Monday, July 28, 2008

Bestwick Hosts Owner's Roundtable


This year has seen some interesting shows on the one hour Monday edition of NASCAR Now.

Themes have included all three Wallace brothers, three NASCAR reporters and next week will feature all four of ESPN's NASCAR pit reporters. On this Monday, ESPN2 came by a show theme accidentally. Mike Massaro missed his plane.

Instead of Allen Bestwick hosting Massaro, Brad Daugherty and Ray Evernham, it was suddenly an "all Sprint Cup Series owners" edition of the program. Massaro's presence was sorely missed as he is a valuable piece of this Monday show and was right in the middle of the pit road action at The Brickyard.

Bestwick opened with a muted tone considering the circumstances of the race and ran through the mandatory highlights and soundbites from the winner and his owner. The fun really began when Bestwick was talking about the tire situation and the resulting mess on the racetrack. "Why did this happen?" he asked both panelists.

The strength of Evernham where television is concerned is that he comes across as easy to understand and likable. His explanation of the weight issues with the COT and the problems in the corners made sense. Suddenly, things did not seem to be as complicated as other TV shows made them out to be.

It was Daugherty who was surprisingly outspoken about this issue on Sunday from the track for ESPN. As Bestwick turned to him for an explanation about why NASCAR did not have an open test session at The Brickyard, it was clear Daugherty was still upset. "I think it was a critical mistake," said Daugherty.

His point was that by not allowing the teams to test and solve the resulting problems, it put NASCAR and Goodyear in the very position they both experienced on Sunday. Evernham backed-up Daugherty and pointed to this issue as the key to the situation.

It was smart of Bestwick to push both men about the "why." Evernham and Daugherty were upfront in admitting they knew "what" happened but they had no clue about "why." Evernham called for new tire dimensions for next season or the same problem was going to re-surface. A "bigger box to work in" was the request.

Bestwick put both panelists on the spot by asking them about NASCAR's performance. Daugherty called Indy a "crown jewel" and said the race was "falling apart. His point was that NASCAR made the only choices possible.

Evernham has always had a dry sense of humor and his quote was that "there are some things NASCAR does well and some things NASCAR does...not so well." Suggesting that NASCAR kept things safe and did the best they could, but perhaps needs to take their lumps over the situation in general.

The race highlights were simply horrible and Bestwick quickly shifted the focus back to making The Chase. It was this topic that made Evernham put on his owner's hat and he responded well. He spoke about his teams and the many things that being in The Chase can bring. Most of those things were financial.

It was clear that having Massaro's pit road perspective and veteran opinions would have helped this program. Evernham can provide the owner's perspective and Daugherty can talk like a fan, but the show missed a reporter's first-hand experiences during the race itself. Now that Bestwick has been promoted to being the infield host for the Cup races, he cannot provide that kind of information.

We had hoped that NASCAR Now would have a Monday guest that could contribute to the tire issues in a meaningful way, but that was not to be. It was driver AJ Allmendinger who stopped by via satellite and did his best to address the Indy troubles. Bestwick also rather pointedly asked Allmendinger about the time this year when he was "benched." Viewers could see Allmendinger wince at the question on-camera.

The politically correct answers came out, so Bestwick moved-on to ask about Team Red Bull's improved performance. Allmendinger confirmed that Red Bull is now building their own cars and is trying to take control of the overall COT package. Still outside the Top 35, Allmendinger seems realistic about grinding it out for the remainder of 2008.

All three of the panelists looked rather "toasty" on-the-air and Bestwick even related that the airlines had lost his luggage on the way to Bristol. This endless trek of personnel back to Connecticut each and every Monday is still strange to many. ESPN is neck-deep in NASCAR and will be for many more years.

With almost all of the NASCAR personalities based in the Greater Charlotte area, it may be time for ESPN to look at all the content it generates about the sport during the week and consider putting a facility together in the Concord or Mooresville area.

Bestwick delivered an optimistic preview of Pocono and then showed brief Craftsman Truck and Nationwide Series highlights to close the program. Kudos to all three panelists for dealing with a long race and a late night flight to simply make this show appearance. Evernham is making his way onto the ESPN team and Daugherty is finally speaking his mind and taking control of his TV image.

Next Monday the panel will consist of Massaro, Shannon Spake, Jamie Little and Dave Burns. NASCAR Now will move from owners to reporters as the amazing popularity of this Monday program continues to grow.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Just 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 for taking the time to stop by.

36 comments:

red said...

many thanks to AB for his closing comments! he didn't flinch from the reality of the situation, acknowledged the good intentions of the people involved but stated forcefully that it was unacceptable.

overall, an excellent program. none of the three backed down from their opinions that it was a mess on sunday. good overview of the status of the chase and a nice interview with AJ. wish there had been more time for n'wide and trucks but you gotta cover where the interest lies, i guess.

my only disappointment may be b/c i'm an #88 team fan. when young mr busch was interviewed, he stated that one of his pitcrew members was "run over" by the 88 car and he (busch) had to wait until the crew member was "pulled from under the car." giving him the benefit of the doubt, that isn't what happened but he might not have realized it at the time. my frustration is that NN allowed that to go on air without response. in my opinion, it could have been cut off and not even aired. if not willing to do that, someone should have explained what happened so that the incorrect information wasn't left there hanging. a minor point, perhaps, but it should have been addressed, in my opinion.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Many thanks for all your efforts over the long, dusty weekend.

Why would it not make sense for Monday's N-Now to just be done from the race site - i.e., this week from Indy?

Could it be that ESPN does not want to create a studio in Charlotte until they can put it in the Hall of Fame building?

Jo said...

Finally Ray E. was able to give a short concise easy to get explanation of what is wrong with the stupid COT. Thank you Ray.
And he explaned its NA$CARS fault that the box Goodyear is forced to work inside. Now I'm even madder at Pemberton and his attitude. Excuse me but as a woman with VERY limited car knowledge - even I understand I can't take the tires off my Grand Prix & put them on my van. Hello the same tires as last year?!? Its a different freakin' car (if you want to call it such)
Goodyear needs to tell NA$CAR to get a grip heres the tires and sizes you need for this new "car" and then go public period. Or walk away from this mess.

It was really good to see the Nwide & Trucks get coverage in the last few minutes. Good job guys.

I'm glad at least Brad was miffed and let it be known no matter how polite he was about it. And Allan THANKS for telling it like it is, not taking the pc way or drinking the koolaid and ignoring the reality. The "race" stunk.

Daly Planet Editor said...

richard,

Everything is gone Sunday night. If you remember the years that ESPN did RPM2Night, they actually leased a space and had a small studio in Charlotte for that show.

The building that NASCAR is moving into as part of the Hall of Fame project in downtown Charlotte has an HD studio available. ESPN Regional TV also has studios in South Charlotte where they do ESPNU and lots of college TV shows.

This TV contract runs for six more years and is likely to be renewed for a lot longer than that. A small studio and Internet center could deliver the ESPN.com and the NASCAR Now content in a place were drivers and personalities could simply driver over and say hi.

In the end, it all comes down to money vs. roasting your on-air talent. This is going to be a tough pace for the guys to keep up all the way through November without a week off.

JD

Vicky D said...

JD, good column. I thought Ray's comments were very good and I'm glad that he explained the COT issues with the tires a little more clearly. But still an unacceptable and disappointing race but there you go.

Vicky D said...
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SophiaZ123 said...

I enjoyed the show and now that I am divorcing my personal opinions from Ray (pun intended! :-) ) I enjoy him on this show.

Red, I am with you about KB's comment on Jr. I heard these same COMMENTS last night on either NN, SR, or WT (who can keep track?) and found it annoying NOBODY followed up on those.

KB made it sound like Jr was being malicious or thoughtless (??!!) Both sound bites just left the 'ran over my pit crew guy' comment lying there while steam came ouf of my ears!!

Appreciate the column JD but I have one question:

What's the deal with next week's show having on Shannon Spake?? She may be a nice person but she lacks in many areas...and some of us have not forgotten her repetivie questions with King Petty, among others.

Just trying to figure out what the angle will be next week. Not trying to be catty or anything.

I must admit, I did miss Massaro tonight. Also, Brad needs to wear DARK PANTS on those high chairs as the white pants screamed "Daddy Long Legs."

Would ESPN get these guys some comfy chairs or a desk to sit behind so that everybody is evened out on the camera. I do like Brad.

Lou, from NY said...

The closing comment from Mr. Bestwick were on spot.. Good to see someone stand up for what we as fans knew all along. Thank you AB.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Sophia,

The "theme" of next week's show is the NASCAR on ESPN pit reporters.

All four of them will be on with Bestwick. This season, Spake has filled the Bestwick spot on pit road and is on the Cup coverage.

JD

Lou, from NY said...

Yes, off topic Sophia, the white pants gotta go. lol

Anonymous said...

I liked Allen's comments at the end.

My problem with the roundtable is this was a day when we really could have used some current updates. I know everyone is jetlagged, but what about someone else, like Marty or Angelique or Terry Blount or somebody giving us a followup NEWS report about things that have happened today concerning the race on the show? Mike Massaro probably could have given some good info if he had been there, but he probably wouldn't have had time to report a new story today where the others would.

It seems a shame that we have to wait until Tuesdays to get any news reports on NASCAR Now. For example, online I've seen new stories about Tony George's comments about the race. Maybe 40 minutes of the show could be a roundtable and the other 20 minutes could be 'new' news. In addition to a followup news story - not just opinions - on the tires, what about a story talking to fans about yesterday's race like Ryan McGee had on the website, or reading fan comments sent to espn.com on the air?

I would have liked to have had a full report on NASCAR not returning to Mexico City, which was announced yesterday and will be a full two days old if they expound on it tomorrow. That's a big deal. And a story about Tony Stewart being fined by USAC today as well, which is on all the NASCAR websites. The video of his altercation was on the front page of Yahoo Sports yesterday.

An hour is a long time. I think NASCAR Now could use their hour better (especially if they have a studio in NC, too).

Lisa Hogan said...

I enjoyed tonight’s show. I did not miss Massaro. Although I am not a fan of Ray, I thought he did well.

JD, thanks for the heads-up on next Monday’s show. I will skip that one.

Newracefan said...

I thought the show was excellent. I also missed MM presence, perhaps then we would have found out if Denny's pit crew member was hurt and who he was. I too would have liked to see what Kyle was talking about and some follow up but I took it as the old lets blame someone else for our problems, it's not like he hasn't done it before. Ray did an great job, I liked the fact that when he didn't know that's what he said instead of trying to make something up. Most of all thank's AB for saying what we were all thinking. I agree having the show come from NC would help to get drivers etc into the studio and make visits to shops easier but would it save travel time/hotel fees for the ESPN paid people? AB lives up that way, I am not sure about BD, I'm guessing Ray is in NC otherwise I'm clueless. I'm betting money may play a part in this decision.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Thank you. I did not phrase my question well enough. What I was meaning to ask was whether it might be that ESPN does not want to spend the money to create a studio in NC until it can be done where they want it to be long-term - that is in the Hall of Fame building or complex? Obviously I have no idea how much extra expense there might be in creating a studio now and moving it to the HOF in a year or 2.

I have not seen N-Now yet, but I am really looking forward to Ray's explanation of the tire deal. I have seen several articles blaming NASCAR, but no real explanation of the tire problems other than COT. I have yet to see anyone explain why the tires created dust rather than rubbering-in, and Sat. and Sunday I heard several commentators, including Tim Brewer, say they had never seen tires create such dust.

Anonymous said...

Around the Horn trashed NASCAR today, as expected. Their main rant was that NASCAR and Goodyear should apologize to the fans who actually attended and offer refunds - or run the race again for free (ha!) - if they want to keep fans.

The bad thing was two of the guys said this hurts NASCAR in "trying" to be a major league sport and not receding to a niche sport. Ouch.

Same on Pardon the Interruption. Bob Ryan called it the worst day NASCAR has had, competition wise, in years. Out of all the guys on Around the Horn and PTI, Mike Wilbon was the only one who actually watched some of the race. He said he kept flipping over to the race, about six times, and five times it was in caution. Wilbon also repeated what he said last time there was a tire problem, asking why there can be multiple car manufacturers in NASCAR but only one tire manufacturer.

Yeah they're all slightly obnoxious bigmouths who know nothing about NASCAR (except Wilbon), but they're influential slightly obnoxious bigmouths. NASCAR on regular ESPN shows isn't coming off so well today.

Vicky D said...

I also heard the comment from KB about Jr. running over his crew member - what really happened does anyone know?

Daly Planet Editor said...

There will be a new column up about This Week In NASCAR shortly after the show is over. Please do not put TWIN comments on this post.

Yes, we know they changed the format!

JD

stricklinfan82 said...

Yeah I just rolled my eyes at the Around the Horn panelists' thoughts that they should somehow run another NASCAR race at Indy to make up for that bad one and that NASCAR "wants to be" a major league sport, but "NASCAR's actions" (as if they built the tires) are going to make them a niche sport all over again. I didn't have a problem with PTI's discussion of the race. I thought they made good basic points despite their limited NASCAR knowledge, saying that as a casual fan Wilbon was turned off by the constant caution flags and that the tires "melting" and forcing tire changes every 10 laps made the race a joke and not a NASCAR-like event, which was the correct summation despite the wrong terminology. And it was good to hear an outsider make the observation that it seems strange that everyone is stuck with one brand of tires to race on, and when that brand is bad the results are disastrous. Obviously they don't remember '88 or '94 to realize the inherit dangers that another tire war could bring to the sport, but on the flip side I have heard other knowledgable individuals make similar observations that a tire war might not be a bad idea compared to debacles like we saw at Atlanta and Indy.

I give a ton of credit to Allen Bestwick for not taking the politically correct route and instead saying point blank on national television that the Indy race was "unacceptable", while at the same time remaining respectful to the people involved by saying they were "good people" that obviously didn't want that to happen either.

Adam T. Martin said...

I hope ESPN/ABC stick around after the current TV contract is up.

NASCAR Now is mostly a winner.

Ken-Michigan said...

Disclosure: I did not watch the race, I only listened on the radio from lap 70 to the finish.

I could not believe what I was hearing. 10 laps and caution...10 laps and caution...etc.

All I could think was ... I'm glad I went golfing and didn't drive to Indy and BUY a ticket.

Since I have been home I've watched Victory Lane , a big part of Wind Tunnel, first half of TWIN....and ESPN'S NASCAR NOW.

Except for Despain's show, nobody had the guts to get comments from the 200,000 people who bought tickets.

I have heard the phrase "NASCAR handled it GREAT"..... It was was a "Great" race".... Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace used the word "Great" over a dozen times.

The ONLY thing great was the WEATHER.... and believe it or not, NASCAR does not control the weather.

There may be come media outlets that have said other "honest" comments about the Brickyard 400...but I have not heard them yet.

The media has one again bowed down to the all mighty King (NASCAR) and they (media) will NOT say anything HONEST about what was experienced on Sunday.

This is sick.

Jo from SC said...
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Jo from SC said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

There is now a new post up for your comments about the Monday TWIN show on SPEED.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Jo,

The NASCAR Media Group, including the TV part that used to be called NASCAR Images is moving into a new building under construction in downtown Charlotte. It will be attached to the Hall of Fame and adjacent to the Convention Center.

SPEED has purchased a building on Harris Blvd. that is currently empty and is beginning the process of moving the network offices to that location.

The big change for SPEED is that they will be leaving their rented studio and uplink facility in South Charlotte and building their own HD studios and transmision facility at the Harris Blvd. location.

The SPEED Master Control and the network infrastructure will continue to be part of the Fox Operations and Engineering Group in Los Angeles.

If you have any questions about this, just drop me an email. Thanks.

JD

Anonymous said...

NN was good, as expected, but would have been better w/MM. I was surprised RE didn't answer the why question with Biffle's TWIN answer: the rubber off the tires was powdery, not sticky marbles like we normally see, and didn't stick to the track. Goodyear says this was the same compound as 2007 Indy tires so they're baffled too.

Tracy said...

Allmendinger's (sp?) presence was a refreshing change. Wish someone talked to Jimmy Elledge as well. I was rootin' for the lad, just because . . .Glad NN had him on.

My husband came home and said he heard Rusty Wallace on a radio show this morning, (out of Charolotte?) saying ESPN will be asking NASCAR to refund money for the race. Evidently viewership dropped off drastically as caution followed caution. Don't know how much info RW has of an insider nature, but thought it was interesting he espoused ESPN's right to be reimbursed for having to show a bad race.

Ritchie said...

I enjoyed the show as usual. Mr. Massaro would have been a great addition, but circumstances cannot always be helped.

The main question that I had during all of this is why we would not have at least a short interview with DJ Cobb? He was in the center of all the tire carnage, wouldn't he have been a good addition to the show?

Newracefan said...

Rusty is all about the money he was asking if Goodyear was going to make the teams pay for the tires last night and now a refund for ESPN. I didn't get a refund from ESPN when they screwed up the races last year. This actually annoys me more than DWstore.com and that's saying something. Shut up Rusty you have more money than I'll ever see in 5 lifetimes.

Newracefan said...

DJ Cobb interview that would have been something to see, although he may still be recovering.

red said...

nrf: b/c i brought it up, i figured i should do what i can to clarify my comment. i checked out what the JGR site said about what happened on the final caution pitstop on lap 149 and compared it to what nascar now (and others) broadcast.

Young Mr Busch said the following, "Then on the last pit stop, Jr. ran over one of my guys and shoved him under the car. We had to wait for him to climb back out before we could drop the jack and that just killed our day."

According to an article on the JGR site, here's what happened: "During the final caution of the race on lap 149, Busch found himself in 12th. . . Just as rear tire carrier Kenny Barber was putting the new right-rear tire on, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was exiting his pit stall. Contact from Earnhardt, Jr.’s No. 88 into the used tire knocked Barber to the ground. The accident delayed jackman Jeff Fender from dropping the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota until his teammate was clear."

as i said, young mr busch may have been unaware of what happened at the time of his comments but by the time his remarks were played back on nascar now, a different explanation had been offered by his own team website. to put such an inflammatory comment out there and not do some sort of followup seems irresponsible to me.

Anonymous said...

For the most part, most of NN was a re-run of what had been in all the post race shows and interviews. Since the show airs 24 hours after the race, maybe NN could come up with new material. The question to be asked ad naseum is not why, but what are the steps to be taken. When will the suits at NASCAR be meeting with tire engineers. When will the owners and track owners be included in these meetings. Provide a time line. What kind of tests will be done to see why the tire rubber did not stick to the track.

I see that ESPN did not revisit Rusty's comment about Ryan--like ti never happened.

I understand that the date cancelled from Mexico is being conssidered by a few tracks, including one owned by Rusty. Let's see how he handles it when something goes wrong!

Thanks to red for the explanation we did not get from NN. I just could not imagine Jr doing what Kyle accused him of without an apology. NN should have shown a clip of the pit stop.

I liked Ray's comments throughout the program. I find it a little annoying when Brad paraphrases what Ray has just said, and pretends it's a new and independant thought. And then, even though he did predict Jeff would win, he also said that he also thought Tony would be threat!! What is he talking about? The whole time Tony did terribly or mediocre in practice, happy hour, qualifying, etc.

Did anyone catch that Pemberton swore during his interiew? Can he be fined $10,000 or whatever Jr got fined last year?

SophiaZ123 said...

Red

Thanks for the clarification on the incident in the pits with Kyle B and Jr's car.

As a Jr fan I knew it could not have gone down the way KB implied.

Karen said...

Anon at 11:32 said ...

Did anyone catch that Pemberton swore during his interiew?

I didn't catch it unless it was the first word out of his mouth and was bleeped. I played it a couple of times and didn't hear it.

Lisa Hogan said...

Richard- I, too, heard from several, “I’ve never seen such dust”. When I saw the dust on the back of cars during practice, I knew I had seen that before. I just can’t remember when/where.

Perhaps some of our fellow posters heard this discussed on other shows and can provide some insight. Maybe, they were talking about the amount of dust and not just the tire dust that they had never seen?

Anonymous said...

karen, Pemberton swore on his post race comment, which was not shown in full on NN. If you taped the original race and comments, you'll see it.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- I actually was somewhat disappointed in N-Now's coverage of the tire issue Monday in 2 regards. (1) Ray admitted he did not know why the tires created so much dust & did not rubber-in, but offered a solution anyway. (2) No one mentioned that 1 of the primary reasons for no mass test at Indy was that the crew chiefs wanted to go to other tracks for testing more than Indy.

To my surprise, NASCAR constant-critic Mike Muhlhern did report Monday that "Some crews said they felt that the compound was indeed different, that it had less oil and more dry carbon in the mixture."

Saturday in the 2nd practice I heard Tim Brewer, Andy P., and, I believe, DJ all say they had never seen tire dust like they were seeing at Indy.

I have yet to see/hear a good, complete explanation for why the track did not rubber-in, and almost everyone in the media seems satisfied to just blame it on NASCAR and the COT.