Saturday, June 7, 2008
In-Progress From Nashville: Nationwide Series Race on ESPN2
Rusty Wallace is center stage once again as the Nationwide Series takes to the Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday night.
Wallace will begin the night down in the Infield Pit Studio seated alongside host Allen Bestwick at 7PM. Brad Daugherty will join that duo for NASCAR Countdown, ESPN's thirty minute pre-race show.
This is a stand-alone Nationwide Series race, but several of the Sprint Cup drivers have made the trip from Pocono and will be looking to upstage the Nationwide "regulars" once again.
Needless to say, Kyle Busch is currently one of the highest-profile Cup guys who will be racing at Nashville. Several others include Carl Edwards and David Reutimann.
Once the pre-race show is over, Wallace will move-up to the broadcast booth and provide the race analysis with Andy Petree. Calling the action as usual will be Dr. Jerry Punch. Dale Jarrett will not return to the ESPN broadcasts until the series heads for New Hamsphire. This was pre-planned by Jarrett and ESPN. Once he returns, Jarrett will remain as the Lead Analyst for all of the races through the end of the season.
Supporting Punch and company will be Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center. That unit is on-scene in Nashville. Down on pit road will be Shannon Spake, Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Mike Massaro. In this race, Nationwide Series regular Mike Bliss will be the in-race reporter talking to Wallace during the event.
Rusty Wallace has been making the most of this final stretch of being in the broadcast booth. He has been enthusiastic and informative in his commentary. This season, Wallace is often eager to ask Petree for his opinion, and sometimes speaks directly to the pit road reporters in asking about on-going stories.
Punch is still deciding if he will continue to be a reporter who watches the action in silence and then reports, or if he will become a true play-by-play announcer and involve the viewers with his active commentary on events as they unfold.
Tim Brewer seems to have finally found his on-air groove recently. This may have come as a result of being allowed to contribute more frequently to the daily NASCAR Now show on ESPN2. Brewer has figured out where to look, how to move the camera to the area he wants to highlight and most importantly how to talk to the viewers.
With the build-up of frustration by Kyle Busch following a second place finish in the Friday night Truck Series race and a crash in Cup practice, Busch is going to be the story of the night. Since high-profile rookie Joey Logano is on the pole and going very fast, the clash of these two seems to be very possible.
There are a lot of good stories in this field, and it should be interesting to watch ESPN try to continue multiple storylines throughout the race. Bestwick is often inserted during the event to do recaps and field updates. The balance between Punch in the booth and Bestwick in the infield is going to be the key to the telecast.
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