Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Fasten Your Seatbelts, Randy LaJoie Is Back On TV

With the big weekend at Texas coming quickly, word that Randy LaJoie would be returning to TV this season came just in the nick of time.

Cutting through the politically correct and well-coiffed network TV announcers, LaJoie last season was a fan favorite for his great sense of humor and ability to "tell it like it is" on the Busch Series races. He was enthusiastic and irreverent all at the same time.

NASCAR fans might want to make a date for Monday at 5:30PM on ESPN2. The executives at ESPN have gathered Allen Bestwick, Marty Smith, and Mike Massaro for the "Big Monday" edition of NASCAR Now that ESPN calls the roundtable.

Added to the mix on this particular Monday will be the one-and-only Mr. LaJoie. That's right, LaJoie will be loose in the studio for the full hour with three journalists and no other former drivers. No Rusty Wallace, no Dale Jarrett and no Boris Said anywhere in sight. The results should be interesting.

There was no doubt that LaJoie and Bestwick had a great chemistry last season when calling stand-alone Busch Series races. This duo was a bright spot in a tough season for the NASCAR on ESPN efforts.

Viewers will not soon forget these two hosting the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show, calling the Busch Series race, and then hosting the post-race coverage. It was just Bestwick, LaJoie and some pit reporters.

On those broadcasts there was no fancy Infield Pit Center. There was no one standing-by to point out equipment issues in the Tech Center. The music was not blaring and the conversation was about the racing. SportsCenter updates and celebrity guests simply did not happen.

Now, LaJoie and Bestwick are reunited at a time when Bestwick's stock is at an all-time high. So far this season, Bestwick has been the ironman for the NASCAR on ESPN team and he shows no signs of slowing down. Putting LaJoie with him for a full hour program after the Texas weekend is simply a great choice.

One thing that ESPN has a tough time with on-the-air is fun. The suits-and-ties and strictly scripted productions have changed a casual and relaxed network into one that often puts distance between itself and the fan.

Perhaps, adding LaJoie to NASCAR Now and bringing him along for commentary on some Nationwide races this season is going to bring the laughter and fun back into the NASCAR coverage that viewers remember so well from ESPN's past.

With Major League Baseball's Opening Day all done, there should be no issues with Monday's NASCAR Now hitting the air at 5:30PM Eastern Time. Of all the combinations of personalities that have been featured on the Monday shows, this upcoming program promises to be one to remember.

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Newracefan said...

This is a must see. LaJoie was one of the few bright spots during last seasons ESPN coverage. Hold on to your hats everyone this is going to be fun

Tripp said...

Oh man, I can't wait.

From the ill-fated "Inside Busch Series" on Speed to his frequent appearances on "The Driver's Seat" on Sirius, I've been a fan. Oh, and the fact that he can hold a pretty wheel doesn't hurt either.

Seriously though, Randy's been working hard to promote driver safety with his racing seats, which I believe made some of the first big strides to protect the drivers. His bonafides are certified and his candor refreshing. I look forward to the show.

I wonder how much Allen had to do with this move.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Randy! I can't wait! It's going to be fun :)

Anonymous said...

Wasn't he a regular 'fill-in' guy at Speedvision in the early days of IWCR?

Anonymous said...

So no more Ray Evernham?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Randy was a guest on several NASCAR shows a while back, including IWCR.

Ray Evernham continues with ESPN in his role contributing to NASCAR Now, ESPNEWS and other ESPN programs.


Lisa Hogan said...

I'm looking forward to seeing Randy back on TV. Should be a great show on Monday.

Ken-Michigan said...

As much as I dis-like the blatant "push" of a sponsors product during an interview there is one thing I'd like ESPN to do while having the opportunity to have LaJoie in the studio.

Have Lajoie bring in one of his Driving Seats for a presentation. But also bring in a NASCAR seat from say.... the 80's. I would really like to see a comparison. The "evolution" of a Cup Series driving seat.

This doesnt have to be aired on the MONDAY show, but TAPE it for use on the Tues/Wed/Thurs NASCAR NOW show. The package wouldnt be time-dated and could be used at any time thru the season.

The Benefit of doing this ??
For NEW fans, it would depict just how far NASCAR and the seat manufacturers (LaJoie) have come.
For those of us who have watched for 30 years, it would leave us wondering how drivers survived horriffic crashes with those OLD seats. ( b-roll video of LaJoies early 80's turn 4 crash at Daytona would be great example)

Another idea for mid week shows, is for ESPN to go into their vast archives and show us a 5 minute / voiced over piece centered around the next track we are going to.
This would have been awesome for the days leading up to Martinsville last week, because ESPN's beginning in the sport really started at Martinsville.
USE THE ARCHIVE footage.... we love it !!

Anonymous said...

Having Randy in Bristol, Ct is like a home-coming for him. ESPN could tape Randy back home in Norwalk and maybe visit with his Dad at the scrap mental and junk yards. I sure there are some old race cars back there that He and his Dad drove up in Danbury.

Anonymous said...

Another idea for mid week shows, is for ESPN to go into their vast archives and show us a 5 minute / voiced over piece centered around the next track we are going to.
Don't they do that on Mondays already?

Truck Series Fan! said...

I love hearing Randy's opinions and maybe he'll even talk about his recent trip to Afghanistan. Looking forward to this one and need to set the DVR recording today!

boyd said...

Darn what a week to be out of town. I met Randy a while back at Chili Bowl and enjoyed some of his homebrewed beverage. He is a class act, and likes to talk to average fans like us. I will DVR the show for watching when I return.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

That's great Boyd! He definitely seems like he would enjoy being with the peeps!