Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Max Siegel At ESPN And On "NASCAR Now"

Wednesday has been a day that the NASCAR Now TV series on ESPN2 has been trying to tame. A little light on news, a little light on viewers and currently seeking an identity, the network may have hit on a nice solution in the form of an in-studio interview.

Max Siegel, the President of Global Operations at DEI, was in the ESPN2 studio and sat down with Ryan Burr. The setting and the interview had more of a general entertainment feel to it, as Burr opened the door to issues outside of NASCAR.

The fact that Burr was comfortable in this setting was clear. Gone was the nervous energy he gives off when he is put in the position of talking to a driver or crew chief about racing issues. This was a solid person-to-person conversation that perhaps should have been spread over two program segments.

Earlier in the show, Brad Daugherty had stopped by via satellite. Alone with Burr, Daugherty just does not fill a role that makes sense. Instead of responding to the on-going conversation as he does on NASCAR Countdown, Daugherty when alone speaks in general terms about selected NASCAR issues and then is gone.

With his recent feature on Petty Racing, and his strong work on the Monday NASCAR Now roundtable, Daugherty needs to be put in roles that make sense. Perhaps, responding to the Siegel interview later in the show would have been better for him.

While Burr covered a lot of ground in the time he had with Siegel, it would have been nice to continue that conversation simply because of the high-profile issues that Siegel addressed. This interesting man has a very different take on NASCAR, and a very diverse background. It made for great conversation.

Burr asked Siegel about the fact that motocross star James "Bubba" Stewart had been his recent guest at a NASCAR race. Siegel confirmed and then expanded on the fact that Stewart is nearing the end of his two-wheel career. Siegel hinted strongly that DEI would like to help him start a four-wheel project as the next chapter.

Hearing a powerful black NASCAR executive talk about a black racing champion and the DEI desire to lure him over to NASCAR was certainly a fascinating TV experience. Burr did a great job of following-up on these points, and it seemed that Siegel very much liked the interview.

It was a nice touch at the end with Burr and Siegel shaking hands on-camera after a full segment of information on everything from relations with Junior to the most difficult challenge Siegel has faced at DEI.

Perhaps, NASCAR Now might consider making this type of one-on-one interview a regular feature. As a switch from the normal news-driven interviews that revolve around one topic, this "bigger picture" interview would be great for a wide variety of personalities from Roger Penske to Mike Helton. Taking a moment to talk about things other than racing can lead to some very interesting conversations. This one was outstanding.

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TexasRaceLady said...

This was a gold nugget buried in the middle of a so-so show.

Ryan seemed so much more at ease talking to a live person rather than a TV screen.

I would liked to have heard more from Max. He is one interesting person.

Ritchie said...

I really enjoyed the interview with Mr. Siegel. He is a very interesting person and I have always been surprised that he is not interviewed more. It would seem that with so much emphasis on diversity, that people would be clamoring to get a chance to talk to him. Nice job by ESPN conducting a great interview.

Wisconsin Steve said...

This was one of the best NASCAR Now episodes I've ever seen. I liked that Burr started the program with David Newton and the news updates. I wish they would start the program like that every night. The Siegel interview was great, too. I've seen interviews with him before, but I've never seen him as comfortable as he appeared to be last night.

Anonymous said...

AS NN finds itself over the beginning of the NASCAR season, there are going to be some gems and "uh-oh's" along the way.

The Siegel interview is a gem. As you say, JD, it is a model for future segments.

ESPN/NN continues to surprise and impress me this season.


Anonymous said...

No comment on Max

Newracefan said...

It was an interesting show and I think Ryan did well interviewing MS and I wish they talked even longer. Ryan seems to do better with on sight interviews perhaps the chance to talk off camera helps with what we see on camera. I guess this would be easier if ESPN had a studio in NC for Ryan to work out of.

Anonymous said...

The conversation with Max Siegel was very good. He interviews so well and has a great personality. His view on the sport, being his second year, is very interesting and make great conversation. It would be nice if he was interviewed more.