Saturday, June 28, 2008
In-Progress At New Hampshire: Nationwide Series on ABC
The Nationwide Series race at the newly-named New Hampshire Motor Speedway will signal the return of Dale Jarrett to the ABC broadcast booth and finally give Rusty Wallace a weekend off.
While Jarrett was off on his planned vacation, Wallace has done double-duty for ESPN. He has appeared on the NASCAR Countdown program and then gone upstairs to call the races. Give credit to Wallace, he has improved dramatically this season and fans have noticed his ability to present himself on TV in a very professional manner.
It will be Allen Bestwick starting the coverage with NASCAR Countdown at 2:30PM Eastern Time. For this edition, Bestwick will be joined by Jarrett and Brad Daugherty. There are plenty of topics to discuss this week, and it should be noticed by fans just how many relate directly to the Nationwide Series and how much attention during this thirty minute show is given to the Sprint Cup gang.
Jarrett moves up to the broadcast booth where he will be working alongside of Dr. Jerry Punch. This track is not the type that Punch enjoys and the lack of passing combined with the flat and slippery track should be a challenge for this former pit reporter. Look for Jarrett to give Punch a lot of help during the later stages of the event.
ESPN has begun to heighten the profile of Ray Evernham. Still undecided as to his plans for 2009, Evernham will step-in for the vacationing Andy Petree and handle the analysis with Jarrett. Still well-spoken, Evernham is trying to decide his future on-and-off the track.
For the next three weeks, Evernham will appear on the one hour Monday NASCAR Now program that Allen Bestwick has made so successful this season. In addition, Evernham will be the studio analyst for the NASCAR Now show before the big Daytona Sprint Cup race next weekend. ESPN is giving Evernham a variety of assignments, and it should be interesting to see what direction the network and Evernham choose to go for next season.
Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Shannon Spake will report from pit road but there will also be another change on the ESPN TV team. Tim Brewer has the weekend off, and it will be the #24 crew chief Steve Letarte stepping-in to handle the TV duties from the Tech Center. Letarte is a Maine native, and a well-spoken NASCAR personality with good knowledge of the ins-and-out of the sport.
One final note. With the NCTS racing later Saturday night in Memphis, TN perhaps Bestwick will ask Daugherty about his plans to operate a NCTS team for 2009. Since NASCAR Now dramatically hosted NFL veteran Randy Moss and NBA veteran Daugherty to announce that both were going to start their own NCTS teams, fans have not heard a peep out of either man about those plans. Emails to Daugherty about this topic were not returned.
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