Saturday, May 10, 2008
In-Progress At Darlington: "RaceDay" On SPEED
This is one of those occasions where a Saturday Sprint Cup race brings SPEED's RaceDay to viewers in the late afternoon. It should be a beautiful day in Darlington, SC as the program takes to-the-air at 5PM Eastern Time.
John Roberts leads the two live hours that TDP has referred to as the Super Wal-Mart of NASCAR. Two hours is plenty of time to wander the RaceDay aisles and find something that you like to take home. On a regular basis, there has been something for everyone in this TV program.
Very quietly, Roberts has been carving his own TV legacy in the sport. He has perfected the host role, stepping-in when the situation merits but otherwise allowing the SPEED personalities to express themselves. His yeoman work on the weekends for the network has not gone un-noticed. His name was suggested for the host seat on This Week in NASCAR and perhaps viewers will soon see Roberts on the SPEED Report.
Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace return as the unlikely duo that is the face of NASCAR before and after the Sprint Cup Series races. Spencer has been working hard to focus on what issues he wants to address and how he delivers his message to the fans. Wallace has been slowly making the final transition from driver to broadcaster.
Ready to break-out to a larger opportunity is Wendy Venturini. Although she has been anchoring a second "mini-set" in the infield at select races, Venturini is ready for more national exposure than the DirecTV package. Her reporting from the garage area and starting grid on this program is second-to-none and her unique relationship with the NASCAR personalities comes across to the viewers.
With the upcoming All-Star festivities at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Venturini will be hosting her first primetime TV special. Titled 2008 NASCAR All-Star Hometown Heroes the program will be airing at 9PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, May 14th. TDP will have additional details on this program in a story being published on Sunday.
In this Saturday "Mother's Day" edition of RaceDay, Venturini will be visiting with Hermie and Elliott Sadler's mother, Belle. The Real Deal feature will focus on Ms. Sadler's courageous struggle with cancer. This feature has been a compelling one on RaceDay, and perhaps the only NASCAR behind-the-scenes TV feature currently being produced on a regular basis.
Hermie Sadler has also become a regular on this TV series, essentially providing the information about the track conditions and then assisting with interviews. Sadler is welcome, but his skills in the garage and his relationship with the drivers is very different than Venturini. Sadler has also been working in the broadcast booth with Mike Joy on the Nationwide Series qualifying sessions.
In this edition of RaceDay, Sadler will venture to Hendrick Motorsports and drive one of their Cup cars. Well, he will be doing that for pit crew practice out behind the shop. It should be interesting.
Rutledge Wood continues to be a presence on this program, filling the role of comedic relief and trying to generally be a goofy guy. While he succeeds on a regular basis at the goofy part, the rest of the show is often so focused and engaged in racing-related topics that Wood's reports fail to find an audience.
Saturday's RaceDay will replay the staged Carl Edwards and David Pearson "photo opportunity" from Darlington. The show will also review how one moment in time and one bad choice can turn a popular driver instantly into the new NASCAR villain.
Beginning at 5PM, the show will hand-over the NASCAR TV reigns to Fox at 7PM for the live Sprint Cup event. The Super Wal-Mart of NASCAR will then be closed so everyone can watch the race.
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