Sunday, June 8, 2008
Monday Night NASCAR TV Match-Ups
Here we are already into the TNT portion of the Sprint Cup Series schedule. Pocono is now in the books along with the Nationwide Series race from Nashville and the Truck Series event from Texas. The Monday NASCAR TV shows will have a lot of content from which to draw.
First-up will be Allen Bestwick hosting the one hour edition of NASCAR Now on ESPN2 at 5:30PM. This week, Bestwick will be joined by Ricky Craven, Mike Massaro and Boris Said. That means Bestwick will once again be dealing with another first-time combination of panelists.
Craven and Johnny Benson have quickly become popular guests on this show. Craven has proven to have a solid presence on TV with a quick wit that matches-up well with Bestwick. Craven also works well with Massaro, who has really come into his own this season through this program.
The new card in the deck is Said. Once one of the most popular sports car racers in North America, Said's limited NASCAR experience has been working against him this season. Then came "the incident."
Once considered an affable and fun-loving type, Said's memorable rant against Marcos Ambrose earlier this season on NASCAR Now was a shocker.
With Ambrose on the program, Said refused to publicly make-up with Ambrose, who even wore a "Said-head" wig when he appeared on the show. Said went on a rant that contained information and emotion that did not need to appear on TV. Even the show host tried to get Boris back on the right track, but to no avail.
Regardless of the reality of Said's feelings, NASCAR Now was not the place to unleash a torrent of anger. Eventually, Ambrose had some choice words back for Said and even removed the wig. Ultimately, Ambrose charged Said with being a part-time racer with nothing to lose. That was a tough one to take.
Since that time, Said has kept a low profile and his return to this program after an oval race at Pocono is a surprise. It is even more surprising given that Craven is already on the program. Said's role is going to be hard to define.
Give the Coordinating Producer of this TV series a lot of credit. He stirs the pot on a weekly basis and challenges Bestwick to handle a new crew for the full hour. This mix of characters has been one of the most intriguing aspects of the Monday show.
Over at SPEED, This Week In NASCAR is showing signs of new life as the on-air dynamics of the panelists get sorted-out. Steve Byrnes has bravely plowed ahead with this program and is finally making headway.
This week, Michael Waltrip is back and will be joined by Greg Biffle. This combination has a very different relationship than the Waltrip and Chad Knaus pairing. Biffle is still very serious, and Waltrip continually drives him crazy by interfering and changing topics.
Byrnes has done a good job with these two of stepping-in and keeping the mood light even if the discussion is sometimes a bit heavy. This week, he may have to do a lot of stepping-in. Waltrip and Biffle both had big issues in the Sprint Cup race.
SPEED has kept this program "flipped" with the preview of Michigan coming first, and then the Pocono highlights and commentary coming after the first thirty minutes of the show. Some things just defy explanation.
Last week once again there was an added feature in the closing thirty minutes instead of allowing the panel to simply talk. This is the Achilles Heel of this program. There are three veteran NASCAR folks on the set and they are not allowed to simply communicate for any length of time.
This Week in NASCAR comes along at 8PM EDT for one hour on SPEED, and both NASCAR Now and TWIN repeat for the West Coast. TWIN re-airs at Midnight and NASCAR Now at 12:30AM Eastern.
If there is ever a problem with this re-air being dropped, please take a moment and email us here at The Daly Planet with the details. There will be full columns up about both these programs immediately after they air on Monday.
Feel free to offer your comments about the on-air talent line-ups or any other topic covered in this column on this post.
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