Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Kyle Petty News Dominates "NASCAR Now"
It was Nicole Manske who had the duty of hosting the Tuesday edition of NASCAR Now and dealing with the news that Kyle Petty had stepped aside for the Texas Cup race.
After reporting the facts, Manske brought in David Newton who was diplomatic in his comments about the topic. Newton offered that driver Chad McCumbee may in fact be the best solution for Petty at the moment with the Texas race in the COT on the horizon. There were only facts, no hype, and that was not lost on NASCAR fans.
This season, ESPN has been tapping into its NASCAR resources in support of this program with good results. ESPN analyst Andy Petree was next on the show, and immediately indicated that he felt Petty's announcement signaled a "transition period" at Petty Enterprises.
Petree pointed out that Kyle was now out of the Top 35 in points and the key issue on the table was making the Texas race on time. They needed someone who could qualify the car, and perhaps at this stage of his career Kyle understood he was not the best choice available. Petree pointed to the fact that McCumbee qualified second at Texas in the last Craftsman Truck Series race and then almost won it. In Petree's mind that was the deciding factor in making this decision.
The best part about Andy Petree's appearances on NASCAR Now is that he always has an interesting thought in parting. Tuesday, Petree said very plainly that fans could expect to see McCumbee "a lot" in the Petty car throughout this season. Fans may remember that Kyle takes six races off in the summer to work as a broadcaster on TNT, and Petree seemed to be hinting that there could be a bigger transition about to occur in the Petty camp.
Chad Knaus was a panelist alongside Michael Waltrip Monday evening for the full hour of This Week In NASCAR on SPEED. Host Steve Byrnes got lots of opinions from Knaus on a wide variety of issues, including the team and company situation for Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports.
It was a bit of a surprise to see Knaus as the featured interview on the Tuesday evening edition of NASCAR Now. Knaus talked about the upsurge in both his group and the other Hendrick teams. Manske asked Knaus all the right questions, and his answers echoed the content seen on Monday's show on SPEED.
Andy Petree came along once again to "tag" this interview and state his opinion that Chad Knaus was the best crew chief in the Cup Series. Petree spoke to the reality of a big team having a tough time early in the season. He reminded viewers that it was only "the details" that Johnson's team was struggling with, as the car was running well.
Another great production decision resulted in Martinsville NCTS winner Dennis Setzer being interviewed on NASCAR Now. Manske did a good job of putting the emotion of this win in perspective, and bringing the memory of the late Bobby Hamilton into the conversation. Setzer is exactly the type of driver that typifies the Truck Series, and exposure like this on national TV is a great idea.
Since Dale Earnhardt Jr. was running a retro paint scheme at Texas, Tim Brewer came along to explain the painting and decaling process of a Cup car. The new vinyl wrapping available to teams was interesting to see firsthand, and the report was interesting. If his features could have just a little bit more time, they might be able to pay-off his technical perspective on racing issues a little better.
Manske rolled the show off-the-air with a nice music video piece that incorporated a lot of good footage and sound from the weekend. Both races were recapped, and this season ESPN is using audio from Fox and MRN freely to add the element that was missing from last year.
Hearing Dave Moody, Mike Joy and Darrell Waltrip on ESPN2 shows just how far things have come for the NASCAR Now production team.
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