Sunday, March 23, 2008

This "Big Monday" Not About Basketball


Updated: For those asking, LW Miller did win the weekend opening Whelen Modified race at Caraway Speedway. He was almost chased down by Teddy Christopher, the Northern Modified veteran. Miller was featured in a NASCAR Now interview with Nicole Manske last week, and the show deservedly received great reviews for keeping the regional NASCAR racers on the agenda for this season. Maybe on Monday night there will be some race results.

When ESPN employees talk about "Big Mondays," they are referring to the basketball double and now triple-headers that feature top college teams. Debuting in the 1980's, it was the first presentation of college hoops during the week on ESPN. It changed the way TV viewers watched sports.

This Monday, ESPN2 will host another edition of what is rapidly becoming "Big Monday" for NASCAR fans. Even without a Sprint Cup race being run, Allen Bestwick will host a one hour edition of NASCAR Now from the ESPN studios.

Each week, Bestwick has been matched with a panel of three veterans from the NASCAR on ESPN team. This week, he will be joined by NASCAR Now's Lead Reporter Marty Smith, analyst Andy Petree and Brad Daugherty.

Over the past several weeks, it has been reporter Mike Massaro who has provided the spark on this panel, and it should be interesting to see how Smith does in filling the journalistic role. Petree was on-hand to call the Nashville Nationwide race, and is having a very good year in terms of his comfort level on TV.

Daugherty continues to fill a very unique role. In some settings, like the NASCAR Now Monday shows, he can be entertaining and opinionated. Featured on the weekday shows alone, he is not given a role in which he can thrive and often speaks simply as a fan. On Cup weekends, he poses questions to the experts from a fan perspective. When Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree are answering those questions, the results are bound to be interesting.

Ray Evernham is the newest member of the ESPN team, and his appearances on NASCAR Now have drawn both positive and negative comments. While he is off this week, it should be interesting to see if Evernham can continue to build his personal credibility back with some fans through his on-air exposure. His perspective as a team owner does bring good information to the show, but his off-track issues continue to linger.

Since the inception of this "roundtable" format, this show has drawn the attention of fans in exactly the way ESPN had planned. Memories of the disaster that was last season's Monday programs has been completely erased. NASCAR fans respond to commitment and that is what ESPN has delivered this season.

As the show continues to grow, look for additional reports from the field as well as a continuation of the slickly-edited weekend wrap features. ESPN has shifted their NASCAR resources to provide a wealth of talent and experience in support of this featured program.

Monday at 5:30PM Eastern Time, it should be interesting to see what topics the panel will discuss following a stand-alone Nationwide Series race weekend. Hopefully, this hour program will provide an opportunity to open the door on some pressing issues in NASCAR. One thing is for sure, lots of NASCAR fans are already getting ready for their own "Big Monday."

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17 comments:

Anonymous said...

JD, I am looking forward to Monday nights show. Thought I would never say that. But the turn around this year is good. SPEED wake up.

Lou
Kingston, NY

Lisa Hogan said...

I'm also looking forward to Monday's show. I like everyone on the panel. Hope it's a good one!

Bill H said...

JD

I am slightly tempted (slightly) to give Nascar Now another chance. Since last years fiasco I would rather watch lucy re-runs and Judge Judy during that time slot (which I do). I havent watched more than 5 minutes if the Inside (insert current sponser here) Cup replace ment t his year. Speed messed up badly on the format change, hope they realize it and fix it before the year is out instead of waiting like ESPN did with Nascar Now until the next year.

BillWebz (Kingston NY also Lou - small world huh?)

Vicki in Columbus said...

Yea! I just love Marty Smith!

Anonymous said...

JD, is Vicki on to something or what, lol. Marty is good and gets to the bottom line if needed. Yes, Bill it is smaller than we think

Lou
Kingston, NY

Tripp said...

bill h... You really should check out the "Big Monday" NN. It certainly is better than Judge Judy!

Bill H said...

I think I will tripp - but I will wait till next week after a cup race so that anything they discuss will be relevant with what I watched (and watch it be an episode where Rusty hosts).

BillWebz

Daly Planet Editor said...

I put this column together because it is going to be a solo night for NASCAR Now. With no TWIN, it should be interesting to see how they lay it out and what topics they choose to cover.

JD

Anonymous said...

How can this possibly be a "Big Monday" when there was limited Nascar action this weekend?

Anonymous said...

Will SPEED even bother with TWIN next week considering they don't care about Cup this weekend?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:02PM,

This is a very "Big Monday" because of exactly that reason. The challenge of having no Cup or Truck race is on the table.

After the Nationwide highlights, it should be interesting to see what stories the network chooses to expose and what topics they put on the table for discussion.

When all three series are running, it is easy to fill an hour with talk and video. On this Monday, there is no TWIN on SPEED and NASCAR Now is the only live NASCAR program on the air.

JD

Bill H said...

(I had a feeling google was gonna eat this message, glad I copied it to clipboard)

Maybe NN will do an indepth report of the struggles of the Wide regulars and how they cant get into the races when the Cup guys are there.

I know when they ask, the Wide drivers all say they like racing against the Cup guys for the experience, but in truth I would bet there is a lot of resentment on the Wide side for all the Cup guys making it hard for them to get in a race.

It would be a hoot if all the Wide drivers just boycotted one race and let Nascar scramble to fill the slots with Cup regulars.

BillWebz

Daly Planet Editor said...

Bill,

One of the reasons I cricized the pre-race show was Bestwick never put this issue into perspective.

There are many drivers who go up-and-down into-and-out-of Cup. Others run full N'wide and limited Cup. There are many scenarios in the mix.

To discuss the situation, you have to suggest rule changes. Should fulltime Cup drivers be limited in N'wide competition? Should Cup drivers who run less than a certain number of races be included in the season long points of the drivers who ran all the events? There are lots of suggestions to improve the return on investment for N'wide sponsors.

It should be interesting to see what the guys say about it tonight.

JD

Bill H said...

How do other sports handle it? I am sure that the NFL doesnt let its players play in Arena Football on an off week. The problem may be that Nascar treats the drivers as independent contractors (for lack of a better term) and they can't make a rule to control the influx of the Cup guys into the Wide series (and the Truck series on a smaller scale). I would bet the easiest solution would be to not have the Wide series and the Cup series racing at the same track (or even same side of the country) on the same weekend.

BillWebz

Ken-Michigan said...

As I look into my crystal ball...

I can just about sense what's to come tonight and the rest of this week.
Whether it is NASCAR NOW or the SPEED programming, we're going to start to see the "positive spin" machine go to work.

Sure, NASCAR NOW will cover the Nashville action, but then attention will eventually have to turn to the Cup series and Martinsville.

Let's see how many times this week we hear about "parity" in the sport and how well the COT is making competition great for the manufacturers. 5 races into 2008 & we have seen all 4 manufacturers decals on the cars in victory lane. We'll hear about how great this is for the sport and this is "just what NASCAR wanted" from the COT.

So... with the tire troubles, the lack of PASSING and side-by-side RACING, this weeks hot topic will be the parity we have seen.

Nothin will be mentioned preparing us ( the fans ) for yet another lack luster 500 laps to be run this weekend at the "paper clip" in Virginia.

Ken-Michigan said...

JD - just curious,

What time is NASCAR NOW produced in the studio ?

I'm under the impression it isn't LIVE. But I wonder how close to air time they produce it and how "early" on Monday do they begin with production meetings, etc.

Thanks - Ken

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for the Monday edition of NASCAR Now.

JD