Monday, February 4, 2008

Darrell Waltrip Shows-Up On ESPN's "NASCAR Now"


It was a full two minutes of mayhem and music before Ryan Burr said hello and started the 2008 version of ESPN2's NASCAR Now.

Burr is known to be a fast-paced, news-oriented announcer and his first segment was no exception.

Rather then set-up the NASCAR Now menu and introduce the new on-air announce team, Burr sent viewers into a pre-produced feature focusing on matching the drivers to the cars in the Sprint Cup Series. It was an interesting way to get started.

Then, Carl Edwards suddenly appeared "just to talk." With ESPN2 handling all of the Nationwide Series races, was it any surprise that the Busch Series champ from 2007 would be the first guest? Edwards is a nice guy, but ESPN's fascination with both Edwards and his mom at the close of last season was very strange.

Burr introduced video of the top ten Daytona 500 finishes, and then who should appear on-camera but NASCAR on Fox Lead Analyst Darrell Waltrip. With all due respect, why would DW appear to talk about the upcoming Daytona 500 when viewers had not yet seen ESPN's new addition and former Daytona 500 winner Dale Jarrett?

DW on ESPN is either opening a new level of respect and understanding between NASCAR TV partners, or a very interesting production decision on the part of the NASCAR Now staff. Burr actually slipped a Daytona 500 promo into the end of the interview, and even included the dreaded "Fox" word. My, how times have changed since Erik Kuselias.

Reporter Marty Smith appeared twenty-two minutes into this thirty minute show, and focused on the biggest story of the season, Dale Earnhard Jr. at Hendrick Racing. Smith picked-up right where he left off, with a fast-paced and informative style that fits right in with Burr.

Carl Edwards came back for the "Final Lap," and answered some really awkward questions posed to him by Burr. Some of the issues raised were just plain strange.

This show was interesting not for what was included, but for what was missing. There was no update on the Daytona, Las Vegas or Fontana testing. There was nothing about the first season of the COT. The Truck Series was never mentioned.

Strangest of all, there was no introduction of Allen Bestwick and Nicole Manske as Burr's co-hosts of the show. One sentence would have sufficed.

The most recent ESPN press release detailed sixteen on-air "talent" that would be participating in this program. It included the high-profile new NASCAR team of Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. It also included Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty, the four ESPN pit reporters and the studio regulars like Boris Said and DJ Copp. Just one little question, where were they all?

Even if the network pre-produced a feature introducing the new line-up and what would be different this season, it would have been nice. Instead, a two minute music video from "Colourslide" with lots of crashes opened the show.

Once again, perhaps to ESPN's surprise, NASCAR fans have been watching SPEED for the last three weeks and are all caught-up with most of these news stories. ESPN-owned Jayski.com helps as well.

Finally, there was no promo of Thursday's big Media Day at Daytona. There will be three live hours on ESPN News, signaling a new committment of that network to the sport. Brand new host/reporter Nicole Manske will be on-hand with Rusty Wallace to anchor the coverage.

So, only Marty Smith from the big ESPN cast was present for NASCAR Now show one. The other two guests were NASCAR on Fox's Darrell Waltrip and from SPEED the co-host of The Chase Is On Carl Edwards.

What an interesting way to crank-up a new series that was supposed to feature three anchors, lots of guests, and a ton of ESPN NASCAR personalities. Still, this was a positive step from the issues of last February. Maybe the glass is actually half full.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page, and thanks for stoppin by.

49 comments:

Matt said...

You get the feeling maybe all these changes on ESPN are just like re-arranging the chairs on the deck? That's the feeling I got tonight.

Anonymous said...

Looks like more of the same old garbage from last year. I completely abandoned watching this show in June of last year, and thought I'd give a shot again this year. Wasting time with music videos and absurd questions, while completely ignoring more pressing and interesting subjects. I'll still check out the Monday shows with Bestwick, but that's it.

Anonymous said...

I thought the show was fine, given the fact that nothing has happened on the track yet.

I'll keep watching.

Anonymous said...

I agree, the show was fine, while I could have done with out the questions to Carl Edwards, I liked the music video. Keep in mind everyone in Bristol, CT has been focus on the super bowl this past week. I have no problem with that. Also, keep in mind this is a new team. Give them a few shows to get it right.

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

Compared to SPEED's Preseason Thunder shows, NASCAR Now is still all glitz and video packages with little content. Good thing I've been watching SPEED and have been fully briefed on testing.

Newracefan said...

After watching the first Nascar Now I immediately went to this blog to see what JD and others had to say. The intro was fun to watch as a summary of 2007 but hopefully not an ongoing item it's 2008 now, and if I wanted to watch a music video I'd watch MTV. I also could not believe that there was no mention of testing at all, like it never happened. I think they had to try and interview DW as part of the "Best Daytona 500", we'll know for sure as they count down. The questions at the end were just silly, OK I could live with one or two but really now, didn't we see the same thing in an ongoing Nascar.com piece that interviewed a new driver each week. At least I can stand listening to Ryan.

haus20 said...

If I didn't know any better, I would have thought that we were getting ready for the July Daytona race.

This Nascar Now program was just another program. It was not the year opener I would have expected it to be.

Daly Planet Editor said...

patrick,

If you could re-post with a slightly different choice of words, it would be welcome.

Thanks,

JD

Ritchie said...

I don't believe that ESPN ever intended this show to be anything other than a fast pace recap of daily news. For this reason, I am always left a bit unsatisfied and bored.

I would consider myself a hardcore fan, as I am sure most of the readers of this blog would also be. For that reason I doubt anyone from this site will ever be completely satisfied with its content. In fact, I would be interested to know what the ESPN marketing deparment determined the target audience of this show to be.

The show just doesn't reach a common NASCAR fan. I get most of my NASCAR news online and I have a suspicion that most other fans do also. ESPN should capitalize on this. This show could be used as an extension of their online content at ESPN.com and Jaski. If they produced it right, they could easily highlight important stories and even the fun, human-interest style stories. They could even highlight the useless top ten style stories that ESPN loves so much. Then they could simply send us to their website to continue the stories we are interested in.

I remember a story on this blog that mentioned an executive from ESPN who said that they had already seen an increase in traffic to ESPN.com since their relationship with NASCAR began last year. It seems to me that they would want to cultivate that further, and this show could certainly be a platform for that. Google and YouTube have certainly proven that you can make a lot of money through good online content.

As it stands now, I just don't know if this show can ever fulfill its potential as the primary source of NASCAR news. It seems to be trying to be all things to all people and as a result, it is letting everyone down. However, I do think with some original, 21st century thinking, it could give us a reason to tune in every day.

I'm not sure why I am working probono to make ESPN money.

TexasRaceLady said...

I have to aggre with the very first poster, they just re-arranged the chairs. *sigh*

The show just had no flow --- no connection. And those idiotic questions to Carl at the end! Gag.

I'll tune in for Bestwick, but that's about as far as I'll go.

Anonymous said...

John, you missed one other thing. Mispronouncing Patrick Carpentier name twice in the first segment of the show! And not in the funny way Spencer and Wallace do it.

Ill consider this first show strike one. I hoped there was change coming....

SophiaZ123 said...

I was a little distracted on the laptop but honestly, I thought the opening music would never end.

Show was disjointed as all get out.

JD, as far as the glass being half full or half empty, I have always been "the glass is too big" kind of person.

:-)

darbar said...

One piece of information here. If you choose to record or Tivo Nascar Now, not at it's regular time, but at the re-showing, forget it. It's never at the same time, which is frustrating. There are some of us who have already filled our Tivo selections at the time Nascar Now is at it's first showing, and have use the re-play option for this show, but if history is any indication, and if any of their basketball games goes over their time slot, you won't be recording Nascar Now at all.

Anonymous said...

I liked the "Final Lap" segment. It was fun and lighthearted and towards the end of the show where it should be. I didn't think it was idiotic or strange.

As someone said, NASCAR.com has been doing this in written form every week for years "10 Questions With...", they wouldn't do it if it wasn't popular. They ask about least favorite household chores, what's in their Ipod, their dream date,favorite shows, vacations, etc. ESPN has a right to ask those questions, too.

We also enjoyed the 'where did you spend the off season' segment. The old NASCAR Now was not only uninformative, it was also very boring and offered basically no off the track features about the drivers. Tonight was the sign of the addition of a small amount of those features.

Other than that, I completely agree with your notion that tonight should have been an introduction to the new NASCAR Now talent (your idea of a video is great) and something to let us know that this year is going to be different.

I give the episode a B, deducting for the lack of talent information and the awkward segue from the intro video to Carl Edwards.

Ryan Burr ("for sure") was pretty good. I'm starting to like him or get used to him - don't know which. He did pronounce Carpentier incorrectly, but since Kasey Kahne continues to believe that "funnest" is a word ("snowmobiling was the funnest thing I did this offseason"), I'll call it even for the evening.

Anonymous said...

Ritchie said...
I remember a story on this blog that mentioned an executive from ESPN who said that they had already seen an increase in traffic to ESPN.com since their relationship with NASCAR began last year. It seems to me that they would want to cultivate that further, and this show could certainly be a platform for that.
February 4, 2008 8:07 PM

They want that traffic to go directly to their fantasy racing league pages. That's my opinion. They don't care much about the news content as much as the fantasy league hits - it's a huge business for them and they want the racing segment of fantasy play to be captured at espn.com and not elsewhere.

It's also why we're going to have to put up with that fantasy picks dude on NASCAR Now every week, bet on it.

drh277 said...

I was suprised when the show finally opened to find Ryan Burr hosting. I like Ryan so I didn't mind, but I was suprised none the less. I could not believe they talked with Carl Edwards for so long and that they actually did it twice. This was the season opening show right?
I said to my wife, look at that a guy from FOX on ESPN. She was even kind of suprised to see that one. Something does not smell right here.

elena said...

I have high hopes for NN. This first show would probably get a C+ from me. It was a little disjointed and didn't seems to flow, but hopefully will be smoother as time goes on.

The music lasted a bit long, but it was okay.

I think that if they are going to feature the best of the Daytona 500races, then it made sense to interview DJ. I think it showed growth that they would include someone from the enemy camp (Fox) if they are part of the theme.

NN only lasted 30 minutes, so I think it might not have been much of a program if you are just introducing staff for the season. I have probably read articles on them in about 15 different sites, so it is not much news to anyone who follows NASCAR.

I liked the vacation questions. Also it's kinda nice to feature some of the drivers that are not quite as well known or don't get much press attention and let us know a little more of their personalities.

The Carl questions seemed to make him uneasy. Maybe the subject area (not the exact question) of the questions should be "leaked" to the driver so they can answer without looking uncomfortable.

Maybe I just have positive thoughts today because my team won the Super Bowl. I just can't let anything spoil my good feelings--not even NN.

Anonymous said...

"The Carl questions seemed to make him uneasy. Maybe the subject area (not the exact question) of the questions should be "leaked" to the driver so they can answer without looking uncomfortable."

I watched the interview and I didn't think he looked uneasy, though at times he looked like he was trying to think of a quick answer since there were only 90 seconds. I gotta be honest here, I'm a little shocked that people think these questions were uncomfortable or awkward. Who is the best athlete in the world right now? Who is your favorite actress? What is your favorite TV show? What three people would you invite to dinner?

Those are Athlete Interview 101 questions - they're probably on every media training list in the world somewhere, even for college freshman athletes or their pro equivalents. If NASCAR drivers don't have prepared answers (or can't think quickly) for softballs like that? Then I feel sorry for them AND for the sport. I agree that Dale Jr and jeff Gordon get interviewed a lot, but at least they (and Harvick, Allmendinger, and Montoya, among others) can take a question like that and run with it.

Didn't y'all see how smoothly Tom Brady handled that live marriage proposal from the Mexico City TV personality last week? Now that's a question that should make someone feel uncomfortable, since she was in a wedding dress and he has a girlfriend. But he played it off and was both gentlemanly and humorous and his answers to her made the news everywhere. If they're here to play in the big leagues, impromptu interviewing is a skill they need to learn. NASCAR drivers are lucky they'll probably never find out what a really harsh interview actually is.

This first program was OK. I was hoping it would be a drastic change, maybe in the set and the approach. I guess there's still time.

Anonymous said...

What is up with sports shows that play annoying guitar riffs as background? Sometimes you can't even hear the information. It seems more and more prevalent and I don't get it. Phhbbbbt.

Truck Series Fan! said...

I also felt the questions posed to Carl were awkward and he looked a little put off by them, but the show was still an improvement over Erik K. Looking forward to the new season too but there's plenty of time for this show to go downhill. Hope I don't sound too negative.

Anonymous said...

Those are Athlete Interview 101 questions - they're probably on every media training list in the world somewhere, even for college freshman athletes or their pro equivalents. If NASCAR drivers don't have prepared answers (or can't think quickly) for softballs like that? Then I feel sorry for them AND for the sport. I agree that Dale Jr and jeff Gordon get interviewed a lot, but at least they (and Harvick, Allmendinger, and Montoya, among others) can take a question like that and run with it.
=
For real. If JP Montoya got asked what is his favorite Tv show, he'd wouldn't be offended or uneasy, he'd probably never stop talking. I've seen the online stories with him going on and on about Discovery Channel Man vs Wild and Mythbusters, Lost on ABC, whatever. He gets into it -Hilarious.

SophiaZ123 said...

Anon 12.58

From your mouth to God's ear and then back down to the idiotic producers/editors that INSIST MUSIC BE PLAYED OVER ALL TALKING in today's world.

Bloody annoying and yes, interferes with listening to conversation. Though sadly, the art of conversation is lost in today's media but this ain't the place for that diatribe. :-)

Anonymous said...

John: If you're going to be so critical of everything and everybody, your writing needs to be above reproach. You really need to either hire a copy editor or buy yourself a copy of Strunk & White and an AP Style Manual.

Ritchie said...

I agree with the everyone about the Carl Edwards questions. He should be able to handle questions like that. I know that most drivers are very focused on racing and little else, but it did surprise me that he stumbled on such simple questions.

What I find intriguing is that those types of questions were asked on this show. I've always heard those type of questions called "first date questions". Those types of questions are design to introduce someone to a stranger, which brings me back to my point that ESPN isn't designing this show for hardcore fan. This show is leaning more toward an audience that barely knows the drivers. Thus the need for the "fans" to get to know the drivers.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 6:41AM,

What are your feelings about the first NASCAR Now show? My writing is just like every other amateur blog on the Internet, we do the best we can.

This program was positive for Ryan Burr, Marty Smith and a fast-pace. It was negative for not explaining the new show, the new hosts, and who would be involved.

Just like the ESPN problem last season, they are missing the fact that SPEED had already been on the air for several weeks and covered NASCAR with many interviews and features.

Although it is the off-season, all ESPN had to do is look at ESPN-owned Jayski.com to figure out the stories that were in-progress in this sport.

I appreciate you telling me I need to be above reproach, but this is not the New York Times or the Charlotte Observer. I work hard on this project, and enjoy the comments of the fans from around the nation, and around the world.

Maybe when you return, you could give us your comments on the first program of NASCAR Now for 2008?

JD

Anonymous said...

I would say DW being on was due to the fact they just did a piece on him winning the Daytona 500. I dont see how talking to Dale Jarrett is better then talking to DW about his win. Then again im not the expert that you are.

Anonymous said...

The program's name is NASCAR NOW. Where was the NOW? Did I miss it?

I was extremely annoyed by the music that kicked off the show. I liked the clip on the drivers' moves to new teams/rides. That was catchy. Somewhere after that, I completely lost interest in the show. Guess that I expected some NOW stuff, and wasn't getting it.

Anonymous said...

I think the show was good and very Professional. AS the post before said, DW was on because he was featured as the 500 winner. Maybe because he was on ESPN he answered the questions pretty good and did not go into his goofy, trying to be cute, clever act. It seems as though the criticism is almost splitting hairs as the show was good. If this is the standard for critique, I can hardly wait to see when FOX begins and the Waltrip brothers start their acts.

Ron P. said...

Hi JD,
First impressions... eh? not bad but not great. Yes it was better than last years shows, but it lacks real spontaneity.
Carl Edwards just happened to drop by??? What he dropped by outside the Roush Shops? What annoyed me the most was Speed Channel basically had the same show on last night.
I hope that ESPN doesn't think "Slick Production" will appease us ( or is it we) NASCAR Fans. To quote a Great Women.... Where's the Beef?
Considering that racing hasn't started yet it was OK, I was hoping they would have opened with Allen Bestwick but no we got Ryan. My wife was sitting there watching the show when it started and Ryan walked out she screamed..." Now who is this idiot!"
I had to calm her down and tell her at least he seems to know what's going on...

One really bad point to the Show were the stupid question they asked Carl... Come on ESPN, You could asked real questions. not who's your favorite actress. No offence if I wanted to know that I'll by a copy of Teen Beat magazine.
Ask some real questions, like... what driver will be getting the Ax at Roush to make the 4 team limit. Now that's a question!

Lets see what they do tonight.

RJP

jersey_dan said...

like many others, i had stopped watching this show last year. yesterday, i didn't tune in until 6:15, so i can't comment on what came earlier. and since i turned it off before the end, i can't say i really liked what i saw. i did see the dw and marty smith pieces. dw, for once, was just calm, still, and not going overboard, all very refreshing. marty's piece was up to his usual high standards. However the set behind raymond was terrible; way way too bright and garish, wish they'd just tone that down some. and from what other people wrote, i'm glad i didn't stick around for the end!

seeing what i did, there's nothing that made me want to tune in again. i'll still try and catch one or two of AB's shows, just to see if he can make a difference. and i'll also tape the thursday 3 hr show because i'm curious to see how nicole and rusty interact. but all in all, i can't see myself watching on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

It was unwatchable.

earl06 said...

This show wasn't much of a season premiere, it was basically a bunch of canned material with a couple live interviews. If ESPN wants people to watch this show, they need to make it stand out.

Yes, there is a lot of information out on the internet, but a TV show that ties everything together in a well-written and well-produced manner would be what fans have been asking for for years.

ESPN had weeks to put this show together. What will it be like when they have to crank one out every day?

Anonymous said...

Well to me the first show was simply pathetic.

Starting out with a two-minute video? Come on.

Then, typical ESPN arrogance by starting the show by going through driver/car changes. Right. No NASCAR fan in the world would know anything if not for ESPN. It's just like the Brickyard telecast last year when they acted like no racing had taken part for the whole season until ESPN was involved...

The DW interview certainly raised my eyebrows with his FOX affiliation. It was nice to see Burr and Waltrip conduct a professional and interesting interview. Too bad the whole thing was ruined by horrible amateur production when you couldn't even hear the conversation above the roar of the engines introduced in the video highlights played during the interview.

The Edwards "interview" at the end was just abysmal.

The same graphics. The same music beds under the graphics. Music videos. Just another typical ESPN show like last year.

Although, thankfully our old friend from last year wasn't on screen.

Anonymous said...

I fast forwarded through most of the show. Thought DW was there because of the Top 10 Daytona feature. Good for ESPN that they didn't exclude him because he is a FOX guy. Will wait to judge when Speed Weeks begins. If it's still the same then they have probably lost me. Although with TIVO I can always check in and zip through what I don't care about. I'm just thrilled no more Erik K. On our way to Daytona (in our motorhome) for the full week of racing, so won't much care about the TV side because we can check it all out in person! Very blessed indeed. Diane & Dick

SC said...

JD,

Thanks for this blog and a chance to express our observations. Once again I have to express my personal opinion = Marty Smith is useless. He offers nothing to to NASCAR let alone the human race in general.

Thanks again,
-SC

Anonymous said...

ESPN, putting that insane music over program content makes me wonder if you're doing it because you know that NN is not up to snuff. PLEASE, PLEASE, ESPN dump the insane music. Nascar, as a sport, can stand on it's own and you don't need the rock music to bring in viewers. I can say, me and my Nascar friends will TUNE OUT if you insist on this canned music. And if you think this music makes you look cool and will attract the head bangers to your show, think again. The music stinks. Let your show stand alone---or perhaps your show's content is so weak, and your hosts are so incompetent, that you need the music to cover up your shortcomings.

Ken - Michigan said...

As much as I have looked forward to the 2008 NASCAR season and all the programming that goes with it, I find many of the shows hard to watch.

In regards to NASCAR NOW from Monday night, it was quite obvious that most of the ESPN "full time professionals" were busy with Super Bowl coverage or the next installment of Texas Hold Em Poker.

NASCAR NOW has got to be the ESPN training ground for the newest 2008 interns.

The production of the show was barely better than a cable access channel and it's obvious that the production team, as well as the host, knows very very little about NASCAR.

Audio overpowering Darrell Waltrips interview? No excuse for that... bring DOWN THE AUDIO !!

The interview quiestions, very lame. Enough said !

All the fancy Hi-Def graphics are cool, but thats not going to keep me watching this show.

What is needed? A host that "knows" this sport inside and out. A host that can form his own questions without the assistance from a college intern who doesnt even know what way the cars go around the race track. And most importantly, a host who the NASCAR drivers and owners trust. But, unfortunately, I would be very surprised to see a "well known" NASCAR host step up and WANT to host this show due to its lack of production professionalism.

Bestwick IS the man for the job !

elena said...

I take back saying Carl should have been given hints about the questions, and I take it all back after reading some posts after mine.

You are right. These were not trig questions. I also saw the "bride" proposing to Tom Brady. It brought to mind many years ago seeing Jeff Gordon interviewed by ESPN as a teenager. He was able to give articulate answers--- and the kid was maybe 15 or 16 years old. Also, Carl was a substitute teacher?

I also like the fact that NN is showing what they think are the top 10 Dayton 500 race endings. So we saw #10 with DW. I guess we may or may not agree who #9, 8, and so on are. I think it's great as they lead us all to the current 500. They have also had clips of about 5-6 drivers talking of the Daytona 500 in their First Take today. There are several clips featuring different drivers each time.

And then Jeff Burton was interviewed. He was good. Some questions were lighthearted and not about racing, but as always, Jeff had good quick-witted answers. I think it make the drivers seem multi-dimensional and not just racing robots. It is especially great when the drivers get a chance to talk about their individual charities and how they give back from their success.

Anonymous said...

I missed the show, but after reading here I didn't miss much of anything.

Anonymous said...

SC...

I'm surprised you feel that way about Smith. My family and I always feel more informed when he's on. He's the best thing at ESPN as far as this family is concerned. You probably like Inside Nextel Cup, too...

-- OFG

Vince said...

Sigh....

We waited all off season for ESPN's new version of NN and all we got was a 2 minute music video and crashes on the screen to lead off. Then we get Carl Edwards interviewed from where?? It looked like the parking lot at the mall. Then we get a DW interview that we can't hear due to the engine noise from the video clip shown while he was talking.

All fluff and no substance. This show might be fine for the casual viewer, which may be ESPN's target audience. But for the hard core fan it was another disappointment from ESPN. Mr. Burr is not a NASCAR insider and continues to show that he really doesn't know the sport. But he is a major improvement over Erik K.

The questions to Carl at the end of the show where stupid. What did any of the questions have to do with what I thought was supposed to be a NASCAR news show?

I'll watch for the rest of the week and next Monday to see if AB is hosting. But if the content and production of this show doesn't improve I won't be watching anymore. I suspect we have the same producers of this show as last year. It sure looked like it to me.

Anonymous said...

I copied and pasted this from another blog I responded to yesterday....

After watching the first installment of ESPN's new NASCAR show, I must say that I was not impressed.

They spent the first five minuts showing clips from last season and then another 5-8 recapping the 'new' driver news. Unless people were living in an ice cave in Antarctica last season, I tend to think that pretty much everyone (including non-fans) knows that Dale Jr. left DEI for Hendrick and that the sport got invaded yet again by more open-wheel racers.

The only part I liked was when they asked drivers what they did in the off-season. The rest of it was the SOS. Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and on and on. (yawn) I'm still shaking my head at the 'what is it about Daytona?' question that Carl Edwards was forced to answer. Bless his heart-it looked like he bit his tongue instead of saying what he probably really wanted to say.

It looks like ESPN is intent on showing how obsessed they are with their favorite eight or ten drivers again this year. My term for the year is 'ad nauseum' and it applies to ESPN and their NASCAR coverage since it seems like they are going to regurgitate the same stuff to the point of, yes, you guessed it-ad nauseum.

The only reason I'm interested in the show is because of Allen Bestwick and the fact that they are going to have one of Bobby Labonte's crew guys on as well. Where were they?

This is definitely a 'DVR/fast forward to the parts I want to watch' show. ESPN has not given me a reason to do otherwise.

glenc1 said...

it wasn't ground breaking, just adequate--but from where we were last year, a vast improvement. I still have hope. As far as the 'recap' of what drivers/sponsors are where, for those faulting ESPN with acting like we're newbies, isn't it funny how SPEED's show did exactly the same thing as an early feature? I do think we should keep in mind, there might be one or two on the planet that needed a refresher. And didn't Ryan say 'car pon' tee eh' like it's supposed to be? Maybe I misheard; I was sort of half in the room at the time. In any case, these foreign guys are going to be a challenge for a bit. Darrell is a good choice for a first episode if only because he is probably one of the most recognizable NASCAR faces to the mainstream. Part of me wondered if this show wasn't almost like a 'rehearsal', as if they're gearing up.

delenn said...

Just finished watching the first Nascar Now. I feel you lot are a bit harsh.

1. The music was 1:45, not two minutes, but was too long. A disappointing start, but only the same as College Football Live starting with a marching band the first programme. It didn't really work there either.

2. I liked the titles being the CoT, but otherwise identical.

3. The drivers change piece was fine. Not too long - told you what you needed to know.

4. The parking lot interview with Carl. Some decent enough questions. What exactly are you going to get before a wheel has been turned in anger? As for where he was being interviewed from - so what if it is a parking lot - at least it was video. Last year, it would have been "via telephone".

5. DW interview. Good piece. I hope the mention of the f work (Fox) indicates that ESPN gets it that we know the series starts without them. A good choice, and a nice idea to get NN having some momentum.

6. Marty Smith was decent, as always. A few bits I didn't know.

7. I wouldn't say Carl was uncomfortable with the final questions, just unprepared. Try answering yourself. Favourite actress - I'm still arguing with myself. Three to dinner - mine would all be racing related (Ayrton Senna, Mike Joy, Murray Walker) - I'm amazed his were not. He came up with some decent enough answers, even though the "awe man" is probably not the best stalling tactic ever.

I'm not sure I would say it didn't flow, just that it did not start off well.

You have to remember they have 10 days to fill before the 500. More than enough time to introduce Nicole. What else do they have to announce? Burr and Bestwick have done NN before. DJ is already on the ESPN team, and will not be taking over as announcer til March or April. Are they exactly going to announce Erik, Brent and Suzy are gone with a fanfare? - no, they will just not be there.

Also, you are pretending ESPN need to recap testing. Do they? They know anyone who is interested in testing is reading Jayski, or watching Speed. Out of interest, exactly what does testing tell you? Not a lot - you never know what they are up to. It's like the NFL pre-season - no-one quite reveals their cards.

Next, if ESPN had revealed all their personalities in 1 go, they would have been accused of producing a fragmented programme. Talk about not being able to win.

Next, about ESPN being pre-occupied with the Superbowl. Really? Like it's not a full week before someone races a Nascar at Daytona. This is pre-season folks. Warm up, to get the juices flowing. So what if it was pre-recorded packages. There were a couple of interviews (anyone guess Carl was in a lot in Arizona??? :-). There were 3 ESPN "voices". It was fast paced enough (for pre-season).

ESPN still has a lot to prove, but this episode was solid enough. No-one should be turning off on the evidence of this (and no-one should be declaring ESPN as fixed either). The proof of the pudding will be in 3 or 4 weeks, when we see how long trucks highlights there are, how many Aerosmith videos there are, how much of a Hendrick love-fest is going on, how Nicole is doing, and how many of our other complaints they have ignored.

Anonymous said...

Missed the first show but guess it's no loss.... Allen Bestwick is the best announcer/host out there and he should have been on the show. ESPN must be on a tight budget...They should have had all three of the hosts there to introduce and stop asking those dumb questions!!!!!! They do have money for an editor but the production values are nil!!!! I'll just watch Pre-season Thunder and the other Speed and Fox shows....no more Nascar Now....

RoyBoy21 said...

Great, now I have to invest more time in "Nascar Now" again this year with the hope that things have changed.

The unpredictability and unscripted interaction is what endeared me to Fox and Speed. I sincerely hope that some of this has rubbed off on ESPN to make it more interesting than the straight-laced and robotic stuff they gave us last year.

I can only hope...

Lisa Hogan said...

Just my opinion:
I watched last night and saw Burr reading the same terrible scripts while doing his bowing and rocking motions.
ESPN has chosen two readers and Bestwick for their nightly show.

I will stick around and wait for Bestwick and will watch whichever night he hosts the show.

elena said...
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