Monday, June 9, 2008
Bestwick Continues To Lead ESPN's Charge (2nd Update)
2nd Update: The 12:30AM Eastern/9:30PM Pacific airing of this program was cancelled due to Arena Football. The show was apparently aired much later after the live event. If anyone has the actual time it aired, please drop us an email.
That means only the 5:30PM EDT version of the show aired as scheduled, and that is a shame. The Monday version of this show is now a big production and a high-profile program for the network. All that time and effort for only one late afternoon scheduled airing does not make a lot of sense.
While you are free to voice your concerns on The Daly Planet, it may be worthwhile to offer ESPN some feedback directly.
Here is the link to the ESPN contact page for viewers to comment about programming issues including pre-emptions. The full column about the program is below.
It was Monday's one hour version of NASCAR Now and it was typical Allen Bestwick. Only two minutes into the program and the highlights of Pocono were already rolling. The message to race fans was clear, we have what you want right here.
Bestwick was joined on the panel by Ricky Craven, Mike Massaro and Boris Said. This group of veterans was comfortable with each other, and it showed. ESPN stepped outside the box and granted Mr. Said an exemption from the necktie rule.
Highlights of all three series were handled smoothly by the panel with the exception of the Montoya fire. Boris Said is a sports car veteran, and the corner workers on road courses are usually responsive to any problem. Said was still struggling with the issue of the safety workers seen on-camera being held off of pit road by Race Control. Bestwick worked very hard to get the other view across.
Massaro has quietly been a key to these programs working well with any mix of panelists. This TV veteran is very much cut-out of the same cloth as Bestwick. Hard working and clean-cut, Massaro has shown this year an entirely new side of both his personality and his NASCAR experience. The results have been impressive.
Craven has quickly become a fan favorite with his good obervations and his fun personality. Some fans don't really know Craven's entire racing past, but there is no doubting his words as he offers the same type of veteran perspective as a Larry McReynolds or a Dale Jarrett. Craven sees the bigger picture all the time.
The format of the program has settled down into a race highlight review, two guests and two pre-produced features. Using content provided by the NASCAR Media Group and also editied by the NASCAR Now production team, the features integrated into the show are always worth the wait. This week was no exception and using a feature to lead into the interview of Kenny Francis was perfect.
Frances seemed a bit tense, because he knew Kasey Kahne's problem pit-stop was going to be an issue. Like a good TV pro, Bestwick got that issue out of the way early. Unfortunately, Bestwick was once again the only person asking the questions. Fortunately, that would change for the final interview.
It was a relaxed and happy Brian Vickers who showed both the TV viewers and the NASCAR Now executives just how good bringing all the panelists along for the ride can be. While Bestwick started the interview, each panelist asked a good question and often got an even better answer from Vickers.
This type of approach offered the perspectives of four different NASCAR veterans. Craven asked about attitude, Said asked what had changed since last season and Massaro really hit a homerun. He asked Vickers about leaving Hendrick Motorsports and his transition to this new team.
The first words out of Vickers mouth were "that is a very good question." This comes from involving all the personalities that the network had gone out of the way to fly into Connecticut and put on this show. Any interview with only one person asking the questions simply misses the mark. Vicker's liveshot was absolute proof.
Bestwick allowed the panelists a closing comment and then added one of his own. Like so many of us, he had first been exposed to big time stock car racing by Jim McKay and ABC's Wide World of Sports. As the footage rolled, Bestwick did a good job of offering a tribute.
It seemed fitting that the only daily national TV show soley devoted to NASCAR would offer words of thanks to a man who battled to get small glimpses of this southern sport on the ABC program. Far from the drama and pagentry of the Indy 500, it was glimpses of Rockingham and Darlington that got the attention of so many current fans across the country.
As another solid Monday edition of NASCAR Now goes in the books, ESPN has to be happy with the progress of this TV series as the network's coverage of the Sprint Cup Series approaches.
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