Wednesday, March 5, 2008
"NASCAR Now" Has Real Breaking News At Last
Of the three co-hosts of NASCAR Now, Ryan Burr is the one with the real experience in breaking news. The former anchor of ESPNEWS has been on-the-air with all kinds of sports stories that were in-progress. Wednesday, Burr put his training to good use.
Penalty news was flying as NASCAR Now hit the air at 6PM Wednesday with a live show. Burr quickly offered an update on Carl Edwards and his big penalties.
Fans of the show must have been thinking about the strong statements made on Tuesday by ESPN's Rusty Wallace. He called Edwards problem simply an accident and a mistake. Rather than heeding Rusty's advice, NASCAR instead lowered the hammer. There was only one thing to do.
That would be to bring Wallace right back on the program again and ask him about it. Burr did exactly that, and Wallace did not disappoint. Saying NASCAR threw everything including the kitchen sink at Edwards, Rusty stood-by his statement that the entire situation was a mistake.
"I think this is very, very harsh," said Wallace. "It was just unbelievable. I don't think there is any compassion here. I don't think there is even any common sense in this ruling."
Burr interrupted Wallace for some real breaking news. It was Lead Reporter Marty Smith over at Robby Gordon's shop saying that sources there had just told him Gordon's penalty has been rescinded. While a financial fine was kept in place, Gordon did not lose his points. This was NASCAR Now working overtime, and showing the resources that ESPN brings to the table.
Wallace was quick to point-out that this decision by NASCAR made sense, but was also quite a different issue than the Carl Edwards situation. He also backed-up Smith's report and comments about the harsh financial reality of Gordon's team situation.
After a quick wrap-up of testing from Phoenix, Burr assembled both Wallace and Smith for a conversation about NASCAR topics in the news. This trio is intense and fast-paced when it comes to NASCAR issues. The personality differences between these three NASCAR Now on-air "talent" made for interesting conversation.
Smith has the formal news training, the college education and the dry sense of humor. Wallace has lots of experience in the real world of NASCAR and is just now finding his TV niche. Burr loves to direct traffic, and it has been interesting to watch him learn the sport.
The conversation about the open-wheel drivers having problems, including Team Penske, was fascinating and informative. Wallace talked very frankly about his former car owner struggling with Sam Hornish. Smith suggested that Montoya's early success led to false expectations for the many other open-wheel stars. Both of these were great points.
Finally, Robby Gordon appeared in-person live to sum-up the hearing that he had just left. There was no doubt that Gordon was relieved, both for his NASCAR future and the very survival of his racing business. Smith was very professional, and his questions about the fan perception of Gordon and his team were right on the money.
How does it get better for fans than this? A driver straight from a NASCAR hearing walks back into his own shop and ESPN is there live. Wallace even got a chance to ask Gordon questions directly, and was as plain-spoken as usual. Two ESPN personalities asking questions of Gordon about one of the biggest news stories of the week. This TV series has truly come a long, long way.
This weekend in Atlanta, Burr heads-out to the track for the first time as the on-scene reporter, and Nicole Manske comes back to anchor the weekend shows in the studio. Allen Bestwick returns on Monday for the one hour roundtable.
The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the directions. Thanks once again for stopping by.