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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12 comments:

TexasRaceLady said...

I really enjoyed the interview --- both with Joey and with his dad.

That is a very plain-spoken young man who seems to have his head firmly, and squarely attached to his shoulders.

Now the time for hype is over, it is up to him to show he can do the job.

Great show, ESPN.

SophiaZ123 said...

I second TRL lady's comments.

It's great to hear Joey seems so grounded and realizes the MEDIA is making the hype...he didn't ask for it...just trying to do his job.

I loved how asked what job he would be in if not a racer and says probably the job his dad is in...garbage!! But if his dad has huge landfills...there is big money in that! Everybody has garbage and it has to go somewhere.


Great show ESPN and Nicole is so great compared to that "other show" she was on. She is a natural.

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Karen said...

He's a breath of fresh air. He handled himself like a pro today so no wonder there are so many expectations that he'll succeed.

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JD

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glenc1 said...

I only saw NN, but I thought the Logano interviews were both excellent, as was the piece on Braun racing and that Nationwide focus (even if it was a bit heavy on the JGR side). It was kinda funny to see *two* ladies (Manske and Little) doing the reporting but they both had very professional segments. Also, the 'breaking news' on Haas was handled well. I too enjoyed Nicole's Q&A with Joey--I just wish 'sliced bread' wasn't the only one given this personal treatment, although Coleman and Keselowski have had some attention.

Anonymous said...

Glen,

I don't see the problem with 2 women conducting a NASCAR related interview. Have you won a celebrity road race in Long Beach? These ladies are not just doing typical fluff pieces intended to focus on them or the attraction of drivers to them, they are both very good PROFESSIONALS at what they do.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see any of Joey's interviews as the hype is just way too much ... No wonder the kid has the nickname of "Sliced Bread" as NASCAR keeps promoting him as the best thing since sliced bread ...

IF NASCAR really wanted to get people interested in the Nationwide series, they might want to promote the guys that are actually in the series and getting overshadowed by the JGR drivers ... Nine wins out of 13 races is pretty suspicious ...

Where are the stories about the struggles with Baker-Curb Racing (formerly known as Brewco)?? The 2nd car doesn't always qualify for the show ... As Brewco, they used to win when Biffle was there ... How about Team Rensi & Bobby Hamilton Jr?? Or any of the other teams (like Marcos Ambrose & Kelly Bires) ...


I fully expect Joey to get the pole & win Saturday's Nationwide race ... Just like he did with the ARCA race at Rockingham ... But the key is "Are there team orders for Kyle & Denny to NOT put up a fight & let Joey win?" ...


Sorry but I am already soured on Joey Logano ... With the constant airing of the Nationwide commercial that is solely promoting Joey, it's OVERKILL ... IF Joey doesn't win on Saturday, how many of the lookie-loos will NOT return??

glenc1 said...

Anon 12:16--you need to reread my post. I said it was kinda funny--I didn't say I had a *problem* with it--just the opposite, in fact, I think it was awesome. It's just that this had been a male dominated sport and I think it's about time people stopped 'noticing'. The fact that I thought about it tells you it still isn't commonplace. Part of that is the networks' past inclination to only use 'babes' to do this, instead of people who are good broadcasters first and attractive second (cause even men are expected to be 'attractive' on TV--just part of the deal). They are finally using professionals and NOT giving them fluff pieces. That was kind of my point, but perhaps this will clarify.

glenc1 said...

and BTW--while I thought it was cool that Jamie won that race, I don't think it has anything to do with her broadcasting skills or racing knowledge...