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.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thanks again for stopping by.

18 comments:

Ritchie said...

Great show. I really enjoyed the Vickers interview. I have been waiting for someone to pick up on how improved the Red Bull Toyotas are.

With all due respect to Boris Said, I'm not sure that he added much to the discussion. He has a lot of fans, and I enjoy his personality, but there are others that could add more to the discussion.

That being said, the overall tone of the show was professional, yet lively. I enjoyed it as always.

Anonymous said...

I was going to watch the re-air of NN, because I can't see it during the regular time as I live in Arizona. It got preempted by an arena football game that I could care less about. What's worse is the TV Guide channel said NASCAR Now would be on. I'm definitely not happy with ESPN.

bevo said...

Sorry to say because I really liked Said but I lost all respect for him after the Marcos Ambrose incident.

I still wonder who's dog Allen Bestwick ran over to get so consistently screwed over by his employers. I put him right up there with Mike Joy for present day announcers calling a race. He's a true professional, knows the sport, always calm and in charge and can speak proper English.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy listening to Boris Said. He seemed more subdued last night, probably due to the criticism he's received lately. I think folks need to cut him a little slack. Racing is an emotional sport. All you have to do is listen to the scanner talk to know that more than a few drivers are all smiles in front of the camera and something else in private. I'm sure many of the go/go home teams are up to their ears in debt and desparately need a finish and not a wrecked car. I'm sure many drivers have said what Boris blurted on on TV.His sin was that he said it on TV. I hope he remains active in Nascar coverage.

jfs-va said...

Too bad AB didn't ask Boris if he was still upset with Ambrose. :>)

glenc1 said...

anon 6:32, I couldn't agree more. Every driver in the garage has said something stupid or carried a grudge longer than he should have. Probably some they never really get over. I'd rather have a driver who cares about what he's doing any day. As much as I'm a fan of Boris the driver, though, I'm not sure he has the level of expertise to always add to a discussion depending on the track/race they're discussing (just because of his lack of experience in Cup compared to others.)

Anonymous said...
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Lisa Hogan said...

JD- you continue to want the guests questioned by the panel and I continue to disagree. :)

Every driver and TV personality has fans and non-fans. I have stated that I am a non-fan of Mr. Said and Mr. Massaro. Having both on the panel last night was not a happy moment for me. If I am close to the remote, Mr. Said gets the mute button. Mr. Massaro’s long preface to his questions is an irritant to this viewer. I watched last night because I knew that in the hour show I would find some enjoyment.

I know that Mr. Said has fans. I also know that Mr. Said has numerous non-fans. I have been a non-fan of Mr. Said for years. The Ambrose situation has nothing to do with that. It just added another layer. :)

Daly Planet Editor said...

lisa,

The problem with that is the panelists change each week. Having a Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree, Ricky Craven, Johnny Benson and others use their own perspectives to ask questions of the guests can't be a bad thing in my opinion.

As I said in my original column, I was surprised that Boris Said was on this show with Craven.

The issue we are discussing runs deep for ESPN, because they are having trouble using the TV format where the host always asks the question. NASCAR Now is a great example.

Why have Andy Petree pop-up right after Ryan Burr asks questions to Joey Logano? Why not use the expert, Petree, to ask the questions?

It absolutely makes no sense to have the anchors of the programs ask the questions and then bring in the experts to comment on the bland questions just asked.

You and I have seen this program grow from an absolute disaster to a solid show with good results.

ESPN has said they will continue to shuffle the format this season, but perhaps we will see some regulars emerge for next year.

I certainly would rather have a DJ or Craven or Petree ask the questions than have a well-intending studio anchor read them to a guest.

I certainly understand your point, and it should be interesting to see how the Producer decides to proceed down the stretch.

JD

Anonymous said...

ESPN2 did show NN @ approximately 11:15 PM PST for alll of us on the west coast. Great show-I'd stay up until o-dark:30 Monday to watch it-it is well worth the wait...

Lisa Hogan said...

JD- Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Yes, we have seen Nascar Now do a complete turn around. When you mentioned last season, I had a flashback cringe! :)

I think you and I are talking from two different prospectives. You are talking about ESPN as a whole and about all the Nascar Now shows. I am talking about the Nascar Now Monday edition. The Monday edition is the only one I try to watch on a regular basis.

I trust Bestwick to ask good questions and to put the guest at ease. With Bestwick asking all of the questions, the guest also gets more TV time. :)

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:42AM,

Thanks for that info. We could not find if they show had re-aired later that night. What a shame that all the TiVo and DVR folks missed it!

JD

Newracefan said...

Wow 0 dark 30 I thought I was the only one who remembered that one. I was lucky the kittens knocked out the power cord for the DVR after it recorded NN and TWIN, or I would be crying right now with a messed up re-air later Monday night. I enjoyed the show but I too am less interested to hear what Boris has to say and this started even before the MA incident, I started having trouble when it was all Ford all the time. Rickey Craven has been a pleasant surprise for me and I for one would love to see more of him. MM is growing on me too. The BV interview was great, I've been a fan of his since the HMS days and am glad to see that he is finally doing well at Red Bull. Brian is always well spoken and obviously intelligent (he's been using a laptop for years to keep track of all his car setups and changes and his hero is a teacher who taught him to love reading). That Carnegie school helped too, not bad for a race rat from North Carolina.

Anonymous said...

Boris seemed subdued and somewhat negative. He was a favorite of mine until the Ambrose issue. Anon 6:32. I would have cut Boris some slack, if he had accepted Marcos' apology when they both appeared on NN. I agree drivers say things in the heat of the battle. But 2 or 3 days later (not sure of timing) Boris could have been a little more gracious with Marcos' offering the olive branch (or Said-Head wig :-)). I like the rest of the panel asking questions. They come from different angles and make for interesting responses. I'm liking Ricky more and more. Seems to be finding his comfort level. PS..know everyone doesn't have TIVO/DVR but I always seem to get the 2:30PM (West Coast) showing.

Diane

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to ESPN. I have voiced my opinion of their lack of respect for NASCAR fans. I'm sure they will screw us over again though. I'd love to know where to find a copy of last night's NN.

SonicAD said...

anon 3:24:

They didn't screw you over. They had to show a live event. You had an opportunity to record the early showing, you had the chance to stay up for the later showing.

You think they should interrupt a live football game for NASCAR Now? How about they interrupt a live NASCAR race for NFL Live, and see how you like it!

Anonymous said...

I remember Allen Bestwick well from that old NASCAR show in maybe late '90s early '00s with Schrader, Benson & Waltrip. He was totally a class act then and he's even more so now. I DO wonder whose tail he stepped on because he's a terrific talent and hasn't ever gotten the on-air time or respect he has richly deserved. Hopefully more Allen Bestwick is in our NASCAR viewing future for dedicated fans.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Since it was relocated by Time Warner I seldom watch or check what is on ESPN Classic - but if they continue to have conflicts with the re-airs of N-Now or NFL Live, it would seem to me to make sense to have the re-airs at a fixed time on ESPN Classic since I presume ESPN Classic seldom carries love events.