Sunday, March 2, 2008
In-Progress At Las Vegas: "NASCAR RaceDay" On SPEED
SPEED continues one of the network's most popular shows when NASCAR RaceDay hits the air at 1:30PM Eastern Time from Las Vegas, NV.
John Roberts rules over a very diverse group of on-air "talent" who provide all kinds of interesting content to this TV series.
Kenny Wallace continues to be his normally excitable self, and he certainly now has an interesting perspective on the sport with his struggles to maintain a presence in the Cup Series. Say what you will, his energy is infectious.
Jimmy Spencer is asking some good questions this season, but continues to get himself off-track when he speaks before he thinks. After the issue last season with Kelly Earnhardt Elledge, it might be a positive thing for Spencer to continue his commentary as a former driver but use caution when the topic is an off-track issue.
Hermie Sadler has been working hard to get more time on-camera, and was rewarded with a spot in the booth for SPEED's practice and qualifying coverage. Sadler started with just a short segment and track description for RaceDay, but has come on strong and now is a valuable contributor both on the SPEED Stage and as a reporter in the garage area.
Wendy Venturini continues to be the heart-and-soul of this series. Quietly, and with a good sense of humor, Venturini navigates seamlessly through a quagmire of PR and Marketing Reps, NASCAR Officials and fans. Her ability to go directly to a driver or NASCAR personality and get the facts of the issue from the horse's mouth is amazing.
SPEED continues to use the confusing Rutledge Wood in a variety of roles, including on RaceDay. Originally, he provided the comic relief and appeared on the features that took drivers and others away from racing. Now, he has begun to be used as a reporter addressing serious topics and providing information that viewers are supposed to trust. There is one big problem, he has not earned that right. It will be interesting to see what his role becomes as the season progresses.
This is the time of the year that SPEED needs to focus on making RaceDay consistently interesting for the fans. Once the TNT portion of the Sprint Cup coverage begins, SPEED will be moving RaceDay into a head-to-head battle with the TNT pre-race shows.
That battle will escalate when the new and improved NASCAR Countdown with Allen Bestwick comes along in late July. With all of the positive changes that ESPN has made, the last seventeen Cup racing weekends will be fascinating. NASCAR fans will be forced to choose once again, and this time it will not be Suzy Kolber heading-up the ESPN effort.
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