Saturday, February 23, 2008

In-Progress At Fontana: "NASCAR Countdown" And Nationwide Series Race on ESPN2

Live college basketball precedes the NASCAR Countdown show for the Nationwide Series race on ESPN2 Saturday night.

Countdown is scheduled for 7PM, but just ahead of it is Drake vs. Butler in live college hoops. Overtime would cause the Countdown show to collapse and the race start to remain on time. ESPN2 needs to get to the big Bassmaster Classic coverage at 10PM, or immediately after the race.

Allen Bestwick hosts the NASCAR Countdown shows this season. His in-studio crew consists of Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham and Brad Daugherty. Tim Brewer is in the Tech Center as usual. Upstairs in the announce booth is Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. On pit road is Mike Massaro, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Dave Burns.

This was an exciting and also dangerous race last season with lots of high-speed action. It was tough to integrate the production elements like Draft Track and in-car cameras into the telecast and still give the viewers an understanding of what was happening in the race. This race should be challenging for the ESPN2 gang.

This post will serve to host your comments about the Nationwide Series race from the California Speedway. To add your opinion, just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page. Thanks again for stopping by.


stricklinfan82 said...

Assuming we can actually watch the entire race on TV and not I'm looking forward to a good telecast. The on-air changes paid great dividents at Daytona last week and I hope that can carry over into this week's Countdown show and race coverage.

Let's just hope ESPN can do a much better job of covering the finish of the race this week. Please show all the cars cross the finish line LIVE! 3+ hours of very good coverage was wiped away by an awful directing decision to only show Tony Stewart and the flagman at the finish, so I'm hoping we don't see the same thing happen again today. Please finish the job this week!

Sean said...

Hopefully it isn't rained out. The rain is starting to move in over here. I'm about 2 hours from the track

Erik said...

College basketball is on ESPN2 before the race, and on ESPN Classic as well. A rain delay to start the race may be a good thing.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Boy, DW did a quick change-over and kept his enthusiasm high.


Newracefan said...

Rain delay will be ok if ESPN2 is willing to replace the reminder of the race and not FISHING. I have the DVR set and won't be home to change ot around.

Diane said...

With the current weather situation there is a real chance that neither the Cup Lite race today or the Cup race tomorrow will go off as planned.

Have they ever run two postponed races on a Monday? It would mean 2 networks having to do extra coverage.

One good thing for the Fontana track management, if the Cup race is run on Monday they would have a legitimate excuse as to why there are so many empty seats in the stands.

Anonymous said... says light rain, but it doesn't look visible on the garage cam. Hopefully it stays light to get this race in because tomorrow looks washed out. Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for the area from 10 PST through Sunday afternoon.



Anonymous said...

latest forecast says the rain may be gone by Sunday afternoon. I think we might get the cup race in late Sunday. I don't know about tonight.

stricklinfan82 said...

Yeah I won't be home to watch it live either so the coverage better not leave ESPN2 no matter how long it takes to run the race.

I think a Sunday doubleheader would be the best option if it rains out tonight. They started the Nationwide race at California at 10PM last year so I don't think it would be unreasonable to hold the race after the Cup race concludes. Then again they ran at Daytona last year at 9:30 AM so they could run the race at 9:30 local (12:30 PM eastern) and get it done before the Cup race.

If both days are washed out I would definitely expect NASCAR to attempt the first ever Monday-doubleheader. You can't expect the Nationwide guys to sit around until Tuesday just because the Cup guys are using the track Monday, and I don't think re-scheduling to a date later in the season would work for any of the parties involved.

Geez said...

Looking at the radar, It doesn't look good for the race tonight at all. Raining pretty good here about 10 miles east of the track with a lot more behind it.

They said this morning that they could start the cup race as late as 8:00PM tomorrow.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Wow, thank you all for the updates. This should be an interesting night for all concerned, especially the TV networks. Talk about a logistical nightmare. Thank goodness they got the Truck race in.


Anonymous said...

Even if the rain is gone tomorrow afternoon, if it rains heavily tonight and tomorrow through the afternoon, I doubt they can dry the track. John Darby said on that they had to pump out water overnight at the track to get ready for today and yesterday's rain wasn't heavy. (Remember the weepers and the water pooling on the asphalt and grassy areas of the banking?)

And the jet dryers damaged the caulking in the track pavement after being used so long, though John Darby said they would squirt some more caulking in before today.

But it seems unlikely that they can 1)pump water out, 2)dry the track, and 3)replace the caulking from jet dryer heat in one afternoon and still get the race in - if all of that stuff took overnight and this morning to do.

The story is titled: "Track officials will try to pump out water overnight" if you want to read the whole thing.

SophiaZ123 said...

Dang!Weather sounds depressing for the rest of the race weekend.

I was going to endeavor to find a FREE radio band for the T Cup series but no need to now. Bummer.

I am just glad the Truck race got in with out all the SNOW WHITE DEATH GRAPHICS all over the picture.

Yes, for 7 days STRAIGHT they have had crawls on the screen about the weather..and school closings. Last night it kept saying NO SATURDAY SCHOOL? I avoided all network shows except for Letterman.

But they distort the screen with this junk.

Hope those of you living in the area don't have to live with constant tickers and crawls on your screen.

One local station had the info so stacked up, one local radio guy said that soon, only the adam's apple of the talking heads would be visible. They start 48 hrs before the first snow flake appears. I kid you not.

I HOPE the weather is nice here for the next couple races. Course, ESPN has their OWN perpetual ticker. . .

Anonymous said...

It looks like ESPN2 has a 2 hour broadcast of the Bassmaster Classic Fishing tournament beginning at 10p.m. Eastern, and then there's a College Basketball game at midnight. The college basketball game is the important item. It takes roughly 2hr, 15 min to run 300 miles at California. So we're probably looking at a 9:45p.m. green flag must fly by situation to get done before the basketball game. So that gives ESPN2 about 2 hours or so to play with.

Daly Planet Editor said...

It should be interesting to see what they do with NASCAR Countdown.

Anonymous said...

The rain has stopped and the jet dryers are on the track.

SophiaZ123 said...

thanks for the update Anon.

I would sure like to see a race since it's been snow and ice around here. Not going to be good night to even make a quick trip to the nearby grocery in this weather.

I went to the kitchen for food, and came back to BACK IN THE DAY? Why did they leave if there were dryers on the track?

Too many rain delay talks already? That can sometimes be fun tidbits from drivers.

SophiaZ123 said...

Just a note about online radio for racing. does NOT SUPPLY FREE radio for the N series (Tea Cup) I thought somebody told me to check them out when I asked about this a week or so ago.

I just checked and they want you to sign up for that and the truck series.

bummer. Now that I have wireless I was hoping to find a station. My local FM in SW Ohio only does CUP races.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR countdown is in 1.3 seconds. not TOO bad of a delay.


Anonymous said...

i Believe the midnight basketball is a re-run.

Anonymous said...

Per AB green flag maybe in 90 mins.

Basketball game at 9pm pacific is live Kent State at St. Mary's (California)

Sean said...

doesn't look like a race is happening tonight. Those stand are packed! I'm glad I didn't go this year

Anonymous said...

ESPN Clasic only has poker form 12:00-1:30am. ESPN can use that if the race goes over can't they?

Geez said...

It stopped raining here about an hour ago. It was light at that. The radar doesn't look good but based on it, it should be raining like heck here and it's not raining at all. We always hope.:)

Anonymous said...

Why there continues to be such an intense focus from ESPN on Brad Keselowski is beyond me.

He was the only Nationwide guy in the short beginning promo to really have done nothing in the series yet (featured along with Edwards, Earnhardt Jr, and others -even Sauter has won a few times in Nationwide)

Then they show Brad K. walking around the garage, and tell us he'll be featured later talking about his crash in a race last year. He didn't even run a full season last year, ESPN! Please give it a rest. It would be one thing if he won the Daytona race last week or even placed in the top 15...but he didn't.

ESPN, you need to focus on the Nationwide-only drivers who have actually accomplished something, like Clauson and Bires who finished better than Brad K. last week. If Brad K. starts to set the series on fire by all means focus on him. But not now. Geez.

We don't care about the Junior connection, we really don't. He's the third driver of that car in two seasons, so JR Motorsports drivers come and go just like everywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Forecast is looking better. One more green blob near the race track then there is a nice big gap after that. I would say that would give them about 2 hours until the next rain.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Keselowski focus. Of course, it's just because of the Junior connection, but he lost all of my respect last week when he didn't take any credit whatsoever for causing the wreck...

Good prerace show so far. Looks like ESPN is trying to fill the potential 90 minutes before the race starts.

Anonymous said...

Interesting use of the lower third ticker. ESPN2 is using it to show the Nationwide race line-up and other information.

Anonymous said...

"I would say that would give them about 2 hours until the next rain."

Starting when though? AB just said again about 90mins to get the track ready.

SophiaZ123 said...

Gosh, 90 minutes they HOPE until green flag racing??

I agree, some of the middle series guys should be featured w/o CUP connections.

How else to build familiarity ? This would be a great time to introduce such guys to TV Land. Not Clint B who I like ok, but his attitude in recent weeks (never wanting to take responsibility for some events) has bugged me.

But I would like to see the 'little guys' get some face time. Another case of the media forgetting where the drivers come from.

Oh, well. There are 90 minutes to fill so maybe they will grab somebody who deserves attention.

and Sadly, BIG FIERY crashes do get the attention of the casual fans. *shrugs*

Rain, please go away.

Anonymous said...

I'm not an expert but, here is my forecast. I see one storm cell moving in, in about 30 minutes. But, it looks like it should pass though fast and there are no cells behind it for a few hours. If they can get the track dry after that one cell, I hope they can start.

The center of the storm is still further north and should come in late tonight into midday tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Based on the posts above, what worries me is the jet dryers came on the track about 6:30. Allen came on shortly after 7 and said it would be about 90 minutes and they hoped to get started then.

If it takes two full hours to dry the track from light rain, what's going to happen with the heavy rains? How long will it take.

No Ray Evernham tonight in the studio. I just skimmed JD's blog about that again and it looks like he is working selected Nationwide Races. He is supposed to do the Monday NASCAR Now roundtables and some other days of NASCAR Now, but I don't remember him being there last Monday for the roundtable or seeing him on other shows this week.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, sounds like a small window of time to fit the race in. Will be interesting to see if Nascar goes ahead and tries to get even 1/2 of the race done to make it official.

Specially knowing that tomorrow is probably a washout.

Anonymous said...

Hummm...mebbe-so the suits in Bristol (the other'n!) have truly loosened up.

Tim's Bling is back!

Tom in Bristol

Anonymous said...

Still a lot of focus on Keselowski (taped bit plus live interview), but at least ESPN saw fit to give us an interview with Bryan Clauson before it. Good interview by Jamie Little. Poor guy, second week in a row where's he at a track he's never been to before unloading the hauler.

Also liked the graphic they gave us with Clauson's racing background after the interview. As Allen said, he might be new to viewers so good way to inform us.

Good job; the ESPN folks in studio and on pit road are relaxed tonight and doing well.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 7:43PM,

I tried to pin them down on Ray's schedule, but it was still being finalized at the time.

His focus is at the track, and appearing on the pre-race, NASCAR Now and perhaps some Nationwide races in the booth as an analyst with DJ. (hint..hint...hint)

Hopefully, we will get a better feel for what his future will hold with ESPN a bit later this season.


Richard in N.C. said...

SophiaZ- I just finished checking and I got MRN radio feed without charge, right before they went back to local stations until 8:30. I went to the News Center and then right below picture of a CTS truck on the line referring to the N-wide race I clicked on "Radio" and a box popped up as in the past - takes a couple of minutes for feed to start on my computer. Sorry I'm not computer literate enough to give better directions.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Got to tell ya, ESPN gets a lot of credit in my book for this racing fill programming.

Bestwick and Punch have been on their games and it has been great.

Anonymous said...


Nice how Jarrett, Petree & RW put the whole cheatin' thing in perspective

Anonymous said...

I cannot get the radio broadcast to work at all - it wants me to sign up for trackpass and says my subscription is expired - which it is.

Funny you can get free tv broadcast but no free radio -

I went back and clicked on news center - actually NEWS and then radio and got same result.

richard in NC are you a trackpass subscriber?

SophiaZ123 said...

THANK YOU ANON!!!!!!!!!!!

I just tried 5 times NC Richard and I MUST SIGN UP for at least trial (NO THANKS,not giving cc info)

There is NO FREE RADIO. It clearly states in the pop up box you MUST BE A MEMBER.

Perhaps you USED to be a member and still get the deal for free.

Thanks for trying though.

Had somebody else not posted about this, I would blame it on brain fog and a convoluted web site.



Can't somebody invent a giant circle tarp like they use for baseball games.

SophiaZ123 said...

Oh, I just wanted to add I am very MUCH enjoying the rain delay chatting.

So far these guys have been great.

Rusty is suddenly enjoyable to listen to as opposed to last year, he drove me nuts. The new role fits him, as I think you mentioned JD.

Nice not to be griping about the coverage.

(Oh, I's early yet! :-))

But after what I have witness on another network, I must remember my mantra


brett baldeck said...

Doesn't look like they will be racing tonight. Hopefully this doesn't turn out like Michigan last year. Don't wanna NASCAR to be stuck at California until Tuesday. lol

Anonymous said...

JD I agree that ESPN is doing a great job in their rain delay coverage - reminiscent of FOX/FX back in 2001/2002 era. Perhaps because its the same producer and two pit reporters from that time? Don't worry Erik I am not dissing ESPN.

Whatever the reason kudos to ESPN.

Anonymous said...

I believe we're within 30 minutes of this race being postponed....the window of opportunity is closing, considering the time it would take to dry the track.

brett baldeck said...

If this race is postponed will ESPN keep the pit studio there? The studio doesn't have to travel very far since its LAs Vegas next week.

Or od they bring the studio back to ESPN Bristol CT after every race?

Anonymous said...

Funny how Speed moved their Speed stage cause its use was done but they needed it today in the rain. In Michigan ESPN (I believe) kept their pit studio thru Tues.

Anonymous said...

ESPN has to fill til 10 PM ET till Bassmasters show.

They've been on since 7PM ET - ESPN has improved with ABest and Rusty in the infield studio and DJ in the booth.

Anonymous said...

Once Nascar has called the race off, then Espn will switch to Espn News or other programming.

Anonymous said...

at least no Dale JR Back in the Day - boy that show gets old fast - pun originally unintended but now intended

Anonymous said...

Remember west coast time is not even 6pm yet. Nascar has probably 3-4 more hours for rain to stop and track to dry.

This would still give them 2 hrs of racing before midnite pacific time.

Anonymous said...

I'm listening to MRN....they came on for a bit at 8:30 Eastern. They're leaving the air again until 10 p.m. Eastern. So obviously the race won't start before then.

Anonymous said...

Good job ESPN...I like the wallace brothers + Edwards discussion.

Anonymous said...

JD, how late do you think ESPN will allow a race to start? Does ESPN has a choice or is it purely NASCAR's decision?

Anonymous said...

JD, are you familiar with "look room," a technique involving framing a camera for an interview? I notice the photographers for ESPN rarely follow that rule for the infield interviews. Why is that? I notice that with a lot of NASCAR broadcasts.

Anonymous said...

Remember is only 6:12 pacific time.

Daly Planet Editor said...

The decision is being made right now I am told, we should hear an announcement shortly.

The freelance ESPN pit photogs are having a tough time this season. The new reporters really do not frame things well for them, and it is an endless series of movements and changes in direction.

If you want to see how its done, check Wendy V on the SPEED shows. She works with her photog as a partner, and it really does make a difference.

If you have noticed, even "matching shots" for the NASCAR Now gang has been a struggle, as there was no ESPN co-host on-scene at the track last season. Matching Ryan and Nicole has proven to be a challenge.


Anonymous said...

my wild guess is 10PM ET - 7PM PT - with one hour later possible - to make decision to race/not race.

Anonymous said...

Remember how long it will take the track to dry after two rains. Probably 3 hours of drying now.

If they have the drivers go out there to touch the surface after they dry it and they and find damp spots on the track like they did yesterday at practice, NASCAR will not run the race. They won't put the drivers in jeopardy. jeff Burton and Tony Stewart are running this race right? NASCAR will probably talk to them and maybe Carl Edwards and ask them help make the call, like they did with Jeff and Jimmie yesterday.

Anonymous said...

The track is looking better. we might get this race in.

Anonymous said...

As Fox documented the track was dug up and worked on last night and this morning to fix the weeper spots.

Also one of the problems was a jet dryer that was stationary in spot for too long and melted some caulking.

Hopefully those problems won't pop up again tonite.

Richard in N.C. said...

SophiaZ- It may help to not know what you are doing, as I really don't. I went to, then to the News Center & under the truck picture captioned "Cruisin in Cali" there is a line titled Stater Bros. 300, on which there is the word Radio. When I click on Radio, up pops a box in the upper left corner of my screen for the MRN radio broadcast & when I click on the play button, after a minute or 2, I get the MRN feed - and moments ago re-heard Joe Moore say they would be back on at 10:00. No, I've never been a subscriber - but, yes, I really have no idea what I'm doing, but it has always worked when I could not get C-Truck or Busch races over the radio. I hope this helps. My impression has always been that this will not work with Cup races.

Anonymous said...

If they get the track dried by 11:30 Eastern or midnight Eastenr I suppose they could move it to ESPN Classic, but many people don't have it.

I don't know if they'll preempt the live basketball game on ESPN2 at midnight. At 11:30 on East Coast on ESPN, Sportscenter will be on followed by a today's college b-ball wrapup show and NBA update show, followed by another (new) Sportscenter.

Is ESPN willing to take either the live basketball game or the NASCAR race from ESPN2 if the race proceeds?

Anonymous said...

midnight eastern is not LIVE b-ball but midnight madness - one hour - whatever midnight madness is.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, why not put live b-ball on Espn and leave the race on Espn2?

Another question: will they leave for Bassmaster and then come back for the race aftwerwards?

Anonymous said...

anyone know whats with the fireworks just now?

Anonymous said...

On ESPN2 at midnite eastern:

"Basketball game at 9pm pacific is live Kent State at St. Mary's (California)"

Anonymous said...

As mentioned above, midnight basketball on ESPN2 IS live: Kent State at St. Mary's. It's on the west coast and it will be 9 there.

It's the ESPN college basketball show that is a wrapup.

May be moot anyway, Radar shows the track area is at the edge of another band of rain on the way through.

I feel bad for all involved, but it looks inevitable....

Anonymous said...

No race tonight... Nationwide race to run one hour after the cup race.

Anonymous said...

Ok it's over. Guess that is why the fireworks are going off? lol

Both races tomorrow? GET REAL!!

Anonymous said...

my mistake - ESPN2 - oh well dont matter - its Bassmaster as scheduled

Daly Planet Editor said...

Once again, I give ESPN a lot of credit for filling this entire timeslot with live and interesting programming of all types.

This series needed as many drivers and personalities exposed to the public as possible, and this was a good opportunity to do just that.

I will update the ESPN2 schedule for tomorrow and what things may happen as soon as it all gets sorted out.

Nice job by the ESPN crew!

Anonymous said...

Good job by ESPN staying for their entire time slot with good coverage and information.

l_long said...

This brings out a couple of things here.

1) Do you think they'd let the cup guys run 800 miles in one day?

2) I don't know if anyone agrees with me on this one or not, but they are starting the races entirely too late nowdays to have much wiggle room for bad weather. 3 and 4 pm start times are just too darned late, especially if there's any chance of rain.

Brett Baldeck said...

Tomorrow is going to be an interesting day for sure!

Rain tomorrow will make it even more interesting.

Anonymous said...

JD, Drag racing is scheduled for 9pm tomorrow. that is when the race might start if all goes well. what will happen?

Anonymous said...

Both races tomorrow? GET REAL!!

February 23, 2008 9:48 PM

I know! But they have to think positive I guess. Weather reports have been wrong before (though the ones this weekend from Fontana have been right on from what I've seen)

I just hope everyone stays safe tonight and in the morning and they don't have any flooding on the campgrounds, the RV lots, etc.

The Cup drivers aren't going to be happy about driving the Cup race then the NW race one hour later, I bet. I know they don't mind racing the NW race in the morning before the Cup race in past rain delays because they got to take a nap in between. But this is differnt and a shorter timeframe. Seems a little much.

Anonymous said...

3 and 4 pm start times are just too darned late, especially if there's any chance of rain.

Yea those start times are late. But this is different because they are on the west coast. So starting at 3:oo PM ET is NOON Their time.

Anonymous said...

NHRA drag racing is tape delayed so more than likely will be pushed back if the N-wide race actually runs.

For example NHRA qualifying this weekend was already scheduled for 2am et tonite on Espn2

Anonymous said...

Here is something to look at. The storm came in earlier than expected. it was supposed to come in at around midnight and it came in at around 9. this means the storm is ahead and could pass by noon tomorrow. and we still could get both races in.

Anonymous said...

Actually Allen Bestwick sorta just admitted that ESPN excs are scrambling right now on what to do. He says to Check ESPN.Com to see what time and what network the race will be on. Bascially, they aren't sure yet.

I think if there is no rain tomorrow that NASCAR will be on ESPN2 and NHRA will be moved to ESPN Classic or just pushed back after NASCAR.

SophiaZ123 said...

Well bummer about the race but most of us expected it. Feel badly for the fans out there.

Richard NC,

I tried your trick NUMEROUS TIMES and MY pop up box says MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER! Maybe it's because I am a Yankee (above Mason Dixon line, LOL) Whatever, enjoy it while you can get it.

I have tried that site numerous times now that I think about it..never been FREE for me. I clicked on the truck pic and radio deal, too.

They did a FANTASTIC job of filling time. I have enjoyed many rain delays over the years. Fox once went in all the RV's and we met "many dogs" in the racing families.

Hope the weather is better tomorrow but not holding my breath.

I am looking forward to WT with Robin Miller...if on side by side, will watch in LR where we have two tv's. 25 inch in wooden cabinet and old but great picture 21 inch in a smaller cabinet. Handy when IRL and NASCAR are on at the same times, LOL.

See you all later.


Matt said...

That was one of the best rain delayed segments I have ever watched in 10+ years. There were so many laugh out loud moments. Great job ESPN.

Anonymous said...

Definitely kudos to ESPN

Of course all you need to fill time during a rain delay is a couple of Wallaces' right? lol

Right now Fox's schedule has the Sprint race 3:30-8pm ET. I'm sure Nascar will try to push up the start of the race allowing for weather obviously.

Anonymous said... weather forecast for the track's closest nearby areas, Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga, forecasts the rain scheduled to end around 2 PM PST/5 PM EST tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... weather forecast for the track's closest nearby areas, Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga, forecasts the rain scheduled to end around 2 PM PST/5 PM EST tomorrow.

February 23, 2008 10:26 PM

But that is with out knowing the storm arrived a few hours earlier than expected. I say the rain is gone by noon PST.

Anonymous said... is calling for 40-50% probability of rain at Fontana from 11am-5pm PT.

Their forecasts are updated continuously.