Thursday, June 26, 2008
Steve Byrnes Anchors A Big Friday On SPEED
There are only a few more weeks of SPEED handling the practice and qualifying coverage for NASCAR weekends.
After the TNT portion of the Sprint Cup Series coverage, ESPN steps-in and takes over both the Nationwide and Cup coverage. As most fans know, this includes selected practice and qualifying sessions.
No one has made more of the recent opportunity to step-into the Fox footsteps than Steve Byrnes. Replacing Mike Joy as the host of both Cup practice and qualifying, Byrnes has been a comfortable fit. As fans who watched the Dale movie remember, Byrnes has a long history in the sport and a pretty good sense of humor.
This weekend in New Hampshire, Byrnes will once again lead the SPEED coverage. On Friday, it will be Sprint Cup practice starting the day at Noon Eastern Time. Byrnes will be joined by Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond in the announce booth. This team has been lots of fun and very informative during what can sometimes be rather boring practice and qualifying sessions.
For Cup practice, it will be pit reporters Marty Snider and Matt Yocum joining Byrnes and company. During the Nationwide Series session at 1:30PM, it will be Bob Dillner and Ralph Shaheen. The on-track triple-header ends with Cup qualifying that will start at 3PM.
Capping-off the night at 7PM will be Trackside. Byrnes, Hammond, McReynolds and Elliott Sadler make-up the regular panel. Friday night they will be joined by Dario Franchitti and Jeff Burton. The appearances of both those drivers should result in some good conversation.
Other TV notes for New Hampshire include the media guest for Tradin' Paint. It will be Dustin Long, who is the NASCAR reporter for several newspapers in both North Carolina and Virginia. This show has been struggling, and will hopefully engage in some meaningful conversation about NASCAR issues rather than continue to pander to the "everything is just fine" world where it has been recently.
For Kenny Wallace fans, he returns this weekend to SPEED and will be on RaceDay and Victory Lane alongside John Roberts and Jimmy Spencer. Hermie Sadler filled-in last week and did a good job, but the unique chemistry between Spencer and Wallace is what attracts NASCAR fans to the show. No, Hermie did not dance on-camera.
Just a little tip for fans, this week Wendy Venturini is going to sit down with Richard Petty and the new CEO of Petty Enterprises David Zucker. There could be no greater contrast in personalities or backgrounds then these two. That should be one episode of the Real Deal not to be missed.
Finally, Dale Jarrett returns from his vacation to anchor the Nationwide Series coverage on ABC. Taking the weekend off this time will be Tim Brewer, so manning the Tech Center will be the #24 crew chief and Maine native Steve Letarte.
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