Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Joey Logano Jumps Into The "ESPN Blender"

Danica Patrick did it, so did Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson. Now, it is time for Joey Logano to have his own day-long "coming out" party at ESPN.

Wednesday is going to unofficially be "Joey Logano Day" on the Bristol, CT campus as the young driver makes his way across the ESPN media outlets. As you may know, ESPN has a group of different companies they refer to as "media platforms" all clustered in the same place. When you are going to hit them all in one day, you are in the "ESPN blender." Around-and-around it goes and you are the main ingredient.

Logano will start his day over on ESPN2 with Dana Jacobson and company. He will be on First Take at 11:30AM Eastern Time for an interview. First Take has been the one ESPN program series this season that has struggled to grasp the concept that NASCAR is a professional sport here in North America.

Hopefully, the on-air staff will take the time to prep for Logano and ask the right questions. This program appearance is a good opportunity to expose a new and young NASCAR personality to a stick-and-ball audience.

Working his way over to the Internet world, Logano is going to be hosting a live chat session at 1:30PM on ESPN.com. Despite the fact that ESPN controls these "chats" and filters the questions, this will be the only opportunity for NASCAR fans to ask their own questions of "Mr. Sliced Bread." Normally, the chat sessions are also archived and available for ESPN.com members to review.

This year, one of the biggest turn-a-rounds in NASCAR TV has been the attention ESPNEWS has paid to the sport. This network clearly got the message that their distaste for the sport in 2007 needed to change, and change it did. They have consistently featured the NASCAR on ESPN announcers and reporters this year to both preview and review the racing.

One of the best features this season has been ESPNEWS commitment to cover the post-race press conferences from the Infield Media Centers after the Sprint Cup races. NASCAR fans have made this network a destination for live post-race viewing with very good results. No matter what else is going-on in the sports world, once the race is over ESPNEWS changes gears to NASCAR and stays until the story is told.

Logano is going to appear over on ESPNEWS at 3PM. At that time, ESPNEWS changes over from the thirty minute wheel of sports news to a long-form program called The Hot List. Both anchors David Lloyd and Michael Kim have been effective at talking racing with the various NASCAR on ESPN personalities. Kim has been more of the "update anchor" and he has worked on-going NASCAR news stories very well this season. Not sure if he is a fan, but it certainly sounds like it.

Since The French Open tennis tournament is on ESPN2 this week, NASCAR Now will be shifted to 6:30PM. Logano's next stop will be as a guest on this program, which features Nicole Manske and Ryan Burr as the hosts. Both have been good at interviews this season, and hopefully NASCAR Now will have a Dale Jarrett or Andy Petree type along to interact with the anchors. Hearing Logano's comments and then having someone put things in the broader perspective would work very well.

Logano's long day ends on ESPNRadio after NASCAR Now. His tour of ESPN and his time in the "blender" will be done. It will be interesting to hear about his reaction to his first time on the ESPN campus and seeing all of the activity that is always in-progress when the 24 hour sports machine is being fed.

Regardless of whether the media pressure on this young man is coming from Gibbs Racing, NASCAR, or Logano's own PR advisers, they certainly seem to be putting him on the spot for a good performance in Dover. It should be interesting to watch him navigate his way through ESPN on Wednesday.

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red said...

i already feel very sorry for this young man. there seems to be an unreasonable level of expectation on him and he hasn't even driven a lap.
best of luck, young mr. logano: i feel you will need it! i certainly hope you have a very solid network of people in your corner who can keep you grounded as you take all this on.

Newracefan said...

I agree Red, I just hope this kid can handle the pressure because it's an awful lot for an eighteen year old. NN compared him to JG on monday, did he also come into the series with this kind of hype?

TexasRaceLady said...

red, I, too, feel sorry for this young man. All this hoopla reminds me of Dale Jr making his first starts in Cup in 1999. It's a wonder the kid didn't crater --- and he was older than Logano, and had a father in the business.

I hope the PTB have patience with him. He may wind up wrecking a lot of cars before he finds his legs.

The one problem I have is with his PR ---- I'm heartily TIRED of seeing his commercial and having him stuffed down my throat. Almost makes me hope he falls flat.

SophiaZ123 said...

I am weary of the hype already.

Poor kid.

Media LOVES to pump people up and THEN tear them down.

Then again, some fans live to trash drivers on MB's. :( Poor Joey. Calling him best thing since Sliced bread needs to STOP too.

Indeed, let him find his legs...if we think we are tired of Danica/Jr/KyleB, imagine how this kid will be scrutinized. :(

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up on the Thursday shows :)

Yes I'm also worried about the "hype". We've heard about him for several years and this last year with the "special" commercial.

I definitely hope he does well but heck the kid hasn't even started his first Busch race and there's already reports of what Coach will and won't do when he gets to Cup (provided Smoke doesn't leave).

Ritchie said...

There is one good thing, he is racing for Joe Gibbs Racing. Since Mr. Gibbs has some experience dealing with hyped players in the NFL, he should be able to guide Mr. Lagano through this.

As bad as the hype is getting, it is only going to get worse for NASCAR drivers as the sport grows. Being able to handle the media is going to become even more important than it is now.

There is one thing I haven't heard anyone comment on yet. He is going to finish high school isn't he? I certainly hope he is.

stricklinfan82 said...

I applaud ESPN for promoting Joey Logano's Nationwide debut at Dover. Despite the shortcomings of dealing with network shifts, pre-emptions, tape-delays, practice blackouts, etc., this is the one good thing that does come from ESPN covering NASCAR, and more specifically the Nationwide Series. If this race was on TNN like it was from '91-'00, or FX like it was from '01-'06 there would be little or no attention paid to this race by the sports media. Since ESPN is covering this race, the name 'Logano' is going to be all over ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, espn.com, ESPN Radio, etc. and that's a good thing.

I don't have a problem with this 'hype'. Highly respected drivers like Mark Martin have been talking about Logano for years, and he was given the nickname "sliced bread" long before ESPN took notice. ESPN didn't create this hype machine, they're just jumping on the bandwagon.

The most important thing to remember in all this is that Logano is only getting this hype because of his accomplishments on the track. This isn't a case of hyping a new driver for some reason other than their on-track resume and setting expectations for them that aren't realistic based on their abilities to drive a racecar, as we have seen with some other drivers who I won't mention here by name.

red said...

for what it's worth as far as answering the question about logano's education plans, this is from his website:
"Joey entered the 11th grade in September 2006 and is an Honor Student at Abbington Hill School, Bricktown, New Jersey. His mom home schools him since moving to Georgia, before the move he attended St. John's School in Middletown, Connecticut."

make of it what you will. perhaps if someone participates in the "espn blender" moment today, that question could be asked directly.

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

I thought Dana did OK. And treated him w/respect for his age and experience. This is the third or fourth time I have seen Joey on TV, not sure though. And I agree w/other posters here, he may need some on screen help.

Anonymous said...

Casey Atwood was a prodigy too. Where is he now?

Anonymous said...

Comparing him to Atwood isn't even close. Casey excelled on the big stage at his home track at the right time. Joey has hit the road and proved the old school way that he deserves this shot. Money isn't buying his way into this ride. He has raced his way into it. Each time he has moved into a new series, the same questions have been asked.. Is he ready? Is he all hype? Each time he has proven he can win. As a rookie in the Bush East he went up against veteran north drivers along with Cup affiliated teams and won the championship. Did anybody see what he did to the field at the ARCA race in Rockingham?

There is a lot of hype for him, because he really is that good.

and I'm not part of his PR machine LOL I just have had the chance to see him race up close, and his talent really is something special.

Anonymous said...

There's no doubt this kid is talented. He is very fortunate that the winds of change have hit NASCAR as 10 years ago he would have been lumped into that "Next Jeff Gordon" category such as Atwood, Kenny Irwin, Jerry Nadeau, Tyler Walker, Kurt Busch, Harvick, and many others. Some succeeded, many didn't because they got pushed through too quickly and it stunted their development as drivers. Fortunately for him, he has Mark Martin as his mentor and has now latched with Gibbs racing. I hope he does well, as he has not disappointed yet. It will be interesting to see what if any bad habits he picks up from Stewart, Busch, and Hamlin.

Anonymous said...

Hugedifference between Joey and Fanica,Joey is the real deal and is fully capable of winning in short order. He's proven it over and over again, including a big win over Kevin Harvick last year where both ran side by side for many laps cleanly before Joey showed Harvich how it's done. Fanica has one win in her life handed toher on stradegy, which is theonly way she will will short of the top ten all crashing out.

Daly Planet Editor said...

3:30PM and Logano is about to be on ESPNEWS.

Karen said...

JD said...

3:30PM and Logano is about to be on ESPNEWS.

May 28, 2008 3:33 PM

It's 3:51 and he's just now coming on unless I missed something.

Daly Planet Editor said...

We certainly have to give some credit to David Lloyd and the ESPNEWS gang.

They have turned around what was a mess in 2007 and now seem to be on their game and tuned-into what is going on.

That was a good and fun interview that covered the bases from personal to professional and made sure to touch on his family.

It should be interesting to see how NASCAR Now's interview stacks up against the ESPNEWS guy.


Anonymous said...

All of this is really nothing new. Many athletes in other sports become multi-millionaires before they ever suit up. This is just the race fan's version of the high-priced draft pick.

Anonymous said...

I complained (in another column's comments) about on-air race commentators' constant use of the phrase "...It should be interesting to see..." but I never realized how muh that cliche had worn off on fans until I read this column and the comments.

Mike said...

I'm beginning to wonder if NASCAR Now will be on at 6:30p.m. (Wednesday). I'm not sure this tennis match that's on now will be over in time.

Mike said...

Ok. Good.....they're shifting the tennis match over to the Tennis Channel. LOL

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 5:35PM,

That is one very interesting comment.


Geez said...

I don't like the hype but I have been watching stock car racing for over thirty years. I have watched a lot of drivers come up through the Camping world / Winston west series, and have had the pleasure to see Joey race in person several times.

In my opinion he is the real deal. He is a joy to watch. Probably one of the best I've ever seen. I hope he handle's the hype and is successful. He just might be the greatest thing thing since sliced bread. :-)

Anonymous said...

I agree with geez. If Logano can keep his head on straight he should succeed. I mean - is there a better ride to jump into than the JGR Nationwide 20?????

Anonymous said...

I have never thought about the use of "interesting to see..." until the anon guy at 5:35 pointed it out.

Thanks, seriously. I can't stand trite turns of phrases. I will do a better job of writing more eloquently.