Saturday, May 24, 2008
In-Progress At Charlotte: Nationwide Series Race On ESPN2
The ESPN2 crew returns to the NASCAR beat Saturday night and things should be very interesting right from the start.
This week, Dale Jarrett is once again on vacation and it will be Rusty Wallace stepping up to the announce booth. Rusty's son Steven celebrated the fact his father would be back on the telecast by totalling the RW Racing primary car in qualifying.
Nothing this season and last has made Rusty crazier than his son tearing-up equipment. Recently, Steven has been making an impressive turn-a-round and Friday night both Wallace's were on Trackside talking about the weekend.
It will be Dr. Jerry Punch handling the play-by-play duties for the race with both the senior Wallace and Andy Petree alongside. This should be a dynamic race with the action very different from the COT single-file racing that viewers may see on Sunday.
Wallace will start his day at 7PM down in the Infield Pit Center with Allen Bestwick and Brad Daugherty. The NASCAR Countdown show has lots of topics to discuss, and hopefully some of those will involve the Nationwide Series. In the past, ESPN has ignored the obvious and chose to focus on the news stories in-progress like Wheeler vs. Smith and the Haas car seizures.
This weekend, both Jamie Little and Vince Welch are in Indy for the big racing weekend on ABC. This leaves the ESPN team down a player on pit road. Rather than bring-in a Lyndsay Czarniak or Adam Alexander, ESPN is going to go with three reporters. It will be Mike Massaro, Shannon Spake and Dave Burns handling the pit road duties on Saturday night.
There are two other notes of interest in this broadcast. Tim Brewer will be in the ESPN Tech Center. While many readers have written that Brewer seems to sometimes be in another location, my information is that the Tech Center is at the track this weekend. Finally, the in-race reporter will be Dale Earnhardt Jr. during the event.
Earnhardt is in the middle of a big promotion for his Nationwide Series sponsors, as the money is tight and the "junior" NASCAR series is really struggling. It makes one wonder what this series will look like during the stand-alone races later this summer?
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