Sunday, March 9, 2008

"NASCAR Now" Makes Amends

It seems that ESPN got the message. It seems they got it loud and clear. The Friday version of NASCAR Now and the Sunday morning version of the same show had absolutely nothing in common. Thank goodness.

ESPN flexed the network's journalistic muscle on Saturday morning and decided to present both sides of the 99 Team penalties story. This finally included the comments from other key drivers in the garage that poked holes in the "intent" excuse offered by the Roush organization.

Reporter Angelique Chengelis returned to right a wrong, and did a good job of doing it in a balanced manner. Although choosing not to mention the Friday issues, Chengelis touched all the bases in her report on the on-going issues where Roush Fenway was concerned. Basically, penalty and intent are two separate issues.

Taking a break from controversy, the NASCAR on ESPN team provided an energetic and fast-paced wrap-up of the Saturday Nationwide race. Simply put, it was fantastic. This is exactly what this Sunday morning program needs to keep the Nationwide Series on the map, and promote the fact that all the races are on the ESPN networks.

To top it off, the program provided an interview with the winner. In 2007, The Daly Planet spent the entire year begging this Sunday show to even include the Busch Series results. As we have said so often this season about NASCAR Now, my how things have changed.

As a great "tag" on this report, Rusty Wallace joined host Nicole Manske from the track to update a lot of stories with his unique style of commentary. Rusty was also pumped-up, and offered a lot of good information and personal observations. This is a great role for Wallace, who likes the spotlight alone.

Kyle Petty was up next, and Manske did her best to use Petty to address a wide variety of topics. Fresh off his Tradin' Paint program, Petty was outspoken in his views on the 99 Team and the issues involved in this mess. Manske moved Petty onto his views about making the top 35 list for the rest of the season. Petty continued his views that the top 35 program is still a good idea.

Capping the interview, Manske pressed Petty for his future plans and got a very surprising and honest answer. Petty said if his son Adam was still alive, he would have already retired. What a statement. He continued on about the Petty Racing move to the Mooresville, NC area and framed what his company can do for the future. Another solid and interesting interview from Manske as she continues to surprise.

Wallace returned to address issues from Hendrick Motorsports to Kyle Busch. Rusty was on his game, and finally presented himself as a total TV professional in a live interview. Whoever has helped get Wallace polished in his new role deserves a lot of credit. Love him or hate him, Wallace is finally speaking his mind without reservation.

Non-fantasy racing TV viewers have to tolerate Christopher Harris and his biting comments that treat drivers as numbers and "horses" in some kind of bizarre race. If that information helps fantasy "players" to some kind of advantage, what can you say? ESPN makes a lot of money off fantasy play, so Harris will be seen all season long.

In closing the show, Angelique Chengelis returned with Jim Aust from Toyota to put their political spin on the Lee White vs. Jack Roush words in the media. Aust's point was that boys will be boys and the media basically does not get it sometimes. Aust put things in perspective, and actually did a good job of calming down the media frenzy that Nate Ryan and USA Today did a superb job of starting.

Finally, Roush himself appeared to put things in his own words. His comments made sense, but rang hollow in the perspective provided by other drivers and TV analysts. Manske did a great job of pressing Roush, and finally stepped-up to the plate and did a solid interview with tough questions. This might have been a nicely defining moment for this show and this host.

As the NASCAR learning curve continues, it is nice to see ESPN decide to go after the full story and use of all the available resources to give fans a full and diverse hour on Sunday morning. This one program has changed completely from its 2007 version, and now packs all the punch needed to claim a place among the "must see" TV list for NASCAR fans before the race.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by.


bevo said...

My post from down below...

Amazing, Roush is outraged at criticism even though he says he's been too busy to hear any of it.

darbar said...

JD, your comments, as usual, are right on. This was one very good NN, and Nicole Manske has won me over with her professionalism. BUT......

ESPN: STOP THE MUSIC !!!!! Or at the very least, turn it down. Does anyone in the production truck/booth realize that their insidious music drowns out most of what their announcers have to say? Putting very loud music in front of commentary will not attract the head bangers or rockers, and only detracts from what anyone is saying. Please ESPN, dump the loud music, not only from NN but from Sportscenter, First Take and all your shows that focus on commentary.

Newracefan said...
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Anonymous said...

Yes, NASCAR Now was a do not miss this morning.

Kingston, NY

Newracefan said...

I agree JD and good for Nascar Now they spoke with a high level Toyota rep and Jack Roush. I wonder if Jack had heard what Jim A had said he would have changed what he said to Nicole. I don't feel he came off for the better. OBTW Wendy is a Roush for Real Deal, should be interesting

NASCAR Rick said...

Typical Jack Roush interview with contradictions within the interview.

JD: Talk about picking a horse and holding on for dear life.

Yesterday your point of criticism was Angelique Chengelis, but she's currently in your good graces. this morning Nate Ryan has replaced her as the fountain of all NASCAR media ills. A month ago it was potshots at Bernstein of the New York Times. Who's next?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:52AM,

I don't understand your comment. Chenglis did an incomplete report on Friday and fixed it today.

Nate Ryan was on Tradin' Paint and was allowed to skate away without being pressed about his real agenda. The failure of this program to address this issue is contained in the Tradin' Paint column.

The original column about the NYT was pointing to the fact that the NYT website lists NASCAR as a minor sport and puts the stories from all the reporters in the "other sports" bin. It was the topic of a subsequent conversation in an NYT meeting and Viv's next story had quite a long run on the front page of the Sports Section on the NYT site.

I hope that helps to dial you in on my take on those issues. Thanks for the comment.


Anonymous said...

Yes two solid interviews by Nicole with cutting off Jack and Kyle.

223-11 said...

One of the interesting things Lee White said was that Toyota had tested a car in a German wind tunnel. I believe that Roush has tested at a wind tunnel in Ontario. Toyota has a Sprint Cup car in Germany, those cats are serious about winning. Cut BD some slack UNC was playing Duke.

Anonymous said...

You dont think the toyota rep could be lying through their teeth trying to tear down an organization that is kicking their rearend out on the track? They have absoultely no credibility. Its like taking China's word on how they treat their political opposition.

Anonymous said...

Anybody notice that Nicole said that Monday's NASCAR NOW will air at a special time....

4 PM!! (Eastern)

What does that mean? It's basketball tourney time. A basketball game is scheduled during traditional NASCAR Now time.

I've been waiting to see what ESPN would do with NASCAR this year after the Daytona 500. Last year coverage dropped off after the 500. This year, coverage on SportsCenter and ESPN News has been good for Cali and LV. Probably will be good tonight.

But then...the real test comes. The next week and month is filled with NCAA tourney, then comes NBA playoffs. I've got a strong feeling that coverage is going to drop off now, pick up around the Brickyard, and drop off again when college football starts.

Next week, the Bristol race is scheduled to end just when top 64 bracket placement is announced. Somehow I think ESPN NEWS and SportsCenter will place a little more priority on "bracketology" than Bristol.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I was going to wait to talk about that topic, but I am glad you brought it up. The reality of sports on ESPN comes up again.

The real shame is that this program cannot be made available online in full length form.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said...
I was going to wait to talk about that topic, but I am glad you brought it up. The reality of sports on ESPN comes up again.

The real shame is that this program cannot be made available online in full length form.


March 9, 2008 12:59 PM

I have to believe the majority of race fans would not have a problem when it's Live Basketball vs Nascar Now...Let alone the majority of ESPN fans and advertisers.

Erik said...

NASCAR Now still will be its full 1 hr length on Monday, just moved up an hour earlier to accomidate live college basketball starting at 5 EDT.

SophiaZ123 said...

I do not know where to ask this question, JD so if it doesn't belong here, ok.

I do NOT remember so many drivers being angry last year over Waltrips "fuel gate" though that happened BEFORE THE RACE.

Has NASCAR ever REVERSED A WIN from a car failing an inspection? I feel they really need to do that now or they will lose credibility. I have never heard so many drivers talk into a microphone about being ANGRY about the excuse from the Roush boys.

I caught part of NNow but fell asleep. It seemed a good show except where she cut off Kyle but apologized.

Biffle or somebody said in a print article NASCAR needs to TAKE AWAY wins to stop the cheating.

Has that been mentioned on any tv show?

I had heard all along that 4 bolts were involed in the lid so the fact "all of them vibrated off" was tough for me to swallow. Let alone savvy guys in the garage.

I missed part of Race day but just wondered if NASCAR needs to take away the WIN. Their old philosophy that fans will know who the winner is when they leave the track does not hold water with me.

Until they get SERIOUS about penalties and stop screwing up the rules themselves or staying fuzzy with them, the sport will look like a joke to those outside of it.

And those of us within it are tired of the FINES of the week. But on a WINNING car's post inspection bothers me the most.

Especially after the succinct explanation on Nas Perf.

SophiaZ123 said...

p.s. Glad to read NN will be an hour on Monday.

now can somebody remind us tomorrow it's on at FOUR PM.

Sheesh..such a great show to start time show roulette. :)

Also, in the 4 years I have been watching Nascar, I have never heard Kyle talk about Adam's death in an interview.

Anonymous said...

At least they've started NN off airing at 6 pm (5:30 on Mondays) right from the get-go. Last year, they started showing the half hour version daily at 6:30, but moved it to 6 after the college football daily show started its run. It was obvious that ESPN either thought the CF show was more popular from past ratings or thought it would end up being more popular than NN.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I just wish it could be available in some other media form, it has become such a good show this year.

darbar said...

Sophia, the ONLY time Nascar took a victory away from a driver was in 1965, from David Pearson. It has never done such a thing since.

jenny craig said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Actually Nascar took a win from Ricky Rudd in 1991 at Sonoma after he spun Davey Allison on the last lap.

Anonymous said...

I did not watch this particular installment of ESPN's show and I'm glad for it.

One thing I have liked about the sport of NASCAR is that, in the past, dirty laundry either wasn't aired at all or there was very little of it. It seems to be all over the place this season and I don't care for it.

Yes, things happen and yes, teams get busted for pushing the boundaries but to rehash it day after day, show after show, brings the sport to the same level as all of those trashy gossip magazines at the grocery store checkout.

Reading about Manske pushing Jack Roush with her questions concerns me. Are these reporters trying to get a negative reaction from their interviewees? Are they hoping someone will snap and bite their head off so that they will be able to go out and create a 'this guys's a mean jerk' story for the media sharks? And the gullible fans who feed on crap like this? I don't put anything past these reporters as they thrive on sensationalism and gossip.

There's enough negative stuff in the world. Why add to it?