Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Logano's ESPN Exposure Helps Nationwide Series
With the Sprint Cup and Craftsman Truck Series taking the headlines this season, the struggling Nationwide Series really needed a shot in-the-arm. Enter Joey Logano and the ESPN media machine.
As we documented in this column, Logano spent Wednesday at ESPN moving through the various media companies located at the Bristol, CT campus. It was very clear that the word was out to be prepared for his visit, and the resulting interviews showed the continuing change at ESPN where NASCAR is concerned.
Dana Jacobson and the First Take crew did a nice and conservative interview in the morning on ESPN2. Logano was treated very well, and for a group of on-air announcers who specialize in stick-and-ball sports, things began for the driver on a solid note.
It was ESPNEWS anchor David Lloyd who handled Logano during his appearance on The Hot List in the afternoon. As we have mentioned before, Lloyd and almost all of the other ESPNEWS anchors have been at the forefront of a very dramatic change this year.
Wherever it came from, NASCAR fans have been very appreciative this season as ESPNEWS has embraced NASCAR. The Logano interview continued this effort, with good questions being put to the young driver with respect and a sense of humor.
Aside from an ESPN.com chat session and an ESPNRadio appearance, Logano's finale for his long day was a featured studio appearance on NASCAR Now. It was Nicole Manske hosting the Wednesday show and handling the interview duties.
No one has been more surprising this season than Manske. Free from the old format of The SPEED Report, she has blossomed into an effective show host and reporter with the ease of a TV veteran.
Manske had a nice interview with Logano, and tried to search a little more for the true personality of the young man than the other ESPN hosts. Manske's trademark has been the ability to push interview subjects a little bit, but not too much. She did this well with Logano.
The surprise of the show was the follow-up interview with Joey Logano's father. Manske's questions helped viewers to understand how the elder Logano's son has stayed seemingly so well-balanced. It was nice to have another solid family added to the NASCAR ranks for all of the fans to see. Logano will not be hard to pull for, especially among younger fans.
Brad Daugherty was well-spoken in his comments about Logano, but until the racing resume starts to form in NASCAR's top three series, the talk will just be talk. Logano's father made the point that the media hype drew a lot of the attention to this mid-season start of a young Nationwide Series driver. It will be up to his son to carve out his own career.
Manske's pop quiz with Logano to end this show really reminded all of us that this is a young man with normal interests like girlfriends and video games. His infectious grin and good nature was the main impression from this segment that tried to focus on things other than racing.
All in all, this was a very good day for Logano, ESPN and the Nationwide Series. If he can pay it off with a win at Dover, there is no doubt we will be seeing Mr. Logano again quite soon on NASCAR Now.
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