Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Daugherty And Moss Tell ESPN It's NASCAR in 2009

The fascinating on-air dynamic of NASCAR Now continued on Wednesday with big news from two very unexpected sources. One of them happens to work for ESPN.

It was host Ryan Burr who started the show by chasing down Randy Moss on the phone and getting an interesting but disjointed explanation that the football player was forming Moss Motorsports and joining NASCAR.

Moss told Burr that he "had seen some" races and heard Joe Gibbs speak about NASCAR. That was apparently enough for Moss to commit his name and his dollars to the Truck Series for the second half of 2008 and fulltime for 2009. Moss was unsure of his driver, his crew chief or the details of the operation, but the announcement was certainly interesting.

It was ESPN commentator Brad Daugherty who followed the story to comment on Moss. After addressing the issues that Moss might be confronting, Daugherty dropped a bombshell of his own. Perhaps, some viewers might have seen this coming.

Daugherty is going racing in 2009 with his own Craftsman Truck Series team and made the official announcement on NASCAR Now. It should be interesting to see how this commitment affects Daugherty's ESPN career.

ESPN's Rusty Wallace already owns a Nationwide Team and Ray Evernham is a long-time Cup owner. Boris Said owns a Roush "satellite" team and is a regular analyst on NASCAR Now. Daugherty would make another ESPN on-air announcer that owned an active team, and it is going to be interesting to see "how much is too much" for the network.

Surprisingly, one of NASCAR Now's favorite interviews is Kyle Busch. He seems to really like being on the show, and Wednesday talked with Burr in his normally enthusiastic and entertaining style. Having him on this show is always a good idea but after his Talladega performance, it was outstanding.

Burr quizzed Busch on the topics that fans wanted to know about, and Busch was a great interview once again. It certainly has been interesting to see Busch learn how to be comfortable on-camera and relate to a host hundreds of miles away.

It was a nice touch to have Rusty Wallace "tag" the piece and add his perspective that Busch was the driver on-a-roll right now and was the man to beat. Wallace tempered his comments by saying Busch was not the best driver on the planet, but the best one on the planet "right now."

Shannon Spake has not been seen on NASCAR Now very much this season, and she came along to update the Kevin Harvick commitment to random drug testing at his company. This issue has really struck a nerve with Harvick, and he continues to put out the message that things need to change.

Spake also addressed the Lepage incident at Talladega with the information that NASCAR had changed the blend line location on Sunday at the track after the big accident on Saturday. Spake also indicated that Lepage was not going to be penalized, but did not point out why. If he did blend at the right point, she did not take the time to make that clear.

Tim Brewer has been trying to lay a weekly foundation for "The Brewer Tour." This pre-produced feature has been a bit disjointed as it stops-by a NASCAR shop and addresses one small issue. The feature is too short, and Brewer is not experienced enough to choose his words efficiently. The idea is good, and it will hopefully get a bit more organized with time.

For those of you who missed the original airing of this program because of the time change from 6 to 6:30PM, the program will re-air at Midnight Wednesday.

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Anonymous said...

Well, ESPN can't tell Brad he can't own a team if Rusty and Ray can. That's a can of worms they opened and let stay open, and they either have to shut it for all of them or none of them. They can't shut it just on Brad, if he decides to continue with being an analyst.

What should NOT be allowed to continue is Rusty Wallace doing his interviews in front of that RWI logo. That happens all the time. If he's on air as an ESPN guy, he needs an ESPN background like everybody else.

I'd bet on Brad's team sticking around the truck series a whole lot longer than Randy Moss' team. While I admire Randy for saying he didn't want to jump into an upper tier series from the start, he's going to find out that the truck series purses are so small it may not be worth the expense of starting a race team from scratch.

They mentioned Moss and NASCAR on PTI. They figured he would have started a professional bass fishing team - he's big into bass fishing and has celebrity tournaments - rather than a NASCAR team.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Brad owning a team in the Truck Series is a big deal. ESPN does not cover the Trucks so I don't think it will be an issue.

The only time it could be an issue is if what happend to Jeff Hammond and his team were to happen to Brad.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I don't think Daugherty himself is the issue, but ESPN is going to have to address the ownership issue of the same folks who represent the sport on-the-air.

We have already seen issues on-air with both Rusty and Ray Evernham. Marty Reid made sure to say on NASCAR Now that Boris Said owned a "Roush supported" team before he let Boris speak to any NASCAR issues.

The network is going to have to sort this out for next season.


Kyle said...

ESPN has been doing a rel good job with NN this season. And if you take out mexico from their nationwide coverage, it has been fantastic.

However, if every "annalist" you have on your show owns a team, how can you be objective?

If I own a Arbys do you expect me to be objective when talking about Burger King?

Owners are great for short interview sessions, but not when they are the entirety of your program.

Ritchie said...

The issue of team ownership and working with the media is an interesting conundrum. I personally have a problem with it, however I also feel that the precedent has been set already by Fox/Speed.

I'm not sure that they still do, but didn't Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip have associations with Toyota while working with Speed/Fox? Obviously Michael Waltrip has a strong association with Toyota and he works truck races.

I've never really thought that this was a great idea, and I think it is a huge turn off for new fans who may not have a good grasp on NASCAR culture.

glenc1 said...

well--I have to say some of the guys already suck up to NASCAR so much, owners or not, that ownership itself doesn't seem to make much difference in objectivity, lol...but when it's one guy, it's not so noticeable, when it's a bunch of them--well, they've gotten themselves into it now. It does happen occasionally in other sports, but not like racing (I once saw Bob Griese cover a game his son Brian QB'd. I thought he was fine, but it did raise some eyebrows.) It was a good show, though. I am not a fan of Kyle, but his interview was actually pretty good. I was annoyed at no explanation/ticker as to the time change, but I was flipping back and forth to the horsey set so I may have missed it. I never (consciously, anyway) noticed the RWI logo--I agree with anon 7:17, that shouldn't be allowed.

Richard in N.C. said...

I have followed Randy Moss from his college to NFL career and am somewhat of a fan - but he is not the best communicator. There is an article by Bob Margolis, David Poole, or Scene Daily that discusses his plans and his already existing connections with racing. As I recall he has a connection with the urban racing school in Philadelphia.

I do not have a big problem with team owners doing commentating PROVIDED their financial involvement in the sport is made clear when they are commenting so the listener can evaluate whether or not there might be a conflict.

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AndyPandy said...

My only problem is when an announcer has a financial interest in one or more cars or trucks that are in the race that they are calling. I think a partial solution would be to mention it whenever their names are refreshed, such as "You're watching ESPN coverage of the Blablabla 250. I'm Jerry Punch along with Andy Petree and Nationwide team owner Rusty Wallace." I'd prefer that there was no direct connection, but at least it should be noted more prominently. The same should apply for Brad on NASCAR Now - always introduce him as a Craftsman Truck team owner if it happens.

On another issue - I agree about losing the RWI logo behind Rusty, but mostly because the thing is hideous!