Saturday, February 9, 2008
"RaceDay" Debuts On SPEED For 2008
Saturday evening at 6PM, the franchise is back for SPEED. Over the last season, the Daly Planet has called this program "SPEED-a-palooza" and the "Super WalMart of NASCAR." There were lots of good reasons why.
RaceDay is one of the most-watched programs on SPEED, and was used in 2007 by the network in one of the most controversial scheduling decisions ever made in NASCAR TV history.
After airing in the timeslot just before the NASCAR on Fox team took to the air, RaceDay suddenly changed course when the NEXTEL Cup coverage moved to TNT and then ESPN/ABC. This two hour live show was moved to go head-to-head with the pre-race shows of those two networks.
For the first time, NASCAR fans were forced to choose TV networks as two live pre-race shows were on-the-air at the same time from the same track. Ultimately, between the personality struggles of TNT and the credibility struggles of ESPN, SPEED came out on top. Later this season, that competition is going to be interesting to watch.
As the program returns to the air, John Roberts again steps into the host role and is joined by Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace. This trio has a fascinating dynamic simply because of the completely different personalities involved. The bottom line is that it works for the viewers.
Wendy Venturini continues to re-define the role of pit reporter, and her ability to interact effectively with the wide range of personalities in the sport assures viewers that SPEED is always in the news mix in the garage area. She is again joined by Bob Dillner, who had a good pre-season with his testing coverage and continues to be a consistent performer.
Hermie Sadler and Randy Pemberton continue to be utility players for this series, with Hermie's on-track features a solid addition to the program. Pemberton is in the middle of a professional comeback, and his knowledge of the key players in the sport served him well last season.
Rutledge Wood is a wild card, and with this program taking on an even higher profile in 2008, it will be interesting to see if SPEED includes him regularly in this show. Riki Rachtman will not be a regular part of the show, and will not participate in the weekly winner picks. He remains an anchor for NASCAR.com's internetTV coverage.
The debut edition of the program should be interesting, with good storylines for the Bud Shootout, Daytona 500 pole qualifying, and the ARCA race that directly precedes the live show. Remember, lots of the top NEXTEL Cup cars are now in the ARCA field as NASCAR has adopted the COT full time.
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