Monday, June 2, 2008

Benson And Bestwick Riding High On Mondays


There was a triple-header of racing behind them, a controversial race at Pocono ahead of them, and Mike Massaro and Brad Daugherty seated on the NASCAR Now studio set ready to chat. Johnny Benson and Allen Bestwick were about to have a blast.

Bestwick jumped right in and set his normally fast-paced tone in reviewing the Dover Sprint Cup highlights. Soundbites from Kyle Busch were effective and started the discussion about the race as a whole.

Bestwick and company do something very effectively, and that is include the viewer as the fourth panelist. The NASCAR Now Director uses a wideshot constantly to reinforce the fact that this is a group discussion. Bestwick himself directly addresses the camera when he is asking questions or making a point.

The panelists are not afraid to talk directly to each other, or aim a comment straight into the camera and to the viewers. Even some of the jokes are made to the camera in the funny moments. This really does give the viewer a feeling of being part of the show.

The review of the big crash at Dover contained a nice selection of soundbites from the drivers involved. Their frustration was clear, and echoed by the panelists. Benson was firm in his view that some of the late arriving cars to the accident could have done a much better job of getting stopped.

Bestwick was very blunt in his assessment that the Dover race after the wreck was pretty boring. He tried not to blame the COT, since it had been used at Dover last season. Massaro tried to suggest that the race should be shortened to change the strategy and the resulting boredom of the current format. That is the type of topic that should be explored, rather than mentioned before commercial breaks.

Steve Addington was the first guest on the show, and talked about leading the Kyle Busch car to victory. Addington is very calm, and it is clear that he is key to the present success of the team. This time, only Bestwick got to ask the questions as the show continues to switch back and forth in format. Even if the interview was taped in advance of the full show, including other panelists would give this segment a different look.

A review of the Dover Nationwide Series race included the Joey Logano story and a good soundbite with winner Denny Hamlin. The panel was impressed with Hamlin and Massaro made the point that once a driver gets in a groove at Dover, it is tough to get around him. Benson was supportive in his comments about Logano, and used his veteran status to preach patience.

Nicole Manske lent her voice to a feature on Kyle Busch that tried to reset for the viewers who this young man really is and where he came from to get to this level. It was well done, but took up a good chunk of time on this program intended to be dedicated to discussion among the panel.

Finishing off the theme, Bestwick welcomed JD Gibbs and handled a wide-ranging interview alone. Once again, the panelists were not allowed to ask questions. The conversation with Gibbs was fine, and included several topics not related to Kyle Busch.

Craftsman Truck Series highlights and notes finished off the show that once again covered the content viewers wanted to see. With two guests and one big feature there was less time for discussion. Hopefully, the production staff will review this issue and make the final tweaks to the show before the heart of the season.

Monday now has a very familiar feel for NASCAR fans, and the flow of this program continues to be smooth and professional on-the-air. ESPN has to be happy as the network begins to gear-up for Sprint Cup Series telecasts in another month.

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14 comments:

SWGA20fan said...

I found one glaring error in the interview with JD Gibbs. He was not asked directly about Tony Stewart's contract. I imagine Bestwick thought JD might touch on the subject in the generalized question about preparing JGR for business in the future. When JD skirted the elephant in the room, a more pointed question should have been asked.

Geez said...

They probably didn't ask because the answer would have been the same as it has been. " Tony has not asked out of his contract and we look forward to having him drive for us in 2009 and beyond". Or words to that effect.

SophiaZ123 said...

I fell asleep during the first interview..and when I woke up I thought the piece on Kyle went on forever.

That should've been saved for regular NN and you are correct JD, it cut into 'conversation time'....same as TWIN which is why I don't like to watch that show anymore.

Hope Mon NN doesn't ruin a good thing by continuing to add video bits. I LOVED the mix of the panel tonight and could've taken more speaking time.

Good column.

Ritchie said...

Good show as always. Benson is a tremendous guest panelist. Great insight and a lot of class. He handles himself as a television personality should.

I think the preproduced video pieces should be saved for the other NASCAR Now shows. We only have one night to hear the panelists and I don't want to lose a moment of that.

Still, great show overall.

Matt said...

I again thought this show was excellent. Although I agree somewhat on the taped pieces, the conversation made up for it.

Benson was at his best on this show, and his explanations on topics was great.

This was a good mix of panelists. I would like to see these three more often.

PammH said...

I taped & haven't watched the show (listening to Dialed-In) but it was on in the background & what I saw was the "this is your racing life in Nascar, KyBu" and thought it went on FOREVER!! Was this really necessary when you have folks on the set to talk to?? Talk about turning viewers off. I could hear the channels changing even in mute!! jmo, of course..:)

Newracefan said...

I wonder if we would have seen all those taped pieces if their was more to talk about from the race. Great show, not as hysterical as TWIN but fun. We did get a few lines about the truck race but I wonder if that would have happened if JB wasn't there. Hopefully Delana Harvick will send AB and the guys some cookies at the next NW race and Brad needs to watch everyone else eat them this time ;)

Wisconsin Steve said...

Someone please correct me if you know I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the Manske piece on Kyle Busch had appeared on ESPN before. I don't remember if it was during Saturday's rain delay or if it was on one of the recent NASCAR Now episodes, but it looked very familiar. If this segment was a repeat, (again, I'm not certain) it was a very big waste of time.

Also, for those of you recording NASCAR Now this week, the show will have four different air times in the next four days because of the French Open. Jayski has the days and times posted.

jfs-va said...

newracefan,
I agree with your thinking regarding whether those taped pieces would have been shown if there had been more Dover racing to talk about. Honestly, it can be summed up as a big early crash and then KB won. Not much happened so there was little to talk about.

Anonymous said...

I was lukewarm on last night's show. Johhny Benson does a very nice job. The problem I was having is that with the on-track incidents being discussed, the 'talking heads' did all of the talking instead of the only river on the set.No offense, but if you've never driven a race car, your opinion lf what happens out on the track is compromised.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Johnny Benson was always the one to interject the thoughtful, concise observation about the topic of the moment on Inside Winston Cup Racing.

He continues to impress that way now.

Having a rotation of Johnny and Ricky Craven on the Monday show's panel would be ideal.

Lisa Hogan said...

JD- you continue to suggest that Bestwick should not do all of the guest interviews. I continue to appreciate that Bestwick is doing all of the guest interviews. After the embarrassing attempts at interviews last season, I find comfort in Bestwick being in charge.

I really enjoyed the panel last night. Johnny has been a favorite since the IWC days. I’m still not a fan of Massaro and don’t think I ever will be. I like Brad on this panel and the infield studio.

I agree that the Kyle video was out of place on the Monday show. There were plenty of things the panel could have discussed to fill time, if that was needed.

Anonymous said...

I found it interesting that they left out Kyle's immature remarks to the reporter after the incident between Kyle and Jason Leffler.

Mary