Saturday, February 16, 2008
In-Progress At Daytona: "NASCAR Countdown" And Nationwide Race on ESPN2
ESPN begins a long season of NASCAR TV with the first Nationwide Series race on Saturday afternoon.
Again this year, NASCAR Countdown will precede the race. Saturday's version begins at Noon Eastern Time and will transition directly into the race coverage at 1:15PM. The race telecast is scheduled until 4PM, at which time the third and final pre-season episode of the outstanding Shifting Gears TV series will air. If you have not seen this series, you are missing excellent NASCAR TV.
Allen Bestwick will be hosting the telecast from the ESPN Pit Center, along with Ray Evernham and Brad Daugherty. Rusty Wallace is on-hand for the Sprint Cup coverage, and may also join the team for this telecast. In the announce booth will be Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Jarrett was a part-time ESPN announcer last season, and his performance basically moved him into this key position.
On pit road will be veteran Mike Massaro, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Dave Burns. With Bestwick moving to the infield studio full-time, Spake will become a regular pit reporter for the network. Fans may have noticed her absence on NASCAR Now this season.
So, here we go again. Kudos to ESPN for making well-meaning changes to key on-air positions. Hopefully, the result will be a return to the type of coverage and the level of commentary that put ESPN on the map originally with NASCAR.
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This is the second season of The Daly Planet working to allow the fans to speak directly to both NASCAR and the TV networks about the coverage. As the season begins, it is wonderful to see many of the issues discussed over the past season have been addressed. Thanks again for stopping by.