions, its just the joy of the Internet.


Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

The comments deleted on the Wendy Venturini thread had nothing to do with that topic.

This had been the way this blog has operated all year. If we can get a forum up and running, readers can come in anytime and post threads and get comments.

This is the in-progress column about the ESPN changes. It will continue to be updated throughout the day.



Daly Planet Editor said...


If you are new here, that is fine. This is NOT a news site. It has never been, and never will.

There is no race to get news, or post news. Normally, we post an opinion column the day after an event or program.

It certainly is strange that the perspective has changed just because this site has a little bit higher profile.

Hey, it takes all kinds to make a world.


Anonymous said...

You get caught flat footed on the announcement, and all of suddent you are not a breaking news site? What about the blog when Rusty was supposedly fired? And why do you use the term "Break news" as in we will break the news or we(who's we anyway?) will post breaking news.

Somebody posted about the Humpy Wheeler show the other day, which is being mentioned everywhere now. And you shut them down, saying you didn't have "official" news. You still haven't mentioned it. You should be where we're looking to get the details on news, otherwise what's your point?

Anonymous said...

I don't have any problem with John using Hiestand's link to put this topic on his *is his* blog after all.

I put Jayski's post (surprised that he didn't include a link to the ESPN presser) in 9 bullet comments in [brackets]:

1. Dale Jarrett will expand his role with ESPN and join high school friends Dr. Jerry Punch and Andy Petree in the booth for ESPN’s full season of NASCAR coverage in 2008.
[Buh-bye Rusty...'cept when DJ makes a race - see 3 below.]

2. Rusty Wallace will become lead analyst for ESPN studio programs in 2008, highlighted by serving as analyst for an enhanced NASCAR Countdown, the program that precedes all NASCAR telecasts.
[Dang...we don't escape him totally.]

3. Wallace also will appear across multiple ESPN platforms, including regularly on NASCAR Now and will call several race telecasts in place of Jarrett.
[Well, I don't do much SportCenter etc...guess I'll miss most of this.]

4. Allen Bestwick moves into the fulltime role of host of ESPN’s race telecasts and host of NASCAR Countdown.
[Buh-bye Brent and Suzy?!? We can hope.]

5. Wallace and Bestwick will appear with analyst Brad Daugherty on the pre-race program, and the three will be integrated with the booth team during race telecasts.

6. ESPN also has named motorsports television veteran Nicole Manske as host of NASCAR Now, and will share the NASCAR Now host role with Bestwick and ESPNEWS anchor Ryan Burr.
[Buh-bye Kusaleus (sp)!!! Nicole is foxy and did well when I occasionally saw Speed Report.]

7. Shannon Spake, a reporter for ESPN’s studio programs and fill-in pit reporter last year, will take Bestwick’s position as a fulltime pit reporter, joined by returnees Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro.
[Not as strong as FOX's pit folks, but Allen deserves the move.]

8. Tim Brewer returns to report from the ESPN DISH Tech Center.

9. Along with returning NASCAR Insiders Angelique Chengelis and Marty Smith, reporters Terry Blount and David Newton and analysts Boris Said, Tim Cowlishaw and D.J. Copp, many members of ESPN’s event coverage team also will contribute to NASCAR Now in 2008.
[Hope there is more field reporting and a *lot* less controversy-baiting on NN.]

Tom in Bristol

Anonymous said...

Judging from some of the comments I read before you deleted them John it sounds like there is an ESPN howling wolf running about your website.
Anyway, I hope ESPN gives Nicole a darn good writer, because in my opinion, her personality and spontaneity need a lot of assistance to make NN a good show.

Andrew S. said...

Well, this viewer ain't happy. Dale Jarrett is in NO WAY an improvement over Rusty and Allen Bestwick is still being under utilized doing the pre-race show.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:27,

Apparently it is a guy who has been writing bad articles about me on the Net. I have no clue about this deal, never met him or emailed with him, and have no clue about why a site with the exact same format for one year is suddenly making him nuts.

Like I said, it takes all kinds to make a world. Somewhat ironic it happened on such a good day for the ESPN bunch.


Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:16AM,

What are you talking about? Jen from AOL used my site name in her Fanhouse post about Rusty back in October.

The Humpy Wheeler issue is exactly the way we have approached all programs on network TV this season.

When SPEED releases the info about the format, the guests, and the content we will react to it.

The Breaking News picture is hilarious. I use it for stories that are same day, and not columns from the night before. I have used it for eleven months.

When you get through flaming, maybe you could tell us how you feel about the new ESPN team?


Anonymous said...

Today's comments have become way too much of a personal attack on The Daly Planet. Without this column during the last racing season, I doubt many of the ESPN changes would have been made. Let's not be so critical of everyone or the personnel changes won't make any difference if all we do is critize. I don't always agree with everything John has written, but he has given us ALL an outlet which Nascar has paid attention to. Inside Nextel Cup never recovered from the removal of Allen Bestwick. I'm glad he's back in a more featured and stable role. Dale Jarrett has shown he is a better choice than Rusty Wallace - the telecasts with him were so much better. I for one watched less racing last year after it left Fox. Let's all be thankful John wants to make this site available. If I was him and was reading this "abuse," I'd re-evaluate if I wanted to do it.

Brett Baldeck said...

I am very proud of ESPN. These changes sound good. It nice to see that they realize there was a problem and they are trying to fix it. It may not be the changes we asked for but you have to give ESPN credit for making the changes. I am going to hold my opinion until the first broadcast to see how everyone works together.

Anonymous said...

Without this column during the last racing season, I doubt many of the ESPN changes would have been made.

OMG, please tell me your drinking while you typed that comment.

Truck Series Fan! said...

Well ESPN sounds like they are making improvements for 2008 and I feel like they are listening to the viewers. Good job all the posters for making this happen.

becca said...

I just read on that Allen Bestwick and Ryan Burr will also be helping host NASCAR Now.

JP said...

I don't post here much and do not check the site daily, but have found it to be good reading with a lot of good discussion.

What happened. What did I miss. I don't recall seeing this much flaming here before. It seemed like the one place to go where you could avoid that. you're right John, it takes all kinds. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you ESPN. You stepped up and did the right thing.

Thank you JD. Through your blog you helped make this happen.


Racingphan said...

Let's focus on the news from ESPN and congratulate them for making some positive steps toward improving their on-air NASCAR related product.

And a big thank you to this blog for calmly and intelligently pointing out areas of race coverage that desparately needed changes.

LindaSundrop16 said...

I can't wait to read through all this and then make my comments. From the little I've read and heard, changes have been made, which means someone was reading your blog John.

See......hasn't it all been worth it and wouldn't you miss this???

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to hear about the personnel changes. Most of the people who didn't respect auto racing are gone, as they should be The few that are left are in minor roles.

What's left are people who know NASCAR in and out, and can share their perspective with the very knowledgable viewers. This is exactly what we fans needed so thanks to ESPN mgmt for listening to their viewers and making the changes.

Daly Planet Editor said...


I find it ironic to have to deal with Internet flamers and trolls on such a good day for NASCAR TV as this one.

This is the up-and-down reality of working in a blog format, but it is the one I chose so I have to deal with it.

The ESPN guys are happy, their emails to me today are very upbeat. This is truly a fresh start after a very hard 2007 season.

In many ways, the things that have changed relect not what I said, but what many thousands of fans have said all over the Internet.

The bottom line in this scenario is that the power of the veteran fans was focused on better TV coverage of their favorite sport, and ESPN listened.

Daytona should be one fun triple-header in a couple of weeks!


Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:12PM,

Could you please take a moment from your ranting to drop me an email?

I am on the line right now with SPEED and we are talking about that topic. Once again my friend, I am not a news site.

When I get the information that I can put into a column about this new TV series, I will publish it.

Please go to or or if you are chasing breaking news or if you are looking for updates.


JP said...

I would have liked to see Jerry Punch in the pit's and Allen Bestwick in the booth, but overall these were good moves.

It would seem we will still have Rusty in the booth for the first five races until DJ retires.

Anonymous said...

I think all of these changes are great. I found the press release interesting in that when it spoke of Nicole Manske, it followed her with the fact that NASCAR Now will also be hosted by Allen Bestwick and Ryan Burr. What I think they should do is use Bestwick for NASCAR Now from the race site on the weekends.

Also, while Ryan Burr was good on the show last year, it appears that they're using him in much more of a utility role these days. Last week I saw him hosting a college basketball show and a few weeks ago, I saw him hosting one of their bowl week versions of their daily college football show. I think Manske and Bestwick would make a great tandem for NASCAR Now. Five days with Nicole and one or two with Allen would be great.

Sam said...

I am so glad ESPN listened, and made some great choices. Thank you Mr. Daly for keeping on them all year. I am looking forward to this season on ESPN. I am also looking forward to a new NASCAR now.

elena said...

I'm glad to see that ESPN is making changes. They are lucky that most who talk about ratings mix the high ratings Fox gets with their (ESPN's) ratings, and it makes it look like they aren't as bad as they really are.

As a have stated before, I don't totally blame ESPN for the lower ratings in their part of the year. They face the competition of wildly popular football, both NFL and NCAA. And there are also lots of other issues.

The pre-race show should be interesting. ESPN says it wants it to be like Colege GameDay. That's great. I like that show. But it's hard for me to see Bestwick, Rusty, and Brad as a great team!

One thing is interesting though, Rusty was quoted (Ben Maller's) as saying he's heard from fans and viewers and knows he needs to do better in the booth. It was hard to believe he admitted it and probably hard for Rusty to say it. So, we'll see if he can stop himself from being a constant cheering section for his son while using hate speech to describe every move Jeff Gordon makes on the track.

ks44 said...

i think this is only the beginning of changes for espn... if they listened to us, the fans, about the talent, they will listen to us when it comes to race coverage

Kevin in Indy said...

This is a good start. I think Nicole Manske as host of NN is a HUGE improvement over Eri(k). I'm disappointed to see that Eri(k)'s bestest buddy, Cowlishaw, is returning. He offers nothing.

stricklinfan82 said...
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Vince said...

As a long time Nascar fan, I'm encouraged by ESPN's changes. I think it's a step in the right direction. I'd still rather seen AB as the play by play announcer in the booth and Dr. Punch in the pits where he excelled, but I'm willing to give this new lineup a try.

I still fail to see the need to have an Infield Studio. It's useless on Fox (Hollywood Hotel) and it's useless on ESPN. What is the point?

I'm not sure Nicole is the right host for NN, but I'm willing to give her a chance. At least she's easier to look at and listen to than Erik the Klueless was. :)

A little off the subject of your post JD. There are always gonna be a few people who like to hide behind their Annon tags and bad mouth anything and everything. Fact of life on the Internet. You've been doing a good job of filtering them out. For those of you who choose to post as Annon's and observe the rules of this blog, thank you. I do not really understand the need to post as Annon's. It takes but a minute to create an ID. But to each his own.

Again JD, thanks for your blog and giving us this form to voice our concerns, ideas and comments about our Nascar coverage by the networks. It is greatly appreciated by most of us. Maybe we did make a difference.

stricklinfan82 said...

Bravo to ESPN for making these changes. Having Dale Jarrett in the broadcast booth and having Allen Bestwick as the full-time studio host are fantastic changes. Adding the voice of a former driver like Rusty Wallace to the Pit Studio full-time will make those segments more informative. I still wish Ryan Burr wasn't in the cycle of NASCAR Now hosts but the current rotation of Manske/Bestwick/Burr is a thousand times better than last year's Kuselias/Banks/Burr debacle. I think I'll actually give the show another chance this year.

That is an excellent start, now let's go over the next issues that need to be addressed by ESPN:

- get Friday and Saturday morning Cup practices back on television during the ESPN portion of the schedule

- get rid of the tape-delayed and joined-in-progress coverage of Happy Hour... if you can't televise it live because of other obligations then let Speed Channel do it... this is 2008, "tape-delay" and "joined-in-progress" are NOT acceptable in this day and age

- fix the programming debacle of scheduling Nationwide Countdown shows to start 3 hours after the start of college football games that typically take no less than 3 1/2 hours to complete... let's try giving the college football games a 3 1/2 hour window this year

- show the race track during qualifying, practice, and race broadcasts... no more missing entire qualifying runs to show your Pit Studio guest's face on the entire screen, fancy video packages of races from 2003, or David Reutimann making and delivering pizzas and no more 5 minute video packages highlighting the ESPN gizmo of the week during Happy Hour... we just want to see the live on-track action, no matter how boring that might seem to the ESPN suits

- get rid of Draft Tracker

- never let Brent Musburger within 100 miles of a NASCAR track again!

greg8370 said...

Well it's a start. A tip of the hat from me to JD and all the other readers who pushed for a change. Much of last season's coverage was not only tough to listen to but also tough to watch and drove me to radio coverage toward the end of the year.
Let's hope the "production" i.e. what we see is improved upon also.

elena said...

JD, a little off topic.
Re: anon posters. I just makes it a little easier to repond to comments if I (we) know if the same person is commenting on a certain subject. Even if you just signed off with a name though posting under anon. It could be your cat's name, whatever. No one is going to come to your house or talk to your boss or neighbors.

I appreciate the work you have done to keep this site up, JD. I don't always agree with you, and when I don't, I know that I can do it in a civil manner. Folks, it's easy.

JD, thanks for your hard work.

SophiaZ123 said...


So you're happy about the changes but still nit picking about qualifying, practice, showing INTERVIEWS over green flag, racing...using Draft Tracker too much...Oops! Those are still my gripes, too! ;-)

Yes, I am happy to see changes being made and like others, wish the tweakings had been different but hey, it's a start.

I also love the way we posted here all during the racing season and even if we disagreed, or did not like each others drivers, we still had fun .

We were very critical of ESPN but honestly, they deserved it.

I don't intend to pretend it was JD or this blog or the posters who prompted changes but honestly, I think we had something to do with it but that is just MY opinion and like belly buttons, we all have one!(I think this site helped or at least helped NASCAR realize, ratings are in trouble, changes are in order but that's my two pennies)


Thanks for the info JD and I thank all the fellow posters here who answered my questions last summer when I missed something on the track.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- THANK YOU. I have to believe The Daly Planet played a big part in getting the attention of NASCAR and ESPN that many long-time fans found ESPN's coverage lacking.

I think ESPN's announced changes are a step in the right direction- and personally I'm eager to give them a chance. In particular, now that Erik K. is no longer involved, I will go back to watching N-NOW, at least to give it a chance.

Also somewhat encouraging, I see in the 1/22 edition of the Lexington, NC newspaper that ESPN's Exec VP - Content (John Skipper) grew up in Lexington and that his father was a "big NASCAR guy."

From ESPN's actions and Brian France's recent comments, it APPEARS they are getting the message - and no one sent it better than you JD. THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

Now if someone at TNT will just wake up..........

LuckyForward said...

WOW! I've been out of pocket the last few days and just read here about the ESPN changes . . . definitely for the better!

Congratulations Mr. Daly, and thank you . . . your words and your opportunity to allow us to share ours have been heard!


Anonymous said...

I for one appreciate your blog JD and I'm glad I was told about it! News site or not, I appreciate your take on the events and if your blog helped make changes then it's even better!

I'm happy with the changes, while I'd like to see Allen as FT host of NN as well as the other shows, I'm glad we don't have to deal with Erik anymore!

I do agree with Stricklanfan82 and hope that they do make changes in allowing SPEED to show practice/HH/Quals if they can't do so. And learn how to properly use the PIP.

Andy Marquis said...

Mr. Daly,
Thanks for running this column. You've had a huge impact and helped bring change.

This is a positive step for ESPN, although they should put Marty Reid or Allen Bestwick in the booth and Jerry on Pit Road.

The commentary to the Phoenix NASCAR Nationwide Series was not that bad, even with Jerry Punch. I'm feeling a lot more optimistic about the coming season as Dale brings a lot of chemistry to the booth.

Didn't they all attend the same high school?

If so, that's a positive. The chemistry is there. ESPN also showed loyalty, like it or not, to Dr. Punch. He stuck with ESPN and they stuck with him. Too many other companies (NBC, CBS, FOX) would've let him or any other loyal worker go at the first sign of trouble.

These changes are great, and very welcomed by this NASCAR fan.


GinaV24 said...

This is better news than I expected! Thanks, JD, because I am firmly convinced that without this blog and the constant effort you put forward to get open discussions on the TV covearge out in public NOTHING would be different this year. After this announcement, I actually have some hope that ESPN may be worth watching for its NASCAR coverage. Are they going to have consistent time for Nascar Now? The person mentioned as host isn't familiar to me (I only catch speed news once in a while) but a trained monkey could do a better job covering NASCAR than Klueless did last year.

And for the people that are trying to use JD as a punching bag -- GET A LIFE!

SallyB said...

Apparently someone has been listening, and is willing to try to make changes that might improve the 'television experience'. It seems that ESPN is willing to do more than pay lip service to what the fans like or dislike than Brian France was willing to do. JD, thank you for giving us all the chance to voice our opinions, and hosting a site that is regarded highly enough that those who can make a difference pay attention.

Billy Delyon said...

Very happy with the changes..
I think the booth crew will be great. As was mentioned in the press release, those 3 have been friends for many years as well as all growing up in the same town. I think Dr Jerry will be much better with DJ in the booth.
So glad erik the clueless is gone. Interesting choice with his replacement, but I'm sure we won't be put though any 'interrogation's' this season from the host.
Thought they'd get rid of Cowlishaw with Erik, but hey, ya can't get everything.

Thank you again JD for starting The Daly Planet last season, without you to give us the fans this forum to speak our minds, I do not believe we'd be seeing these changes by ESPN. I'm glad that I was wrong in my prediction about ESPN making me 'cringe' in a couple weeks! They took care of the two main gripes I had, Erik, and Crusty.

Hope you stick it out this season also!


Ken said...

I'm going to reserve judgement on the ESPN chnges until I see how much freedom they let the team have and how well it is directed. Much of the problems I had with ESPN last year were with what was shown and when it was shown.. If that is not corrected, a change in the talking heads will be of little value.

Boyd said...

Thanks JD for you informative columns.
Those of us that blasted ESPN appreciate the baby steps that they have taken, and feel that your forum is indeed read by people that make decisions.

Tripp said...

Wow! Santa came again!

I heard the news on Moody's show on the way home from a shoot and was overjoyed. All things considered, ESPN has made a major move in the right direction with these changes and get high marks and congratulations from me for making a big step that I for one didn't think they'd make.

Yeah, I'd like AB in the booth and Dr. Jerry in the pits but that's about all I'd want changed on the personnel front. I like Brad a lot and hope that ESPN will use him in the booth at least a few times for Nationwide races. I'm glad they kept him on.

I'm also hoping that Tim Brewer will come out of his shell this year. I see the potential in him to rise to approach the level of Larry Mac. He may not get to Larry's level because that's a high bar to reach, but Tim could get into the same time zone. I hope he's gotten some good coaching in the off-season so that he can show more of the personality and knowledge that lives behind that Cheshire smile.

With these seismic personnel changes, one could logically suspect that other aspects of their race presentation and format might be vigorously massaged before they hit the air for the first Nationwide race in Daytona.

When I got up this morning I never suspected that I might enjoy the broadcasts of all three top NASCAR series. This is good. And to quote Monty Python, "there was much rejoicing".

Thanks Santa!

jake said...
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Tripp said...

Oh... and shame on me for not thanking JD for providing this venue. I have no doubt that without this forum the voices of disappointed fans would have been heard by ESPN, but without John's expert analysis of the situation and all the posters here, I doubt that our requests, demands and desires would have been put forward so effectively.

Thanks JD.

TexasRaceLady said...

To paraphrase --
"There IS joy in Mudville, tonight!"

I've been dancing in the streets since I heard the news this AM. I'm not sure what the product will be in the end, but I'm going to give the new reporting teams a chance.

JD, you've been a beacon in the darkness this last year. With you leading, we faithful followers of our beloved sport have made our voices heard.

Let's get this party started!

Palestine, TX

Lisa Hogan said...

I agree with all the posters who thanked ESPN for listening and making some changes.

I also agree with the posters who have concerns about how much of the on-track action we will actually see.

I join all of the thanks to JD for providing a place for our voices to be heard.

elena said...

How nice to read and sense the upbeat attitude of tripp's comment. That's what really nice to read instead of some of the really depressing blogs.

I do agree that the changes made by ESPN are HUGE. When the emplyees see that no job is secure if it contributes to ratings loss or fan discontent, then everyone is going to be on their A game. An example of that is Rusty acknowledging that he got the message from fans.

No tv production is going to be loved by all. In recent weeks I have read how the ratings are down for American Idol. The fact that they still have the highest ratings of any program in the planet, doesn't stop writers from saying their sky is falling and giving suggestions on what Idol should do. And this is a program that has ratings in the plus 30.!!

Let's face it, NASCAR has millions and millions of fans and thousands of them are busy on thier computers sending off their complaints about the ESPN coverage. And many of these fans don't agree with each other.

Some like Kyle Petty, some don't. Some like Brad, some don't. Some like Dr. Punch, others don't. And this is where leadership in a company comes in. They sort it all out and make decisions. Truthfully, some of the suggestions from fans are just plain crazy and stupid.

I agree, there's much to be happy about.

GinaV24 said...

I had another comment on this topic -- I have to agree with stricklinfan that there is still work for ESPN to do. We've gotten used to HH and qualifying being shown in real time on Fox and Speed and I'd like to see that continue when ESPN takes over the coverage.

I also have to agree with the comment that I hope Crusty does improve in the booth -- I want professionalism from all the broadcast personnel, not cheerleading for someone you favor and hate language for someone you don't -- for example, Jeff Gordon. Pretty much everybody knows that RW hates Jeff Gordon, but it was disturbing to see it in the broadcast booth!

Delenn said...

I'm gobsmacked. I'm totally stunned. Here I was convinced they would do NOTHING, and look what they go and do. Un-believable.

1. Petree will shine without Crusty. He's great, and showed it when DJ was in the booth.

2. Jerry / AB switch. This should have happened, but hopefully the 3 old school friends will enable Doc to stay awake for the whole event. They really should use AB or Marty to commentary on some events to give Jerry some R&R.

3. Brewer. I hope they use him better - he knows so much more than he gets the chance to show. Figure out how to make the best of the guy, then do it.

4. Cowlishaw. He's harmless. He doesn't add anything, but he's harmless.

5. Being in the UK, I know nothing about Nicole, but (a) she was on Speed, so she might actually be interested in Nascar and (b) she is not Erik Klueless.

6. Glad to see Shannon got a promotion. She progressed well last year.

7. Brad. Brad. Really. Why? The voice of the fan. Not my voice. My voice tells him where to go (and it doesn't involve banking). Still, I have to have someone to shout at during a telecast.

8. No Suzy. Woo-hoo.

9. No Brent. Double woo-hoo.

10. No Brent. Did I say that already?

So, great news ESPN. Well done everyone. Well done John for giving us the voice.

We are 50% done. Now, who do we talk to about production values, draft tracker, showing the racing laps, Aerosmith, Through The Field, showing all the finishers, reports from the infield care center?

SophiaZ123 said...

Many hear are echoing the same sentiment.

GLAD for the changes but will there be less clutter and MORE UNINTERRUPTED green flag racing?? Well, aside from the million commercials because NASCAR is UNenlightened about the side by side..but ESPN uses it for IRL.

Also, I forgot to say that like Stricklan and MANY others, how's about ESPN ALLOWING SPEED to show quals and practice?
After all, I would not want the scrabble tourney fans, spelling bee fans, Poker fans, and the let's knit an Afghan fans miss their tournaments!!

Be more open to playing well and getting along with others ESPN. That would also endear you all to others.

Also, JD, if you had not started this site, I wonder how many tv's would've been shot at, had rocks or glasses thrown at them? Or been dropped kicked out the window?

Course those with pricey tv's would never do such things..and I can't afford to do such things...but the thoughts were there some days. Especially when they showed our TRACK FAVORITE




, The DRAFT TRACKER!!!!!!!

Oy vey. Anyway, I am happy with the baby steps.

I know the men will be happy with Nicole over EK. It's fun to watch her hair change color and her hoe down outfits. That's hoe as in SQUARE DANCING by the way...I still remember THAT DRESS! LOL.

At least she will probably be giving guys that "come here big boy look" as opposed to Erik's screaming and cross interrogation. And I don't see her badgering drivers after a bad race either.


Rick said...

Well, this news is a start. There are still a couple of changes and at least one complete removal from the broadcast team I would have made.

Maybe ESPN will figure it out before their Cup series broadcasts start.

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

Let me start by thanking JD for this site. JD was right - the powers that be were listening.!!

As for all the changes - it was just announced on Sportcenter with much fanfare, about Dale Jarret. Thats a good sign.

I'm glad Suz & Brent are gone -sorry Rusty is still "across platforms" yukko.

Now if Suz or Brent took the draft tracker it will be great ( hee hee)

I like AB getting a better spot and all the other changes.

BUT the bestest ever News is erik klueless is GONE!!!!!!!!!

I'm not real thrilled Brewer is gonna be back. But hey its a start!!!

JD you have arrived when you get multiple trolls!! Smile & repeat after me "some peoples kids"

Matt said...

Let me echo the comments made by many here. These are some great changes, and I think this crew has great potential. I look forward to hearing all of them this year. Rusty and Dale have a great relationship and could be to ESPN what Kyle Petty and Larry Mac were to TNT.

But, as many said, this is only one part of the problem. Now, the technical aspects must be addressed. If those are addressed and fixed, than ESpN may return to what it was 10 years ago. My one major concern is, now that Shannon is on Pit Road, who does that leave as the NASCAR Now "reporter"? Does this mean Wendy Nix and David Amber become the "reporters" filing news and race reports for ESPN? For the driver's and ESPN's sake, I sure hope not.

Newracefan said...

Great moves by ESPN, the chemistry with Doc and DJ seemed good so I am very hopeful. It will be interesting to see how much talking AB does during the race from the infield studio. DJ contributed alot when he was there, perhaps this can provide Doc with the break he seems to need by the end of the Cup race. I'm a little worried about Shannon Spake as a pit reporter, she usually didn't do well with the changes made on the stop. She did ok with other things and as a contributer for Nascar Now so I'm willing to give her a chance. Yes I too would love to see AB on Nascar Now everyday but come on he needs a day off every now and then. Nichole seemed fairly knowledgable on Speed Report so I'll give her a chance and Ryan also did well. JD I agree that they need some more in studio analysis support, Bill Lester anyone. I am also of the opinion that JD and those of us who post on this blog at least had some role (how ever small) in the decisions.
PS Flamers go away you are not wanted.

Anonymous said...

JD, I am appalled that my comment was deleted. I simply expressed my opinion that everyone should not have put ESPN down as they did and count them out by saying changes would never occur. I have been around TV and know hard hard and difficult it can be to put on a broadcast and make changes if there is any problem.

Anonymous said...

Well now. ESPN has thrown down the gauntlet. So how long before Fox does something about Chris Myers??? Huh? HUH?

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Do you think ESPN's changes might result in some improvements at TNT?

Along with some others, I gave NASCAR and Brian France a good deal of blame for allowing ESPN's substandard handling of NASCAR to continue. ESPN's changes announced today seem to dovetail nicely with Brian F's "back to our roots" plan. How much credit do you think NASCAR and Brian F deserve for ESPN's changes?

rich said...

Well, to paraphrase P.T. Barnum, you can please some of the people all of the time and you can please all of the people some of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time. Anyway in IMO, it boils down to ESPN hearing the peoples roar and responding. How well they responded remains to be seen.
The biggest THANK YOU to JD for allowing this site to be the platform for our concerns.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 8:04PM,

Could you drop me an email at when you get a chance?




Don’t fall for all chess moves by the ESPN executives. They have been the ones mixing this distasteful concoction for over a year. Absolutely no one on the NASCAR side of things at ESPN has ever taken a chemistry class in their lives. There will be many more moves before they get this right.

Rusty is a great example of “it looks like it would be real easy to talk about racing on TV, especially if you are a former racer;” and then again, maybe not. Rusty floundered doing Indy Car analysis and quite frankly last season showed that even when he was put in his own sandbox, he flailed around and missed the mark far too often. He was far too verbose at that most inopportune times. Commentary done well is indeed a special talent and it takes more than just product knowledge. Rusty was a little too rough around the edges, and candidly he wasn’t getting any better. He was unable to disguise his contempt for some of his former colleagues (Jeff Gordon) and it made him look small and petty. Then he persisted in committing the cardinal sin of race broadcasting over and over again; underestimating the knowledge base and intelligence of his audience. It became kindergarten commentary and veteran race fans were turned off. ESPN has to share the blame in their inability to make an accurate assessment of his skills and put him in a position to succeed. Frankly, this new scenario doesn’t hold much promise either, but obviously they have a ton of cash invested, plus several layers of egg of their faces, and they have to put him somewhere.

The Erik Kuselias NASCAR NOW hosting appointment was a mystery from the beginning. Once again, ESPN did him no favors. Kuselias and his combination of ball sports acumen and impressive legal background is made to order for today’s sports landscape. In stories such as The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, Mike Vick Dog Fighting, Barry Bonds and his Perjury Charges, Erik Kuselias is a top notch analyst with the ability to provide a perspective from which few sports journalist are even qualified. In NASCAR he’s fish out of water. In an effort to contribute, his role became that of hype, hyperbole and sensationalizing the NASCAR news of the day. Sadly he ends up in Rusty Wallace territory, assuming a veteran fan won’t see right through him and unfortunately his act wore out on about day three.

ESPNs NASCAR Coverage is still a mess no matter how many games of musical chairs they want to play. Here they have Allen Bestwick who is as competent of a motor sports journalist as you are going to find, and the ESPN executives still don’t know how to maximize his talent to help save their fledgling department. Brad Daugherty, while likable, adds virtually nothing; yawn. Speaking of yawn, did someone say Tim Cowlishaw. And for goodness sakes will someone, anyone, please tell Tim Brewer that when 50% of your camera time is focused on your hands while you are showing the audience a close-up of something, that large dangling bracelets and gaudy rings on several fingers is a huge distraction. A quality manicure is sufficient. Let’s focus on what you are saying and what you are actually pointing at. I adored Jerry Punch as a pit reporter, and it’s hard to say that after last year, that the Peter Principle hasn’t kicked in for the Doc.

Last but not least, God bless Dale Jarrett, a man overflowing with integrity and class who completely understands exactly what “less is more” really means.

red said...

so. the only constant is change, eh? not too long ago, the column asked about what our viewing choices would be this season. seems to me that espn's announcement had altered the landscape a bit. i may actually try to watch to an entire espn broadcast, pre-race thru victory lane, and THAT, my friends, will be a first! i am stymied as to why it seems to be so freakin' difficult to get competent, interesting, knowledgeable folks into the booth, in the pits, around the track nowadays but i suppose steps have now been taken in that direction.
i am encouraged.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, what are we gaining by having Manske in and what's his face out? Eye Candy? Is this replacement person a credible NASCAR voice? I don't think so.

It looks to me that ESPN is trying to get anybody they can from SPEED to make themselves look better. I don't think anyone else from SPEED would make the jump.

Carl in Alaska said...

Today is a happy day in North Pole and Santa gave the reindeer extra lichen.

Thank you for your blog last year and please, please continue. Yo helped many people keep their sanity last year.

And on that I want to only accent the positive today. There will plenty of time to cry in our beers as the year goes on. I'm just so happy Rusty is out the booth and that Erik K is gone.

Thank you for whatever part you had in making this coming year at least attractive. To everyone else, celebrate and get off John's case.

Jeff said...

I wish all the networks would get rid of the infield studio completely, they contribute nothing to the broadcast IMO, shut up and show the race. I'd rather see AB back on pit road or better yet in the booth instead of DJ. Brad Daugherty needs to go too. I have a hard time believing that Tim Brewer isn't as embarrassed about what they make him do as I am sick of his segments.

Shorebilly said...

Sounds good.....but there was no mention of the "scheduling conflicts" that ESPN seems to have. Now if ESPn would issue NASCAR Race Schedules to their programming executives... and send everyone involved with "NASCAR Now" to a course in punctuality! I have no clue as to what those folks were thinking last year.....BUT, if you air a show BEFORE it's scheduled time slot.....then you eliminate those viewers who actually intended to watch the the shows PUBLISHED time!!
Also I think it's a good thing that ESPN has gotten rid of the incompetent "Howard Cosell wannabe" host....perhaps they learned something last season....something that most of us "mere" fans have known foe quite some time....."you can't teach an old dog new tricks" it's far easier to unload the incompetent than to try to teach them what driver belongs to which car!!
The folks at ESPN showed us that they "could care less" what the fan thinks all last those folks who got canned at ESPN receive no sympathy from me....they did not do their respective jobs. Now lets hope that the other venues that air NASCAR don't hire them....they were/are lousy, and deserved to be labeled as incompetent and let go!!!
ESPN....NASCAR is not "stick and ball"....wake up!!!!

Tom said...

I was surprised not to see Marty Reid's name anywhere in the mix, even as a fill in like last year. Are they sending him strictly to the IRL?

Anonymous said...

Thumbs up to some changes.

Extreme disappointmend seeing Dr. Jerry Punch's name in that position again this year. It didn't work for me last year, and I have no warm feelings that it will work this year.

Lisa Hogan said...

I enjoy several people listed for Nascar Now. I will give it a try.

chase said...

John: What great news! This just goes to show that all your hard work and the comments from readers did make ESPN shut up and really READ! I read the article on Jayski yesterday about the changes and your article goes into greater depth - and of course you needn't reprise articles and press releases since they are readily available. Without you I don't know what any of us would do.
FINALLY ESPN woke up and realized that Rusty Whiner was NOT the right choice whatsoever. I wish they had just bought out his contract and let him run his son's race team. Musburger - well, when he made his first appearance last season that was the straw which broke my back and I relied on my mute button and radio,wondering why they dragged the old chestnut out and made him open to such ridicule. So I'll wait and see how it goes - although I still think Rusty and his draft tracker should go silently into the sunset. Having watched some football in the last few weeks for the first time it was obvious to me that the announcers don't treat their fans like first-time watchers and imbeciles so why do we have to be treated as such by ESPN? Now if only King Brian (I love that sobriquet!) can get off his 'fogged up' duff and make some much-needed changes NOW before he loses more people, then and only then can we sit back and enjoy racing!

Wendy E said...

How wonderful to see Allen Bestwick back where he belongs! He has been one of my favorite announcers for years. I also really enjoyed DJ's work when he wasn't racing, so I think he'll be a great addition to the team.

It's so great to see that ESPN has listened to the fans. And kudos to you, John, for drawing attention to areas that needed improvement and making positive suggestions for change.

Thornton, Colorado said...

Yeah, ESPN was listening-With one ear cut off. Jerry Punch? Jerry freaking Punch? What did we do to the execs at ESPN? Did we kick their kids? Did we call their mom a bad name? Why, oh why, do we have ANOTHER year of
Mr. Put Me To Sleep?
God, I swear I have reached the pinnacle of pain..........

kewwis said...

Brad D was great calling Busch races last year in a limited role, i think he would have made a better booth, he show's pure excitement, and thats what you need to make watching races on TV exciting.
MRN has made it as you listen to the reporters they really get hyped.
The worst part about Rusty is he would repeat what was just said cause he doesn't listen to his colleagues.
Jarrett is smooth but just is a bit plain, Doc Punch is good, but again, he seems to force himself to get excited.
Eli was always fun to listen to because he had that voice that changed when something happened, you could feel the excitement.
My wish for 2008, i turn on my TV at noon, and the cars are warming up their tires, less fluff and more substance..with excitement.

Anonymous said...

I will still TIVO! If the camara is not covering race action, I will be fastfowarding!

LindaSundrop16 said...

It took me a while to get through all the pages of this blog ~ good reading.

I find it very, very interesting the passion of us NASCAR fans,
but we’re an opinioned bunch, aren’t we?

I feel that ESPN listened to all of us and as most everyone else, the changes that have been made will be good. I hope we’re not disappointed and we can all quit complaining and get back to enjoying the races. Bring it on, we are ready!

I don’t really don’t know about Nicole Manske on NN, but she has to be 100% better than Erik K. Will give NN another chance and just hope we don’t see a lot of Rusty.

Again thanks John for all you do. Now, I wonder when we’ll know about
Inside Nextel Cup? Making a change there with the host would just make my day! What are my chances? I do wonder about the panel too as Kenny might
not be included and it just wouldn’t be the same without him and Mikey together.

Is it February yet?????????


dwight c said...

While I might have done it different, such as put Bestwick in the booth, I think this is teriffic news. I viewed Dale Jarrett as a breath of fresh air in the Busch booth last year and think he is a big improvement.

NASCAR NOW will have to improve with its changes. perhaps they can focus on more than just Junior, now that there is no mystery, but that is probably too much to hope for. (I don't mean this as a knock on Jr, just think the show will be better if it stops being JUNIOR NOW.)

This year is looking up. Lets GO Racing!

Jeff said...

I think way too much credit is being given to this blog for the changes being made at ESPN. ESPN made changes based on fan emails and results from the survey they sent out in December. Also, they aren't blind or deaf. I'm sure it was obvious to ESPN that Rusty was terrible in the booth. I would be willing to bet that they would have made the exact same changes even if this little blog never existed.

batchief said...

Jeff, I think you give way too little credit to the influence of John and this blog. Judging from what I have read on here and some of the celebrity status of the participants in the Q & A sessions (Krista, Wendy, Steve and Mike) probably more powers that be follow the comments on here than we all know. Besides, what makes you think the majority of those emails you refer to aren't generated by this blog? With some of the comments I have read, to me, it is obvious ESPN is reading here and paying attention.

Susan said...

that's a if they would just get rid of Tim Brewer..if only Fox could do ALL the races then there would be Nascar heaven

Anonymous said...

I so glad ESPN finally listened to all us fans. A. Bestwick needs to be the full time host of Nascar Now! Glad Erik and Suzy homemaker are no longer around. They were terrible. Think DJ will do a good job.

Anonymous said...

I am very happy to see that Allen Bestwick and D.J. will be part of the team at ESPN this year.

However, I'm not thrilled that they are adding Spake to the pit reporting crew full-time. She and Jamie Little did not impressed me one bit last year. They are both pretty good at showing how inept they are when it comes to NASCAR, though, so at least viewers will get a good laugh when we get the 'Tony Stewart/Mark Martin' reactions from drivers like we did last season after being asked stupid questions.

Draft tracker does need to go, too. It's gotten past the point of ad nauseum with that thing.

Desmond said...

Finally, ESPN takes steps in the right direction. No more Brent, Suzy, or Erik!

This seems to tie in with Brian France's "discovery" of NASCAR's traditional core audience. So maybe the NASCAR brass has something to do with it.

I do have a couple of concerns:
*Why was Rusty Wallace not given another season to prove himself? One of my friends on an online forum reminded me that Darrell Waltrip was rough around the edges in 2001, the year that Fox began coverage. Fox retained DW and the team (DW, Larry McReynolds and Mike Joy) has held steady ever since. What if ESPN had done the same with Rusty? Instead, he goes to a new role. How will he adjust?
*While Nicole Manske is an improvement on Erik Kuselias, she has still been dismissed (by other people, not me) as a "Barbie doll." She must work hard at ESPN to gain credibility with these fans, as well as those who left NASCAR Now last year when Erik and Doug Banks were the hosts early in the season.

Anonymous said...

I have a question about this part-

"SPEED's Nicole Manske, who hosted The SPEED Report, had been very vocal about the fact that while SPEED did lots of weekend programming from the SPEED Stage at NASCAR events, there was no daily show on the network.

Now, she steps into the primary host role of NASCAR Now, replacing Erik Kuselias. Manske is an interesting choice, and comes with lots of positive and negative issues that she must deal with in her new position."

Could you elaborate on those positive and negative issues?

Anonymous said...

i can't wait for dale UMMM jarrett to light up the UMMM airwaves for ESPN. UMM you know, it should be really interesting to see how UMMM rusty wallace reacts to UMMM all of these changes and UMMM his demotion.

delenn said...

Desmond said........
This seems to tie in with Brian France's "discovery" of NASCAR's traditional core audience. So maybe the NASCAR brass has something to do with it.

Nascar's traditional core audience likes to be in DARLINGTON on LABOR DAY. (Sorry for shouting - it needed to be said.)

Nicole on Nascar Now is again only part of the solution. NN needs to be fast paced, like when Burr did it. I agree completely, less of the Hendrick and Joonyer lovefest, and more about everyone. What are the chances of Morgan-McClure Motorsports getting a mention? I hope they are good. And definately no Aerosmith, or any other band/singer.

Same rules for the pre-race, which will be all the better for AB, but I pity AB being stuck in the Infield Studio with those two. Give Brewer something interesting to do, please - he's better than that.

But above all, and this is to all 3 broadcasters, just show us the race. Everything else should enhance the coverage, not detract from it. Show us the race, and all of it - front to back, start to finish. Professional race coverage, professional commentary.

Anonymous said...

Quote: "Well now. ESPN has thrown down the gauntlet. So how long before Fox does something about Chris Myers??? Huh? HUH?"

Amen to that!

And is it just me who thinks that Marty Smith a complete piece of (edited)?

Anonymous said...

well I must say these changes are nice. And after listening to Allen Bestwick on the Morning show on Sirius, I'm hopeful that with him playing the coach/host, we might actually get answers to things we see during the broadcast but were ignored by last years crew.

I do wish they'd do away with the whole Tim Brewer experiment. They still suffer from too many voices disease.

Anonymous said...


How much input do you think that NASCAR higher ups had in this decision for ESPN ?

I am convinced that your blog sure was influential in allowing us to speak out.

SusanB said...

I am glad that ESPN made changes, period. I did not think they cared about what kind of product that put out. Now if they can show more race coverage and less crap on tv(draft tracker, anyone), I will be one happy camper. Thanks JD for your blog.

Rich said...

JD, Although some here doubt that your blog contributed to the changes, I'm sure it helped a lot. There is only a small percentage of those who read here that post here. I'm sure ;ots of fans became educated here did go and post at ESPN, NASCAR, ETC.
The changes are a plus. I'm pretty sure we will also see some changes in the production end also. Less animations,better use of the tech center,more on track action.
As for your flamer, take it as flattery. The guy can't compete with you and now he's striking out at you. Obviously he's afraid to tell you who he is and confront you face to face. Keep up he good work!!!

Richard in N.C. said...

I am convinced that the folks at ESPN paid a LOT more attention to what JD said than what fans said because JD is an "insider." At the same time, our comments here gave JD ammunition to back up his analysis.
Thank you JD.

In response to one comment above I would like to point out that 2007 was Rusty's 2nd announcing season since he did IRL for ESPN in 2006.

Dwight C said...

RE: Desmond's question about giving Rusty Wallace a second year, last year was his second year. Don't forget that he had his break-in season doing IRL. In Indianapolis, the Indy 500 telecast was on the radio that evening, and I nearly ran off the highway when he called it the Daytona 500 about the time that Marco passed Michael.

Hopeless Fan said...

I'm thrilled with the changes ESPN has made. I'm not sure Nicole Manske is the best fit for NASCAR Now but as long as Eric's gone it's an improvement already. My dream scenario would have been a resurrection of RPM 2Nite with John Kernan, but hey, it's not a perfect world. Nicole has been okay on the Speed Report so it's worth giving her a chance.

Hookaville said...

I agree with stricklin and sophia, they have made a good start in the booth, but it will be what we see on the track that makes the biggest difference. No more missed restarts, post pitstop position recaps, more green flag racing of all the drivers and a view of all the drivers racing to the checkered flag.
ESPN really treated the die-hard fans like we didn't matter. It was insulting that they just wouldn't show all the practices, especially during the chase. Practices matter a great deal, especially to those involved in NASCAR fantasy. I'm willing to give ESPN another chance, basically because I have no choice, but atleast these changes show some promise.

Thanks JD for all the effort. I have to admit, I don't understand why these people are bashing you. This site is your blog, set up with a specific set of guidelines for those who want to participate. Those guidelines are there to ensure that the blog stays focused and that only information that pertains to the subject is discussed. It's because of these rules that this site has become popular and RESPECTED by the media community - let's work to keep it that way. It's also because of posters like stricklin fan and sophia that contributed quality opinions and info ALL last season as well as many others that added to the success of this site.
February can't come soon enough!!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 2:31PM,

For answers to that question, you might have to go to an IRL blog. We are NASCAR in here. If you need anything else on that topic, just drop me an email at and I will help you out.


Kristin said...

OMG! My tv won't know what to do this season when I watch ESPN race broadcasts with the sound ON.

I am definitely excited about DJ. He is a true gentleman and brings great insight and interesting comments to the broadcast. He joins his father in a list (rather small list) of great racing broadcasters.

As for Rusty. Thank God someone at ESPN has a brain. Rusty Wallace was never as great a racer as he thinks he was. And unfortunately for us, he passed that "talent" down to Steven. My dh and I only watch the Nationwide races because we have bets on how far into each race and for what idiotic reason Steven Wallace crashes. (see pole at Daytona testing).

Anonymous said...

Wow! What does a veteran driver have to do to get some respect. Kristin; can you name all the drivers that have won more than 50 Nextel Cup races? Don't forget to include Rusty in that group.

Your comments on Rusty's son are very harsh, what is he- like 19 or 20yrs old. DW loves to tell the story of when he told Rick Hendrick to get rid of Jeff Gordon because he crashed too much. Gee, wonder how that worked out.

Anonymous said...

Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Good start. We also watched Rusty with the mute button on. Happy to see Bestwick back and think Jarrett will do a good job as did his Dad. We are looking forward to 2008 & also agree about getting rid of the Draft Tracker and all the studio chit chat. We want to watch the race!!!!

ri88girl said...

Thanks JD for all your hard work here and letting us vent. I am so pleased ESPN has made changes for whatever reason. I would like to add my voice to the crowed that wants AB to call the races and have Dr. Jerry back on Pit road where he has allways accelled.

I am looking forward to seeing how well they have listened about the non 'talent' changes we have all been clammering for, only time will tell if we actually get to SEE the race.

Perhaps those of us who are fans of AB and INC will see them reunited in another incarnation, is that even ?